• Intern Corner
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Captagon: Assad’s Ticket to Normalization in the Arab World?

    May 22, 2024Emily Costello

    On May 19, 2023, Bashar al-Assad made headlines by attending the Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the first time since the start of the Syria Civ…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    US Troops to Stay in Syria and Iraq but Perhaps Not for Long

    In recent weeks, there have been meetings in Washington and in Baghdad about the presence in Iraq and Syria of US troops, whose official mandate is to aid loca…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Does Syria Have a Role in the Israel-Hamas Conflict?

    Nov 6, 2023Patricia Karam

    As the war between Israel and Hamas rages, the Middle East is bracing for a wider, multi-front regional conflict that will have serious repercussions for the g…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Syrian Kurds in an Increasingly Precarious Position

    Syrian Kurds associated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are increasingly seeing their autonomous entity in northeastern Syria threatened by internal an…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    The Plight and Politics of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

    Aug 8, 2023Patricia Karam

    When Syria’s regime was readmitted into the Arab League and its president, Bashar al Assad, rehabilitated after years of ostracism for his brutal crackdown on …

  • Policy Analysis
    North AfricaSecurity and Defense

    The Fate of the Wagner Group in Syria, Libya, and Sudan

    The failed mutiny by Yevgeny Prigozhin has put the fate of his Wagner Group doubt, not only in Ukraine but in several Arab states as well.

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    The Jeddah Arab League Summit: MBS’s Final Crowning

    May 31, 2023Imad K. Harb

    The 32nd Arab League Summit was little more than the final crowning of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince as the leader of the current Arab political order.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantClimate and Environment

    Water Politics in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin

    May 30, 2023Achref Chibani

    While energy security and the control of oil have long been determining factors for geopolitical conflict in the Middle East, the region’s geopolitics have als…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    What Does Normalization with Assad Mean for Accountability and a Political Resolution?

    Apr 18, 2023Patricia Karam

    Against the backdrop of Syria’s impending return to the Arab fold, French judges this month ordered three high-ranking Syrian intelligence officers to stand tr…

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeyConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Obstacles to a Turkey-Syria Reconciliation

    Mar 29, 2023Salim Çevik

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid an important visit to Moscow in mid-March 2023. One of the main agenda items was the Turkish-Syrian reconciliation that R…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Arab States Are Normalizing with Syria’s Assad Regime

    Taking advantage of the devastating earthquake that ravaged parts of northwestern Syria in February, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has tried to use the trag…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arab WorldUS Foreign Policy

    US Middle East Policy: The Trump-Biden Doctrine in Action

    Mar 22, 2023Charles W. Dunne

    All US presidents, it seems, need their own foreign policy “doctrine.” President James Monroe famously started the trend in 1823, and many others—Truman, Eisen…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Lebanon and Syria and the Saudi-Iran Detente

    Mar 21, 2023Imad K. Harb

    The recent China-brokered agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran is expected to have a de-escalating effect on many issues in the Midd…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Politics, Displacement, and the Human Toll of the Recent Earthquake in Syria

    Mar 15, 2023Heba Gowayed

    On February 6, 2023, the earth shifted at the fault line that runs along the Turkey-Syria border, resulting in a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which was followed j…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaSecurity and Defense

    Syrian Kurds Are Hoping for, but Not Banking On, Continued US Partnership

    The massive earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northwestern Syria has given the Syrian Kurds a reprieve from a possible Turkish military invasion of ar…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    Turkey’s Presidential Election in the Shadow of Devastating Earthquakes

    Feb 22, 2023Mustafa Gurbuz

    The devastating February 6 earthquakes in Turkey, which caused nearly 45,000 deaths in Turkey and Syria and rendered hundreds of thousands of people homeless, …

  • Viewpoint
    SyriaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Aid to Syrian and Turkish Earthquake Victims Must Arrive Unobstructed

    Feb 10, 2023Imad K. Harb David Kanbergs

    Many cities and neighborhoods in Turkey and Syria have either been destroyed or damaged to the point of making them uninhabitable. Rescue efforts in both count…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Erdoğan’s Rapprochement with Assad Spells Trouble for Syrian Refugees

    Feb 1, 2023Nabeel A. Khoury

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s interest in a rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the latest chapter in his delicate domestic and r…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaGlobal Health and Health Policy

    The Captagon Problem in Saudi Arabia and Other Gulf States

    Over the past decade, the amphetamine fenethylline, widely known by the brand name Captagon, has increasingly become the drug of choice among the youth in Gulf…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaUS Foreign Policy

    Biden’s Syria Policy: Steady Non-commitment and Persistent Failure

    Sep 20, 2022Nabeel A. Khoury

    The Biden administration’s Syria policy, as well as its policy for the Middle East in general, stems from priorities and practices set in place during the eigh…

  • Intern Corner
    SyriaMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Syria Is Not Ready to Repatriate Displaced Syrians

    Sep 20, 2022Hannah Jacobs

    By 2015, over four million Syrians had fled the country’s civil war and arrived in neighboring countries, in Europe, and beyond. Today, the number of displaced…

  • Policy Analysis
    TurkeyMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Syrian Refugees in Turkey Face an Uncertain Future

    Jul 12, 2022Mustafa Gurbuz

    In the early hours of July 1, 2022, Turkish sources reported on a story of undocumented immigrants fleeing the Osmaniye Refugee Camp in southern Turkey. That s…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaThe War in Ukraine

    The Ukraine Crisis Further Complicates Foreign Intervention in Syria

    Despite early assessments that Russia would begin drawing down its military forces in Syria due to its need for more troops in the Ukraine invasion, it appears…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranSecurity and Defense

    Israel-Iran Shadow War in Syria intensifies Amid International Developments

    The ongoing military conflict between Israel and Iran (along with Iran-backed Shia forces like Hezbollah) in Syria show no signs of easing despite the Russia-U…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantViolent Extremism

    Is the Islamic State Rebounding in Syria and Iraq?

    The nearly two-week siege in January of the Ghuwayran prison and parts of the town of Hasaka by fighters of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in northeastern Sy…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Rehabilitation of the Assad Regime

    Dec 15, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    With the approaching date of the next Arab Summit to be hosted by Algeria in March 2022, some member countries of the League of Arab States have become more vo…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russia’s Multifaceted Policy in Syria

    More than six years after Russia began its military intervention in the Syrian civil war, President Vladimir Putin has chalked up some important victories amid…

  • Viewpoint
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Failure of Syria’s Constitutional Committee

    Nov 16, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    In October 2019, Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres enthusiastically welcomed the creation of Syria’s Constitutional Committee that would…

  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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…

  • Intern Corner
    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
    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…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russian-Turkish-Iranian Cross-Purposes on Syria’s Future

    Sep 8, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    On August 24, the United Nations-sponsored Syrian Constitutional Committee meetings reconvened in Geneva. UN Envoy Geir Peterson, the chair of the meeting, dec…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Spinning the Wheels: Syria’s Useless Political Negotiations

    Sep 2, 2020Radwan Ziadeh

    Radwan Ziadeh contends that the many rounds of negotiations to resolve the Syrian crisis have failed because of the imbalance of power between the Syrian regim…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Loss of a Generation: The Education of Syria’s Refugee Children

    Aug 25, 2020Yara M. Asi

    Yara M. Asi reports that almost ten years of homelessness, poverty, and trauma have deprived millions of Syria’s children and youth—displaced inside the countr…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaEnergy and Economics

    US-Russian Competition and the M4 Highway in Syria

    Jun 23, 2020Joe Macaron

    Joe Macaron argues that in Syria, implementing the Caesar Act sanctions and opening the east-west M4 Highway reflect intensified US-Russian competition while t…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaDemocracy and Governance

    A Fracture That Will Not Threaten the Assad Regime in Syria

    May 18, 2020Radwan Ziadeh

    Radwan Ziadeh discounts the long-term political repercussions of the Assad-Makhlouf dispute and writes that if the regime gets in serious trouble, the cousins …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqViolent Extremism

    The US and Iraq Must Shore Up the Fight against the Islamic State

    May 8, 2020Charles W. Dunne

    Charles W. Dunne argues that the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq faces numerous setbacks, including the coronavirus, and that the upcoming US-Iraq Stra…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaDemocracy and Governance

    Syria’s Authoritarian Regime and COVID-19

    Apr 24, 2020Radwan Ziadeh

    Syria's delayed admission of COVID-19 cases was dictated by the regime's political calculations and its hope to use the cover of the pandemic to avoid sanction…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russian-Turkish Tensions in Syria May Help Mend the US-Turkish Divide

    Mar 20, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Daniel Brumberg studies the intricacies of Turkey's involvement in Syria and accommodation with Russia as it simultaneously hopes to enlist the assistance of t…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    The Muted Arab Attempt to Restore Influence in Syria

    Mar 18, 2020Joe Macaron

    Will Arab countries be able to renew their influence in Syria given the ever-present inter-Arab rivalry and unfavorable geopolitical factors?

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Complications for Turkey in Idlib

    Mar 17, 2020Mustafa Gurbuz

    Ankara’s options in Idlib are extremely limited as it must enforce moderation on the part of the extremists as well as address the refugee crisis.

  • From our Affiliates
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Moscow Summit: Will the Ceasefire Hold in Idlib?

    Mar 11, 2020Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS)

    The failure of previous arrangements regarding Syria suggests that the latest ceasefire agreement between Turkey and Russia may only be temporary. Read this an…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Trump, Congress Lay Out Election Year Foreign Policy Priorities

    Mar 11, 2020Marcus Montgomery

    Marcus Montgomery discusses how the Trump Administration is pressing forward with its campaign against Iran as many in Congress are trying to constrain the pre…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russia Has Limits on Its Influence in the Middle East

    Mar 10, 2020Charles W. Dunne

    Charles W. Dunne argues that despite Russia’s success in Syria and stealthy gains in the Middle East since 2015, the limits on its capabilities have become inc…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Idlib Developments Usher in a New Phase in Syria’s War

    Mar 6, 2020Radwan Ziadeh Imad K. Harb Marwan Kabalan Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Syrian civil war entered a new phase when Bashar al-Assad’s regime began an assault on the northwestern Idlib province, eliciting a Turkish response. ACW a…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon’s Imminent Collapse: How Can It Be Prevented?

    Mar 3, 2020Imad K. Harb

    The dissolution of confessional politics in Lebanon and the political coalescence of the street opposition to negotiate for social change are key to addressing…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Struggle over Syria’s Idlib

    Feb 28, 2020Radwan Ziadeh

    The Syrian regime’s killing of scores of Turkish soldiers in Idlib province will aggravate Turkish-Russian relations and take the crisis in Syria in a complete…

  • From our Affiliates
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Three scenarios for the battle for Idlib

    Feb 19, 2020Marwan Kabalan

    Major decisions have to be made by Turkey, Russia, and the United States in the coming weeks that may determine the next phase of the Syrian conflict.

  • Viewpoint
    SyriaEnergy and Economics

    The Collapse of the Syrian Pound May Doom the Syrian Economy

    Syria’s most difficult battle now is how to support its national currency and fix its collapsing economy with an impoverished central bank and the absence of r…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Syria’s Problems Worsen While UN Efforts Fail

    Dec 4, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Syria’s deteriorating economic conditions and the failure of UN-sponsored discussions about a constitutional document indicate that the Syrian people will cont…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russia’s Gains in Syria Could Be a Blessing in Disguise

    Nov 6, 2019Joe Macaron

    Joe Macaron argues that while Russia may fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of American troops from the Turkish-Syrian border, it could have challenges dea…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    The Russia-Turkey Deal for Syria Will Go Nowhere

    Nov 5, 2019Mustafa Gurbuz

    Mustafa Gurbuz analyzes the problems in implementing the initial phase of the latest Turkish-Russian agreement in Syria, concluding they indicate that the deal…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqUS Foreign Policy

    Putting al-Baghdadi’s Demise in Perspective

    Oct 30, 2019Khalil E. Jahshan

    Khalil E. Jahshan looks at the deeper meaning of the United States’ killing of IS leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi and doubts if his demise will portend the end of …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Trump’s Syria Decision and the Damage to US Foreign Policy

    Oct 22, 2019Charles W. Dunne

    The fallout from President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision on October 6 to order US troops to stand aside as Turkey launched a long-planned incursion into north…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Turkish Military Operation in Northeastern Syria: Scope, Aims and Reactions

    Oct 17, 2019Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS)

    Turkey seems to be in a hurry to achieve its operational goals before pressure increases to bring the operation to an end or in order to pre-empt any operation…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    How Turkey’s ‘Peace Spring’ changed the dynamics of Syria’s war

    Oct 15, 2019Marwan Kabalan

    Turkey's military action on Syria will have consequences far beyond the 'safe zone' it is trying to establish.

  • Viewpoint
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Trump’s Syria Decision and the Turkish Operation

    Oct 10, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Without American forces on the ground, Washington will not be able to realize its objectives in Syria, especially in confronting the Iran-affiliated militias t…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Confusion in Turkey’s Regional Foreign Policy

    Oct 8, 2019Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkish foreign policy choices in Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia are plagued with contradictions that may lead to self-defeating outcomes.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The US Decision to Disengage from the Syrian Crisis

    Sep 11, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    With Syrian and Russian forces aggravating the situation in northern Syria, President Erdoğan needs to protect Turkish interests in Syria and himself against d…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Assessing the Latest Conflagrations between Israel and Hezbollah

    Sep 11, 2019Joe Macaron

    The latest conflagrations between Israel and Hezbollah were an attempt to dictate new rules of engagement. Nevertheless, both sides appear to be committed to t…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Safe Zone Agreement in Northern Syria Improves Turkey’s Position

    On August 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened a military operation against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. His declared objective was to…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Partition and Spheres of Influence in Syria

    Aug 5, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Radwan Ziadeh opines that Syria can no longer be considered a homeland for all Syrians and that its partition has become a reality. Restoring its societal make…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Hamas Plans a Comeback to Damascus: US and Regional Implications

    Jul 31, 2019Joe Macaron

    Hamas is looking to realign itself with Syria as the Trump Administration floats ideas about Palestinian-Israeli peace; however, it appears that the Syrian reg…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Various Players Maneuver for an Uncertain Future in Syria

    Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Israel are positioning themselves to play a role in Syria’s uncertain future now that the Assad regime is defeating the opposition in…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Turkey’s Nativist Turn against Syrian Refugees and Other Arabs

    Jul 23, 2019Mustafa Gurbuz

    The key drivers that fuel the recent nativist sentiment in Turkey are the worsening economy and the politicization of the refugee issue by divisive election ca…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A US-Turkish Agreement Remains a Challenge in Northeastern Syria

    Jun 26, 2019Joe Macaron

    US officials may be rushing a deal with Turkey in northeastern Syria that could lead to a Turkish-Kurdish confrontation and stall the American withdrawal from …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Idlib between Regional and International Imbalances

    Jun 5, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Radwan Ziadeh writes that the Trump Administration must look at Syria as more than merely a humanitarian crisis and help in reaching a political transition to …

  • Policy Analysis
    AlgeriaDemocracy and Governance

    The Legacy of the Pillared Arab State

    Jun 1, 2019Daniel Brumberg

    This paper is part of ACW's fourth book, titled The Arab World Beyond Conflict.IntroductionAmong other things, politics provides a means of managing conflicts.…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Syria for Sale: The Price of Assad’s Survival

    May 10, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Russia’s so-called investments in vital Syrian installations like the Tartous port and in strategic assets such as oil and gas illustrate that the country is b…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Avoiding Punishing Lebanon Because of Hezbollah

    Apr 16, 2019Khaldon Roukie

    The United States continues to ostracize and pressure Hezbollah in Lebanon which is inadvertently helping the party grow and become more influential in the cou…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Policy of No Return: The Case of Syrian Refugees

    Apr 2, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    The third annual conference to support Syrian refugees concluded in Brussels with $7 billion pledged but without political commitments, exposing shortcomings a…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    The Trickiness of Syria’s Return to the Arab League

    Mar 29, 2019Imad K. Harb

    It is important for Arab states to continue to withhold Syria’s membership until Damascus agrees to a political process that leads to a transition from Assad’s…

  • Viewpoint
    LevantInternational Law

    Trump and the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights

    Mar 25, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Trump’s presidential proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory will have serious implications for international law, US role i…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Syria’s Demographic Changes Buttress Assad’s Authoritarianism

    Mar 1, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    The Syrian regime violated international prohibitions on the conduct of war by forcing millions of people to flee their homes in order to spur demographic chan…