Middle East and North Africa

Must Read

European Council on Foreign Relations: Syria's Uprising Within an Uprising

Author: Rania Abouzeid

"The armed Syrian opposition, in all of its disparate glory, has long talked of a revolution after its revolution to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a period when scores would be settled between various anti-Assad groups…. Elements of all of these various fault lines had become frontlines during isolated bouts of rebel infighting over the past year or more, but the decision by so many different groups to take on ISIS at the same time, and in so many locations, was surprising. What was also surprising was how quickly ISIS was initially routed from some areas."

See more in Syria; Defense and Security; Terrorism

Must Read

New Yorker: The Syrian War's Private Donors Lose Faith

Author: Elizabeth Dickinson

"Since the Syrian revolution began, in 2011, private Kuwaiti donors like Herbash have been among its most generous patrons, providing what likely amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars to the armed opponents of Assad…. As the war took a more sectarian and extremist turn, so, too, did its private funders."

See more in Syria; Wars and Warfare

Must Read

NYT: Does Egypt's Vote Matter?

Author: Ursula Lindsey

"This is the third constitutional referendum since Mr. Mubarak was forced out. Security conditions have deteriorated and political divisions deepened. Instead of real conversation about policies and politics, the debate has been reduced to slogans."

See more in Egypt; Politics and Strategy

Primary Sources

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: "Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi Libya"

This report about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi was released on January 15, 2014. It discusses how the attack could have been prevented and according to the New York Times, it is "the first public examination of a breakdown in communications between the State Department and the C.I.A. during the weeks leading up to the deadly episode at the diplomatic compound." The Accountability Review Board released an unclassified report on the embassy attacks in December 2012.

See more in Libya; Terrorist Attacks

Must Read

Cairo Review of Global Affairs: Legitimizing an Undemocratic Process in Egypt

Author: Michele Dunne

"It will be nearly impossible for observers to do a credible job under the present conditions in Egypt. And even if the referendum goes smoothly, it is not at all clear that the vote will make a meaningful contribution to getting Egypt back onto a democratic path. Observers and foreign governments, including the United States, would do well to make sure that their engagement and statements keep the focus on the big picture of Egypt's worrisome trajectory."

See more in Egypt; Elections; Democratization

Interview

Iraq’s High-Stakes Struggle

Jane Arraf interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

With its Shiite government struggling for survival and poised for a confrontation with Sunni extremists in Fallujah, Iraq faces a deepening sectarian conflict partly fueled by spillover from Syria, says Jane Arraf.

See more in Iraq; Terrorism

Must Read

FP: Breaking Syria's Reign of Terror

Author: Hassan Hassan

"The fighting over the past week is a watershed moment for the Syrian uprising. The momentum against extremism can pave the way for the re-emergence of moderate groups that had been pushed to the margins under ISIS's reign of terror. The episode has proved that it is Syria's mainstream rebels who are best fit to face down extremists -- not the Assad regime."

See more in Syria; Terrorism

Must Read

Al-Monitor: In 'Rumi’s Field': Can U.S. and Iran Meet in a Place Beyond Sanctions and Centrifuges?

Author: John W. Limbert

"Some say Iran and the United States have "crossed the Rubicon," and there is no road back to the old ways. Whatever metaphor one uses, Iran and the United States have ventured into new and unfamiliar territory for which neither side has reliable maps. In this new reality, both sides must use long-neglected tools and exercise atrophied muscles. On this new ground they must put aside the old practices of reflexive bashing and insults and relearn elementary diplomacy: how to listen, how to be patient and how to be careful with language. They must relearn the value of quiet and private contacts, which without the need for posturing can set the stage for more fruitful public events."

See more in Iran; United States; Politics and Strategy