The American-Israeli-Saudi alliance takes on Iran across the Middle East

Brian M Downing Sectarian tensions are high, probably as high as they’ve been in many centuries. This stems in part from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when the Sunni monarchies shuddered at Khomeini’s call for uprisings. More proximately, tensions stem from the Arab Spring when the same monarchs misinterpreted broad-based Read More …

Rethinking the Muslim Brotherhood 

Brian M Downing  The new administration has taken several bold steps regarding the Middle East. The executive order on immigration from seven Muslim countries caused an uproar, though that’s far less important than its imprecision and questionable constitutionality. The plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Read More …

From Syria with vengeance

Brian M Downing This week’s assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey has highlighted the international complexities and domestic consequences of the Syrian civil war. The assassin, a young policeman, denounced Russia’s role in the battle of Aleppo and added praise for jihad, presumably against Russia and its regional partners. Read More …

Negotiation and escalation in the Syrian civil war after Aleppo

Negotiation and escalation in the Syrian civil war after Aleppo  Brian M Downing  The war in Syria is entering its sixth year. Various rebel groups, backed by Sunni powers, had the upper hand until Hisbollah, Iran, and Russia intervened on the government side. Over the last year government forces developed a tactic Read More …

Obstacles to a Syrian peace agreement

The war in Syria is a stalemate and disaster. Civilian casualties are appalling, cities lie in ruins, and people flee the desolation by the tens of thousand. The former country is a training ground for jihadis and terrorists from Morocco to China. Preliminary talks are underway but any agreement is months away, at Read More …

Analysis: Iranian power on the rise?

As the Iranian nuclear talks neared preliminary agreement, and as the Houthis drove into southern Yemen, world leaders and commentators warned that Iran is on the rise in the Middle East. This, they continued, had to be stopped by imposing tougher sanctions and opposing the Houthis, perhaps through US armed Read More …