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  • Arab Spring

    Egypt Protests: One Reason for the Unrest

    Although millions have marched again in the streets of Cairo in recent days, it is still uncertain whether the revived demonstrations will deliver much-needed economic and political reforms that the people have demanded. Yet the struggles in Egypt clearly highlight an important truth: Economic freedom matters. A stagnant domestic economy … More

    Turkish Protests Undermine Erdogan and His Foreign Policy

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has badly mishandled mushrooming protests, which could obstruct his political ambitions and constrain his latitude on foreign policy issues. The protests, which were initially triggered on May 28 by Erdogan’s plans to uproot trees in Gezi Park in Istanbul, quickly snowballed into nationwide anti-government … More

    Obama Administration Backs into Policy of Arming Syrian Rebels

    The White House announced yesterday that President Obama has authorized the transfer of arms to Syria’s rebels after concluding that Bashar al-Assad’s regime had violated the president’s red line against the use of chemical weapons. The Obama Administration needed to reverse course and take stronger action in Syria to enforce … More

    Syria: Obama Administration Slow-Walks Decision on Chemical Weapons

    The Obama Administration has been moving very slowly on the Syrian chemical weapons issue. Caution is in order, because the President’s credibility is on the line. President Obama has repeatedly warned Bashar al-Assad’s regime not to use its huge chemical weapons arsenal. In a December speech he proclaimed, “The use … More

    Turkey: Erdogan’s Reality Check

    Has Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally worn out his welcome? The anti-government protests that began last Friday in Taksim Square against Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian leadership could become the start of a “Turkish Spring.” At the very least, if Erdogan does not implement serious reforms and address the widespread … More

    Hezbollah Escalates Fighting in Syria as Sectarian Tensions Grow in Lebanon

    The Lebanese Shia Islamist militant group Hezbollah is becoming more aggressively involved in Syria’s civil war, which threatens to reopen the old wounds of Lebanon’s 1975–1990 civil war. Hundreds of Hezbollah militants have joined the regime’s offensive to recapture the strategic Syrian town of Qusair, which sits astride an important … More

    Human Rights Watch Decries Russia Opposition Crackdown

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently released a scathing new report focused on the crackdown on Russia’s civil society. Since December 2011, the Kremlin has committed to squashing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that promote democracy and are alleged conduits of Western influence, HRW says. The report, titled “Laws of Attrition,” focuses on … More

    Hagel Announces Deployment of U.S. Troops to Jordan in Response to Worsening Syria Crisis

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Wednesday that he has ordered the deployment of U.S. troops to work with Jordan’s military to “improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios” related to Syria. The Army will send up to 200 personnel, including intelligence and communications specialists, from the headquarters of … More

    Syria: Al-Qaeda Consolidates Its Influence

    The leader of al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch, the Islamic State of Iraq, announced on Tuesday the formal merger of his organization and Jabhat al-Nusra (“Victory Front”), an al-Qaeda-controlled front group that has played a growing role inside Syria. Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared, “It’s now time to declare in front of … More

    Despite “Pivot” to Asia, Kerry Forced to Return to Middle East

    Although the Obama Administration has proclaimed its intention to “pivot” toward Asia, Secretary of State John Kerry has been forced to pivot back to the Middle East in advance of his forthcoming trip to Asia. Kerry was originally slated to travel to South Korea, Japan, and China following the April … More