This week's guest editors

US position over Iran’s ambassador generates confrontation with UN

If the UN does not act to reject this precedent, it will contribute to an international erosion of faith in its own integrity and independence -precisely the kind of behaviour which the carefully crafted ‘headquarters agreement’ was designed to prevent.

A fragile cold peace: the impact of the Syrian conflict on Israeli-Syrian relations

Is the Syrian crisis threatening to end 40 years of cold peace between Syria and Israel? How long will Syria and its allies pursue a policy of restraint and containment?

On Iran’s culture of violence: an introduction to a special edition of the Iran Human Rights Review

This edition of IHRR addresses the critical issue of violence in Iran and how it is used at all levels of society, from the actions of national government to domestic life, to reinforce the values of the Islamic Republic and prevent challenges to the status quo. Also available in: فارسی کوردی Azeri

Iran: making the deal work

Only strengthened diplomatic efforts, treating all partners as equal, can defuse the deep mistrust threatening the interim nuclear deal and enable a long-term agreement. 

Iran and the Arab world: a change in foreign policy

Maged Mandour

Iran has lost a significant component of its soft power in the Middle East. No longer viewed as a Muslim nation, it is regarded as a Shiite nation. This might be very costly for Iran in the long run. 

Iran deal: the view from Saudi Arabia

Iran’s adoption of an actively conciliatory foreign policy has set the stage for Iranian-Saudi cooperation and for further developments to take place.

Why the US should join forces with the Baathist regime in Syria

The Baathist regime is indeed guilty of great war crimes, but the human cost of a failed state would be a greater catastrophe. Washington should have learnt this lesson from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Syria's chemical weapons: is the UN exceeding its mandate?

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should be a technical agency of the UN. But it has arguably become a piece in a geo-political chess game dominated by the US, invited into Syria to act in contravention of its remit. 

Rapprochement under Rouhani: Iran and Britain

The reconciliation with Britain as part of a broader policy of détente has paid off more quickly than expected during the second round of nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran in Geneva.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 29, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, the Egyptian constitution: the militarized state.

Gulf states and Iran: don't moan, act

The international deal over Iran reveals the weakness of Arab Gulf diplomacy. It's time for a new approach, says Khaled Hroub.

Iran nuclear deal: the fall-out

The interim nuclear deal between the western powers and Iran faces significant domestic and international challenges. But after long hostility it may prove a trust-building stepping-stone to a larger agreement.

A regional affair

For the citizens of Lebanon and Beirut, the human cost of the attacks is tragic. The complex web of trans-regional motivations and alliances which provides the backdrop to this latest attack also reveals a number of disturbing truths about the region today.

Why are the rulers of Saudi Arabia losing their cool?

Every time the Gulf States’ rulers justify their support for violent rebels in Syria or the military regime in Egypt by appealing to the unalienable right of peoples to basic rights and representative governance, they legitimize the Arab Spring in the eyes of their own peoples, too.

Iranian “threat” unites Saudi Arabia and Israel

Obama’s overture to Rouhani is costing the United States the goodwill of some old pro-Washington friends in the Arab world. When Prince Bandar, a close friend of the United States and a trusted adviser to the Saudi King, issues threats, Washington must listen.

Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia: military postures and alternatives

The three countries, and groups within them, are locked in narratives of confrontation, victimhood and fear. At present, their narratives are incompatible and seemingly unbridgeable.  That is the real cause of the current conflicts.

The US-Iranian-Syrian diplomatic dance

Those who would help from the outside must rely on dialogue, contact and diplomacy, which means Russia, Iran and Assad himself all being involved, like it or not.

De-radicalisation of Iranian foreign policy

The Republic is a more vibrant political polity than most regimes in the Middle East, even after the advent of the Arab Spring. To understand Iranian foreign policy, one needs to look at the social and ideological pillars of the Iranian Revolution.

Prospects for a GCC-Iranian rapprochement?

A US-Iranian rapprochement over Iran's nuclear programme could improve general US-Iranian relations, leading to the lifting of Iran's painful sanctions. Could this in turn encourage improved relations between the countries of the GCC and Iran? 

West Asia–North Africa: interest, inclusion, Israel

The turn to diplomacy over Syria and Iran highlights the need for the broader region to find its own way to a cooperative future, says Prince El Hassan bin Talal.

Working towards a WMD-free Middle East

Despite notes of caution and a lack of concrete offers, Presidents Obama and Rouhani set the stage for increased engagement at the UN last week. With calls for a WMD-free zone in the Middle East reaffirmed, Israel's game plan will be central.

US scuppered deal with Iran in 2005, says then British Foreign Minister

Talks foundered because the US insisted that Iran must not have uranium enrichment facilities on its own soil in any circumstances, and the EU3 bowed to this diktat from Washington. This time, we must do better.

Raising our sights in Syria

Neither ending the bloodshed nor preventing the further use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria is served by military intervention.  Amidst speculation over the US-UK special relationship, the Iranian reaction points a way forward.

The clergy back in Iranian politics

In the recent elections, Hassan Rouhani could add those who were not necessarily highly religious to his support base. 

Does the BBC not trust US intelligence on Iran?

If the BBC wants to speculate on Iranian nuclear capabilities and the potential for conflict, why is it ignoring the clear consensus of US intelligence, and for what purpose?

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