In a comprehensive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for the Atlantic, Philip Gordon discusses President Obama’s strategy in the Middle East, the so-called “Washington Playbook,” the Syria “redline,” and more. He argues the next administration will have to deal extensively with the Middle East whether it wants to or not.
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2016, Graeme Wood discussed the self-proclaimed Islamic State as a mass movement and laid out the reasons for reasonable versus unreasonable fear of the movement and its constituents’ intentions. Based on his interactions with the Islamic State’s supporters abroad, Wood recommended that future U.S. government policy responses toward the Islamic State take into account not only military and political factors, but also “countercultural, religious, and existential ones,” and that politicians remain simultaneously rational and empathetic for their constituents.
Bernie Sanders recently spoke at some length about Israel, with the New York Daily News. Elliott Abrams analyzed the interview in The Weekly Standard, finding no hostility to the Jewish State—but confusion and misinformation.
If American Jews and Israel, are drifting apart, what’s the reason? That is the title of Elliott Abrams’s review essay in Mosaic, covering two new books that blame Israel—and its government’s policies—for the apparent drift. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, and the problems lie at home, among American Jews, not in Jerusalem.
The UN has filled the post of “Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine” with someone whose one-sided, biased track record of bashing Israel should have disqualified him immediately. Elliott Abrams tells the story in National Review.
Writing in Financial Times, Philip Gordon argues that the ceasefire in Syria is the most propitious development in the country since the war began five years ago. It's maintenance should be prioritized even over other longstanding goals such as the immediate removal of Assad or the marginalization of Russia and Iran.
Although the Hashemite Kingdom has vitiated its most potent tribal and Islamist domestic political opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood. But as the risk of domestic unrest has diminished, the potential for spillover from the Syrian conflict has grown, posing an increasing threat to Jordan.
The control of Iran’s clerical hardliners over electoral processes has guaranteed the demise of the country’s left-wing movement, writes CFR’s Ray Tayekh with Reuel Marc Gerecht. The country has moved so far to the right that die-hard reactionaries are presented as reasonable conservatives.
The Islamic Republic is about to hold its first elections since an international agreement was reached over its nuclear program. At stake, in theory at least, is control of parliament and the Assembly of Experts.
Despite heavy vetting of candidates, Iran’s elections for parliament and Assembly of Experts will offer insights into whether hardline or more moderate factions gain influence, says expert Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »