Middle East and North Africa


How Obama Caved on Bahrain

Author: Elliott Abrams
Foreign Policy

Instability in Bahrain has grown in recent years as the Sunni royal family has repressed rather than accommodated the desire of the majority Shia population for a role in the political life of the country, but the White House reaction is silence. Elliott Abrams tells the story in a new article in Foreign Policy.

See more in Bahrain; United States; Human Rights


Democracy and Religious Tolerance in Tunisia

Speaker: Alfred Stepan
Moderator: Amna Guellali

Alfred C. Stepan, founding director of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, discusses democracy and religious tolerance in Tunisia, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative.

See more in Tunisia; Democratization; Religion


Managing the ISIS Crisis

Author: Richard N. Haass
Project Syndicate
One day, historians will have their hands full debating the causes of the chaos now overtaking much of the Middle East. To what extent, they will ask, was it the inevitable result of deep flaws common to many of the region's societies and political systems, and to what extent did it stem from what outside countries chose to do (or not to do)?

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Terrorist Organizations and Networks


The Ayatollah and the U.S. Embassy

Author: Ray Takeyh
Weekly Standard

It has long been the conceit of Iran specialists and political commentators that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was not informed that militant students intended to take over the U.S. embassy in Iran in 1979. The Western intelligentsia has vouched for the Islamic Republic and claimed that the hostage crisis was a product of an internal power struggle. It was not about America, but rather about a revolution sorting itself out. As such, the hostage drama should not stand in the way of a rapprochement between the two nations. 

See more in Iran; United States; History and Theory of International Relations


I Interviewed Bashar al-Assad About Syria's Civil War. He's Still Too Delusional to End it.

Author: Jonathan Tepperman
Washington Post

In recent weeks, Western governments have begun subtly shifting their positions on Syria. The Obama administration seems to have quietly dropped its demand that President Bashar al-Assad resign as a precondition of peace talks. Instead, reports suggest it has embraced proposals that would allow Assad to be part of an interim deal. The new approach implies that the White House and its allies believe that the Syrian president might be open to a compromise that could end his country’s four-year civil war.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment