About the Middle East Program

The Middle East Program combines the intellectual grounding of its scholars with the power of its convening space to produce actionable ideas for policymakers around the world. Our Program offers a breadth and depth of programming on the prevailing economic, political, and social norms in the MENA region. We pay special attention to the role of women, the aspirations of the younger generation, and democratic and autocratic tendencies in governance. MORE

The Latest from the Middle East Program

The Nation-Building Trap

Article //
Oct 01, 2014
"It's the reality that we're being pulled inexorably like a moth to a flame not just toward a military conflict with Assad, but toward bearing the responsibility for fixing -- or worse for creating -- the new Syria...we may well end up in the very place U.S. President Barack Obama has willfully tried to avoid: nation-building," writes Aaron David Miller. more

We Bomb ISIL: Then What?

Publication //
Sep 30, 2014
Military action in Iraq and Syria is moving ahead without a political strategy to accompany it. Although the administration argues that defeating ISIL requires the formation of inclusive governments, neither Iraq nor Syria has such government. The absence of a real political strategy will undermine any military success. more

Iran’s Dinner Diplomacy

Article //
Sep 30, 2014
"It’s crunch time for diplomacy on Iran’s controversial nuclear program." Last year, President Rouhani answered Obama's question of possible coöperation on other matters with a "Persian proverb: 'Let’s raise the baby we just gave birth to before we have another.' This year, given the success of ISIS, the Iranians seem to be in a bit more of a hurry to get that process started" says Robin Wright. more

Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control

Article //
Sep 25, 2014
"You should focus on 50% of the population, which is women, and see what is happening to them. You should mention them, you should have the courage to say 'yes this is done to our women; this is done to our sisters, daughters, wives...'" said Haleh Esfandiari. more

Ironies in Obama’s U.N. Address

Article //
Sep 25, 2014
"As Washington teams up with autocratic regimes–some of which notoriously use the cover of their faith to justify unfair policies–the United States may have credibility problems among the very people it hopes to help," writes Robin Wright. more

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