When North Korea surprised the international community by detonating a nuclear device in February, America’s at the time brand new secretary of state, John Kerry, drew a link between Pyongyang and Tehran. Failure to respond decisively to North Korea’s provocation, Kerry warned, risked emboldening Iran. Kerry was suggesting that the impact of the North Korean crisis on Iran would come as a result of the conclusions Tehran might draw about its own nuclear program from closely observing international reactions to North Korea’s. But it is likely that the impact of the North Korean situation on the diplomatic standoff with Iran […]

On Tuesday, Hamas re-elected Khaled Meshaal as its political leader, extending his nearly decade-long leadership of the Palestinian militant Islamist group. Hard-liners in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls, have been critical of Meshaal and his efforts to bridge divides with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the rival Palestinian group Fatah. Meshaal had previously said he would step down, and there were also reports that Hamas members in Gaza might try to force him aside. But Hamas’ internal political decision-making committee, the Shura Council, gave him another term, reportedly at least in part because of international pressure, including […]

Turkey and Israel are moving toward reconciliation at the same time that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has declared a cease-fire in its armed struggle with the Turkish state. Combined, the two developments have paved the way for Ankara to achieve its longstanding goal of becoming a regional energy transit hub, but ongoing disputes with Cyprus and Iraq mean that further progress remains uncertain. On March 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized on Israel’s behalf to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the deadly Gaza flotilla raid by Israeli forces in 2010. The apology is expected among other […]

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai was in Qatar this weekend to talk with the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and other officials about establishing an office of the Afghan Taliban insurgents in Doha. Proposals for such an office, designed to create conditions favorable for peace talks, have been under discussion for more than a year. But Karzai is seeking further safeguards to prevent the Taliban from using the office as a propaganda front or mobilization center. In addition, Karzai has insisted that the insurgents must recognize his government, among other preconditions for entering talks. For their part, members of the […]

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