NIAC: President Trump's announced withdrawal of U.S. troops in northeast Syria is the latest of a series of stunning developments affecting the Middle East. It comes after breakneck efforts by the French and others to broker U.S.-Iran diplomacy at the UN General Assembly, the Sept. 15th attack on Saudi oil refineries, and the ouster of National Security Advisor John Bolton.
In the backdrop, President Trump has continued to make clear his desire for a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. However, with unrelenting U.S. sanctions on Iran continuing and entrenched hardliners on both sides of the standoff, many are asking if a Trump-Iran deal is even possible.
Has the clock run out on the Trump administration's so-called "maximum pressure" against Tehran? What has been the impact of U.S. sanctions on the political dynamics inside Iran? Does the Iranian leadership still believe in "deals" with Washington? What do recent developments augur for America’s overall posture in the Middle East?