Middle East and North Africa

Op-Ed

The Ayatollah and the U.S. Embassy

Author: Ray Takeyh
Weekly Standard

It has long been the conceit of Iran specialists and political commentators that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was not informed that militant students intended to take over the U.S. embassy in Iran in 1979. The Western intelligentsia has vouched for the Islamic Republic and claimed that the hostage crisis was a product of an internal power struggle. It was not about America, but rather about a revolution sorting itself out. As such, the hostage drama should not stand in the way of a rapprochement between the two nations. 

See more in Iran; United States; History and Theory of International Relations

Op-Ed

I Interviewed Bashar al-Assad About Syria's Civil War. He's Still Too Delusional to End it.

Author: Jonathan Tepperman
Washington Post

In recent weeks, Western governments have begun subtly shifting their positions on Syria. The Obama administration seems to have quietly dropped its demand that President Bashar al-Assad resign as a precondition of peace talks. Instead, reports suggest it has embraced proposals that would allow Assad to be part of an interim deal. The new approach implies that the White House and its allies believe that the Syrian president might be open to a compromise that could end his country’s four-year civil war.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

Op-Ed

Is Kobani the New Khe Sanh?

Author: Max Boot
Commentary

The Obama administration will be tempted to take a victory lap because of recent news that Kurdish militiamen have regained control of Kobani, a Syrian town near the border with Turkey. ISIS forces that had been attacking it for months have melted away. This is, to be sure, a nice achievement, but its wider significance is limited.

See more in Syria; United States; Terrorist Organizations and Networks; Conflict Assessment

Op-Ed

Iranian Reformers Oppose Government's Nuclear Ambitions

Author: Ray Takeyh
Los Angeles Times

While the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains Iran’s most consequential decision-maker, many of Iran’s most popular yet purged opposition leaders have decried the nuclear program as not economically beneficial, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Given that these reformers could win open and free elections, it is important to pay close attention to their arguments.

See more in Iran; Nuclear Energy