Middle East and North Africa

Op-Ed

Israel Gets No Credit From Obama for a Year of Moderate Settlement Construction

Authors: Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot
Washington Post

President Obama recently complained about "aggressive" settlement construction by Israel, but the facts are otherwise. The new statistics show that Israel is building energetically in Jerusalem and in the blocs it will obviously keep, and slowing construction in smaller settlements beyond its security barrier in areas that may someday be part of a Palestinian state. Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot explain.

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

Ask CFR Experts

How should the United States react to Al-Qaeda regaining influence in Iraq?

Asked by Tyler Malcolm
Author: David Palkki

Recent gains by al-Qaeda's main offshoot in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), are dangerous and discouraging. ISIS control of Fallujah is particularly disheartening, given the U.S. blood spilled to liberate this city in 2004. ISIS occupation of cities such as Fallujah and Ramadi in western Iraq, and Raqqa in eastern Syria, are part and parcel of a plan to destroy the Iraqi state and to create an Islamic caliphate. Important U.S. interests in Iraqi stability and regional security are at stake.

Read full answer

See more in Iraq; Regional Security

Primary Sources

UN Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

The UN Human Rights Council issued this report on Syria on November 23, 2011. It states that "gross violations of human rights have been committed by Syrian military and security forces since the beginning of the protests in March 2011." On March 4, 2014, the commission released its seventh report (A/HRC/25/65) and states that sieges of civilian areas are leading to mass casualties and starvation in Syria.

See more in Syria; Human Rights

Op-Ed

Egypt's 2011 Uprising is a Cautionary Tale for Ukraine

Author: Steven A. Cook
Fortune.com

"Although comparisons between Egypt's 2011 uprising and the recent turmoil in Ukraine are largely unwarranted, CFR's Steven A. Cook writes that there is an important lesson for Ukraine in the Egyptian experience: the need for simultaneous economic and democratic reforms to achieve both political stability and economic prosperity."

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

Must Read

Foreign Policy: The $20 Million Case for Morocco

Authors: Eliza Barclay and Kristen Chick

"Morocco's lobbying efforts still appear capable of influencing American policy. The U.S. mission to the United Nations, for instance, recently proposed adding a human rights mandate to the UN mission in Western Sahara -- it is, after all, currently the only UN peacekeeping force without one. But the United States dropped the proposal after the government of Morocco and its allies lobbied against it."

See more in Morocco; Politics and Strategy

Ask CFR Experts

How does the nuclear deal with Iran affect Hezbollah and its regional influence?

Asked by Ahmad Takouche
Author: Mira Rapp-Hooper

It is not clear how the interim Geneva agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers will affect Iran's relationship with Lebanon-based Hezbollah or Hezbollah's regional influence. According to the IAEA's most recent report, Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium has decreased substantially from its prior levels, suggesting that Iran is implementing the Geneva agreement, at least for the time being. One could certainly argue that if Iran continues to comply with the deal and forecloses its nuclear option, it will no longer be able to easily project influence with the threat of nuclear weapons acquisition or a latent nuclear capability. By this logic, Iran may choose to rely more heavily on Hezbollah to make its presence felt throughout the region. This is certainly a concern of other Gulf States, who fear that the nuclear deal does not address the threat that proxy groups may pose to their regimes.

Read full answer

See more in Iran; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Political Movements and Protests

Op-Ed

For Obama, Few Options in Syria

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Defense One

As Washington remains reluctant to take strong action in Syria, Gayle T. Lemmon discusses the limited interventions under consideration for U.S. intervention, including counterterrorism operations inside Syria, increased arms distribution to moderate rebels, and humanitarian aid.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

Transcript

Foreign Affairs Media Call on Iran Negotiations with Elliott Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, and George Perkovich

Speakers: Elliott Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, Gideon Rose, and George Perkovich

Experts discuss the challenges, opportunities. and future of the Iranian nuclear talks and whether these talks will succeed or fail. Elliot Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, Gideon Rose, and George Perkovich focus on the future of the nuclear energy talks and how that will affect foreign policy regarding U.S. involvement or the possibility of Iran going nuclear.

See more in Iran; Nuclear Energy

Must Read

New York Review of Books: Syria's Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth

Author: Annie Sparrow

"The UN's current polio vaccination program—sponsored by UNICEF and delivered in UN-financed convoys and flights—is fully orchestrated by the Syrian government, and in opposition-held areas, it is dependent for administration on volunteers from the government-dominated Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). SARC's president, Abdul Rahman Attar, is closely tied to the government, and even has his own pharmaceutical company, which has influenced the preference given to regime territory in the administration of polio vaccines during these last three years."

See more in Syria; Health; Children

Audio

Foreign Affairs media call on Iran negotiations with Elliott Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, and George Perkovich

Speakers: Elliott Abrams, Suzanne Maloney, and George Perkovich
Presider: Gideon Rose

Three contributors to the Foreign Affairs ebook Iran and the Bomb 2: A New Hope—CFR Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Vice President George Perkovich—discuss the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 over Iran's nuclear program, including the debate about potential U.S. sanctions against Iran.

See more in Iran; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation