Middle East and North Africa

Foreign Affairs Article

Warning Signs

Author: Paul B. Stares
Intelligence analysts have labored for years to identify the factors that make countries unstable. For those wanting to anticipate the next failed state, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory Treverton (“The Calm Before the Storm,” January/February 2015) offer a counterintuitive insight: “Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought—and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs.”

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Intelligence

Other Report

Countering Islamic State Exploitation of the Internet

Author: David P. Fidler

The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability. 

See more in Syria; Iraq; Cybersecurity; Internet Policy

Other Report

Libya’s Escalating Civil War

Author: Daniel P. Serwer

The potential chaos highlighted by a 2011 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Contingency Planning Memorandum, "Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya," has come to fruition. Daniel P. Serwer outlines the unfolding crisis and recommends steps the United States, Europe, and Arab countries can take to help mitigate the fallout.

See more in Libya; Conflict Prevention; Fragile or Failed States

Research Links

Messages and Interviews of Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden's messages reached his followers and his opponents through multiple media channels. Research Links aims to provide researchers with a more comprehensive timeline of statements made by bin Laden between 1994 to 2011, as well as additional background information. Updated May 2015 to include Office of the Director of National Intelligence's release of documents found at the compound where Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Terrorist Leaders


The Time of the Kurds

Author: Hagit Ariav
Producer: Jeremy Sherlick

The Kurds are one of the world's largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their history is marked by marginalization and persecution. This InfoGuide explains how in a Middle East undergoing the convulsions of Syria's civil war, Iraq's destabilization, and conflict with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, some Kurds may be on the verge of achieving their century-old quest for independence. 

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity

Primary Sources

U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Camp David Joint Statement

On May 14, 2015, President Obama met at Camp David with delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain. They discussed the security relationship between the the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), particularly in addressing terrorist threats from the self-proclaimed Islamic State and al-Qaeda, transferring defense technologies, and negotating with Iran.

See more in United States; Middle East and North Africa; Regional Security