In the wake of Saudi cleric Nimr al-Nimr's execution, Afshon Ostovar examines the growing sectarian rift in the Middle East and options for mitigating the outbreak of conflict.
Editor’s Note: The United States would like to compartmentalize the Iran nuclear deal, continuing to oppose Iran’s subversion in the Middle East and hostility to Israel while assuring regional allies that the deal will not lead to a broader U.S.-Iran rapprochement. Yet if the deal is to be a force for stability, it requires winning over fearful U.S. allies and reducing Iran’s rivalry with the Gulf states.
Editor’s Note: The Middle East makes strange bedfellows, and one of the oddest pairings is the de facto alliance between Iran and the United States in Iraq. Across the border in Syria, Iran and the United States support opposing armies, but both countries are helping the Iraqi government confront the jihadist fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Iran’s help, however, is likely to be far more substantial, and thus far more important.