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Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) remains divisive, poorly understood, and plagued by internal divisions, as it is both recognized by the state and at the behest of nonstate leadership figures. Key challenges involving the PMF will shape Iraq’s political and security future.
The common thread in U.S. strategy toward Iran, Syria, and North Korea isn’t changing these regimes so much as it is trying to change their behavior. More than likely, they will all remain hostile to U.S. interests.
Although the new state of emergency affords Egypt’s rulers broader powers, the measure is not primarily about law, but about communicating to Egyptian society—especially its sprawling state apparatus—to get on board with the new regime.
By catering to the Saudis in Yemen, the United States has empowered al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, strengthened Iranian influence in Yemen, undermined Saudi security, and brought Yemen closer to the brink of collapse.
The risk of a confrontation has increased since Friday, but, paradoxically, greater American involvement in Syria may also bring about closer US-Russian co-operation there, leading eventually to a political settlement and an end to the bloody six-year civil war.
In a policy shift that will make heads spin, the Trump administration has in the space of a few days gone from a hands-off approach to the civil war in Syria to launching of dozens of Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian air base near the city of Homs.
The airstrike has now brought Trump almost completely into alignment with the mainstream of Republican foreign policy and the bipartisan foreign policy consensus he once railed against.
The Assad regime’s recent use of chemical weapons against civilians in northern Syria reflects five painful and politically inconvenient realities that underscore the limitations of U.S. power.
With the decline of party politics in Egypt, social activism offers the greatest hope for pushing back against repression and restoring a degree of pluralism.
Donald Trump’s fans and detractors don’t agree on much, but one point of consensus has been that he would radically change U.S. policy in the Middle East.