Middle East

The Jihad Legacy of World War I

Known as a pious Muslim, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in 2015 that it is most difficult to change religious rhetoric and how people use their faith. The outcomes will take many years: “Radical misconceptions were...

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Reciprocity and Coercion: Ending the Downturn in U.S.-Iran Relations

Just days after the United States struck Iranian-linked targets in Syria, militia members fired a volley of rockets at Ain Al-Asad air base. The U.S. strike was conducted in response to an attack on Balad airbase in Iraq on...

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Talking to Russia: A Plan for Syria

President Joseph Biden has clearly signaled that his administration will deprioritize the post-9/11 focus on the Middle East and, instead, devote diplomatic energy and finite defense dollars to priorities in Asia and Europe. The focus on America’s peer competitors—the...

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The Crete Mirage: Why Rapprochement with Turkey May be a Long Way Off

After years of disagreement about Turkey’s purchase of a Russian-made S-400 air and missile system, Ankara has suggested that it could adopt the so-called “Crete Model,” which was used to solve a trilateral dispute between Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey...

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Understanding the Wave of Normalization in the Middle East

Recent developments in the Middle East signify major, and positive, changes in regional dynamics and balances. Four Arab countries—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco—have established, or are in the process of establishing, diplomatic relations with Israel;...

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Iraq in Transition: Competing Actors and Complicated Politics

The Republic of Iraq has faced considerable challenges after the American-led invasion in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein, ranging from insurgency to endemic corruption and poor government services. Baghdad has emerged as the epicenter of a broader geopolitical struggle...

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Continuity and Change in Iraq’s Sunni Politics: Sunni Arab Political Trends, Factions, and Personalities Since 2014

The year 2014 was a horrible one for Iraq. The national election held in April was preceded by two ominous trends: an increasingly strong, armed insurgency from the Sunni Arab population and an increasingly sharp sectarian conflict within the...

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A Plan to End the War in Syria: Competing with Russia in the Levant

The United States has an interest in allowing the Russian Federation to “win” an outright victory in Syria, so long as it secures from Moscow an agreement that is favorable to the Syrian Kurds, builds in negative consequences for...

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The Abraham Accords: The View from the Gulf

On September 15, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump hosted the leaders of Israel and Bahrain, as well as the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates at the White House to sign normalization agreements, ending the UAE and Bahraini...

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The Idlib Model: Securing American Counter-Terrorism Interests in Syria

The United States is struggling to define its Syria policy and is not yet fully grappling with how the battlefield has changed since Turkey’s invasion in October 2019. With so few troops on the ground, Washington does not have...

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