The latest row between Washington and Riyadh over the decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production is not just a dispute over oil prices. It is a more fundamental divide between the U.S. and most of its Middle East security partners over what’s at stake in the war in Ukraine, and how each side sees the current geopolitical map.
On Oct. 6, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Prague, as part of a new effort to normalize relations. A changed geopolitical landscape in the region has removed some obstacles to a rapprochement, but the current efforts could still be derailed by other stumbling blocks.
The killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli military in May has been widely reported and denounced internationally and regionally. But there has been little international media and public attention paid to the broader problem of intimidation, threats and targeting faced by Palestinian journalists.
Iran’s sale of drones to Russia and reported engagement on the ground in Ukraine could further complicate its already rocky relationship with the West. But despite this, Iran and Russia still stand to gain geopolitically and economically from an expansion of their collaboration, even if it is a partnership of convenience.
President Joe Biden entered office promising to return the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA. But doing so has proven tricky for Biden’s administration, in part because of the complex politics surrounding the deal in both Washington and Tehran, but also because of the tense relations between the two countries, which soured significantly under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.
With the United Nations COP 27 Climate Change Conference set to take place in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh beginning on Nov. 6, many observers have raised concerns about the country’s human rights and environmental records and what this will mean for the conference as well as climate justice more broadly.
The rise and decline of the West’s strategic commitment to Indochina from the 1950s to the 1970s should be kept in mind when examining U.S. and European relations with the Gulf monarchies today. Though ties between the two sides are still extensive, U.S. and European policymakers are reassessing their commitment to the region.
The news that Russia has begun to employ Iranian military equipment, particularly kamikaze attack drones, in its war against Ukraine has led some observers to frame that conflict as a proving ground for Iran’s military technology. But the implications for military dynamics in the Middle East are far from clear.
Lebanon and Israel reached a historic agreement last week settling a years-long maritime border dispute involving major energy fields in the Mediterranean Sea. The agreement paves the way for the two countries to cooperate on gas extraction, but it stops short of a full Lebanese diplomatic recognition of Israel.
The Syrian civil war that has decimated the country for more than decade, provoking a regional humanitarian crisis and drawing in actors ranging from the United States to Russia, has been drawing inexorably to a conclusion for years now. President Bashar al-Assad, with the backing of Iran and Russia, has emerged militarily victorious from the conflict, which began after his government violently repressed civilian protests in 2011. But is the crisis in Syria really over?
In July and September, Albania suffered two cyberattacks attributed by the U.S. to Iranian state cyber actors. But Albania is not Iran’s first victim. Among the world’s cyber powers, the Iranians have been among the most aggressive in using hacking for coercion. And while still relatively unskilled, Iran is a dangerous cyber actor.
The novel coronavirus caught many world leaders unprepared, despite consistent warnings that a global pandemic was inevitable. And it has revealed the flaws in a global health architecture headed by the World Health Organization, which had already been faulted for its response to the 2014 Ebola pandemic in West Africa. Will there be an overhaul of the WHO when the pandemic is over?
OPEC+ announced last week that it will cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day starting in November, driving up prices globally. The U.S. responded by framing the cuts to oil production as a nakedly self-serving move that will benefit Russia, singling out Saudi Arabia as the ringleader of that collective effort.
Saudi King Salman issued a royal order last week to make his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, prime minister. While the position is symbolic, it consolidates the crown prince’s de facto control of Saudi Arabia and guarantees him sovereign immunity, staving off legal action against him in a U.S. courtroom.