The Great Debate

Snubbed by Saudi Arabia, what can Obama salvage from Arab summit?

By Peter Van Buren
May 12, 2015
U.S. President Obama walks with Saudi King Salman to a meeting at Erga Palace in Riyadh

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) walks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to a meeting at Erga Palace in Riyadh January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

There will be no winners in Syria’s war, but there can be an end

By Noah Bonsey
May 5, 2015
Free Syrian Army fighter covers his ears as his fellow fighter fires weapon during clashes with forces loyal to President Assad in old city of Aleppo

A Free Syrian Army fighter covers his ears as his fellow fighter fires a weapon during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Hosam Katan

Arab nations just created a joint military force. Why now?

By Shibley Telhami
April 2, 2015
Saudi special forces snipers demonstrate their shooting skills before their graduation ceremony near Riyadh

Saudi special forces snipers demonstrate their shooting skills before their graduation ceremony near Riyadh, March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed ​

How Yemen became the front line of a Mideast-wide war

By Mohamad Bazzi
March 27, 2015
Shi'ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa

Shi’ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa, Yemen, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Who’s fighting for whom in Yemen’s proxy war?

By Laura Kasinof
March 27, 2015
Shi'ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa

Shi’ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Relax, Israel – if your ally is working with your enemy, it doesn’t make them friends

By Ilan Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg
March 12, 2015

U.S. President Obama walks with Saudi King Salman to a meeting at Erga Palace in Riyadh

President Barack Obama (L) walks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to a meeting at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

For the Arab world, lots of new channels, but still the same old story

By Noha Mellor
February 26, 2015
Saudi Arabia's Prince Waleed bin Talal waves upon his arrival in Ramallah

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Waleed bin Talal (C) waves upon his arrival in the West Bank town of Ramallah, March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Here’s why oil companies should be a lot more profitable than they are

By Anatole Kaletsky
December 5, 2014

Shaybah oilfield complex is seen at night in the Rub' al-Khali desert, Saudi Arabia

The 40 percent plunge in oil prices since July, when Brent crude peaked at $115 a barrel, is almost certainly good news for the world economy; but it is surely a crippling blow for oil producers. Oil prices below $70 certainly spell trouble for U.S. and Canadian shale and tar-sand producers and also for oil-exporting countries such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Mexico and Russia that depend on inflated oil revenues to finance government spending or pay foreign debts. On the other hand, the implications of lower oil prices for the biggest U.S. and European oil companies are more ambiguous and could even be positive.

from John Lloyd:

The problem(s) with Israel

By John Lloyd
November 20, 2014

Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Jews carry the body of Rabbi Mosheh Twersky onto a vehicle during his funeral in Jerusalem

Israel had grown accustomed to an absence of terrorist attacks in its cities: so the bloody murder of four worshippers and wounding of eight more at a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday was a shock. It illuminates the fragile, fractious state of the country, including the fact that the cabinet is riven, and may collapse soon.

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?