Middle East and North Africa

Foreign Affairs Article

Beyond Darfur

Author: Andrew S. Natsios

While the crisis in Darfur simmers, the larger problem of Sudan's survival as a state is becoming increasingly urgent. Old tensions between the Arabs of the Nile River valley, who have held power for a century, and marginalized groups on the country's periphery are turning into a national crisis. Engagement with Khartoum may be the only way to avert another civil war in Sudan, and even that may not be enough.

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Foreign Affairs Article

The Costs of Containing Iran

Authors: Vali R. Nasr and Ray Takeyh

The Bush administration wants to contain Iran by rallying the support of Sunni Arab states and now sees Iran's containment as the heart of its Middle East policy: a way to stabilize Iraq, declaw Hezbollah, and restart the Arab-Israeli peace process. But the strategy is unsound and impractical, and it will probably further destabilize an already volatile region.

See more in Iran; Conflict Prevention

Foreign Affairs Article

Who Lost Iraq?

Author: James Dobbins

The current debate over the United States' failures in Iraq needs to go beyond bumper-sticker conclusions -- no more preemption, no more democracy promotion, no more nation building -- and acrimonious finger-pointing. Only by carefully considering where U.S. leaders, institutions, and policies have been at fault can valuable lessons be learned and future debacles avoided.

See more in Iraq; Wars and Warfare; United States

Foreign Affairs Article

Turkey Rediscovers the Middle East

Author: F. Stephen Larrabee

In a departure from its traditional foreign policy, Turkey is now becoming an important player in the Middle East. Turkey's growing concern over Kurdish nationalism has brought Ankara closer to the governments of Iran and Syria, which also contend with restive Kurds at home. Although troubling, this shift could be an opportunity for Washington and its allies to use Turkey as a bridge to the Middle East.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Turkey

Foreign Affairs Article

Iraq's Civil War

Author: James D. Fearon

The White House still avoids the label, but by any reasonable historical standard, the Iraqi civil war has begun. The record of past such wars suggests that Washington cannot stop this one -- and that Iraqis will be able to reach a power-sharing deal only after much more fighting, if then. The United States can help bring about a settlement eventually by balancing Iraqi factions from afar, but there is little it can do to avert bloodshed now.

See more in Iraq; Wars and Warfare

Foreign Affairs Article

Heading for the Exit

Author: Stephen D. Biddle

The prognosis for Iraq looks bad and is getting worse. If the trend does not improve soon, the United States may have no choice but to cut its losses and get out. Recently, many have looked to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to engineer a change in strategy that might arrest this decline, and the ISG's report does indeed contain some useful ideas and worthwhile recommendations. But on the whole, it offers the political groundwork for a complete withdrawal more than it offers a sustainable solution to the conflict.

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