Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Israeli view: Hezbollah puts Lebanon at risk
Since 1982, the Shia Hezbollah movement has turned the Lebanese-Israeli border into one of the most volatile in the region. With help from Iran, it has also consolidated political power in Lebanon and expanded its involvement in the Syrian civil war. After its stunning success in last year’s elections, Hezbollah would bear responsibility for another possible confrontation with Israel, for which Lebanon would pay a steep price.
Iran and the U.S. play nuclear poker in the Middle East
After President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, tensions between Tehran and Washington have ratcheted up significantly. A tangled web of conflicts in the region complicates the issue, while the dispute will weigh heavily on Iran’s domestic politics, which are already under their greatest strain in nearly 30 years. Military action would lead to an unpredictable chain reaction throughout the region, but negotiations could end up defusing several conflicts at once.
GIS Dossier: Autumn of the patriarchs
In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
GIS Dossier: Iran’s rise
Iran has methodically built up its influence in the Middle East to become one of the most important powers in the region. It has a growing foothold in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Qatar. Its rise has inflamed tensions with Saudi Arabia, while a nascent rapprochement with the U.S. has withered under President Donald Trump. It is stepping up military interventions abroad, but remains deeply divided at home. This edition of our Dossier series reviews how Iran got here and our experts’ predictions about what this means for the region and the world.
Iranians at odds as succession looms
Hassan Rouhani’s reelection as Iran’s president was greeted with euphoria by his reform-minded supporters, but has only sharpened divisions in a deeply polarized country. Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei may be frail and ailing, but he still dominates the Islamic Republic, and his conservative supporters are well-positioned to steer any succession. The new U.S. administration’s attempts to isolate Iran will only strengthen them.
Trump’s Middle East blueprint: an Israeli view
Donald Trump took a scattershot approach to the Middle East in his election campaign. At times, he advocated greater involvement, at others he leaned toward isolationism. On balance, however, the new president will have no choice but to jettison Barack Obama’s policy of disengagement. The most probable outcome is active intervention.
Beyond US declinism: President Obama’s final showdown with Congress
Presidents of the United States, late in their second terms, are usually viewed as lame ducks. Yet Mr Barack Obama, with only 18 months remaining in office, has regained the initiative. President Obama long ago failed to live up to the hopes of reuniting American society raised by his first campaign. The deepening divide ...