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Iran Deal Leaves Major Questions Unresolved

The framework nuclear deal sealed by world powers and Iran leaves major questions: Could Iran cheat? Possibly. Would the U.S or anyone else be able to respond in time? In theory, yes. Are they prepared to use military force? Questionable.

Would a final deal settle global fears about Iran's intentions? Almost surely, no.

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The War of New Equations

The explosion of Yemen's war proved that the conflict in the region is no longer interpreted by wars and disputes in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain, but an attempt by Iran to have a sway in Middle East policy in return for efforts by Gulf states and Egypt to limit Tehran's expansion.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have given Iran two options after the military intervention by Sunni Riyadh against a Shiite rebellion aided by Tehran: Either it should stop its expansion in the region or face a total confrontation beyond the borders drawn by Iran.

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Experts Caution Reality Check on Joint Arab Force

The agreement at a weekend Arab summit to establish a joint military force has raised serious doubts about prospects of such a force becoming a reality on the ground, experts say.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the accord on Sunday at the end of the summit he hosted in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, setting a four-month timeframe for the 22-member Arab League to decide on the composition and rules of engagement of the joint force.

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Saudi Response to Swedish Criticism Tests Europe's Reach

Sweden's foreign minister is hardly the first diplomat to raise concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, but when she used the word "dictatorship" in a speech last month she crossed a red line for the kingdom at a time of intense regional turmoil, igniting a diplomatic crisis.

The harsh response from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies jolted Stockholm's standing in the Arab world, threatened its Gulf business interests and may have imperiled its bid for a rotating seat at the U.N. Security Council. The crisis also underscored the perils of promoting reform four years after the Arab Spring, particularly in Gulf monarchies that rode out the ensuing unrest by clamping down on dissent.

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Complex U.S.-Iran Ties at Heart of Complicated Mideast Policy

U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq's deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Yet the old adversaries are locked in a proxy war across an ever more volatile region. In Syria, the United States arms insurgents seeking to oust the Iran-backed government. In Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere, Iran supports militant groups determined to end Israel's existence. And now in Yemen, the U.S. is backing a military intervention by Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia against a Shiite rebellion aided by Iran.

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In Yemen, U.S. Gambles on Saudis as Sectarian War Looms

As the United States backs a Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, Washington runs the risk of undercutting its diplomacy with Iran and becoming embroiled in a regional sectarian conflict running from Aleppo to Sanaa.

Despite the risks, and with negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program at a crucial moment, President Barack Obama swiftly endorsed air strikes by a coalition of Gulf countries against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen on Wednesday. 

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Hariri Part of the Arab-Islamic Coalition to Combat Iranian Threats

It could be clear to any one that al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri was part of the Arab military intervention against Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Hariri's recent shuttle diplomacy, where he traveled to Egypt 15 days ago and held talks with President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and then headed to Turkey on Wednesday and met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, could be a clear indication that he was part of the Arab and regional preparations to intervene in Yemen to combat Huthi rebels, who are supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Lessons to be Learned from the STL

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is functioning according to a specific timeframe and based on specific rules in spite of the differences between Lebanese politicians on the court's role and objectives.

Although one can understand their differences from a political perspective, it is shameful that the Lebanese from various factions are not benefiting from its technical aspects.

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Are Minorities in the Region in Danger?

France has called for a U.N. Security Council meeting at the end of March on the protection of minorities in the Middle East after extremists and mainly Islamic State militants committed atrocities against them.

But the adoption of such an approach by major powers, democracies and the international community to resolve the problems of the Arab countries, mainly Syria and Iraq, adds to the already existing dangers.

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Dialogues and Schizophrenia among Lebanese Politicians

The Lebanese and mainly politicians are living in a state of schizophrenia as a result of the contradictory stances that they make.

Despite the wave of dialogue between al-Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah, between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces and finally between Bkirki and Hizbullah, all of them insist on holding onto their initial stances, stressing that dialogue does not compel them to change their positions.

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