• Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    The Arab World in the 115th Congress: A Review

    Jan 30, 2019Marcus Montgomery

    The 115th Congress was largely deferential to President Trump on policies related to the Arab world, but the 116th is likely to challenge him on important issu…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfDemocracy and Governance

    How the Private Sector Supports Authoritarians in the Arab World

    Jan 30, 2019Charles W. Dunne

    The private sector in the United States and around the world has a responsibility to confront authoritarian regimes and help protect human rights and the rule …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranSecurity and Defense

    Will an Anti-Iran Military Alliance Be Formed in 2019?

    The administration’s “Arab NATO” proposal to confront Iran is unlikely to succeed because of Trump’s serious credibility deficit and disunity in the GCC.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Deteriorating Circumstances in Syria and Yemen Overshadow US Tactical Success

    Jan 16, 2019Charles W. Dunne

    Changing circumstances in Syria and Yemen and Washington’s shifting strategies have exposed the Trump Administration’s claims of success as threadbare.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqSecurity and Defense

    The United States and the Turkish-Kurdish Conundrum in Northern Syria

    Jan 11, 2019Mustafa Gurbuz

    Future US-Turkey relations depend on Ankara’s demands in northern Syria regarding the Kurds and how its relationship with Moscow develops.

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Khashoggi Murder and US Middle East Strategy in 2019

    Jan 10, 2019Joe Macaron

    The Khashoggi affair and Trump’s hasty withdrawal from Syria are expected to cast a cloud over Washington’s Middle East strategy in 2019.

  • Viewpoint
    IraqInternational Law

    Trump’s Visit Violated Iraq’s Sovereignty

    While many in Iraq considered Trump’s visit a violation of sovereignty, there is no plan for changing the ongoing security relationship with the United States …

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    The Saudi Shake-Up to Consolidate One-Man Rule

    Jan 2, 2019Imad K. Harb

    King Salman’s cabinet reshuffle was to divert attention away from MbS’s responsibility for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi; but it will likely not succeed.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    What will the Middle East look like in 2019?

    Jan 1, 2019Marwan Kabalan

    In 2019, old conflicts in the Middle East will persist and new ones might erupt.

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfUS Foreign Policy

    No American Traction on Resolving the GCC Crisis

    Dec 27, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    To maintain or reassert its leadership role in the Gulf region, the United States must effectively and forcefully address the reasons behind the start of the G…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iran’s Hardliners and Reformists and the Syria Gambit

    Dec 27, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    Iranian hardliners have tried to isolate reformists by asserting that in times of growing security threats, all political forces must unite behind the drive fo…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    The Aftermath of the Khashoggi Murder: Freedom of the Press in 2018

    Dec 21, 2018Tamara Kharroub

    The rise of populism and anti-globalism has contributed to erosion of the international rights system, with governments moving away from accountability and tra…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    Mohammed Bin Salman and the “Deal of the Century”

    Dec 17, 2018Yousef Munayyer

    MbS has proven that he is the wrong man for the job of marketing Trump’s deal. If Trump goes ahead with his peace plan with MbS as his salesman, expectations o…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    US Senate Votes to Pressure Saudi Arabia

    Dec 14, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    Corker's resolution to cut off American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is a rebuke to President Trump and the administration.

  • Viewpoint
    QatarEnergy and Economics

    Qatar Withdraws from OPEC: Business, Politics, or Both?

    It strains credulity to believe that Qatar’s decision to withdraw from OPEC was taken in total isolation from the regional conflict and tensions with neighbors.

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarThe GCC

    The GCC Is Meeting Again: What to Expect?

    Regardless of what happens at the GCC summit on December 9, the likelihood is that the council as it functioned up until 2017 is not coming back anytime soon, …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    US Economic Warfare and Iran’s Politics of Muddling Through

    Nov 30, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    If the Trump Administration and its Middle East allies are counting on capitulation by Iran’s leaders, they are likely to be disappointed in knowing that these…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaInternational Law

    Mohammed bin Salman Tries to Polish His Image at the G20

    Nov 29, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Looking at what has transpired since Khashoggi’s death, MbS’s participation in the G20 is unlikely to help him polish his image or restore his reputation.

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Pompeo and Mattis Strongly Support Saudi Arabia in the US Senate

    Nov 28, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    The Trump Administration likely dealt itself a blow when it sent Secretaries Pompeo and Mattis to the Senate but prevented Haspel from testifying as well.

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    Trump’s Extraordinary Statement on Saudi Arabia

    Nov 21, 2018Khalil E. Jahshan

    American national interests would have been better served by withholding such futile statements of denial and disclaimer until Saudi, Turkish, and US investiga…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    President Trump, Congress, and US-Saudi Relations: A Post-Election Assessment

    Nov 21, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    President Trump has made it clear that even if the Saudi crown prince did order the brutal Khashoggi slaying, this should not fundamentally alter US-Saudi rela…

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

    The Now-Halted War in Hodeida: Was It a Cover for Khashoggi’s Murder?

    Nov 15, 2018Imad K. Harb

    The resumption of fighting around Hodeida cannot be separated from the Saudi attempt to deflect the international community’s attention away from its responsib…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

     The Developing GCC-Damascus Rapprochement

    Nov 15, 2018Joe Macaron

    A rapprochement between GCC countries and the Syrian regime is becoming more possible and is being reinforced by recent regional developments.

  • Viewpoint
    IranUS Foreign Policy

    American Sanctions on Iran Will Seriously Impact Iraq

    While the new set of American sanctions on Iran will undoubtedly have a negative impact on its interactions with the world, the fear is that Iraq will be an un…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Weakened Arab Gulf Should Not Normalize Relations with Israel

    Nov 9, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Today, Israel seems to be closer to officially normalizing its existence in the wider Arab world by aggressively pursuing relations with the monarchies of the …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Flawed American Sanctions Policy on Iran

    Nov 9, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    The capacity of the United States and its regional friends to affect the Middle East’s geostrategic map could diminish further as flaws in the American strateg…

  • Viewpoint
    YemenConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Is the United States Serious about Ending the Yemen Conflict?

    Bipartisan congressional pressure and the Khashoggi murder may have forced the Trump Administration to revise its position on Yemen.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    The 2018 Midterm Elections: What Do They Mean for the Middle East?

    President Trump is potentially days away from being handed a divided Congress; a Democratic-led House could challenge Republican orthodoxy over US policy regar…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russian Gains Are American Losses in the Arab World

    Oct 30, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Putin’s assessment of a receding American international influence paves the way for an even larger Russian role in the Arab world.

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Khashoggi Affair: The Five Stages of Saudi Denial

    Oct 27, 2018Khalil E. Jahshan

    Coming to terms with the heinous crime and its implications for the kingdom was a slow and painful process reminiscent of the five stages of grief model associ…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    The Global Magnitsky Act and Saudi Arabia

    Oct 26, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    The Trump Administration prefers to accept a plausible story about the Khashoggi killing that allows the president to maneuver away from sanctioning Saudi indi…

  • Research Paper
    EgyptDemocracy and Governance

    Regional States and Egypt’s Democratic Transition

    Oct 25, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were the most influential external actors in Egypt’s transition to democracy and its reversal after the 2011 …

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Has Saudi Arabia Become a Monarchy of Fear?

    Oct 24, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    With increasing authoritarian tendencies in the current Arab political order, the Khashoggi killing may point to Saudi Arabia as approaching being a monarchy o…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantInternational Law

    Murder at the Consulate: The Questions that Occupy Us

    Oct 19, 2018Azmi Bishara

    Many have raised questions about the logic behind murdering Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate, but what kind of leader makes such a criminal yet foolish decisio…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaThe GCC

    The Khashoggi Affair: Can Congress Force the President’s Hand?

    Oct 18, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    Khashoggi’s murder prompted many in Congress to speak out forcefully; but for Republicans, a political battle with the president over relations with Riyadh may…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq’s Changing Political Landscape: The Beginning of a New Era?

    Electing a new president and choosing a new prime minister may provide some hope for positive changes in Iraq’s current political conditions.

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaThe GCC

    The Khashoggi Affair and the Future of Saudi Arabia

    Oct 12, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance has taken on the importance of a serious international incident whose repercussions are likely to remain with the kingdom for a…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantInternational Law

    Arab Leaders Return from New York with Little to Show

    Oct 4, 2018Joe Macaron

    Representatives of Arab governments delivered their remarks at the United Nations General Assembly last week. A review of the 16 speeches shows that they focus…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    US Involvement in Yemen: Changing Course Required as Disaster Worsens

    Sep 26, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    With no end in sight, no exit strategy, and little to show for its involvement so far, the US should revise its strategy soon or face mounting international an…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Time to Reboot American-Iraqi Relations

    Sep 13, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    As the conflict in Syria draws to its inevitable bloody close, the United States can't afford to ignore Iraq. In fact, it is time to reboot US-Iraqi relations.

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Saudi Arabia’s Extrajudicial Arrests: Between Reforms, Modernization, and Human Rights Violations

    Aug 31, 2018Tamara Kharroub

    The White House deals another blow to Palestinians, cutting millions of dollars in aid; Trump Administration officials pan Washington to talk Syria, Yemen, Ira…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Complicated Formation of the Iraqi Government

    Iraq’s fourth parliament since the 2003 American invasion will convene in regular session on September 3, amid confusion and speculation about the formation of…

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Saudi Arabia: Half Reform, Half Revolution

    Aug 24, 2018Adel Marzooq

    The Saudi reform project coincides with the appointment of Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as the new crown prince in June 2017. From the outset, man…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Complications of the Houthis’ Role in the Red Sea

    The Houthis’ attack on two Saudi Arabian tankers near the Bab al-Mandab waterway prompts questions about whether they and Iran can disrupt shipping in the Red …

  • Viewpoint
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Congress is Rattled by the US Role in Yemen—But Will It Matter?

    Aug 22, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    Criticism from Capitol Hill has been largely symbolic because few in the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have opted to challenge the president on…

  • Policy Analysis
    BahrainRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    The Exclusionary Turn in GCC Politics

    The emergence of a hyper-hawkish geopolitical axis running from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi has widened existing fractures within the GCC and inflicted potentially lon…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarThe GCC

    Can a GCC Reconciliation Summit at Camp David Succeed?

    President Trump is planning to host a GCC reconciliation summit in September to shore up Arab support for his Iran policies; but to succeed, he will need to re…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Putin Arbitrates Iran’s Presence in Syria

    Aug 10, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    Rumors of a rocky Russian-Iranian alliance have been greatly exaggerated. Putin as arbiter in Syria will only do what serves Russia’s influence there.

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Latest Example of Erratic Saudi Foreign Policy

    Aug 9, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Once again, impulsive, ill-advised, and harmful foreign policy decisions are negatively impacting Saudi Arabia’s global standing. The kingdom has expelled the …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Dangerous Confusion in US Iran Policy

    Aug 7, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    The latest Trump Iran tweet and announcement revealed a lack of a coherent Iran policy in the wake of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA regulating Iran’s nuclea…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantEducation and Development

    The State of Education in the Arab World

    Aug 6, 2018Ilham Nasser

    When closely examining reports on the status of education in the Arab region, the main conclusions have pointed to the Arab states’ deficits in educational att…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Middle East Concerns of American Strategic Planners

    US strategic planners involved in the Middle East have concentrated on protecting vital sea lanes and assisting partner countries against threats, but without …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq’s Southern Intifada: Mere Demands or a Popular Revolution?

    The latest protests in Iraq point to a public backlash against entrenched Shia parties involved in widespread corruption, sectarian politics, and loyalty to Ir…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqEnergy and Economics

    Controlling the Nasib Crossing Is a Game Changer for the Syrian Regime

    Jul 19, 2018Joe Macaron

    The imminent opening of the Nasib crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian border could revitalize commercial activities in the Levant; but challenges lie ahead, inclu…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Dangerous Dynamics of Iraq’s Constitutional Vacuum

    With parliamentary results unfinished and a caretaker government barely running the affairs of state, Iraq is facing a dangerous constitutional vacuum at a ver…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Future of Iraqi-Kuwaiti Relations: Overcoming a Troubled History

    Iraq and Kuwait are developing cordial relations after an acrimonious history. Kuwait wants a stable and non-threatening neighbor while Iraq seeks Kuwait’s fin…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Iran’s Syria Predicament

    Jul 4, 2018Marwan Kabalan

    As Syria's civil war draws to a close, Iran's activity in the country is coming under increasing scrutiny. The US, Israel, and the Gulf states are all working …

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Mapping Saudi Arabia’s New Ruling Bargain

    Jul 3, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    “There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.” Machiavelli…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfMigrants, Refugees, and IDPs

    Hodeida and the Changing American Position

    After opposing Saudi-UAE plans to take the vital Hodeida port, the Trump Administration is now supporting the operation to show it will actively oppose so-call…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Human Rights, Democracy, and the Changing Middle East: A Status Report

    Jun 6, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    Demands for democracy, wider political space, and guarantees of basic human rights have been turned aside by more effective authoritarian responses for now, bu…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Pompeo Digs a Deeper Hole for US Iran Policy

    Jun 5, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    Pompeo's May 21 speech indicates that where Iran is concerned, the US is returning to a policy of "zero enrichment" backed up by economic warfare. But the Whit…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Needless Crisis in the Arabian Gulf

    The Trump Administration would do well to work with the Saudis and Emiratis to identify a face-saving way to back down and end the blockade of Qatar.

  • Policy Analysis
    IranThe GCC

    How the blockade on Qatar failed

    Jun 5, 2018Marwan Kabalan

    The GCC crisis has inflicted significant financial loss on Qatar, but it has failed to bring it down.

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarThe GCC

    One Year Later: A Necessary Reckoning in the GCC

    Jun 5, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Countries blockading Qatar must reflect on how their attempts to control the Gulf are destabilizing the entire region.

  • Policy Analysis
    North AfricaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Political Calculations…from the Western Sahara to the Arabian Gulf

    The timing of Morocco’s decision to sever relations with Iran and to close the Iranian embassy in Rabat “immediately” on May 1, 2018, has raised questions abou…

  • Policy Analysis

    Missed Opportunities and Failed Integration in the GCC

    The crisis that erupted on June 5, 2017, when three members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) turned on a fourth—for the second time in three years—has hig…

  • Policy Analysis

    Perspective: Can Washington Resolve the Impasse?

    Jun 1, 2018Majed M. al-Ansari

    The White House—and more specifically, President Donald Trump—played a negative role in the GCC crisis when it started. The president initially supported the S…

  • Policy Analysis

    Kuwait’s GCC Mediation: Incentives and Reasons for Failure

    Jun 1, 2018Marwan Kabalan

    Kuwait has been a mediator in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) since the first crisis of 2013-2014 between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and …

  • Policy Analysis

    A Difficult Position: US Mediation in the Gulf Dispute

    Jun 1, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    Strengthening and maintaining the Gulf Cooperation Council are among the top goals of any American administration that seeks to preserve peace and stability in…

  • Policy Analysis

    MEASURES OF STALEMATE IN THE GCC CRISIS

    Jun 1, 2018Imad K. Harb

    The current existential crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) began in May 2017 with a hacking operation of the Qatar News Agency website and the public…

  • Policy Analysis

    Anti-Qatar Embargo Grinds Toward Strategic Failure

    Jun 1, 2018Gabriel Collins

    “The experience of the past thus clearly suggests that blockades or embargoes do not always produce the results originally sought when the decision for action …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Iraq will Remain a US-Iran Point of Contention

    The United States’ more belligerent position toward Iran, in the wake of the Trump Administration’s recent withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, is likely to …

  • Viewpoint
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq’s Elections and the Arduous Road Ahead

    Iraq has just finished a fourth round of parliamentary elections. What Iraqis await now are the results of consultations between political parties and factions…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    One year on, Trump remains the cause of – and solution to – the Qatar crisis

    May 23, 2018Andreas Krieg

    When it turned out the statements released by Qatar's news agency were the product of an external cyber-attack, and not the actual words of the country's emir,…

  • 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
    IranEnergy and Economics

    Pompeo Peddles Disaster for American Interests

    May 22, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Another spectacle of a confused American foreign policy was on display on May 21, 2018 at the Heritage Foundation, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deliver…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    Time for Deal-Making after Iraq’s Elections

    May 22, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    Iraqis have rewarded Moqtada al-Sadr’s ability to move beyond sectarian divisions and project a strong anti-corruption message that is hoped to steer Iraq in a…

  • 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
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Saudi-Iranian Conflict in an Age of Sectarianization

    May 15, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    Doctrinal sectarian and strategic reasons underlie the ongoing cold conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As the Trump Administration pushes its more confron…

  • 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…