Middle East

In the spotlight

Why ISIS Keeps Expanding

More than four months after the start of an international airstrikes campaign against the Islamic State, the organization continues to expand—going beyond the geographical areas of Syria and Iraq.

The Saudi Regime’s Justice System

The public flogging of Raif Badawi has come at a critical time for the Kingdom, with many drawing parallels between the Islamic State’s brutality and law enforcement practices in Saudi Arabia.

Syria in 2015: Political Stalemate Again, or Compromise?

2015 begins with new proposals to resolve the conflict, but 2014 has shown that even dramatic geo-political and military changes can leave the conflict dynamic unaltered and the stalemate unbroken.

Why the Islamic State Will Continue to Exist in 2015

The Islamic State will continue to be a major actor in the Syrian conflict in 2015 and beyond. The organization’s mode of operation may change, but not the fact of its existence.

Lebanon’s Dar al-Fatwa and the Search for Moderation

To revive the Sunni authority’s long tradition of Islamic moderation, Dar al-Fatwa’s new leader must unite all of Lebanon’s Sunni community.

Tackling Sunni Radicalization in Lebanon

The roots of the recent surge of Sunni extremism in Lebanon are local and deep. Pragmatic steps are needed to protect the country from the fate of Syria and Iraq.

An Arab World Without Politics

As the Arab Spring approaches its fourth anniversary, the Arab world generally is at risk of heading towards a future without politics.

Egypt Is Open For Business, But Not For Reform

The question is whether Egypt can stabilize the country and attract foreign investment needed to enliven the economy, while repressing all criticism of government policies from inside or outside and abandoning any semblance of the rule of law.

The Coptic Church and Politics in Egypt

The Church is trying to revive its former role as the sole political voice of Egypt’s Copts. But that position carries real risks for the Church and the country’s Christians.

The Islamic State in Libya and U.S. Counterterrorism Dilemmas

The jihadist field in Libya is highly fragmented and hyper-localized. And the rise of the Islamic State has stirred significant debates within this fractured community about how to respond.

The Islamic State: The Fear of Decline?

Dabiq—the propaganda magazine of the Islamic State —has a well-established reputation, and is particularly targeting Western and Arab youth who are keen to fight under the caliphate’s banner.

New Leaders for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood

With its 2014 leadership election, the Islamist group signaled that it is opening a new chapter. But some young members wanted to see even greater change.

The Assad Regime’s Political “Achilles’ Heel”

The Assad regime has repeatedly shown its confidence over the improvement of its strategic situation, but its refusal to engage politically with its own constituencies threatens it.

The Right To Have Rights

Universal human rights can provide a framework through which the indivisibility of social, economic, political, and cultural rights may be argued and the struggle for these rights may take place.

The Saudi Thermidor

Dissatisfied with Washington, Riyadh has undertaken an activist strategy for restoring regional order—but its forceful interventions abroad mask a deep domestic malaise.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    Jordan Caught Between Two Bad Situations
    Marwan Muasher January 28, 2015 CNN International

    Jordan’s participation in the fight against the Islamic State, particularly outside its borders, is problematic to some Jordanians. With the pilot hostage situation, the government is caught between two very bad situations.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    French Relations with Saudi Arabia
    Joseph Bahout January 26, 2015 Radio France International

    France and Saudi Arabia have agreements on a number of issues, such as Iran’s nuclear program, but France has several concerns about the way Saudi Arabia is positioning itself toward the Arab Spring.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    A Vacuum of Leadership in the Middle East
    Marwan Muasher January 23, 2015 KPCC Airtalk

    The Arab world is facing a vacuum of leadership. It is a new era, one that still has unknown repercussions.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    Iran In The Regional Order
    Karim Sadjadpour January 15, 2015 European Council on Foreign Relations

    While the United States and Iran have shared numerous adversaries, such as the Soviet Union, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and now the Islamic Staet, the strategic enmity between the two countries has prevailed.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    A Moment of Opportunity in U.S.-Iranian Relations?
    Karim Sadjadpour January 9, 2015 KCRW’s To The Point

    While Iranian president Hassan Rouhani represents the popular opinion of a population that wants to be integrated with the outside world, the main levers of power in Iran are all controlled by the office of the Supreme Leader.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    Congress to Vote on Iran Sanctions in January
    Karim Sadjadpour January 5, 2015 WBUR Here and Now

    If a nuclear deal with Iran is not reached within the next six months, Congress is intent on passing new sanctions.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    Obama Conciliatory Toward Iran in NPR Interview
    Karim Sadjadpour December 30, 2014 NPR

    Rapprochement with Iran or, at the minimum, a nuclear deal with Iran would be a significant part of Obama’s foreign policy legacy. The big question is whether Iran’s leadership is interested in that rapprochement.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    Fourth Anniversary of the Influential Tunisian Revolution That Sparked the ‘Arab Spring’
    Frederic Wehrey December 16, 2014 AirTalk

    While the tribal, sectarian, and ethnic mosaic of the region is one aspect of why democracy has not taken hold in the Arab world, more important is the lack of experience in governing institutions.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    What Might Happen After Iran Sanctions Are Lifted
    Karim Sadjadpour November 24, 2014 Marketplace

    The Iranian nuclear program can at best provide only two percent of Iran’s energy needs. It is an economic catastrophe when compared to the lost foreign investment, oil revenue, and sanctions.

  • TV/Radio Broadcast
    Iranian Nuclear Talks
    Karim Sadjadpour November 24, 2014 Charlie Rose

    A big challenge for the Iranian nuclear negotiations is finding a technical resolution to what is really a political conflict.

  • Event
    Roger Cohen in Conversation With Karim Sadjadpour
    Karim Sadjadpour, Roger Cohen January 26, 2015 Washington, DC

    New York Times columnist Roger Cohen will discuss his acclaimed new book, a moving memoir of his family’s long struggle with displacement, exile, anti-semitism, and apartheid, and how these same themes continue to haunt the contemporary Middle East.

  • Event
    Global Oil and the Middle East Economic Outlook
    Katherine Wilkens, Uri Dadush, Deborah Gordon, Masood Ahmed January 23, 2015 Washington, DC

    The steady decline of global oil prices since June 2014 is shifting economic, political, and strategic calculations of key Middle East actors, and adding a new element of uncertainty at a time of increased regional conflict and polarization.

  • Event
    What Fuels Global Jihadism?
    Karim Sadjadpour, Maajid Nawaz December 16, 2014 Washington, DC

    The recent Senate report about the CIA’s use of torture against suspected terrorists renews important questions about the most effective and ethical means to counter the threat of global jihadism.

  • Event
    The Crisis in Jerusalem
    Michele Dunne, Shlomo Brom, Khalil Toufakji December 8, 2014 Washington, DC

    Violent attacks and counter attacks in Jerusalem have escalated as access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount has changed, raising the profile of the religious aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alongside its nationalist and territorial dimensions.

  • Event
    From Hizbullah to the Islamic State
    Lina Khatib, Frederic Wehrey, Joseph Bahout November 3, 2014 Washington, DC

    From humble beginnings in the 1980s, Hizbullah’s political clout and public perception have trended upward, thanks to a communications strategy that has adapted to changes in the local and regional environment.

  • Event
    The Islamic State and the Middle East’s Shifting Geopolitical Landscape
    October 29, 2014 Washington, DC

    This all-day conference examined the local and regional roots of the growing violence, fragmentation, and instability gripping the Middle East today.

  • Event
    Disrupting ISIL’s Money Trail
    Marwan Muasher, David S. Cohen October 23, 2014 Washington, DC

    With a broad international effort underway to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), David S. Cohen outlined the United States’ strategy to undermine the organization’s financial foundation.

  • Event
    Libya’s Civil War
    Frederic Wehrey, Michele Dunne, Wolfram Lacher, Dirk Vandewalle, Faraj Najem September 24, 2014 Washington, DC

    Nearly three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in the throes of a bitter civil war. Its political and security institutions are split along complex fault lines that defy easy categorization.

  • Event
    Middle East in Turmoil: Can It Recover?
    Karim Sadjadpour, Thomas L. Friedman, David Ignatius September 12, 2014 Washington, DC

    Today’s Middle East is grappling with failed states, civil wars, brazen autocracies, and terror groups such as ISIS. Is this the region’s new normal, and is there a viable U.S. strategy to reverse these trends?

  • Event
    Unlikely Allies: U.S.-Iranian-Saudi Cooperation in the Persian Gulf
    Frederic Wehrey, Karim Sadjadpour, Roham Alvandi September 10, 2014 Washington, DC

    The threat of radical non-state actors, such as the Islamic State, has created an apparent convergence of interests between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.


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About the Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.

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