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The latest conflict in the Gaza Strip has put the international spotlight on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or PIJ, the second-largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas. Despite the group’s losses in the fighting, the PIJ may have emerged politically strengthened and with its credibility as a resistance movement enhanced.

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In the wake of Joe Biden’s Middle East visit in mid-July, some U.S. officials suggested that critics of the trip should reserve judgement until they see the “deliverables” agreed upon by the regional leaders Biden met with. Hopefully many such deliverables do materialize, beginning with reviving the multilateral Iran nuclear deal.

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For the eighth time in 11 years, voters have been called to the ballot box to weigh in on Tunisia’s future. Over the past decade, Tunisians have chosen new presidents, fresh parliaments and local representatives in peaceful elections. But last week’s referendum, which approved a new constitution, may bring an end to that civic process.

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Last week, a dozen years after the start of the Arab Spring, Tunisia held a referendum that sealed the fate of its democratic experiment. The vote confirmed that the euphoria of those heady days—the ardent belief that change was on the horizon—was not enough to overcome the obstacles to democratization.

A group of Iranians listen to then-President Hassan Rouhani during a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.

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At the heart of Turkey’s cycles of escalation against real or imagined enemies at home and abroad are two core dynamics eroding the power structures Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used to dominate Turkish politics for 20 years: economic mismanagement and the accelerating fragmentation of Erdogan’s electoral coalition.

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The political impasse in Iraq has reached an ominous phase that underscores the danger of litigating politics through displays of force. And in Lebanon, the many twists and turns in its deadlocked politics demonstrate that negotiation through violence can give way to a sustainable—if bloody—alternative to civic democracy.