Yemen’s Saleh to Seek Treatment in U.S.

Outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has left his home nation to seek medical treatment in the U.S., while protesters call for justice against him despite immunity. World News Videos by NewsLook

With the possibility of a clash between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program looming on the horizon, one cannot help but wonder: Is it worth it for Iran, now grappling with increasingly onerous sanctions, to continue its pursuit of a nuclear capacity, albeit an ambiguous one? By all indications, Iran’s leaders believe so, based on their read of recent history. Since the end of the Cold War, according to this narrative, regimes that the U.S. dislikes for their internal behavior or external activity — and Iran certainly qualifies on both scores — run the risk of being […]

Qatari Foreign Policy Driven by Personal Ambition, Not Wider Vision

Qatar has gained increasing attention lately due to its heightened foreign policy profile in the Middle East, particularly its prominent role in responding to the Arab Spring uprisings across the region. Over the past year, Qatar has inserted itself as a mediator in Yemen’s political impasse, supported the NATO intervention on behalf of Libya’s rebels and led the Arab League in imposing tough sanctions against Syria. The high-profile activism has established Qatar as a regional “player,” but Gregory Gause, a Middle East expert and professor of political science at the University of Vermont, said he does not see any real […]

If you look closely at the grainy pictures of anti-government protests in Syria, an intriguing symbol emerges: Protesters calling for the end to the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad are waving two different versions of the Syrian flag. It may seem like a small detail, but it points to deep divisions among anti-Assad forces — divisions that are keeping Syrians from coordinating their efforts, sending mixed signals to the international community and creating concerns about how well the fractured opposition’s leadership would be able to function if it toppled Assad and suddenly found itself having to build a new government. […]

Global Insider: Egypt’s International Borrowing

The Egyptian government is currently in talks with the International Monetary Fund over an emergency loan of $3 billion, after having declined a similar offer from the IMF last year. In an email interview, Magda Kandil, the executive director and director of research at the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, discussed Egypt’s international borrowing. WPR: How dependent has Egypt been historically on international financing, and how has that changed since the revolution? Magda Kandil: Egypt has been dependent on financing to close the gap in the fiscal deficit. However, most of the borrowing has been domestic. Currently, public debt is […]

Conventional wisdom holds that it is in Iran’s near-term interest to calm tensions with the West, particularly the United States. But with those tensions now rising, it’s worth considering the dynamics at work in Tehran’s relationship with the rest of the world. In fact, the Iranian leadership’s incentives may run counter to our expectations, making a continuation or escalation of tensions more, not less, likely. Iran’s long-term national interest is best served by developing nuclear weapons, which would fundamentally alter the strategic balance in the Middle East. A nuclear capability would allow Tehran to bully its neighbors and pursue its […]

For all the attention Iran has received as of late, a significant development continues to be overlooked. Specifically, recent events have underscored that the three pillars of Iran’s long-standing deterrent-based military doctrine have become wasting assets in Tehran’s changing strategic environment. This factor is likely to be influential in shaping the regime’s continued debate over whether to cross the nuclear threshold. As Iranian policymakers lose confidence in their current deterrent capabilities, the strategic rationale for a nuclear arsenal will become increasingly apparent. Since the end of its war with Iraq in 1988, Iran’s military doctrine has relied heavily on three […]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s four-country Latin American tour last week was noticeable for its lack of achievements. The trip again underscored the gap between Tehran’s global ambitions and its constrained capabilities. Iran has yet to establish the means to challenge core U.S. economic, security and other interests in Latin America, and there is little likelihood of that changing in the future. In recent years, Iran has sought to expand its economic ties as well as diplomatic partnerships and influence in Latin America. Thus far, however, Iran has only managed to develop close ties with a few regional governments that share […]

Car Bomb Kills at Least Nine in Iraq’s Mosul

At least nine people were killed when a car bomb exploded on Monday inside a residential complex housing displaced Shi’ite Muslims in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. World News Videos by NewsLook

From its initial emergence as a British mandate following World War I, to the post-independence monarchy from 1932-1958, through the military coups that ushered in the rule of first the Baath Party in 1968 and then Saddam Hussein in 1979, external threats and internal tensions have characterized the history of Iraq. Now that all U.S. military forces have left the country, Iraq’s government once again faces the challenge of overcoming internal divisions, even as it becomes fully and solely responsible for Iraq’s security for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. Iraqi leaders must manage these interrelated challenges […]

The Sept. 11 attacks made a household name out of al-Qaida, an organization whose existence had earlier concerned only intelligence professionals and a handful of journalists. As 2012 begins, al-Qaida has suffered a series of harsh blows, leading some to conclude that the once-predominant purveyor of terrorism and extremist ideology in much of the world has become a spent force, one without much of a future. To be sure, 2011 was a devastating year for the organization. But al-Qaida is not about to fade quietly into the sunset. Like a virus that mutates to survive its host’s most potent defenses, […]

CAIRO — Increased hostility from Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) over the past few months has led the United States to begin preparing for a future without the Egyptian military. On Dec. 29, Egyptian security forces raided the offices of three U.S.-affiliated NGOs, in addition to 14 others, in what was widely seen as a politically motivated crackdown on pro-democracy and human rights organizations. “Actions like these are another reason why my Appropriations subcommittee refused to give a blank check of foreign aid to the Egyptian military,” U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy said […]

Global Insider: Russia-Syria Relations

A Russian naval flotilla, including an aircraft carrier, left the Syrian port of Tartus Monday after a six-day call, described by the Russian government as a routine stop. In an email interview, Mark N. Katz, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University, discussed Russia-Syria relations. WPR: How committed is Russia to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and how deep are its contacts with other political actors in Syria? Mark N. Katz: Moscow had especially close relations with President Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez — who ruled from 1970 until his death in 2000 — during the […]

Raw Video: Ahmadinejad Meets Cuba’s Raul Castro

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets Cuban President Raul Castro but a bomb attack that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist is not discussed during the meeting. World News Videos by NewsLook

Last week, in the Gulf of Oman, the Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer USS Kidd seized an Iranian fishing dhow that had been hijacked and used as a mother ship by Somali pirates. In the course of the seizure, 13 Iranian hostages were freed, and 15 Somali pirates were taken into U.S. custody. The Iranian crew has now returned home after more than a month in captivity. In and of itself, the rescue was not extraordinary. Other vessels participating in the U.S.-led multilateral naval task force fighting Somalian piracy in the region — known as CTF-151 — carry out such rescues […]

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