LATEST OP-EDS

New York Times

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February 1, 2022

U.S. troops in Iraq quietly thwarted two separate drone attacks on bases hosting American soldiers in the first week of 2022. The attacks, attributed to Iraqi Shiite militias, are no surprise: America’s presence in Iraq is increasingly unwelcome. More attacks are bound to come as long as the Biden administration decides to keep forces there. With each passing day, the risk of a deadly attack increases.

And for what?

MSNBC

However commendable the viral exchanges between journalists and government officials this past week were, they still only scratched the surface of what needs to be questioned.

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February 10, 2022

MSNBC

Biden is right in seeking to prevent war in Ukraine. But the path in which he chooses to do so — by further eroding international law and norms through the reliance on American primacy or by leading by example by showing renewed respect for international law and the principles underpinning the U.N. Charter — will help determine whether there will be more or fewer Ukraines down the road.

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February 22, 2022

Responsible Statecraft

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March 11, 2022

Stunning news today as European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borell announced a “pause” in the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, citing “external factors.” Diplomats say this refers to the eleventh-hour demand by the Russians, one of the original JCPOA signatories, to relieve some of its sanctions over the Ukraine invasion in exchange for its support on a renewed deal.

Responsible Statecraft

Consequently, failure to secure the nuclear deal will very likely lead to unpredictable and possibly uncontrollable escalation only months before the midterm elections in November. The political costs will be immense. The political costs to both the United States and Iran of either delisting the IRGC or dropping the demand to delist, respectively, pale in comparison.

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March 31, 2022

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MSNBC

But now the U.S. is demanding that countries in the Global South make massive and costly sacrifices to save an order the U.S. itself has been at the forefront of eroding. This is equivalent to asking the Global South to make unbearable sacrifices to uphold American exceptionalism.

April 11, 2022

MSNBC

Shifting toward “weakening Russia” rather than “defending Ukraine” is particularly problematic. Unlike other leaks or announcements, the White House has done little to walk this one back. And the former Secretary-General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen has both confirmed and endorsed the shift.

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May 6, 2022

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American Prospect

An indefinite security guarantee for Saudi Arabia to gain its cooperation on a problem that could be resolved quite soon doesn’t seem like a fair trade.

May 17, 2022

MSNBC

How long can Biden stick to Trump’s failed Iran policy without having to take ownership and responsibility for its continued failure?

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May 19, 2022

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June 18, 2022

MSNBC

All the latest headlines about President Joe Biden’s July trip to Saudi Arabia focus on a deal to push down gas prices. In reality, he is making a much more sinister and dangerous calculation than most realize: He is reportedly planning to offer the dictators in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — where all but two of the 9/11 terrorists came from — a defense pact that commits American lives to defend their regimes. What could go right?

The New Republic

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January 13, 2022

Last February, in his first major foreign policy speech, President Biden declared, “The war in Yemen must end.” But nearly a year later, the U.S.-enabled death and destruction in Yemen continue apace.

MSNBC

A"return" to the basics of America’s hegemonic Middle East policy will not produce "America, the Peacemaker," but rather more of "America, the War Enabler" because the basics are the problem.

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January 25, 2022

Foreign Policy

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February 1, 2022

New evidence has surfaced that China is assisting Saudi Arabia in building a ballistic missile program. Although initial reports about the program emerged in 2019, the Saudi capability to successfully launch missiles had remained uncertain. We now have the “first unambiguous evidence,” researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies told CNN, that China is helping Riyadh to develop such advancements.

IPS

One year into the Joe Biden administration and most of the world has accepted two realities. First, America is not back, and Biden’s slogans notwithstanding, there simply is no going back to the pre-Trump era. Secondly, whether America keeps troops in various parts of the world or brings them home, America’s will to fight is by and large no longer there. Its implications for the trans-Atlantic relationship will be profound. Europe would be wise to pro-actively adjust its defence policies accordingly.

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January 8, 2022

January 13, 2022

MSNBC

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As the possibility of war looms in Ukraine and Taiwan, a recognizable cry can be heard all over Washington: The United States’ alleged loss of credibility following President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan pullout has emboldened Russia and China. 

December 29, 2021

January 8, 2022

The American Prospect 

Convinced that the U.S. has lost faith in the strategic value of the Middle East, prime ministers and kings alike are scrambling to find their strategic footing in the region. Amidst the confusion and uncertainty of a world without American protection, two models are emerging. 

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December 15, 2021

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Responsible Statecraft

Biden’s immense efforts to appease Israel in hopes of tempering the latter’s opposition to the JCPOA have not only failed but were likely based on faulty assumptions and were thus a mistake from the outset. 

December 12, 2021

MSNBC

While escalation toward conflict remains the most likely outcome if diplomacy is abandoned, changing circumstances have also allowed another potential outcome to emerge: The JCPOA would all but die, but the parties would pretend that it is still alive to avoid the crisis that its official death would spur. 

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December 6, 2021

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The Nation

One month after the Afghanistan pullout, it is still unclear whether we witnessed the beginning of a series of military withdrawals—as part of Biden’s proclaimed end to the era of regime change wars—or if Afghanistan will remain a mere one-off.

October 26, 2021

Responsible Statecraft

New information obtained by Responsible Statecraft reveals that that impasse is not because of an Iranian sense of immunity to pressure, but largely because President Joe Biden refused to commit to keeping sanctions lifted on Iran for the rest of his term.

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October 20, 2021

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Responsible Statecraft

Rather than chaos, the Baghdad summit provided a different message: As the U.S. steps back militarily, regional states are compelled to step forward diplomatically. 

September 20, 2021

Foreign Policy

There is virtually no cost to withdrawing from the perspective of a future U.S. administration that opposes the deal. The US is too powerful to be isolated politically. It has no economic stake in the survival of the Iran deal. It suffers no financial cost if it betrays it.

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August 17, 2021

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American Prospect

Five of the six most interventionist powers in the Middle East are armed and politically supported by Washington.

August 9, 2021

Quincy Institute

A qualitative and quantitative view of the region’s conflicts over the past 10 years shows several states to be interventionist to roughly the same degree, contradicting the argument that regional instability is primarily caused by a single “malign actor.”

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July 19, 2021

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Responsible Statecraft

Donald Trump may no longer be president but he looms large over Iran’s presidential elections. He has proved Iran’s hardliners right for once: the United States cannot be trusted. And the consequences of his policies are now shaping Iran’s increasingly farcical elections.

June 15, 2021

Foreign Policy

Biden’s desired pivot away from the Middle East means that this U.S. option has, at a minimum, become unreliable. Suddenly, regional diplomacy has become the preferred option for Washington’s security partners in the Middle East.

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April 9, 2021

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Responsible Statecraft

Donald Trump may no longer be president but he looms large over Iran’s presidential elections. He has proved Iran’s hardliners right for once: the United States cannot be trusted. And the consequences of his policies are now shaping Iran’s increasingly farcical elections.

April 6, 2021

Foreign Policy

Corn is Iran’s main agricultural import, and it imported $2.11 billion-worth of corn in 2018. Although the US is the largest producer of corn in the world, it doesn’t sell a single bushel of corn to Iran. The country’s corn is primarily produced in Republican-controlled states.

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April 9, 2021

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Time Magazine

If Biden chooses to stay, every dead soldier, every family broken and every opportunity wasted to build back better at home will rest on his shoulders and taint his legacy. America’s endless war in Afghanistan will become Biden’s war.

March 23, 2021

Responsible Statecraft

The idea that Iran would talk directly with the United States while Washington maintained its current level of sanctions was tried by President Trump for three years. It didn’t work then, and it likely won’t work now. 

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February 28, 2021

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The Guardian

"Diplomacy is back!” President Joe Biden declared at the Munich Security Conference last week. But so is bombing Syria, apparently.

February 26, 2021

Foreign Affairs

For the House of Saud and its Emirati allies not to play spoilers in regional diplomacy, the United States must first remove any doubt that the era of American hegemony over the Persian Gulf is coming to an end. 

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February 23, 2021

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Quincy Institute

By all metrics, Pax Americana in the Middle East has failed. The region has become progressively more unstable and violent under U.S. military hegemony. In 1998, it suffered from five armed conflicts. By 2019, 22 violent struggles had engulfed the area

January 21, 2021

Responsible Statecraft

No one thought President Donald Trump would leave quietly. But would he go so far as to start a military confrontation with Iran on his way out? 

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December 30, 2020

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Newsweek

The assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was not just a particularly daring attack against Iran. It was also Neyantahu's opening salvo against President-elect Joe Biden in what is already set to be an uneasy relationship. 

December 10, 2020

Responsible Statecraft

The election of Joe Biden provides a four-month window to restore the historic 2015 nuclear agreement. But the months before Biden enters the White House may be even more important.

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November 16, 2020

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Foreign Affairs

Contrary to the calculations of the Trump administration and its allies in Israel, Biden may now seek not only to rejoin the nuclear deal but also to improve relations with Iran in order to insulate the agreement from Saudi, Emirati, and Israeli efforts to kill it.

November 10, 2020

Middle East Eye

If Joe Biden was right and the 2020 presidential elections were a contest over the soul of America, then his victory is bittersweet. With almost half of the votes cast for Donald Trump, he is undeniably very much a part of the American soul. 

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November 9, 2020

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Responsible Statecraft

With less than seven weeks left until the U.S. presidential elections, the faction within the Trump administration aligned with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to be preparing the ground for an October Surprise — a confrontation with Iran that will be cast as both defensive and lawful. 

September 16, 2020

The New Republic

What binds Israel and its new Arab allies is not the threat from Iran but the threat of the U.S. military leaving the Middle East.

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August 20, 2020

Foreign Policy

The idea of the Americans and Iranians talking to each other so offended Bolton that he prepared a two-sentence letter of resignation if the meeting were to go ahead.

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June 25, 2020

MSNBC

The last thing America needs right now is a three-front foreign crisis. Yet here we are.

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Aug 7, 2022