UK Vol.106 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.31)

Spain Vol.3 (Catalunya Vol.3)

US Policy Changes Vol.68 (US business school professors Vol.1)

Here is a part of U.S. business schools’ tweets on economic/social/technological issues in which their professors are featured, quoted, et al. (mainly those from September to November 2017). Great stuff!
[We don’t have affiliations with these schools or professors.]

US Policy Changes Vol.67 (US law professors Vol.3)

Here is a part of U.S. law schools’ recent tweets on legal and political issues in which their professors are featured, quoted, et al. (mainly those in November 2017). Great stuff!
[We don’t have affiliations with these schools or professors.]

US Policy Changes Vol.65 (US law professors Vol.1)

Here is a part of U.S. law schools’ recent tweets on legal and political issues in which their professors are featured, quoted, et al. (mainly those in November 2017). Great stuff!
[We don’t have affiliations with these schools or professors.]

New Zealand Vol.12 (General Election 2017)

Here are articles & tweets on the election.


A better visual breakdown of the 2017 election results (09/24/2017) | Stephen Beban @TheSpinoffTV

2017 General Election – Preliminary Count | @ElectoralCommNZ

Election 2017: Results at a glance | @nzherald

Electorate profiles | @NZParliament
Electorates ( ) = Census Usually Resident Population Count 2013
Auckland Central (60,204)
Bay of Plenty (64,890)
Botany (63,540)
Christchurch Central (65,175)
Christchurch East (64,761)
Clutha-Southland (65,448)
Coromandel (65,865)
Dunedin North (62,034)
Dunedin South (60,828)
East Coast Bays (59,574)
East Coast (94,875)
Epsom (61,875)
Hamilton East (71,157)
Hamilton West (70,992)
Helensville (60,312)
Hunua (64,653)
Hutt South (69,117)
Ilam (61,332)
Invercargill (63,975)
Kaikōura (63,021)
Kelston (63,096)
Mana (69,162)
Māngere (66,018)
Manukau East (64,929)
Manurewa (72,618)
Maungakiekie (67,581)
Mt Albert (63,606)
Mt Roskill (61,401)
Napier (70,668)
Nelson (63,354)
New Lynn (61,266)
New Plymouth (68,814)
North Shore (64,149)
Northcote (64,344)
Northland (83,568)
Ōhāriu (60,186)
Ōtaki (64,044)
Pakuranga (61,827)
Palmerston North (66,558)
Papakura (73,359)
Port Hills (64,986)
Rangitata (63,897)
Rangitīkei (68,523)
Rimutaka (69,159)
Rodney (62,274)
Rongotai (63,459)
Rotorua (77,529)
Selwyn (59,232)
Tāmaki (59,850)
Taranaki-King Country (67,542)
Taupō (74,565)
Tauranga (63,870)
Te Atatū (67,890)
Tukituki (73,407)
Upper Harbour (66,162)
Waikato (73,833)
Waimakariri (59,097)
Wairarapa (67,005)
Waitaki (64,671)
Wellington Central (62,940)
West Coast-Tasman (62,385)
Whanganui (72,243)
Whangarei (73,149)
Wigram (60,207)

Hauraki-Waikato (94,539)
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti (85,299)
Tāmaki Makaurau (89,160)
Te Tai Hauāuru (97,788)
Te Tai Tokerau (96,273)
Te Tai Tonga (122,298)
Waiariki (83,361)

Balkan Vol.3 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia)

former Yugoslavia
Bosnia & Herzegovina




Ireland Vol.26

cf. Ireland Vol.1

UK Vol.94 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.23)

Here are tweets on Brexit.

Canada Vol.36 (#Canada150 …)

Here are additional articles on #Canada150.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee: The Idealist (w PDF; 06/08/2017) | Alastair Gillespie @MLInstitute

Happy 150th to one of the world’s most demonstrably successful societies (06/30/2017) | William Watson @FraserInstitute

Canadians born in the afterglow of 1967 are becoming our political, media and corporate leaders. How will they approach the country’s future? (06/29/2017) | @jenditchburn @IRPP

Bringing human rights back into balance (05/30/2017) | Elizabeth McIsaac @MowatCentre

At a milestone in Canada’s history, the vital role of trade unions remains overlooked (06/29/2017) | Ed Finn @rabbleca

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA (06/29/2017) | @HeartlandOnCBC
Q: Where does the name Canada come from?
A: The most accepted theory is that a St. Lawrence Iroquoian tribe who encountered French explorer Jacques Cartier used the word ‘kanata’ which in their language meant village or settlement. Cartier in his writings wrote ‘Canada,’ to reference not only the village he was directed to but the entire area.

Can you celebrate Canada 150 and still respect Indigenous rights? (w Voice; 06/28/2017) | Anna Maria Tremonti @CBCIndigenous

Let’s celebrate Canada’s 150th with a course correction on MMIWG inquiry (06/30/2017) | Lorimer Shenher @NatObserver

First Nations Activists from Winnipeg to Blockade TransCanada Highway on Friday (06/29/2017) | @RedPowerMedia

Resisting 150: Colonialism is at the heart of the Canada 150 narrative. Here’s how we change the story. | @UAlberta @Medium
Métis professor @adamgaudry says that Canada 150 celebrates a history that, for Indigenous people, doesn’t really exist.

Acknowledging Canada’s Faults Doesn’t Diminish Us. Ignoring Them Does (06/23/2017) | Jerry Dias @HuffPostCanada

Canada 150: Reconciling who we are with who we want to be | @ccpa

Incentives, Identity, and the Growth of Canada’s Indigenous Population (w PDFs; 06/21/2017) | Tom Flanagan @FraserInstitute

False Security The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-terrorism | @cforcese & Kent Roach @irwinlaw

Canada Vol.33 (Québec Vol.2)

cf. Canada Vol.3 (Québec)     THE QUÉBEC ECONOMIC PLAN (PDF; 3/2017) | @FinancesQuebec       Too Much Tax Kills (9/26/2013) | Michel Kelly-Gagnon @ Montreal Economic Institute @HuffPostCanada      Quebec’s Economic Future: A Hard Road Ahead (9/6/2012) | @HodgsonGlen @confboardofcda      Quebec’s economy through the lens of GDP: Gains outweigh losses (PDF; 4-5/2015) | @DesjardinsGroup      When it comes to the economy, Quebec has earned top bragging rights in Canada (w Videos & Voice; 4/10/2017) | @ealini @globalnews        Lack of transfer plan could doom small Quebec business (3/15/2017) | @business @mtlgazette        A More Equitable Economy Exists Right Next Door – In Quebec, co-ops and non-profit businesses account for 8-10 percent of GDP (3/22/2017) | @JayWalljasper @AlterNet        Montreal flood-zone map for hard-hit Pierrefonds is decades out of date (5/12/2017) | @jbernstien & @robroc @CBC        @TourismQuebec        History of Quebec | ProvinceQuebec     Québec-France Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of professional Qualifications (3/17/2017) | @MRIF_Quebec


Central Asia Vol.3


cf. Uzbekistan country profile (12/14/2016) | @BBC   Uzbekistan: Economy | @ADB_HQ   Uzbekistan | @StateDept   Uzbekistan | Observatory of Economic Complexity @MIT   Trains in Uzbekistan    UZBEKISTAN AND KAZAKHSTAN: A TALE OF TWO TRANSITION PATHS? (PDF; 2004) | Asad Alam and Arup Banerji @WorldBank   Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan Deploy Troops In Dispute Over Border Mountain (3/23/2016) | @pragpete @RFERL   Public health risk assessment and interventions – Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (PDF; June 2010) | @WHO   Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan map (PDF) | @FAO   Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Flights Loom, And Prices Soar (2/1/2017) | Kamila Ibragimova @EurasiaNet   Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan | @WWF   Uzbekistan’s View of Security in Afghanistan After 2014 (PDF) | Matthew Stein @ Foreign Military Studies Office   Uzbek Railways awarded new Afghan operations and maintenance contract (3/22/2015) | @andrew_grantham   Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran Combined Tour 23 days | @NasrinInfo

(Excerpts are on our own.)

Brothers Again: Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana. (3/24/2017) | Catherine Putz @Diplomat_APAC   … Nazarbayev, a long-time proponent of regional integration initiatives, never quite found a receptive partner in Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov. … Nazarbayev said that the two leaders would sign 75 contracts worth nearly $1 billion at a Kazakh-Uzbek business forum on March 23. … Uzbekistan has the population advantage, with more than 30 million to Kazakhstan’s 17 million; but Kazakhstan has had the economic advantage with a GDP of $184.4 billion in 2015, to Uzbekistan’s $66.7 billion. …

Dammed or Damned: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Wrestle Over Water-Energy Nexus (4/2/2013) | Shavkat Kasymov @WorldPolicy   … Tajikistan consumes an average of 39,000 barrels a day, mostly from Uzbekistan… A main point of contention is a controversial hydroelectric project, the Rogun Dam, in the works since the 1960s. The project has been advertised by Tajik leaders as a path to energy and economic independence, but Uzbeks claim it will stop their share of the flow of the Vakhsh River, a resource that is crucial to its cotton monocrop economy. … The bulk of it is consumed by the Tadaz aluminum plant, a major source of revenues for the state budget. …

Afghanistan, Uzbekistan Trade Relations Strengthened (1/3/2017) | @TOLOnews   … “When we import goods from Pakistan, it takes nineteen days, but when we import from Uzbekistan, it takes nine days,” said Rasa. …construction materials will be imported from Uzbekistan and that Uzbek companies will invest in road construction, bridges and railways in the country. …

Uzbekistan, key to Afghan war drawdown, to ban foreign military bases (8/30/2012) | Abdujalil Abdurasulov @csmonitor   … When Pakistan closed the main NATO supply route in November, the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a route that relies on Uzbekistan, took up the slack – about 75 percent of all non-lethal cargo was shipped through the NDN supply route mostly via Uzbekistan. … Uzbekistan is trying to send a message to Russia and its neighbors that Tashkent is not going to make a U-turn and host US bases on its territory. … Tashkent-based political analyst Farkhod Tolipov says Uzbekistan’s ban is in an effort to prevent militarization in the region. “Any new base will only lead to a geopolitical competition.” …

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Staying Away (PDF) | S. Frederick Starr @SilkRoadStudies   … Uzbekistan has the region’s largest military force and Turkmenistan one of the smallest. And Uzbekistan inherited from Soviet times the largest establishment of heavy industry, while Turkmenistan began with the smallest. … No sooner did the Uzbeks arrive in Central Asia in the thirteenth century than they began settling in the region’s ancient cities, with their capital at Bukhara. … In gestures directed against what they openly call Russian colonialism, both Latinized their alphabets (the only states in the region to do so) and have marginalized the Russian language. … With respect to Turkmenistan, it can push Iran to seize the initiative in supplying Pakistan and India with gas; create access problems at Turkmenistan’s expanded Black Sea port of Turkmenbashi… Russia can easily invent and apply other restrictions to prevent Uzbek goods such as fruits and vegetables from entering its market. Considering that Russian-Uzbek bilateral trade reached $7 billion in 2013… Russia has already begun to play the “water and electricity card” against both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. …Kambarata hydropower plant and effectively controls the Toktogul reservoir and power plant, both in Kyrgyzstan. …democratization and human rights. … Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are the main bellwethers for stability and instability in Central Asia as a whole. …they value their trade with Russia, which for each country is valued at approximately $7 billion per annum. …unclear whether Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, too, will be drawn into the Eurasian Economic Union, remain outliers constantly under pressure from Moscow, or become beacons of sovereignty, self-determination, coordination and cooperation in the region…

Caucasus Vol.1 (Armenia)

cf. Stuck with each other: A Russian ally rues its dependence upon Moscow (3/20/2015) | @TheEconomist    Armenia’s Russia problem (12/13/2016) | CHRISTINA GATHMAN @thehill (@IntelTrak)

Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process: Stage Two | @Armenia_Turkey    Armenia and Turkey: From normalization to reconciliation (2/24/2015) | Andrew Moffatt, Fiona Hill, and Kemal Kirişci @BrookingsFP

The potential and obstacles to Armenia-Iran strategic relations (3/16/2016) | Eduard Abrahamyan, The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center    Christian Armenia and Islamic Iran: An unusual partnership explained (1/14/2013) | HAROUT HARRY SEMERDJIAN @thehill … Its border with an often unstable Georgia remains open to the North as well as a tiny 22-mile Southern border with Iran – termed as a “lifeline” for the culturally-rich yet resource-poor country of 3 million. …northern Iran is inhabited by over 15 million Azeris (double the population of the Republic of Azerbaijan), driving Iran’s concern of a potential… Two seats in the Iranian Parliament are appointed for Armenian representation and northern Iran, once a part of several Armenian kingdoms… Russia remains Armenia’s strategic ally and Armenia has very warm and developing relations with the United States and the EU. …the United States should assist Armenian integration in regional economic and transportation projects and to energize U.S.-Armenia economic relations via a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. …

The world’s first Christian country? (4/6/2017) | Amanda Proença Santos & Rodolfo Contreras @BBC (via @ARAMAC_DC)

Arkansas Vol.1

Central Asia Vol.2


cf. Why are Russians Leaving Kazakhstan?   A quarter-century later… Ethnic Kazakhs…now represent nearly 70 percent… …the Kazakhstani government’s broader struggles at retaining the country’s ethnic minorities… …putatively Russophobic sentiments in Kazakhstan could incur a response from an expansionist Moscow…

Political map    The Migration Landscape of Kazakhstan’s Uyghur: A Historical Perspective    Kazakhs striving to prove Genghis Khan descent   Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan Economic Relations Make Progress    Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan: Competitors, Strategic Partners or Eternal Friends?    Delimitation of state border of independent Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan.

Ireland Vol.22 (Connacht Vol.2 – Mayo, Galway)

Connacht, IE


cf. Ireland Vol.3 (Mayo)


Balkan Vol.2 (Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania)





Central Asia Vol.1



cf. Xinjiang | @iaunrc @IndianaUniv   KYRGYZ IN CHINA: HISTORY AND CULTURE | @FactsAndDetails   TIBET AND THE UNITED STATES (PDF; 2000) | A. Tom Grunfeld @SUNYEmpireState #EALAC @ColumbiaHum   Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan look to boost energy, trade ties (1/7/2017) | Zafar Bhutta @etribune   Pakistan, Tajikistan discuss rail link (11/24/2016) | AMIN AHMED @dawn_com   India, Kyrgyzstan sign six agreements (12/20/2016) | @ians_india @IndianExpress   India – Tajikistan Relations (PDF; 2016) | @IndianDiplomacy   TAJIKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN | @TheStudyofWar

LatAm Vol.5 (Guyana, Suriname & French Guiana)

US Policy Changes Vol.40 (Foreign Policy Vol.6 – Israel-Palestine, Iran)

Here are articles on Israel-Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Excerpts are on our own.

Dump UNRWA, vote on 2008 peace agreement? (1/2/2017) | @mrubin1971 @TheNatlInterest @AEI
…declaring Israel’s settlement policies to be the chief impediment to Arab-Israel peace. “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,”…
…for example, the negotiated agreements rejected by the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to negotiate during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous settlement freeze.
…erased much off the progress made since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
He might, however, have unintentionally opened a new door to opportunity. …not by repeating past diplomatic mistakes but rather by setting them aside.
The first Intifada—Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule—occurred between 1987 and 1993. It was a largely grassroots movement. The Palestine Liberation Organization was in exile in Tunisia and had become increasingly irrelevant to events in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. …
It is time to reverse that gamble on dictatorship over democracy. Abbas, now in the 12th year of his four year presidential term, violated the basis of the Oslo Accords repeatedly by bypassing bilateral negotiations to seek unilateral redress at the United Nations. …
… If a Trump administration puts a Palestinian state to a vote, it would empower the Palestinians to achieve their dreams without being held hostage to their corrupt leadership or pressures from an Arab rejectionist block of a newly-empowered Islamic Republic of Iran.
… Today, its annual budget is $1.4 billion. If the Trump administration pushed for UNRWA’s dissolution more than six decades after its mandate was supposed to expire and channeled the US contribution instead to host the referendum among those currently living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestine could be independent in a year. …
… Palestinians have historically received more assistance per capita than any other people and, even in Gaza, they have a higher standard of living than many Turks, Brazilians, fellow Arabs, and Africans.
Money dumped on the West Bank and Gaza could be better spent on Yemenis, Syrians, Rohingya Muslims, Turkey’s Kurds, displaced Ukrainians, or others. … So if the Palestinians vote no, it is time to declare the Oslo era—and the Palestinian Authority upon which it was built—over, give Israel an open hand to secure its borders as it sees fit, and write the Palestinians off until they reconsider.

Is a peace deal possible if Israelis and Palestinians simply don’t trust each other? (1/3/2017) | @braunold & @SarahEYerkes @BrookingsFP
… Throughout the Obama administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided $10 million a year in funding reconciliation programs between Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. …
– Senior level advisors, including the new advisor for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, meeting with not just the parties, but civil society groups privately as well publically;
– Inclusion of the USAID people-to-people reconciliation grant program into the federal budget; and
– Leveraging U.S. dollars off those of the rest of the international community in the creation of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which currently enjoys bipartisan support, that can provide the necessary bandwidth and budget for a systemic approach to the trust deficit.

Obama’s record on Israeli-Palestinian peace: The president’s disquieting silence (10/6/2016) | @elgindy_ @ForeignAffairs @BrookingsFP

What JASTA will mean for U.S.-Saudi relations (10/3/2016) | Bruce Riedel @BrookingsFP

What Jeff Sessions as attorney general will mean for the Iran Deal (12/16/2016) | @aaron_m_arnold @BulletinAtomic
While the attorney general does not have any big role to play directly in terms of the Iran deal,… …the Justice Department’s actions can carry a ripple effect.
…the attorney general decides if and when the department should undertake investigations or prosecutions related to currently existing Iran sanctions?regarding things such as Iran’s conventional missiles, its sponsoring of terrorism, its possible human rights violations…
…enforcement of the laws relating generally to export controls and sanctions regarding Iran could have an impact on the deal…
…should increase pressure on Iran’s ballistic missile program with sanctions and aggressively confront any violations of the deal…
… To be fair, however, he has remained somewhat quiet about the deal…
…the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)…
… Between the year 2000 and July of 2016, the Justice Department pursued approximately 293 IEEPA criminal violations. …
…during the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and in the months thereafter, the Obama administration took a decidedly cautious approach to seeking criminal charges against Iranian procurement agents and sanctions violators. …
…US enforcement agencies were hesitant to seek extradition requests or conduct lure operations…
… Sessions’ approach will depend on his relationship with the White House. …
…the 981(k) statute, named after the corresponding section of the USA Patriot Act. Under this rule, the attorney general can seize assets that are not technically held in US bank accounts. …
… Because these methods depend on leveraging the role of the US financial system in international banking, overuse can potentially damage business relationships and the international standing for US banks…
…any member of the agreement can bring a dispute to the Joint Commission, which then has 15 days to resolve the dispute. If not resolved by that time, the matter is referred to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and then the UN Security Council for a vote on continuing sanctions. …
… If the United States does not first use the dispute resolution mechanism, Tehran may view Washington as acting in bad faith.
… Tougher penalties for IEEPA violations, for example, could send a strong signal to Iran, China, and North Korea. …

The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA (w PDF; Dec 2016) | Payam Mohseni @BelferCenter
p8 Figure 1 Classification of Iranian Political Factions
p12 Figure 2 The Alliance of the Theocrats: Ahmadinejad, 2005?2013
p15 Figure 3 The Alliance of the Right: June 2013?February 2016
p17 Figure 4 Power Triangle of the Rouhani Coalition: June 2013?February 2016
p19 Figure 5 Tension of Right Alliance vs. Republican Alliance, 2016 Parliamentary Elections
p21 Figure 6 Republican Alliance vs. Theocratic Alliance: 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Lists
p26 Table 1 National Factional Seat Shares (%) by Election Rounds in the 10th Iranian Parliament
p27 Figure 7 Total Factional Seat Shares (%)
p29 Figure 8 Round Two Factional Seat Shares (%)
p34 Figure 9 Participation Rate
p34 Figure 10 Voting Population
p35 Figure 11 Qualified Candidates
p37 Figure 12 Incumbency Rate for the Iranian Parliament
p41 Table 2 Iranian Provinces by Voter Turnout (%)
p42 Table 3 Top Provinces by the Three Main Faction
p43 Table 4 Iranian Provinces by Factional Seat Share (%)
p44 Table 5 Top 10 Largest Cities by Factional Seat Share (%)
p46 Figure 13 Total Top-10 Cities by Factional Seat Share (%)
p47 Figure 14 Total Top-10 Cities by Factional Seat Share (%) – Excluding City of Tehran
p51-52 Conclusion: The Future of Iranian Politics under the JCPOA
… With theocratic forces split over the key foreign policy issue defining Iran’s relations with the international community, Rouhani was able to barely edge to victory in the first round of elections, trumping five other rivals.
… The next presidential elections, in 2017, will therefore reflect the ability of Rouhani to preserve and manage the power triangle between the republicans and the modern theocrats to hold on to the government and Majles. … If the U.S. unilaterally undertakes antagonistic actions against Iran, the entire political platform of Rouhani’s coalition will collapse and a reconfiguration aimed at reintegrating the theocratic left will likely emerge.
… At a minimum, together with the unrealized economic benefits expected to follow the JCPOA, the theocrats will gain a stronger bargaining position with Rouhani. However, it could also be an electoral strategy to highlight economic inequality under Rouhani with an eye to the 2017 presidential elections. Either way, the re-election of a weak Rouhani or a theocratic victory is a win-win scenario for the Supreme Leader. …

US Policy Changes Vol.36 (Foreign Policy Vol.5 – Israel-Palestine, Russia, Iran, Syria)

Here are @BrookingsInst’s articles on foreign policy (Israel-Palestine, Russia, Iran and Syria). Excerpts are on our own.

President Trump’s options for Israeli-Palestinian dealmaking (12/1/2016) | @Martin_Indyk @BrookingsFP (Big Ideas For America)
…three possible approaches to negotiations—a provocative, high-risk “top-down” approach that would focus on the contested status of Jerusalem; a more measured “bottom-up” approach that would work with regional players to change the situation on the ground; and a summit-driven “outside-in” approach that would establish internationally supported terms of reference for negotiating a two-state solution. …
…but he would be the first real estate developer to try to reach for the “brass ring,” and his experience with making land deals as well as his unconventional, disruptive approach to diplomacy might just generate new possibilities when all other efforts have failed. However, President Trump would be taking on the task at a uniquely difficult moment when neither side trusts in the peaceful intentions of the other or believes in the possibility of a peace deal based on the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living alongside the Jewish state of Israel in peace and security.
This “two-state solution” has been thwarted by two abiding realities… The first is the power of the Israeli settler movement and its supporters in…right-wing coalition government. They regard all West Bank territory as part of the Land of Israel and firmly reject the two-state solution. Consequently, they are pursuing apace an effort to annex the 60 percent of the West Bank that remains under complete Israeli control (known as “Area C” in the Oslo Accords…)… attempting to legalize some 50 outposts that are illegal under Israeli law, and preventing any Palestinian development of the land.
The second reality is a politically and physically divided Palestinian polity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip… Hamas remains dedicated to the destruction of Israel and is consolidating its grip on Gaza while building its influence in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Fatah…has left its leadership preoccupied…
… The alternative of forming a more flexible centrist coalition with the Labor Party would leave him dependent on parties to his left while his rivals to his right robbed him of the support of his natural constituency. Meanwhile, Abbas’s electoral mandate expired some six years ago, and he no longer feels he has the legitimacy to make compromises over what his people believe are their inalienable rights. …
…current circumstances do not permit the achievement of a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and yet failure to pursue that resolution now will make it even less possible to achieve it in the future. …
1. “Jerusalem first”
… One of the basic rules of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be left until all the other issues are resolved. …
…neither side accepts the legitimacy of the other’s claims. Arab east Jerusalem was annexed to Israel in 1967, and since then every Israeli government has claimed undivided Jerusalem as “the eternal capital of Israel.” … Conversely, Palestinians claim all the area of east Jerusalem that Israel occupied in 1967, including the Old City, as the capital for their state, and view the Jewish suburbs built there as illegal. …
… The area bounded by the walls of the Old City, which contains the sites holiest to the three great religions…would be declared a special zone where neither side would exercise their claims to sovereignty… However, such rational compromises have not proven remotely acceptable to either side.
… Hamas might resume rocket attacks from Gaza, but because of fear of an Israeli response they would more likely seek to stoke the fires of violent resistance in the West Bank and Jerusalem. …
Alternatively, in parallel with moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the president could also announce that he has decided to establish a U.S. embassy to the state of Palestine in east Jerusalem…
To ensure that both sides negotiated in good faith, President Trump could declare that if they fail to turn up or fail to reach agreement, the Quartet, Egypt, and Jordan would resort to a UN Security Council resolution setting out the parameters of the rational solution on Jerusalem, in effect threatening to impose it on the two sides. …
2. Bottom-up
… In his first two years, he would instead focus on arresting the negative dynamics on the ground in the West Bank and work with Egypt and Jordan to promote a united Palestinian leadership with a mandate to negotiate peace with Israel.
Under this option, he would need to insist at the outset that Israel stop all construction east of the security barrier… Construction in east Jerusalem could also continue but on a 1:1 basis for building in Arab as well as Jewish suburbs. There could be no construction in E1 or other sensitive areas…
… In return, the building of state institutions and the development…should be boosted by a new injection of funds from the United States, the Arab states, and the international community.
3. Outside-in
…might consider taking up “outside in” approach, which would involve Trump convening the leaders of the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the EU, and the UN) and the Arab Quartet (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates)… …to draw on the collective will of the international community to jumpstart direct negotiations based on these agreed principles.
-…end the conflict, end all claims, and establish two states living side by side in peace and security.
-…the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.
-…ensure that Israel can defend itself against any threat…
-…the shared capital…
-…UN General Assembly resolution 181…
… Neither Israelis nor Palestinians at this moment believe that peace is either possible or desirable because the costs seem too high and the benefits too small. For both leaders, the status quo is quite sustainable, even as outside parties fret that the two-state solution is being buried in the process. …
… Likewise, Palestinian weakness makes it particularly difficult to move them since, like a business venture that is close to bankruptcy, they can always threaten collapse if they are forced to compromise. Meanwhile, the Arab states are all preoccupied with other more serious threats to their security and stability. They will be reluctant to risk Palestinian ire or, for Egypt and Jordan, the unhappiness of their Israeli security partner, to assist the president…
President Trump will therefore have to be prepared to overcome all the local resistance that is now baked into the situation. He will also need to resist the advice of his experts…
… Despite all the friction with the Obama administration, Russia has been fully supportive of Secretary Kerry’s efforts, so President Trump can easily find common ground with President Vladimir Putin. Similarly, he will find a willing partner in the EU, which believes that the failure to solve the Palestinian problem exacerbates the other Middle Eastern conflicts that threaten stability in Europe. While the Arab states will be more reluctant to take risks, President Sissi and King Abdullah both strongly believe in the importance of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for their own well-being. The Gulf Arabs are less persuadable, but will be attracted by the ability to engage openly with Israel…

Draw red lines on Russia (11/30/2016) | @steven_pifer @TheNatlInterest @BrookingsFP
… Part of the problem is that domestic political factors drive much of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy. With a stagnant economy, he cannot base regime legitimacy on rising living standards, as he did in 2000–2008. He instead has turned to nationalism at home and the restoration of Russia as a power-player abroad. …
– Reaffirmation of NATO’s decision to modestly boost its military presence in the Baltic states and Poland in the face of Russia’s more aggressive stance, coupled with an offer to explore ways to reduce tensions between the alliance and Moscow. …
– Support for Ukraine and the German-led effort to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine. …
– Readiness to cooperate on areas where U.S. and Russian interests converge. …beyond the New START treaty.

Why small steps on Russia are better than attempts at a grand bargain (11/30/2016) | Angela Stent @TheNatlInterest (@CarnegieCorp) @BrookingsFP
… First, every U.S. administration since 1991 has come into office seeking to improve ties with Russia and each of these resets has ended in disappointment… Second…a reprise of the Yalta agreement that divides the world into spheres of influence and does not challenge what he considers are Russia’s legitimate interests. …
… It might involve recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and lifting the economic sanctions on Russia imposed after the launch of a war in the Donbass that has claimed 10,000 lives so far. …

Trump could gut the Iran deal—but it was vulnerable all along (11/17/2016) | @MaloneySuzanne @BrookingsFP
…@RNephewCGEP…described Trump’s election as “the end game for the deal,” noting the centrality of the executive branch in implementing American obligations—specifically, waivers that provide for U.S. sanctions relief that is required by the JCPOA. …
On the other side of the spectrum are those—including the Iranians themselves—who highlight that the deal was negotiated by seven states and the European Union (not to mention endorsed by the U.N. Security Council)…
… Serious Republican national security figures such as Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker…recognize the dangers of alienating U.S. allies, most of whom are deeply committed to preserving the nuclear deal (with initial opponents like Israel and Saudi Arabia grudgingly accepting its utility). …
… Senior Republicans on the Hill have pledged to reverse Obama’s contentious efforts to go above and beyond the deal’s requirements for sanctions relief in hopes of preserving support for the deal within Iran. …
… New sanctions could stymie Iran’s efforts to attract foreign investment and rebuild trade ties with Europe and Asia. Even better, from the standpoint of the Republicans, they might prompt Tehran to abrogate the deal, since the Iranian leadership maintains—inaccurately, but with a voluble echo chamber in Europe and the United States—that any American sanctions contravene the nuclear deal.
… Finally, he has pledged to respond forcefully to any future Iranian provocation, such as harassment of American naval forces in the Gulf…
… With an impulsive and unschooled American president, counseled by a constellation of trigger-happy ideologues, the prospect of a military confrontation between Washington and Tehran…
… Since last week, a range of Iranian officials have insisted that the JCPOA—and its more important byproduct, Iran’s international rehabilitation—are “irreversible.”
… Many of the red flags of the Iranian nuclear program—the Arak plutonium reactor, the stockpiles of near 20 percent enriched uranium, the industrial-sized enrichment capability—have been demobilized in a fashion that will take time to reconstitute. …
… However, the deal’s architects failed in one difficult but vital task: ensuring the agreement’s sustainability beyond the administration’s lifespan. …
…the deal incorporated sufficient ambiguity on sanctions to ensure that every future application of American pressure on Iran would be strenuously contested by Tehran—and that concerns about eroding Iranian commitment to the deal would compromise Washington’s vigilance in enforcing the residual measures. …
…the deal’s success never really rested on the terms and provisions…but rather in the ambitions that the agreement embodied.
This is in large part a consequence of the way that leaders on both sides framed the deal to generate domestic support. …
…the influx of capital remains sluggish—in part because of residual American sanctions as well as low oil prices…

Should we work with the devil we know against the Islamic State? (11/21/2016) | @dbyman @lawfareblog @BrookingsFP
…Ryan Crocker…
… Bashar Assad and his father before him imposed a brutal order on the country in the past. Assad the elder killed thousands during a civil war from 1978-1982, leveling parts of the city of Hama, a key opposition hotbed, as a lesson to those he defied him, particular Islamists tied to Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood. Both he and his son ruled as dictators, where torture and other human rights abuses were common. But say what you will, the jihadist problem in Syria was largely contained…
…Assad is pragmatic—for example, in 2013 he agreed to rid himself of chemical weapons in a successful effort to avoid U.S. air strikes (though…his regime reportedly used chemical weapons in the battle for Aleppo earlier this fall). …
… Diplomatically, U.S. allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia would strongly oppose this policy and would probably work to undermine it. … Saudi Arabia has proven a major source of terrorist recruits and financing, while the Syria-Turkey border was a major crossing point for Islamic State recruits. …
… Russia and Iran are loathed in the Arab world because of their embrace of Assad, and a U.S. alliance with Syria and these powers would “prove” to already-suspicious Sunnis that the United States seeks to subvert their traditional dominance of the Arab world and encourage Iranian influence to spread. …terrorism is justified because the United States is at war with Sunni Muslims.
Additionally, although U.S. air power and other support would help Assad’s forces advance, the regime would be unlikely to pacify all of the country, at least in the near-term, given the size of the opposition. …even with support from the Lebanese Hezbollah and Shiite fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan…
…an Assad victory would be widely, and correctly, seen as a triumph for its biggest friend—the clerical regime in Iran.
Most important, morality matters. It is one thing to ally with Stalin against Hitler when engaged in a total war; it is another to make such a devil’s bargain in a lesser conflict when the U.S. enjoys overwhelming power. …
… The United States can continue the incremental but steady efforts to work with local factions in Iraq and Syria to shrink the Islamic State’s haven and put pressure on the group. It can continue the global intelligence effort…