The Great Debate

Obama is picking his targets in Iraq and Syria while missing the point

By Andrew J. Bacevich
September 10, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks on the situation in Syria, in Washington

“We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq,” New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks recently wrote.  There, in the Land of the Two Rivers, he continued, the United States confronts the “core problem” of our era — “the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam.”

from Stories I’d like to see:

What we don’t know about Qatar and what we don’t know about key Senate races

By Steven Brill
August 5, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Qatari Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha

1. Inside Qatar:  the terrorists’ benefactor and America’s friend

As the war in Gaza continues, we keep hearing that one pipeline for negotiations with Hamas goes through Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich kingdom in the Gulf that has friendly relations with Hamas. In fact, Qatar hosts the leaders of Hamas and provides financial support.

The war in Gaza threatens Egypt too

By Shibley Telhami
July 22, 2014

A Palestinian woman wearing clothes stained with the blood of other relatives, who medics said were wounded in Israeli shelling, cries at a hospital in Gaza City

Cairo’s efforts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, according to conventional wisdom, have largely been dictated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s animosity toward Hamas. After all, Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Sisi’s government has declared a terrorist organization and regards as a serious threat.

from John Lloyd:

Are we at war? And why can’t we be sure anymore?

By John Lloyd
June 30, 2014

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron poses for group photograph taken with G8 leaders at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen

The question -- “Are we at war?” -- seems absurd. Surely, we would know it if we were. But maybe we’re in a new era -- and wars are creeping up on us.

Why Egyptians voted for Sisi

By Sarah Eltantawi
May 28, 2014

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Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is set to win the presidential elections in Egypt this week, almost a year after Egypt’s military reasserted formal control following widespread revolts against Mohamed Mursi.

The other Egyptian crisis

By Shirin Neshat
March 5, 2014

Like most artists, I often wonder what art’s place is in a world that seems consumed by violence during these times of social upheaval.

Human Rights Day: Still pursuing religious freedom

By Katrina Lantos Swett and Mary Ann Glendon
December 10, 2013

December 10 marks Human Rights Day, the 65th anniversary of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), signed by 48 nations — with just eight abstentions.

U.S. Mideast policy: Keeping our friends closer

By Brenda Shaffer
November 4, 2013

It is time for Washington to change the parameters of the debate on its foreign policy toward the greater Middle East. It is not a choice between human rights and security — rather, the two goals should go hand in hand.

Seeking ‘good-enough-governance’ — not democracy

By Stephen D. Krasner
September 23, 2013

Only rarely have American leaders been able to reconcile the nation’s democratic values, material interest and national security.

Everything is negotiable in Egypt

By Stephanie Thomas
August 30, 2013

As Egypt’s military-led government appears to be solidifying its gains, and Cairo largely succumbs to its harsh measures, talk of civil war has, for now, abated. One big reason for this is because in Egypt everything is negotiable.