The Great Debate

The one thing in Saudi Arabia that works well is under threat

By Steffen Hertog
February 3, 2016
A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield, about 160 km (99 miles) from Riyadh, June 23, 2008. State oil giant Saudi Aramco is adamant the biggest new field in its plan to raise oil capacity will arrive bang on schedule in June next year. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji  (SAUDI ARABIA) - RTX79NP

A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield, about 99 miles from Riyadh, June 23, 2008. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?

By Josh Cohen
February 3, 2016
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (C) to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool - RTX23NE0

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (C) to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin

Podcast: Why the Iran-Saudi showdown is a gift to ISIS

By Jason Fields
January 28, 2016
PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Murtaza Hussain

Saudi Arabia executes a cleric who is a member of the Saudi Shi’ite minority. Iran’s government, which sees itself as the leader of the Shi’ite world, doesn’t work very hard to stop an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran that follows the execution. Saudi Arabia closes its embassy and tensions between the two nations, which had been growing for years, hit a new high.

The two greatest threats to U.S.-Iran détente

By Mohamad Bazzi
January 22, 2016
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. A military vehicle carrying the Shahab 2 surface-to-surface missile drives past pictures of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY) - RTR2RNX4

A military vehicle carrying the Shahab 2 surface-to-surface missile drives past pictures of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

Saudi Arabia and Iran are playing a winner-take-all game

By Mohamad Bazzi
January 7, 2016
Shi'ites protest against the execution of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Baghdad January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily  - RTX219P8

Shi’ites protest against the execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Baghdad January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

How the Saudi king benefits from a cleric’s execution

By Peter Van Buren
January 6, 2016
Members of the Shi'ite ulema council hold a sign for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia, during a protest demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, January 2, 2016. The sign reads in Urdu, "Protest, Protest, Protest, we condemn the martyring of Ayatullah Shaikh Baqar al-Nimr and other Muslims, and demand human rights organisations take notice of the inhuman incident and bring fact-finding to the public". REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro  - RTX20S7T

Members of the Shi’ite ulema council hold a sign for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia, during a protest demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, January 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Will the U.S. fall for Saudi Arabia’s deliberate provocation in killing of Shi’ite cleric?

By Trita Parsi
January 4, 2016
Protesters holding pictures of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr are pushed back by Iranian riot police during a demonstration against the execution of Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran January, 3, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX20VG3

Protesters holding pictures of Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr are pushed back by Iranian riot police outside the Saudi  Embassy in Tehran, January, 3, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

Western dream of regime change in Iran is over, so what’s next?

By Joost Hiltermann
September 15, 2015
A motorcyclist carries a poster depicting Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran's late leader Ayatollah Khomeini during a rally marking al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Tehran

A motorcyclist carries a poster depicting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Khomeini during a rally marking al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Tehran, July 10, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer/TIMA

Are there any reasons for hope in the Middle East? Maybe.

By Henri J. Barkey and David F. Gordon
August 27, 2015
An image distributed by Islamic State militants on social media purports to show the destruction of a Roman-era temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

An image distributed by Islamic State militants on social media on August 25, 2015 purports to show the destruction of a Roman-era temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. REUTERS/Social Media

What does the nuclear deal mean for Iran and the region?

By Dina Esfandiary and Amir Handjani
July 16, 2015
Members from Hashid Shaabi hold portraits during a demonstration to show support for Yemen's Shi'ite Houthis and in protest of an air campaign in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition, in Baghdad

Members from Hashid Shaabi hold portraits of lawmaker and paramilitary commander Hadi al-Amiri (C), Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a demonstration to show support for Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis and in protest of an air campaign in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition, in Baghdad, March 31, 2015.REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani