Nabeel Khoury

  • The Drums of War

    If your allies and your own military and intelligence experts are telling you you’re wrong, they may have a point. 

    The Trump administration’s warning about an imminent attack by Iran in the Middle East appears to be unfounded and its escalation of pressure on Tehran part of a strategy to win concessions from the Islamic Republic.

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  • Nabeel Khoury quoted in DW: Iraq walks Iran-US tightrope as tensions escalate

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  • Trump’s Support for Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights May Hurt Israel

    In a departure from longstanding US policy, US President Donald J. Trump on March 21 tweeted that it was time the United States recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

    While there is perhaps more than a touch of politics behind the timing of the tweet—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, is up for re-election on April 9—an actual shift in US policy on this sensitive issue could have serious consequences.

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  • Passage of SJR 7, Better Late Than Never

    The passage of Senate Joint Resolution 7 is a fresh rebuke for the Trump administration, that its support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen is unauthorized, illegal, and an immoral assault on the Yemeni people. To boot, the war, already in its fifth year, does nothing to enhance US national security interests according to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and other sponsors of the bill.

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  • Expert Analysis on Jared Kushner’s Trip to the Middle East

    Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the US President Donald Trump, is on his way to six countries in the Gulf states to discuss and present part of his long awaited Israel-Palestine peace process plan in private meetings with foreign diplomats. He is expected to visit Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey over the next few days. While the plan is still held tightly secret, experts are speculating on the selection of countries Kushner is to visit and what that implies for the plan. Below are Atlantic Council’s Middle East experts analysis on the implications of this visit and what it means for the later unveiling in April this year.

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  • Trump’s Yemen Problem

    At the two-year mark of his presidency, Donald J. Trump finally has the team he wants. With the departure of H.R. McMaster, John Kelly, and James Mattis, individuals more aligned with the president’s inclinations now have his ear inside the White House, as do prominent conservative commentators on the outside. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is careful not to step on Trump’s toes—when asked on his way back from Turkey what the president meant by threatening to devastate Turkey economically, Pompeo replied, “you’d have to ask him.”

    On Yemen, the Trump administration has tied the worst humanitarian disaster in the world to stopping the spread of Iranian influence. The crisis in Yemen was not the focus of Pompeo’s Cairo speech on January 10, where he mentioned Iran at least two dozen times, including the promise “to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria. Pompeo did


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  • Trump Exits Syria: Blundering Toward a Very Dangerous Situation

    There is strategic logic, political logic, and then there is Donald Trump logic.

    On Syria, political, military, and strategic logic was conveyed to US President Donald J. Trump by his secretary of defense and other advisers, very likely in the State Department and intelligence agencies, but certainly in Congress, where Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have strongly advised against a hasty withdrawal of US troops from Syria.  Among other things, Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria without a thought-through discussion and coordination with NATO allies, who have supported the war on ISIS, has angered senior advisers in and out of the administration.  Trump’s logic, by all indications, is mainly focused on domestic politics.

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  • The Trump Administration Has Lost the Debate on US-Saudi Relations

    In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote, “degrading US-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the US and its allies.” Moreover, in the course of his defense of the Trump administration’s Saudi policy, Pompeo exaggerated the value of Saudi partnership and sought to debunk critics by attacking their political affiliation, labeling the debate as one between liberal idealism and Trump pragmatism.

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  • How Will the Outcome of the Midterms Affect Trump's Policy Options?

    Democrats captured the House of Representatives while Republicans strengthened their Senate majority in the US midterm elections on November 6.

    We asked our analysts what they believe are the policy implications of this outcome. Here’s what they had to say*:

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  • Oil, Arms, and Counterterrorism: A Look At Saudi Options and How Far the Kingdom May Go

    Far from putting an end to the story, the Saudi government’s official explanation of what happened to Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul on October 2 has been met with a deluge of incredulity, sarcasm, and accusations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for both the murder and the cover-up that followed.  Given the wide opprobrium in the US Congress, media, and private sector, it is yet to be seen whether the West, particularly the United States, will punish Saudi Arabia with sanctions.

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