Middle East and North Africa Publications
The failure of Tunisia's ruling Islamic Ennahda movement to convince secular parties and civil society groups that it is truly committed to the separation of religion and state underlies the current political crisis there. Ennahda's moderate leadership has made repeated compromises on religious issues to meet secularist demands for a new constitution. But it has lost their trust by showing too much deference to its own militant Islamic wing and fundamentalist Salafis outside the movement.
U.S. policy toward the Maghreb countries is presently driven above all by security concerns. Although three of the four countries—Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya—have experienced considerable political change since 2011 and Algeria is on the verge of a succession crisis with potentially significant consequences, the United States is not deeply involved in these transitions. Exhausted and disappointed by failed nation-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States seems to be moving toward the opposite extreme, neglecting political transformations to focus on security. Unless the countries restore or maintain political stability, however, counterterrorism efforts cannot succeed
The Obama administration’s policy of non-intervention in Syria has been criticized both for permitting the ruling minority Alawite regime there to continue oppressing the Sunni Arab majority as well as for allowing the radical jihadist opposition to grow in strength vis-à-vis the moderate opposition. Several important domestic political and foreign policy concerns, though, have impelled President Obama to pursue this non-interventionist policy.
The opening of a dialogue between the United States and Iran has stirred deep-seated fears in Saudi Arabia that the Obama administration may be headed for a “grand bargain” with Tehran at the Saudis’ expense, raising further doubts about Saudi dependence on Washington for its security. The Saudis have already sensed flagging U.S. support in their confrontation with Iran over Iraq and Syria as they wage a bitter battle with the Iranians for Arab and Muslim world leadership.
Lebanon is finally getting Washington’s attention after spending the last four years languishing on the back burner. The Lebanese are now hopeful that maybe the days when Lebanon was a priority in Washington are upon them once again.
The Obama administration has sometimes been tactically adroit in dealing with Egypt since the fall of Mubarak in February 2011; at other times it has been caught flat-footed. But the nature of political changes afoot in Egypt today now demands more than adjustment, but instead a fundamental rethinking of a relationship that has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East since the Nixon administration.
UNGA provides a convenient venue for foreign leaders to interact and has special utility for countries such as Iran that are estranged from the United States and thus have no embassies in Washington. With the election of a pragmatic new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, suspense is building again. Will Rouhani shake hands with U.S. President Barack Obama at the annual luncheon for heads of state? Or, at a minimum, will Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif—a U.S.-educated former ambassador to the UN—chat in the hallway with Secretary of State John Kerry?
The second, completely updated edition of this widely read and respected guide is the most authoritative survey available on the perennial question of energy security. Energy and Security: Strategies for a World in Transition gathers today's topmost foreign policy and energy experts and leaders to assess how the United States can integrate its energy and national security interests.
"Today, Russia sees the Arab Spring as a threat because not only is it toppling regional allies and clients, but it seems to be an example to some of the Russian protestors who have used some of the very same methods and technology to organize the protests in Moscow," said Paul du Quenoy in this interview on Russia's relationship with the Middle East.
The alliance between Iran and Syria has been an important and persistent feature on the political landscape of the Middle East for more than three decades. The eruption of the Syrian uprising in the spring of 2011 has presented the greatest challenge to the survival of the Tehran-Damascus nexus. Does this signify the end of the partnership? This article provides a brief overview of the relationship and a detailed analysis of the evolution of Iran’s policies, perspectives, interests, and options in the ongoing Syrian crisis.