Al-Monitor Newsmaker Interviews

Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, waits to start a meeting with Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (not pictured) in Tehran, Iran Aug. 23, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Darren Staples)

Central Bank governor: Iran expects access to US financial system

Friday, Apr. 15, 2016 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Iranian Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif said Iran has made economic progress even before the lifting of sanctions and invited American companies to compete with Europeans in trading with and investing in Iran.

Dismissed Fatah leader Dahlan says Abbas, Hamas lack 'serious nationalism'

Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 | Hazem Balousha, Contributor

Dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan discusses the current situation in Palestine, his rift with President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and his aspiration to become president.

Zarif: Iran sees 'mostly negative signals' from US

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an interview with Al-Monitor, confirmed brief bilateral exchanges with Saudi counterparts and said numerous disagreements remain inside the international Syria support group on a political transition.

Barghouti: We will continue to boycott Israel

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 | Rasha Abou Jalal, Contributor

Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, talked to Al-Monitor about the initiative’s local and international efforts to end the occupation and settlement activities through a boycott of Israel.

Peshmerga general: KRG political problems won't affect fight against IS

Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 | Mona Alami, Contributor

A Kurdish general calls for more ammunition, aid and NATO troops to join the peshmerga in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Larijani: US must fully implement nuclear deal

Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2015 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, praised President Barack Obama’s "wisdom" in negotiating a nuclear deal, but chided the United States for backing Saudi military intervention in Yemen.

Syrian patriarch: To help Christians, stop flow of weapons

Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 | Julian Pecquet, Congressional Correspondent

Orthodox leader John X tells Al-Monitor that outside powers must stop interfering if the Middle East is to heal.

Iraqi deputy prime minister: 'I was mistaken' in joining government

Friday, Jul. 4, 2014 | Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq Pulse Editor

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq speaks about the roots of the crisis in Iraq and stresses the need for a political solution.

Turkish opposition leader says Erdogan wants war with Syria

Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 | Amberin Zaman , Columnist

Turkey’s main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party, says that the Turkish prime minister is bent on provoking war with Syria to divert attention from government corruption.

Islamic Jihad leader: negotiations gain 'nothing'

Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 | Ali Hashem, Columnist

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah Shalah said, “Our performance from one war to another is getting better. If in 2012 we hit Tel Aviv, I think the enemy can imagine what can be beyond Tel Aviv.”

Sen. Kaine says Russia can do more to resolve Syria crisis

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, discusses US policy toward the Middle East with Al-Monitor.

Kemal Dervis: 'Crisis in Turkey is primarily political'

Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 | Riada Ašimović Akyol, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Turkey’s former Minister of Economic Affairs Kemal Dervis asserts, “The perception of the independence of the Central Bank has been shaken.”

Salih Muslim: Syrian coalition does not represent Kurds

Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 | Wladimir van Wilgenburg, Columnist

In exclusive remarks to Al-Monitor, Salih Muslim, the chairman of the Democratic Union Party, said that Syria's Kurds should be better recognized in the Geneva negotiations.

Veteran US diplomat tackles Middle East 'mess'

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In her first interview since confirmation as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne Patterson tells Al-Monitor that it’s too soon to judge the Geneva II talks, that a breakthrough on Iran or Israeli-Palestinian peace could have profound implications and that US officials are daily reassuring Saudi Arabia about the US-Saudi relationship.

Ya'alon blamed for neglecting Israelis living near Gaza

Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Heads of localities in southern Israel near Gaza blame Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for neglecting their security, following decision to cut back the defense budget despite the turmoil in the Sinai Peninsula.

SOC member Michel Kilo claims evidence of Assad links to ISIS

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview, veteran Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo tells Al-Monitor, "If Walid Moallem will talk about terrorism, he will receive a true lecture about terrorists."

Michel Aoun: Lebanon 'paralyzed' by Syria war

Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Gen. Michel Aoun, leader of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement, blames Saudi Arabia for the deadlock in Lebanese politics.

Congressman Ted Poe: US-Israeli ties 'very tenuous at best'

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he hopes "that the United States would mend its relationship with Israel."

House Intel Committee Chairman worried about bad deal on Iran

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, says Congress should pass further sanctions on Iran.

Al-Moussawi Says Iraq Can Be 'Bridge' to Syria Solution

Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Ali Al-Moussawi, top media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, discusses the Geneva II Syria conference and Iraqi-Turkish relations.

Syria's Impasse Likely to Last Years

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

Former UN official Salman Shaikh contends that neither the Bashar al-Assad regime nor the official opposition represent the true will of the Syrian people.

Nour Party: Don't Blame Islamists for Brotherhood's Mistakes

Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 | Walaa Hussein, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, the head of the Egyptian Salafist Al-Nour Party, discusses the mistakes of the Muslim Brotherhood and the upcoming elections.

Lapid Draws Own Red Line on Iran

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 | Shlomi Eldar, Columnist

Israel’s finance minister has said Iran should have no centrifuges and no plutonium at all.

My Conversation With Hamas

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 | Gershon Baskin, Contributor

Gershon Baskin, founder of the Israeli Palestinian Center for Research and Information, recounts his conversation with Ghazi Hamad, Hamas' deputy foreign minister.

Iran and Turkey Have Differences on Syria, But Not a Crisis

Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 | Tulin Daloglu, Contributor

Iran's ambassador in Ankara, Alireza Bikdeli, says if the Iranian and Turkish differences on Syria were between two other countries, it would have led to serious problems.

Coalition Boss Warns Netanyahu Against Settlement Evacuation

Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Yariv Levin, chairman of the governing coalition, has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the political price he would pay for striking a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Vedrine: Threat of Force Key to US-Russia Initiative on Syria

Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013 | Denis Simonneau, Contributor

Hubert Vedrine, a former French minister for foreign affairs, talks to Al-Monitor about the Syrian crisis.

Norwegian Diplomat Doubts Israel Settlements Can Be Stopped

Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

After years of involvement in the Middle East, Norwegian Ambassador to Israel Svein Sevje is concerned that he is more worried about the future of Israel than Israelis are.

Battle to Lead Labor Party Begins in Israel

Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Knesset member Isaac Herzog, running for Labor Party leadership, claims that the public is looking for a new diplomatic alternative.

Syria Brotherhood Leader: US Position on Syria 'Negative'

Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 | Adnan Abu Amer, Contributor

In an exclusive interview, senior Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader Ali al-Bayanouni says, "There is no room for a political solution" with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Former Israeli Minister Blasts Palestinian Prisoners Release

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Former Labor Minister Moshe Shahal, who chaired the Prisoner Release Committee in the Rabin government, criticizes the decision to release prisoners instead of freezing the construction in the West Bank.

US Rep. Keith Ellison Calls for Obama-Rouhani Summit

Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Ellison says, “If the United States had direct negotiations with Iran, the first item should be stopping the bloodshed in Syria.”

Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party Flourishes in Opposition

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

The chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, is working closely with left-wing and Arab parties, creating an unexpected but efficient opposition. 

Syria’s Prime Minister Expects Elections in 2014

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 | Ali Hashem, Columnist

An exclusive interview with Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki.

Retired Israeli Diplomat Warns of Deteriorating Ties With EU

Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

Retired Israeli Ambassador Yaakov Levy has sharply criticized Israel’s policy on Europe, a warning to Jerusalem that it had better examine its actions.

Engel: Sanctions, Not Rouhani, Only Chance for Iran Deal

Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

Eliot Engel, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, discusses sanctions on Iran, his support for missile strikes against Syrian airfields and the need to maintain US military assistance to Egypt.

House Intel Committee Chairman Not Hopeful on Iran's Rouhani

Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

Mike Rogers, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman, says claims of Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s moderation are more marketing than reality.

Jordan Brotherhood Leader: Morsi Ousted for Opposing Israel

Monday, Jul. 29, 2013 | Adnan Abu Amer, Contributor

The deputy leader of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, Zaki Bani Arshid, warns in an exclusive interview that Egypt's crisis will have a "great effect" on Jordan.

McKeon, House Cautious on Syria

Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

Buck McKeon, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, says the military’s intervention in Egypt was the right thing to put Egypt’s democratic transition back on track.

EU Boycott Contributes to Israeli Decision on Peace Talks

Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

In an Al-Monitor interview, Peace Now chair Yariv Oppenheimer says the Israeli public must force Netanyahu ''to take a historic step forward" and implement the vision of a two-state solution.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Defends Dermer

Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens rejects criticism of Dermer’s appointment as Israel’s ambassador to Washington.

Levin: US Should Consider Limited Military Strikes on Syria

Wednesday, Jul. 10, 2013 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin says only increased US support for vetted rebel groups can level the Syrian playing field and allow for a political settlement.

Republican Congressman King: No US Arms to Syrian Rebels

Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

Congressman Peter King of New York discusses US policy toward Syria and the Middle East.

Hamas Official: 'Islamization' a Western Media Smear

Wednesday, May. 29, 2013 | Lena Odgaard, Contributor

Hamas government official Ihab al-Ghussein denies in an interview that his movement is imposing Islamic law on the Gaza Strip.

Barghouti: Arab Peace Plan Damages Palestinian Cause

Tuesday, May. 28, 2013 | Adnan Abu Amer, Contributor

In an exclusive written interview, jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti warns that the alternative to a two-state solution is a conflict "with no middle ground."

Brotherhood's Bayoumi: Egypt 'Will Not Turn Its Back' on US

Thursday, May. 16, 2013 | Adnan Abu Amer, Contributor

In an interview, Deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Rashad al-Bayoumi addressed Egyptian-US relations, Egypt's economy and President Morsi's position on the Syrian crisis.

Van Hollen Warns of 'Unintended Consequences' in Syria

Wednesday, May. 15, 2013 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

Representative Christopher Van Hollen, ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, discusses the Middle East in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor.

Royce Says US Arms Not Required to Defeat Assad

Tuesday, May. 7, 2013 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tells Barbara Slavin that the US should encourage Arab allies to provide the weapons needed to help rebels oust the Syrian government.

Exclusive: Hamas' Meshaal Says US Peace Efforts 'Will Fail'

Friday, May. 3, 2013 | Adnan Abu Amer, Contributor

In an exclusive telephone interview with Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor, Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas's political bureau, spoke about US efforts to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and more.

Iranian Official: We Welcome 'Humane Efforts' Against Sanctions

Sunday, Apr. 21, 2013 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Iran's minister of economic affairs and finance puts a positive spin on a sanctions-burdened economy and says he welcomes more "people-to-people" ties with the United States.

Nujaifi: Maliki May Use Military Force Against Opponents

Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 | Ali Abel Sadah, Contributor

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi criticizes Baghdad’s support for Syrian President Assad's regime, and notes that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki could resort to using military force against demonstrators.

Exclusive: Davutoglu Says Turkey Seeks 'Democratic' Syria

Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013 | Mustafa Akyol, Columnist

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discusses regional developments in an exclusive interview with Mustafa Akyol.

Israeli Spokesman to Turkey: “You Cannot Forget the Facts”

Monday, Apr. 8, 2013 | Tulin Daloglu, Contributor

Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor comments on Israel’s relations with Turkey on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Tulin Daloglu reports from Jerusalem.

Ghazi Hamad: Hamas Agrees to Accept State Within '67 Borders

Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 | Shlomi Eldar, Columnist

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, the deputy foreign minister of the Hamas government, Ghazi Hamad, explains the far-reaching change in attitudes under way in his movement and the unchanged approach of not recognizing Israel.

KRG Minister: Our Problem With Baghdad Lies in the Budget

Wednesday, Apr. 3, 2013 | Abdel Hamid Zebari, Contributor

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s reconstruction minister talks about the ministry’s plans to revitalize the housing sector and notes that the region’s problems with Baghdad center on budget allocations, writes Abdel Hamid Zebari.

Obama's Visit Just to Sightsee, Says Abu Zaida

Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013 | Shlomi Eldar, Columnist

In an interview with Shlomi Eldar, senior Fatah member Dr. Sufian Abu Zaida reveals that he isn’t placing much hope in the US president’s visit — or in the new Israeli government, for that matter.

Syrian Opposition Leader: 'Regime Can’t Go On Like This'

Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 | Cengiz Çandar, Columnist

Cengiz Çandar talks with Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib, leader of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, about the roles and interests of the United States, Russia and Iran in Syria and his efforts to arrive at a solution to the crisis.

Shin Bet Ex-Deputy: Israel Shouldn't Humiliate Abu Mazen

Friday, Mar. 1, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

In an interview with Mazal Mualem, former Shin Bet Deputy Director Israel Hasson accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of treating the Palestinian Authority chairman disgracefully, while acknowledging that Abu Mazen also made mistakes.

Hamas Official Predicts Third Intifada

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 | Abeer Ayyoub, Contributor

Salah Bardawil, senior Hamas leader and member of parliament, in an exclusive interview with Abeer Ayyoub, warns that if President Barack Obama visits the al-Aqsa Mosque with Israeli security, "it will result in the biggest political disaster in the history of Palestinian-American relations."

Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi on Prospects for 'Armed Intifada'

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi, in an exclusive interview with Mazal Mualem, says that while there is a general consensus opposing an "armed intifada" by Palestinians, the situation is explosive and will deteriorate without diplomatic measures.

Arens: Netanyahu Made a "Mistake" with Livni

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, in an interview with Mazal Mualem, criticizes Prime Minister Benjamin Netantahu's decision to ask Tzipi Livni to join his government, while praising Netnayahu's handling of Iran.

Israel's First Arab Soccer Superstar: Rifaat Turk Tells His Story

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 | Shlomi Eldar, Columnist

Rifaat Turk, Israel’s first Arab soccer superstar, who paved the way for dozens of Arab players, tells Shlomi Eldar about the racism and challenges he has faced.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Says Terrorism Linked to Syria

Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 | Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq Pulse Editor

In an interview with Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayad describes the intricate regional and internal factors affecting his job, and what the future holds for Iraq’s national security.

Barakeh: Arab-Israelis a Faceless Entity

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh, leader of the bi-national party Hadash, explains to Mazal Mualem why the most social justice-oriented party in Israel did not benefit from the fruits of Israel’s social-protest movement, and points an accusing finger at the government and the media for ignoring Israel's Arab citizens.

Muasher: Obama Should Try to Solve Conflict in a 'Few Months'

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 | Akiva Eldar, Columnist

In an interview with Akiva Eldar, Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s former foreign minister and its first ambassador to Israel, warns that the failure of the Arab peace initiative will signal the end of the “two-state” paradigm.

Meridor Saddened by Likud's 'Ultra-Nationalist' Turn

Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Dan Meridor, a former "prince” of the Likud Party, comments to Mazal Mualem on the right-wing turn in the Likud Party and his doubts regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ability to lead an important diplomatic process.

Chokri Belaid's Widow Holds Ennahda 'Politically Accountable'

Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 | Ali Hashem, Columnist

In an exclusive interview with Ali Hashem, the widow of slain Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid holds the Tunisian government "politically accountable" for his murder.

Dan Meridor: Struggle With Iran Will 'Shape the Middle East'

Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 | Mazal Mualem, Columnist

Departing Likud Minister Dan Meridor tells Mazal Mualem about the squandered diplomatic opportunities with the Palestinians, and how the struggle with Iran will shape the Middle East.

Syria’s Reconciliation Minister: Turkish Role in Syria 'Very Bad'

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 | Antoun Issa, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor from his office in Damascus, Ali Haidar, Syria's minister of national reconciliation, said that President Assad’s Jan. 6 speech constitutes "a step forward toward solving the crisis” and that Turkey's “role is based upon a sectarian position, and they are supporting some of the Syrian people at the expense of others.”

Former Official Urges US Military Intervention in Syria

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Former US State Department official Fred Hof called for US military assistance to depose Syrian President Assad and praised the new Syrian opposition group, while noting that the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra “terrifies” many Syrians, Barbara Slavin reports from Washington.

Crocker Calls for US to Treat Iraq Like an Ally

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, former US ambassador Ryan Crocker said now is a “good time for discussion” between Washington and Tehran about Syria.

Jibril: Libya Is a 'Stateless Society'

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In an exclusive interview in Washington with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril describes Libya as a "stateless society" requiring assistance from the United States and other Western nations to begin a national dialogue among its disparate factions and to stabilize the country.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Predicts Persian Spring

Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi told Sophie Claudet in an interview that renewed protests against the Iranian government are imminent and that the opposition is working behind the scenes even if the state's crackdown has kept it off the streets. She also gave her views on Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian politics, sanctions and the Arab revolutions.

Former Israeli Spymaster: We Need to Talk to Iran

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, former Israeli spy chief Efraim Halevy said Israel and the US must engage in a dialogue with Iran to understand how their adversaries think, a position rarely heard from top Israeli officials. He faulted Republican candidate Mitt Romney for making US policy toward Iran an issue in the presidential election.

Ambassador: Qatar's Love Affair With France Just 'Business'

Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

Qatar has set up a fund to support enterprises in France’s underdeveloped areas, a move some speculate aims to interfere in French politics or propagate Qatar’s orthodox brand of Islam. Al-Monitor's Sophie Claudet met with Qatar's ambassador to discuss France, the rise of Islamism in Arab Spring countries, Syria and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Egypt to US: Era of 'Yes, Sir' Has Ended

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 | Cale Salih, Contributor

Egyptian diplomat Amr Moussa tells Al-Monitor's Cale Salih in an exclusive interview that although strong US-Egypt relations are in the best interests of his country, he hopes Egypt will find itself in a position to say no to the US when necessary. Moussa also defended President Morsi, his one-time foe, praising his achievements in office.

Lebanon's Energy Minister Welcomes US as a 'Real Player'

Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s minister of energy and water, said he welcomes US involvement in the emerging energy opportunities in Lebanon and hopes the US will decide to become a “real player” in the Eastern Mediterranean. Bassil said American companies already are among those who have invested in the discoveries.

Syrian Minister Says US Ignores 'Lessons of Afghanistan'

Saturday, Sep. 29, 2012 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, who rarely speaks to the Western press, cast violence in Syria as a war against Salafi terrorists backed by predominantly Sunni Arab nations. "If ending the violence was in the hands of the Syrian government, then I assure you we would have ended it yesterday," Moallem said.

Lieberman: US Should 'Stick With' Mideast Peace Process

Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

US Sen. Joseph Lieberman, in a wide ranging discussion of US policy in the Middle East, said the US should “stick with” the peace process and seek at least “a partial agreement” between Israel and Palestinians, adding he is “not seeking any position in whatever administration is elected,” although he would give any offer “serious consideration.”

Exclusive Interview: Tunisian President Marzouki

Saturday, Sep. 22, 2012 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki speaks to Al-Monitor's Sophie Claudet just days after the US embassy in Tunis was stormed by Salafists. Marzouki said more could have been done to prevent the attack. He also acknowledged the rise and danger of Salafists, but said that force will not solve the problem of radical Islam.

Former KRG Prime Minister Says Iraqi Politics More Polarized Than Ever

Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor’s Andrew Parasiliti, Kurdistan leader Barham Salih warned, “let’s not repeat the mishaps of the Iraq transition” in planning for a post-Assad Syria, and said that the “Iraqi political crisis is far from over,” and compared threats to cut the Kurdistan Region’s share of the Iraqi budget to the tactics of Saddam Hussein.

Returned South Yemen Leader: 'Peaceful Struggle' May Yet Win

Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2012 | Farea al-Muslimi

Mohammed Ali Ahmed, a former South Yemeni leader who recently returned from exile, survived an assassination attempt on September 10. Al-Monitor's Farea al-Muslimi interviewed Ahmed, who rarely speaks and remains mostly in seclusion, earlier this summer on topics ranging from al-Qaeda to South Yemen’s prospects for independence.

Iraqi Spokesman: Al-Hashemi Is 'Connected Directly' To Terrorists

Monday, Sep. 10, 2012 | Andrew Parasiliti, Contributor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor's Andrew Parasiliti, Ali Aldabbagh, spokesman for the government of Iraq, said that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is "connected directly to groups who ... performed terrorism," but could appeal his death sentence with a "full guarantee of protection" if he returned to Iraq.

Iran Parliament Speaker Dismisses Israeli Threats

Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, Iran Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations would be "suicidal." The former chief Iranian nuclear negotiator also denied allegations that Iran has used a site called Parchin for nuclear work.

Iran's Foreign Minister Says Morsi Visit Is a 'Landmark'

Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi praised the presence of Egypt President Mohammed Morsi after decades of Iranian-Egyptian estrangement.

Dennis Ross: Israel's Iran Threats Aimed at Spurring Global Action

Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

Part of Israel's motivation for being so public about a possible attack on Iran is to prepare Israelis and the rest of the world for an actual attack, said Mideast troubleshooter Dennis Ross in an interview with Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen. The rhetoric isn't just a bluff, but that doesn't mean there's a day-after strategy.

Ex-Obama Official Warns: Take Israel Iran Threat 'Very Seriously'

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl told Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen that he takes the signs that Israeli leaders are contemplating a fall strike on Iran “very seriously.” He said there is clearly a crescendo emerging and "Israeli leadership is building a case that they can trust no one but themselves on this issue." Read the full interview.

US Iraq Envoy Sees 'Great Deal of Continuity' From Bush to Obama

Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

In an exit interview, departing US Iraq envoy James Jeffrey tells Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen how negotiations for a US follow-on force in Iraq ran aground, about prospects for diplomacy with Iran and how the Obama and Bush administrations are alike in their policies to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan in many respects.

US Global Justice Chief Warns Assad: Syria Will Put You on Trial

Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Syria's president will answer for his crimes, but now isn't the time to refer him to the International Criminal Court, says the head of the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice. In an interview with Barbara Slavin hours after Assad’s brother-in-law and defense minister died in a bomb blast, he said that Syria would try Assad itself.

Iran’s UN Envoy: We Will Not Initiate Confrontation

Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2012 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

EXCLUSIVE: Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said that Iran will not "initiate any provocative steps" with the West despite the imposition of draconian sanctions, in a wide-ranging interview with Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen and Barbara Slavin. He also described recent nuclear talks as tentative and vague. Read more from the conversation.

Rights Defenders Uneasy About West Bank Wall Disparity

Friday, Jun. 29, 2012 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

On the tenth anniverary of the the Israeli West Bank wall, both the United Nations and the leading Israeli rights NGO B'Tselem, estimate that once completed, only 15% of the barrier will actually be on the Green Line while 85% will encroach into the West Bank. Listen to Al-Monitor’s interview with B'Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli. 

Former Turkish Official: Assad Fall May Lead to Chaos in Syria

Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Yasar Yakis, Turkey's Former Foreign Minister, said the situation between Turkey and Syria could get worse if Assad falls because chaos will hit Syria first and Turkey second, in an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin. He went so far as to say that the Syrian shoot-down of a Turkish plane could could lead to more communication.

Former Obama Official Says US Should Put Cards on Table

Friday, Jun. 15, 2012 | Laura Rozen, Back Channel

Colin Kahl, a former Obama Defense Department official, tells Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen why the Iran nuclear talks in Moscow scheduled for next week should not be make-or-break for the West. He explains why Iran doesn’t take Israel’s threat of force seriously, and why it may be time for the US to give a little in order to resolve broader concerns.

Republican Foreign-Policy Player Counsels Caution in Egypt, Syria

Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Brent Scowcroft, a veteran Republican voice on US foreign policy, said the US “isn’t smart enough” to solve the Syria crisis and that intervening in Egypt "will create more problems in the long run” in an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, indirectly criticizing hawkish advisers to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Top Romney Adviser Says US Should Arm Syrian Rebels

Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

In an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, Richard Williamson, a foreign-policy adviser to Mitt Romney, says the US should be willing to intervene in Syria as Clinton did in Kosovo. He also demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment and said the US should be more loyal to Israel, which he said Obama has thrown "under the bus."

Yemeni Nobel Winner to the World: Stop Helping Saleh

Monday, Jun. 4, 2012 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

Al-Monitor's Sophie Claudet sat down with Tawakul Karman, the 2011 Nobel Prize Peace winner who became the face of Yemen’s Arab Spring, at Brookings’ US-Islamic World Forum in Doha. The passionate yet remarkably humble 33-year-old journalist and activist spoke of her hopes for her country and the revolution.

A Champion of Non-violence on Palestine's Tactics

Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

As hundreds of Palestinians jailed in Israel go on hunger strike to mark "Prisoners' Day" on April 17, Al-Monitor talks to Mustafa Barghouti, an MP, the leader of Al-Mubadara and a long-time advocate of civil resistance about the effectiveness of the non-violent movement. Are boycotts working? Will Hamas renounce the armed struggle? And is a two-state solution possible? 

US Returning to Security Council To Protect Syrians, Says Burns

Monday, Apr. 9, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns is deeply engaged on Middle Eastern issues, in particular the challenges and opportunities of the Arab Spring. In an interview with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, Burns called the Egyptian Revolution "a moment of opportunity."

Peter Beinart Targets 'The Crisis of Zionism'

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Peter Beinart, the author of "The Crisis of Zionism," spoke with Al-Monitor's Barbara Slavin, warning that Israel is “sleepwalking to a one-state solution." He suggests slowing settlement expansion through a boycott of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the funding of Jewish education for American Jews.

Atlantic's Goldberg Discusses Israel vs. Iran; Boycott Idea

Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Al-Monitor correspondent Barbara Slavin interviews Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who has become a major figure in the debate over whether and when Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Goldberg recently became embroiled in a Twitter duel with blogger Peter Beinart over the wisdom of boycotting products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Hagel Praises Obama on Syria; Chides GOP on Iran

Monday, Mar. 12, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

The co-Chair of Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board and former Senator talks to Al Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin about scenarios that could prod Israel to act on Iran, the GOP candidates' obsession with threats to bomb Iran, Assad’s inevitable fall and Obama's plans on Mideast peace.

Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen on the Future of Syria, Iran and Israel

Sunday, Mar. 4, 2012 | William Cohen

Al-Monitor speaks to former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

UN Commission Accuses Syria Of Crimes Against Humanity

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 | Sophie Claudet, Contributor

The UN-backed independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report Thursday accusing Syrian armed and security forces of crimes against humanity. The report, documenting human rights violations since the beginning of the Syria uprising in March 2011, also accused armed opposition groups of serious violations. Al Monitor interviewed the panel’s chairman, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, about the report.

Brzezinski, Slaughter Discuss Obama's Mideast Challenges

Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 | Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent

Al-Monitor Washington correspondent Barbara Slavin recently interviewed former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former State Department policy planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter about the challenges facing the United States in the Middle East during this U.S. presidential election year. Excerpts from those interviews follow:

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