Middle East and North Africa News

What went unsaid in Obama's directive on hostages: Stay out of harm's way

Jun 25, 2015
"Obama couldn't and would never say it, but he probably was thinking it: The best way to avoid being taken hostage is to avoid putting yourself in these danger zones to begin with. Americans have to take responsibility for the personal choices they make in these danger zones," writes Aaron David Miller.

Endgames with Iran

Jun 22, 2015
"If the World League volleyball match was any indicator, dealing with the United States is still a vexed issue for many Iranians. At the start of both games, a giant American flag was carried onto the court by four young Iranian boys as the American national anthem played. Iranian television, which broadcast the game live, showed the flag but opted to mute the anthem," writes Robin Wright.

No, the Iran Nuclear Deal Will Not Be Good for the U.S.

Jun 18, 2015
"The deal may succeed in slowing Iran’s nuclear program. But sooner or later, some future U.S. President is bound to confront a richer, stronger, more influential Iran, one with nuclear weapons still within its reach," writes Aaron David Miller.

The Islamic State’s Je Ne Sais Quoi

Jun 17, 2015
"To stay even in this war against the Islamic State (an entity which combines 8th century Islamist practices, values, and ideology with 21st century technology) — let alone winning it — seems a stretch. And here’s why," writes Aaron David Miller.

Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker: ISIS Result of Exclusion, Repression

Jun 09, 2015
On June 8, the speaker of Iraq’s parliament Dr. Saleem al Jubouri traced the origins of ISIS – also known as Daesh, ISIL, or the Islamic State – to the “policy of exclusion and repression of freedoms during the past.”

What Inhibits a ‘Complete Strategy’ for Fighting ISIS

Jun 09, 2015
"The Obama administration and its critics in Congress should stop using language like “defeat.” This isn’t World War II. Eliminating ISIS requires fixing Syria and Iraq, creating well-governed, functional states. And not even the hawks in Congress are prepared to expend the resources required for that," writes Aaron David Miller.

2015 Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research Recap

Jun 08, 2015
From May 26 through May 29, 2015, the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program convened the 2015 Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research (SICAR). Organized in cooperation with The George Washington University, SICAR provided training to 25 up-and-coming historians, political scientists, and international relations specialists in the theory and practice of archival research.

5 Reasons the U.S. Cannot Defeat ISIS

Jun 06, 2015
"Even if we finesse the problem and use Obama's clever turn of phrase, to "ultimately defeat" ISIS, as our goal, we had better get used to a very long war. Even with such a war, victory as conventionally defined may still be elusive," writes Aaron David Miller.

How Supplying Sunni Tribes Could Backfire on the U.S.

May 30, 2015
"If the U.S. opens an assistance conduit to the tribes, it could have major consequences among Shiites: It could weaken Mr. Abadi in the eyes of his Shiite constituency; it could undermine the premise of central government the U.S. is trying to support; it could even lead Iran to more aggressively push their Shiite militias in Iraq, further weakening the idea of centralized authority," writes Aaron David Miller.

Haleh Esfandiari Interview on Trumped Up Charges Against Jason Rezaian

May 27, 2015
"I have argued that arresting Jason and keeping him for such a long time and finally bringing him on trial is just an effort by the hardliners to embarrass President Rouhani, the Foreign Minister, and the whole team of negotiators,” said Haleh Esfandiari during this interview on CNN.