The Great Debate

Iraqis may fear Shi’ite militias more than Islamic State

By Mohamad Bazzi
February 19, 2015
A fighter from the Shi'ite Kata'ib Imam Ali (Imam Ali Brigades) militia runs as they search a house after taking control of a village from Islamist State militants, on the outskirts of Dhuluiya

A fighter from the Shi’ite Imam Ali Brigades militia runs after taking control of a village from Islamist State militants, on the outskirts of Dhuluiya, north of Baghdad, Dec. 29, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Life is harsh under Islamic State. But what’s the alternative?

By Aki Peritz
February 9, 2015
Man walks down a street filled with abandoned vehicles and debris from damaged buildings in the northern Syrian town of Kobani

A man walks down a street in the northern Syrian town of Kobani, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Iran is using Israel to distract from its real aims in the Persian Gulf

By Anthony H. Cordesman
February 5, 2015
A member of Iran's Revolutionary guard stands at attention during an anti-U.S. ceremony in Azadi (freedom) Square in Tehran April 25, 2010. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

A member of Iran’s Revolutionary guard stands at attention during an anti-U.S. ceremony in Azadi (freedom) Square in Tehran April 25, 2010. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Iran’s leaders wonder who’s really in charge in U.S. They may be surprised.

By Trita Parsi
February 1, 2015
Code Pink activists protest before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Perspectives on the Strategic Necessity of Iran Sanctions

Code Pink activists protest before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Perspectives on the Strategic Necessity of Iran Sanctions, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 27, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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.