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October 6, 2015


Saudi Arabia's Yemen Gambit
Neil Partrick

Saudi Arabia’s lack of clear goals in Yemen is worsening the security vacuum and potentially undermining the kingdom’s national security. Read More

America Flunks Hard Lessons of War
Rami G. Khouri

A bad local situation is always made far worse when American or other foreign powers send in their armed forces and open fire at will, because they shatter the local political landscapes as well as the thin credibility of the United States as a useful or reliable partner. Read More

Badr at the Forefront of Iraq’s Shia Militias
Kirk H. Sowell

The political rise of the Badr Organization and its leader, Hadi Al-Ameri, is paving the way for a garrison state in Iraq. Read More

Remembering Hiroshima, Amidst Hell in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

Mass killings by weapons of mass destruction matter more than ever in the Arab world because we seem to be the world’s most problematic arena for mass killings, refugee flows, and the use of violence by states and non-state groups that is rarely if ever subject to any accountability. Read More

Can NATO Militaries Generate Mideast Stability?
Rami G. Khouri

The agreement between Turkey and the United States on a yet-to-be-defined plan to establish a sixty-mile-long Islamic State-free zone in northern Syria is at once decisive and dangerous.Read More

Gen. Odierno speaks half the truth needed to defeat ISIS
Rami G. Khouri

The faster and more concretely the United States and Arab states play their parts in addressing the non-military issues that promote IS, the faster that 20-year horizon for destroying IS and everything it reflects will whittle down into a shorter time frame. Read More

ISIS Is Weak, but so Are Arab States
Rami G. Khouri

The political and sectarian problems that prevent military coordination also plague the constructive political development of countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and others. Read More

Why Arabs Are Concerned About the Iran Nuke Bargain
Nabil Fahmy

The proposed nuclear deal with Iran is far from sufficient. It delays, but does not close the door on potential Iranian breakout. There is profound concern among Arab leaders, and for good reason. Read More

After Ramadi, Militias in the Lead
Kirk H. Sowell

The fall of Ramadi on May 17 has had two key repercussions, neither of which will be reversed by simply retaking lost ground. Read More

Syrian Refugees and Regional Security
Benedetta Berti

The international community has heavily invested in the armed forces of Syria’s neighbors, but hard security cannot be achieved without more robust humanitarian aid. Read More

Limitless Ambitions of Yemen’s Houthis
Nabeel Khoury

The first of the Houthi wars started, in 2004, while I was the chargé at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. A decade later, the Houthis have taken over Yemen’s capital, pushing the fragile country toward an uncertain fate. Read More

Israel vs. Hezbollah-Syria-Iran
Rami G. Khouri

Because of the tangled dynamics of Hezbollah’s relations inside Lebanon and around the Middle East, the Israeli attack in Syria — an almost routine event in the last few decades, sadly — actually hit three targets in one, namely Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Read More

The Libya Conundrum
Karim Mezran , Tarek Radwan

What is happening in Libya? And how will Egypt react? Read More

Dangerous Occupation
Joel Simon

Digital technology is enabling the spread of news and information across borders and around the world on an unprecedented scale. Yet, the challenges and risks facing professional journalists have never been greater. The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists tells the story. Read More

Arab World on the Precipice
Nabil Fahmy

Now more than any time in recent memory, the Arab World as a political entity is confronted with ominous threats and hair-raising domestic and regional challenges. Read More

Insights from the Kouachi Brothers’ Crimes and Lives
Rami G. Khouri

The lives, attitudes and actions of the Kouachi brothers reflect many other elements beyond freedom and blasphemy. It is time to get more serious about the real drivers of tension and violence that plague the multinational, transcontinental universe in which the Kouachi brothers lived. Read More

Libya’s Southern Rivalries
Rebecca Murray

Rival factions in Libya have allied themselves with groups in the south, intensifying local conflicts and disrupting security in the border zone. Read More

Sinai Campaign a Boon to the Islamic State
Mostafa Hashem

Support for the Islamic State in Sinai and across Egypt has risen as youth grow convinced that the state’s violence can only be met with counter-violence. Read More

A New Sectarian Force for Iraq
Raed El-Hamed

Plans to build a national guard force risk widening sectarian divisions in Iraq and pushing more Sunnis toward the Islamic State. Read More

Algeria’s Police Riots
Abdallah Brahimi

The power struggle between the Algerian presidency and DRS prevents any fundamental reforms that could address the underlying demands of police protesters.Read More

Turkey’s Waiting Game on the Syrian border
Nabeel Khoury

After three years of hesitation, Turkey has signaled its readiness to play a more active role in Syria and to join the recently formed coalition against ISIS. Read More

What’s at the Heart of Lebanon’s Troubles?
Sada Debates

Four experts on Lebanon take an in-depth look the country’s stability. Read More

Scramble for Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

America’s toppling of Saddam Hussein unleashed new forces in the Middle East. The latest fallout: the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Read More

Eyeing the Generals
Shuja Nawaz

Pakistan is watching the battle of two Sharifs—Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif versus powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif. A political crisis is fueling tensions between the country’s civil and military institutions. Read More

The Taliban Question
Zahid Hussain

It is unlikely that the Taliban insurgency will topple the Kabul government and return to power anytime soon. But the group could command the Pashtun region—and threaten security in Pakistan across the border. Read More

What Went Wrong
Edward Girardet

The American-led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is proving to be a failure. A military approach thwarted a long-term development strategy for the country. With foreign troops on the way out, the country braces for its uncertain fate. Read More

The Reluctant Posse
Rami G. Khouri

It is not surprising that when the threat becomes really serious, Arab leaders wait for the United States to save their skins. Read More

Hard to Be Confident in the Coalition-to-Come
Rami G. Khouri

Several troubling aspects of the American-led military plan to defeat the “Islamic State” Read More

Confronting the Islamic State
Hassan Hassan

Airstrikes against ISIS will provide the Syrian opposition an opportunity to work alongside countries that long doubted its ability to rule a post-Assad Syria. Read More

We Do Not Need a Rerun of the War on Terror
Rami G. Khouri

The GWOT, with its armed invasions, regime changes, drone fleets and other means, has only sustained and even expanded the Al-Qaeda/“Islamic State” phenomenon, because the twin drivers of Arab-Asian autocracy and foreign aggression remain virtually untouched. Read More

Either the U.S. defeats ISIS, or Iran does
Nabeel Khoury

The Obama administration’s current efforts against ISIS are of a tactical nature and will not serve to defeat or dislodge it from the areas it now occupies. Read More

Lessons from the Renewed Attacks in Palestine and Israel
Rami G. Khouri

This is the tragedy of what happens when determined warriors and mediocre political leaders on all sides meet in the arena of clashing nationalisms. Read More

America and Iran Face the Future—in Iraq
Reza Marashi

After eleven years of pursuing zero-sum security strategies in Iraq, both Tehran and Washington are slowly admitting that they have badly overreached. Read More

The Struggle for Iraq’s Future
Rozina Ali

Does the rise of Islamic extremism prove that Iraqi democracy was doomed to fail?Read More

After the Iran Nuclear Deal
Seyed Hossein Mousavian

The P5+1 talks are not just about Tehran’s atomic program. A comprehensive agreement should serve as a model for negotiations on a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Read More

Facts and Talks Are Better than Threats and Wars
Rami G. Khouri

The accusations against Iran, like those against Iraq over a decade ago, are based largely on highly dubious evidence that is exaggerated by a parallel streak of Israeli or neo-conservative American ideological extremism. Read More

The Frightening Thing about ISIS and Iraq
Rami G. Khouri

ISIS is frightening, to be sure, but not because it portends our future; it is frightening because it reminds us of the criminal incompetence of ruling Arab regimes during nearly the past half century. Read More

Jordan’s Ambiguous Syria Policy
Marwan Muasher

Amman is increasingly pursuing a policy of supporting neither the regime nor the opposition in Syria while quietly working to help resolve the conflict. It has few other options. Read More

How Nouri Al-Maliki’s Policies are Dooming Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

After three years of bashing Sunni opponents and lending assistance to Iran and Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s chickens have now come home to roost. Read More

How Obama Can Stop Worrying
Rami G. Khouri

The best way for Barack Obama to reduce “the most direct threat to America at home and abroad” is to stop engaging in foreign policy actions that have contributed to creating and nurturing the danger in the first place.Read More

Egypt’s War on Terrorism
Zack Gold

Even as the United States works with Egypt to counter violent threats in Sinai, relations will remain tense because of Egypt’s insistence that political dissent be considered terrorism. Read More

Why Syria Matters
Nader Hashemi

Some 150,000 people have died in the revolt against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Military, political and humanitarian intervention is needed to end the atrocities and prevent further destabilization in the Middle East. Read More

Letter from Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

In late February, the U.S. State Department protested a $195 million Iran-Iraq arms deal. In a recent trip to Baghdad, that small arms deal with Iran seemed like a small matter indeed to most. Read More

Why the Salafist-Takfiris Should Worry Us
Rami G. Khouri

These groups did not just suddenly appear in the past three years of the war in Syria; rather, they have been incubating slowly for a much longer period of time because of the slow deterioration in conditions in various Arab countries during the past quarter century or so. Read More

Assessing the Syria Talks in Geneva
Amr Al-Azm

After a round of talks between the regime and the opposition, little has been resolved. The Al-Assad regime has no incentive to enter these negotiations with any seriousness; the opposition has no meaningful or effective leverage to convince the key actors to bring significant pressure to bear on the regime. Read More

Why is the Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Eroding?
Benedetta Berti, Zack Gold

Each side’s strategy to preserve deterrence threatens the uneasy equilibrium, creating a permanent security dilemma. Read More

Al-Qaeda Has No Future in the Arab World
Rami G. Khouri

Many people in the Middle East and abroad are rightly concerned about the rise and impact of hardline Salafist-takfiri fundamentalist Islamist groups that have recently proliferated and controlled territory in Iraq and Syria. Read More

Lebanon’s $3 Billion Question
Rami G. Khouri

What should we make of the sudden announcement earlier this week that Saudi Arabia was providing the Lebanese armed forces with $3 billion to upgrade its capabilities? Read More

Which Iran Will We Choose?
Trita Parsi , Bijan Khajehpour, Reza Marashi

We have a golden opportunity to test win-win proposals through concrete actions that can facilitate a new, cooperative relationship with Iran and its people, void of the painful baggage of the past. Read More

The Trial of Chelsea Manning
Alexa O’Brien

A military judge found the U.S. army private guilty on twenty espionage and other charges related to the leaking of military field reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. But the lack of transparency in the proceedings raises questions about the legitimacy of the verdict and the harshness of the sentence. Rather than achieving justice, the conviction highlights President Obama’s war on whistleblowers. Read More

Fortress New York
Harvey Molotch

Since the September 11 attacks, Gotham lives under a blanket of tight security. Police and guards seem everywhere. Inspections, intrusions and blockages are the norm. The financial cost is huge. Quality of life is diminished. Is there anything to show for it? Read More

Dangerous Man
Cairo Review

Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971 in hopes of ending U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. He speaks with Managing Editor Scott MacLeod about America’s latest whistleblowers, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden—and explains how unchecked power threatens the human race. Read More

Tunnel Vision
Zack Gold

Since June 2013,the Egyptian military has maintained its most effective operation yet against tunnel networks in the Sinai. Looking forward, though, it is unclear how long Egypt can sustain the current success in tunnel closures. Read More

In Yemen, Drones Aren’t a Policy
Nabeel Khoury

I recall the good old days in Yemen from 2004 to 2007—that is, relatively speaking. I was then the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, which pretty much enjoyed the run of the country. Sanaa is now classified as an unaccompanied post, meaning it is too dangerous for diplomats to bring families with them. Read More

Freezing Aid without a Strategy
Jonathan Guyer

Since Morsi's ouster, U.S. military hardware has been a stark feature of Cairo's skyline. But American policy—the reason for that military aid to Egypt—remains ambiguous. Read More

Remembering Bill Stelpflug
Rami G. Khouri

Just before the Syria war, I received a letter from the mother of the late Lance Corporal Bill J. Stelpflug, who joined the Marines in 1982 and was sent to Beirut in May 1983. A massive bomb destroyed the marine barracks on October 23, and Bill died in that attack. Read More

Seven Lessons to Learn in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

The diplomatic and psychological thriller of the current announced plan by U.S. President Barack Obama to attack Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people has now been dramatically shaped by the Russian proposal for Syria. We might draw some lessons so far. Read More

Sinai’s Role in Morsi’s Ouster
Sahar Aziz

President Morsi's refusal to employ heavy-handed tactics to stop the increasing flow of arms and militants into Sinai—and his seeming disinterest in avenging the deaths of Egyptian soldiers—led the Egyptian military to join the ranks of his detractors. Read More

The Agony of the Smashing of Syria
Rami G. Khouri

The vigorous debate about whether an American-led military strike against Syria would be appropriate and effective is heart-breaking, for it is agonizing to watch as another important Arab country follows the self-destructive trajectory of others before it, such as Iraq and Libya. Read More

A Return of Violent Islamist Insurgency in Egypt?
Jerome Drevon

Despite extreme declarations made by shadowy groups, it is unlikely that Egypt will witness a return to the violent insurgency that plagued the country in the 1990s.Read More

Democracy versus Security
Rozina Ali

Simplifying Egypt into the narrow dualism of ‘us versus them,’ the military has re-established a dominant role for itself on Egypt’s political stage, one that has gone largely unchallenged by the Egyptian public. Read More

Atoms for Peace
Muhammad Sahimi

Western powers suspect that Iran is developing atomic weapons. But the controversy over the country’s nuclear program obscures the fact that Iran launched its pursuit of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes a quarter century before the Islamic revolution. It was the United States that helped Iran launch its nuclear quest. Read More

Breaking the Deadlock in the Western Sahara
Irene Fernández Molina

Respect for human rights is a common denominator in the Western Sahara conflict that the international community should back at all costs. Read More

The Real Scare in Syria Is Not Chemical Weapons
Rami G. Khouri

Neither chemical weapons use nor American involvement strike me as the most significant elements of the Syria conflict that should grab our attention.Read More

Stability at All Costs
Anne Wolf

While observers may disagree about the various reasons Algeria has proved thus far resistant to the Arab Spring, there can be no doubt about the role of the regime’s notorious Department of Intelligence and Security (French acronym, DRS). Perhaps aided by the lingering memory of Algeria’s bloody civil war—which took as many as 200,000 lives—the DRS has been effectively able to prevent protests from turning into a revolution. Read More

Syria Is Complicated -- Simultaneous Conflicts Always Are
Rami G. Khouri

The conflict in Syria has assumed more dangerous dimensions with the latest developments along the Syrian-Lebanese border, where forces with and against both the Syrian government and Hizbullah have engaged in cross-border shelling. Read More

Unhappy Neighbors
Ngo Vinh Long

China is aggressively enforcing a self-declared zone of sovereignty in wide areas of the South China Sea. Its takeover of disputed islands and arrests of fisherman have triggered growing diplomatic and legal challenges to Beijing. Without a Code of Conduct for the contested waters, the region may become a new global flashpoint. Read More

A Long March into Space
Joan Johnson-Freese

When Liu Yang became China’s first female taikonaut with the launch of Shenzhou 9 in 2012, it was yet another sign that the country is catching up with the United States in the conquest of outer space. Concerning the military motives behind China’s ambitious program, however, it’s time to separate wild speculation from valid conclusions. Read More

Algerian Crisis: The Primacy of Le Pouvoir
John P. Entelis

The terrorist assault on one of Algeria's central natural gas processing plants posed a direct challenge to the structure of the country's military-industrial complex.Read More

Morocco’s Engagement with the Sahel Community
Benjamin P. Nickels

The Arab Spring opened up new partnership opportunities for Morocco, Africa’s only non-African Union member country, which has been long isolated by the Western Sahara conflict and its rivalry with neighboring Algeria. Read More

Breaking the Syria Stalemate
Amr Al-Azm

The Syrian regime and its core pillars of loyalist military support have yet to acknowledge that their situation has become critical, let alone perilous. What can Syria's opposition do to shake up the stalemate? Read More

Strategic Patience
Cairo Review

Ambassador Ryan Crocker spent a four-decade diplomatic career in the Islamic World, serving as U.S. envoy in Kabul, Baghdad, Islamabad, Damascus, Kuwait City, and Beirut and receiving honors such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He speaks with Managing Editor Scott MacLeod about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, handling the crises over Syria and Iran, and Washington’s foreign policy failings. Read More

Dealing with Iran

President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 calling for a new approach to diplomacy with Iran. Yet, as he begins his second term, the U.S. and Iran are on the brink of a conflict that could engulf the world. A Memo to the President on how America can avoid war.Read More

What's New in the Gaza-Israel Battle
Rami G. Khouri

More killing and destruction will not resolve this conflict, but a lack of a fair and negotiated resolution also means that more killing and destruction are inevitable. Read More

There Will Be No Civil War in Lebanon
Rami G. Khouri

The political tensions and a handful of local clashes following the assassination last Friday of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan reflected a tragic but rather routine sequence of sentiments and events in this country, where political assassinations have occurred regularly for half a century. Read More

Drone Wars
Michael Burnam-Fink

Meet the Predator, the unmanned attack aircraft that is defining warfare in the post-Cold War era. Initially deemed useless by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency, it has become America’s weapon of choice in the War on Terror. With the creation of a new military bureaucracy dependent on identifying and striking new enemies, will Predator missions ever end?Read More

Curtains For Bin Laden’s Freak Show
Scott MacLeod

There was a theatrical air about Osama bin Laden. He cultivated mystique. For example, he relished inviting selected international journalists–some known for their own theatricality–to meet him in dangerous or shadowy circumstances that facilitated dramatic storytelling. I had a minor part in bringing Bin Laden to the world stage in 1996 when I interviewed him in Khartoum for a TIME magazine story headlined “The Paladin of Jihad.” Bin Laden’s enemies added to the hype. George W. Bush, the gun-slinging president from Texas, responded to September 11 with a line straight out of Hollywood: “I want justice. And there's an old poster out West I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"Read More

The Worst-Kept Secret
Nabil Fahmy

The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb. By Avner Cohen. Columbia University Press, 2010. 416 pp. Read More

Dictators and the Internet
Warigia Bowman

The Internet network is inherently not governed. Yet, each player has a valuable role. January 27 teaches us that a move away from centralization, particularly in the presence of autocratic governments, is crucial. Read More

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