Thanassis Cambanis, WorldPoliticsReview

Thanassis Cambanis


New York, NY, United States

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  • Unknown
  • WorldPoliticsReview
  • The Atlantic
  • Foreign Policy

Past articles by Thanassis:

Washington’s Middle East Partners Are Getting Away With Murder

The United States’ partners in the Middle East continue to enjoy impunity when it comes to Washington’s responses to their human rights abuses. If there were a time to make a course correction when it comes to the place values and human rights will occupy in Washington’s approach to the Middle East, that time is now. → Read More

Despite the Stalemate in Baghdad, Iraq’s Political Winds Are Shifting

Iraq’s government formation talks have reached a stalemate, with the most likely outcome a coalition that reflects the same power-sharing consensus that has shaped every Iraqi government since 2005. But the deadlock masks a shift in Iraq away from ethnic and sectarian-based politics, and toward a nationalist project. → Read More

Punishing Assad Shouldn’t Stand in the Way of Helping Syrians

Normalization of diplomatic ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad raises difficult questions. The global order should center justice and accountability for war criminals, torturers and tyrants. But whether that should mean using sanctions and isolation to conduct ineffective “forever after-wars” remains ambiguous. → Read More

A Conviction in Germany Brings Limited Justice for Syrian Victims of Assad

Last week’s conviction of a Syrian intelligence officer who oversaw the torture and murder of detainees represents a high-water mark in the quest for accountability against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But the conviction underscores the difficulty of pursuing accountability through universal jurisdiction. → Read More

Iraq Is One Step Closer to Forming a New Government

Negotiations to form a new government in Iraq have entered a decisive phase. The process is shaping up to be a dispiriting contest among several factions with broadly similar authoritarian characteristics, leaving a small bloc of dissident candidates as the only glimmer of hope for a credible parliamentary opposition. → Read More

The Middle East’s Struggle Over Rights and Legitimacy Is Far From Over

What would it take to transform the way countries in the Middle East are governed? That question has taken on added urgency over the past year, in which competing theories of power and change have been on display. The region’s reformers and despots are still engaged in a struggle over the central purpose of government. → Read More

Diplomacy Is the Middle East’s Best Bet, but It’s Still a Long Shot

The current round of regional diplomacy in the Middle East looks like the beginning of a course correction after the past two decades of U.S. interventionism in the region. But the divergent interests among regional powers and the lack of an alternative to Washington’s arbiter role makes the prospect of a breakthrough slim. → Read More

Despite Its Flaws, Biden’s Democracy Summit Has Value for the Middle East

Washington’s democracy summit has been dismissed by some as a hollow performative exercise that’s high on symbolism and low on substance. But the importance of the summit lies precisely in its symbolism, and those criticisms overlook the role of rhetoric in shaping practice, as well as the introspections the summit could engender. → Read More

The Middle East’s Climate Crisis Is a Glimpse of the World’s Future

The Middle East’s climate challenges require strategic plans consisting of emergency interventions and regional collaboration efforts that are inconceivable given the sharp divisions within and between the countries in the region, reflecting the collective action problems that make global climate solutions so intractable. → Read More

A Drone Attack Raises the Stakes of Iraq’s Post-Election Standoff

Iraq faces a deadly dilemma: make a deal with the militias that appear to be behind an assassination attempt on the life of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, or face off against them in a fight that is sure to leave the Iraqi state and people worse off. Unfortunately, there are few good options for Baghdad to explore. → Read More

Saudi Arabia’s Latest Pressure Campaign on Lebanon Could Backfire

Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador to Lebanon and ordered a halt to Lebanese imports, in another sign of escalating tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. It’s hard to see how the pressure campaign will change the balance of power in Beirut, and it could isolate Lebanese citizens ostensibly sympathetic to Riyadh. → Read More

The Path to Change in Iraq—and the Obstacles Blocking It

The results of Iraq’s legislative elections have made possible many important shifts in the country’s internal balance of power. But the risk of violence during the transition period looms large in a country where losing factions have often resorted to negotiating with violence and threats to destabilize the state. → Read More

Syria’s Middle East Neighbors Are Thawing Ties With Damascus

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been steadily pushing toward normalizing relations with a number of the states that had formally supported the opposition after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war 10 years ago. Two significant milestones this week suggest that momentum is shifting in Assad’s favor. → Read More

Recognizing Israel Is a Dangerous Distraction for Iraq

Iraqis will vote on Oct. 10 for a new parliament at a time when the country faces uncertainties about a host of crises. So it might come as a surprise that over the weekend, Iraqis were abuzz over a controversy about the country’s relations with Israel, provoked by remarks at a conference that took place Friday in Erbil. → Read More

Lebanon’s Political Bosses Won’t Change. We Should Still Name Their Crimes

To mark the first anniversary of the massive explosion at the Beirut Port, Lebanese shared moving stories of the toll the event took on their lives. Tragically, what they could not do is point to any meaningful consequences for the politicians and bureaucrats criminally responsible for the avoidable disaster at the port. → Read More

To Defend Democracy, Tunisia Needs U.S. Support Now More Than Ever

Tunisian President Kais Saied suspended parliament Sunday night and followed that up with a raft of edicts concentrating judicial, legislative and executive power in his own hands. His coup could still be reversed, if enough Tunisian constituencies rally against renewed dictatorship—and if they receive international backing. → Read More

‘The State Has Built Nothing’: A Dispatch From Iraq

Karbala, a holy city and pilgrimage site south of Baghdad, has been considered a bright spot insulated from the troubles besetting the rest of Iraq. But a closer look suggests it is straining under the same forces bogging down the entire country: a weak government, with real power in the hands of militias and local warlords. → Read More

Biden Tries to Chart a Middle Course With Iraq Air Strikes

How should America handle militia attacks on its forces in Iraq? And will American military retaliation actually change the armed factions’ behavior? Answers are hard to come by if, as I believe, U.S. policy should strive to end endless wars while continuing to engage politically and militarily in the Middle East.  → Read More

The Tempting Fallacy of Election Boycotts

Boycotts can be a powerful tool for political dissidents, transforming diffuse popular sentiment into a targeted beam powerful enough to force political change. Election boycotts, however, are a different matter altogether. While understandable in the face of oppression, they tend to do more harm than good. → Read More

Another Israeli-Palestinian War Leaves Root Causes Unaddressed

Israel and Hamas ended their latest round of fighting with a minimalist cease-fire, referred to in the lexicon of their long-standing conflict as “quiet for quiet,” with no steps taken to address the conflict’s triggers or root causes. What now passes for quiet is an alarming return to a highly combustible status quo ante. → Read More