• Viewpoint
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon’s Voters Would Do Well to Support the Forces of Change

    May 10, 2022Imad K. Harb

    On May 15, resident Lebanese go to the polls to elect a new 128-member parliament to replace the one elected four years ago. Given the right to vote in 2018, e…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq’s Government Formation Hindered by Intra-Group Political Competitions

    May 2, 2022Zeidon Alkinani

    Zeidon Alkinani argues that the current political deadlock in Iraq in choosing a president and a prime minister is fueled by intra-group competitions in the Sh…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq Awaits the End of Its Political Deadlock

    Apr 18, 2022Rend Al-Rahim

    In Iraq’s parliamentary elections last October, the Sadrist Movement led by the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr emerged as the largest bloc with 73 seats. Its clos…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    Royal Rifts and Other Challenges in Jordan

    Apr 14, 2022Curtis Ryan

    Jordan’s former crown prince, Hamza bin Al Hussein, posted a rare message on social media in early April 2022, announcing that he was relinquishing his royal t…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Kais Saied Continues His Assault on the Tunisian State

    Apr 8, 2022Daniel Brumberg

    It is difficult to say whether Tunisian President Kais Saied’s March 30 announcement that he is dissolving the country’s parliament represents a turning point …

  • Policy Analysis
    LibyaDemocracy and Governance

    Libya: A Return to Uncertainty

    Mar 16, 2022Imad K. Harb

    It appears that all bets are off in Libya. Elections that were scheduled for last December were postponed as competing institutions and individuals interpret p…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Sisi Intensifies Arms Imports to Secure External Support for His Policies

    Feb 28, 2022Khalil Al-Anani

    Egypt has become the third largest arms importer in the world, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The institute’s “Trends i…

  • Policy Analysis
    SudanDemocracy and Governance

    A Coup Cannot Serve Two Masters

    Feb 22, 2022Kholood Khair

    After a two-year experiment in civilian-military power-sharing, Sudan’s military took over on October 25, 2021 in another bid to govern the country alone. Afte…

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    Making Sense of the Palestinian Central Council’s February Meeting

    Feb 16, 2022Jamil Hilal

    The meeting of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC), held in Ramallah on February 6, received more attention in the news media than was warranted for a number…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Quiet Kurdish Rivalry over Iraq’s Presidency

    Feb 9, 2022Zeidon Alkinani

    Zeidon Alkinani discusses the rivalry between Iraq’s main Kurdish parties—the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)—and i…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    Prospects for the Israeli Governing Coalition

    Feb 9, 2022Yousef Munayyer

    Yousef Munayyer evaluates the prospects of survival of Israel’s current governing coalition, whose partners have little in common except that they coalesced ar…

  • Policy Analysis
    Media and Technology

    Mapping Digital Authoritarianism in the Arab World

    Feb 3, 2022Tamara Kharroub

    The Arab uprisings of 2011 gave rise to a utopian vision of information and communication technologies (ICTs), highlighting their abilities to bypass governmen…

  • Policy Analysis
    Justice, Equality, and Human Rights

    A Bleak Landscape for Democracy and Human Rights in the MENA Region in 2022

    Feb 2, 2022Charles W. Dunne

    Any survey of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa at the start of 2022 has to open with the bad news.Promising protest movements that began in 201…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Sisi’s Transnational Repression: Silencing Political Dissidents in Exile

    Jan 26, 2022Khalil Al-Anani

    On January 6, the FBI arrested Pierre Girgis, an Egyptian American, for spying on critics of Egypt’s president in the United States. According to the US Depart…

  • Policy Analysis
    North AfricaDemocracy and Governance

    The Islamists of Northwest Africa: Accommodation and Co-optation

    Jan 26, 2022Amal Ghazal

    Analyses of Islamists in Northwest Arica—from Mauritania to Libya—follow a common pattern of distinguishing militants among them from non-militants. In particu…

  • Policy Analysis
    Democracy and Governance

    The Democracy Deficit in the Arab World

    Jan 14, 2022Imad K. Harb

    Imad K. Harb examines the democracy deficit in the Arab world and the associated widespread violations of human rights, probing possible explanations of what h…

  • Policy Analysis
    LibyaDemocracy and Governance

    Libya: Political Paralysis and Continued Uncertainty

    Gregory Aftandilian writes that the postponement of Libya’s presidential and parliamentary elections has helped plunge the country into another crisis that thr…

  • Viewpoint
    SudanDemocracy and Governance

    Sudan’s Revolution Must Be Allowed to Continue

    Jan 4, 2022Imad K. Harb

    In a move that reflected his failure to garner the support of the Sudanese public, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok submitted his resignation on January 2…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Can Tunisia’s Leaders Forge a New Democratic Bargain?

    Dec 29, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Nothing captures Tunisia’s crisis of democracy better than this act: the sentencing, in absentia, of former President Moncef Marzouki to four years in prison. …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq’s Post-Election Government Formation: Political Deadlock

    Dec 28, 2021Zeidon Alkinani

    Major changes to the Iraqi political scene are awaiting the formation of a new government following the results of the early parliamentary election that took p…

  • Policy Analysis
    Education and Development

    What Future Exists for the Arab Youth of Today?

    Dec 22, 2021Yara M. Asi

    In December 2021, an unprecedented event happened in Saudi Arabia: a rave just north of Riyadh. Men and women danced in mixed company, alcohol and marijuana we…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Politics, Geopolitical Conditions Pushing Lebanon into a Death Spiral

    Dec 22, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Conditions in Lebanon today betray a slide toward the total failure of state institutions amid a precipitous downturn of the country’s economic and social indi…

  • Policy Analysis
    Democracy and Governance

    Biden’s Summit for Democracy Ignored the Middle East

    Dec 15, 2021Charles W. Dunne

    The Biden Administration’s recent Summit for Democracy should be regarded as a modest success, fulfilling a campaign promise by President Joe Biden and decisiv…

  • Policy Analysis
    SudanRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Sudan Coup: The Regional Interference behind a Faltering Transition

    Dec 11, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    On October 25, 2021, Sudan’s General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan staged a coup, declared a state of emergency, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council, sacked…

  • Viewpoint
    Democracy and Governance

    Is Biden Serious about His Summit for Democracy?

    Since his inauguration on January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden has been hinting at a renewed focus on democracy by his administration to reverse the dismal re…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Is Tunisia Transitioning to a Liberalized Autocracy?

    Nov 18, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    If in the coming months Tunisia undergoes a transition, given current conditions, it will probably not be along a path back to democracy. Indeed, while Preside…

  • Viewpoint
    SyriaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Failure of Syria’s Constitutional Committee

    Nov 16, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    In October 2019, Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres enthusiastically welcomed the creation of Syria’s Constitutional Committee that would…

  • Policy Analysis
    LibyaDemocracy and Governance

    Uncertainty Overshadows Libya’s Elections

    Nov 11, 2021Imad K. Harb

    The agreement governing Libya’s advancement toward presidential and legislative elections, which are slated to be held in December, ran into serious trouble th…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqProtests and Activism

    Iraq’s Tishreen Protest Movement: The Exceptional Domestic Pressure Tool

    Nov 10, 2021Zeidon Alkinani

    In October 2019, Iraq witnessed its most significant anti-government protests since the US-led invasion and occupation in 2003. The demonstrations blasted the …

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptReligion and Politics

    Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: Old Problems and New Divisions

    Nov 3, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    Since its removal from power in 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt continues to face many problems and challenges. Having always prided itself on being the …

  • Policy Analysis
    SudanUS Foreign Policy

    Biden’s Chameleon-like Policy in the MENA Region

    Nov 3, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Having invested time, effort, and treasure in helping to sustain the 2019 political agreement between the Sudanese military and the civilian Forces of Freedom …

  • Viewpoint
    SudanDemocracy and Governance

    Military Takeover in Sudan: The Writing Is on the Wall

    Oct 25, 2021Imad K. Harb

    We have seen this before: military officers in the Arab world not quite enamored with sharing power with civilians—let alone ceding it to them peacefully—show …

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    A New Cycle of Reform in Jordan

    Oct 21, 2021Curtis Ryan

    Jordan’s latest reform committee completed its work this month on modernizing the Jordanian political system. As with the many earlier reform committees and ca…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq’s Elections Are Over. Now What?

    Oct 21, 2021Rend Al-Rahim

    Iraq’s fifth parliamentary election since the 2003 US invasion is procedurally over. The polling stations have closed, but the fight over the results has just …

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Jordan: Uptick in Diplomacy amid Pandora Papers Revelations

    Revelations in the so-called Pandora Papers about King Abdullah II’s substantial real estate acquisitions of luxury homes in the United States and United Kingd…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Foreign Influence in Lebanon and the Third Miqati Premiership

    Oct 13, 2021Joe Macaron

    For the third time in 16 years, Prime Minister Najib Miqati comes to office as a consensus candidate in a country with deep divisions within the Lebanese polit…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Elections in Iraq: Getting Closer to Democracy?

    Oct 6, 2021Rend Al-Rahim 

    Iraq’s parliamentary elections, set for October 10, 2021, represent the sixth national poll since 2003. Iraqi President Barham Salih described them1 as “critic…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    No Rest for the Weary: Lebanon’s Miqati Must Hit the Ground Running

    Sep 10, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Najib Miqati, the billionaire tasked over a year ago with forming the Lebanese government, has finally finished putting it together, but not before President M…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    Jordan’s Decade-long Path to Democracy Might Have Just Begun

    Sep 3, 2021Daoud Kuttab

    In June, Jordan’s King Abdullah II appointed a 92-member commission, headed by former Prime Minister Samir Rifai, and charged it with creating a plan to modern…

  • Policy Analysis
    MoroccoDemocracy and Governance

    Morocco Consolidates Its Authoritarianism

    Aug 26, 2021Houda Chograni

    Al-hogra, a North African colloquial term meaning humiliation, degradation, and abasement, drove another vulnerable Moroccan to self-immolate out of utter powe…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonEnergy and Economics

    Lebanon’s Energy Crisis Fuels US-Iran Tensions

    Aug 25, 2021Joe Macaron

    In the midst of an economic collapse and an energy crisis, Lebanon has found itself in a tug of war between the United States and Iran. On August 19, Hezbollah…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Risky Business: Kais Saied’s Regional Alliances

    Aug 20, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Three weeks after President Kais Saied used Article 80 of the constitution to impose what can be called a ‘state of exceptionalism,’ Tunisians are waiting for …

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Kais Saied Can Either Save or Destroy Tunisia’s Democracy

    Jul 27, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    The political earthquake that rocked Tunisia July 25th—65 years after the country’s independence from France—seems all too familiar. Declaring that he was dete…

  • 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
    SomaliaDemocracy and Governance

    Many Challenges to Address as Somalis Go to the Polls

    Jul 19, 2021Imad K. Harb

    The recent agreement on Somali presidential and parliamentary elections is a good but insufficient sign that Somalia’s many antagonists will allow the credible…

  • Policy Analysis
    AlgeriaDemocracy and Governance

    Algeria Reestablishes Authoritarianism through Elections

    Jul 1, 2021Imad K. Harb

    On June 12, Algeria held an early parliamentary election whose results reflected both Algerian voters’ apathy about the system they inherited from former Presi…

  • 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…

  • Research Paper
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Youth in Lebanon: Policy Narratives, Attitudes, and Forms of Mobilization

    Jun 17, 2021Mona Harb

    IntroductionAs Lebanon is undergoing one of the worst economic and financial collapses in the world, one that was caused by the deliberate inaction1 of its rul…

  • Policy Analysis
    LibyaDemocracy and Governance

    The Challenges and Opportunities in Libya Today

    Jun 14, 2021Imad K. Harb

    After the uprising against former strongman Muammar Qadhafi in 2011, Libya’s road to stability and order—let alone to full democratic governance—has not been s…

  • 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
    SyriaDemocracy and Governance

    Syria’s Presidential Election and the Absence of the American Role

    Jun 1, 2021Radwan Ziadeh

    On May 26, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a fourth seven-year term in a practically uncontested election. No one was surprised by the original announceme…

  • Policy Analysis
    Women & Gender Issues

    The (Slowly) Changing Gender Dynamics in Arab Countries

    May 11, 2021Yara M. Asi

    A now infamous image from 2014 captured the moment Loujain al-Hathloul’s life changed: it shows her sitting behind the wheel of a car, a small smile on her fac…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Is Tunisia’s President Endangering Democracy?

    May 7, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Recently, Tunisia has witnessed a political dynamic that is all too rare in the Arab world: Islamists have joined forces with some secularly oriented Members o…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Tunisia’s Revolution Has Neglected the Country’s Youth

    May 3, 2021Houda Chograni

    Since the desperate act of self-immolation of 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, a marginalized city in the center of Tunisia, on December 17, 2010, …

  • Viewpoint
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    The Palestinian Elections: Process, Mechanics, and Importance

    Apr 29, 2021Hanna Nasir

    President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree last January to hold elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the presidency of the Palestinian Authori…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptDemocracy and Governance

    Failures of Authoritarian Governance in Egypt

    Apr 28, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    On March 23, the world's attention turned to Egypt as traffic in the strategic Suez Canal was disrupted after the 400-meter container ship, the Ever Given, ran…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    The Palestinian Elections and Jerusalem

    Apr 20, 2021Jonathan Kuttab

    Fifteen years have elapsed since the last elections in Palestine, and now Palestinians are poised to hold a new round for the Legislative Council of the Palest…

  • Policy Analysis
    JordanDemocracy and Governance

    Family Matters: Plots and Accusations in Jordan’s Hashemite Monarchy

    Apr 8, 2021Curtis Ryan

    Jordan’s carefully crafted international image was jolted recently when news broke of multiple arrests, the alleged detention of a Hashemite prince, and announ…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptDemocracy and Governance

    An Old, Ongoing Struggle: Domesticating Religious Institutions in Egypt

    Apr 2, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    The relationship between religion and the state is controversial and problematic in the Arab world, particularly with the absence of clear demarcations that co…

  • Policy Analysis
    Democracy and Governance

    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Autocrats: Key Strategies That Beat Down the Arab Spring and Keep Regimes in Power

    Mar 31, 2021Charles W. Dunne

    The 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring has unleashed a torrent of retrospectives focused on the legacy of the uprisings, mostly their failures. All these year…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon Faces a Civil War, a Prospect of Its Own Making

    Mar 23, 2021Imad K. Harb

    The socioeconomic and political crises gripping Lebanon today are unprecedented in the country’s 100-year history, one that has witnessed intercommunal unrest …

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    Israel’s 2021 Elections: Background, Scenarios, and Expectations

    Mar 16, 2021Honaida Ghanim

    On March 23rd, Israel holds its fourth round of parliamentary elections in less than two years, amid what in Israel has become known as “the political crisis” …

  • Policy Analysis
    Justice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Challenges to Biden’s Human Rights Agenda in the Middle East

    Mar 9, 2021Khalil Al-Anani

    In his speech at the US State Department on February 4, 2021, US President Joe Biden pledged to support democracy and confront authoritarianism globally, sayin…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    No Light at the End of Lebanon’s Long and Dark Tunnel

    Mar 3, 2021Joe Macaron

    By all accounts, Lebanon is a desperate case. The severe fiscal crises portend an extended economic depression ahead. The country has been in political paralys…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelDemocracy and Governance

    Palestinian Elections 2021: Reconciling Competing Motives

    Feb 18, 2021Khalil E. Jahshan

    On January 15, 2021, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (PA) issued a decreecalling for legislative, presidential, and National Council elect…

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    Tunisia’s Multiple Crises Threaten Its Brittle Democracy

    Feb 16, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    On January 26, Tunisia witnessed a scene that echoed the dramatic events of January 6 in Washington, DC. Outside the Tunisian parliament in Tunis, hundreds of …

  • Policy Analysis
    TunisiaDemocracy and Governance

    As 2021 Begins, Rival Populisms Menace Tunisia’s Democracy

    Jan 8, 2021Daniel Brumberg

    Ten years after Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” sparked grassroots uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, the pressures of an economic crisis, rampant c…

  • Policy Analysis
    Palestine/IsraelEducation and Development

    Building a Nation without a State: Civil Society in Palestine

    Dec 23, 2020Yara M. Asi

    Never before has the Palestinian Authority (PA) seemed so isolated. American policy under President Donald Trump has unprecedentedly and openly been favorable …

  • Policy Analysis
    US Foreign Policy

    Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East: The Biden Agenda

    Nov 25, 2020Charles W. Dunne

    As news that former Vice President Joe Biden had won the American presidential election began to circulate on Saturday, November 7, messages of congratulations…

  • 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
    Security and Defense

    Military Institutions and Poor Governance in the Arab World

    Nov 16, 2020Imad K. Harb

    The latest Arab Opinion Index (AOI) from the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in Doha, Qatar, reveals an interesting combination of views ab…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon Risks Becoming Irrelevant

    Nov 11, 2020Imad K. Harb

    For the third time in the span of a year, Lebanese politicians are trying to go back to the proverbial drawing board. On October 22nd, President Michel Aoun ap…

  • 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
    EgyptProtests and Activism

    Protests of the Poor in Egypt: Causes and Implications

    Oct 21, 2020Khalil Al-Anani

    On September 20th, a series of anti-government demonstrations broke out in a number of Egyptian governorates and villages protesting the social and economic co…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon Chooses a Prime Minister, Thwarting the Protesters Again

    Aug 31, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Imad K. Harb writes that Lebanon’s new and largely unknown prime minister-designate, Mustafa Adib, is relatively inexperienced in politics. Nevertheless, his c…

  • Policy Analysis
    SudanDemocracy and Governance

    Despite Some Progress, Sudan’s Transition Faces Mounting Hurdles

    Gregory Aftandilian states that although the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has instituted a number of political and social reforms, Sudan’s democ…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    The Beirut Explosion Will Have a Lasting Impact on Lebanon

    Aug 14, 2020Joe Macaron

    Joe Macaron argues that the Beirut explosion and its repercussions will have a profound impact on Lebanon’s future, whatever political scenario emerges followi…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    The Hezbollah-Aoun Political Process Has Failed in Lebanon

    Aug 11, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Imad K. Harb posits that the resignation of the Lebanese government exposes the failure of the Hezbollah-Aoun political process but opens an opportunity for th…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon: A Failed State Explodes

    Aug 6, 2020Imad K. Harb

    Imad K. Harb contends that the failing Lebanese state will only begin to restore its legitimacy when the country’s political elites either step down or alter t…

  • From our Affiliates
    Democracy and Governance

    Beware of the looming chaos in the Middle East

    Aug 3, 2020Marwan Bishara

    If you thought the Middle East has hit rock bottom and may finally emerge intact from a decade of upheaval and conflict, think again.