The Reopening of the UAE Embassy Might Signal Syria’s Pivot to the GCC

It would be foolish to believe that the uber-wealthy UAE needs war-torn Syria more than the reverse, so the reported reopening of the Emirati Embassy more than likely signals a significant change in policy on Damascus’ behalf and not Abu Dhabi’s, the ramifications of which could be far-reaching for the entire region and especially Iran. …

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Trump’s Anti-Iranian Sanctions Waivers Are Strategic, Not Signs of Weakness

The US temporarily waived its anti-Iranian sanctions for a handful of countries and the breakaway Chinese province of Taiwan. Some observers interpreted this as a sign of weakness indicating the Trump Administration’s inability to enforce its unilateral sanctions in the face of the emerging Multipolar World Order, but the truth is that these waivers are …

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Trump’s Project of a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), An “Arab NATO-like Alliance” to Confront Iran

The major media outlets had totally ignored the important three days October 26-28 IISS Manama Dialogue 2018 conference that was organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in the city of Manama; the capital of the tiny island of Bahrain. This Manama Dialogue was attended by key defense and foreign policy decision makers …

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Why’d the US Issue a Sanctions Waiver for Chabahar?

Many observers are wondering why the US issued a sanctions waiver for the Indian-built port of Chabahar in southeastern Iran and the railroad project that’s supposed to one day extend from it to Afghanistan, but the reason is that America sees this curious “Lead From Behind” arrangement as one of its last chances to retain …

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a welcome ceremony in Beijing on November 3, 2018. Photo: AFP / Jason Lee/ pool

Pakistan in the Middle of Saudi, Iran and Rival Pipeline Plans

A tweet roared like announcing a blockbuster premiere and sanctions did engulf Iran on time – despite opposition from Russia, China and the EU-3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom), who still support the United-Nations endorsed Iran nuclear treaty. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called this an economic war waged by a “bullying power”. The …

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Trump Goes to Paris: Will He Make Peace with Putin & Erdogan?

Trump and over 60 other world leaders will be in Paris over the weekend to attend an event commemorating the end of World War I a century ago, during which time the American leader is expected to have important sideline discussions with his Russian and Turkish counterparts. The occasion comes at a convenient time given …

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Russia’s Reshaping Syria’s “Deep State” in Its Own Image

The recently promulgated pact between Russia and Syria to have the former’s Defense Ministry train the Arab Republic’s children in cadet schools for free is a sign that Moscow intends to reshape Syria’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) in its own image as part of its plan to foster a multi-generational partnership …

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The Khashoggi Crisis: Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and potential Western sanctions against Saudi Arabia has sparked renewed debate about the value of the longstanding alliance between the United States and the kingdom. The debate is not limited to the US or the kingdom, both of which are assessing the reliability of the other even if that …

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Under the Pakistani Volcano

It has been a breathless week, huddled in the shadow of the simmering, bubbling, politico-religious volcano that is Imran Khan’s Pakistan. And this week’s multi-faceted developments may just signal seismic shifts in Pakistan’s internal and external relations for the foreseeable future. Before moving on to bloodier matters, let’s start with the “Mr. Khan Goes to …

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