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Preview: - Middle East - Middle East and North Africa

A nonpartisan resource for information and analysis

Published: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:50:38 -0400

Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:50:38 -0400

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

Fake News Has a Long History in the Middle East—and the Lessons for Americans Are Unmistakably Dire

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 11:52:34 -0400

News in the United States is being falsified and weaponized in similar ways as in Egypt and Turkey, argues Steven A. Cook. However, unlike citizens in the Middle East, American consumers of fake news may not be aware that they are being manipulated.


Three Lingering Questions For Trump’s New Plan to Fight ISIS

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 11:40:48 -0400

If Trump sends more American boots to Syria, who will fight alongside them, and—still—what comes next?


The Hawk Dressed as a Dove

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:15:57 -0400

How did a tough general like Yitzhak Rabin come to offer the Golan Heights to Hafez al-Assad and to make a deal that brought Yasser Arafat back from exile to rule the Palestinian Territories? Elliott Abrams's review of Itamar Rabinovich's new biography of Rabin raises these and other issues.


The Futility of Force in Yemen

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:42:52 -0400

An escalation in U.S. counterterrorism strikes is unlikely to degrade the country’s al-Qaeda affiliate and a two-year-long Saudi-led air campaign is no closer to defeating Houthi rebels, says Ambassador Barbara Bodine.


Labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 14:53:34 -0500

The Donald J. Trump administration would be correct to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Mark Dubowitz. Terrorism has been a defining feature of the IRGC since its inception in 1979, and the power of the IRGC needs to be curbed before the Islamic Republic can be tamed.


Vladimir Putin Has a Plan to Upend the Political Order of the Middle East. Spoiler Alert: It’s Working

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 16:16:26 -0500

Western analysts and observers have missed Russia’s strategic restructuring in the Middle East, argues CFR’s Steven A. Cook. They have taken steps in Syria, Egypt, and Libya in a bid to upend an American-led regional order.


Trump Quietly Laying Foundation of a Sensible Iran Policy

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:15:50 -0500

In the midst of the usual Washington cacophony, most are missing the point that the Trump administration is beginning to lay the foundations of a sensible Iran policy. 


Should the U.S. Maintain Its Alliance with Saudi Arabia? Unfortunately, We’re Stuck With Them

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 15:56:32 -0500

Though Saudi Arabia will remain a strategic partner for the United States, they have proven themselves to be incompetent allies, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. If recent years are any indication, much of Saudi foreign policy has proven to be a failure.


The Politics of Historicide

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:27:22 -0500

Preserving and protecting the past—preventing historicide—is essential for those who want to ensure that today’s dangerous zealots do not succeed, writes CFR President Richard Haass


Freezing the Status Quo Will Help Bring Peace to Syria

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:57:36 -0500

Writing in the Financial Times, Philip Gordon argues that the Geneva talks on Syria must prioritize a ceasefire in place over more ambitious questions of constitutional reform and political transition.


The Iran Nuclear Deal: The Future of the JCPOA

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:33:56 -0500

Experts evaluate the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, the issues that have arisen in the past year, and what the new administration should consider for the future of the deal.


U.S.-Israel Relations

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:21:10 -0500

CFR's James M. Lindsay and Robert Danin examine President Donald J. Trump's priorities on Israel.


Media Files:

A Big Deal?

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:20:10 -0500

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington demonstrated that the tensions in U.S.-Israeli relations during the Obama administration are over and that the Trump administration intends to pursue a peace process.


Egypt’s Nightmare

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:45:22 -0500

The single-minded pursuit of the Muslim Brotherhood has become the guiding principle of Egypt’s foreign and domestic policies, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. These policies, however, are proving counterproductive and destabilizing to the lives of Egyptians as well as Gazans, Libyans, and Syrians.


Reconciling U.S.-Turkish Interests in Northern Syria

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:40:28 -0500

The United States should consider the effects of its intervention in northern Syria on both Turkey and terrorist groups it seeks to destroy, and reconcile the contradictory aspects of its relationship with Turkey.


Bibi and Donald

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:01:00 -0500

Prime Minister Netanyahu is visiting Washington this week. In The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams discusses how he and President Trump will handle Jerusalem, Iran, and the "peace process" when they meet. 


Our Man in the Middle East: The Confusing Worldview of Trump Aide Derek Harvey

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 12:18:25 -0500

Though retired U.S. Army Colonel Derek Harvey, who oversees Middle Eastern affairs in the National Security Council, has mainstream ideas about combatting extremism, containing Iran, and stabilizing Iraq, his underlying ideas about how to achieve these goals are either confused, uninformed, or burdened with unhelpful ideology, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook.


Humanitarian Response to the Crisis in Syria

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:00:57 -0500

Neal Keny-Guyer discusses the humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria.


Media Files:

Women Are Key to Counterterrorism

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 09:56:28 -0500

Investing in women will go further to fight terror than Donald Trump's refugee ban ever will.


Are We Experiencing a Slow-Motion, Turkish-Style Coup? Or Our Own Arab Spring?

Sun, 05 Feb 2017 10:16:53 -0500

Corrupting the media, spreading chaos, and subverting the rule of law—it's what authoritarian regimes do best, argues Steven A. Cook. 


Why Syria’s War Grinds On

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 15:00:38 -0500

As diplomatic efforts to broker a settlement to the civil war have so far come up short and the Islamic State retains a foothold in the east, a segmented Syria will likely experience reduced but persistent violence for years to come, says Ambassador Robert Ford. 


Don’t Blame Trump for the Yemen Raid’s Outcome

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 16:40:37 -0500

Gayle Lemmon argues critics shouldn’t blame President Trump for the outcome of the raid in Yemen, citing the tensions involved when planning and carrying out these missions. 


What’s Wrong With Michael Flynn’s Bluster on Iran? Plenty

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 16:04:48 -0500

Writing in the New York Times, Philip Gordon argues that vague threats and aggressive rhetoric will not help contain Iran—and could even be dangerous.



False Dawn

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 15:43:39 -0500

A sweeping narrative account of the last five years in the Middle East and a timely argument of how and why the Arab uprisings failed.


Trump's Proposed Refugee Policy Could Cost American Lives

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 12:39:44 -0500

Gayle Lemmon shares how the refugee and visa restrictions make American soldiers less safe in this Los Angeles Times piece. 


A Peace Plan for Syria III

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 09:25:12 -0500

Philip Gordon, along with James Dobbins and Jeffrey Martini of RAND, presents a plan for de-escalation in Syria based on a national ceasefire, agreed zones of control backed by outside powers, and the international administration of Raqqa province.


Trump's Ban Undermines Iraqi Cooperation Against Islamic State

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 14:52:55 -0500

Meghan O’Sullivan argues that the Trump Administration’s immigration ban undermines the United States’ ability to secure Iraqi cooperation against the Islamic State, thereby jeopardizing the United States ability to defeat the terror group.


Who’s Really Worried About the Travel Ban? The Arab States That Want to Work With Trump.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 12:23:05 -0500

Writing in the Washington Post, Philip Gordon discusses the impact of the administration’s refugee policy on the Middle East, and warns that the worst could be yet to come. 


Evaluating the Obama Administration’s Drone Reforms

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 09:10:15 -0500

The United States’ lead role in the use of lethal drones makes it crucial for the country to help develop and enforce global norms shaping their use.


Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Is a Bad Idea for Everyone—Except Israeli Hard-Liners and Their American Friends

Sun, 29 Jan 2017 16:05:07 -0500

Moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is supposed to show American resolve. It will only sow chaos.