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Must Reads of the Week: Obama's Iran Strategy, Foreign Fighters in Syria, and More

Author: CFR.org Editors
July 16, 2014

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"Iraq Illusions"
By Jessica T. Mathews
New York Review of Books

"The story [in Iraq], which has seemed to be all about religion and military developments, is actually mostly about politics: access to government revenue and services, a say in decision-making, and a modicum of social justice. True, one side is Sunni and the other Shia, but this is not a theological conflict rooted in the seventh century."

Iran Nuclear TalksIran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif holds a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the second day of talks over Tehran's nuclear program in Vienna, July 14, 2014. (Photo:Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters)
"Is Obama's Strategy on Iran Sound?"
Walter Russell Mead
The American Interest

"Today, with the world in flames and Obama's foreign policy on the receiving end of a lot of skepticism at home and abroad, success with Iran remains the administration's most important single preoccupation, and it is probably, in the President's mind, his single greatest hope for turning around the growing perception that his foreign policy has failed."

"How Italy Became a Submerging Economy"
By Gavin Jones and James Mackenzie
Reuters

"Italy's economy has barely grown since 1994 and has shrunk since 2000. That is worse than any other country in Europe or any of the 34 rich and developing nations in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. Economists look at a mix of factors to explain the long-term rise of the world's emerging economies: population and employment trends; private and public investments; the productivity of workers; and the strength of a state's legal, administrative and institutional environment. On each one of these counts, Italy has regressed since the 1980s."

"Investigators Probe the Ways a Swiss Broker Courted Libyan Business"
By David Enrich, Michael Rothfeld, and Margaret Coker
The Wall Street Journal

"The lifting of international sanctions against Libya in 2003 and 2004, after Gadhafi agreed to forswear weapons of mass destruction, ignited a gold rush among Western financial institutions."

"Foreign Fighters in Syria"
By Richard Barnett
The Soufan Group

"The grinding brutality of the conflict will lead to yet more traumatized young men becoming accustomed to violence and ready to carry their binary worldview back home or to a new front. Not only will they be able and willing to commit acts of terrorism, but they will also be in touch with a wide network of fellow fighters to whom they are likely to feel a greater sense of loyalty than to any other community."

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