"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s unrelenting condemnation of the nuclear agreement being negotiated with Iran was received with ovations in Congress and by audiences at AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. In Iran, however, the response has been more varied and more nuanced," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
Unless you are on the inside and in touch with the rhythm of the talks, it’s tough to assess matters accurately, but here are five reasons to think a deal may be closer than ever according to Aaron David Miller.
"The rights of people in the Middle East are shrinking rather than expanding," writes Haleh Esfandiari and Jason Brodsky.
The White House conference on violent extremism shouldn't "gloss over brutal attacks on minorities in the United States," says Michael Kugelman.
"Unless those Muslim leaders themselves are prepared to acknowledge the problem of radical Islam as partly of their own making, and take steps to root it out, little will change," writes Aaron David Miller.
In a region already known for volatility, the Middle East continues to encounter new levels of crisis as conflicts rage in a number of countries. According to a panel of regional experts, “crisis” will continue to be the order of the day in 2015. Their observations on what’s been happening and what to expect in the coming months is the focus of this edition of REWIND.
"For Iran’s leaders, the technical details are the issue. They appear to be preparing the Iranian people for the possibility that no agreement will be reached and, if so, that failure will be blamed on the intransigence of America and its negotiating partners, rather than any shortcoming on Iran’s part," write Haleh Esfandiari and Robert Litwak.
"The nation is grieving Kayla Mueller. Unfortunately, she is not likely to be the last hostage to die in captivity," writes Robin Wright.
"Giving into murderous terrorists is horrible. Giving up on the lives of innocent human beings in the name of a principle when there might be real and serious possibilities of saving them is worse," writes Aaron David Miller.
This act of violence seems to go beyond even the horrific baseline Islamic State has established. But as tempting as it may be to see the killing as a transformative act, it probably won't be. And here's why.