• Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Beyond the Trump-Erdoğan Meeting: The Rise of Eurasianists and Turkey’s Syria Policy

    May 23, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    A structural change in Turkey’s political system is gradually forcing serious changes in the country’s foreign policy toward Syria, the Gulf countries, Russia,…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Once Again, Lebanon Faces the Ghost of a Political Vacuum

    May 17, 2017Joe Macaron

    Lebanon’s sectarian consensus rule raises questions about the functionality of the country’s political system. An agreement on its new electoral law is needed …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq Beyond the Islamic State

    May 17, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    After the defeat of ISIL and the reconquest of Mosul, how will Iraq’s government address the lingering issues of national identity, minorities, and Kurdish asp…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Cautionary Notes to the GCC about Trump’s Visit

    May 15, 2017Imad K. Harb

    President Trump’s erratic behavior and lack of knowledge and his administration’s institutional problems require great caution from GCC leaders when he visits …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Precariousness of the De-Escalation Zones in Syria

    May 10, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Confusion engulfs the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria as Russia advocates for them and the Syrian opposition expresses doubt about their efficacy.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Abbas’s Inconclusive Washington Visit and Netanyahu’s Tactics

    May 9, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    The outcome of President Abbas’s visit to Washington was inconclusive but it was a reminder that President Trump is an unpredictable partner in peace.

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    Challenges Facing Iran’s Presidential Contenders

    May 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Iran’s presidential candidates are acutely aware that if elected, they would have to hew to the wishes and ultimate desires of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Middle East in Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

    May 3, 2017Joe Macaron

    Projecting the image of political stability and steadiness in Washington is paramount for US policy in the Middle East. There is no room for second-guessing th…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    President Abbas Spins the Wheel in Washington

    May 2, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Realities on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories and an obvious pro-Israel American bias dash any hope for an equitable peace deal from the Trum…

  • Policy Analysis
    North AfricaDemocracy and Governance

    Tunisians Want a Better Economy and a Democratic System

    May 1, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Forty-nine percent of Tunisians consider improving the economy the topmost priority while 20 percent think that security is. An overwhelming majority want a de…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Is Enforced Displacement the New Reality in Syria?

    Apr 28, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    It is feared that forced displacement of Syrians as a way of protecting vulnerable civilians may result in creating pure sectarian enclaves, making partition e…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Trump Ponders Renewing America’s Longest War in Afghanistan

    Apr 26, 2017Joe Macaron

    The Pentagon has in recent weeks flexed its muscles in Afghanistan but the US continues to navigate a difficult environment in that country as the Taliban rema…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Will Erdogan’s Victory Usher Dramatic Changes in Turkish Foreign Policy?

    Apr 25, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Since becoming Turkey’s president in July 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pursued a protracted campaign to win constitutional changes that would grant him more …

  • Research Paper
    MoroccoConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Four-Approach Dilemma of the Western Sahara Conflict

    Apr 25, 2017Mohammed Cherkaoui

    While awaiting the perennial renewal of the mandate for the UN monitoring force (MINURSO, or Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) in Western Sahara at…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Quandary of Bad Governance in the Arab World

    Apr 24, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Polling in the Arab world shows that Arabs in general have little confidence in their civilian institutions and believe that their governments are not doing en…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Next Challenge for Trump: The Islamic Republic of Iran

    Apr 24, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump struggles to find its foreign policy footing, with early tests emerging in the Middle East, Asia, Europe…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Israel’s “New” Settlement Policy Ploy

    Apr 21, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    To reach a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, President Trump has to press the former to end violations of international law and settlement building.

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Deterring Iran in Yemen: Will the United States Join the Hodeida Operation?

    Apr 19, 2017Joe Macaron

    The United States debates whether it wants to assist in evicting the Houthis out of Yemen's Hodeida.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Avoiding a Second Fallujah in Mosul

    Apr 18, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The victory in Mosul requires a comprehensive strategy that includes addressing the looming danger of civilian deaths, winning the hearts and minds of Sunni lo…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Perceptions of ISIL in the Arab World

    Apr 14, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    Arab autocrats can no longer argue that Arabs are satisfied with authoritarian rule. New social movements have emerged after the Arab Spring advocating for hum…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Trump Administration’s Complicated Middle East Map

    Apr 12, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    As the 2016 US presidential campaign wound its way through a long string of primaries, fundraisers, and an almost unimaginable marathon of candidate debates, d…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Dramatic American Change on Syria, but Will It Be Consequential?

    Apr 7, 2017Imad K. Harb

    As a limited attack on a Syrian military base, the American operation is not likely to rise to the status of being a game changer in Syria.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Outsider Diplomat: Tillerson Strives to Define his Role

    Apr 6, 2017Joe Macaron

    After two months in office, Tillerson is gradually coping in his new job; his success or failure will indeed have a significant impact on US foreign policy in …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Turkey-Russia Rift Heralds an Autonomous Kurdistan in Syria

    Apr 5, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    As the Syrian civil war grinds on into a seventh year, a Kurdish autonomous region controlled by the People’s Protection Units becomes more probable in norther…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    The US Military Posture in the Gulf: Future Possibilities

    Apr 4, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Since former President Jimmy Carter announced the establishment of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East in 1980—which later became Central …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Genocide in Mosul: The Repercussions of Targeting Civilians

    There have been widespread allegations that the destruction of Mosul, the major Sunni Iraqi city after Baghdad, is the aim of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia…

  • Research Paper

    The Army and Political Power in the Arab Context: Theoretical Problems

    Mar 31, 2017

    A significant question has arisen about how, over recent decades, military coups have stopped occurring in states considered to be coup countries, such as Syri…

  • Policy Analysis

    Egypt’s Fragile Stability: Erosion of the Rule of Law and Institutions of Governance

    Mar 30, 2017

    This paper addresses the erosion of the rule of law and institutions of governance in Egypt by discussing the significant expansion of legal repression, the cl…

  • Policy Analysis

    The US at the UN and the Apartheid Report on Palestine

    Mar 29, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    Earlier this month and for the first time in the history of the United Nations, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)—a UN institution—is…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Last of a Dying Breed: The 2016 Referendum on Clintonism

    Mar 29, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    For many young voters, the Democratic Party’s nomination of Hillary Clinton for the US presidency in 2016 seemed surprising, considering she was a problematic …

  • Policy Analysis

    Why Is the Battle against ISIL not Going Well?

    Mar 28, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    On March 22nd, the foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) concluded their meeting in Washington, D…

  • Policy Analysis

    Syria Peace Talks in Geneva: A Road to Nowhere

    Mar 27, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    On March 3, 2017, the United Nations’ Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, concluded the last round of Syria peace negotiations in Geneva by saying tha…

  • Policy Analysis

    The American-Russian Strategic Competition in the Arab Middle East

    The Historical ContextThe presence of global powers in the Arab Middle East region is not new. American and Russian involvement goes back to the 18th and 19th …

  • Policy Analysis

    The Difficult Tasks for the Arab League

    Mar 22, 2017Imad K. Harb

    As the Arab League limps through its eighth decade, its problems increase in number and intensity while the Arab state system continues to be burdened with pol…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon’s Oligarchy Consolidates Control over the Security Establishment

    Mar 22, 2017Joe Macaron

    After an impasse of nearly four years, on March 8 the Lebanese government announced a sectarian quota deal to fill the security establishment's leadership posi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turkey-Europe Tensions: Where are They Headed?

    Mar 21, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The escalation of tensions between Turkish and Dutch authorities seems to have played well in domestic political calculations in Turkey and the Netherlands. Tu…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Arab World after ISIL’s Defeat

    Current efforts to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will, with time and sustained commitment, eventually lead to the physical destruction…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turnover: What Are the Implications of Recent and Upcoming Changes in Hamas?

    Mar 15, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    BackgroundSince its establishment in the 1980s, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, has increasingly become an important player in domestic …

  • Policy Analysis

    Obstacles to President Trump’s Options on Iran

    Mar 14, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Almost two months into his presidency, Donald Trump has charted a clear path to tense relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Why Federalism Is a Bad Idea for Syria

    Mar 13, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    In the middle of the discussion about transition in Syria, Russia proposed the idea of a federal republic, according to deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov.…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turkey-Iran Relations: A Sectarian Future?

    Mar 8, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Syrian war and ensuing crisis in Iraq have put Turkey and Iran in an unprecedented sectarian rivalry. Competition over Iraqi Kurdistan will be a major test…

  • Policy Analysis

    J Street Annual Conference: “Defending Our Values: Fighting for Our Future”

    Mar 8, 2017Roxanne Perugino

    J Street, the liberal left-of-center Jewish pro-peace, pro-Israel organization held its sixth annual conference at the end of February in Washington, DC. Over …

  • Policy Analysis

    Trump’s Defense Budget Militarizes US Foreign Policy

    Mar 7, 2017Joe Macaron

    The signature blueprint of any US president is the federal budget. Donald Trump is giving us an insight into how he views the world and what resources he inten…

  • Policy Analysis

    Regaining Western Mosul: Consequences and Implications

    img { margin: 5px; padding: 5px;}Since October 2016, the Iraqi government, supported by the US military, has waged one of its most difficult battles to…

  • Policy Analysis

    How Will Trump Run Washington’s Favorite Killing Machine?

    Mar 2, 2017Joe Macaron

    In 2016, US unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) dropped on average three bombs every 60 minutes in the global fight against radical extremists. Nothing defined Pre…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Trump Administration’s Hezbollah Problem

    Mar 2, 2017Imad K. Harb

    As paramilitary organizations go, Lebanon’s Hezbollah has achieved resounding success since its establishment by the revolutionary Iranian regime, which was ne…

  • Policy Analysis

    Netanyahu and Trump Chart New US-Israel Relationship

    Feb 26, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    BackgroundOn February 15, 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump met in the White House for the first time since America’s …

  • Policy Analysis

    Democratization and Radicalization: Understanding Tunisia’s Model of Democratic Transition

    Feb 21, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    On February 1, 2017, German police arrested a Tunisian asylum seeker suspected of recruiting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and planning a…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Erdoğan’s Gulf Tour: Reassurance without Substance?

    Feb 21, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Contemporaneous visits to the Gulf region by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani indicate urgent regional diplomacy in …

  • Policy Analysis

    Going Forward on Egyptian-American Relations

    Feb 21, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Egypt recently marked the sixth anniversary of the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak and his handover of power to the Supreme Council of the Armed …

  • Policy Analysis

    Libya after ISIL: What Will Trump Do?

    Feb 15, 2017Joe Macaron

    It is safe to say that at present, Libya might not be high on the agenda of President Donald Trump’s Administration. In December 2016, the Islamic State in Ira…

  • Policy Analysis

    General Flynn, We Hardly Knew You

    Feb 15, 2017Roxanne Perugino

    After serving only 24 days as President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn has resigned, leaving behind chaos within the Natio…

  • Policy Analysis

    Receiving Netanyahu, Trump Must Emphasize America’s Interests

    Feb 14, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to Washington this week to officially reset US-Israeli relations after the chill of the last few years of the Obama Adm…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfThe GCC

    Developments in Yemen and American Strategic Calculations

    Feb 8, 2017Imad K. Harb

    It has been three years since Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference concluded its work to set the stage for a constitution for a six-region federated state. Thi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Iran and Trump’s Strategy in the Gulf Region: What’s Next?

    Iran’s recent launch of a medium range ballistic missile played to the Trump Administration’s expectations of Iranian behavior regarding strategic weaponry in …

  • Policy Analysis

    “America First” Will Compromise Homeland Security and Disrupt American Soft Power

    Feb 7, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Trump Administration’s two promises—pursuing an “America first” policy and exterminating radical jihadism—require an investment in American soft power that…

  • Policy Analysis

    General Mattis and Iraq: Motivations and Apprehensions

    The appointment of retired US General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense comes during cautious times for both Iraqis and Americans. The Iraqis are anticipati…

  • Policy Analysis

    Netanyahu Unrestrained: The Trump Effect on Israeli Politics

    Feb 3, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    BackgroundSince 2009, there have been two constants in the American-Israeli relationship: Barack Obama was President of the United States and Benjamin Netanyah…

  • Policy Analysis

    Jordan’s King Abdallah in Washington: ISIL and Jerusalem

    Feb 1, 2017Joe Macaron

    In what was described as a working visit, Jordan’s King Abdullah II arrived on January 30, 2017, and became the first Arab leader to come to Washington since t…

  • Policy Analysis

    Ten Days of Trump: Prospects for Democracy and Human Rights vis-à-vis the Arab World

    Feb 1, 2017

    In his first 10 days in office, President Trump signed executive orders and made statements that greatly influence US foreign policy, from suspending refugee r…

  • Policy Analysis

    Strategic Costs of the Muslim Ban

    Jan 30, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The Trump Administration’s first week has clearly exposed both its limited depth in strategic thinking and, worse, its lack of commitment to US leadership arou…

  • Policy Analysis

    A World Between bin Laden and Breivik: Supremacist Ideologies Shaping the 21st Century

    Jan 26, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    From Austria, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and elsewhere on the European continent, right-wing political parties are on the rise. Nationalism, protectionism, …

  • Policy Analysis

    Iraqi Kurdistan’s Bid for Independence: Challenges and Prospects

    Jan 26, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan, has expressed his expectation for “a big change” in US policy under P…

  • Policy Analysis

    Forget Paris. It Won’t be Hard

    Jan 25, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    The Paris Peace Conference of January 15, 2017, barely amounted to a singular blip on radar. Some 70 countries participated in what was among the largest inter…

  • Policy Analysis

    Syria and Iraq in the Age of Trump: Challenges to American Interests

    Jan 25, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Now that the Trump Administration has taken over the reins of American diplomatic and military power, questions arise about how it intends to preserve America’…

  • Policy Analysis

    President Trump and the Republican Congress: Smooth Sailing or Choppy Waters?

    Jan 25, 2017Roxanne Perugino

    For only the third time since 1929, the Republican Party will control the House, Senate and the White House and have the opportunity to choose a Supreme Court …

  • Policy Analysis

    Aoun in Riyadh: A Test for Lebanon’s Foreign Policy

    Jan 25, 2017Joe Macaron

    In November 2014, General Michel Aoun told the Lebanese daily newspaper, As-Safir, that the late Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal was behind a veto to ele…

  • Policy Analysis

    Oman’s Needed Adjustment During the Trump Presidency

    Jan 18, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The Sultanate of Oman has arguably always been an outlier regarding unified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) action since the organization’s establishment in 198…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turkish-Iraqi Relations: Old Trends and Future Possibilities

    Relations between Iraq and Turkey have been cordial and cautious since Iraq became independent of Ottoman suzerainty after WWI, when British forces invaded and…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Battle for DNC Chair: Palestine and Democratic Party Politics after Trump’s Election

    Jan 17, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    2016 was a tumultuous year for the Democratic Party. Democrats lost the White House, both houses of Congress, and a large number of gubernatorial races (two-th…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turkey at “the Gate” of Victory at Al-Bab: What’s Next?

    Jan 12, 2017

    The New Year’s Eve attack in Istanbul represents a significant change in relations between Turkey and the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL). Althoug…

  • Policy Analysis

    Washington Rebalancing Away from the Middle East? Realities and Difficulties

    Jan 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    In a speech to the Australian parliament in November 2011, President Barack Obama declared that the Asia-Pacific region had become a “top priority” in US secur…

  • Policy Analysis

    Rafsanjani’s Death and Its Impact on Iran’s Political Bazaar

    Jan 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The death of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani comes at a critical time in the Islamic Republic’s political history. As one of the founders…

  • Policy Analysis

    Recalculating Route: America and Israel on Divergent Paths

    Jan 3, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    In May 2016, I wrote that the Obama Administration should carefully weigh options for how to address the Israeli/Palestinian issue during its last months in of…

  • Policy Analysis

    US President-elect Donald J. Trump and his Foreign Policy Cabinet Choices: Focus on Middle East Issues

    Dec 29, 2016

    In the last few weeks, President-elect Donald Trump has been building his team of senior officials. The team selected as his foreign policy appointees presents…

  • Policy Analysis

    After Aleppo: The Political and Regional Implications of the New Middle East “Troika”

    Dec 28, 2016Joe Macaron

    Since August 2016, new regional power dynamics have been emerging in the wars in Syria. The trend has manifested itself in the fall of Aleppo and the December …

  • Policy Analysis

    Sidelining Asad: Questioning the Future of Russian-Iranian-Turkish Convergence in Syria

    Dec 27, 2016Imad K. Harb

    The battle of Aleppo has finally been decided in favor of the Syrian regime and its Russian, Iranian, and militia cohorts. But for all intents and purposes, th…

  • Policy Analysis

    UN Security Council Passes Resolution Against Israeli Settlements

    Dec 23, 2016

    On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, Egypt circulated a draft resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlements and demanding Israel to “immediately and complet…

  • Policy Analysis
    US Domestic Politics and Elections

    Middle East Positions of Trump’s Cabinet

    Dec 23, 2016

     Sources: This information was collected and inferred by ACW based on statements, voting records, and other publicly available information.*The infographi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Breaking Ground in Jerusalem

    Dec 22, 2016Yousef Munayyer

    Some things are utterly predictable. The sun will always rise in the east, rain will always be wet, and US presidential candidates who promise to move the Amer…