Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s demand that all sanctions must be lifted in exchange for an agreement indicates that Iran’s top decision-maker may not be involved in the negotiation process, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. In that case, there is little value in the agreement and little faith that Iran would fulfill its obligations.
On April 10, 2015, the Pentagon released its map of the self-proclaimed Islamic State's operations in Iraq and Syria. The map also marks areas controlled by other groups in the region, such as Iraqi Kurdish security forces, Iraqi Government, and Syrian Government.
In an article for Newsweek, Elliott Abrams discusses President Obama’s recent interview with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times and explains why the President’s guarantees for Israel’s security are less than reassuring.
The agreement reached Thursday to limit Iran’s nuclear program is more restrictive and more specific than analysts expected. It serves as strong evidence that persistence and tough diplomacy can create opportunities that mere obstinacy will never see.
The numerous concessions to Iran in the framework agreement means that the Islamic Republic should be able to manufacture bombs on short notice after the sunset clause expires, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Nevertheless, the Iran deal is not beyond repair and the United States needs to address the deficiencies of the accord in the coming months to close all remaining holes.
In November 2013, the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China, facilitated by the European Union) and Iran released a Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which required Iran to stop developing its nuclear capabilities and in return P5+1 would reduce economic sanctions. In March 2015, the P5+1 met again with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland and on April 2, 2015, released a joint statement on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The framework lays out the parameters for the final text of the plan, which is due June 30, 2015.
Writing in the International New York Times, John Bellinger argues that referral of war crimes of the so-called Islamic State is far from a futile gesture. Such international arbitration, he notes, will simplify prosecution in the event that Islamic State leaders are captured alive.
The Saudi-led military incursion into Yemen signals a major shift in Saudi policy toward the region, one more suited for a post-American phase, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Perceiving that they are unable to reliably depend upon support from the United States, Saudi Arabia is adopting a more independent and aggressive policy to ensure its security.
In article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams discusses the dangers that may result when diplomats become more concerned about their personal relationships with charming colleagues than about the nature of the regimes those colleagues (such as Iranian foreign minister Zarif) represent.
In an article for Newsweek, Elliott Abrams discusses the international community’s unfair standards for Israeli military operations and focuses on the slim response to civilian casualties in Saudi airstrikes in Yemen.
Philip Gordon, special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region since 2013, will join the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as a senior fellow. Based in Washington, DC, his research will focus on U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East and Europe.
The United States is now engaged in yet another military intervention in the Middle East—this time in Yemen. Micah Zenko argues that what has become the standard operating procedure for how the United States goes to war should be alarming, particularly when the latest intervention “lacks clear courses of action, coherent objectives, or an intended end state.”
The prospect of sanctions relief as part of an Iran nuclear agreement has alarmed some in Congress, but they should see the value of a UN Security Council resolution affirming the deal, says CFR’s John B. Bellinger III.
Yemen is the latest Middle East state to become enmeshed in a costly political and religious conflict that spans borders. The region’s struggles could well last for three decades longer, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Elliott Abrams, CFR’s senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, discusses the state of U.S.-Israel relations in light of the Israeli elections and ongoing talks over Iran’s nuclear program, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 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 »