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Omphalos

Trump’s Syria Conundrum

Reports and videos currently streaming from Syria reveal a new large-scale, regime-led attack by chemical weapons against the civilian population of the city of Idlib. Close to a hundred people have been reported killed, including many children, while hundreds were said to have been receiving critical treatment when Assad regime warplanes targeted their hospital.

United Nations

Defunding the United Nations over Resolution 2334 Would Be a Huge Mistake

The list of political institutions and norms that I have taken for granted and which are now under threat seems to grow by the day. High on the list are the multilateral organizations that have formed the core of the postwar liberal international order. President-elect Trump has been vociferous in his criticism of NATO, which has now gone well beyond campaign rhetoric about other countries not paying their share and is now alarming critical U.S. allies as he enters office.

Omphalos

Want to renegotiate the Iran deal? Much harder than it looks

Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on Markaz.

Donald Trump’s election places in immediate peril the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached by Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States). We don’t know what Trump will do with the JCPOA, nor do we know for certain how he will approach Iran more broadly. During his campaign, Trump’s comments on the issue were all over the map.

Omphalos

Four Myths about the Kurds, Debunked

Editor’s Note: There is one bright spot in the darkness of the Middle East: the U.S. relationship with various Kurdish groups. In Iraq and Syria in particular, the Kurds seem the bulwark of U.S. efforts against the Islamic State and appear to be a relatively democratic and positive force in the region. Sloane Speakman, until recently my partner running the Foreign Policy Essay at Lawfare, questions many of these supposed truths. She argues that the U.S.-Kurdish relationship is far more problematic, or at least should be, than most policymakers recognize.

Omphalos

Egypt Is Cracking Down on NGOs When It Needs Them Most

Egypt has never been a welcoming place for civil society groups, but the past several years have seen an unrelenting crackdown on non-governmental organizations. It began with the infamous December 2011 raids on foreign democracy-building organizations and has endured through successive regimes. And yesterday, Egypt once again upped the ante.

Omphalos

Trump’s Misdiagnosis of the Jihadist Threat

Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared in Markaz.

During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised to eliminate the jihadist threat to the United States. Although he diagnoses the problem very differently from his predecessors, President-elect Trump will be just as disappointed in the results of his prescribed treatment if he follows through with it.

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