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Middle East Program Publications

The Middle East Program publishes occasional reports, papers, policy briefs, and annual reviews written by scholars and staff, in addition to books written by Wilson fellows. Our publications take deep dives into key issues and policy debates in the Middle East and North Africa, providing essential context and data for researchers and policy makers alike.

On the Horizon

On the Horizon 2022 | Middle East

Experts at the Middle East Program outline key trends and actors to follow in the region in 2022. The most significant issue dominating politics in the Middle East in 2022 will be Iran. Three more things to watch: elections in Lebanon, the region's digital economy, and the implications of democratic backsliding in Tunisia and Sudan.

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MEP's Latest Collaborations

  • Read Criminalization of Gender-Based Violence: A Legal Obligation

    Moushira Khattab, recently named the First Female President of Egypt’s Human Rights Council, contributed a chapter to the Wilson Center's publication titled, Pathways to Justice: Gender-Based Violence and the Rule of Law that calls on Egypt to formally criminalize violence against women and girls. This publication aims to focus on the intersection of GBV and the rule of law by examining how legal frameworks, judicial system responses, and public policy contribute to the ways in which gender-based violence is—and is not—addressed around the world.

  • Read Building a Better Lebanon

    Lebanon is reeling from a compound balance-sheet crisis that the World Bank has described as the country’s worst since the 1850s. This once-in-a-century disaster was precipitated by the final breakdown of an economy akin to a Ponzi scheme, in which political elites enriched themselves with financial inflows to the country’s banking system while neglecting national development priorities.

    In this report, the co-authors explore the best way out of this crisis. Against a general backdrop of weak institutional capacity and growing instability, the authors argue that any reform program for Lebanon should be simple, transparent, and most importantly managed by a credible government of reform. Advocating a combination of measures, they highlight immediate steps needed to stop the financial hemorrhaging of the Lebanese banking system before embarking on a gradual journey toward structural transformation and reform. In the heat of the present crisis, Lebanon must maneuver toward a productive economy away from the dominant financial sector through initiatives supporting business capacity, entrepreneurs, and skills development. If these steps are taken immediately, and throughout the coming political cycle, Lebanon may yet be rescued and put on a path to recovery. 

  • Read Venezuela’s Authoritarian Allies: The Ties That Bind?


    This new book explores the international dimensions of regime survival in Venezuela and examines the ways that international allies of Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian government have assisted it in surviving a calamitous period of economic decline, punishing U.S. economic sanctions, and internal pressures for political change.

    Edited by Cynthia J. Arnson, the book aims to fill an important gap in the understanding of the international dimensions of the Venezuelan crisis. It details how a range of international allies—Russia, China, Cuba, India, Turkey, and Iran—have aligned with Caracas for a variety of economic, political, ideological, and geostrategic reasons. Understanding the diversity of these interests and motivations is key to determining how, if at all, the relationships might be modified.

  • Read Russia in the Middle East: National Security Challenges for the United States and Israel in the Biden Era

    As a new administration takes shape, with heightened U.S.-Russian tensions on a global level and conflict as a distinct possibility, Russia’s role in the Middle East is a strategic challenge and an urgent concern both to Israel and the United States in such sensitive arenas as Syria and Iran and in the cyber and technological domains.

  • Read 3 Things to Watch in 2021: Middle East


    In a world marked by complexity, volatility, and a din of competing agendas, the Wilson Center is the nation’s indispensable resource for decoding today’s most pressing foreign policy challenges. Leveraging its global expertise and perspective, award-winning scholarship and analysis, and a fiercely nonpartisan spirit, the Center informs actionable ideas for policymakers across the political spectrum.

    With a new year comes new developments. See what is to come in 2021 regarding resurrecting the Iran Nuclear Deal, new peace deals & political unrest in Israel, and lingering social & political unrest in the Arab states. 

  • Read Kennan Cable No. 64: The Russian Channel That Couldn't

    Resolving the Syria crisis will be a priority for the Biden administration. First, it is one of the few combat zones where American troops are daily at risk. Moreover, it is the most important theater for containing Iran’s regional expansion and Russia’s great power challenge. The conflict has drawn other military forces, including Turkey and Israel, into a dangerous five-army strudel; has generated major international terrorist, chemical weapons, and refugee challenges; and remains the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century, with 12 million refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs), and 500,000 deaths. President Biden inherits an internationally supported Trump policy with goals the new administration can adopt: the enduring defeat of ISIS, the departure of all Iranian forces, and a final resolution of internal conflict.