Rouhani’s path to becoming Supreme Leader

At the heart of Rouhani’s political message in 2013 and 2017 was the promise of fundamental political and economic reform, including negotiations with foreign adversaries such as the United States. If he cannot pull it off because Khamenei won’t allow it, then Rouhani should put his case to the people.

US-Taliban talks a momentous shift in Afghan strategy

In the renewed diplomatic push for a negotiated end to the conflict, if the U.S. shows some flexibility on a power-sharing formula, the Taliban may also offer a pragmatic concession—acquiescence to the continued presence of some U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Relocating the Fifth Fleet?

As Bahraini government security services cracked down hard on popular protests against the ruling Al-Khalifa family in February 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense quietly considered alternative basing options for the Fifth Fleet, stationed in Bahrain since 1995. Those ideas were put on hold as conditions changed, but they haven't been abandoned.

The US needs to rethink its Syria strategy

The imminent defeat of ISIS in Syria raises a troubling question that the Trump administration has yet to answer—what next?

Total leaves Iran as energy sanctions loom

Amid a crumbling economy and social unrest, Tehran is finding it harder to keep companies in the country. Those who have stayed either lack the financial or technical capability to implement important projects like that of South Pars.

Is Russia drawing down its presence in Syria?

Since December 2017, at least three North Caucasian battalions in Syria have returned to their bases. While details are murky, recent developments and statements indicate that this could be the beginning of a partial Russian drawdown in Syria.

Tunisian jihadism five years after Ansar al-Sharia

Tunisia should be commended for putting the jihadi pandora back in its box. The country should now harness its robust civil society to better reintegrate into society individuals that are not the most hardened or experienced jihadis.

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