Stories by Robert Malley

Expert Voices

Iran's nuclear escalation raises stakes for U.S. and Europe

Behrouz Kamalvandi and Ali Rabiei seated while giving a press conference
Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi and government spokesman Ali Rabiei at a press conference in Tehran on July 7. Photo: Iranian Presidency/AFP/Getty Images

Iran's announcement that it's stepping up uranium enrichment levels to 5% follows its breach of the 2015 nuclear deal's stockpile limits and marks its latest escalatory gambit to secure economic relief from Europe, sanctions reductions from the U.S., or both.

Why it matters: For a year after the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran stuck to the agreement, hoping its compliance would be reciprocated by other signatories' initiatives. With Europe's special trade mechanism slow to come together, Tehran is stepping up enrichment to raise the costs of European delay and American escalation. Yet each new measure increases the possibility of a U.S. or Israeli military strike against Iran.

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.