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Barbara Slavin

Barbara Slavin is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a correspondent for, a website specializing in the Middle East. She is the author of a 2007 book, "Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation," and is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, C-SPAN and the Voice of America.

INSIGHT: Pluralism Key to Real Change in Arab World

Three years after the start of political upheaval across the region, transitional governments are struggling to maintain popular support amid rising sectarianism, poverty and violent extremism. Of six Arab countries that have experienced revolts since late 2010, only tiny Tunisia and Yemen appear to be making fitful progress toward political pluralism. Libya is plagued by More »

INSIGHT: Nuclear Deal a Win-Win for US, Iran – Even Israel

The ink was not dry on the historic Geneva nuclear accord with Iran before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced it as a “historic mistake”  that would allow Iran to cheat and get closer to nuclear weapons. Netanyahu may have been doing Iran a favor. By criticizing the deal so harshly, he will make it More »

INSIGHT: Saudi Tiff with Washington Latest of Many

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) is seen with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Reuters file).

Once again, Saudi officials are on a rhetorical rampage against the United States. Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the United States and current Saudi intelligence chief, has warned that the kingdom will make a “major shift” away from its 80-year alliance with Washington. Turki al-Faisal, another former ambassador to the United States, said More »

INSIGHT: Iran Nuclear Talks in Geneva Get Down to Details

From the European venue to the power point presentation in English, this week’s nuclear negotiations with Iran showed a new seriousness that bodes well for a future agreement, even if it does not guarantee one. Iranian officials, from U.S.-educated Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on down, spoke in English, dispensing with time-consuming translations, and outlined More »

INSIGHT: Could US, Iran Agree on Syria Without Assad?

More than two years after President Barack Obama said it was time for Syria’s president to go, Bashar al-Assad is still in power in Damascus. But new evidence from the United Nations pointing to his regime’s large-scale use of chemical weapons makes it more plausible that Assad could leave office as part of an More »

INSIGHT: US Congress Questions Rationale for Striking Syria

President Barack Obama’s abrupt decision to seek congressional authorization for striking Syria has had at least one salutary effect so far: it has given Americans and their elected representatives a chance to express serious reservations about the limits of U.S. military intervention in shaping troubled foreign societies. Whichever way Congress votes in giving President Obama More »

INSIGHT: Strike on Syria Could Pave Way for Diplomacy

It’s hard to accuse the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama of being trigger happy. While Obama has been willing to use force to kill Taliban and al-Qaida militants, he has studiously avoided embroiling the U.S. in another war in the Middle East or South Asia. His intention to strike Syria militarily for what appears to More »

INSIGHT: 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.” With the military’s removal on July 3 of the Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, the region’s oldest exemplar of political Islam has lost its best and perhaps only chance More »

INSIGHT: Rowhani Win Could Bring Dividends in Syria

Since the surprise election of Hassan Rowhani as Iran’s next president, most expert commentary has focused on the potential to improve U.S.-Iran relations and resolve the long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. However, the replacement of the abrasive Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a veteran negotiator nicknamed the ‘diplomat sheikh’ could also provide an opportunity to More »