The story behind the end of Ahmadinejad’s bid for a third term

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been barred from seeking a third term on May 19. But was this because the Guardian Council disqualified him — or because it didn’t approve of his qualifications to run in this year’s race?
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 Fereshteh Sadeghi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 28

Are the US and Russia staking out territorial clout in Syria?

Moscow and Washington both deny they are dividing Syria into “zones of influence,” but they might be laying the groundwork by creating military facilities at various sites.
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 Anton Mardasov for Al-Monitor on April 28

Much more than power at stake in Israel-Hamas electricity standoff

With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announcing that he will stop financing Gaza's electricity needs, Israel must decide whether to save Gaza's residents and the Hamas regime with them.
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 Shlomi Eldar on April 28

Is Sufism the answer to extremism in Egypt?

Sufism may well be a tool to spread values opposing extremism in Egypt, but Egyptian Sufis also view their politics through the lens of an existential crisis.
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 Jayson Casper for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 28

Could Israel’s Bennett become next leader of the right?

HaBayit HaYehudi head Naftali Bennett has won his party’s leadership, but his victory doesn't open a direct path to that of the right-wing camp.
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 Mazal Mualem on April 28

Anti-Palestinian caucus divides pro-Israel camp on Capitol Hill

A handful of conservative Republicans have launched a congressional group dedicated to forcing the Palestinians to admit their "defeat."
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 27

White House still quiet on Turkish airstrike in run-up to Erdogan visit

The general US reactions to Turkish airstrikes in Syria have been loud, but the White House has yet to utter a single rebuke as Turkey's president packs for Washington.
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 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on April 27

Trump's generals wonder: What comes after Raqqa?

A senior US official says Turkish bombing of Syrian Kurdish forces is adding a new level of complexity to US efforts to defeat the Islamic State and retake Raqqa.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 27

Conservative presidential candidate paints bleak picture of Iran

Ebrahim Raisi expressed support for economic policies that led to high inflation in Iran.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 27

Does Iran's Khamenei really have a preferred candidate?

Ebrahim Raisi has been depicted as the Iranian supreme leader's candidate in both Western and Iranian media — but does Ayatollah Ali Khamenei really have a preference?
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 Reza Marashi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 27

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