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Featured AnalysisAnalysis and CommentaryNational Security

A Shia ‘Awakening’?

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, March 5, 2020

The proponents of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran have argued that the four-month-long anti-status quo protests that have wracked Iraq, Lebanon and Iran are transnational in character and seek to limit or end the influence of Iran’s current leadership both regionally and internally. 

IntroductionAnalysis and Commentary

The Mind Is A Map-Maker

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A map of the Middle East after the World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate shows no state boundaries, only lines of control by European powers over the territories vacated by “The Sublime Porte” -- the Islamic hegemon in Istanbul.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

The Syria Redeployment As Counter-Iran Strategy

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 19, 2019

President Trump’s withdrawal of US troops on the Syria-Turkey border met with a bipartisan rebuke. While rejection of the president’s decision was the consensus, the rationales for the rejection varied, reflecting multiple and often discordant objectives that the president’s critics have projected onto the US military mission in Syria.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Unknowable Syria?

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, December 19, 2019

I had to take a pause once news filtered out that the ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed in the small village of Barisha near the Syrian-Turkish border—of all places. Notwithstanding that that area of Idlib Province is currently controlled by his ideological rivals—fellow jihadists who would have gladly killed him off themselves—and has been so for a number of years, there were several other mitigating factors that would deem such a locale a forbidding refuge from a jihadist security mindset.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Our Confused Syria Debate

by Omar Hossinovia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The policy debate on Syria has unfortunately been reduced to a discussion of whether or not U.S. troops should remain in that country.  What is missing in the debate however is a fundamental reflection on why we should be in Syria at all.  Iran should be at the heart of that question.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

The Syrian Front

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Discussing America’s stake in the Middle East has increasingly become a shell game where our “interests” can quickly disappear depending on the changing sentiments of the president. The trajectory for American foreign policy in the Middle East is clear:  down if not out.  And although Democrats can occasionally give the impression that they are in favor of a more vigorous presence, that is probably just an anti-Trumpian reflex:  if the president is in favor of abandoning the Kurds and leaving Syria, then Democrats are in favor of staying and reinforcing the alliance.  

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Russia’s Return To The Middle East

by Jakub Grygielvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 12, 2019

The reinsertion of Russia into the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East is one of the big stories of the past decade. Although Russia’s recueillement after 1991 resulted in its effective disappearance from the Middle East, her presence in the region is of course not a new reality in history. Tsars and Soviet leaders pushed their military might and political influence into the region for the last three centuries, clashing with various great powers, from the Ottoman sultanate to the British empire and the United States. But the speed at which the current Russian advance has occurred is surprising and troubling. Moscow has inserted an enormous level of instability and unpredictability to the already murky local power dynamics.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

The Middle East In An Era Of Great Power Competition

by A. Wess Mitchellvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 12, 2019

In 1920, a young Winston Churchill wrote a memorandum to the Cabinet outlining his concerns about British policy in the Middle East. Britain was, he wrote, “simultaneously out of sympathy with all the four powers exercising local influence.” The Arabs, erstwhile allies in the war, were already unhappy with the emerging postwar settlement. The defeated Turks, Britain’s traditional regional ally, were resentful and looking for new partners. The Russians, under new Bolshevik leadership, were skillfully courting Turkey and Persia. And the Greeks wanted greater British backing against Turkey.

IntroductionAnalysis and CommentaryNational Security

If We Leave

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Islamic political philosopher Alfarabi (872-950), one of the notable transmitters of ancient Greek classical texts from the Eastern Mediterranean through the Maghreb to Spain’s al-Andalus and on into Western Europe, produced in his major work the idea of “The Virtuous City,” an ideal form of governance I occasionally heard mentioned by my Arab colleagues when I served at the United Nations in the 1990’s. 

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

The Israeli–Palestinian Struggle, Continued.

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Whenever the Israeli–Palestinian question arises in Washington, an assumption inevitably precedes it:  the United States has an important and unique role to play in advancing peace between these two peoples.  Israelis and Palestinians might make progress alone (the 1993 Oslo Accords).  But the two can only go so far, so we are told, without American mediation, primarily because only Washington can push Jerusalem into taking risks— “land for peace” and military restraint toward the security deficiencies of the Palestinian Authority—that are the stepping stones to a two-state solution, the endgame for a peaceful settlement. 


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The Middle East and the Islamic World Working Group highlights the importance of studying both a region and a culture, while also addressing challenges outside the Middle East itself.

Chaired by Hoover fellows Russell Berman and Charles Hill, the group draws on a wide network of scholars and practitioners, from within the United States and abroad, to support changes that enhance economic and political freedom, and foster personal liberty and rule of law—developments that are critical to the very order of the international system.

Visit The Caravan, a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the greater Middle East.