Middle East and North Africa

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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Qatar Sets Its Own Terms for U.S. Universities

Author: Ursula Lindsey

"'How do you transform into a nation without also transforming the traditional, monarchical, patriarchal system?' [historian Allen Fromherz] asks. As the small but natural-gas-rich country emerges onto the world's stage, this and other questions are unavoidable: Are the American universities actors in the country's future or merely props? Can they teach students to think critically about the contradictions and changes in Qatar while under the patronage of its ruling family?"

See more in Qatar; Education

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Foreign Policy: Stuxnet's Secret Twin

Author: Ralph Langner

"With Iran's nuclear program back at the center of world debate, it's helpful to understand with more clarity the attempts to digitally sabotage that program…What I've found is that the full picture, which includes the first and lesser-known Stuxnet variant, invites a re-evaluation of the attack. It turns out that it was far more dangerous than the cyberweapon that is now lodged in the public's imagination."

See more in Iran; Nuclear Energy

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Guardian: 'Syria Is Not a Revolution Any More – This Is Civil War'

Author: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

"Ancient Russian tanks – rebel and loyalist – were lobbing shells at each other across a pistachio grove like street children throwing stones in an alleyway. The explosions sent orange columns of dust into the haze of the setting sun. Near the outpost, a government tank was smouldering, and a young girl lay dead, hit by shrapnel. A group of rebels crawled through the fields for a mile until they reached the edge of the outpost."

See more in Syria; Wars and Warfare

Ask CFR Experts

How have Iraqi Kurdish authorities responded to the Syrian civil war?

Asked by Martin Lafon, from Sciences-Po Bordeaux

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has approached the civil war in Syria with caution. The authorities governing the Iraqi autonomous region, based in Erbil, have quietly played an important role in the humanitarian response to the crisis with 197,000 (according to the UN refugee agency) Syrian refugees on KRG territory, spread across three refugee camps in the main cities of Dohuk, Erbil, and Sulaimaniyah.

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See more in Syria; Wars and Warfare; Politics and Strategy

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Foreign Policy: Why Has the U.N. Given Assad a Free Pass on Mass Murder?

Author: Colum Lynch

"Is it better to use the bully pulpit to increase pressure on a government to treat its people humanely, or is it better to nudge the government quietly behind the scenes? For decades, U.N. relief workers have preferred to keep their concerns off the headlines and reveal little about the perpetrators of violence against civilians, thereby preserving their role as neutral healers and helpers. But a spate of internal reviews of U.N. responses to mass killings from Bosnia to Rwanda and Sri Lanka have challenged that view."

See more in Syria; International Organizations and Alliances

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Reuters: Assests of the Ayatollah

Authors: Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh, and Yeganeh Torbati

This three-part series from Reuters examines how Setad, a little-known organization controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader, grew into one of the most powerful property and corporate empires in Iran.

See more in Iran; Economics