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Tag Archive | "International News"

The Iranian Project: Why Assad Has Turned to Moscow for Help

Fear of his enemies was the primary reason for Bashar Assad’s call for help to Moscow. “But right after that came the fear of his friends,” says a Russian official who long worked in his country’s embassy in Damascus. The friend he refers to is Iran, the Syrian regime’s most important protector.

“Assad and those around him are afraid of […]

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Interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi: ‘The Liberation of Tikrit Is Very Encouraging’

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, 62, sits on an armchair in his office in Baghdad. He’s wearing a crumpled suit and, in contrast to his authoritarian predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, he comes across as an amiable man. Al-Abadi grew up in Baghdad, the scion of upper class families. He studied electrical engineering in Baghdad and later in Manchester, England. He’s a […]

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Proxy War in Yemen: Saudi Arabia and Iran Vie for Regional Supremacy

On recent evenings, even as Western foreign ministers negotiated fervently with the Iranian leadership in Lausanne, Switzerland, two young women in the Yemeni capital of Saana spent their time gazing fearfully into the darkening night sky. Nina Aqlan, a well-known civil rights activist, and her friend Ranim were on the lookout for Saudi Arabian fighter jets. Ranim was staying with […]

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The Persian Paradox: Iran Is Much More Modern Than You Think

Which government cabinet is home to more ministers with doctorates from American universities than Barack Obama’s administration? The correct answer is that of of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And, no, that list does not include President Hassan Rouhani. He got his doctorate at the University of Glasgow law school.

There are few countries in the world that are subjected to […]

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Tashkent’s Shakespearean Drama: Scandal Shakes Uzbekistan’s Ruling Family

Vyacheslav Okhunov’s secret artist’s studio is located in a particularly rundown part of Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. A sad collection of communist-era concrete apartment blocks rise above the mud and potholes, and there is crumbling stucco as far as the eye can see. Before the artist unlocks the iron door, he carefully looks to the left and to […]

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Geopolitical Tremors: America, Nuclear Talks and the New Middle East

Barack Obama wanted to do everything differently than his predecessor, also in the realm of foreign policy. He wanted to bring an end to America’s role as global police officer and to lead from the background rather than pursuing one-sided dominance. His vision was that of becoming a moderator of international politics and finding allies for new coalitions.

But he likely […]

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Opinion: A Bad Deal with Iran Is Better than None

It is hard to believe that Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei can agree on anything these days. But there is one thing all three have uttered, as we enter the final stages of nuclear negotiations in Lausanne: “No deal is better than a bad deal.” But the good deal, bad deal rhetoric disguises the real situation. The […]

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Fortress of Nationalism: Russia Is Losing Its Political Morals

Within a period of four weeks, two events took place in Russia that, at first glance, seemed to have little to do with each other. But on second glance, they appear closely related. The first was the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov; the second was the meeting of the Russian Conservative Forum a week ago on Sunday in St. […]

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Caliphate Under Pressure: Is Islamic State in Trouble in Iraq?

The trip from Baghdad to Tikrit remains extremely dangerous. There may be bombs planted along the road and snipers occasionally lurk nearby. As such, nobody knows for sure which car Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban is traveling. His convoy, protected by heavily armed soldiers, is heading north, driving by walls and schools where the black flag of Islamic State (IS) […]

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Caliphate Under Pressure: Is Islamic State in Trouble in Iraq?

The trip from Baghdad to Tikrit remains extremely dangerous. There may be bombs planted along the road and snipers occasionally lurk nearby. As such, nobody knows for sure which car Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban is traveling. His convoy, protected by heavily armed soldiers, is heading north, driving by walls and schools where the black flag of Islamic State (IS) […]

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Medieval Fantasies?: Islamic State Pursues Apocalyptic Logic

The images are meant to create an impression, and in this war of images, they don’t miss their mark. Heads are cut off: both the heads of human beings and those of statues. Museums are looted, ancient sites are bulldozed. These images are then dispatched around the world.

It is a calculated escalation that Islamic State is pursuing. It may even […]

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The German Road: Congo Project Shows Pitfalls of Development Aid

The wet black road, full of potholes, begins just behind the city of Goma on Lake Kivu. It’s the only road leading westward into the jungle from here. A stream ripples just off the right shoulder, where women can be seen kneeling in the water as they scrub clothes and fill canisters; some carry babies on their backs as the […]

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The German Road: Congo Project Shows Pitfalls of Development Aid

The wet black road, full of potholes, begins just behind the city of Goma on Lake Kivu. It’s the only road leading westward into the jungle from here. A stream ripples just off the right shoulder, where women can be seen kneeling in the water as they scrub clothes and fill canisters; some carry babies on their backs as the […]

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