Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 22, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Judah Grunstein, who will be back next week. Saudi Arabia continues to face unprecedented criticism from the United States, its longstanding regional ally, over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul four weeks ago. Earlier this month, Congress formally asked the Trump administration to determine whether Khashoggi’s killing exposed Saudi leaders to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, a law passed two years ago with broad bipartisan support to punish credibly accused violators of human rights around the world. Saudi Arabia is trying […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center, speaks with the lawmakers during a parliamentary session, Tehran, Oct. 27, 2018 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

The Trump administration is set to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran next week that target its oil sector, after having reimposed sanctions on other sectors of the Iranian economy in August. But they will target Iran only indirectly. Many of those sanctions will be aimed at firms and financial institutions in Europe, Japan, Turkey and other allied countries, as well as China, India and elsewhere. Unlike the United Nations sanctions that helped bring Iran to the negotiating table and led to the international agreement to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the new U.S. sanctions will be unilateral, extraterritorial—often called “secondary”—and […]

People are seen through a banner showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest against the nation-state law, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 30, 2018 (AP photo by Oded Balilty).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss political polarization and violence in the United States in the run-up to the congressional midterm elections. For the Report, Shira Rubin talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Israel’s recently passed nation-state law and why it has outraged the country’s Druze minority in particular. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview […]

Large copies of the new 100 and 200 euro notes with new and better security features are unveiled at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

Just weeks before the Trump administration reimposes sanctions against Iran in November, a growing gulf has emerged between the United States and Europe. Denouncing Washington’s ability to dictate with whom they can trade, European politicians have declared their desire to build alternate institutions to bolster Europe’s financial autonomy. However, Europe will find few meaningful options to insulate itself from a largely U.S.-run global financial and trading system. So far, the discussions about European economic autonomy have proposed action along two lines of attack. To begin with, European leaders, including European Commission officials as well as ministers from member states, have […]

Members of the Druze minority rally against Israel’s nation-state law, Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 4, 2018 (AP photo by Sebastian Scheiner).

YARKA, Israel—When soldiers from this small community in Israel’s lush Galilee region are killed in combat, Walid Mula turns up with advice and guidance. The affable 49-year-old is the director of a support group for bereaved families, and it falls to him to make hours-long house calls. Over sweet tea and snacks, he talks grieving relatives through the logistics of burying the dead, including the role of the Israeli state in financing funerals and memorial ceremonies. Yarka is a community made up of around 1,000 members of the Arab-Israeli Druze minority. The Druze in Israel total 140,000, or around 2 […]

A family bathes in one of the irrigation ditches at a hideout in a banana plantation on the island of Mindanao, Philippines (Lindsay Fendt).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the implications of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder for Saudi Arabia’s international partnerships and the Middle East. For the Report, Lindsay Fendt talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about the Philippines’ other campaign of extrajudicial killings, this one targeting anti-mining activists in Mindanao’s Compostela Valley. Lindsay’s two-part series of in-depth articles is the second to be funded by WPR’s International Reporting Fellowship. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 16, 2018 (AP photo by Leah Mills).

The details of just how Jamal Khashoggi met his death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are still shrouded in mystery. Given the interests of all sides in covering up what really happened, those shadows are likely to linger even after an official story is concocted and a scapegoat sacrificed. But Khashoggi’s death has already shed light on the level of corruption and rot at the heart of Washington’s ties with the Gulf Arab states. In many ways, this corruption is an old story. The outrage theater currently on display in Washington and corporate boardrooms across the U.S. is as […]

A protest at the Saudi Embassy over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Oct. 10, 2018, Washington (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

The disappearance and presumed murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul 15 days ago has focused attention on the U.S.-Saudi relationship. At the center of that relationship—and Saudi policymaking—for the past three years has been Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Known as MBS, the crown prince rose to prominence after his father, King Salman, took the throne in 2015. Quickly consolidating control over the Saudi economy and the kingdom’s foreign policy, MBS raised hopes with his promised program of bold social and economic reforms, while also causing alarm with rash and reckless moves like […]

Police officer Jorge Alberto Canizalez watches the streets from the back of a pickup during a nighttime patrol in San Salvador, El Salvador, Aug. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the implications for U.S.-Saudi ties. For the Report, Anna-Catherine Brigida talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about the dangers facing Salvadorans deported by the U.S., many of whom are returning to a country they barely know. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview […]

Members of the Turkish-Arab Media Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi near the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

The disappearance of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has focused much attention in Washington, D.C., where Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile, on the stream of bad news coming out of Saudi Arabia in recent months. Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman returned from a month-long trip abroad in March and April, with stops in Egypt, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Spain, a succession of developments have cast serious doubt on the credibility of the reform narrative the crown prince and his entourage were so energetically pushing, to often eager applause. Given the opaque […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, listens to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, prior to their breakfast meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 29, 2018 (Presidency Press Service photo via AP Images).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s state visit to Berlin last month came at a turbulent time for both Turkey’s relationship with Germany and Erdogan’s personal relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. While the visit has been billed as a sign of rapprochement, the reality is that Germany and Turkey need each other and are willing to work together on a transactional basis despite persistent irritants in the bilateral relationship. In an email interview with WPR, Lisel Hintz, assistant professor of international relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses the backdrop to Erdogan’s visit and how it […]

Taliban fighters gather with residents to celebrate a three-day cease fire marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 16, 2018 (AP photo by Ramat Gul).

A little more than a year after the launch of its new South Asia strategy, the Trump administration—without officially announcing a change in approach—appears to have refocused much of its efforts in Afghanistan around a long-elusive peace process. Gen. John Nicholson, the departing top military commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, backed up the Afghan government’s extended cease-fire with the Taliban during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently appointed former Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as a new special envoy tasked with leading reconciliation efforts. But despite that summer cease-fire and some preliminary […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a meeting to discuss the Syrian conflict, Tehran, Iran, Sept. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Last month, Turkey and Russia, largely on opposites sides of the Syrian civil war, struck an 11th-hour deal to prevent a military assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on the last remaining rebel stronghold of Idlib in northwestern Syria. While the agreement, which was reached in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi, won’t end the Syrian conflict, it buys some time to attempt to find a sustainable resolution in Idlib, where there are some 30,000 rebel fighters, perhaps a third of them al-Qaida-linked extremists. But if all things fail, Russian President Vladimir Putin has crafted the agreement in […]