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Iran's missiles threaten entire Middle East, says journalist Robin Wright

The US wants to get out of the Middle East, but for The New Yorker's Robin Wright, there's still one big problem: Iran. What's more, the Iranian threat goes well beyond nukes, as it now has the region's largest ballistic missiles arsenal. Iran's position, she says, is "Okay, you want us to limit ours? Then you limit everybody's in the regions, including Israel," — and that's a nonstarter for the Israelis. Watch her interview with Ian Bremmer on the upcoming episode of GZERO World.

Qatar learns international spotlight can be uncomfortable

These are exciting times for Qatar. The tiny but fabulously wealthy Gulf state has been providing the US and other Western powers with invaluable assistance in dealing with a newly ascendant Taliban in Afghanistan. It is preparing to hold its first elections next month, and next year it will host the FIFA World Cup, international soccer's biggest stage and the second most-watched global sporting event after the Olympics.

Qatar has been very successful in raising its international profile in recent years, but it is now finding that this success brings challenges of its own. We talked with Eurasia Group Middle East analyst Sofia Meranto to find more about what's happening in the country.

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US, NATO, & EU condemn China's Microsoft hack; Pegasus spyware leak

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

The US, NATO, and the EU have all condemned China for its hack of Microsoft Exchange servers. What happens next?

Now, the joint statement sends a strong signal, but there are operational steps that need to be clarified. Firstly, why was it possible to hack Microsoft servers at all and how to close the gaps to make software more resilient? Additionally, governments making statements condemning China or others are well-advised to attach consequences to such attributions. Sanctions of the economic, financial or immigration type, as well as restrictions on state-owned enterprises, should all be on the table. Certainly, clear criteria need to be there with regard to responsible behavior and the application of international law in cyberspace.

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Podcast: American democracy is in danger, warns Ben Rhodes

Listen: Ben Rhodes, a former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, joins Ian Bremmer to talk about the state of American democracy in the 21st century. Trump, he says, cannot take all the blame for the US's fall from grace on the global stage. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis and disinformation on social media have all played a big role too. What will it take to get America back on track and restore the country's place in the world as a beacon of democracy?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

What We're Watching: UAE-Saudi rivalry, South Sudan turns ten, Malaysian PM under pressure

Gulf grows between UAE and Saudi Arabia: Global oil prices surged this week to a six-year high after talks between the world's biggest oil-producing countries broke down. So what happened exactly? Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, usually close allies, are at loggerheads over how to boost OPEC oil production in the wake of the pandemic-induced economic crisis: the Saudis, along with the Russians, have proposed extending curbs on oil output levels for another eight months — a proposal vehemently rejected by the Emiratis. Abu Dhabi, for its part, has invested a lot to boost its output capacity, and now that global demand is up again it wants to renegotiate its production quotas within the OPEC framework. Riyadh, on the other hand, wants to cut supply levels so that prices remain high. It's a rare public spat between the two countries, whose leaders — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed — enjoy a close personal bond, though a rivalry has been deepening in recent years as both try to establish their kingdoms as the top economic hub — and regional power — in the Gulf region.

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Can Saudi Arabia and Iran really be friends?

Few rivalries in the world today are as bitter and bloody as the struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. For more than forty years, they have vied for sectarian and strategic influence across the Middle East, waging proxy wars that have wreaked havoc in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.

But now it appears the two old foes might be looking for ways to patch things up.

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What We’re Watching: Putin to tighten Russian gun laws, Iran-Saudi thaw, new forests vs climate change

Putin orders review of gun laws after school shooting: Details remain sketchy following a shooting at a school in the Russian city of Kazan. At least seven children and one teacher were killed, and a 19-year-old has been arrested, according to local officials. In response to the attack, President Vladimir Putin "gave an order to urgently work out a new provision concerning the types of weapons that can be in civilian hands, taking into account the weapon" used in this shooting, according to a Kremlin spokesman. There's an irony here that extends to the United States, where school shootings are all too common. In 2018, a Russian woman named Maria Butina pleaded guilty to using the National Rifle Association, the gun rights lobbying group, to "establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over American politics." At the time, Putin described Butina's 18-year sentence as an "outrage." The NRA, of course, works hard to prevent Congress and the president from taking precisely the kinds of actions that Putin swiftly ordered following the shooting in Kazan.

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