Special Reports

Special Reports provide in-depth analysis on a particular topic or issue and provide policy recommendations.

“Engaged Opportunism”: Russia’s Role in the Horn of Africa

After spending nearly three decades as a marginal player in the Horn of Africa, the Russian Federation has made significant progress towards recapturing its great power status in the region. Russia has engaged with all countries in the Horn...

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Our Foreign Policy: A New American Plan for Competitive Engagement in Arab Lands

The following monograph, calling for a revival of American expeditionary diplomacy in Arab lands, was completed shortly before the present global pandemic. It expresses the core argument of a forthcoming book, and departs from some prevalent assumptions about American...

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Still First to Fight? Shaping the 21st Century Marine Corps

The headline in the New York Times on June 1, 1918, read “Marines – First to Fight.” The day before, a brigade of Marines attached to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division had raced to the Western Front to halt...

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Preventing the Next Insurgency: A Pathway for Reintegrating Iraq’s Sunni Population

Since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the “Sunni community” has been imprisoned within a cycle of upheaval and violence. In its latest iteration, the Islamic State (ISIS) monopolized a Sunni rebellion...

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COVID-19’s Negative Effect on Democratization in Central Asia

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting issues beyond public health. In Europe, for example, the crisis is testing the European Union’s collective mission with growing prevalence of national (and nationalistic) approaches to fighting the disease. In the...

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The Future of the Popular Mobilization Forces after the Assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

By depriving the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of its leading strategist, the assassination of Abu Mahdi Muhandis, the chief of staff of the PMF, delivered a significant blow to what U.S. officials regard en masse as Iran’s Trojan Horse...

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Russia’s Defense Industry: Between Political Significance and Economic Inefficiency

The Russian Federation’s defense industry provides the authoritarian regime with military power that is used for maintaining its domestic and foreign legitimacy. The industry’s top-management is a major part of Russia’s governing establishment. Nevertheless, the industry suffers from economic...

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The Future of the Kurdistan Region after the Defeat of ISIS and the Failure of the 2017 Independence Referendum

In 2017, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq held an independence referendum, which triggered severe backlash, including the loss of control over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The backlash from the independence referendum prompted the regional government (Kurdistan Regional Government)...

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Making Sense of the Sadrists: Fragmentation and Unstable Politics

Iraq’s Sadrist movement, led by populist Shi’i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has been at the heart of Iraqi politics since 2003. The movement's political strategies have shifted dramatically during this time, encompassing militant insurgency, sectarian violence, electoral politics, and reform-oriented...

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Central Asia’s Force Majeure Fears: Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on China’s Natural Gas Supply Demands

China’s COVID-19 outbreak has seen Beijing’s demand for natural gas stutter, after years of breakneck expansion. In February, China's natural gas demand was estimated to have fallen 17 percent year-on-year, and while there were some subsequent indications of recovery...

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