Middle East Matters

Robert Danin analyzes critical developments and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wait for photographers to depart before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

Reading The Trump Administration in Ramallah

Does the United States seek relations with Hamas in Gaza and to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership in the West Bank? Palestinians officials and insiders asked me this question repeatedly during a recent visit to Ramallah. At first, the question seems strange. How could well-informed insiders come to wonder if the United States prefers to deal with an Islamist terrorist organization to a leadership that avows non-violence and actively pursues security cooperation with Israel on a daily basis? Read More

Rushing Libya’s Elections Will Lead to Disaster
The following is a guest post by Alexander Decina, research associate for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. For more than two years, the UN-backed Government of National …
President Trump’s Syria Strikes Are Not About Syria
The airstrikes conducted by the United States, Britain, and France on Saturday against Syrian military targets were about upholding a nearly century-old prohibition against chemical warfare, not abou…
Donald Trump
President Trump’s Peace Efforts Require A Regional Approach
President Donald Trump’s non-stop flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv is being described as the first ever non-stop flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel. That the Saudis allowed this direct flight, usua…
  • Palestinian Territories
    Palestinian President Abbas’ Washington Challenge
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas faces one of the greatest negotiating challenges of his political career on Wednesday when he meets President Trump at the White House: He must convince many skept…
  • Israel
    President Trump: Peace Processor
    President Donald Trump’s evolving views on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appear to be coming into greater focus as he prepares to welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to th…
  • Israel
    President Trump’s Settlement Policy Breaks Ground
    For the first dozen days of the Trump administration, it seemed to Israelis that they had a free hand to settle the West Bank. Israel announced its intention to build thousands of new houses, and Pri…
  • United States
    Paved with Good Intentions? France’s Middle East Peace Conference
    The Madrid peace conference in 1991 to launch comprehensive Arab-Israeli negotiations was a diplomatic triumph. The 2007 Annapolis conference relaunched peace-making and a new, well-prepared three tr…
  • United States
    Secretary Kerry’s Vision-Seeking Israeli-Palestinian Speech
    Secretary of State John Kerry just delivered the speech he’s been eager to give for several years. Following the abrupt failure of his ambitious all-or-nothing peace initiative in April 2014, Kerry a…
  • Donald Trump
    Trump May Inadvertently Force Netanyahu’s Hand
    The election of Donald Trump has fueled an intense struggle within Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the future disposition of the West Bank that Israel has occupied for nea…
  • Israel
    Foreign Affairs: The Struggle For Israel
    The July/August print edition of Foreign Affairs, entitled "The Struggle for Israel," is out. It includes interviews with several leading Israeli politicians and articles by veteran analysts Aluf Ben…