Middle East and North Africa News

A Warning in Iran’s Closed-Door Trial of Reporter Jason Rezaian

May 26, 2015
"The ministry, aided by a pliant judiciary, may be trying to make an example of Mr. Rezaian. His experience serves as a warning to other Iranians or dual nationals who work for foreign news agencies in Iran or universities and think tanks abroad. The message? Such Iranians should not feel free, or safe, to travel between Iran and the U.S. or Europe," writes Haleh Esfandiari

Tunisian President on Islam, Politics and Extremism

May 21, 2015
On May 20, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi discussed challenges facing Tunisia at an event hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace. Essebsi, the founder of the secular Nidaa Tounes party, cited his country’s political system as a model for the region.

Middle East Realities That Challenge Obama’s Nuclear Deal With Iran

May 20, 2015
"The emerging Iran deal that the Obama administration contends is comprehensive and definitive contains so many uncertainties, including those regarding Iran’s future nuclear weapons aspirations, that it might well turn out to be an extended interim accord," writes Aaron David Miller.

Obama's Arab Security Strategy: An Old Doctrine Gets Put to the Test in Yemen

May 18, 2015
"Yemen couldn’t be a worse place to put the American Gulf security plan to the test. It is a certified failed state with an impeccable record of sucking outside powers into a treacherous tribal quicksand," writes David Ottaway.

No Simple Answers to Questions About U.S. Leadership

May 18, 2015
"We are entering an era of difficult international transitions; and changing times require new thinking — not only by the Obama administration but by the presidential aspirants who wish to lead this country in a troubled time," writes Haleh Esfandiari.

Benjamin Netanyahu's Surprising Staying Power

May 14, 2015
"Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t just a political speedbump to be negotiated away. He’s an authentic part of a deeply divided but buoyant nation operating in a very dangerous neighborhood," writes Aaron David Miller.

The Iran Nuclear Deal and the Role of the US Congress

May 13, 2015
On this edition of Wilson Center NOW, Congress expert Donald Wolfensberger describes the role of Congress in the Iran nuclear negotiations.

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

May 12, 2015
"Now detailed negotiations will focus on crucial details relating to safeguards and lifting international sanctions. Ending sanctions, however, leads to another critical part of Iran’s energy equation: new investments in its nonnuclear energy sector that could boost its oil and gas exports," writes Jan H. Kalicki.

What’s Undermining Obama’s Camp David Summit

May 12, 2015
"Regardless of the reason for King Salman’s absence, the optics are terrible for the U.S. Once again, a Middle East leader is publicly saying no to a U.S. president on something important (earlier members of that club include Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad)," writes Aaron David Miller.

3 Reasons to Be Skeptical of Seymour Hersh’s Account of the Bin Laden Raid

May 11, 2015
"Mr. Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has broken major stories, including the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This account purports to explain an elaborate conspiracy theory, and-–as I have written previously-–such stories sometimes contain elements of truth. Still, the issues of sourcing and substance suggest taking Mr. Hersh’s account with a healthy dose of salt," writes Michael Kugelman.