Stories by Robert Malley

Expert Voices

At current crossroads, future of Palestinian movement is up for grabs

Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on stage before supporters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at Likud Party headquarters in Tel Aviv on election night, April 10, 2019. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

The trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be on the verge of significant change, but this will come neither from Israel's recently concluded elections nor the potential unveiling of the Trump administration's peace plan in coming months.

The big picture: More important than what either the Israeli or U.S. governments will do is what will happen to the party about which one hears the least, the Palestinians. Their national movement has been missing in action on all matters concerning the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations. At some point, inevitably, that will change.

Expert Voices

Venezuela stalemate calls for third-party mediation, monitored elections

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to businessmen during the presentation of Venezuela's nation-brand in Caracas on February 11, 2019.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro speaks in Caracas, on Feb. 11, 2019. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images

More than a month after Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó claimed the interim presidency, recognized by the U.S. and dozens of other nations, the country remains in a dangerous stalemate.

The big picture: The opposition and its international backers, notably the U.S., were hoping that the effort to provide humanitarian assistance would prove a turning point. Instead, it did little to shift the dynamics. Without third-party mediation aimed at a mutually acceptable compromise, the country appears set for a protracted crisis.

Expert Voices

Europe gambles on a way around Iran sanctions, risking U.S. blowback

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) precedes British Prime Minister Theresa May after greeting her at the Chancellery in Berlin, on December 11, 2018, prior bilateral talks.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

The decision by key European countries to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), announced on Thursday, marks Europe’s most substantial step to save the Iran nuclear deal in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal. The SPV provides for a new financial mechanism that would circumvent U.S. sanctions, making it easier for some European companies to do business with Iran.

Why it matters: Whether the EU succeeds won't be determined by the SPV alone. But for now, the move sends 2 messages: Europe remains determined to preserve the agreement, and it's prepared to defy the U.S. administration to do so.