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Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Turkey's COVID-19 Response

by Soner Cagaptay, Deniz Yukselvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Ankara's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak has left Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan falling behind the wheel, also revealing competition among advisors inside his presidential palace (known as Saray in Turkish) in Ankara. Meanwhile, popular initiatives to battle the pandemic, launched by recently-elected opposition mayors of key cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, have allowed these politicians to emerge as problem-solvers in the country.

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The Pandemic: Sovereignty And Globalization In Tension?

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The old cracker barrel wisdom inside the Beltway (if there had been a country store inside the Beltway) used to be “This is a Presidential Election Year, so don’t believe anything you hear.”  What we’ve been hearing recently are media spats about U.S-China immoral equivalency that could produce “a new Cold War.”  Don’t believe it.  Presidential year politics has Trump shaping his re-election around “I’m tough on China; Biden is soft”. 

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The Evolution Of Arab Popular Opinion Toward Iran, And Iranian Self-Perceptions

by Karim Sadjadpourvia The Caravan
Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Middle East’s conflicts and autocracies—hostile to independent researchers and pollsters—make it one of the most challenging regions of the world to accurately assess public opinion. The competing popular demonstrations in the region both before and after the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani illustrates the confusion.

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Crisis Of The Iranian Order

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The “transnational”: this is how Qassem Soleimani, the former head of Iran’s Qods Force, who was killed in a January U.S. missile strike in Baghdad, is described in Hezbollah-run schools in Lebanon. 

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The Islamic Republic Soldiering On

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A look back at the past few months of tumultuous domestic events in Iran and around the Middle East might lend favour to the view that Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic is destabilising and weakening Iran alongside its grip on its regional networks.

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The Shia Vs. The “Shia Crescent”

by Hanin Ghaddarvia The Caravan
Thursday, March 5, 2020

On February 15, 2020, Hezbollah organized a ceremony to unveil a statue of Qassem Soleimani in the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras, roughly half a mile from the border with Israel. The statue shows Soleimani with his arm stretched out in front of him, pointing toward Israel. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.


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

Chaired by Hoover fellow Russell Berman, 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.