The Great Debate

The issue that could bring Iran and Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table

By Mark Fitzpatrick and Jacqueline Shire
May 15, 2015
Obama hosts working session of six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council at Camp David in Maryland

President Barack Obama hosts a working session of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council at Camp David in Maryland, May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

How an Iran nuclear deal means cheaper oil and why Tehran is OK with that

By Jan H. Kalicki
May 12, 2015
Facilities at phases 2-3 of the South Pars gas field are illuminated at night in Assaluyeh on Iran's Persian Gulf coast

Facilities at phases 2-3 of the South Pars gas field, owned jointly by Iran and Qatar, are illuminated at night in Assaluyeh on Iran’s Persian Gulf coast, May 27, 2006. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

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

The world looks like it’s getting worse. Here’s why it’s not.

By John Stackhouse
April 28, 2015
Members of the Southern Resistance Committees man a tank during clashes with Houthi fighters in Yemen's southern city of Aden

Members of the Southern Resistance Committees man a tank during clashes with Houthi fighters in Yemen’s southern city of Aden, April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

A strategy for defeating Islamic State from an unlikely source

By Jack Goldstone
March 11, 2015
Shi'ite fighters fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province

Shi’ite fighters fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province, March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Al-Hussain

The cracks in Islamic State’s business plan are starting to show

By Ora Szekely
February 20, 2015
File photo of displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walking towards the Syrian border

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, Aug 11, 2014. REUTERS/Rodi Said/Files

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

Why Arab Spring made life better in Tunisia, failed everywhere else

By Ellen McLarney
February 18, 2015
A Tunisian fan reacts after Tunisia lost their quarter-final soccer match of the 2015 African Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea in Bata

A Tunisian fan soccer fan. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Earlier this month, Tunisia’s newly elected parliament cobbled together a coalition government led by a secular party that included its Islamist rivals, who had been democratically ousted from power. The new government, coming on the heels of a historic presidential election, a new constitution and the first democratic elections to be held during the Arab Spring, marks an astonishing democratic culmination in the birthplace of the movement. It has also proven hard to replicate.

Time to end the authorization for endless war

By Steve Vladeck
February 11, 2015
U.S. President Obama thanks members of  the U.S. military for their service after meetings with military senior leadership for an update on the campaign to combat Islamic State at the Pentagon in Washington

President Barack Obama thanks members of the U.S. military for their service after meeting with military senior leadership to hear an update on the campaign to combat Islamic State at the Pentagon in Washington, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Why Islamic State’s brand of horror works so well

By Arie W. Kruglanski
February 10, 2015
People walk past television screens displaying a news program, about an Islamic State video showing Japanese captive Kenji Goto, in Tokyo

People walk past television screens displaying a news program about an Islamic State video showing Japanese captive Kenji Goto, on a street in Tokyo Jan. 28, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino