• Policy Analysis
    KuwaitDemocracy and Governance

    Kuwait Muddles through Its Confusing Politics

    Nearly a year has passed since the death, on September 29, 2020, of Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah, the respected elder statesman of Gu…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    US Middle East Influence in Afghanistan’s Shadow

    Jul 15, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Will the departure of some 3,000 American troops from Afghanistan be a harbinger of a more fundamental realignment of US Middle East security policy? Presently…

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Is a Saudi-Emirati Rift on the Horizon?

    Jul 7, 2021Imad K. Harb

    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) appears to be approaching another unwelcome rift, this time between its two most vocal and influential members, Saudi Arabia…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Oman’s Diplomatic Agenda in Yemen

    Jun 30, 2021Giorgio Cafiero

    A flurry of diplomatic activities and high-level meetings between Omani officials and their counterparts from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, the United Sta…

  • Viewpoint
    Iraq

    Iran’s Presidential Election as Viewed in Iraq

    All political developments in Iran have serious repercussions in Iraq, and the election of Ibrahim Raisi as president of the Islamic Republic is no different. …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Raisi’s Election Creates Opportunities and Pitfalls for Iran’s Islamic Republic

    Jun 25, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    In the weeks leading up to Iran’s June 18 presidential elections, one joke making the rounds was that Ebrahim Raisi, then a candidate and now the winner, was r…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenUS Foreign Policy

    Attaining the Difficult Peace in Yemen

    After displaying some optimism about reaching a cease-fire and peace deal in Yemen, the Biden Administration is facing the stark reality that these objectives …

  • Viewpoint
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Time to Address Impunity in Iraq

    On May 26, Iraqi security forces arrested General Qasim Muslih, commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Anbar province, basing their action on…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    A Tough Nut to Crack: Rebalancing the US-Saudi Relationship

    Jun 2, 2021Charles W. Dunne

    Out on the campaign trail in 2019, presidential candidate Joe Biden made it clear that when it came to a principled US foreign policy, he intended to be the an…

  • 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
    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
    Saudi ArabiaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Contingencies Undergird Saudi Foreign Policy

    A flurry of diplomatic outreach involving Iran, Syria, and Turkey, and a continuing warming of relations with other Gulf countries, have sparked questions over…

  • 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 …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEducation and Development

    Arab Space Programs Level Up

    Apr 30, 2021Charles W. Dunne

    People in the Arab world have gazed at the stars with curiosity and genius for centuries. The first observatory was built in the 8th century by Abbasid Caliph …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    The United States Ends its Combat Role in Iraq

    At the recent meeting of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, negotiators decided to end the combat mission of US troops engaged in the fight against remnants of th…

  • 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
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    Yemen’s Critical Moment

    Apr 21, 2021Nabeel A. Khoury

    Tim Lenderking, the American special envoy for Yemen, recently attended a meeting in Germany with representatives of the five permanent members of the United N…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Time to Rethink International Intervention in Yemen

    Apr 7, 2021Nadwa Al-Dawsari

    Ten years ago, youth-led peaceful protests spread in Yemen demanding political reforms and the removal of the corrupt regime of former President Ali Abdullah S…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEnergy and Economics

    China’s Maritime Challenge to the United States in the Gulf

    Mar 30, 2021Gabriella Haedelt

    The Arabian Gulf has emerged as a theater of investment, international integration, and rivalry for global powers, especially after Chinese President Xi Jinpin…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    A Struggle of Wills over Iraq’s Identity

    The last few days witnessed serious efforts by some Arab countries to influence developments in Iran-friendly Iraq. On March 24, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohamm…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Hard-liners Fight for Iran’s Presidency and Foreign Policy

    Mar 17, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who during the Obama Administration played a pivotal role in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, recently asserted…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq’s Complicated and Challenging Security Situation

    Many of Iraq’s pro-Iran militias were encouraged with Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States and the ensuing Democratic control of both houses …

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    Repercussions of the ODNI Khashoggi Report: An Assessment

    Mar 3, 2021Khalil E. Jahshan Imad K. Harb Kristian Coates Ulrichsen Sarah Leah Whitson Rosie Bsheer

    On February 26, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its report on the assassination of US resident and Washington Post columnis…

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    Mohammed bin Salman in the Hot Seat

    Feb 26, 2021Imad K. Harb

    The Biden Administration’s release on February 26 of a declassified intelligence report implicating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) in the assassi…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    The US and Iran: From Brinkmanship to Negotiations?

    Feb 25, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    In his far-ranging February 21 interview with Iran’s Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated a bottom line: that Iran would step awa…

  • 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
    YemenRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    A Timeline of the Yemen Crisis, from the 1990s to the Present

    Feb 19, 2021Marcus Montgomery

    Early Years: Saleh and the Houthis1990’s – After the reunification of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh transitions from president of North Yemen—a post he had held si…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Egyptian-Saudi Relations: Strategic Ties with Some Political Strains

    Egypt and Saudi Arabia continue to be strategic partners in the Middle East, buoyed by shared interests and certain threat perceptions. Saudi Arabia values Egy…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqViolent Extremism

    The Terrorist Attacks in Baghdad: A New Chapter in Iraq’s Instability?

    Abdulwahab Al-Qassab writes that the latest suicide bombings in Baghdad portend a feared return of the Islamic State after it was supposedly vanquished in Dece…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    Biden will Contend with Divergent Middle East Preferences on Iran

    Jan 27, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    The Middle East is experiencing a period of diplomatic and strategic readjustment that will create both challenges and opportunities for the Biden Administrati…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Iran between Avenging Soleimani and Engaging Biden

    Jan 27, 2021Joe Macaron

    Two events in January serve as reminders of how US-Iran dynamics are pulled in two different directions: the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20,…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenUS Foreign Policy

    Pompeo’s Departing Sabotage in Yemen

    Jan 19, 2021Imad K. Harb

    With less than two weeks in office before he checks out of Foggy Bottom, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Yemen’s Houthi movement a foreign terrorist …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    China’s Belt and Road Initiative and US Middle East Policy

    Jan 13, 2021Charles W. Dunne

    More than seven years after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the vast infrastructure and economic developme…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The Gulf

    The GCC Reconciliation: An Assessment

    Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held their 41st summit meeting on January 5, 2021 in al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, and agreed to end the Gulf crisis that…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The Gulf

    Saudi Arabia Ends the GCC Crisis

    Jan 7, 2021Imad K. Harb

    It finally happened: the GCC crisis is seemingly over. The 41st summit meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) succeeded in surmounting the three-and-a-h…

  • 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
    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
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfThe GCC

    The Biden Presidency and the Gulf Arab States

    Assessing the Biden Administration’s future relations with the Gulf, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen writes that it faces a set of difficult challenges on a number o…

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    MbS Also Gets Nothing for Normalizing with Israel

    Nov 23, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Once again, Arab solidarity with the Palestinian cause suffered a setback. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) reportedly met with Israeli Pr…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenUS Foreign Policy

    Yemen May Be a Priority for Biden and the Democrats

    As President-elect Joe Biden assembles his team and sets his priorities for the next four years, there has been much speculation as to what he will focus on in…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqUS Foreign Policy

    Biden and Iraq: A Chance to Address Past Mistakes

    Nov 20, 2020Nabeel A. Khoury

    The Biden Administration is likely to change a few policies in the Middle East while keeping others essentially the same. Iran, long considered an adversary, i…

  • Viewpoint
    Morocco

    Does Arab Public Opinion on Palestine Still Count in 2020?

    Nov 18, 2020Khalil E. Jahshan

    Although public opinion research in the Arab world has evolved significantly in recent years, it does not seem to be taken seriously by American policymakers i…

  • Viewpoint
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfDemocracy and Governance

    Arab Public Opinion on National Security and Foreign Intervention

    Nov 17, 2020Joe Macaron

    The Arab League celebrated its 75th anniversary this year in the midst of regional politics that have never been more polarized, with continuous foreign interv…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Iran and the World Wait for Biden

    Nov 5, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Iranian leaders have insisted that the November 3rd US elections would have no real significance for Iran’s basic interests. But such assertions should not be …

  • Policy Analysis
    UAEUS Foreign Policy

    The Middle East Accords: An Arab Perspective

    Nov 2, 2020Imad K. Harb

    The recent agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan will not help the cause of regional peace.On August 13, President D…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s Iraq: Challenges and Prospects

    Nov 2, 2020Abbas Kadhim

    The Iraqi Council of Representatives voted to confirm Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on May 7, 2020, after two aborted attempts to replace his predecessor, …

  • Policy Analysis
    UAEReligion and Politics

    The UAE’s Manipulative Utilization of Religion

    Sep 29, 2020Khalil Al-Anani

    The August announcement of normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has led to a backlash among Arabs and Muslims around the wor…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    Saudi Arabia Prefers Implicit Normalization with Israel

    Sep 18, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Signed at the White House on September 15, the new peace agreements between Israel on the one side and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain on the other …

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Egypt-Iraq-Jordan Alliance Tries to Change Middle East Dynamics

    Sep 16, 2020Curtis R. Ryan

    On August 25, 2020, the leaders of Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan met in Amman for the third in a succession of meetings marking ever-closer relations between the thr…

  • Viewpoint
    UAESecurity and Defense

    Comments on the UAE’s Acquisition of the F-35

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have condoned the sale of the advanced American F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the United Arab Emirates afte…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    After the Beirut Blast: Hezbollah and Iran Walk a Tricky Line

    Aug 26, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Daniel Brumberg argues that Hezbollah and Iran are vested in preserving the current political system in Lebanon whose confessional institutions enable the part…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Riyadh Agreement 2.0 Changes Nothing in Yemen

    Aug 19, 2020Nabeel A. Khoury

    Nabeel Khoury contends that the lack of trust between Yemen’s Hadi government and southern secessionists is likely to at least delay the implementation of the …

  • Viewpoint
    IraqUS Foreign Policy

    Iraq’s Mustafa Al-Kadhimi Comes to Washington

    Abdulwahab Al-Qassab previews Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s upcoming visit to Washington and writes that the American capital may be too preoccupie…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    The UAE-Israel Deal that Keeps Peace Away

    The UAE-Israel agreement to normalize bilateral relations serves immediate political purposes for the Israeli prime minister and President Donald Trump without…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelUS Foreign Policy

    The UAE-Israel Deal: Exploring the Motives

    Aug 17, 2020Khalil E. Jahshan

    Khalil E. Jahshan explores the political reasons behind the agreement to officially normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, stating th…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfWomen & Gender Issues

    Barriers to Women’s Workforce Participation in the Gulf Arab States

    Aug 11, 2020Alainna Liloia

    Alainna Liloia argues that a societal shift in the Gulf states is needed for greater support to working women so they can make their own personal and professio…

  • Policy Analysis
    UAE

    Reflections on Mohammed bin Zayed’s Preferences Regarding UAE Foreign Policy

    Assessing the UAE’s foreign policy, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen contends that Mohammed bin Zayed’s personalistic rather than institutionalist style exposes his c…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaSecurity and Defense

    Can Saudi Arabia and the UAE Develop National Arms Industries?

    Jul 22, 2020David B. Des Roches

    With a speed rarely seen in history, the Gulf Arab states have evolved from mere afterthoughts of colonialism to advanced countries. Located in a strategic reg…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/Israel

    By Hedging, the UAE Abandons the Palestinians

    Jul 17, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Imad K. Harb writes that the UAE’s hedging strategy explains its headlong openness on Israel. It is thus abandoning the Palestine question just as the Israeli …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqUS Foreign Policy

    US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue: Important Achievements, but Much Remains to Be Done

    Jul 14, 2020Charles W. Dunne

    Charles W. Dunne reports that the first round of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue in June made progress on security issues, but many challenges remain for the tw…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Iran’s Hard-liners Grapple with the Trap of Securitizing the State

    Jul 13, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Daniel Brumberg argues that Iran's hard-liners have savored the victory of last February's parliamentary elections and are now preparing for the 2021 president…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Migrant Workers’ Health and COVID-19 in GCC Countries

    Jul 7, 2020Yara M. Asi

    Yara M. Asi writes that poor health care provisions and crowded living conditions of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have made them e…

  • Policy Analysis
    YemenConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Unabated War and Descent into Chaos in Yemen

    Jun 30, 2020Nabeel A. Khoury

    Nabeel Khoury argues that despite the many mistakes made by Yemen's political leaders and factions and the regional and international communities, the country'…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    The Arms Trade in the MENA Region: Drivers and Dangers

    Jun 17, 2020Charles W. Dunne

    Charles W. Dunne argues that international arms sales remain a huge business in the Middle East, making it the most militarized region globally. However, he wr…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarThe GCC

    The GCC Crisis at Three Years: No Lessons Learned

    Jun 2, 2020Khalil Al-Anani Kristian Coates Ulrichsen Marwan Kabalan Courtney Freer Karen E. Young

    The continuation of the GCC crisis undermines the idea of a supranational entity through which the six countries of the council could realize political, econom…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    US Middle East Policy in Free Fall

    May 28, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Gulf Arab states have little choice but to rely for their security needs on the Trump Administration despite its feckless policy in the Middle East and poor ca…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanThe GCC

    Jordan Maneuvers in GCC Politics to Protect Its Interests

    Despite its heavy dependence on the GCC for economic aid and employment for its workforce, Jordan has been able to pursue political positions not always in syn…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Iran Is Running a Custom-Made Strategy in the Levant

    May 18, 2020Joe Macaron

    Although economic pressures are forcing the Iranian regime to cut its losses in the Levant, it would be a mistake for the Trump Administration and its allies t…

  • 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
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    MbS’s New “Vision 2020”: Reform and Repression

    May 5, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) will most likely weather the political, economic, and health storms generated by COVID-19. Prompted by th…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    Worrisome American Response to Iran in the Gulf

    Abdulwahab Al-Qassab examines the muted US response to Iranian provocations in the Arabian Gulf, surmising that it reflects poorly on the reputation of the Uni…

  • Viewpoint
    YemenConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Unified Yemen May Soon Cease to Exist

    Apr 27, 2020Imad K. Harb

    With President Hadi too weak to respond to the self-rule declaration by the UAE- supported Southern Transitional Council, and Saudi Arabia too economically tro…

  • Policy Analysis
    OmanDemocracy and Governance

    Continuity in Oman’s Problems and Policy Prescriptions

    Apr 21, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Oman is likely to continue to follow the policy prescriptions of the late Sultan Qaboos, Imad K. Harb writes, but the new ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, may …

  • Washington Policy Weekly
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    Did the Saudi-Led Oil Deal Diminish Republicans’ 2020 Electoral Chances?

    Apr 15, 2020Marcus Montgomery

    Because the health of the US economy is critical for Donald Trump's reelection hopes, Marcus Montgomery asks if the recent Saudi-led OPEC+ cuts will contribute…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    The Fourth Saudi State Remains a Distant Vision

    Apr 3, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Imad K. Harb argues that Mohammed bin Salman’s chaotic and authoritarian stewardship of Saudi domestic and international affairs may well impede the establishm…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    The COVID-19 Pandemic Prompts Debate over Iran Sanctions

    Marcus Montgomery details splits in official Washington about how to deal with Iran at this delicate time of the coronavirus outbreak: some want to offer sanct…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    COVID-19 and Iranian-American Relations

    Apr 1, 2020Daniel Brumberg

    As US-Iran relations suffer from continuing political and ideological differences, the coronavirus calamity could provide an opportunity for deescalation and c…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Confusion in Iraq: A Fractious Political Process and Free-Wheeling Militias

    Abdulwahab al-Qassab highlights Iraq's current political problems and calls upon Iraqi politicians to put aside their differences and concentrate on how to avo…

  • 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…