Stories written by Barbara Slavin
Barbara Slavin is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center and Washington correspondent for, a new website devoted to news from and about the Middle East. The author of a 2007 book, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, she is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS and C-SPAN. A career journalist, Slavin previously served as assistant managing editor for world and national security of The Washington Times, senior diplomatic reporter for USA TODAY, Cairo correspondent for The Economist and as an editor at The New York Times Week in Review. She has covered such key foreign policy issues as the US-led war on terrorism and in Iraq, policy toward "rogue" states, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She has traveled to Iran eight times and was the first US newspaper reporter to interview Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Slavin also served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she wrote Bitter Friends, and as a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote the report Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East. | Web

Iraq Looking for an ‘Independent’ Sunni Defense Minister

Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said this past week that the government was looking for an independent Sunni Muslim to fill the post of defense minister in an effort to improve chances of reunifying the country and defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS).

Truman Was Less “Pro-Israel” than Commonly Known, New Book Says

With U.S.-mediated Israel-Palestinian peace talks once again dangling over the abyss, a new book has kicked up controversy over the roots of U.S. policy toward Israelis and Palestinians.

Poll Finds Iranians Sceptical of Rouhani Government

A new poll following the election of President Hassan Rouhani says that a majority of Iranians oppose Iran’s intervention in Syria and Iraq and believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons despite their government’s claims to the contrary.

OP-ED: Islam Is Not the Solution to What Ails the Middle East

During the decades when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was a barely tolerated opposition party, it campaigned against the reigning secular autocrats under the banner “Islam is the solution.”

BOOKS: A History of the Search for Justice in the Middle East

It’s no wonder that Egypt has floundered in its efforts to create a more democratic system from the ruins of the Mubarak regime.

Israel Not Pushing Obama to Arm Syrian Rebels

A lack of Israeli pressure for the U.S. to intervene and Israel’s ability to go after sensitive targets in Syria on its own are factors in the Barack Obama administration’s reluctance to get more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war.

EU-IRAN: New Sanctions Aimed at Averting Wider Conflict

European countries are imposing unprecedented sanctions against Iran in part in hopes of preventing an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations that could further destabilise the Middle East and wreak havoc on the global economy.

U.S.: Worries Mount over Blowback of Israeli Attack on Iran

A former senior adviser on the Middle East to the last four U.S. presidents says that "the negatives far outweigh the positives" of war with Iran and the United States should augment Israel's nuclear weapons delivery systems to dissuade it from attacking the Islamic Republic.

Obama Administration Edges Toward Iran Regime Change

The Barack Obama administration is increasingly giving the impression that it supports a policy of regime change against Iran - a policy that could backfire and convince Iran to build nuclear weapons.

US-IRAN: War of Words Calculated to Avoid Actual Conflict

The recent escalation in Iranian threats to blockade oil shipments and attack U.S. Navy vessels are meant to push up the price of oil and divert domestic opinion from an economic crisis but are not likely to lead to a war in the Persian Gulf, in the view of Iran experts.

BOOKS: U.S., Iran Both Squandered Opportunities for Detente

Veteran observers of U.S.-Iran relations know better than to be optimistic about the chances for reconciliation between the two countries. It has long been the pattern - indeed the curse - that when one side was ready to engage, the other was not.

Mass Tragedy Feared as Closure of MEK Camp Looms

The Barack Obama administration and the United Nations are struggling to convince the leadership of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group with cult-like characteristics, to vacate a camp in Iraq and allow residents to move to another location in the country or risk the lives of as many as 3,200 people.

Iran Hedges Its Bets on Syria

Iran is courting the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al- Assad, seeking to maintain a crucial alliance in the event that Assad falls.

U.S.: Military Option Recedes Amid Tug-of-War Over Iran Policy

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said Friday that he believes that sanctions and diplomacy are the right strategy to deal with Iran's nuclear programme and that the United States "is doing everything we can to accomplish the stated objective without resorting to military force".

Iran’s Growing Isolation a Dubious Win for the West

Scenes from Tehran Tuesday of bearded Iranian youth swarming over the walls of the British embassy evoked memories of the 1979-81 hostage crisis that created the image of Iran as a pariah state.

U.S. Ratchets Up Economic Pressure on Iran

Under intense pressure from the U.S. Congress and U.S. presidential election politics, the Barack Obama administration Monday declared the Islamic Republic of Iran a "primary money laundering concern" - a designation that stops short of blacklisting Iran's Central Bank but is intended to persuade more foreign governments, banks and companies to curtail business with Iranian financial entities.

SYRIA: Beginning of the End for Assad?

Actions by the Arab League this week have given a regional seal of approval to Syrian opposition forces and could mark the beginning of the end of the Assad family dictatorship that has ruled Syria for more than 40 years.

IRAN: Nuclear Watchdog Details Pre-2003 Weapons Research

A new report on Iran's nuclear programme provides substantial evidence that Iran carried out extensive research into how to make a nuclear weapon prior to 2003 but is shaky about how much work has continued.

A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier in Shah Wali Kot District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Credit:  Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Crisp/U.S. Army/CC by 2.0

As U.S. Exits Iraq, “Endgame” in Afghanistan Remains Elusive

Washington's failure to gain Iraqi approval for a significant U.S. military presence in that country beyond December could make it harder for Afghanistan to agree to a similar deployment beyond 2014.

U.S.-NORTH KOREA: Persistence Pays Off with “Rogue” Regimes

The United States and North Korea are resuming the joint search for U.S. soldiers still missing from the Korean War, one of the few positive areas of interaction between two countries estranged for more than 60 years.

As 2012 Polls Loom, Caution’s the Word for Obama Foreign Policy

U.S. presidents seeking a second term are not known for taking risks in foreign policy in election years.

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