Middle East and North Africa Publications

Learning from Sykes-Picot

Nov 19, 2015
The collapse of central authority in both Syria and Iraq, coupled with the rise of a growing number of non-state actors, has given rise to much speculation about the future of the Levant and the end of at least some of the states formed after World War I. The first of a long series of agreements that defined the post-Ottoman Levant was one reached by a British and a French diplomat, Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot, in 1916. The “end of Sykes-Picot” has become the short hand for speculation about a possible reconfiguration of the states of the Levant.

Safety and Security in Yemen: Main Challenges and Stakeholders

Nov 10, 2015
Ensuring safety and security is one of the most pressing challenges for Yemeni society. A number of different formal and informal stakeholders play significant roles in determining Yemen’s security situation. This paper provides an overview of the main reasons for and consequences of such persistent insecurity as well as analysis of how these stakeholders affect security conditions in Yemen.

Morocco’s Emerging Democracy: The 2015 Local and Regional Elections

Oct 28, 2015
Morocco’s latest elections were ground-breaking, because for the first time citizens were allowed to vote for local and regional representatives directly. The results of these regional and local council elections show Morocco as an emerging democracy. They also indicate people’s greater understanding of what elections mean and attest to a general renewal of trust in public matters.

MENA Women Quarterly Report (July-September 2015)

Oct 20, 2015
This edition of the MENA Women Quarterly Report covers women’s advances and setbacks in politics, economics, conflict situations, and human rights issues throughout the MENA region from July-September 2015 and includes a special feature on women’s mobility.

The Islamic State as Icarus: A Critical Assessment of An Untenable Threat

Oct 05, 2015
Few if any international security threats are consuming the world’s attention as much as the Islamic State terror group, or ISIS. What is the true nature of this threat, and particularly beyond its strongholds in Syria and Iraq? What threat does the group pose in neighboring countries and other key regions, and particularly South Asia?

Iran’s Nuclear Chess: After the Deal

Sep 08, 2015
"Iran's Nuclear Chess: After the Deal," the updated edition of the monograph "Iran's Nuclear Chess: Calculating America's Moves," by Robert Litwak, vice president for scholars and director of international security studies at the Wilson Center, addresses the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran and assesses its terms and prospective implementation, as well as the implications should the agreement not be implemented.

Al-Sisi’s Egypt: The Military Moves on the Economy

Aug 20, 2015
The al-Sisi regime has chosen a model of development based on the implementation of large, ambitious projects under military supervision. The projects, such as the broadening of the Suez Canal and the building of a new capital city, may fail economically, like many such projects did in the past. No matter the economic impact, al-Sisi’s approach is consolidating the political and economic position of the military and shifting the balance among the private sector, the old state sector controlled by the bureaucracy, and the military economy. The change will be long lasting.

Youth and Civil Society: The Missing Powers in Yemen

Aug 10, 2015
Despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen, civil society organizations (CSOs) inside the country have significant capacity not only to mitigate the civil war but also to assist in rebuilding once the conflict is over. For historical reasons CSOs in Yemen have more space to monitor developments, advocate for greater accountability, and help the country grow and prosper..

Rolling Thunder? Saudi Arabia Discovers the Limits of Air Power

Jun 25, 2015
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have been bombing Yemen relentlessly with critical American support for three months now—yet this air campaign has had little effect on their foes, the Iranian-backed Houthis who still control most of the country. The Arab coalition is facing the same dilemma as the United States in Iraq and Syria: what to do when overwhelming air power fails to achieve political objectives because of an acute deficit of local support to change the balance of power on the ground.

Stark Choice in Iraq

May 20, 2015
U.S. officials have been deluding themselves that they can fight ISIS in Iraq without cooperating with the Shi’a militias and Iran. The defeat in Ramadi proves them wrong. The goal of the new intervention in Iraq is to defeat ISIS. The United States needs to focus on that goal and work with the militias, or get out.