"There was a certain amount of naiveté rooted perhaps in the mistaken idea that hope and change -- so effective in getting the president elected -- were somehow relevant to the world of Middle Eastern politics," writes Aaron David Miller.
In this Context interview, Jubin Goodarzi, Middle East scholar and analyst, discussed the complicated regional dynamics among Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
Recently, the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Middle East Forum and the Rabin Chair Forum of George Washington University hosted a meeting on “The Rise of Global Anti-Semitism.” And while there is much bad news to report, Roya Hakakian, a Fellow at the Wilson Center reports that attitudes in Iran may be different than what many would suspect.
"Parliamentarians’ renewed obsession with women’s dress and male-female workplace mixing represents a throwback to the early days of the Islamic revolution, when women who did not observe the Islamic dress code were subject to 70 lashes and when men and women were segregated in university classrooms, buses and elsewhere," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
In this Context interview, Christian Sahner, a historian of the Middle East, provided insight into Syria’s civil war and the impact of the emergence of the Islamic State through the lens of history.
"Washington has finally named its latest military operation in the Middle East. The choice–'Operation Inherent Resolve'–has both a loneliness and a longness about it, and even a sadness. It also stands in stark contrast to the more optimistic names of the past three U.S. wars in the Middle East and south Asia," writes Robin Wright.
"Islamic State militants crossed a last possible boundary of decency by citing the Quran as authority for the barbarism they have been practicing against women. Equally disturbing, Arab leaders and the ulama, the clerical leaders of Islam, have been silent in the face of this effrontery," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
"The implications of events in Yemen extend beyond its borders. If the Houthis secured Bab Al Mandab and the sea in Al Hudaydah governorate, another strategic waterway, they would control the traffic from the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf, a sobering prospect for those worried about increased Iranian influence in the region,"
"Thundering air power can be daunting, but sometimes the effect is more psychological than physical. Big costly bombs fired by big costly warplanes have been knocking a fair number of “armed vehicles,” which may be little more than a pick-up truck with a weapon mounted on the back. But they have not yet set back the ISIS campaign in Syria," writes Robin Wright.
"It's the reality that we're being pulled inexorably like a moth to a flame not just toward a military conflict with Assad, but toward bearing the responsibility for fixing -- or worse for creating -- the new Syria...we may well end up in the very place U.S. President Barack Obama has willfully tried to avoid: nation-building," writes Aaron David Miller.