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Hezbollah makes gains as Lebanon forms new government (Axios | Firas Maksad)

A 9-month political deadlock over the formation of Lebanon's new government has ended, resulting in a Cabinet in which Iran-backed Hezbollah has greater influence.Read More

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The moral hazard of supporting Lebanon (Alarabiya | Firas Maksad)

In an interview conducted on the sidelines of Davos this week, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil boasted to CNN’s Becky Anderson that, despite his country’s chronic financial and political woes, he and his fellow Lebanese politicians can teach Washington and...Read More

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Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia Are Improving, So Why Do Girls Still Run Away?

Some of my most striking memories as a teenager at school in Dammam are of conversations with teachers at the start of a term. Sitting at our desks in grade 9, we would talk excitedly about what we had done...Read More

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As U.S. withdraws from Syria, some want its troops out of Iraq, too (Axios | Geneive Abdo)

As the U.S. begins to withdraw troops from Syria, some Iraqi leaders are now demanding the same for their country, even as ISIS is making a comeback.Read More

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Why Iran Might Restart its Nuclear Program

On Monday, a top security adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reported that last month American officials had twice approached him in Kabul with offers to renew nuclear talks. The adviser, Ali Shamkhani, denied their request and while US...Read More

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Iraq’s Intra-Shia Struggle Over Iranian Influence (The National Interest | Geneive Abdo)

Iranian-backed Shia militias inside Iraq, once viewed by many Iraqis as saviors who helped the country defeat the Islamic State, are destabilizing Iraq’s infant and fragile government and creating additional tension between Baghdad and Washington.Read More

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Stockholm deal brings partial peace to Yemen, but fraught with risks (Axios | Fatima Abo Alasrar)

The UN-backed discussions in Stockholm between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels ended on Dec. 13 in a series of agreements that, if successfully implemented, will help alleviate Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and may ultimately pave the way for a...Read More

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Assad’s backers might have won him the war – but now they need US help (The National | Firas Maksad)

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently floated a proposal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, envisioning a reduced Iranian military footprint in Syria – where Russia, Israel and the US all have interests – in return for the US scaling back...Read More

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A Saudi-Qatari Détente?

An invitation from the king of Saudi Arabia to his Qatari counterpart to attend the December 9 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh has set the stage for potential progress on a protracted dispute that left the council deeply...Read More

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Iran’s support for the Houthis means it must have no role in Yemen’s future (Reaction|Norman Roule)

The Trump administration’s call for renewed peace negotiations to end the Yemen conflict, the subsequent decision to end refueling support to the Arab Coalition aircraft, and indications that the hitherto unreliable Houthis may actually attend negotiations have all ignited hopes...Read More

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