Middle East Articles


By Dr. Hatem Bazian  |  March 23, 2014

In the western world Islamic conservatism and radicalization had not been on the public radar much until the 1990s and especially the 2000s when terrorist attacks increased and the United States waged two wars in the Middle East. Out of these experiences the West garnered a negative and cautious view of Islamic conservatism with the main fear being that it leads to terrorism. These fears painted the Islamic world in one color as if all Muslims shared the same views about everything from the west to democracy to human rights. If asked about the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood, many Americans would be shocked to learn that it was born in 1928, nearly a century ago. Since then the Brotherhood has been through difficult ordeals of suppression and times of success.

By Benjamin Legesse  |  November 12, 2013

Summer 2013 brought one of the most violent fighting seasons in Afghanistan since the US military and state-building effort began in 2001. On the cusp of the momentous 2014 presidential elections and a year before the majority of international coalition forces would depart from the country in the midst of transferring security functions to the coalition-supported Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Taliban is dug in and still ferocious. It is testing the Afghan security forces, which since June 2013 are supposed to be taking the lead in providing security throughout the country while international forces are increasingly disengaging from combat and departing Afghanistan.

By Vanda Felbab-Brown  |  September 24, 2013

When we are young we see change as a sweeping phenomenon; a roaring avalanche of paradigm shifts and situational changes that overwhelm the status quo into relinquishing its unjust usurpation of power. Yet such ideas do not rest far from the line demarcating dreams and reality. As we grow into our understanding of power dynamics, we realize that there are times when the stability of the status quo allows for more advancement in gender equality than the rush of chaotic change. It can be argued that the Arab world is unfortunately an example of such a phenomenon at this stage of its spring of revolutions. Though gender equity in the Arab world saw significant advancement in the last 30 years, commentators worry about the effect the Arab Spring may have on that.

By Ahmed Younis  |  August 1, 2013

This article originally appeared in Foreign Policy.

Many analyses have been made about Iran's strategic and geopolitical role in the Syrian regime, but not enough attention has been paid to the crucial and changing economic relations between the two countries. By analyzing Iran-Syria relations through this prism, one can shed light on the more nuanced, unconventional, and complicated aspects of Iran's role in Syria. 

By Majid Rafizadeh  |  March 5, 2013

Critics and audiences agree: Ben Affleck has done it again. With its numerous award nominations and victories, including last night's Best Picture, Argo will surely join Gone Baby Gone and The Town as an Affleck-directed box-office success, and rightfully so. In Argo (based on Joshuah Bearman’s 2007 article in Wired, which itself is about the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis), classic movie elements are strung together to weave a story that leaves the viewer hostage to the film’s suspense. 

By Ben Kassahun, Eric Guajardo, Joshua Barthel  |  February 25, 2013

The West sees Iran as an almost mythical supervillain, led by a omnipotent religious overlord and his almost cartoonish puppet President. Concerns about Iran's nuclear intentions have dominated the diplomatic stage for years, but as yet, no progress has been made — the time is ripe for change. But what kind?

By Julia Geiger, Mark Thomas  |  February 25, 2013

Few people would argue that self-sufficiency is a “bad” thing. After all, there is security in only being dependent on oneself. It is not surprising then that the creation of an energy independent United States, where the nation rids itself of all foreign sources of energy, is a fairly popular political position. The possibility of stable gas prices that are immune to international supply fluctuations, as well as the tapping of the clean-burning natural gas reserves, is indeed attractive. In political rhetoric, the idea is often thrown around: President Obama has stated that “America's dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced" and that it "bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation, and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism.” On closer inspection, however, becoming an energy independent nation may create more problems than it solves.

By Dennis Lee  |  February 25, 2013

The tragic murder of Christopher Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya, and three of his colleagues at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 demonstrates the significant hurdles Libya still has to overcome in its work to build a new nation.  While there are still great challenges, it cannot be forgotten that there is also opportunity.

By Darren Linvill  |  February 19, 2013