Middle East and North Africa

Foreign Affairs Article

Where the Turkish Military Fails, Egypt's Succeeds

Author: Steven A. Cook

While Egypt’s military leaders demonstrated unity of purpose when they overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, the officers involved in the recent coup attempt in Turkey were proven weak and divided, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. Key differences in the political role and public support of the Egyptian and Turkish militaries explain why one successfully overthrow an elected government and the other failed to.

See more in Egypt; Turkey; Military Operations

Foreign Affairs Article

Can't Have It Both Ways in Iran

Authors: Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh

As the U.S. campaign season wears on, both Republicans and Democrats are pledging to stay tough on Iran. Such promises aren’t new. Last summer, as the Barack Obama administration unveiled its nuclear agreement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured skeptics that the United States would sustain essential sanctions that punish Tehran for its aid to terrorists, regional aggression, and human rights abuses.

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements; Public Health Threats and Pandemics

Foreign Affairs Article

Ministering Justice

Author: Ayelet Shaked

Ayelet Shaked is a relative new­comer to Israeli politics. Shaked, 40, served as Benjamin Netanyahu’s office manager before breaking with the prime minister and joining Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party in 2012 and then winning election to the Knesset in 2013. Following the 2015 election, Shaked was named Israel’s minister of justice. 

See more in Israel; Rule of Law

Foreign Affairs Article

Anger and Hope

Author: Tzipi Livni

Tzipi Livni has been called the most powerful woman in Israel since Golda Meir. Born to a prominent right-wing family, Livni spent several years working for the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, before entering politics.

See more in Israel; Politics and Strategy

Foreign Affairs Article

Israel Among the Nations

Author: Robert Danin

In 1996, Ehud Barak, who was then Israel’s foreign minister and would later serve as prime minister, charac­terized Israel as “a modern and prosperous villa in the middle of the jungle.” Twenty years later, as political turmoil and vio­lence engulf the Middle East, that harsh metaphor captures better than ever the way most Israelis see their country and its place in the region. 

See more in Israel; Society and Culture

Foreign Affairs Article

Israel’s Second-Class Citizens

Author: As'ad Ghanem

When the world focuses on the Arab-Israeli crisis today, the plight of the 4.6 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank gets most of the attention. But another pressing question haunts Israeli politics: the status and future of Israel’s own Arab citizens, who number around 1.7 million and make up around 21 percent of its popu­lation. 

See more in Israel; Society and Culture

Foreign Affairs Article

Fight or Flight

Author: Kenneth M. Pollack

The modern Middle East has rarely been tranquil, but it has never been this bad. Full-blown civil wars rage in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Nascent conflicts simmer in Egypt, South Sudan, and Turkey. Various forms of spillover from these civil wars threaten the stability of Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have risen to new heights, raising the specter of a regionwide religious war. 

See more in United States; Middle East and North Africa; Conflict Prevention

Foreign Affairs Article

Digital Counterinsurgency: How to Marginalize the Islamic State Online

Author: Jared Cohen

The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last. Although there are still some fringe terrorist groups in the western Sahel or other rural areas that do not supplement their violence digitally, it is only a matter of time before they also go online.

See more in Syria; Global; Cybersecurity; Counterterrorism

Foreign Affairs Article

Iran's ISIS Trap

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht

The Islamic Republic of Iran has no real intention to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with coauthor Reuel Marc Gerecht. The Islamic State’s exacerbation of sectarian divisions is advantageous to Iran as it continues to manipulate Sunni-Shiite relations to extend its power and help its allies.

See more in Iran; Terrorist Organizations and Networks