• Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Troubling Ambiguities in the UAE’s Role in Yemen

    Sep 8, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The UAE’s ambiguous policies in Yemen expose the entire restoration of Yemeni legitimacy to uncertain circumstances, put it and Saudi Arabia at cross purposes,…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Congressional Update – Week Ending September 8, 2017

    The Senate moves closer to deciding on a State Department budget; Kuwaiti delegation canvasses Washington; Nikki Haley takes aim at Iran deal; and Trump’s trav…

  • Policy Analysis

    Can the Gulf Cooperation Council Survive the Current Crisis?

    The GCC is likely to survive the current crisis, at least on paper, but to become far less relevant as policymaking is driven by younger decision-makers who ha…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    The Popular Mobilization Forces and Iraq’s Next Elections

    Sep 6, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Multiple Shia parties are competing to benefit from the successes of the Popular Mobilization Forces in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq’s 2018 nati…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    US Domestic Politics and Elections

    Congressional Update – Week Ending September 1, 2017

    I. CongressThis was the final week of Congress’ August recess. Both the Senate and House of Representatives will return for legislative business on September 5…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Will Netanyahu’s Legal Troubles Break the Stalemate?

    Aug 31, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    With or without Benyamin Netanyahu, there is little reason to believe that any likely foreseeable Israeli government will be ready for peace with the Palestini…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    An Evaluation of President Trump’s Emerging Counterterrorism Strategy

    Aug 30, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    President Trump’s counterterrorism strategy that relies on military solutions is unlikely to succeed in a region with complex politics, dubious allies, and lon…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptDemocracy and Governance

    Egypt’s Extremist Groups and the Shrinking Political Space

    The Egyptian government’s repressive policies have contributed to the problem of extremism by constricting political space, severely cracking down on opponents…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Is the Trump-Sisi Honeymoon Over?

    Aug 28, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The State Department’s decision on aid to Egypt shows that the Trump Administration cannot sidestep established law or Congress’s power of appropriation despit…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    EgyptUS Foreign Policy

    Congressional Update – Week Ending August 25, 2017

    Aug 25, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    The Trump Administration goes all out for peace as Kushner and Company travel the region; Secretary Mattis visits allies in Jordan and Iraq; Secretary Tillerso…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Is the Turkey-Iran Rapprochement Durable in Iraq and Syria?

    Aug 24, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Given the historical nature of the Turkish-Iranian rivalry, a durable rapprochement between Turkey and Iran requires assurances about the future of the Kurds a…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Stakeholders of the Syrian Conflict Divide the Pie

    Aug 23, 2017Joe Macaron

    The recent local and regional developments in Syria signal that it is entering a new phase where major powers are coming to terms with a compromise that the Sy…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    LevantReligion and Politics

    Congressional Update – Week Ending August 18, 2017

    Aug 18, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    The White House is set to try jumpstarting the Middle East peace process; the State Department launches its annual report on religious freedom; former CIA empl…

  • Policy Analysis
    LibyaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Still Elusive Libyan Peace

    Aug 17, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The political impasse in Libya may pave the way for a final collapse of the nearly failed Libyan state and the subsequent divorce between the eastern and weste…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqSecurity and Defense

    The Realities and Challenges of a New US SOFA with Iraq

    The United States and Iraq are currently negotiating a new Status of Forces Agreement that is contingent upon numerous domestic, regional, and American conditi…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    US Foreign Policy

    Congressional Update – Week Ending August 11, 2017

    Aug 11, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    While Congress is away, think tanks and NGOs around the city recommend policy prescriptions for the program on Countering Violent Extremism amidst uncertaintie…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Potential for Intercommunal Violence in Iraq and Syria

    Aug 9, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The legacy of authoritarianism, the rise of sectarian sentiments, ethno-nationalist aspirations, communal grievances about government neglect, and outside inte…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    An Economic Explanation for Egypt’s Alignment in the GCC Crisis

    Aug 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    With Egypt heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia and the UAE for its economic stability and survival, Cairo may not find much room for independent foreign policy dec…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Stretched over Two Borders, Hezbollah is Making Israel Anxious

    Aug 8, 2017Joe Macaron

    In the long run, the risks of confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah may largely depend on how the US-Russia deal will unfold in southern Syria.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Existential Questions: Iraq Gears up for Elections

    Aug 7, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Iraqi political forces are beginning to come together, pick fights, ingratiate themselves with potential foreign patrons, and evaluate the mood of the country …

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Congressional Update – Week Ending August 4, 2017

    The Senate finishes legislative business and joins the House for August recess; pro-Israel bills loom large in Congress while Washington discusses the plight o…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Taylor Force Act: Putting the Palestinian Authority on Notice

    Senators have agreed to revise a bill that will put the Palestinian Authority on notice, conditioning US aid to the PA on ending payments to Palestinian prison…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Mohammed bin Salman’s Elevation and the Way Forward

    Aug 1, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman faces serious challenges in affirming Saudi Arabia’s domestic stability and addressing the fallout from the GCC crisis and the…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranThe GCC

    Congressional Update – Week Ending July 28, 2017

    Jul 28, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    Congress takes on budgets before the House goes on recess; Qatar and the GCC are front and center in Washington; Lebanon’s PM Visits DC.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Improving Iraq-GCC Relations: No Time Like the Present

    Jul 27, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Iraq’ reintegration into the Arab world, particularly in terms of improving its relations with its Gulf neighbors, will support its stability as well as ensure…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The GCC Crisis: Media, Hacks, and the Emergence of “Cyber Power”

    Jul 25, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    Media tools have been employed heavily in the GCC crisis to suppress freedom of the press and expression, indicating a shift from military and soft power to a …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Day after Mosul’s Liberation

    Crafting a new social and political order after the defeat of ISIL in Mosul, and elsewhere in Iraq, is a responsibility for the Iraqis, their allies, the regio…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Palestine Recentered

    Jul 25, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    The Jerusalem events show that the Palestine issue remains central to the region and that a serious, sustained, and committed engagement in its resolution is p…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Hariri Comes to Washington in the Shadow of Hezbollah’s Wars

    Jul 25, 2017Joe Macaron

    The measure of success for Hariri’s visit to Washington is his ability to convince US officials that the status quo is the best Lebanon can do considering the …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Arab Peace Initiative is Back on the Table; Netanyahu Is Not Budging

    The Arab Peace Initiative has not gone anywhere since it was launched in 2002. Developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict do not inspire confidence that …

  • Policy Analysis
    AlgeriaDemocracy and Governance

    Challenges Facing Algeria’s Future

    Jul 21, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Algeria is challenged by a lethargic political system headed by an ailing president, a poorly performing rentier economy, and a rising Salafi Islam that is com…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    Congressional Update – Week Ending July 21, 2017

    Jul 21, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    House Appropriations Committee bolsters defense spending, cuts the State Department’s budget; Iran is back in the spotlight; Washington grapples with how to he…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Turkey’s Hard Choices in Syria and Iraq

    Jul 19, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey finds itself in a strained position in post-Islamic State Syria and Iraq. It lacks leverage with Russia, the United States, and Iran and fears Kurdish a…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Stupendous Hubris…and Its Damage

    Jul 18, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Revelations in the Post article stand the entire GCC crisis on a new footing, now that tangible information has been made public and confirms the Qatari govern…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    LevantMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Congressional Update – Week Ending July 14, 2017

    Jul 14, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    The House eyes funding for the Departments of Defense and State; the Tunisian Prime Minister visits Washington; Qatar decries the humanitarian costs of the Gul…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Jordan and the US-Russia Deal in Southern Syria

    Jul 12, 2017Joe Macaron

    The recent ceasefire agreement for southern Syria and the Syrian regime’s military campaigns may be turning points in Jordan’s position on the war in Syria.

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Qatar-US Memorandum of Understanding: A Game Changer

    Jul 11, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The MOU is a game changer and provides a significant milestone on the road to a political solution that preserves GCC unity, stability, and prosperity.

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEducation and Development

    Youth Unemployment Remains the Main Challenge in the Gulf States

    Persistently high youth unemployment remains the chief domestic challenge facing the Gulf states. Efforts to encourage the private sector to absorb new entrant…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Independence Referendum: A Pyrrhic Victory for Barzani

    Jul 10, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Kurdish decision to hold a referendum on independence from Iraq may bring happiness to the Kurds but will come at a heavy price for the Kurdish leadership.

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Current Competing Dynamics in the GCC Region

    The competing strategic dynamics of Gulf and other actors complicate the current crisis and make its resolution contingent upon sometimes divergent interests.

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Congressional Update – Week Ending July 7, 2017

    Lawmakers have the week off for the Independence Day recess; the Iran-Russia sanctions bill hits another roadblock; terrorism finance experts discuss how the G…

  • Policy Analysis
    US Domestic Politics and Elections

    When Friends Spy on Friends: A US Spy Tool Could Spell Trouble for the Middle East Under Trump

    FISA Section 702 is an often debated topic, but now there are serious concerns about how US spying will affect Middle Eastern countries under President Trump

  • Policy Analysis
    Democracy and Governance

    A Case for Human Rights and Democracy in US Middle East Policy

    Jul 5, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    American advocacy of human rights has helped defend US security in the long term, stabilize US allies and the international system, and build the moral capital…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Absent Rationality in the GCC Crisis

    Jul 5, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Developments since last May have shown a careless disregard on the part of the Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates-Bahrain entente of the basic tenets of rationa…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    Congressional Update – Week Ending June 30, 2017

    Jun 30, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    Congress faces a setback in Iran-Russia sanctions legislation; the Senate explores authorizing the use of military force against ISIL; experts discuss US role …

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    Congressional Update – Week Ending June 30, 2017

    Jun 30, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    I. CongressCapitol Hill was very busy again this week in the run-up to the July 4 recess. In the House of Representatives, there were several markups on budget…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The GCC in Turmoil: Repercussions of the Gulf Crisis on Iraq-GCC Relations

    Iraq and the GCC have a long history of cooperation as well as enmity. How has the relationship between Iraq and GCC nations developed and what is the impact o…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Gaza Crisis and the Politics of the Light Switch

    Jun 26, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    The Gaza Strip is under unprecedented pressure. The situation on the ground has reached a climax over the past few months, making it ripe for either an implosi…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Yemen Conflict and Its Elusive Political Solution

    Overshadowed by the conflict in Syria, Yemen continues to suffer from an internal civil war, a regional proxy war, and a grave humanitarian crisis. Unfortunate…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Legal Analysis of the Demands Presented to Qatar

    Jun 26, 2017

    I. IntroductionOn June 23, 2017, Kuwait, acting as a mediator, presented Qatar with a thirteen-point list of demands on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranSecurity and Defense

    Congressional Update – Week Ending June 23, 2017

    Jun 23, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    Congress faces a setback in Iran-Russia sanctions legislation; the Senate explores authorizing the use of military force against ISIL; experts discuss US role …

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Kingmaker: The Rise of Mohammed bin Salman

    Jun 22, 2017

    As Saudi King Salman appoints his 31-year-old son Mohammad bin Salman as Crown Prince, what are the implications for Saudi security, the GCC crisis and the reg…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    Foreign Policy Aspects of US Weapons Sales in the Gulf: What Does the United States Get Out of It?

    Jun 22, 2017David B. Des Roches

    US government policy in the Arabian Peninsula is often maddeningly inconsistent to outside— and inside—observers.  A republic such as the United States, which …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEnergy and Economics

    Impact of the GCC Crisis on Global Energy Markets

    Jun 21, 2017Joe Macaron

    While the diplomatic row among GCC countries had no immediate impact on energy trade, the uncertainty and longevity of the crisis might have long term reverber…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Turkey and the Gulf Crisis: Erdoğan’s Most Difficult Game

    Jun 19, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Ankara’s policy toward the Gulf crisis is shaped by economic and strategic concerns as well as fear that the same allegations against Qatar could be directed t…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    How Did Syria Become a Victim of Regional and International Conflicts?

    Jun 19, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    As a seventh round of peace talks is announced, the United States and Russia clash over Syria and the GCC crisis remains unresolved. What is the impact of conf…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranSecurity and Defense

    Congressional Update – Week Ending June 16, 2017

    Jun 16, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    Congress holds a number of budget hearings; senators overwhelmingly pass sanctions that target Iran and Russia; the United States finalizes foreign military sa…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfThe GCC

    President Trump Failed His Gulf Test

    Jun 15, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The United States must show a full-fledged commitment to GCC unity and refrain from appearing to side with some of the council’s members against others.

  • Policy Analysis
    US Domestic Politics and Elections

    Institutional Challenges to US Foreign Policy: Trump’s Problematic Approach

    Jun 13, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Slashing the budget for diplomacy will affect Trump’s priorities such as building new Gulf security structures, defeating ISIL, containing Iran, and tackling A…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    LebanonUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    Congressional Update – Week Ending June 9, 2017

    James Comey's testimony shakes the Capitol; Congress holds hearings on ISIL, Hezbollah; battles continue over Saudi Arabian arms deal; Iran and Russia sanction…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    What’s at Stake for the United States in the GCC Crisis?

    Jun 8, 2017Joe Macaron

    A lot is at stake for US national security in the Gulf, including the possibility of living with a divided GCC, the potential expansion of Iranian influence, a…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Discussion of the UN Report on “Israeli Practices Regarding the Palestinians and the Question of Apartheid”

    Jun 8, 2017Virginia Tilley

    The two-state solution will allow Israel as an apartheid state to rule over a smaller portion of historical Palestine but will not be a just solution for the c…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Why Qatar? Explaining Contentious Issues

    Jun 6, 2017Imad K. Harb

    What should concern all members of the GCC today is working together not only to simply iron out differences but to provide an agenda for successful collective…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Trump and the Israel-Palestine Conflict

    Jun 6, 2017William B. Quandt

    It is doubtful that the current political climate in the United States is conducive to the kind of effort required to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Egyptian-Saudi Relations: Managing a Difficult Marriage

    Saudi Arabia and Egypt need each other at this uncertain time and this inter-dependence keeps them together in a symbiotic relationship despite occasional stra…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Emboldened Kurdish Aspirations in Iran: Where Are They Headed?

    Jun 5, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    An independent Kurdistan contiguous to the Iranian Kurdish region may trigger hawkish regime elements in Tehran—especially in the case of unresolved territoria…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Bird’s Eye View of the 1967 War: Palestine Remains the Central Issue

    Jun 5, 2017Imad K. Harb

    After fifty years of the 1967 war that changed the map of the Middle East and destroyed the Arab republican nationalist regimes, the Question of Palestine rema…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Congressional Update – Week Ending June 2, 2017

    I. CongressThe House and Senate were in recess this week for the Memorial Day holiday. The Senate will return to session June 5 and the House will get back to …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Dangers of Arab Normalization with Israel

    Jun 1, 2017 Dana El Kurd

    Arab normalization with Israel is a shortsighted policy on the part of governments, organizations, and individuals. Such a policy poses a risk to both the Pale…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    LevantUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    H.R. 2712: Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017

    May 31, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    On May 25, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida) introduced H.R. 2712, “a bill to impose sanctions with respect to foreign support for Palestinian terrorism, and for oth…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A US-Iran Race to Control the Damascus-Baghdad Highway

    May 31, 2017Joe Macaron

    Securing the Damascus-Baghdad highway and deterring Iran’s regional activities might lead to a direct US involvement in the Syrian war.

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Turkish-Egyptian Relations: Nowhere to Go but Up

    May 30, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Egypt and Turkey, both staunch US allies, have found themselves locked in a war of words—and worse—for nearly four years since the overthrow of President Moham…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Netanyahu’s Nightmare: Trump Visits Palestine

    May 30, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    Trump will not bring about a two-state solution but he may be in a unique position to get Israelis to understand that they have to end their oppression of the …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Gaping Holes in Trump’s Well-Received Speech

    May 26, 2017Imad K. Harb

    President Trump’s speech on better relations with Muslims exposed flaws and gaping holes the Administration will have to correct if it wants to advance its int…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranSecurity and Defense

    Congressional Update – Week Ending May 26, 2017

    May 26, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    President Trump visits the Middle East and signs arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Congress proposes legislation regarding Iran, Syria, and violent extremism.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantReligion and Politics

    Trump’s Riyadh Speech: Same Intolerance, Different Packaging, No Strategy

    May 24, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia received praise and acclaim but it is hard to see if the president has indeed changed his opinion about Islam and Muslims.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    Human Rights in the Constitution: A Survey of the Arab Uprisings

    May 24, 2017Mai El-Sadany

    When Arab citizens took to the streets in peaceful uprisings throughout 2011, their demands included “freedom,” “justice,” and “dignity.” Their governments rea…

  • 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,…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IranReligion and Politics

    Congressional Update – Week Ending May 19, 2017

    May 19, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    Syria bill imposing sanctions on Asad regime and its supporters passes the House, and US Treasury places sanctions on these individuals and entities. Several b…

  • 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 …