Middle East and North Africa Publications

Can International Human Rights Norms Secure Women’s Rights in the MENA Region? (Fall 2013)

Nov 19, 2013
This publication is the outcome of the July 10, 2013 conference of the same name co-sponsored by the Middle East Program, Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Environmental Change and Security Program, and Global Health Initiative. Women leaders and activists from the Middle East write about the current women’s rights situation on the ground in the region and what strategies can be employed to use international human rights norms to secure their rights going forward. more

Confrontation Over Iran’s Nuclear Program

Nov 12, 2013
Michael Adler has been covering the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program. The confrontation over Iran’s nuclear work contains contradictions that will be difficult to resolve, even with the better atmosphere brought in by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The mixture of Iran reining in its nuclear work and the United States and its allies letting go of sanctions requires sacrifices that neither side is yet willing to make. more

Deciphering Russian Policy on Syria: What Happened…and What’s Next

Oct 23, 2013
A central principle of Putin’s foreign policy is reasserting Russia’s role as a great power on the global stage. Moscow has worked to restore and build ties to its former Cold War allies in the Middle East in pursuit of this goal. more

Tunisia’s Islamist-Led Democracy Founders

Oct 18, 2013
The failure of Tunisia's ruling Islamic Ennahda movement to convince secular parties and civil society groups that it is truly committed to the separation of religion and state underlies the current political crisis there. Ennahda's moderate leadership has made repeated compromises on religious issues to meet secularist demands for a new constitution. But it has lost their trust by showing too much deference to its own militant Islamic wing and fundamentalist Salafis outside the movement. more

American Policy in the Maghreb: Counterterrorism is Not Enough

Oct 07, 2013
U.S. policy toward the Maghreb countries is presently driven above all by security concerns. Although three of the four countries—Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya—have experienced considerable political change since 2011 and Algeria is on the verge of a succession crisis with potentially significant consequences, the United States is not deeply involved in these transitions. Exhausted and disappointed by failed nation-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States seems to be moving toward the opposite extreme, neglecting political transformations to focus on security. Unless the countries restore or maintain political stability, however, counterterrorism efforts cannot succeed more

U.S. Policy toward Syria: Making the Best of a Bad Situation?

Oct 04, 2013
The Obama administration’s policy of non-intervention in Syria has been criticized both for permitting the ruling minority Alawite regime there to continue oppressing the Sunni Arab majority as well as for allowing the radical jihadist opposition to grow in strength vis-à-vis the moderate opposition. Several important domestic political and foreign policy concerns, though, have impelled President Obama to pursue this non-interventionist policy. more

Iran’s Rouhani Puts U.S.-Saudi Ties to the Test

Oct 02, 2013
The opening of a dialogue between the United States and Iran has stirred deep-seated fears in Saudi Arabia that the Obama administration may be headed for a “grand bargain” with Tehran at the Saudis’ expense, raising further doubts about Saudi dependence on Washington for its security. The Saudis have already sensed flagging U.S. support in their confrontation with Iran over Iraq and Syria as they wage a bitter battle with the Iranians for Arab and Muslim world leadership. more

American Policy in Lebanon: Stability Through Dissociation

Sep 30, 2013
Lebanon is finally getting Washington’s attention after spending the last four years languishing on the back burner. The Lebanese are now hopeful that maybe the days when Lebanon was a priority in Washington are upon them once again. more

Back to the Drawing Boards

Sep 24, 2013
The Obama administration has sometimes been tactically adroit in dealing with Egypt since the fall of Mubarak in February 2011; at other times it has been caught flat-footed. But the nature of political changes afoot in Egypt today now demands more than adjustment, but instead a fundamental rethinking of a relationship that has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East since the Nixon administration. more

Upcoming UN Meeting Revives Hopes for U.S.-Iran Dialogue

Sep 20, 2013
UNGA provides a convenient venue for foreign leaders to interact and has special utility for countries such as Iran that are estranged from the United States and thus have no embassies in Washington. With the election of a pragmatic new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, suspense is building again. Will Rouhani shake hands with U.S. President Barack Obama at the annual luncheon for heads of state? Or, at a minimum, will Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif—a U.S.-educated former ambassador to the UN—chat in the hallway with Secretary of State John Kerry? more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.