• 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…

  • 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…

  • Viewpoint
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Mohammed bin Salman Is Wrong on Palestine

    May 2, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Critics allege that impetuousness and impatience are driving Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s actions and statements. What could also be drivi…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    The Many Challenges of Iraq’s Upcoming Elections

    Transcending ethnic and sectarian divisions could be one of the most significant outcomes of the upcoming Iraqi elections that can transform the currently divi…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    External Actors Complicate Resolving the Yemeni Conflict

    Although the Houthis and the Hadi government show no signs of compromise, Yemen’s conflict continues to drag on largely because external actors are pursuing ag…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A Mysterious Strike Renews Israel-US Coordination in Syria

    Apr 10, 2018Joe Macaron

    The Israeli strike on Iranian assets in Syria last Monday and the imminent US strike on Syria renew the US-Israeli coordination there for the first time since …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Super-Hawks on Iran May Make the US the Biggest Loser

    Apr 10, 2018Daniel Brumberg

    The super-hawks President Trump appointed in his administration may very well get the United States into a conflagration with Iran despite international satisf…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Doubts Surrounding Trump’s Work on GCC Reconciliation

    Apr 9, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Conditions in the Gulf and in Washington do not augur well for Trump-led successful negotiations to resolve the GCC crisis, although all players are making the…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    Pompeo Unlikely to Press for Human Rights in the Arab Region

    In contrast to Tillerson, who raised human rights and democracy concerns in some Arab states, Pompeo is unlikely to do so given his ideology and desire to stay…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranSecurity and Defense

    Who is John Bolton? A Political Profile of the Next National Security Advisor

    Mar 23, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    With the appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor, the United States risks turning the National Security Council into an echo chamber of hyper-n…

  • Viewpoint
    Saudi ArabiaUS Foreign Policy

    Trump’s Transactional Relationship with Saudi Arabia

    The March 21, 2018 press conference between US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) must rank among the most surreal…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaSecurity and Defense

    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Yemeni Hemorrhage

    Mar 20, 2018Imad K. Harb

    It is necessary to point out that the Saudi-led intervention in March 2015 has exacerbated human suffering and underscored the differences between Yemen’s elit…

  • 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…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Domestic Politics and Elections

    Firing Tillerson Leaves US Diplomacy in Limbo

    Mar 15, 2018Joe Macaron

    Tillerson’s firing comes at a critical time in US foreign policy. New dynamics are emerging in the Trump Administration and the successor Mike Pompeo should ba…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonEnergy and Economics

    A Saudi Comeback to Lebanese Politics?

    Mar 14, 2018Joe Macaron

    Nearly 100 days after his mysterious “captivity” in the Saudi capital, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri visited Riyadh again on February 28. The timing c…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    Who is Mike Pompeo? A Political Profile of the Nominee for US Secretary of State

    Mar 13, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    When considering his policy positions, temperament, and personal relationship with President Trump, Pompeo is almost the polar opposite of outgoing Secretary o…

  • 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
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    Strategic Considerations of the UAE’s Role in Yemen

    There are legitimate questions about whether the UAE is interested in keeping Yemen unified and sovereign under a national government recognized by the interna…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantSecurity and Defense

    Will Trump Further Militarize the Arab World?

    Feb 28, 2018Marcus Montgomery

    Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the Arab world may be poised for increased militarization as he pushes for military sales and it experiences nu…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    US Allies Upstage Tillerson’s Mideast Tour

    Feb 27, 2018Joe Macaron

    Israel and Turkey dominated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first expanded high level trip to the Middle East as US foreign policy faces new regional challe…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantEnergy and Economics

    Turkey’s Challenge to Arab Interests in the Horn of Africa

    Feb 22, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey’s policies and many activities around the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa have added complications to the already complex strategic picture of the Middle…

  • 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
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Can Iran’s Minorities Be Used against the Regime?

    Feb 9, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    The heightened tension and antagonistic discourse between Saudi Arabia and Iran help Tehran legitimize its security policies in the country and to “alert” its …

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarSecurity and Defense

    The US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue: Messages and Implications

    Feb 8, 2018Marwan Kabalan

    The most consequential outcome of the US-Qatar strategic dialogue is the US official declaration of “readiness to work jointly with Qatar to deter and confront…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqEnergy and Economics

    Jordanian-Iraqi Relations on the Mend, but Problems Remain

    Economic necessities and opposition to the so-called Islamic State have brought Jordan and Iraq closer together, but Amman remains concerned about Baghdad’s li…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Fits and Starts Characterize UN Mediation in Yemen, Syria, and Libya

    United Nations diplomacy regarding Yemen, Syria, and Libya may be undergoing a period of fatigue, or perhaps exhaustion, in searching for efficient formulas to…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    An Unsettling Overview of the Middle East in 2018

    It is clear from ongoing developments in the Middle East that the United States and Russia will continue to play a role that meets their own national interests…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    The Aden Battle and Yemen’s De Facto Partition

    Feb 2, 2018Joe Macaron

    It is clear from ongoing developments in the Middle East that the United States and Russia will continue to play a role that meets their own national interests…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptUS Foreign Policy

    The Middle East Nuclear Picture: Peaceful Programs or Not, Cause for Concern

    Feb 2, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    Focusing solely on the Iranian nuclear program has made Washington oblivious to some significant nuclear developments in other parts of the Middle East.

  • Policy Analysis
    OmanConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Determinants of Oman’s Strategic Position on the Gulf Crisis

    Jan 23, 2018Imad K. Harb

    As Oman seeks to steer a neutral course in the ongoing GCC crisis, Omani decision-makers worry that what happened with Qatar may be justified against their own…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Abdulwahab al-Qassab: Iraq’s Sectarian Parties Will Win Elections

    Religious parties, both Shia and Sunni, are best positioned to win Iraq’s parliamentary elections in 2018. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi cannot escape his sec…