Will Biden Repeat Obama’s Mistakes on Iran?

Any hope that the American administration has of making a deal with Iran over Iran’s nuclear programme, appears—according to recent press coverage—to be on the edge of a razor. The European parties to negotiations are said to be rushing to save the diplomatic framework. It’s an awkward business. One party to the negotiations is Russia, against whom the democratic world now finds itself ranged after the invasion of Ukraine. The optimism of early March, when a deal was glimpsed, has now receded from view. Iranian demands include the delisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization; that now seems most unlikely. Extraneous demands like this, and the business of sanctioning Russia, clutter up negotiations. The Biden Administration, despite its desperation for a deal, seems so far unable to secure one—and hardly in a position of strength.

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Where Will the War Go Next?

Almost every night in Russia, it seems, a government building bursts into an unexplained fire. Fuel depots, office buildings, infrastructure hubs — and once a bridge. No doubt people have their theories. Insinuation abounds. ‘Karma is a cruel thing,’ one Ukrainian official has said on Telegram. But in the main, both the Russian government and Ukraine maintain an eloquent silence.

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A Maduro on the Mediterranean

Visibly, and with very little pretence, Tunisia is sliding into tyranny. In the last two years, its president, Kais Saied, has frozen and dissolved the country’s parliament, and threatened its former members with prosecution. He has dismissed an errant prime minister. He has ruled by decree. He has quashed the high judicial body attempting to scrutinise his changes to the constitution, and replaced it with a new organisation filled with hand-picked appointees.

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How Syria Became a Narco-State

There is a drug war brewing in the Middle East, and Syria is at its centre. The country has been destroyed by its eleven-year civil war, and in the ruins of what was once a prosperous country, an entirely different economy now takes shape. It’s an economy of poverty and privation, where food and energy prices are perpetually high, and supplies of basic commodities are uncertain.

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The Macron Doctrine

Five years ago, Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France. He stood for office on a platform of radical change and a departure from the status quo.

He promised to reinvent the French state, revitalise its economy, and change the country in social terms. In foreign policy, Macron’s stated policy was no less bold.

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Fantasies of a Third World War

Some people are always telling you that the world is soon to end. In the old days many of them would wear sandwich boards describing near-term doom, and not wash. Now, their cousins in the environmental movement glue themselves to oil refineries and don’t shave. In each case, they drip with urgency. The oceans will boil, the land will burn. Your children will fry. Or, alternatively, the Lord will return and take only the righteous to their reward.

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Russia’s African Empire

Last week, at roughly the time that photographs and stories began to filter out of liberated Bucha in Ukraine, the NGO Human Rights Watch published a report of similar massacres which took place contemporaneously in rural Mali. What linked the two was the identity of the perpetrators. In Ukraine and across Africa, these atrocities are committed by Russians.

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