Middle East and North Africa

Ask CFR Experts

Could Iraq be divided into separate regions along Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish lines?

Asked by Edrees Mohammed, from UCLAN

This is an idea first proposed by Vice President Biden in 2006 when he was a senator. It was a non-starter then and it won't work any better today. While the Kurdish region in the north is already almost an independent country, neither Shiites nor Sunnis are interested in splitting up the rest of Iraq—something that would be hard to do, in any case, because the two sects are intermingled in Baghdad and other areas. Just as the solution to Iraq's last major bout of bloodletting, in 2003-2007, wasn't partition, so it isn't today.

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See more in Iraq; Population

Must Read

Human Rights Watch: "I Wanted to Lie Down and Die"

"Since 2006, tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution in their country have ended up in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without problems and crossed into Israel. But over the past three years, Sinai has increasingly represented a dead-end comprised of captivity, cruelty, torture, and death."

See more in Egypt; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights

Testimony

Al Qaeda's Expansion in Egypt

Author: Steven A. Cook

In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Steven A. Cook addresses the current state of Egypt, the situation in the Sinai Peninsula, its potential to affect American national security interests, and what the United States can do to help the Egyptians meet the challenges they confront.

See more in Egypt; Counterterrorism; Homeland Security

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NYT: Rein in the Saudi Religious Police

Author: Manal Al-Sharif

"The government, for its part, is wary of clamping down on the mutaween for fear of inciting a conservative backlash and is walking a fine line between the religious police and an increasingly angry populace. While dismantling of the force is unrealistic, this delicate moment opens a window of opportunity for Saudis. By continuing to voice anger and disapproval, the public may provide Riyadh with the leverage it needs to demand police adherence to regulations already in place, and slowly weaken the commission's influence."

See more in Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights; Saudi Arabia

Must Read

NYT: Iran Must Embrace Religious Pluralism

Author: Camelia Entekhabifard

"Of the approximately hundred thousand Jews in Iran at the time of the revolution, only twenty thousand remain. Theyno longer felt welcome in their homeland. Today, despite promises by the new president, Hassan Rouhani, to protect the freedom of ethnic and religious minorities (and the appointment of an aide to focus on their affairs), the persecution continues."

See more in Iran; Religion

Op-Ed

When Reagan Cut and Run

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

On February 7, 1984, President Ronald Reagan withdrew the U.S. Marines from Lebanon—an action that was "perhaps the most purposeful and consequential foreign-policy decision of his presidency," Micah Zenko writes. In this article, Zenko discusses the unclear and unachievable mission of the United States in Lebanon, and Reagan's subsequent decision to withdraw.

See more in Lebanon; History and Theory of International Relations

Teaching Module

Teaching Module: Invisible Armies

This module contains Teaching Notes by CFR Senior Fellow Max Boot with discussion questions, essay questions, activities, and additional materials for educators to supplement the use of Boot's book Invisible Armies in the classroom. In this book, Boot offers a comprehensive history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, and relates lessons of the past to current national security policy considerations.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Europe; Defense and Security; Terrorism

Transcript

Can Negotiations With Iran Succeed?

Speakers: Sen. Angus King and Margaret Brennan

Broad-based international economic sanctions on Iran have significantly impaired its economy and brought the regime to the negotiating table, but the recently concluded interim nuclear agreement remains controversial among many members of Congress.

See more in Iran; Global; Sanctions

Video

Can Negotiations With Iran Succeed?

Speaker: Angus King
Presider: Margaret Brennan

Broad-based international economic sanctions on Iran have significantly impaired its economy and brought the regime to the negotiating table, but the recently concluded interim nuclear agreement remains controversial among many members of Congress.

See more in Iran; Politics and Strategy

Audio

Can Negotiations With Iran Succeed?

Speaker: Angus King
Presider: Margaret Brennan

Broad-based international economic sanctions on Iran have significantly impaired its economy and brought the regime to the negotiating table, but the recently concluded interim nuclear agreement remains controversial among many members of Congress.

See more in Iran; Politics and Strategy