The Path to Mars Goes From Lebanon to Pasadena

Growing Up in the Middle East, I Loved John Wayne and Gazing at the Stars. I Came to America Believing Nothing Was Impossible.

“Only the United States could do this.” Those words were uttered by the head of a foreign space agency who was one of my VIP guests at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, on August 5, 2012, the night the long-awaited Mars Curiosity rover landed successfully on the Red Planet. I’ll never forget hearing him say those words afterward, just outside JPL Mission Control, where engineers in charge of the mission were monitoring its vital signs. His words brought pride to my heart and tears to my eyes.

No …

My Stages of Grief for Iraq

The Country I Loved Died in 1990. The Rise of the Islamic State Is My Worst Nightmare.

When people ask me how I feel about the latest events in Iraq, I tell them I feel sad. All these people—both Americans and Iraqis who have died since 2003—died …

Can We Stop Worrying and Love Iran?

A Lot Could Go Wrong in Continuing U.S.-Iran Negotiations. But So Far, A Lot Has Gone Right.

If no good deed goes unpunished, no good diplomatic deed goes unopposed, and certainly the ferocity of opposition to the tentative nuclear deal between Iran and the international community (represented …

What the Heck is Hamid Karzai Thinking?

Omar Samad and Douglas Ollivant On What’s Ahead for Afghanistan and Its Obstinate President

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign the U.S. peace agreement that outlines the terms of our 2014 withdrawal. What is he thinking, and how will his actions impact …

Reality Checks for Watchers of Journalism and the Middle East

Michel Martin on the State of the News and Leila Hilal and Dina Sherif on Women’s Empowerment

Anne-Marie Slaughter turns the tables on Michel Martin, interviewing the NPR host about the future of journalism—and gets surprising news about changing audience demographics. Leila Hilal, director of New America’s …

Dividing up the Middle East and Uniting Amsterdam

Tom Ricks on Violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and Russell Shorto on the Netherlands

Tom Ricks, a New America Foundation national security program fellow, explains to Anne-Marie Slaughter why he doesn’t foresee an end in sight for violence and war in the Middle East. …