• Policy Analysis
    JordanMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: The Politics of their Return

    Jun 28, 2018Joe Macaron

    Overwhelmed by their own economic woes, Jordan and Lebanon are employing different tactics to achieve the same objective: to secure the return of Syrian refuge…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Can Assad Truly Assert His Control over Syria?

    Jun 12, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    Despite the Assad regime’s consolidation of power, reviving the territorial integrity of Syria is a mirage. Moscow’s rise as a key power broker and the Russia-…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantReligion and Politics

    The Damascus-Aleppo Highway and Stabilizing Northwest Syria

    Jun 7, 2018Joe Macaron

    While Russia, Turkey and Iran are stabilizing northwest Syria along the Damascus-Aleppo highway, they are also normalizing an irregular situation that could ul…

  • Viewpoint
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Crack in the Russian-Iranian Alliance in Syria?

    May 23, 2018Joe Macaron

    In a rare instance since the Russian intervention in Syria in September 2015, the policy differences between Moscow and Tehran have become public. This raised …

  • Viewpoint
    LevantInternational Law

    The United States Abdicates Its Responsibilities in the Middle East

    May 17, 2018Imad K. Harb

    It is impossible to see how the massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza or the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem will help chart a way out…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    Has Trump Opted for a Longer US Presence in Syria?

    Trump has walked back his declaration to bring US troops in Syria home “very soon” in light of pressure from advisors and allies, but he risks embroiling the U…

  • Viewpoint
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Dangerous Israeli-Iranian Escalation in Syria

    May 11, 2018Joe Macaron

    In the most dangerous escalation since the establishment of the Golan Heights ceasefire line in 1973, Israel and Iran exchanged fire in southwestern Syria unde…

  • Viewpoint
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Deploying Arab Forces in Syria is not Advisable, nor Possible

    May 10, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    Over the last few months, President Donald Trump has made announcements that regional states should bear more of the burden of ridding Syria of the so-called I…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantEnergy and Economics

    Between Idealism and Realpolitik: Erdoğan’s Quest for Palestine

    Apr 26, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey’s active policy for Palestine enables Ankara to strengthen its ties to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas simultaneously and thus to bolster its role a…

  • Viewpoint
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Kosovo Model for Syria

    Apr 17, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    The April 13, 2018, American-British-French strike on Syria was wider in scope and effect than that of April 2017 on Shairat Air Base; both conducted as punish…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Looming Threat of Kurdish-Arab Strife in Northern Syria

    Apr 9, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    The latest developments in northern Syria signal a clear threat of rising Arab-Kurdish tensions that could boil over if local, regional, and international play…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Where Is Syria Headed?

    Apr 3, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    The scenarios for Syria’s future after the fall of Eastern Ghouta now look very different from those drawn in 2012 or 2013, which depicted a peaceful political…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Jordan’s Four Worst-case Scenarios on Its Syrian Border

    Mar 30, 2018Joe Macaron

    Jordan faces four worst-case scenarios as the US-Russia ceasefire agreement is gradually collapsing in southwestern Syria. Amman’s options to limit the damage …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Many Complications of Returning Islamic State Fighters

    Mar 19, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    As the Islamic State (IS) transforms into a flat organization with autonomous cells around the globe, the foreign fighters returning to their home countries po…

  • Viewpoint
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    Tillerson’s Departure: Implications for Middle East Policy

    Mar 13, 2018Imad K. Harb

    President Donald Trump’s sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has important ramifications for US policy in the Middle East, and specifically toward the …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantSecurity and Defense

    US Syria Policy: Juggling Contradictory Interests

    US policy in Syria, as articulated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, remains focused on the Islamic State, but it does little to bring about other stated go…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Hell on Earth: The World Forsakes Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

    Feb 28, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    The people of this district near Damascus are being exposed to relentless aerial bombing and ground attacks that have killed over 500 civilians, including many…

  • Viewpoint
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Eastern Ghouta: Syria’s “Hell on Earth”

    Feb 23, 2018Khalil E. Jahshan

    In recent weeks, the Assad regime and its supporters have subjected the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta to one of the most violent attacks of the seven-year …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Is There a US Policy Toward the Kurds in Iraq and Syria?

    Recent tensions between the United States and Turkey over US support for the Syrian Kurds have brought to the forefront the issue of US policy toward the Kurdi…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantSecurity and Defense

    The War of Others on Syria’s Soil

    Feb 20, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    The late diplomat, politician, and publisher of the influential Lebanese daily An-Nahar, Ghassan Tueni, characterized the 15-year Lebanese civil war as “a war …

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Like Quicksand, Many Issues Threaten to Engulf Lebanon

    Feb 13, 2018Imad K. Harb

    As it approaches the highly anticipated round of legislative elections on May 6, Lebanon finds itself bereft of a cohesive political center that can withstand …

  • Viewpoint
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A change in the American rules of engagement in Syria

    Feb 9, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    The American forces in northeastern Syria intervened in the Deir Ezzor area to protect and defend their local ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces. An estimated …

  • Viewpoint
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Russia has abandoned all restraint in its support of Assad

    Feb 8, 2018Imad K. Harb

    It appears that Russia has decided to fully throw in its weight behind Bashar al-Assad’s regime and in fact take part in bombing civilian targets. I think Russ…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantSecurity and Defense

    The Battle of Afrin and the Future of the Free Syrian Army

    Feb 2, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    Low levels of mutual confidence between Washington and Ankara have subjected the American-Turkish strategic relationship to unwarranted dangers and challenges.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Turkey’s Kurdish Conundrum in Syria

    Jan 24, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    As Turkey conducts its military operations against Syrian Kurdish militiamen ostensibly to secure its border with Syria, it finds itself needing to reconcile d…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    Tillerson’s Syria Policy: Ambitious but Short on Detail

    Jan 23, 2018Radwan Ziadeh

    While the United States remains concerned about many different and complicating factors in Syria, Tillerson’s pronouncements represent an ambitious policy that…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Syrian Opposition Faces an Existential Crisis

    Dec 21, 2017Joe Macaron

    After losing important bargaining chips such as control of territory and ability to declare a ceasefire, the Syrian opposition may not be able to influence the…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    No Room for Assad in a Future Syria

    There is no end to Syria’s conflict, no establishment of a democratic and open political system, and no return for Syria’s refugees, so long as Bashar al-Assad…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Using Its Syrian Foothold, Russia Expands in the Middle East

    Dec 14, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Russia’s victory in Syria does not merely prop up the Assad regime but, more broadly, helps propel Moscow’s strategic interests in the wider Middle East.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Future Possibilities for the Kurds in Post-IS Syria

    Nov 28, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    With the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, Kurdish activities and aspirations are yet again exposed to the calculations and machinations of all the parties…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Bilateral Disagreements Aside, Jordan and Israel Agree on Syria

    Jordan and Israel view military activities by Sunni extremists groups and by Hezbollah as threats and are using their developing ties with Russia to try to mit…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Raqqa’s Liberation and US Policy in Syria

    Oct 31, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    The Islamic State’s defeat in Raqqa was met with widespread approval among all Syrians, but the Kurds’ control of the liberated city and its surroundings promp…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    The Challenges of Turkey’s Operation in Syria’s Idlib

    Oct 19, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey is concerned about who controls neighboring Idlib Province in Syria but is equally interested in thwarting the Syrian Kurds’ plans for autonomy south of…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranInternational Law

    Trump’s United Nations Speech: More of the Same

    Sep 20, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    President Trump’s speech before the UN mixed isolationism and economic nationalism with calls for international consensus building, two irreconcilable position…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Future Implications of the Islamic State’s Demise in Syria

    Sep 20, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    Syria’s developments regarding the Islamic State’s expected demise and the Astana meeting should not be taken to signal an end to the country’s war which has l…

  • 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…

  • 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
    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
    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
    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…

  • 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
    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
    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

    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
    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 …

  • 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 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    What is Next for Turkey after the Fall of Aleppo?

    Dec 15, 2016

    After the fall of Aleppo, Turkey’s capacity to maneuver in the region will suffer tremendously. Indeed, the fall of Aleppo has increased tensions among Syrian …

  • Policy Analysis

    The New Regional Order amid the Aleppo Rubble

    Oct 20, 2016Joe Macaron

    It became obvious in recent weeks that the US-Russian channel regarding Syria has run its course and can no longer be the bedrock of serious diplomatic efforts…

  • Policy Analysis

    Doomed to Fail: Syria is not Ready for a Ceasefire

    Sep 23, 2016Joe Macaron

    For the second time in nearly six months, Washington and Moscow are striving to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The ultimate objective of establishi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Implications of Al-Qaeda Rebranding in Syria

    Aug 31, 2016Radwan Ziadeh

     The announcement by the top leader of Al-Nusra Front in Syria Abu Mohammed Joulani to distance his group from Al-Qaeda last month was very controversial.…

  • Policy Analysis

    The US fatal mistake in northern Syria

    Aug 31, 2016Joe Macaron

     The moment the Turkish incursion into Syrian Territory began on August 24, the stage was set for a looming direct military confrontation between Ankara a…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Week that Cut Turkey’s Ambitions Down to Size

    Jul 7, 2016Yousef Munayyer

    Although signs of policy adjustment have been in the works for several months, the events of June 2016 were an emphatic marker of a shift in Turkey’s foreign p…

  • Policy Analysis

    The State Department’s “Dissent Memo” and US Options in Syria

    Jul 6, 2016Radwan Ziadeh

    On June 16, 2016, a dissent memo regarding Syria was filed with the Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department criticizing the Obama Administration…

  • Research Paper

    Time for Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation in Syria

    Apr 8, 2016Radwan Ziadeh

    Transitional justice refers to a group of activities or investigations that focuses on communities with a legacy of human rights violations, genocide, or other…

  • Research Paper

    Jordan’s Azraq Refugee Camp – A Pictorial Essay

    Mar 25, 2016Priscilla Philippi

    When the conflict in Syria broke out in March of  2011, there was no indication as to the duration or the enormity of the ensuing humanitarian crisis.  Accordi…

  • Policy Analysis

    The “Dos and Don’ts” of Defeating ISIS: Obama’s wasted 13-minutes

    Dec 6, 2015Tamara Kharroub Roxanne Perugino

    Tamara Kharroub and Roxanne Perugino

  • Policy Analysis

    Russia’s Middle East Moves and US Options

    Oct 15, 2015Yousef Munayyer

    BackgroundIn recent weeks, Russia has taken quite significant and surprising steps to deepen and strengthen its support for the Assad regime in Syria. Russia h…