• Viewpoint
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Lebanon Courts Civil War, Again

    Oct 14, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Once again, Lebanon teeters on the abyss of a civil war, this time over conflicts related to the investigation into the disastrous August 4, 2020 explosion at …

  • 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…

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    A Year after the Beirut Explosion, a Dreaded Civil War in Lebanon

    Aug 3, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Events over the last few days in Lebanon portended a serious escalation in sectarian tensions and a possible widespread resort to arms that could quickly lead …

  • 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
    Palestine/IsraelConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Causes of the Palestinian Unrest in Israel

    Jun 7, 2021Mohanad Mustafa

    The latest popular uprising by Palestinian citizens in Israel erupted during a complex political period in the country following four election cycles that fail…

  • 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
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Hezbollah in Moscow: Russia Flexes Its Diplomatic Muscles

    Apr 14, 2021Joe Macaron

    In a medium-sized van with no bodyguards, on a rainy March 15, 2021, a Hezbollah delegation quietly walked into the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    A Struggle of Wills over Iraq’s Identity

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

  • Policy Analysis
    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
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq’s Complicated and Challenging Security Situation

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

  • Viewpoint
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Assassination of Lebanon’s Lokman Slim

    Feb 4, 2021Imad K. Harb

    Assassination reared its ugly head once again in Lebanon when unknown assailants killed political analyst and activist Lokman Slim in southern Lebanon in the e…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Kurdish Dilemmas in Syria

    The Syrian Kurds, who constitute about 10 percent of Syria’s population, are at a crossroads, trying to preserve their shrunken statelet in the northeastern pa…

  • 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…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Iran Is Running a Custom-Made Strategy in the Levant

    May 18, 2020Joe Macaron

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

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon’s Imminent Collapse: How Can It Be Prevented?

    Mar 3, 2020Imad K. Harb

    The dissolution of confessional politics in Lebanon and the political coalescence of the street opposition to negotiate for social change are key to addressing…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Battle to Defeat Confessional Politics in Lebanon and Beyond

    Nov 11, 2019Daniel Brumberg

    Daniel Brumberg writes that despite demands for radical change, no force or group inside or outside Lebanon can predict what will happen if the country tries t…

  • From our Affiliates
    Religion; Political Islam

    Modernity and the Mechanisms of Moral Neutralisation

    Nov 8, 2019Azmi Bishara

    Azmi Bishara’s introduction to the Arabic edition of Zygmunt Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust (1989).

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Russia’s Gains in Syria Could Be a Blessing in Disguise

    Nov 6, 2019Joe Macaron

    Joe Macaron argues that while Russia may fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of American troops from the Turkish-Syrian border, it could have challenges dea…

  • Policy Analysis
    SyriaRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    The Russia-Turkey Deal for Syria Will Go Nowhere

    Nov 5, 2019Mustafa Gurbuz

    Mustafa Gurbuz analyzes the problems in implementing the initial phase of the latest Turkish-Russian agreement in Syria, concluding they indicate that the deal…

  • Viewpoint
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq’s Cruel Killings Will Not Stop Mass Protests

    Oct 8, 2019Imad K. Harb

    Protests have again rocked Iraq’s streets as thousands of young people voiced their opposition to rampant corruption and sectarian politics. While the demonstr…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Partition and Spheres of Influence in Syria

    Aug 5, 2019Radwan Ziadeh

    Radwan Ziadeh opines that Syria can no longer be considered a homeland for all Syrians and that its partition has become a reality. Restoring its societal make…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Trump’s Sanctions on Hezbollah Threaten Lebanon’s Stability

    Jul 30, 2019Nabeel A. Khoury

    Current conditions in the Middle East and American sanctions against Hezbollah could upset the delicate balance of power in Lebanon and potentially lead to an …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Various Players Maneuver for an Uncertain Future in Syria

    Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Israel are positioning themselves to play a role in Syria’s uncertain future now that the Assad regime is defeating the opposition in…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Symbolism behind the Latest US Sanctions against Hezbollah

    Jul 17, 2019Joe Macaron

    The latest US sanctions against Hezbollah--and their impact on domestic Lebanese politics--are largely symbolic. In reality, the Trump Administration may have …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq’s Militias and the US-Iran Impasse

    The Iraqi government has a difficult time managing its mutual relations with Iran and the United States because of the influence of Iran-supported militias in …

  • Policy Analysis

    Middle East Sectarianism: A Symptom to a Cause

    Jun 1, 2019Marwan J. Kabalan

    This paper is part of ACW's fourth book, titled The Arab World Beyond Conflict.Sectarianism and sectarian conflict in the Middle East are often presented as ce…

  • Policy Analysis

    Identity and Inclusion: Rethinking Citizenship in Arab Societies

    Jun 1, 2019Linda Bishai Elly Rostoum

    Linda Bishai and Elly Rostoum decry exclusivist identity politics in the Arab world and propose this remedy: a transition to democratic practices that respect …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq Torn between Iran, the United States, and the Islamic State

    Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, Iran has implemented policies to ensure its regional influence and control of Iraqi affairs. Recent American isolationi…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Zarif Throws Down the Gauntlet Carefully

    Mar 12, 2019Daniel Brumberg

    By threatening to resign, Zarif made it clear that he would continue his international engagement efforts and, in so doing, defend the place and legitimacy of …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Is Anti-Zionism a Form of Anti-Semitism?

    Mar 3, 2019Azmi Bishara

    Visiting the Quatzenheim Jewish cemetery in eastern France on February 27 after dozens of graves were vandalized with swastikas, French President Emmanuel Macr…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Iranian Revolution at 40: The Politics of Supreme Leader Succession

    Feb 26, 2019Daniel Brumberg

    As Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei advances in age, he must be careful about how his actions domestically and internationally will affect the inevitable succession…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Lebanon’s New Government: No Need for Washington to Panic

    Feb 6, 2019Joe Macaron

    Lebanon’s new cabinet is not that different from the previous one. An American overreaction to Hezbollah’s role in it is likely to strengthen the party’s hold.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    Israel’s Upcoming Elections: Netanyahu Seeking Shelter from Legal Troubles

    Jan 11, 2019Khalil E. Jahshan

    Netanyahu’s fate lies in the hands of the attorney general who will personally decide whether and when to indict him.

  • 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
    SyriaIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Assad Begins a Three-Year Plan to Refurbish His Regime

    Dec 12, 2018Joe Macaron

    The Assad regime is consolidating itself and laying the groundwork to reap the benefits of postwar Syria and strengthen control over territories it recaptured.

  • 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
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Cabinet Stalemate in Lebanon May Be Delaying a Political Confrontation

    Sep 24, 2018Joe Macaron

    Four months after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was designated to lead a national unity government on May 24, there appears to be no end in sight for the…

  • 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
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Ticking Time Bomb of Northern Syria

    Aug 15, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Assad regime’s coming Idlib offensive will cause serious troubles and endanger the US security structure in northern Syria.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Separate and Unequal in Israel: The Foundations of Discriminatory Law

    Jul 26, 2018Yousef Munayyer

    Israel’s new nation-state law enshrines discrimination, with constitutional weight, into the Israeli state’s legal system, spelling further marginalization and…

  • 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
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    BDS and Palestinian Rights: An Assessment

    Jul 18, 2018Yousef Munayyer

    The aim of BDS is to pressure Israel to abide by international law, focusing on three principal demands: ending military occupation of Palestinian land, securi…

  • 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
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    US Withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council Has Little to Do with Human Rights

    Jun 22, 2018Tamara Kharroub

    US withdrawal weakens the council’s credibility and empowers Israel in its neglect for the council’s investigations and resolutions. The UNHRC is the premier i…

  • 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
    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…

  • 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
    LebanonIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Lebanon’s Elections Provide No Serious Change

    May 10, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Lebanon has just finished a feverish election campaign for its 128-seat Chamber of Deputies. This round followed a nine-year period in which this basic democra…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon’s Elections to Rearrange the Country’s Political Landscape

    May 3, 2018Joe Macaron

    For the first time since 2009, Lebanese will elect a new parliament on May 6, a decisive election that will redraw the representation of powers of the ruling c…

  • 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
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Looming Threat of Kurdish-Arab Strife in Northern Syria

    Apr 9, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    The latest developments in northern Syria signal a clear threat of rising Arab-Kurdish tensions that could boil over if local, regional, and international play…

  • 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
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Unsettling Times for Iraqi Kurdistan

    Jan 10, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Sulaymaniyah protests last December have revealed a deep split in Iraqi Kurdistan. By pitting Sulaymaniyah against Irbil, Baghdad aims to capitalize on the…

  • Research Paper

    What Defines Terrorism? The Identity of the Victim or the Victimizer?

    Dec 20, 2017Azmi Bishara

    No great analytical effort is required to illustrate the widespread use of the terms “terrorism” and “counterterrorism” in today’s world. These terms dominate …

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Future Possibilities for the Kurds in Post-IS Syria

    Nov 28, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    With the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, Kurdish activities and aspirations are yet again exposed to the calculations and machinations of all the parties…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Egypt’s Security Challenges in the Sinai Belie the Government’s Rhetoric

    Clashes in the northern Sinai Peninsula that resulted in scores of deaths of Egyptian security forces have underscored the durability of the extremist insurgen…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Kirkuk Battle Is a Watershed Event for Iraq

    The Iraqi central government harnessed domestic and international support to abort the Kurdish referendum for independence, in the process weakening the KRG’s …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Kurdish Referendum and Cross-Communal Dynamics in Iraq

    While Abadi’s popularity has risen because of his stewardship of the successful anti-Islamic State campaign, his standing could be jeopardized if the crisis ov…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Does Turkey Really Want to Punish Iraqi Kurdistan?

    Oct 3, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey may feel that it has to impose punitive measures against Iraqi Kurdistan over the referendum but countervailing Turkish domestic political conditions ma…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq’s Kurds Vote to Secede, but Problems Loom

    The widespread disapproval of the Kurdish referendum inside Iraq, the region, and internationally points to potential serious developments for the Kurds and a …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Follies and Pitfalls of the Kurdish Referendum

    The Kurdish referendum is a dangerous play with delicate Kurdish and Iraqi politics to shore up KRG President Masood Barzani’s legitimacy in Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Future Implications of the Islamic State’s Demise in Syria

    Sep 20, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    Syria’s developments regarding the Islamic State’s expected demise and the Astana meeting should not be taken to signal an end to the country’s war which has l…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    The Popular Mobilization Forces and Iraq’s Next Elections

    Sep 6, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Multiple Shia parties are competing to benefit from the successes of the Popular Mobilization Forces in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq’s 2018 nati…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Is the Turkey-Iran Rapprochement Durable in Iraq and Syria?

    Aug 24, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Given the historical nature of the Turkish-Iranian rivalry, a durable rapprochement between Turkey and Iran requires assurances about the future of the Kurds a…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Potential for Intercommunal Violence in Iraq and Syria

    Aug 9, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The legacy of authoritarianism, the rise of sectarian sentiments, ethno-nationalist aspirations, communal grievances about government neglect, and outside inte…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Independence Referendum: A Pyrrhic Victory for Barzani

    Jul 10, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Kurdish decision to hold a referendum on independence from Iraq may bring happiness to the Kurds but will come at a heavy price for the Kurdish leadership.

  • 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
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Once Again, Lebanon Faces the Ghost of a Political Vacuum

    May 17, 2017Joe Macaron

    Lebanon’s sectarian consensus rule raises questions about the functionality of the country’s political system. An agreement on its new electoral law is needed …

  • 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
    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
    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
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Lebanon’s Oligarchy Consolidates Control over the Security Establishment

    Mar 22, 2017Joe Macaron

    After an impasse of nearly four years, on March 8 the Lebanese government announced a sectarian quota deal to fill the security establishment's leadership posi…

  • Policy Analysis

    Turnover: What Are the Implications of Recent and Upcoming Changes in Hamas?

    Mar 15, 2017Yousef Munayyer

    BackgroundSince its establishment in the 1980s, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, has increasingly become an important player in domestic …

  • Policy Analysis

    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

    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

    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

    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

    President Trump and the Republican Congress: Smooth Sailing or Choppy Waters?

    Jan 25, 2017Roxanne Perugino

    For only the third time since 1929, the Republican Party will control the House, Senate and the White House and have the opportunity to choose a Supreme Court …

  • 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…