As we go to press, the ascent of Donald Trump toward the presidency is sucking all the air out of the domestic political space. Well-deserved condemnations flood the media from both right and left. The base is also speaking; metaphorical crockery is being smashed.
In recent months, as Russia has stepped up its involvement in the Syrian civil war, there has been a flurry of analysis by Western observers of Moscow's possible objectives. On a spectrum of interpretations concerning Russian actions are claims that the Kremlin's main concern is ensuring the survival of the Assad regime. Others assume broader strategic foreign-policy goals, including no less than a "grand bargain" with the West over the Ukraine crisis and Moscow's re-admission into the club of Western nations.1
There is a long-running debate among scholars of international relations as to whether state behavior is more heavily influenced by systemic or domestic pressures. There is far less discussion, however, of the impact of these factors on the behavior of nonstate actors. This stems perhaps from an assumption that nonstate actors, by their very nature, have different priorities than states, and that system-level factors should therefore not matter very much.
In many countries, especially liberal democratic ones, military or defense doctrine is a public document made available to researchers. In the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, due to understandable concerns about potential American and Israeli aggression, comprehensive plans for using military forces, in both defensive and offensive operations, are classified. A presentation and analysis of Iran's military doctrine in a concise document is not available. One must reconstruct the whole from many small elements.
Lukáš Tichý and Nikita Odintsov
According to BP statistics, Iran has the world's largest reserves of natural gas and its fourth-largest reserves of oil. Its strategic geographic position makes it capable of supplying these resources to Europe, its Middle Eastern neighbors, and South and East Asian countries.1 Yet, the difficult geopolitical situation around its nuclear program and the poor management of its energy industry have prevented it from becoming a gas exporter to the European Union (EU).
Volkan Özdemir and Slawomir Raszewski
After the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, there has been increasing tension between the central government in Baghdad and the Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern part of the country. Although KRG President Masoud Barzani supported Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the federal elections of 2010, the two sides have been in open conflict over energy projects within the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The KRG is a substate actor in regional relations whose international legal status has not yet been determined.
Omid Shokri Kalehsar
Energy relations between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan go back to the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Before Azerbaijan gained its independence, direct economic relations between the two were impossible. Once the leadership of Heyder Aliyev emerged as uncontested, however, the first energy agreement between the two countries was signed. Azerbaijan, with huge oil and gas reserves, began to present itself as a key ally in the European energy market, partly by retaining an interest in having a potential role in the southern gas corridor.
SARA ROY: In your long experience working in the West Bank and Gaza, what issues or problems stand out as the most misunderstood?
Ahmed S. Hashim
A century and a half ago, a brilliant political philosopher wrote some profound words:
On April 13, 2015, Mac Thornberry, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced draft bill H.R.1735 — National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.1 According to the committee's report on the bill, Section 1223 — Modification of Authority to Provide Assistance to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — would do the following:
Since the end of the Cold War, Chinese foreign policy in the Middle East has been primarily driven by a search for energy security and a desire to increase its overseas markets and investment opportunities.1 The core of Chinese policy is to maintain a stable and peaceful international environment that facilitates continued domestic reform and development. Consequently, Chinese Middle East policy seeks to promote economic and energy relations.
William F. Wechsler, Mark N. Katz, Charles Lister, Audrey Kurth Cronin
WILLIAM F. WECHSLER, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, U.S. Department of Defense
A History of Modern Oman, by Jeremy Jones and Nicholas Ridout. Cambridge University Press, 2015. 271 pages. $29.99, paperback.
Oman Reborn: Balancing Tradition and Modernization, by Linda Pappas Funsch, Palgrave MacMillan, 2015. 189 pages. $105.00, hardcover.
U.S. engagement with Iran in connection with the recent nuclear deal was facilitated by the Sultanate of Oman, bringing that Gulf nation a prominence out of character with its traditional (and preferred) low profile.
Since the early 1990s, every peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators envisioned the eventual emergence of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Max Blumenthal's The 51-Day War provides a gripping narrative of the 2014 Israeli summer offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The recent rise of Dubai and the Persian Gulf in the global consciousness has been profound. Once a small, unknown fishing village, Dubai has turned into a powerful megalopolis recognized worldwide for its skyline, shopping, business dynamism and shipping.
Emmanuel Todd is both a historian and a sociologist at the National Institute of Demographic Studies in Paris. Like most French men and women, he was appalled by the bloody events of January 7, 2015.