Faysal Itani

  • The Regional Consequences of Trump’s Decision to Ditch the Iran Nuclear Deal

    Though Iran has thus far remained in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal could be the first domino to fall, setting off a chain of escalatory events throughout the region.

    “This change is US policy is happening at a time when the region is really combustible,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, president of Gryphon Partners and an Atlantic Council board director. Ultimately, the regional impact of US President Donald J. Trump’s May 8 decision to withdraw from the JCPOA will depend on Tehran, and what it decides to do next: play nice on the world stage, or retaliate in its own backyard. 

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  • Experts Analysis: Macron's visit to Washington and the Potential Impact on the US-Syria Policy

    As France’s President Emmanuel Macron begins a three-day state visit with US President Donald Trump, their discussions are likely to focus on differences of opinion relating to Syria and Iran’s involvement in the conflict.  

    Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East experts weigh in on the upcoming meeting between Macron and Trump, their differing views on Syria, and the potential impact of the visit.

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  • Itani Quoted in Vox on Trump's Plan for Syria


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  • Syria: Mission Accomplished?

    The morning after US, French, and British jets targeted chemical weapons facilities in Syria, US President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to declare “Mission Accomplished.”

    That declaration—the two words that former US President George W. Bush came to regret—has left many scratching their heads.

    “I found the comment itself puzzling because I don’t know what exactly the president (or the briefers at the Pentagon press conference) mean by it,” said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “They seemed to pitch it as meaning ‘successful operation.’”

    Itani said there was no doubt that the strikes hit their targets without any loss of US lives or equipment. “But if ‘Mission Accomplished’ is supposed to mean that Bashar Assad has been deterred from using chemical weapons, the most that I can say is ‘maybe,’” he said.

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  • The United States, Britain, and France Launch Strikes on Syria

    The United States and its European allies have launched strikes against Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack blamed on Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

    US President Donald J. Trump announced the strikes on April 13.

    In remarks at the White House, Trump said he had "ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad."

    Trump, who earlier this month talked about getting US troops out of Syria, said: “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents."

    The president said the strikes were aimed at preventing the use of chemical weapons, which he described as “a vital national security interest of the United States.”

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  • Itani Quoted in Vox on Potential U.S.-Russia War Over Syria


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  • Itani Quoted in Defense One on U.S. Opinions About Syria's Attack


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  • Itani in New York Times: Bashar al-Assad Knows What He Can Get Away With


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  • Itani Quoted in The Atlantic on U.S. Policy on Syria


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  • Syria: John Bolton’s First Crisis

    Syria presents newly minted US National Security Advisor John Bolton with his first foreign policy crisis.

    On April 9, hours after US President Donald J. Trump vowed Bashar al-Assad’s regime will pay a “big price” for an alleged chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb, unidentified jets were reported flying over Lebanon and the Syrian news agency said that a missile attack on an air base in central Syria had been thwarted. The Pentagon denied US jets were involved.

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