Middle East and North Africa News

Iran-Saudi Arabia Tensions Flare

Jan 05, 2016
As tensions flare between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Middle East Program Fellow David Ottaway provides perspective on the troubled relationship and its impact on the region.

Fallout From Saudi Cleric’s Execution Underscores Mideast Challenges

Jan 03, 2016
It would be irrational to conclude that U.S. actions and inactions hadn’t contributed to the messes in the Middle East. But the region’s challenges are rooted in internal, religious, and sectarian problems that are not amenable or conducive to U.S. military power or political persuasion; and they are spread among allies who have their own needs and agendas. Three recent events underscore this.

The Longest War

Jan 03, 2016
"Even if Islamic State is dealt a devastating defeat, it is just the current chapter in a line of modern concepts of jihadism since Iran's 1979 revolution. Three broad trends indicate that the fight to overcome this strain of violence will be a long one," writes Henri Barkey.

How Many Women Will Iran Allow to Run for Office?

Dec 29, 2015
An unusually large number of women have organized and registered to run in Iran’s February elections. The record turnout among would-be candidates for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, a body that selects the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, is causing unease among the conservative clerical hierarchy. The question for now is whether a significant number of women will be allowed to compete.

Saudi Arabia Elects Its First Female Leaders

Dec 15, 2015
Wilson Center Public Policy Fellow and former Middle East Program Director Haleh Esfandiari describes the significance of Saudi Arabia’s historic election.

Saudi Women Made History–But Still Have a Long Way to Go

Dec 13, 2015
"Women’s participation in this weekend’s elections is an important step in the struggle for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, but formidable obstacles remain," writes Haleh Esfandiari.

Facing Reality in the Long War Against Jihadis

Dec 10, 2015
"But until Arab leaders govern their own societies with representative institutions that reflect sectarian inclusion and balance, there will be jihadis with grievances against their own leaders and the West," writes Aaron David Miller.

Apprentice at Work in Dubai

Dec 08, 2015
The UAE’s urban vision is sweeping in concept, impressive in its accomplishments so far, yet questionable in many ways. Its unique character grows from singular combination of geo-historical synthesis, managed well. (Where might Indonesia, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria have ended up were they to have enjoyed the same careful, uncorrupted management of fossil fuels?) Yet the vision, the intensity and the success of the UAE urban system will exert mighty pressures on the environment, the cultural patrimony, and the Emiratis who, like the sorcerer’s apprentice, show no signs of staying the hand on the magical source of growth.

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Dec 08, 2015
This week in Oslo, amid a state of emergency in Tunisia, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

After Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections, Resignation–and Low Expectations

Dec 04, 2015
After the final runoffs in parliamentary elections this week, Egyptians seem to be settling in for an indefinite waiting period, with no particular expectations of progress. There is a strong sense here that people fear that change would make a difficult status quo even worse.