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Preview: - Middle East - Middle East and North Africa

A nonpartisan resource for information and analysis

Published: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 07:43:30 -0500

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 07:43:30 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2017 by the Council on Foreign Relations. All Rights Reserved.

Why Is Iran Imprisoning Iranian-Americans?

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:20:44 -0500

What is behind Iran's latest seizures of expatriates visiting from the United States? An insecure regime fearful of close ties with the West, writes CFR's Ray Takeyh.


Still Fighting, US Troops from Syria to Afghanistan Await Trump Orders

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 14:54:55 -0500

U.S. special operators move ahead with plans for the press to Raqqa, but uncertainty clouds U.S. war plans.


Iran’s Rafsanjani: A Legacy of Terrorism and Repression Behind a Facade of Moderation

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:36:30 -0500

Contrary to his image as a “pragmatist,” former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died last week, brandished a moderate image that concealed the reality of his militancy, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Gerecht. Instead, Rafsanjani was the most consequential architect of the theocracy’s machinery of repression and regional ambitions and a primary sponsor of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations. 


Are Conditions Ripening for Iraqi Kurdish State?

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 14:44:19 -0500

Iraqi Kurds have enjoyed virtual autonomy for more than two decades, but formal independence might finally be in reach due to changing realities facing Iraq and Turkey, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook.


The Obama ‘Settlements’ Crisis

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 14:09:14 -0500

How did the Obama administration become obsessed with freezing Israeli settlements, leading to the UN vote and Kerry speech that have brought such widespread condemnation? Elliott Abrams explains the history in National Review.


Why Netanyahu Will Miss Obama

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 10:36:19 -0500

Unconditional U.S. support could cause problems for Israel’s prime minister, argues Philip Gordon.


John Kerry's Final, Harmful Insult to Israel

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:55:28 -0500

John Kerry’s 75-minute apologia on Israel, peace, and the settlements contained no new ideas, but did further damage to Israel. Elliott Abrams explains the problem in The Weekly Standard.


Scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 10:16:54 -0500

The incoming Trump administration will confront a Middle East in turmoil, writes Ray Takeyh. 


Aleppo’s Sobering Lessons

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 16:36:21 -0500

After responding to Syria’s war with strong rhetoric but mostly tepid action, the United States must now set limited goals if it is going to accomplish even a limited amount of good, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.(image)

Obama's Disgraceful and Harmful Legacy on Israel

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 11:19:36 -0500

Elliott Abrams comments on the Obama administration’s abstention on the recent United Nations Security Council resolution.


The United States Just Made Middle East Peace Harder

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 11:01:52 -0500

Last week the Obama administration abandoned Israel at the United Nations, allowing the passage of a damaging and hostile Security Council resolution. In an op-ed entitled “The United States Just Made Middle East Peace Harder” in The Washington Post, Elliott Abrams explained his views.


The President's Inbox: Middle East

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 10:36:39 -0500

CFR's James M. Lindsay, Robert McMahon, and Steven A. Cook examine President-Elect Donald J. Trump's priorities in the Middle East.


Media Files:

Africa Shouldn’t Freak Out About Trump

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 09:46:27 -0500

It’s boring bureaucrats, not the erratic president, who will shape the next administration's policy toward Africa, argues CFR's John Campbell.


Who’s Who in Syria’s Civil War

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 04:30:45 -0500

Syria's civil war is being fought on multiple fronts by an array of combatants whose alliances, capabilities, and in some cases motives have been in flux. This Backgrounder profiles more than a dozen of the main warring sides.


'Responsibility to Protect?' Empty Words After Aleppo

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 16:54:12 -0500

"The duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with the State, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty."

The United Nations said that in 2005 about its "responsibility to protect." It's the concept that "if a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations."

And here is what UN officials said this week when describing what is happening in Syria: "A complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo."


Assad Victory Won't Stabilize Middle East

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 15:49:42 -0500

The Middle East will not find peace so long as President Bashar al-Assad rules over a truncated Syria, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Assad’s victory over the rebels in Aleppo will not result in stability for the rest of the country or the region.


U.S.-Israel Relations

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:00:27 -0500

Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon discuss what the U.S. and Israeli governments can do to reframe and revive the countries’ relationship.


Media Files:

How to Support Democracy in the Arab World

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 16:32:26 -0500

The Arab world's stirring for political change in 2011 failed dramatically, but support for building democratic institutions still represents one of the region's best hopes for reform, writes CFR's Elliott Abrams.


Confronting the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Putting Faith in Humanitarian Aid

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:01:20 -0500

Experts discuss the role faith-based organizations have taken during the refugee crisis and the challenges of aiding and resettling refugees in the United States and abroad.


Media Files:

How Trump Can Avoid His Predecessors’ Iran Mistakes

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:06:09 -0500

There are important lessons for the incoming Trump administration on Iran they can learn from their predecessors, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh. They should recognize that the Islamic Republic is a unitary nation-state purged of reformers, that it is susceptible to a threat of force, and that Iran is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States.


President Trump and the Art of the "Ultimate" Israel-Palestine Peace Deal

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 11:00:23 -0500

The Obama obsession with Israeli settlement activity ruined his policy toward Israel, prevented the negotiations he wanted, and was not based on the facts. The Trump administration should take a very different approach, Elliott Abrams argues in Foreign Policy magazine. 


U.S. and Israel Must Act to Preserve Partnership, Say Blackwill and Gordon in New Report

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 11:47:43 -0500

“The U.S.-Israel relationship is in trouble,” warn Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon in a new Council Special Report, Repairing the U.S.-Israel Relationship. Significant policy differences over issues in the Middle East, as well as changing demographics and politics within both the United States and Israel, have pushed the two countries apart. Blackwill, a former senior official in the Bush administration, and Gordon, a former senior official in the Obama administration, call for “a deliberate and sustained effort by policymakers and opinion leaders in both countries” to repair the relationship and to avoid divisions “that no one who cares about Israel’s security or America’s values and interests in the Middle East should want.”


Repairing the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 09:00:45 -0500

The U.S. relationship with Israel is in trouble. Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon offer six core policy proposals to repair, redefine, and invigorate the partnership.


Just How Much Should We Boycott Israel?

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 17:33:59 -0500

While Donald Trump was getting himself elected president, various factions of the American Left were fighting over just how much to boycott Israel. Elliott Abrams explains their ludicrous debate in The Weekly Standard.


Trump Can Make Iran Policy Great Again

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:08:12 -0500

Ray Takeyh reviews how the next president can transform Obama's Iran deal into something worthy of the name.


West of Suez

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 11:49:37 -0500

CFR's Ray Takeyh reviews Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Michael Doran's new book, Ike's Gamble: America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, which sheds new light on the history of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's foreign policy in the Middle East.


What to Watch at the Climate Conference in Marrakech

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:01:02 -0400

At climate talks in Morocco, negotiators will try to move forward on issues left unresolved by the 2015 Paris Agreement. However, developed and developing countries still remain far apart on major issues, write CFR’s Varun Sivaram and Sagatom Saha.


Partition Presents the Best Hope for Peace in Syria

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 13:29:34 -0400

Partitioning Syria under a weak federal structure with a massive Western force to enforce a power-sharing agreement is the only real option the United States and its allies has for solving the Syrian conflict, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.


Must Reads of the Week: Greenland Melting, the Assad Quandary, and More

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 11:51:27 -0400

What Editors are reading the week of October 24–28, 2016.


The Meaning of Mosul

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 09:39:38 -0400

Iraq’s campaign to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State and restore the Iraqi government’s authority requires coordination among numerous armed groups with competing interests, says CFR’s Philip H. Gordon.