Middle East and North Africa

Must Read

Muftah: Of Transitology and Counter-Terror Targeting in Yemen

Author: Sheila Carapico

"Washington does not have a Yemen policy, much less a progressive vision for the country. Instead, American policies in the Peninsula privilege the permanence and prosperity of the GCC monarchies, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations have regarded Yemen as a real place with real politics."

See more in Yemen; Politics and Strategy

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Foreign Policy: ‘They Just Stood Watching’

Author: Colum Lynch

"Darfur's combatants, particularly the Sudanese government, have effectively neutered the U.N. peacekeeping mission, undermining its capacity to fulfill its primary duty to protect nearly 2 million civilians displaced by Sudan's genocide. During the past year alone, more than 500,000 terrified men, women, and children have poured into the region's already overcrowded refugee camps."

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

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Financial Times: Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom on Guard

Author: Roula Khalaf

"Two camps are emerging: one led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which maintains that political Islam is a perilous force that should be confronted; and the other led by Qatar and Turkey's ruling party, which believes in political Islam's ability to transform the region. 'This confrontation has not reached its peak yet,' [Tarek Osman] says. Saudi Arabia's policies might be pursued in the name of stability. But they could well achieve the opposite."

See more in Saudi Arabia; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

Sisi 2014!

Author: Steven A. Cook
ForeignPolicy.com

With Egyptian Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's recent entry into the country's presidential race, many consider his victory a foregone conclusion. A Sisi presidency, however, will be fraught with numerous challenges, writes Steven A. Cook, coming from the Muslim Brotherhood, a crippled economy, Mubarak-era business tycoons, and Egypt's fractious security establishment.

See more in Egypt; Elections

Op-Ed

Status Anxiety

Author: Isobel Coleman
Foreign Affairs

Isobel Coleman discusses the effects of Iraq's Jaafari Personal Status Law, highlighting how the law could erode women's rights and exacerbate sectarian tensions in the country.

See more in Iraq; Women

Ask CFR Experts

How critical is Hamas to the success of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty?

Asked by Yijia Liang, from Upper Arlington High School
Author: Robert M. Danin

Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel in any form, opposes the negotiations taking place between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and believes that Israel should not exist. Its control of Gaza, constituting roughly 40 percent of the population (overall 4.4 million) slated to be part of a Palestinian state, would pose a major impediment to the success of any Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. The current reality—a divided Palestinian polity with Gaza under Hamas' rule and the West Bank under PLO rule—is a formidable challenge to the viability of any peace agreement signed between Israelis and Palestinians. For instance, in the event the PLO and Israel reached an agreement, with Gaza under Hamas, how would the PLO take control and create a unified Palestinian state consisting of both Gaza and the West Bank?

Read full answer

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

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Washington Institute: The Assad Regime Winning by Inches?

Author: Jeffrey White

"The regime's political goals are to remain in power, restore its control over as much of Syria as it can, and render the political opposition an irrelevant exile movement. Its military goal is to reduce the armed opposition to a manageable terrorist threat. This does not imply that the opposition has to be completely eliminated or that every inch of lost ground has to be recovered. Yet the regime has never shown any intention other than to fight, and it fights essentially everywhere in Syria."

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

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Majalla: Iran's Fourth Estate

Author: Arash Karami

"The state of the Iranian media can serve as a bellwether for understanding where the country is headed. In the past, the restrictions under which Iranian journalists had to operate fluctuated as the political fortunes of conservatives and reformists shifted."

See more in Iran; Censorship and Freedom of Speech