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Preview: - Middle East - Middle East and North Africa

A nonpartisan resource for information and analysis

Published: Sun, 04 Dec 2016 15:20:20 -0500

Last Build Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2016 15:20:20 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2016 by the Council on Foreign Relations. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Managing the Saudi-Iran Rivalry

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:39:49 -0400

The growing rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran will likely shape the Middle East for many years, and possibly even decades, to come


Must Reads of the Week: Saudi Royalty, Dwelling on Brexit, and More

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:46:12 -0400

What Editors are reading the week of October 17–21, 2016.


U.S. Navy Operations in a Maritime Chokepoint

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:05:32 -0400

A missile attack on a U.S. warship in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, off the coast of Yemen, illustrates how the U.S. Navy responds to an array of threats while patrolling the world’s waterways, says CFR visiting fellow Captain Clint Carroll.


The Crisis in U.S.-Israeli Relations

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:12:31 -0400

In a review essay in Foreign Affairs, Philip Gordon asks whether the United States and Israel are drifting apart and assesses proposals to keep them together.


The Perplexing Problems of Solving Syria

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:00:39 -0400

The assumptions held by those advocating military action in Syria are weak, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. Military punitive measures are not likely to make Russia, Iran, the Syrian regime, or militant forces back down from their current stances, either on the battlefield or in negotiations.


There’s a Way Obama’s White House Can Save Syrian Lives, There’s Just No Will

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 14:26:28 -0400

While increased U.S. military action in Syria may be favored by numerous policymakers, the Obama administration remains unwilling to sanction further intervention. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes that “The Obama White House has long argued that it was elected to end wars in the Middle East, not to escalate them…” but meanwhile, Aleppo remains “full of carnage and bunker-busting munitions with rockets falling on children and no hope of escape for anyone.”


Southeast Asia—The Islamic State's New Front?

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:46:07 -0400

Joshua Kurlantzick discusses the threat to South and Southeast Asia posed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.


Aleppo: Where Children Die, but the World Does Nothing

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 17:14:12 -0400

Many experts and policymakers had predicted the humanitarian catastrophe that is underway in Aleppo, but no one is willing to intervene. “There is nothing either timely or decisive about the world’s approach to Syria, which has become the theater in which global and regional actors pursue their own goals,” writes Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.  


Human Soldiers Will Always Cause Human Tragedies

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:56:58 -0400

Tragedies keep occurring in war, despite the best intentions of U.S. troops. Micah Zenko provides recommendations to reduce the inevitable human errors in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq that have led to avoidable civilian casualties.


What the 9/11 Lawsuits Bill Will Do

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:37:47 -0400

Congress overrode a presidential veto to enable the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts. But the law will be a thorn in U.S. foreign relations, and plaintiffs will not likely get justice, says expert Stephen I. Vladeck. 


Putin Is Making a Mistake in Syria—and Russia Will Pay the Price

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:09:11 -0400

Writing in the Washington Post, Philip Gordon warns that Russia will pay a price for its unconditional support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.


'Historic' in the Worst Way

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:46:06 -0400

President Obama and his defenders are trumpeting the new aid agreement with Israel as proof that he is the best friend Israel ever had in the White House. In fact, it’s a bad deal and should be treated the same way Obama treated prior agreements he didn't like: It should be forgotten by the next president.


Iran’s Likely Next Supreme Leader Is No Friend of the West

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:55:02 -0400

The man most likely to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran's supreme leader, Ibrahim Raisi, is neither pragmatic nor friendly to the West, writes CFR's Ray Takeyh. Raisi, who heads one of the Islamic Republic's largest charitable foundations, embodies the repressive and revolutionary values of the regime and would continue Iran's transformation into a police state.


Why Trump Is the Islamic State’s Dream Candidate

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:08:06 -0400

Trump’s reaction to terrorism — his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his misunderstanding of Middle Eastern politics — is exactly what extremists want in a U.S. president.


A Conversation With Javad Zarif

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:01:33 -0400

Javad Zarif discusses regional politics, nuclear security, and U.S.-Iran relations.


Beware Investing Too Much Hope in the Syrian Ceasefire

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:14:11 -0400

Even if Assad is prepared to abide by the truce, rebel groups may not be, writes CFR president Richard N. Haass


A No-Fly-Zone Doesn’t Mean a No-War-Zone

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 15:42:44 -0400

And the politicians and pundits calling for one in Syria ought to remember how toothless and ineffective the U.S. air patrols were -- for 12 long years -- in Iraq.


Must Reads of the Week: Syria's Kurds, Remote-Controlled Guns, and More

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 11:16:40 -0400

What Editors are reading the week of August 29–September 2, 2016.


Why Peace Is Not at Hand

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:43:19 -0400

New polls of Israelis and Palestinians prove that peace is not at hand, and views on a peace deal are very far apart. But they also contain some interesting data, as Elliott Abrams explains in National Review.



Fighting the Financing of Terrorism: A Conversation With Bob Casey

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 11:24:42 -0400

Senator Bob Casey discusses ways to counter terrorist financing and facilitation networks as well as his views on authorities the U.S. president should hold to penalize countries that enable terrorist financing.


Media Files:

Fighting the Financing of Terrorism: A Conversation With Bob Casey

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 11:24:42 -0400

Senator Bob Casey discusses ways to counter terrorist financing and facilitation networks as well as his views on authorities the U.S. president should hold to penalize countries that enable terrorist financing.


Media Files:

The Problem With Vows to 'Defeat' the Islamic State

Sun, 21 Aug 2016 15:21:05 -0400

In recent weeks, ISIS has suffered territorial losses on multiple fronts, including in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The organization may look nearer to defeat than at any time in the past two years, but there is still a great deal of fighting to be done before the group is destroyed, or more likely beaten back to an underground terrorist organization as it was in 2009.