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Middle East and North Africa

Iraq, Caught Between a Neighbor and a Superpower

Late in the evening of June 16, Iraqi counterterrorism forces stormed the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah, a pro-Iran militia, arresting 14 insurgents and confiscating...

The Caesar Act and Assad’s Moment of Reckoning

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act – with strong bipartisan Congressional support – to hold the Syrian...

Will the Coronavirus Forge a Brave New World?

Of all the major geopolitical players on the planet, Mother Nature may be the toughest adversary. Nature has neither imperatives nor constraints to guide...

Turkey and Iran’s Entente in Iraq

Earlier this week, there appeared to be a thaw in tensions between Iran and Turkey. After months of tense exchanges, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad...

The Tug of War Over Libya

Cordiality has not been a characteristic of relations between nations in the modern Middle East and North Africa. Rather, relations have been more commonly...

The Rivalry Between Iran’s Armed Services

A longstanding struggle between the services of Iran’s armed forces spilled into the open this week after the government’s official news agency published an...

Mother Nature as a Geopolitical Force

History is biased, and not just because the victors tend to write it. The study of history is largely the study of humankind –...

Saudi’s City of the Future Is a Mirage

It’s difficult for such a “progressive” project to thrive in a politically repressive and culturally closed environment. 

Israel and the New American Strategy

The drawdown of U.S. forces in the Middle East, about which we have written a few times now, is already empowering the countries that...

The Origin and Challenge of Islamic Fundamentalism

The movement is inherently incapable of realizing its messianic vision.

The meltdown of autocratic regimes currently underway in the Arab world has led to the growth of ungoverned spaces. The resulting vacuum is being dominated by armed Islamist non-state actors – in particular Salafist-jihadist militias.

The three non-Arab powers – Turkey, Iran and Israel – are trying to manage the regional commotion according to their national interests.

It was during the Cold War era that a deep ideological chasm in the Middle East began to coagulate. The struggle between those who adopted European secularism and those who crafted an ideology based on religious tradition had its roots in late 19th century Ottoman Empire. Roughly 100 years later, this struggle had polarized the region.

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Required Reads: Middle East and North Africa

From our 2020 Forecast...

In the long term, Turkey is the dominant regional power. Except for cross-border operations into northern Syria, it has thus far hesitated to undertake activities far beyond its border. By the waning months of 2019, however, Turkish troops were again in northern Syria, drillships were venturing farther and farther out in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Ankara was offering to send troops to Libya and signing maritime delimitation deals with one of Libya’s rival governments. The Turks will increase their assertiveness in 2020, with dramatic consequences for the region.

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