For more on the region, visit the Belfer Center's Middle East Initiative
May 24, 2016
An audio recording of a book talk by Marc Lynch, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and Director of the Project on Middle East Political Science, on his most recent book The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East.
May 24, 2016
Journal Article, Survival, issue 3, volume 58
By Aaron Arnold, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
In this journal article for Survival, Aaron Arnold argues that the success of financial sanctions rests largely on the dominance of the US dollar and the correspondent banking system. Yet emerging trends could undermine Washington’s capacity to employ this tool.
May 23, 2016
Magazine or Newspaper Article, The National Interest
"I think that he has on some level grasped the difficulties I mentioned a moment ago: the difficulties of counterinsurgency and nation building, the limits of American power. I think he has acted on the basis of those convictions. I think he has a fundamental faith in diplomacy, which I think is right. He understands that diplomacy and negotiations can be a very powerful tool in the tool kit of American strategists, and I think that he is exactly right. So I am appreciative of the fact and supportive of the fact that he has pursued negotiations with Iran most notably, also with Cuba."
May 20, 2016
Op-Ed, The Washington Post
By David Ignatius, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
Amid hedgerows of computer screens in the joint operations center that runs the war against the Islamic State, Marine Brig. Gen. Bill Mullen explains the complex assault that drove the extremist fighters this week from the strategic town of Rutbah at the western part of Anbar province.
The battle showed how the campaign against the Islamic State, which has slowly taken off over the past 18 months, is supposed to work: This month , a U.S. drone attack on a nearby highway killed Shaker Wahib, the terrorists’ “military emir” in Anbar, shaking morale. The day before the battle, the United States dropped two huge bombs on the minefields and berms surrounding the town.
May 19, 2016
By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
"While some have called for the private sector to take over TSA, such a change wouldn't solve the intrinsic structural burden encountered in a world where millions of people are flying each day. And imagine changing course, and the burdens that would accrue, in the midst of another potential terror attack."
May 18, 2016
Op-Ed, The Telegraph
By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
For decades it has been standard Saudi practice to keep separate its oil and foreign policies as the Kingdom, the world’s top exporter and de facto leader of Opec, has regarded “economic energy purity” as the best strategy to sustain domestic growth and generate the international confidence needed to keep oil markets stable.
But last month, when Opec and non-Opec ministers met in Qatar, the Saudis signalled a significant policy change when they refused at the last moment to sign off on a production freeze that didn’t include the Iranians, who are still trying to recover from years of crippling sanctions.
May 16, 2016
Op-Ed, The World Post
By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program
"If the U.S. had flooded the sky over Syria with aircraft at the time, one wonders whether Putin would later have intervened in Syria with such massiveness."
May 16, 2016
By Hedi Larbi, Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar, Middle East Initiative
During the fall 2015 semester, former Minister Hedi Larbi convened eight distinguished experts, each with direct operational and academic experience in Arab countries and economies to participate in a study group titled Rewriting the Arab Social Contract: Toward Inclusive Development and Politics in the Arab World. Over the course of seven sessions during the semester, these experts contributed to an integrated approach to the historical, social, political, and economic dimensions of the Arab uprisings, focusing in particular on the often overlooked economic and social issues at the root of the uprisings.
May 13, 2016
Op-Ed, The Washington Post
By David H. Petraeus, Non-resident Senior Fellow
Almost 15 years after the 9/11 attacks, and five years since the killing of the chief architect of those attacks, the United States and the world face a resurgent threat from terrorism. This stark reality should inform the national debate as we prepare to elect our next commander in chief.
As states across the Middle East have collapsed into civil war, Islamist extremist groups such as the Islamic State have exploited the upheaval to seize vast swaths of territory, which they have used to rally recruits, impose totalitarian rule over the people trapped in these areas and plot attacks against the rest of the world.
May 12, 2016
A collection of resources from the Middle East Initiative's events during March 2016, marking the fifth anniversary of the start of Syria's uprising, focusing on the international political and humanitarian response to the ongoing Syrian civil war and refugee crisis.