By James M. Dorsey

“It’s the economy, stupid.” That is the message of a just-published survey of Iranian public opinion.

However, the substance of the message differs for newly elected hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the Biden administration as Mr. Raisi toughens his negotiating position and the United States…


By James M. Dorsey

The future of US engagement in the Middle East hangs in the balance.

Two decades of forever war in Afghanistan and continued military engagement in Iraq and elsewhere in the region have prompted debate about what constitutes a US interest in the Middle East. …


By James M. Dorsey

It may not have been planned or coordinated but efforts by Middle Eastern states to dial down tensions serve as an example of what happens when big power interests coincide.

It also provides evidence of the potentially positive fallout of a lower US profile in the…


By James M. Dorsey

Gulf states are in a pickle.

They fear that the emerging parameters of a reconfigured US commitment to security in the Middle East threaten to upend a more-than-a-century-old pillar of regional security and leave them with no good alternatives.

The shaky pillar is the Gulf monarchies’…


By James M. Dorsey

Two separate developments involving improved relations between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and women’s sporting rights demonstrate major shifts in how rivalry for leadership of the Muslim world and competition to define Islam in the 21st century is playing out in a world in which Middle Eastern…


By James M. Dorsey

Societal struggles and reform often take unexpected turns in vast swaths of land stretching from the Middle East into Central Asia.

Take education for example.

The Taliban have yet to fulfil their promise to allow girls to return to school but primary and secondary Afghan textbooks appear to be a…


By James M. Dorsey

On their way from Tel Aviv airport to Jerusalem in 1977 then Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Yigael Yadin asked President Anwar Sadat, the first Arab leader to ever officially visit Israel, why the Egyptian military had not moved deeper into the Sinai during the 1973 Middle…


By James M. Dorsey

When Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Thani this week described the Taliban’s repressive policies towards women and brutal administration of justice as “very disappointing” and taking Afghanistan “a step backwards,” he was doing more than holding Qatar up as a model of Islamic governance and…


By James M. Dorsey

For at least the last two decades, the United Arab Emirates, aided by some of the world’s foremost consulting and public affairs companies, has waged one of, if not the Middle East’s most successful nation branding campaign.

The campaign has been supported by cutting edge technological…


By James M. Dorsey

A year of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel has proven to be mutually beneficial. …

James M. Dorsey

James is an award-winning journalist covering ethnic and religious conflict. He blogs using soccer as a lens on the Middle East and North Africa's fault lines

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