Middle East and North Africa Publications
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2015, the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center invited a cross-section of women activists, politicians, academics, and entrepreneurs to give us their views on the situation for women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This publication, “Expansion or Contraction? Women’s Rights in the MENA Region in 2015” includes pieces from 43 women from 22 countries including Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, and other countries in the MENA region, plus the United States, Austria, Indonesia, and Sudan, who shared with us their concerns and hopes for women.
Ottaway writes that ISIS has at least three components: ISIS as a proto-state, ISIS as part of an Islamist network, and ISIS as a state of mind. These different aspects of ISIS cannot be fought with the same means, and policies that might help against one of these components may make attempts to combat the others more difficult.
The onset of the Algerian War of Independence in November 1954 was an important development in the international history of the Cold War. Coming as it did on the heels of the end of the First Indochinese War, the Algerian conflict further emboldened national liberation forces throughout the colonial and semi-colonial world, a region of increasing importance to policymakers in Washington and Moscow. Pierre Asselin introduces documents from the Algerian National Archives on socialist bloc support for Algerian National Liberation Front.
After peaceful legislative and presidential elections in Tunisia toward the end of 2014, which were lauded on both the national and international levels, the attempt to form a new government reveals the tensions among the various political forces and the difficulties of constructing a democratic system in the country that was the birthplace of the "Arab Spring."
Saudi Arabia’s longtime powerful ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has been stripped of all his security and intelligence duties within days of Prince Salman taking over as the kingdom’s new ruler. Bandar had been locked in a bitter struggle with Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef for the past two years over which of them was in charge of Saudi policy toward Syria and specifically whether to support rebel Islamic militants there, a Bandar strategy Mohammed had strongly opposed. Now Mohammed has emerged in charge of both domestic and much of Saudi foreign security to the great relief of the Obama administration.
On January 26, 2015, an Egyptian court handed a physician a two-year prison sentence with hard labor, a fine, and the closure of his clinic for one year. The ruling is the first of its kind since a law banned female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2008. The victim’s father also received a suspended imprisonment sentence. Moushira Khattab takes great pride in having been the initiator and chief engineer of this particular law, in a process which she considers ground-breaking. In this article she argues that only through education can a cultural paradigm shift put an end to such crimes.
The Wilson Center's new Regional and Global Energy Series addresses the growing debate on international energy issues in their security, political, economic, and environmental dimensions.
King Abdullah, who died January 23 after a 10-year-long reign, was truly beloved by his people and the most highly respected leader of the Arab world. He started out as a reformer, propelling women into the all-male world of Saudi politics and sending over 100,000 Saudis abroad for higher education in hopes of speeding up the modernization of his ultra-conservative kingdom. But the Arab Spring brought an abrupt halt to the reform process and triggered a severe crackdown on all human and political rights activists.
The Middle East Program would like to share a special edition of our Viewpoints series, "What Next for Iran and the P5+1." Thirty-two experts from the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, including many former Wilson Center scholars and fellows, have contributed to this special edition.
Tehran has had a longstanding alliance with Damascus since 1979, and its relations with Baghdad have steadily improved subsequent to the ouster of Saddam Hussein. This has resulted in close ties between Iran and these two key Arab states. However, this has all been called into question with the eruption of the Syrian revolt, and the recent rise of ISIS and its challenge to the Iraqi state. This article provides an overview of the conditions in Syria and Iraq which facilitated the rise of ISIS, and explains what is at stake for Iran, particularly in the case of Iraq.