Director: Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies July 1, 2004—Present
Since September 11, 2001, U.S.-Middle East policy has sought to promote reform in the Arab and Islamic World as a U.S. national security priority. This roundtable series sheds light on the complex issues that the countries of the Middle East present and explores the different avenues available to U.S. policymakers seeking to promote change in that region. By drawing on the experience of a variety of speakers with particular expertise on social, political, and economic reform, women's issues, education, and the media, this roundtable series intends to enrich the current debate on reform promotion in the Arab world with a range of top-tier perspectives and policy recommendations in an informal discussion setting.
Staff: Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies Director: Paul B. Stares, General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director of the Center for Preventive Action Author: Scott Lasensky, Senior Research Associate, United States Institute of Peace, and Mona Yacoubian, Special Adviser, Muslim World Initiative, United States Institute of Peace May 2007—June 2008
This forthcoming report will focus on Washington's policy toward Syria. The Syrian regime believes it plays a pivotal role in the region and is seeking to capitalize on its influence in several major arenas: Iraq, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, and Iran. This CSR will develop a set of policy recommendations for an effective strategy toward Damascus and prescribe an incentive-based approach to secure its cooperation in these areas.
Chair: Lisa Anderson, Columbia University Staff: Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies July 1, 2004—January 1, 2006
This Study Group is organized around chapters of Steven Cook’s recently completed book manuscript titled: Ruling, But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Turkey, and Algeria. Historically, Egypt, Turkey, and Algeria have exhibited a fairly predictable and similar set of political patterns which reflected the stability of authoritarian politics in these countries. In late 1990s and early 21st century, Turkey was able to break the political logjam of authoritarianism. What accounts for regime stability in Egypt, Algeria, and previously Turkey? Why was Turkey successful and Egypt and Algeria not successful? This book is intended to combine a scholarly approach to interesting questions concerning regime stability, Islamist political activity, civil-military relations, and transitions to and from democracy; yet it also contains a conscious policy edge that is relevant to current debates about democracy in the Arab and wider Muslim world.
The Study Group is made possible by the generous support from the Kauffman Foundation.
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CFR's Steven Cook appears on MSNBC's Martin Bashir to debate the consequences of a possible U.S. missile strike in Syria, as well as the costs of supporting true regime change, as Syria's Bashar al-Assad threatens retaliation for any attack, with Lara Setrakian, managing editor of "Syria Deeply."
The crisis in Syria deepens as reports surface that the government is using chemical weapons against its civilians. Syria denies the allegation and President Obama has not made a final decision regarding military intervention. "There needs to be a signal sent to the international community that the use of these types of weapons are beyond the pale and that there would indeed be consequences as a result of using them," says CFR's Steven Cook on Marketplace.
Hundreds of people were killed in Egypt when armed forces cleared protest camps set up by supporters of ousted President Morsi. CFR's Steven Cook, in an interview on NPR, explains that the recent military crackdown on those protesters can be seen as an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to delegitimize the government appointed by the military and their use of violence and martyrdom, increasing sectarian tensions in the country.
Egypt's Democratic Quest: From Nasser to Tahrir Square
Egypt's 2011 revolution marks the latest chapter in Egyptians' longtime struggle for greater democratic freedoms. In this CFR video, Steven A. Cook, CFR's Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies and author of "The Struggle for Egypt," identifies the lessons that Egypt's emerging leadership must learn from the Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak regimes.