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.
MEP's Latest Collaborations
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.
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.
Russia in the Middle East: National Security Challenges for the United States and Israel in the Biden Era
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.
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.
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.
Books with MEP
Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America's Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the World
How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs: The Syrian Arab Congress of 1920 and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance
Black Wave : Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East
“[A] sweeping and authoritative history" (The New York Times Book Review), Black Wave is an unprecedented and ambitious examination of how the modern Middle East unraveled and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979.
Coups and Revolutions: Mass Mobilization, the Egyptian Military, and the United States from Mubarak to Sisi
In 2011, Egypt witnessed more protests than any other country in the world. Counter to the received narrative, Amy Austin Holmes argues that the ousting of Mubarak in 2011 did not represent the culmination of a revolution or the beginning of a transition period, but rather the beginning of a revolutionary process that would unfold in three waves, followed by two waves of counterrevolution.
A Tale of Four Worlds: The Arab Region After the Uprisings
First came the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire following World War I; then, in the 1950s and '60s, the Nasser-inspired wave of Arab nationalism and socialism. The Arab world's third great political cataclysm of the past 100 years has also brought permanent changes, but not as its activists had hoped: the 2011 uprisings.
Break all the Borders: Separatism and the Reshaping of the Middle East
Since 2011, civil wars and state failure have wracked the Arab world, underlying the misalignment between national identity and political borders. In Break all the Borders, Ariel I. Ahram examines the separatist movements that aimed to remake those borders and create new independent states.
The House of Islam: A Global History
A fascinating and revelatory exploration of the intricacies of Islam and the inner psyche of the Muslim world from the bestselling author of The Islamist 'Not just timely but important too. Ed Husain does not just set out the fundamentals of Islam as a religion but explains how and why understanding it properly matter.