Making sense of Netanyahu’s Iran policy  

Brian M Downing  Prime Minister Netanyahu repeatedly warns of Iranian dangers to his country and the region. He tried more than once to persuade the United States to destroy Iranian nuclear sites and mobilized his considerable resources to press the White House into action. Neither of the previous two presidents obliged. Read More …

The US takes on Iran and the Shia Corridor

Brian M Downing  Candidate Trump promised a tougher stance toward Iran. He deplored the P5+1 deal that required Iran to dismantle critical parts of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. President Trump has altered many of his positions but remains hostile toward Iran. The position advanced here recently Read More …

What comes after Idlib?

Brian M Downing  The Syrian war took another turn this week as several dozen Idlib civilians were killed by noxious clouds. The victims’ symptoms point to nerve gas, possibly sarin. Subsequent autopsies support this. World opinion, generally weary of the endless conflict and the numerous atrocities, is angry. For years people Read More …

Trump, Netanyahu, and the future of the two-state solution 

Brian M Downing Yesterday, in a decidedly informal press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Trump dropped American support for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He went on to say in passing that he would accept whatever solution the Israel government and Palestinian leadership arrived at. Meanwhile, expansion Read More …

The (worrisome) Putin-Trump partnership 

Brian M Downing  The Trump administration talks of a new era of cooperation with Russia. The historical rivals, it believes, can work together in fighting ISIL and developing oil and gas fields, especially in the forbidding trans-Ural and Arctic regions. The partnership may be facilitated by the affinities between two Read More …

President Trump takes on the Middle East – Iran

President Trump takes on the Middle East – Iran Brian M Downing No newly-elected president has caused more anxiety and speculation than Donald Trump. His hastily proposed polices and mercurial temperament worry foreign leaders and fellow Republicans alike. Many US foreign policy experts have publicly declared him unfit for the presidency. Read More …

The Iranian nuclear agreement, American elections, and Israeli generals

The Iranian nuclear agreement, American elections, and Israeli generals  Brian M Downing Last year’s nuclear deal with Iran occasionally appears in the rintresidential campaign. The GOP candidate decries it as one of many mistakes made by his Democratic opponent, who was Secretary of State in the lead-up to the agreement. Read More …

Netanyahu builds up his majority – and the “iron wall”?

Netanyahu builds up his majority – and the “iron wall”? Brian M Downing Last week Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu replaced his defense minister with Avigdor Lieberman – a conservative who has found a niche to the right of the PM. Lieberman’s public support is in the Russian immigrant community and Read More …

Downing Reports: Israeli foreign policy after the Iran nuclear agreement 

Israel mobilized its considerable resources in an effort to block the nuclear deal with Iran in congress. Think tanks, lobbies, and the Religious Right denounced the agreement, repeatedly and vociferously, on television and talk shows and most importantly in the senate. Saudi Arabia made the same effort. Nonetheless, the Obama administration thwarted Read More …