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Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya on Aug. 16.

How ‘Free Zones’ Became the Middle Eastern Diplomacy Tool of Choice

The special economic zones are meant to quietly bring countries together before more public realignments. But do they?

An art installation including a balloon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s image on it is seen in Habima Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sept. 15.

Netanyahu Can’t Catch a Break

The Israeli prime minister is trying to coast on his reputation as a grandmaster of national security, diplomacy, and economics—but it isn’t working.

The Qatar flag seen at the Opening Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games at the Khalifa stadium in Doha on Dec. 1, 2006.

How Israel Emerged as an Unlikely Peacemaker in the Middle East

By playing a productive role mediating between Qatar and its foes, the country has carved out a position as the one actor that could ease regional tensions.

Qatari charity workers prepare food parcels for migrant laborers

Middle East Autocrats Target South Asian Workers

Hundreds of Nepalis and others have been deported under cover of the pandemic.

Foreign laborers working on a construction site for one of Qatar's 2022 World Cup stadiums

Migrant Workers Can’t Afford a Lockdown

As Qatar races to complete construction projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup, a small army of workers from South Asia are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, back left, and White House advisor Jared Kushner, back right, stand with members of a Saudi delegation

Ilhan Omar and Jared Kushner’s Latest Accuser Has Shady Saudi Ties

Right-wing media has seized on the testimony of a Canadian businessman with a tangled history.

Taliban representatives are pictured during the second day of the Intra-Afghan Peace Conference talks in Doha, Qatar, on July 8.

The Taliban Have a Road Map for Peace

A translation of the statement from the Taliban and Afghan officials.

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (C), Mohamed Bin Thaaloob al-Derai, President of UAE Wrestling Judo, and Kickboxing Federation (L) and International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer (R) chat during the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on October 27, 2018.

How the Gulf States Got in Bed With Israel and Forgot About the Palestinian Cause

Benjamin Netanyahu is building ties with anti-Iran Arab leaders from Riyadh to Doha and betting that a peace deal is no longer a necessary prerequisite for normalizing diplomatic ties.

Local fishermen’s boats moor at Berbera port, in the breakaway territory of Somaliland, on July 21, 2018. (Mustafa Saeed/AFP/Getty Images)

For Somaliland and Djibouti, Will New Friends Bring Benefits?

Interest in the Horn of Africa from foreign powers has always been a double-edged sword.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in the Oval Office at the White House on April 10.

Trump Will Regret Changing His Mind About Qatar

The United States has the leverage needed to prevent Qatar from cozying up to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood—if it’s willing to use it.

Mahmoud Abbas waits to address the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2017 in New York City.

Mohammed bin Salman Has Thrown the Palestinians Under the Bus

The United States and Arab governments have abandoned the Palestinian cause and believe they can browbeat Mahmoud Abbas into submission.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C), Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa (R) and Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah attend a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) informal summit in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah on May 31, 2016.(STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Kuwait and Oman Are Stuck in Arab No Man’s Land

The showdown with Qatar is forcing all Middle Eastern countries to pick sides — and leaving two of them in the lurch.

Children play soccer in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 7, 2010. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Scramble for Africa’s Athletes

Shady sports agents have taken a page from human traffickers. They’re luring young men to Europe with promises of fame and exploiting them instead.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting on November 14, 2017, in Riyadh. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Strongmen Are Weaker Than They Look

Authoritarians are on the rise around the world, but history shows they’re mostly helpless.

Foreign ministers during the international conference for Iraq reconstruction in Kuwait City, on Feb. 14. (Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images)

The Post-Islamic State Marshall Plan That Never Was

The $30 billion pledged toward reconstruction in Iraq was more than some expected, but still short of the total needed to rebuild the country.

A picture taken on June 5, 2017 shows a man walking past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major gulf states and gas-rich Qatar. Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

A Field Trip to the Front Lines of the Qatar-Saudi Cold War

The showdown in the Gulf shows no signs of ending. And there don’t seem to be any clear winners emerging.

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