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
On the Horizon 2023 | Middle East
Experts at the Middle East Program outline key trends and actors to follow in the region in 2023. The most pressing issue to U.S. foreign policy is Iran's nuclear weapons capability.
Three more things to watch: In November 2023, COP28 will convene in Abu Dhabi, representing an unprecedented year of climate discussions in a region that is fatefully linked to the climate crisis. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves throughout the energy markets and has resulted in realignments of supply and demand, elevating the role of Middle East energy producers, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And, the fall 2022 death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in Tehran has provoked mass protests and even calls for regime change across Iran.
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.
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.
Building Lebanon’s Sovereignty and the State
The Lebanon's Ideas Forum presents this white paper focused on viable policy recommendations for Lebanon, the United States and regional and international actors to address the political deadlock and economic downturn.
Women Entrepreneurship in MENA: The Cases of Bahrain, Lebanon, and Tunisia
Women and Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region aggregates datasets from various national, regional, and global sources to better explain why women entrepreneurship in the MENA region continues to lag behind, despite striking progress in education, particularly tertiary education.
Books with MEP
Mohammed bin Salman: The Icarus of Saudi Arabia?
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.