"Though less popular than in 2010, Maliki believes he will benefit from the fear and chaos, presenting himself as the only one capable of guarding his community and saving Iraq. The sectarian conflict becomes another way of waging politics and outlasting competitors."
"The only way this bleak prognosis could change is if Mr Netanyahu himself were to 'do a Sharon'—that is, to defy his own Likud party, forge a new outfit, reshape his coalition, and—in an expression that often comes up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv—'cross the Rubicon' on the way to two states."
Speakers: Jaime McAuliffe and Pamela Flaherty Presider: Isobel Coleman
Isobel Coleman hosts Jamie McAuliffe, president and chief executive officer of Education For Employment, and Pamela Flaherty, president and chief executive officer of the Citi Foundation, for a discussion on addressing the challenge of youth unemployment in the Middle East.
The appearance of mid-level Al Qaeda planners in Syria may represent efforts by Al Qaeda to shift its organization away from its current networked organization back to the more lethal structure it had before September 11, 2001.
CFR Senior Fellow Steven A. Cook outlines the risk factors and warning signs of a solvency crisis in Egypt in this Contingency Planning Memorandum and offers policy options to prevent such a crisis or mitigate its consequences.
"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."
Despite last week's fence-mending meeting between President Obama and King Abdullah, serious differences over policy regarding Iran, Syria, and Egypt remain between the United States and Saudi Arabia, says expert F. Gregory Gause.
"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."
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.
The Egyptian government's widening crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members, including a surge in death sentences, threatens to radicalize a new generation of Egyptians and spawn jihadist violence, writes CFR's Ed Husain.
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?
"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."
"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."
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.
A rare meeting of Islam's top religious authorities took place in Abu Dhabi this week. Writing in the National, Ed Husain explains why this gathering was a step in the right direction for Muslim thought leadership at a global level.
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.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.