• Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    A New Cycle of Reform in Jordan

    Oct 21, 2021Curtis Ryan

    Jordan’s latest reform committee completed its work this month on modernizing the Jordanian political system. As with the many earlier reform committees and ca…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Jordan: Uptick in Diplomacy amid Pandora Papers Revelations

    Revelations in the so-called Pandora Papers about King Abdullah II’s substantial real estate acquisitions of luxury homes in the United States and United Kingd…

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeySecurity and Defense

    Drumbeats of Turkey’s Next Military Invasion of Syria

    Oct 20, 2021Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkish officials continue to repeat their warning that a military operation in northern Syria may be imminent, blaming both Washington and Moscow for not fulf…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Lebanon Courts Civil War, Again

    Oct 14, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Once again, Lebanon teeters on the abyss of a civil war, this time over conflicts related to the investigation into the disastrous August 4, 2020 explosion at …

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Foreign Influence in Lebanon and the Third Miqati Premiership

    Oct 13, 2021Joe Macaron

    For the third time in 16 years, Prime Minister Najib Miqati comes to office as a consensus candidate in a country with deep divisions within the Lebanese polit…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonEnergy and Economics

    The Conflicted Role of Lebanon’s Central Bank

    Oct 12, 2021Sabine Kik

    Over the past few decades, public debt, sectarian nepotism, and fixed exchange rates have been three significant challenges to the Lebanese economy; albeit the…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    The Erbil Conference: Iraq Rejects Normalizing with Israel

    On September 24th, some 300 Iraqi tribal and political leaders, mostly from Iraq’s six Sunni-majority governorates, met at a conference in Erbil, capital of th…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Palestine in Speeches at the UN General Assembly: Reading between the Lines

    Oct 8, 2021Yousef Munayyer

    The speeches of the US president, the Israeli prime minister, and the Palestinian president during general debate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)…

  • Viewpoint
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Syria’s Return to the Arab League Is Imminent

    Oct 5, 2021Imad K. Harb

    A decade after the start of the Syrian revolution against authoritarian rule and the suspension of Syria’s membership in the League of Arab States, the country…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Palestinian Youth and the Futility of the Two-State Solution

    Sep 30, 2021Kerent Benjumea

    Following Israel’s expulsions of Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and its war on Gaza this year, pro-Palestine movements revitalized the …

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Southwestern Syria Tests US-Russia Cooperation

    Sep 22, 2021Joe Macaron

    The US-Russian agreement of July 2017 that led to a fragile stability in southwestern Syria has recently unraveled, testing President Joe Biden’s approach in S…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    No Rest for the Weary: Lebanon’s Miqati Must Hit the Ground Running

    Sep 10, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Najib Miqati, the billionaire tasked over a year ago with forming the Lebanese government, has finally finished putting it together, but not before President M…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    US-Israel Relations: Time for a Reset or Reevaluation?

    Sep 8, 2021Yousef Munayyer

    As Israel’s prime minister for nearly 12 years in a row, Benjamin Netanyahu greatly shaped the US-Israel relationship in recent history. After his exit from th…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    Jordan’s Decade-long Path to Democracy Might Have Just Begun

    Sep 3, 2021Daoud Kuttab

    In June, Jordan’s King Abdullah II appointed a 92-member commission, headed by former Prime Minister Samir Rifai, and charged it with creating a plan to modern…

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeyRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Turkey’s Relentless Bid for Afghanistan

    Aug 31, 2021Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Taliban’s astonishing seizure of all of Afghanistan dashed the Turkish government’s earlier hope to take charge of Kabul Airport. Turkey’s President Recep …

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonEnergy and Economics

    Lebanon’s Energy Crisis Fuels US-Iran Tensions

    Aug 25, 2021Joe Macaron

    In the midst of an economic collapse and an energy crisis, Lebanon has found itself in a tug of war between the United States and Iran. On August 19, Hezbollah…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Bennett’s Agenda on Palestine: Shrinking the Conflict

    Aug 20, 2021Khalil E. Jahshan

    Even before winning formal approval on June 13, 2021, the Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid rotation government has raised many questions as to its durability, the un…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantViolent Extremism

    Although Diminished, the Islamic State Remains an Ongoing Threat

    Despite the territorial defeat of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq a few years ago, which was heralded as a major achievement by the large in…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Hezbollah Is Not Interested in a War with Israel

    Aug 11, 2021Imad K. Harb

    As Lebanon reels from seemingly unsolvable political, economic, social, and security crises, an exchange of rocket and artillery fire on August 6th between Hez…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    A Year after the Beirut Explosion, a Dreaded Civil War in Lebanon

    Aug 3, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Events over the last few days in Lebanon portended a serious escalation in sectarian tensions and a possible widespread resort to arms that could quickly lead …

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    IraqUS Foreign Policy

    Is Washington Rethinking Its Partnerships in the Middle East?

    There appears to be a slow but noticeable shift in Democratically-controlled Washington as to the countries with which the United States seeks to work closer a…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelMedia and Technology

    The Full Story behind the NSO Hack: The Israeli-Military-Allied Surveillance Industry and Transnational Repression

    Jul 28, 2021Tamara Kharroub

    The recent investigation into the NSO Group exposed a widespread global targeting of journalists and human rights activists and revealed evidence that their sm…

  • Viewpoint
    SyriaUS Foreign Policy

    Rearranging American Priorities in Syria

    Jul 27, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    On July 17, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took his oath of office in front of parliament after winning the presidential election with 95 percent of the popu…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    King Abdullah’s Visit: Resetting American-Jordanian Relations

    Jul 22, 2021Curtis Ryan

    On July 19, 2021, King Abdullah II of Jordan became the first Arab leader to visit President Joe Biden at the White House. The symbolism alone was significant,…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Hamas and Its Regional Role Post-Gaza War

    Jul 21, 2021Joe Macaron

    As the Palestinian Authority, with Fatah at its core, is struggling to redefine its legitimacy and mandate, Hamas is emerging as a key player in the post-Gaza …

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanUS Foreign Policy

    King Abdullah Visits Washington amid Jordan’s Woes

    King Abdullah II’s upcoming meetings with President Joe Biden on July 19, and subsequently with leading members of Congress, come at a time when the Hashemite …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    Misunderstanding Evangelicals and Israel

    Jul 14, 2021Gary M. Burge 

    The dramatic shift in Israel’s leadership this summer, following former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s departure, gave pause to many American evangelicals…

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelArab Americans/ Muslim Americans

    The Changing Arab American Activism for Palestine in the United States

    Jul 12, 2021Hani J. Bawardi

    Advocacy for Palestine in the United States has entered a new phase, given the higher level of veracity social media injected into coverage of the latest Israe…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Moroccan Normalization with Israel: Temporary Deal or Permanent Peace?

    Jul 8, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    On June 16, 2021, King Mohammed VI of Morocco sent a congratulatory letter to Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett. This might not have been surprising…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Rebuilding Gaza, Yet Again

    Jun 17, 2021Yara M. Asi

    In 2012, the United Nations issued a dire warning: change the situation, now, or the Gaza Strip may no longer be a livable place by 2020. Unemployment, poverty…

  • Research Paper
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Youth in Lebanon: Policy Narratives, Attitudes, and Forms of Mobilization

    Jun 17, 2021Mona Harb

    IntroductionAs Lebanon is undergoing one of the worst economic and financial collapses in the world, one that was caused by the deliberate inaction1 of its rul…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelSecurity and Defense

    The Changing Nature of Israel-Hamas Warfare

    Jun 15, 2021David B. Des Roches

    The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas was, on the face of it, a brief and limited exchange falling far short of other wars. There was no ground offensiv…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelMedia and Technology

    Systematic Digital Repression: Social Media Censoring of Palestinian Voices

    Jun 8, 2021Tamara Kharroub

    The events of the last few weeks and the escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel have spotlighted the issue of media bias and censorship of Palestinian …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Causes of the Palestinian Unrest in Israel

    Jun 7, 2021Mohanad Mustafa

    The latest popular uprising by Palestinian citizens in Israel erupted during a complex political period in the country following four election cycles that fail…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Explaining Egypt’s Role during the Gaza War

    Jun 3, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    On May 21, 2021, a cease-fire agreement was reached between Israel and Hamas after an 11-day military confrontation. Egypt played a vital role in securing the …

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    What the United States Needs to Do Now for Calm in Israel and Palestine

    Jun 2, 2021Daoud Kuttab

    For decades, one of Israel’s goals was to cut off the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. It was not just the usual colonial tactic of divide and rule but a strateg…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaDemocracy and Governance

    Syria’s Presidential Election and the Absence of the American Role

    Jun 1, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    On May 26, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a fourth seven-year term in a practically uncontested election. No one was surprised by the original announceme…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaUS Foreign Policy

    The Biden Administration and the GCC Rapprochement with Damascus

    May 27, 2021Joe Macaron

    With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his way to a fourth term in the Syrian presidential election held this week, Moscow is expected to resume its diplomat…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    The Sheikh Jarrah Intifada: Vital Lessons for President Biden

    The recent Palestinian intifada instigated in early May by a series of local clashes between Israeli Jewish settlers and Palestinian activists over the anticip…

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Israel-Hamas Cease-fire: Déjà vu All Over Again

    May 25, 2021Laurie King

    May is always a difficult month for Palestinians. Mid-month marks Nakba Day, the annual commemoration of the start of the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948. Over…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Iran Plays a Diplomatically Cautious (and Smart) Game on Gaza

    May 22, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    It’s not every day that Hamas leaders openly plead for Tehran’s support. But this is apparently  what happened when, as the battle between Gaza’s militant grou…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Time Has Come for an American Change on Israel

    May 20, 2021Imad K. Harb

    President Joe Biden has finally uttered the magic word of cease-fire in a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they discussed the o…

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    Violence in Israel, Palestine Draws Reluctant Biden into the Fray

    May 17, 2021Marcus Montgomery

    Tensions in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have escalated significantly in the last week. Israeli security forces and armed, violent Israeli s…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Sheikh Jarrah Chapter of the Palestinian Nakba

    On the 73rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, another round of dispossession of Palestinians continues, this time in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood…

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Sheikh Jarrah: A Welcome Palestinian Moment of Enthusiasm

    May 14, 2021Khalil E. Jahshan

    Protracted political conflicts are unpredictable phenomena. They tend to develop an internal momentum while awaiting their own uncertain future, often confusin…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Israel’s Screen of Legality behind the Sheikh Jarrah Dispossession

    May 12, 2021Jonathan Kuttab

    The situation in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood represents a microcosm of the ongoing Judaization process that has been taking place since the creation…

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeyUS Foreign Policy

    The Path to Armenian Genocide Recognition: A Lesson for Palestine Activists?

    The century-old struggle by the Armenian American community for US recognition that the large-scale massacres and deportations of their people in the Ottoman E…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    The Israeli Factor in the US-Iran Nuclear Talks

    May 6, 2021Joe Macaron

    As US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was visiting Israel on April 11, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency orchestrated a mysterious explosion in Iran’s Natanz …

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Human Rights Watch Exposes Israeli Apartheid

    May 3, 2021Jonathan Kuttab

    On April 27, 2021, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 213-page report entitled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecu…

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    The Palestinian Elections: Process, Mechanics, and Importance

    Apr 29, 2021Hanna Nasir

    President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree last January to hold elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the presidency of the Palestinian Authori…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    Will the Natanz Incident Produce Maximum Diplomacy?

    Apr 23, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Just two days after what appeared to be an Israeli-backed sabotage of Iran’s Natanz enrichment facilities, The Washington Post’s editorial board declared that …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    The Palestinian Elections and Jerusalem

    Apr 20, 2021Jonathan Kuttab

    Fifteen years have elapsed since the last elections in Palestine, and now Palestinians are poised to hold a new round for the Legislative Council of the Palest…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Hezbollah in Moscow: Russia Flexes Its Diplomatic Muscles

    Apr 14, 2021Joe Macaron

    In a medium-sized van with no bodyguards, on a rainy March 15, 2021, a Hezbollah delegation quietly walked into the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow…

  • Policy Analysis
    Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    Biden’s Apparent Failure on Israel-Palestine

    Apr 13, 2021Imad K. Harb

    President Joe Biden’s 100-day milestone is approaching with pronounced successes in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, righting the ship of the American econom…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    Family Matters: Plots and Accusations in Jordan’s Hashemite Monarchy

    Apr 8, 2021Curtis Ryan

    Jordan’s carefully crafted international image was jolted recently when news broke of multiple arrests, the alleged detention of a Hashemite prince, and announ…

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Netanyahu Tries to Dictate a New Arrangement in Jerusalem in Violation of the Traditional Pre-1967 Status Quo

    Apr 2, 2021ACW Research and Analysis Unit

    On March 22nd, The New York Times published an article by its Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner titled “Tensions With Arab Allies Undermine a Netanyahu P…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    Congressional Advocacy for Palestinian Rights in the Post-Trump Era

    Apr 2, 2021Yousef Munayyer

    For nearly 15 years, a partisan divide around the US-Israel relationship has been exacerbated in American politics. It became clear and consistent during the O…

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeyRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Turkish-Egyptian Reconciliation Efforts Echo a Shifting Regional Order

    Mar 26, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Over the past month, Turkey has taken steps to restore diplomatic relations with Egypt. That President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has spearheaded this effort is para…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanUS Foreign Policy

    Jordan’s Monarchy Reclaims Regional Role under Biden

    Mar 25, 2021Joe Macaron

    To describe the last four years as challenging ones for US-Jordanian relations would be an understatement. President Donald Trump’s absolute support for Israel…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon Faces a Civil War, a Prospect of Its Own Making

    Mar 23, 2021Imad K. Harb

    The socioeconomic and political crises gripping Lebanon today are unprecedented in the country’s 100-year history, one that has witnessed intercommunal unrest …

  • Policy Analysis
    Levant

    Egypt’s Ties to Israel Deepen Despite Public Misgivings

    The Egyptian government has deepened its cooperation with Israel on strategic and economic matters in order to root out the extremist threat in the Sinai Penin…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    Israel’s 2021 Elections: Background, Scenarios, and Expectations

    Mar 16, 2021Honaida Ghanim

    On March 23rd, Israel holds its fourth round of parliamentary elections in less than two years, amid what in Israel has become known as “the political crisis” …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    The Biden Administration and the Palestinians: Early Policy Indications

    Mar 9, 2021Yousef Munayyer

    The new administration in Washington, about half way through its first 100 days in office, is shaping its foreign policy. President Joe Biden and his team have…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    No Light at the End of Lebanon’s Long and Dark Tunnel

    Mar 3, 2021Joe Macaron

    By all accounts, Lebanon is a desperate case. The severe fiscal crises portend an extended economic depression ahead. The country has been in political paralys…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    The Biden Administration Contemplates a New Pivot to Asia

    Feb 23, 2021Charles W. Dunne

    Is the pivot to Asia for real this time?That is one of the key questions Washington policy analysts, pundits, and diplomats are asking themselves as President …

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Decade of War in Syria: Political Transition Is Still the Answer

    Feb 22, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    The middle of March marks the tenth anniversary of the civil war in Syria. It began in the south of the country when regime forces resorted to violence to quel…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    Palestinian Elections 2021: Reconciling Competing Motives

    Feb 18, 2021Khalil E. Jahshan

    On January 15, 2021, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (PA) issued a decreecalling for legislative, presidential, and National Council elect…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelInternational Law

    Is International Criminal Justice Coming for Israel?

    Feb 17, 2021Jonathan Kuttab

    On February 5, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled, for purposes of its jurisdiction, that Palestine is a state. The chief prosecutor who sought this …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Is Israel an Apartheid State?

    Feb 6, 2021Jonathan Kuttab

    Jonathan Kuttab explains the fundamental elements of the crime of apartheid committed by Israel against the Palestinians under its control, including legislati…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Assassination of Lebanon’s Lokman Slim

    Feb 4, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Assassination reared its ugly head once again in Lebanon when unknown assailants killed political analyst and activist Lokman Slim in southern Lebanon in the e…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/Israel

    Netanyahu’s Latest Election Scheme: The Arab Vote?

    Jan 27, 2021Yousef Munayyer

    As the State of Israel once again heads to a new election, its prime minister—who infamously fearmongered against Arab citizens to drive Israeli right-wing vot…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Kurdish Dilemmas in Syria

    The Syrian Kurds, who constitute about 10 percent of Syria’s population, are at a crossroads, trying to preserve their shrunken statelet in the northeastern pa…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    The Biden Administration’s Foreign Policy: Key Features and Likely Changes

    Jan 6, 2021Unit for Political Studies

    Having won the American presidential election, and despite incumbent President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede, Democratic candidate and President-elect Joe …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelEducation and Development

    Building a Nation without a State: Civil Society in Palestine

    Dec 23, 2020Yara M. Asi

    Never before has the Palestinian Authority (PA) seemed so isolated. American policy under President Donald Trump has unprecedentedly and openly been favorable …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqClimate and Environment

    Mitigating Conflict over Water in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin

    Dec 15, 2020Yoseph Hamid

    The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—the most water-scarce region in the world—has arguably borne the brunt of climate change in the planet. Nowhere is this…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Ending Palestinian-Israeli Coordination Is Hard to Do

    Dec 15, 2020Jonathan Kuttab

    On November 17, the Palestinian Authority’s minister for Israeli affairs, Hussein Al Sheikh announced on Twitter that the PA decided to resume coordination wit…

  • Policy Analysis
    MoroccoUS Foreign Policy

    Morocco, Too, Signs on to Trump’s Lawlessness

    Dec 11, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Morocco became the fourth Arab country to normalize relations with Israel without linking the move to progress regarding Palestine. In fact, the agreement had …

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeyUS Foreign Policy

    What Awaits US-Turkey Relations in the Biden Era?

    Dec 9, 2020Mustafa Gurbuz

    A few weeks before the November elections, a video clip of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden went viral in Turkey and caused a stir inside the Turkish gove…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanUS Foreign Policy

    Will Biden Help to Restore Jordan’s Position in the Middle East?

    Dec 8, 2020Curtis Ryan

    Jordan’s relations with the United States are almost as old as the kingdom itself, with the country enjoying a generally strengthening relationship over the ye…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaUS Foreign Policy

    Biden Has a New Opportunity in Syria

    Dec 7, 2020Radwan Ziadeh

    The exceptional nature of the 2020 American presidential election, held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed over a quarter million…