Op-Ed

Why Trump recognised Israel’s claim on the Golan Heights

While the US decison to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is primarily being explained away with geopolitics, it, in fact, has much more to do with US domestic politics. With this move, President Donald Trump aims to cement the gradual shift in partisan support of Israel from the Democrats to the Republicans and rally evangelical Christians around his presidency. Click here to read my latest op-ed.

Op-Ed

Politicization of the anti-corruption campaign in Lebanon

The latest buzzword in Lebanon is combating corruption. Nearly every political party, most notably Hezbollah, is preaching this mantra. The Lebanese public and international donors are complaining about political corruption, as the country grapples to survive a grave economic and fiscal crisis. Yet there are questions concerning the depth and seriousness of these efforts. Click here to read my latest on Lebanon.

Op-Ed

Why is the US pulling out of Syria?

The Trump administration has a lot to explain in the coming weeks regarding the timeline of this withdrawal and what US allies should expect moving forward. An imminent US withdrawal without setting the necessary conditions might lead to a backlash or in the worst-case scenario – an open confrontation between Turkish and Kurdish forces. The US had no strategy of how to stay in Syria, now it is clear it has no strategy of how to leave. Click here to read my latest op-ed.

Op-Ed

Will the midterm elections affect Trump’s Middle East strategy?

Historically, the midterm elections in the US have often changed the power dynamics between the White House and the Congress, which has prompted US administrations to modify their approach to foreign affairs. In the recent past, there have been a number of such important foreign policy developments that have taken place as a result of electoral setbacks during the midterms. Click here to read my latest op-ed.

Op-Ed

A confrontation in Idlib remains inevitable

The interest of both Moscow and Ankara remains for now to avoid a war in Idlib, but these circumstances might change. One wild card is the fallout of the October 2 killing of Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi, as one of its unintended consequences has been the US-Turkish rapprochement. It remains to be seen how the renewed ties with Washington will impact Ankara’s relations with Moscow. Meanwhile, Turkey is expanding its military and political role in Idlib, which will make the Syrian regime offensive an even more difficult objective to achieve. Without a long-term political settlement of the Syrian conflict, resolving the pending status of Idlib might be a military one. Click here to read my latest op-ed.

Op-Ed

Trump’s secret cabal on Iran at the State Department

No one excels more than a Washingtonian at coming up with fancy words that turn a dull bureaucratic day job into a stimulating venture and might occasionally trigger a global panic. Announcing the “Iran Action Group” (IAG) at the US Department of State on August 16 was one of these moments meant to bewilder watchers of the American bureaucracy under President Donald Trump. Click here to read my latest op-ed.

Op-Ed

What will Trump and Putin agree on at the Helsinki summit?

 

But despite these fears, no real breakthrough in US-Russian relations should be expected until Special Counsel Robert Mueller finalizes his investigation. Lifting US sanctions on Russia, recognizing its annexation of Crimea, and pulling US troops out of Eastern Europe are all off the table for the Helsinki summit; Trump’s hands are tied by US domestic politics. The only issue on which he can concede to lure in the Russian president is the Syrian war. Trump will give up Syria to Putin the way Gorbachev left Iraq to Bush in 1990. Click here to read my latest op-ed.