Foreign Policy Blogs

Middle East

The Syrian Insurgency

The Syrian Insurgency

As many people are now aware, the Syrian insurgency is a diverse and fractionated operation. Including all the minor, local militias, there are an estimated 1,200 rebel organizations playing some role in it. Western observers tend to divide them into pro-Western and Islamist, but this is a simplification. The independent-minded …

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“Mapgate”? Professor’s Map Leaves Israel Out

“Mapgate”? Professor’s Map Leaves Israel Out

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
An Arabic-language professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) recently handed out an interesting map of the Arabic-speaking world to students on the second day of class. In it, the territory that makes up the state of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip was labeled simply as …

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Only Egyptians Should Fix Egypt

Only Egyptians Should Fix Egypt

 
On July 3, 2013, in a move that shocked some members of the international community, the Egyptian military forcibly removed from power President Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). With overwhelming support from Egyptians, the military deposed Morsi’s government, maintaining that they stepped in …

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The paucity of hope

The paucity of hope

Nothing seems to be safe in Egypt these days.  Political opponents of the military leadership are the chief targets for the attacks, attacks that include live fire from security forces. They are not alone: The seething rampages have spread to Christian churches, the media, foreigners, those held in custody, and …

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On the Ground in Egypt: Two Views from Two Egyptians

On the Ground in Egypt: Two Views from Two Egyptians

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ramy Peter and Yazan Amin,* both Egyptian, spent five weeks in America over the summer on a program called the Study of the U.S. Institute on Religious Pluralism and Democracy (based in Philadelphia), where they studied religious pluralism, democracy and dialogue. They have been back in Egypt since …

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Iran’s Egyptian Paradigm

Iran’s Egyptian Paradigm

 

Egypt’s recent political shifts are likely to have mixed mixed implications for Iran.
Egypt’s turmoil that was marked with the overthrow of President Mohammed Mursi on July 3, 2013 is unsettling for the volatile and war-weary and Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region. Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia has been cheering for recent …

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Seven Pictures About Syria: Casualties, Interventions and Questions

Seven Pictures About Syria: Casualties, Interventions and Questions


Two years …

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Guns for the Guys

Guns for the Guys

The idea of arming the Syrian rebels is being chatted up once again.  The debate will wander and focus in many theoretical directions. Yet essentially the decision will focus on one key pivot: is the goal a short-term or long-term victory?
The safe bet: short-term considerations will win out.
The U.N. proclamation …

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Egypt Lays Gaza Tunnels To Waste

Egypt Lays Gaza Tunnels To Waste

In 2004, it was reported that Israel was considering building a four kilometer wide, 15-25 meter deep moat around Gaza, in order to prevent weapons from being smuggled to Hamas. This conversation took place in the run-up to Israel’s Sharon-led disengagement from …

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Arming the (Right) Syrian Rebels

Arming the (Right) Syrian Rebels

Next month, March 2013, will mark the second anniversary of the Syrian uprising. This bloody conflict, as I have repeatedly written, has been characterized by the bombing of bread lines, town-wide massacres and burgeoning sectarian attacks. The enormity of the death toll, 70,000 and counting, should elicit shock to even …

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Mr. Assad, meet Mr. Milosevic….

Mr. Assad, meet Mr. Milosevic….


Bashar Assad, let me introduce you to Slobodan Milosevic.
Technically, you cannot shake his hand – at least today. Milosevic died in his cell in The Hague, after the nation that he led into war and ruin emerged to form a tentative democracy. The new …

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Mayhem from heaven

Mayhem from heaven

 
It was only two months since the fighting ignited in Bosnia. Scary, but not yet out of control. But food was already getting tight so the spring air – and rumors of bread available – brought the citizens of Sarajevo out to the market …

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The Arab Spring: Countering Counter-insurgency

The Arab Spring: Countering Counter-insurgency

The recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, long-term wars pitting factionalist fighters against government forces, renewed international interest in counter-insurgency. Washington D.C. sparked a cottage industry in what became known as COIN: think-tanks climbed aboard, new prophets emerged, blogs bloomed. Press accounts in 2009-2010 trumpeted COIN as the U.S. surged …

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Gaza and the post-Arab Spring Order

Gaza and the post-Arab Spring Order

 
Israel’s attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip has not elicited a strong response from the Arab world. It is as if the Arab Spring has not yet brought an intense focus on one of the core issues of Arab politics, as many assumed it would. While Egyptian president Mohammad …

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Lebanon’s Salafists Challenge Hezbollah Dominance

Lebanon’s Salafists Challenge Hezbollah Dominance

 
The port city of Sidon in Lebanon witnessed an almost unthinkable act today. The Sunni bastion in the south of the country was transformed into the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Instead of Billy Clanton and Wyatt Earp, today’s belligerents in the shootout were

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