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Middle East Matters

Robert Danin analyzes critical developments and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wait for photographers to depart before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

Reading The Trump Administration in Ramallah

Does the United States seek relations with Hamas in Gaza and to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership in the West Bank? Palestinians officials and insiders asked me this question repeatedly during a recent visit to Ramallah. At first, the question seems strange. How could well-informed insiders come to wonder if the United States prefers to deal with an Islamist terrorist organization to a leadership that avows non-violence and actively pursues security cooperation with Israel on a daily basis? Read More

June 28, 2018

Libya
Rushing Libya’s Elections Will Lead to Disaster

The following is a guest post by Alexander Decina, research associate for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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April 16, 2018

Syria
President Trump’s Syria Strikes Are Not About Syria

The airstrikes conducted by the United States, Britain, and France on Saturday against Syrian military targets were about upholding a nearly century-old prohibition against chemical warfare, not about Syria’s seven year-long war that has killed more than half a million people. Indeed, the limited coalition airstrikes are a clear reflection of President Donald J. Trump’s extremely circumscribed objectives.

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May 22, 2017

Donald Trump
President Trump’s Peace Efforts Require A Regional Approach

President Donald Trump’s non-stop flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv is being described as the first ever non-stop flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel. That the Saudis allowed this direct flight, usually banned, reflects the fact that the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, like that of Israel with a number of Gulf states, has been quietly but perceptibly thawing in recent years. This thaw reflects the growing convergence between Israel and the Sunni states of the Arab world, all who share a view that Iran is the biggest threat to their security and regional stability.

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