"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.
"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.
"The main Saudi concern is that Yemen is headed toward becoming another Lebanon of fragmented religious communities and independent foreign-backed militia like the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia, which is widely viewed as Iran's proxy there," writes David Ottaway.
How is ISIS best understood? Is it a terror group like al-Qaeda or something different? Is it truly a religious group or does is simply use Islam for its own purposes? And if ISIS can be defeated, how long will it take and what would victory look like? Hassan Hassan, co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, provides us with a revealing look inside the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization.
"The Obama Administration believes it can use a nuclear agreement with Iran to ride and even domesticate the Persian tiger, harnessing its expansionist instincts to serve American interests. That’s not likely," writes Aaron David Miller.
"As the administration looks more and more toward Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia will look beyond Barack Obama--biding their time, furthering their own agendas, and hoping that the next president, regardless of party, will see Tehran in a different light," writes Aaron David Miller.
Is Bashar al-Assad on his way out? Aaron David Miller interviews the University of Oklahoma’s Joshua Landis and the Atlantic Council’s Fred Hof (formerly Obama’s special advisor for the Syrian transition), two of the finest analysts of Syrian politics.
"The House of Saud, one of the world’s largest and richest royal families, experienced a quiet coup within its ranks shortly before dawn on Wednesday.... The shakeup, which concentrates power in a conservative wing of the vast royal family, could shape policy in the world’s largest oil exporter for decades," writes Robin Wright.
"There is a yawning gap between many Iranians’ lives, or the lives they aspire to live, and the 'Islamic' norm some authorities insist prevails in society," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
"Tying the nuclear negotiations—and success now seems within reach—to prisoner release will only play into the hands of Iran’s hard-liners," writes Haleh Esfandiari.