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Middle East and North Africa

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, on May 14.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, on May 14.

Trump’s Poison Pills Are Still Toxic

Whether it’s Iran, China, Cuba, or immigration, U.S. President Joe Biden often finds himself stymied by his predecessor’s foreign policy.

Demonstrators wave Western Sahara flags during a protest against the Spanish government support for Morocco's autonomy plan for Western Sahara, in Madrid, on March 26.
Demonstrators wave Western Sahara flags during a protest against the Spanish government support for Morocco's autonomy plan for Western Sahara, in Madrid, on March 26.

Why Is Madrid Pandering to Morocco?

Spain has traded five decades of neutrality on Western Sahara while getting nothing but a spyware scandal in return.

A person with curly hair stands with their back turned toward the camera, draped in a red and white flag with a green tree in the middle. They're standing in the middle of a road and tan buildings are in the background.
A person with curly hair stands with their back turned toward the camera, draped in a red and white flag with a green tree in the middle. They're standing in the middle of a road and tan buildings are in the background.

Can Lebanon’s Elections Pull the Country Out of an Abyss?

On Sunday, Lebanese go to the polls for the first time since their 2019 uprising.

A satellite image shows the the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Isa port in Yemen on June 17, 2020.
A satellite image shows the the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Isa port in Yemen on June 17, 2020.

Yemen Is Sitting on a Time Bomb Bigger Than the Exxon Valdez

An abandoned oil tanker with more than 1 million barrels of crude is rusting off the coast.

In a photo supplied by the Saudi Royal Court, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman embraces Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
In a photo supplied by the Saudi Royal Court, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman embraces Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The Middle East’s Kumbaya Moment Won’t Last

The diplomatic resets and outreach underway are just competition by another means.

People stand behind a red barrier and take photos with their phones.
People stand behind a red barrier and take photos with their phones.

Can Saudi Arabia’s Film Industry Take Off?

Big-budget thrillers are now being filmed in the kingdom, but culture clashes could hinder the industry’s success.

The families of American hostages detained abroad hold a rally in front of the White House.
The families of American hostages detained abroad hold a rally in front of the White House.

Families of American Hostages Abroad Find Power—and Solace—in Numbers

Biden faces pressure to secure release of Americans wrongfully detained abroad.

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (left) gestures toward Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as they walk after a group photo during the final session of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum summit in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 22.
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (left) gestures toward Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as they walk after a group photo during the final session of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum summit in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 22.

The Qatarization of the Middle East

Gulf Arab countries are copying Qatar in hedging against U.S. power. Iran is thrilled.

A Palestinian loads a cart with food.
A Palestinian loads a cart with food.

Palestinians Feel Economic Pain From the War in Ukraine

A food crisis looms as the price of wheat and other staples surges.

A member of the Syrian pro-government forces carries an Islamic State (IS) group flag as he stands on a street in the ancient city of Palmyra on March 27, 2016, after troops recaptured the city from IS jihadists.
A member of the Syrian pro-government forces carries an Islamic State (IS) group flag as he stands on a street in the ancient city of Palmyra on March 27, 2016, after troops recaptured the city from IS jihadists.

ISIS Can’t Even Direct Lone-Wolf Attacks Anymore

But the group is hoping for a resurgence while the West is distracted in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomes his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomes his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Sanctioning Russia Won’t Stop Putin. Just Look at Iran.

Iran is a cautionary tale that stubborn autocracies can’t be disciplined with sanctions.

A long line of cars stretches down a city street from a gas station.
A long line of cars stretches down a city street from a gas station.

Iraq’s Oil Dysfunction

The world’s sixth-largest oil producer still suffers from fuel shortages and power outages.

A man sits near a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a demonstration in Bamako, Mali, on Feb. 19 celebrating France’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops from the country.
A man sits near a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a demonstration in Bamako, Mali, on Feb. 19 celebrating France’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops from the country.

Russia Flounders in Ukraine but Doubles Down in Mali

Russian mercenaries fill Mali vacuum as European powers pursue an exit.

A Uyghur man in Medina, Saudi Arabia, in 2019 holds his expired Chinese passport (red) and a one-way travel document (blue) issued in its place by the Chinese mission in Saudi Arabia.
A Uyghur man in Medina, Saudi Arabia, in 2019 holds his expired Chinese passport (red) and a one-way travel document (blue) issued in its place by the Chinese mission in Saudi Arabia.

China’s Transnational Repression Gets Saudi Backing

Deporting Uyghur refugees is inhumane and illegal.

A stork flies over a wheat field in Ukraine.
A stork flies over a wheat field in Ukraine.

Panicky Markets Are the Greatest Danger to Global Food Supply

The loss of Ukrainian and Russian wheat can be made up elsewhere.

Workers attach a banner with a photo of a pregnant woman being carried on a stretcher after the bombing of a maternity ward in Mariupol during Russia's war in Ukraine that is displayed as part of an exhibition at the railway station in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 25, 2022, where transit trains from Moscow to Kaliningrad make a stopover.
Workers attach a banner with a photo of a pregnant woman being carried on a stretcher after the bombing of a maternity ward in Mariupol during Russia's war in Ukraine that is displayed as part of an exhibition at the railway station in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 25, 2022, where transit trains from Moscow to Kaliningrad make a stopover.

Putin Is Targeting Ukrainian Hospitals. That’s a War Crime.

The Kremlin is reviving the brutal methods it used in Syria, and the World Health Organization is refusing to name the crime and its perpetrator.

President Joe Biden waves as he walks to Marine One for a departure from the Ellipse near the White House on May 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden waves as he walks to Marine One for a departure from the Ellipse near the White House on May 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.

America’s Middle East Friendships Are Dying a Natural Death

It’s time to recognize they were living on borrowed time.

An Iranian flag flies next to a ground-to-ground Sejjil missile at an undisclosed location in Iran.
An Iranian flag flies next to a ground-to-ground Sejjil missile at an undisclosed location in Iran.

The Little Iran Nuclear Deal That Couldn’t

A revived nuclear pact could benefit Washington and Tehran but is proving a hard sell.

Iranian protocol soldiers stand guard during a ceremony to mark the 27th anniversary of the Islamic revolution at the mausoleum of Iran's late founder of Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran on Feb. 1, 2006.
Iranian protocol soldiers stand guard during a ceremony to mark the 27th anniversary of the Islamic revolution at the mausoleum of Iran's late founder of Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran on Feb. 1, 2006.

It’s Time to Give the Revolutionary Guards a Concession

An Iranian nuclear deal is more important than the symbolism of a terrorist list.

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