The Great Debate

Mystery in Argentina finds fertile ground for conspiracy theories

By Federico Finchelstein
January 29, 2015
A woman holds a sign that reads "Justice" and an image of prosecutor Alberto Nisman during a demonstration to demand justice over Nisman's death in front of the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

A woman holds a sign that reads “Justice” and an image of prosecutor Alberto Nisman during a demonstration to demand justice over Nisman’s death in front of the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

What was behind Israel’s strike in Syria that killed an Iranian general?

By Steven Simon
January 23, 2015
Relatives of Lebanon's Hezbollah commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, stand over his coffin during his funeral in Arab-Salim, south Lebanon January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Relatives of Lebanon’s Hezbollah commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, stand over his coffin during his funeral in Arab-Salim, south Lebanon January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

The IAEA can’t guarantee any nuclear program is peaceful

By Yousaf Butt
January 8, 2015

An Iranian operator monitors the nuclear power plant unit in Bushehr

Having failed to reach an agreement on a comprehensive nuclear accord in November, Tehran and the six world powers set a new deadline — July 1, 2015. The diplomats are to meet again on Jan. 18, though prospects for a rapid breakthrough remain thin. One big roadblock is that the International Atomic Energy Agency has set for itself the impossible goal of verifying the “purely peaceful” nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

U.S. sanctions fail two-thirds of the time. And allies are often to blame

By Bryan Early
January 5, 2015
Handout photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guiding the multiple-rocket launching drill of women's sub-units under KPA Unit 851

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a multiple-rocket launching drill in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Dec. 30, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

Iran transformed Syria’s army into a militia that will help Assad survive another year

By David Axe
December 17, 2014

A man inspects a damaged site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs thrown by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on al-Ghariya, in the east of Deraa province

In early 2015, the civil war in Syria will turn four years old. If current trends hold, the terrible conflict — which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions — will almost certainly continue to rage through the end of the year. That’s my prediction.

It’s a weird war when Iran and the U.S. are bombing the same country

By Michael Williams
December 10, 2014

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires rockets during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat

The McDonnell Douglas’ F4 Phantom was a workhorse of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It was retired from the USAF and the British Royal Air Force some 20 years ago. But the vintage fighter-bomber put in a surprise performance a few days ago over the skies of northern Iraq.

A misconception that could scuttle nuclear talks with Iran

By Jim Walsh and Aron Bernstein
November 24, 2014

EU envoy Ashton, Britain's Foreign Secretary Hammond and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif sit at a table during talks in Vienna

As nuclear talks between Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1 group are extended for another seven months, one issue is sure to remain a sticking point. The most important differences between all sides relates to the size of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.

from Ian Bremmer:

Oil price plummet won’t help U.S. with Iran or Russia

By Ian Bremmer
November 11, 2014

A motorist holds a fuel pump at a Gulf petrol station in London

Plummeting oil prices — down more than 25 percent since June to three-year lows — should relieve pressure on consumers at the pump. But is it pushing oil-exporting regimes past the breaking point?

The U.S.-Iran non-alliance alliance against Islamic State

By Aki Peritz and Faris Alikhan
October 29, 2014

Smoke rise over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border

One irony about the fight against Islamic State is that the nations now striking the extremist group the hardest also dislike each other the most.

How congressional hawks plan to kill Obama’s Iran deal

By Trita Parsi
October 27, 2014

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani gives a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York

Negotiations with Iran over the future of its nuclear program have not even concluded yet some members of Congress are preparing to manufacture a political crisis over a deal. Their beef? President Barack Obama may initially bypass Congress and suspend sanctions imposed on Iran to make a deal possible and only later ask lawmakers to end them permanently when it is determined that Iran has complied fully with its obligations under the deal.