Middle East and North Africa

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BBC: The Cost of Cutting U.S. Aid to Egypt

Author: Kim Ghattas

"Weapon systems, just like cars, are bought on credit. Most countries receiving [Foreign Military Funding] aid are required to show they have the funds to cover the full cost of the order, and the value of their orders cannot exceed the credit extended by the US. But Egypt was offered a credit arrangement more generous than most."

See more in Egypt; Foreign Aid

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New America Foundation: Iran Missed the Real Revolution

Author: Afshin Molavi

"Iran's rulers, like all men of revolutions, live in the long shadow of the revolution that made them. To them, the revolution is both home and prison. As home, it is a source of identity; as prison, it locks them in ideological boxes, and spawns holier-than-thou tests of will between purists and pragmatists."

See more in Iran; Politics and Strategy

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New Yorker: The Shadow Commander

Author: Dexter Filkins

"Suleimani took command of the Quds Force fifteen years ago, and has sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran's favor: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. And yet he has remained mostly invisible to the outside world. 'Suleimani is the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today,' a former C.I.A. officer in Iraq, told me, 'and no one's ever heard of him.'"

See more in Syria; Military Leadership

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POMED: The Federal Budget and Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014: Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa

Authors: Stephen McInerney and Cole Bockenfeld

"U.S. support for democracy, governance, and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa is needed now as much as ever. This report aims to examine the degree and nature of that support, by way of the federal budget and appropriations process. It aims to analyze and assess the approach of the U.S. administration and Congress to budgets, spending, and foreign assistance, and to draw conclusions regarding broader priorities and thinking in terms of U.S. policy against the backdrop of dramatic political changes across the Arab world."

See more in Middle East and North Africa; United States; Foreign Aid

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New York Times: Imagining a Remapped Middle East

Author: Robin Wright

"A century after the British adventurer-cum-diplomat Sir Mark Sykes and the French envoy François Georges-Picot carved up the region, nationalism is rooted in varying degrees in countries initially defined by imperial tastes and trade rather than logic. The question now is whether nationalism is stronger than older sources of identity during conflict or tough transitions."

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights