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Analysis & Commentary

21st June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Urges Saudis to Stabilize Oil Prices, Underscoring Continued Energy Insecurity

John Hannah

U.S. Urges Saudis to Stabilize Oil Prices, Underscoring Continued Energy Insecurity

Tomorrow in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet with several non-OPEC producers, including Russia, to chart the future of the global oil market. The group – informally known as OPEC plus – will decide whether to ease production cuts that were implemented in 2016 in an effort to drive up prices, which had crashed to a 13-year low. more...

16th June 2018 – The National

Tehran and its proxies are willing to sacrifice the welfare of ordinary Yemenis to keep the conflict

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Tehran and its proxies are willing to sacrifice the welfare of ordinary Yemenis to keep the conflict

“There is no military solution to the conflict,” says the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths. Iranian officials agree, at least in public, yet Tehran keeps sending weapons to the Houthi rebels, including ballistic missiles. Arming the rebels makes perfect sense when Iran does not want to resolve the conflict. more...

15th June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Iraqi Shiite Cleric Sadr Announces Political Alliance with Pro-Iran Coalition

Romany Shaker

Iraqi Shiite Cleric Sadr Announces Political Alliance with Pro-Iran Coalition

This week, Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced a political alliance with Hadi al-Amiri, leader of a pro-Iran coalition linked to powerful Iranian-backed militias. The move represents a change of direction for Sadr, who had been marketing himself as a nationalist who opposes any foreign influence in the country’s domestic affairs. more...

15th June 2018 – The Hill

Trump must still hold North Korea accountable for cyberattacks

Trevor Logan, Mathew Ha

Following the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore earlier this week, Kim Jong Un has temporarily halted ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing in exchange for President Trump pausing its maximum pressure campaign. Meanwhile, Pyongyang’s cyberattacks against South Korea have intensified. In their latest op-ed for The Hill, FDD research associates Trevor Logan and Mathew Ha point out how this is just one example that exposes Kim’s “two-faced diplomacy.” more...

13th June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Israel Offers to Help Resolve Iran’s Water Crisis

Tzvi Kahn

Israel Offers to Help Resolve Iran’s Water Crisis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday presented what he described as “an unprecedented offer to Iran.” The Jewish state, he said, seeks to share its environmental expertise with Iran to help resolve the country’s increasingly dire water crisis. The Israeli proposal highlights the abortive – and ultimately self-defeating – policies of the clerical regime, which sabotages its own self-interests by fueling a problem that threatens not only its grip on power, but also the country’s survival. more...

4th June 2018 – FDD Research Memo

Maximum Pressure 2.0: How to Improve Sanctions on North Korea

Anthony Ruggiero

Maximum Pressure 2.0: How to Improve Sanctions on North Korea

President Donald Trump cancelled his June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un after North Korea displayed “tremendous anger and open hostility,” as Trump put it in his letter to Kim. The president’s cancellation was not definitive, as preparations continued with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting a senior North Korean official in New York last week. more...

14th June 2018 – Foreign Policy

Kuwait and Oman Are Stuck in Arab No Man’s Land

Jonathan Schanzer, Varsha Koduvayur

Kuwait and Oman Are Stuck in Arab No Man’s Land

Just over a year ago, four of America’s Arab allies — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt — severed relations with Qatar, another key U.S. ally. They enacted a land, sea, and air blockade to punish the tiny emirate for what they claimed was Doha’s “embrace of various terrorist” entities. Observers widely thought the diplomatic spat would be patched up within a few months. After all, this was hardly the first time Qatar and its Gulf neighbors had squabbled. more...

12th June 2018 – Fortune Magazine

How Bailing Out ZTE Damaged America’s Credibility

Annie Fixler , Trevor Logan

How Bailing Out ZTE Damaged America’s Credibility

Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced an agreement to resolve a dispute with Chinese telecom company ZTE, which had violated U.S. sanctions by supplying sensitive technology to Iran. Rather than face a crippling ban on purchasing equipment from U.S. companies, ZTE agreed to pay $1 billion in fines—an unprecedented penalty from Commerce—and place $400 million in escrow to pay for any future fines the company might incur. more...

13th June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Major Austrian Energy Firm to Leave Iran

Saeed Ghasseminejad

Major Austrian Energy Firm to Leave Iran

OMV, a major Austrian energy firm, will no longer resist U.S. efforts to re-impose sanctions on Iran. “Let’s face it, you cannot simply carry on in Iran,” said CEO Reiner Seele, “U.S. sanctions are a much bigger risk for OMV’s business than any possible compensation that Europe ... could offer.” The OMV reversal follows the decision of oil giants such as Total, British Petroleum, and Lukoil to leave Iran’s market despite European governments’ opposition to U.S. policy. more...