Iran's unelected institutions—the deep state—remain more powerful than any other force. At the same time, Rouhani's election may mean that Khamenei realizes the extent of Iran's crisis and is willing to let Rouhani pave a way forward.
Qatar has a salsa scene. Dubai hosted the big international Fujairah Latin Festival. The Oman Salsa Festival took place in March. Jordan and Cairo both have a salsa scene. What makes this so conversation-worthy is that it is indicative of a growing cultural openness in parts of the Middle East.
The spontaneous protests in Turkey, which began in Istanbul and have spread to over 70 Turkish cities, have raised serious questions about Turkey's political stability and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.
The best way to safeguard U.S. diplomatic missions abroad is to think hard up front about the purpose of the mission and to constantly reassess it in light of changing conditions, writes William Young.
The Iranian electorate goes to the polls to select a new president this weekend, but no matter who carries the vote Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will continue to call the shots in Tehran, say Alireza Nader and Dalia Dassa Kaye.
RAND Middle East experts Alireza Nader and Dalia Dassa Kaye hosted a news media conference call to discuss the June 2013 Iranian presidential elections, their potential influence on the Middle East, and how the results could affect U.S.-Iran relations. Media Relations Officer Joe Dougherty moderated the call.
The Iranian regime seeks to produce a 2013 election that at least appears to be popular and legitimate; but more importantly, Khamenei desires a president who will act as his prime minister, rather than as an independent power.
Fortunately, the rules by which Afghans (and particularly Pashtuns) forge durable pacts may be difficult to master, but they are quite comprehensible, writes Jonah Blank.
While unending war is clearly bad for a republic and dangerous to U.S. security, the trickier task is defining the conditions that, when met, tell us that the war against al Qaeda is over, writes Paul Miller.
France and Britain say they are not planning any arms shipments at this time. The decision thus seems unlikely to have a significant impact on the ground in the near term, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Iranian politics are personal, writes Alireza Nader. Indeed, the theocrats are decidedly earthly in their rivalries. But the 2013 election is particularly telling. It may be settling a score dating back a quarter century.
America's imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan raises the possibility of renewed tension between Pakistan and India. With this month's election of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's next prime minister, Islamabad and New Delhi have a fleeting window of opportunity to improve relations.
When contemplating the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, we should all be grateful that notions of martyrdom and apocalyptic beliefs don't have a significant pull on Iranian decision-making, writes Alireza Nader.
Two years after the revolutions that shook the political landscape of the Arab world, several countries in the region remain unsettled. Did the Arab Spring really change that much for the better, as hopes of democracy seem to have faded, or is it still too soon to tell?
What is required in Syria now is a program like the one the United States established in the mid-1990s to train and equip the armed forces of the Bosnian Federation, writes Angel Rabasa.