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

    The Yemen Conflict and Its Elusive Political Solution

    Overshadowed by the conflict in Syria, Yemen continues to suffer from an internal civil war, a regional proxy war, and a grave humanitarian crisis. Unfortunate…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Legal Analysis of the Demands Presented to Qatar

    Jun 26, 2017

    I. IntroductionOn June 23, 2017, Kuwait, acting as a mediator, presented Qatar with a thirteen-point list of demands on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Kingmaker: The Rise of Mohammed bin Salman

    Jun 22, 2017

    As Saudi King Salman appoints his 31-year-old son Mohammad bin Salman as Crown Prince, what are the implications for Saudi security, the GCC crisis and the reg…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    Foreign Policy Aspects of US Weapons Sales in the Gulf: What Does the United States Get Out of It?

    Jun 22, 2017David B. Des Roches

    US government policy in the Arabian Peninsula is often maddeningly inconsistent to outside— and inside—observers.  A republic such as the United States, which …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEnergy and Economics

    Impact of the GCC Crisis on Global Energy Markets

    Jun 21, 2017Joe Macaron

    While the diplomatic row among GCC countries had no immediate impact on energy trade, the uncertainty and longevity of the crisis might have long term reverber…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Turkey and the Gulf Crisis: Erdoğan’s Most Difficult Game

    Jun 19, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Ankara’s policy toward the Gulf crisis is shaped by economic and strategic concerns as well as fear that the same allegations against Qatar could be directed t…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfThe GCC

    President Trump Failed His Gulf Test

    Jun 15, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The United States must show a full-fledged commitment to GCC unity and refrain from appearing to side with some of the council’s members against others.

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    What’s at Stake for the United States in the GCC Crisis?

    Jun 8, 2017Joe Macaron

    A lot is at stake for US national security in the Gulf, including the possibility of living with a divided GCC, the potential expansion of Iranian influence, a…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Why Qatar? Explaining Contentious Issues

    Jun 6, 2017Imad K. Harb

    What should concern all members of the GCC today is working together not only to simply iron out differences but to provide an agenda for successful collective…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Egyptian-Saudi Relations: Managing a Difficult Marriage

    Saudi Arabia and Egypt need each other at this uncertain time and this inter-dependence keeps them together in a symbiotic relationship despite occasional stra…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Emboldened Kurdish Aspirations in Iran: Where Are They Headed?

    Jun 5, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    An independent Kurdistan contiguous to the Iranian Kurdish region may trigger hawkish regime elements in Tehran—especially in the case of unresolved territoria…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Dangers of Arab Normalization with Israel

    Jun 1, 2017Dana El Kurd

    Arab normalization with Israel is a shortsighted policy on the part of governments, organizations, and individuals. Such a policy poses a risk to both the Pale…

  • 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
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Gaping Holes in Trump’s Well-Received Speech

    May 26, 2017Imad K. Harb

    President Trump’s speech on better relations with Muslims exposed flaws and gaping holes the Administration will have to correct if it wants to advance its int…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantReligion and Politics

    Trump’s Riyadh Speech: Same Intolerance, Different Packaging, No Strategy

    May 24, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia received praise and acclaim but it is hard to see if the president has indeed changed his opinion about Islam and Muslims.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    Human Rights in the Constitution: A Survey of the Arab Uprisings

    May 24, 2017Mai El-Sadany

    When Arab citizens took to the streets in peaceful uprisings throughout 2011, their demands included “freedom,” “justice,” and “dignity.” Their governments rea…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq Beyond the Islamic State

    May 17, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    After the defeat of ISIL and the reconquest of Mosul, how will Iraq’s government address the lingering issues of national identity, minorities, and Kurdish asp…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Cautionary Notes to the GCC about Trump’s Visit

    May 15, 2017Imad K. Harb

    President Trump’s erratic behavior and lack of knowledge and his administration’s institutional problems require great caution from GCC leaders when he visits …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    Challenges Facing Iran’s Presidential Contenders

    May 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Iran’s presidential candidates are acutely aware that if elected, they would have to hew to the wishes and ultimate desires of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Middle East in Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

    May 3, 2017Joe Macaron

    Projecting the image of political stability and steadiness in Washington is paramount for US policy in the Middle East. There is no room for second-guessing th…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Trump Ponders Renewing America’s Longest War in Afghanistan

    Apr 26, 2017Joe Macaron

    The Pentagon has in recent weeks flexed its muscles in Afghanistan but the US continues to navigate a difficult environment in that country as the Taliban rema…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Quandary of Bad Governance in the Arab World

    Apr 24, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Polling in the Arab world shows that Arabs in general have little confidence in their civilian institutions and believe that their governments are not doing en…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Next Challenge for Trump: The Islamic Republic of Iran

    Apr 24, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump struggles to find its foreign policy footing, with early tests emerging in the Middle East, Asia, Europe…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Deterring Iran in Yemen: Will the United States Join the Hodeida Operation?

    Apr 19, 2017Joe Macaron

    The United States debates whether it wants to assist in evicting the Houthis out of Yemen's Hodeida.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Avoiding a Second Fallujah in Mosul

    Apr 18, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The victory in Mosul requires a comprehensive strategy that includes addressing the looming danger of civilian deaths, winning the hearts and minds of Sunni lo…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Perceptions of ISIL in the Arab World

    Apr 14, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    Arab autocrats can no longer argue that Arabs are satisfied with authoritarian rule. New social movements have emerged after the Arab Spring advocating for hum…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Trump Administration’s Complicated Middle East Map

    Apr 12, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    As the 2016 US presidential campaign wound its way through a long string of primaries, fundraisers, and an almost unimaginable marathon of candidate debates, d…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Outsider Diplomat: Tillerson Strives to Define his Role

    Apr 6, 2017Joe Macaron

    After two months in office, Tillerson is gradually coping in his new job; his success or failure will indeed have a significant impact on US foreign policy in …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    The US Military Posture in the Gulf: Future Possibilities

    Apr 4, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Since former President Jimmy Carter announced the establishment of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East in 1980—which later became Central …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Genocide in Mosul: The Repercussions of Targeting Civilians

    There have been widespread allegations that the destruction of Mosul, the major Sunni Iraqi city after Baghdad, is the aim of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqReligion and Politics

    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
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    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
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    The Difficult Tasks for the Arab League

    Mar 22, 2017Imad K. Harb

    As the Arab League limps through its eighth decade, its problems increase in number and intensity while the Arab state system continues to be burdened with pol…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantViolent Extremism

    The Arab World after ISIL’s Defeat

    Current efforts to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will, with time and sustained commitment, eventually lead to the physical destruction…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Obstacles to President Trump’s Options on Iran

    Mar 14, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Almost two months into his presidency, Donald Trump has charted a clear path to tense relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thi…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Turkey-Iran Relations: A Sectarian Future?

    Mar 8, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Syrian war and ensuing crisis in Iraq have put Turkey and Iran in an unprecedented sectarian rivalry. Competition over Iraqi Kurdistan will be a major test…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    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 t…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Erdoğan’s Gulf Tour: Reassurance without Substance?

    Feb 21, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Contemporaneous visits to the Gulf region by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani indicate urgent regional diplomacy in …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfThe GCC

    Developments in Yemen and American Strategic Calculations

    Feb 8, 2017Imad K. Harb

    It has been three years since Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference concluded its work to set the stage for a constitution for a six-region federated state. Thi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Iran and Trump’s Strategy in the Gulf Region: What’s Next?

    Iran’s recent launch of a medium range ballistic missile played to the Trump Administration’s expectations of Iranian behavior regarding strategic weaponry in …

  • Policy Analysis

    General Mattis and Iraq: Motivations and Apprehensions

    The appointment of retired US General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense comes during cautious times for both Iraqis and Americans. The Iraqis are anticipati…

  • Policy Analysis

    Jordan’s King Abdallah in Washington: ISIL and Jerusalem

    Feb 1, 2017Joe Macaron

    In what was described as a working visit, Jordan’s King Abdullah II arrived on January 30, 2017, and became the first Arab leader to come to Washington since t…

  • Policy Analysis

    A World Between bin Laden and Breivik: Supremacist Ideologies Shaping the 21st Century

    Jan 26, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    From Austria, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and elsewhere on the European continent, right-wing political parties are on the rise. Nationalism, protectionism, …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    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

    Aoun in Riyadh: A Test for Lebanon’s Foreign Policy

    Jan 25, 2017Joe Macaron

    In November 2014, General Michel Aoun told the Lebanese daily newspaper, As-Safir, that the late Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal was behind a veto to ele…

  • Policy Analysis

    Oman’s Needed Adjustment During the Trump Presidency

    Jan 18, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The Sultanate of Oman has arguably always been an outlier regarding unified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) action since the organization’s establishment in 198…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turkish-Iraqi Relations: Old Trends and Future Possibilities

    Relations between Iraq and Turkey have been cordial and cautious since Iraq became independent of Ottoman suzerainty after WWI, when British forces invaded and…

  • Policy Analysis

    Washington Rebalancing Away from the Middle East? Realities and Difficulties

    Jan 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    In a speech to the Australian parliament in November 2011, President Barack Obama declared that the Asia-Pacific region had become a “top priority” in US secur…

  • Policy Analysis

    Rafsanjani’s Death and Its Impact on Iran’s Political Bazaar

    Jan 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The death of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani comes at a critical time in the Islamic Republic’s political history. As one of the founders…

  • 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

    The GCC at 35: Regional Concerns and Strategic Hedging

    Dec 15, 2016Imad K. Harb

    Last week, the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded its 37th summit meeting in Manama, Bahrain, amid many hopeful pronouncements as well as atte…

  • Policy Analysis

    Mosul will not be Truly Liberated Without Strong Political Leadership

    Nov 17, 2016Mustafa Gurbuz

    The military victory in Mosul will not be sufficient unless the United States finds a political resolution, in cooperation with local parties, that addresses S…

  • Policy Analysis

    November 8: What’s at stake for the Arab world?

    Nov 7, 2016Joe Macaron

    What motivates the Arab world’s interest in the 2016 US presidential election is primarily the concern about Washington’s role in the Middle East as well as th…

  • Policy Analysis

    Arab Issues Awaiting the Next President

    Nov 7, 2016Imad K. Harb

    Amidst the maelstrom that is the presidential election, American foreign policy has regressed to the uncomfortable and neglected recesses reserved for untoucha…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Battle of Mosul Portends the Future of Iraq

    Oct 28, 2016Imad K. Harb

    The long-awaited battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is underway. Months prior, the Iraqi army and police,…

  • Policy Analysis

    ‘Underlearning’ the Lessons of Iraq: American Agility and Russian Influence

    Oct 20, 2016Yousef Munayyer

    Perhaps one of the most cited criticisms of US foreign policy relating to Syria today is the notion that President Barack Obama has “overlearned” the lessons o…

  • Policy Analysis

    Hezbollah, Iran, and the Politics of Obstructionism

    Sep 23, 2016Imad K. Harb

    On September 7, Lebanon’s Parliament failed for the forty-third time to convene a session to elect a president. Since the expiration of former president Michel…

  • Policy Analysis

    Courting the Houthis did not Yield Peace Deal in Yemen

    Jun 22, 2016Joe Macaron

    United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Security Council on June 21, 2016 marking 60 days of relentless diplomatic efforts …

  • Policy Analysis

    Battle over Fallujah Tests US-Iran Tacit Deal against ISIL

    Jun 3, 2016Joe Macaron

     As Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s al-Quds Force, was reportedly spotted in the northern outskirts of the besieged city of Fallujah, …

  • Policy Analysis

    Why the World Shouldn’t Panic About Trump

    Jun 1, 2016Joe Macaron

    “Everything I say right now is a suggestion, I am not the President,” the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Fox News on May 13. However, his …

  • Policy Analysis

    Defeating ISIL is Not Enough to Save Iraq

    May 10, 2016Joe Macaron

    Two years into the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and amid the persistent downward trend of global oil prices, Iraq is obviously…

  • Policy Analysis

    Freedom of religion as a foundation of Arab democracy: An Arab view of the 2016 report of US Commission on International Religious Freedom

    May 3, 2016

    The onset of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011 gave hope to millions of people across the Arab world that change is possible and that freedoms, democratic tr…

  • Policy Analysis

    Wanted: A US Strategy in the Middle East

    Apr 11, 2016Yousef Munayyer

    In 2006, as Israel and Hezbollah were engaged in what would be a 34­day war, the longest of any Arab­Israeli war since 1948, US Secretary of State Condoleezza …

  • Policy Analysis

    The Obama Doctrine from a Middle East Perspective: Orientalism, Inaction, Contradiction, and Lack of Accountability

    Mar 18, 2016

    In a lengthy narrative collection of conversations and interviews with President Obama and others, journalist Jeffry Goldberg’s tedious tale of “The Obama Doct…

  • Policy Analysis

    Saudi Arabia Goes on the Offensive against Hezbollah

    Mar 8, 2016Joe Macaron

    Saudi Arabia’s explicit identification of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah as a strategic threat is a tipping point in the underlying tensions between both sides. …

  • Policy Analysis

    The Emergence of a New Triangular Relationship in the Middle East

    Jan 29, 2016Joe Macaron

    The implementation of the Iran nuclear deal on January 16 reinforced the emergence of a new triangular relationship in the Middle East involving the United Sta…

  • Policy Analysis

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

    Dec 6, 2015Tamara Kharroub Roxanne Perugino

    Giving his first Oval Office speech during his second term, President Obama addressed the nation on December 6, 2015 following the San Bernardino attack to rea…

  • Policy Analysis

    The Iran Nuclear Deal and its Implications for the Region

    Jul 31, 2015Yousef Munayyer

    The agreement reached by the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US), the EU and the Islamic Republic of Iran over the latter’s nuclear progr…