Analysis & Commentary

24th May 2012 - Quoted by Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times

US Troops Winning War Against IEDs of Taliban

Bill Roggio

The U.S. military is on a path toward significantly fewer battlefield deaths in Afghanistan this year because it has become better at detecting the No. 1 killer of U.S. troops: the improvised explosive device (IED).

24th May 2012 - Cited by Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy

Senate Fight Today Over Palestinian ‘Refugees’

Jonathan Schanzer

Thirty U.S. senators will vote today over whether there really are 5 million Palestinian "refugees" or just around 30,000 -- a hot-button issue that has already become the subject of a vigorous international debate involving Israel and its Arab neighbors.

23rd May 2012 - Reviewed by Michael Cotter, Publisher, American Diplomacy

The Magician Behind Iran’s Vanishing Oil Tankers

Claudia Rosett

This interesting article by the Journalist-in-Residence at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies sheds some light on one of what undoubtedly are many efforts by the Iranian government to sidestep current and likely international sanctions.

23rd May 2012 - Quoted by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

Is the UN Making the Palestinian ‘Refugee’ Problem Worse?

Jonathan Schanzer, Clifford D. May

Until recently, few Americans ever heard of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). But then Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) got interested in what the agency, supposedly neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was up to.

23rd May 2012 - Quoted by Jamie Crawford, CNN

As Sanctions Tighten, Iran Gets Squeezed

Mark Dubowitz

Despite recent assurances by senior officials in Iran that the country will weather sanctions targeting the country's petroleum and financial sectors, the international effort is having a noticeable impact on the Iranian economy.

23rd May 2012 - Quoted by John T. Bennett, US News & World Report

As Talks Begin, Iranian And Western Negotiators Have Opposing Goals

Mark Dubowitz

Despite a proposal over Tehran's nuclear arms program being offered Wednesday in Baghdad, distance remains between Western and Iranian negotiators, indicating a deal could be months away.

22nd May 2012 - Cited by JTA

Iranian ‘Evidence’ of Israeli Spy Likely a Forgery

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Majid Jamali Fashi, who was hanged May 15 by Iranian authorities, had been accused of killing an Iranian nuclear scientist with a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle outside the scientist’s home.

22nd May 2012 - Quoted by Justyna Pawlak and Patrick Markey, Reuters

Major Powers Seek Iran Concessions at Baghdad Talks

Emanuele Ottolenghi

World powers will test Iran's readiness under pressure of sanctions to scale back its nuclear programme at talks on Wednesday aimed at easing a decade-old standoff and averting the threat of a Middle East war.

22nd May 2012 - Quoted by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

Iranian Charade: The UN’s Scant Deal on Nuclear Research

Mark Dubowitz

The Post reports: “Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency are near agreement on a plan that could lift the veil on some of the Islamic Republic’s past nuclear research...

21st May 2012 - Quoted by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

The Commander in Chief is Tired of Commanding

Clifford D. May

Mr. Obama had reluctantly decided to order a surge of more than 30,000 troops. The aide told Mr. Obama that he believed military leaders had agreed to the tight schedule to begin withdrawing those troops just 18 months later.

21st May 2012 - Quoted by Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg

US Won’t Ease Oil Sanctions at Iran Nuclear Talks

Mark Dubowitz

Negotiators headed to Baghdad for a second round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program won’t be giving Iran the relief it is seeking from oil and financial sanctions hobbling its economy, according to Obama administration officials and Western diplomats.

17th May 2012 - Quoted by US News & World Report

Tough Talk: Stricter Sanctions on Iran Urged

Mark Dubowitz

Prominent lawmakers and Middle East experts on Thursday urged Washington to enact stricter sanctions on Iran, with one former senior diplomat urging "the most robust sanctions in history."

17th May 2012 - Quoted by Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy

Iran Sanctions Bill Coming to Senate Floor Again

Mark Dubowitz

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is bringing the Johnson-Shelby Iran sanctions bill to the floor for a second time today in an attempt to pass the bill by unanimous consent, without a formal vote.

17th May 2012 - Quoted by Jonathan Saul and Sarah McFarlane, Reuters

Syria Scours More Trade Routes in Search for Grain

Mark Dubowitz

Syria is casting a wide net in a frantic bid to secure grain for its population as a sanctions-induced trade finance freeze scuppers big deals and forces the country to meet its needs with smaller deals, sources say.

17th May 2012 - Quoted by Reuters

US Senate to Consider New Iran Sanctions

Mark Dubowitz

US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will ask the chamber to approve a new package of oil and economic sanctions on Thursday aimed at further pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear program, a Democratic leadership aide told Reuters.

17th May 2012 - Quoted by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

Iran Sanctions: Now or Never

Mark Dubowitz

The next round of “P5+1” talks with Iran are due to restart on May 23. It is widely accepted in Israel, in Congress and among informed foreign policy gurus that the administration will strive mightily to make a deal.

16th May 2012 - Quoted by Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy

Bush: The Authoritarian Regimes of the Arab World Will Fall

President George W. Bush predicted Tuesday that the remaining authoritarian regimes in North Africa and the Middle East are unsustainable and will give way to movements driven by the quest for freedom and human rights.

16th May 2012 - Cited by The Los Angeles Times

US Escalates Clandestine War in Yemen

In an escalation of America’s clandestine war in Yemen, a small contingent of U.S. troops is providing targeting data for Yemeni airstrikes as government forces battle to dislodge Al Qaeda militants and other insurgents in the country’s restive south.

16th May 2012 - Cited by Michael S. Schmidt, The New York TImes

FBI Chief Says Leak on Qaeda Plot Is Being Investigated

The FBI director told a Congressional committee on Wednesday that the authorities were investigating how information about a thwarted plot by Al Qaeda to detonate a bomb on an airliner bound for the United States was leaked to the news media.

15th May 2012 - Cited by Hakim Almasmari, CNN

Two Suspected US Drone Strikes Reported in Yemen

Two suspected U.S. drone strikes killed seven al Qaeda militants and eight civilians in the southern part of Yemen on Tuesday, three Yemeni security officials said.


Ali Alfoneh

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Tony Badran

Research Fellow, Levant

Mark Dubowitz

Executive Director

Yaya J. Fanusie

Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance - Director of Analysis

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