Markaz

  • Markaz

    Hopes for Obama's address to the American Jewish community

    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on a nuclear deal with Iran at American University in Washington (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst).

    Shadi Hamid contributes to an experts' discussion on what he hopes President Obama will say about the Iran nuclear deal in a speech to the American Jewish community. Hamid argues Obama has oversold the Iran deal in a way that has alienated fence-sitters and pushed away skeptics. He urges Obama to focus on what the deal means for U.S. strategy in the Middle East going forward and to connect the deal to American democratic values.

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    Domestic counterterrorism: Material support or bust

    Seamus Hughes argues that rather than throwing every domestic terrorism suspect in jail, the United States should look to various foreign models for ways to involve families and communities in creating intervention programs designed to reach radicalized but still reachable individuals.

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    Here's how America can really make the Iran deal better

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria.

    Based on his recent essay on the battleground issues of the Iran nuclear deal, Robert Einhorn writes that while the sky would not fall if the deal was not passed in Congress, neither would conditions exist for resuming talks and getting a better deal. Einhorn outlines six strategies the United States can adopt to bolster the agreement to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state in the foreseeable future and serve the security interests of both the United States and its regional partners.

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    Captured: Mastermind behind the 1996 Khobar Towers attack

    The four men wanted for the bombing of the Khobar military complex in Dharan, Saudi on June 25, 1996.

    After almost 20 years, the hunt for the mastermind behind the 1996 attack on an American military base in Khobar, Saudi Arabia is now over. Ahmed al-Mughassil, military commander of the Saudi-wing of Hezbollah, has been captured by Saudi intelligence. Bruce Riedel provides background of the lead-up and aftermath of the attack and raises the question of why news of al-Mughassil's apprehension broke now.

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    London calling: What the reopening of the British embassy in Iran means for the nuclear deal

    Police stand guard in front of the Gholhak residential compound of the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011, one day after protesters stormed the embassy.

    Nearly four years after a mob attack shuttered the British Embassy in Tehran, the two countries reopened the historic compound this week in a ceremony attended by UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond. Hammond is the most senior British official to visit Iran in a decade, and the upgrade in bilateral diplomacy marks an important step forward in Iran’s rehabilitation of its relationship with the world. Suzanne Maloney considers the historical context for this milestone and how it relates to the debate over the Iranian nuclear deal.

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    The Taliban affirm their alliance with al-Qaida: Afghan peace talks in doubt

    Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani meets with Pakistan's National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz on August 13, 2015 to discuss reviving peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.

    The new leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mansour, accepted a pledge of loyalty from the emir of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, this week in an unusual acknowledgement by the Taliban of its continued alliance with al-Qaida and a blatant violation of the ground rules for any political reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel suggests that the Taliban and its backers may be trying to bolster Mansour's legitimacy and argues that Washington should insist that the Taliban unequivocally break all ties with al-Zawahiri as a condition for resuming peace talks with the Afghan government.

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    The son speaks: Al-Qaida's new face

    Hamza bin Laden, son of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden.

    In his first audio message, Hamza bin Laden, son of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, lays out the terrorist group's ideology and strategy. Hamza provides a new face for al-Qaida, one that directly connects to the group's founder, and Bruce Riedel writes that he is an articulate and dangerous enemy.

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    Navigating a Middle East in transition

    Shamiya Front fighter sits with weapon near Aleppo, Syria.

    Each year, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings in conjunction with U.S. CENTCOM convenes a conference to discuss the challenges the United States faces in the Middle East. Jennifer R. Williams provides an overview of the conversations that took place at this year's conference. 

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    Elevate the debate: A former U.S. negotiator bridges the partisan divide on the Iran nuclear deal

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event on the Iran nuclear agreement in New York on August 11, 2015.

    As passions on both sides have intensified, the debate over the Iran nuclear deal has devolved into hysteria and hyperbole. With their divisive rhetoric, both the administration and its critics are doing the country a profound disservice. Americans deserve a thoughtful discussion about the Iranian threat, the opportunity presented by the deal on the table, the range of viable alternatives to that deal, and a realistic assessment of the consequences. There is no better voice to lead such a discussion than that of Robert Einhorn, whose recent essay, "Debating the Iran Nuclear Deal," offers a careful analysis of the main areas of contention about the nuclear deal and endeavors to bridge the gap between the deal's supporters and its critics by outlining an array of U.S. policies to supplement the deal and bolster its effectiveness.  Read More

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    Should the United States negotiate with terrorists?

    A member of al Qaeda's Nusra Front climbs a pole where a Nusra flag was raised at a central square in the northwestern city of Ariha, after a coalition of insurgent groups seized the area in Idlib province May 29, 2015.

    Clint Watts argues that the United States should not negotiate with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's official affiliate in Syria, as it currently stands, but rather should seek to fracture Nusra and then negotiate with its splinters as an alternative approach for building capable ground forces to battle the Islamic State. 

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