Middle East update: June 20 2018

SYRIA The escalation in government bombardments in southwestern Syria reportedly has the Jordanian government concerned. Amman would desperately like to see its main border crossing with Syria reopened to facilitate commercial traffic, but it wants a peaceful solution to the situation to avoid either a new influx of displaced Syrians heading for the Jordanian border… Continue reading Middle East update: June 20 2018

Middle East update: December 2-3 2017

YEMEN It’s been brewing for a while now, but the break between the Houthis and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rebel faction now seems to be complete: Violent clashes between rival factions in Yemen’s rebel-held capital have continued for the fourth straight day as forces loyal to a former president and Iran-backed Houthi rebels faced… Continue reading Middle East update: December 2-3 2017

Who’s left to run against Rouhani?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose hypothetical “political comeback” has been one of the more interesting stories in the run up to next year’s Iranian presidential election, had a whole lot of cold water dumped on his plans today: Ayatollah Khamenei made the statement about Mr. Ahmadinejad during a lecture for seminary students at his office. He was… Continue reading Who’s left to run against Rouhani?

Rouhani’s toughest opponent?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is, as you know, up for reelection next year. There are many reasons to think that, barring some unforeseen security and/or economic crisis between now and the election, Rouhani shouldn’t have a particularly difficult time winning another term. For one thing, inertia is on his side. Rouhani is the seventh president… Continue reading Rouhani’s toughest opponent?

My Iran election primer, at Medium

I just posted a primer for tomorrow’s Iranian elections at Medium: The parliamentary elections are important  — a less hardline parliament means more space for Rouhani to implement his domestic agenda (although even an outright reformist parliament would be subject to being overriden by the Guardians’ Council and the Supreme Leader), and a more hardline parliament… Continue reading My Iran election primer, at Medium

BREAKING: Iran is threatening retaliation over Syria, if by “Iran” you mean this one Iranian guy

Always thinking one war ahead of the rest of America, our media is breathlessly reporting on communiques that have been issued by “Iran” to Shiʿi militias in Iraq, ordering them to strike at American interests in retaliation for any US strike against Syria. Take The Wall Street Journal (please!), whose story is headlined “Iran Plots… Continue reading BREAKING: Iran is threatening retaliation over Syria, if by “Iran” you mean this one Iranian guy