Middle East

  • Lipner Quoted in The Wall Street Journal on Israel Election


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  • Oman Hedges Its Bets on Tehran and the Trump Administration

    As the Trump administration steps up pressure on Iran, much attention has focused on unprecedented moves such as the April 15 designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.

    However, a more concrete and perhaps effective challenge to the IRGC may come from an unlikely source: Iran’s usually neutral if not friendly neighbor, Oman. 

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  • The Aftershocks of Reconciliation in Syria: Reflections on the Past Year

    Local reconciliation deals in Syria, which aimed to avert escalating violence, have proven to provide only short-term protections. The intense government offensive to retake Eastern Ghouta in early 2018 undoubtedly affected other communities’ decisions to surrender or negotiate through partial intermediaries in order to avoid all-out conflict later on. With no allies on the ground, the opposition was forced to negotiate with the regime through questionable local interlocutors or through the government’s stalwart ally, Russia. As the remaining opposition-held communities reflect on how settlements in Daraa and Northern Homs unfolded, they are provided with little reason to negotiate, making a bloody final stand more likely than ever before.


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  • Netanyahu’s Fifth Term: The End of The Two-State Solution

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s narrow triumph in Israel’s election this past week constitutes a big win for the right and, with Netanyahu’s last-minute pledge to annex the West Bank, a definitive end to any substantive peace process. Netanyahu’s political survival spells the beginning of a newly-emboldened leader who, with the seemingly unconditional backing of the Trump administration, is likely to implement far-reaching policies that pander to his base. For his far-wing coalition partners, moreover, Netanyahu’s annexation promise will become a tactical instrument of quid pro quo. Facing an upcoming indictment over a myriad of corruption charges, Netanyahu will thus likely be forced to see through his promise in return for legal protection.


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  • Slavin Quoted in Israel Hayom on US's Designation of IRGC as a Terrorist Group


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  • The Trump Administration’s Terrorist Label Is Strengthening the IRGC

    The recent White House designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist group is the latest extension of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy toward Iran. Yet this policy, aimed at containing Iran’s regional role and limiting its advanced missile program, has backfired, strengthening the status of the IRGC in Iranian domestic politics and further legitimizing its regional and missile activities in the view of many Iranians.

    The result is the opposite of the Trump administration’s announced goal in withdrawing in May 2018 from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to reach a “better” nuclear deal. Re-imposed draconian sanctions were meant to challenge the value of the country’s regional policy in domestic politics, weaken Iran’s deterrence strength and push Tehran to accept political and security trends favored by President Donald Trump and his regional allies—Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

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  • Slavin Quoted in The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies On the US Designation of IRGC as a Terrorist Group


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  • Slavin Quoted in Counter Punch on US's Designation of IRGC as a Terrorist Group


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  • Trump Policy, Not Sanctions, to Blame for Poor US Response to Iran Floods

    The recent record flooding in Iran has killed dozens, inundated nearly 2,000 villages and cities across Iran, and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the country’s infrastructure. 

    The Trump administration’s response through the State Department, predictably, has been to offer unspecified support to the Iranian people while at the same time sharply criticizing Tehran for environmental mismanagement that exacerbates the severity of the flooding. Setting aside the accuracy of any such criticism, the ham-handed US response to this natural disaster has again exposed the Trump administration’s inability to execute a nuanced policy. It is clear that the “maximum pressure” campaign and policy mindset are harming the ordinary Iranians that President Donald Trump and his surrogates proclaim to want to help. 

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  • Lipner Quoted in Wall Street Journal on Israeli Election


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