Middle East

June 13, 2017
Today’s diplomatic chaos pitting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, and other Sunni states against Qatar, can be partly blamed on Trump’s ill thought out utterances and his administration’s resultant mixed messaging in the controversy.
June 1, 2017
The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Emad Kiyaei, Policy Advisor at the American Iranian Council to discuss Iran’s recent elections, U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East, and how Iran could react to the establishment of an “Arab NATO.”
June 1, 2017
During last week’s Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud strongly condemned Iranian support for terrorist groups and militants throughout the Middle East.  
June 1, 2017
Iran’s leaders probably view the idea of an Arab NATO to confront Tehran as a U.S.-directed and Israeli-supported Sunni Muslim alliance against Shia Iran.  
May 9, 2017
The role of U.S. special operations forces (SOF) in the Middle East has expanded steadily since the inception of the counter-ISIS campaign in 2014.
May 9, 2017
U.S. special operations forces are widely considered to be some of the most highly trained and effective military units in the world and, as a result, they have played a critical role in America’s wars. Nowhere is that truer than in the Middle East and North Africa, where the U.S.
May 9, 2017
Despite former President Barack Obama’s efforts to cut U.S. military commitments in the Middle East, events quickly drew his Administration back into the region.
March 9, 2017
With one of the most complex systems of governance in the world, Iran finds itself at perhaps its most daunting political crossroads since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
March 9, 2017
In the perennial effort to deduce the likely evolution of the tumultuous relationship between the United States and Iran, all eyes today seem to be trained on Washington.
March 9, 2017
As the Islamic Republic readies itself for another presidential election in May 2017, now is a good time to size up the state of affairs in Iranian political leadership.  Many of the leading figures in the Islamic Republic have been major players on a national level since the 1979 revolution and
February 19, 2017
At a time that several Middle Eastern nations are plagued with civil strife, the Gulf Cooperation Council is a beacon of unity that has contributed to security and stability in the Arabian Gulf and beyond.
February 19, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down with Marcelle Wahba, President of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, to discuss internal dynamics within the Gulf Cooperation Council.
February 19, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down the Former U.S. Ambassador to Oman, Gary Grappo, to discuss the current state of affairs in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
February 10, 2017
At first glance, it would appear that the Middle East President Donald J.
February 10, 2017
The Middle East that the Trump Administration must now come to grips with is not the one Barack Obama envisioned leaving his successor when he took office eight years ago. Shortly after Obama entered office in 2009, the new U.S.
February 10, 2017
The Middle East went through maelstrom developments during the Obama Administration. Some of these were put into motion by the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.
February 9, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down with Michele Dunne, Director and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Center, to discuss the potential implications of the U.S. State Department designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
February 9, 2017
The Muslim Brotherhood preaches a violent, exclusivist ideology.
January 29, 2017
Recent years have witnessed a series of increasingly audacious and unprecedented cyber attacks, leading up to the recent accusations of Russian hacking throughout last year’s U.S. presidential election season.
January 29, 2017
Cyber is emerging as Iran’s weapon of choice for dealing with both domestic and foreign opponents.
January 29, 2017
Cybersecurity is often discussed in relation to the major global powers: China’s economic espionage, Russian influence operations, and U.S. dragnet global surveillance to thwart terrorism.
December 28, 2016
Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since the second world war, with a large number of refugees coming from the Middle East, particularly Syria and Afghanistan.
November 18, 2016
When the Arab Spring reached Egypt in January 2011, sparking unprecedented mass protests in Tahrir Square and across the country, calls for democratic reform and liberation from authoritarian rule seemed to dominate the revolutionary movement.
October 27, 2016
Water scarcity is potentially a very stressful issue in Middle East, the most water-contested region in the world.  According to World Resources Institute (WRI) rankings, most water scarce countries are in the Middle East, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates,
October 21, 2016
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) came to a surprise agreement at informal talks this September to reduce global oil production by between 200,000 and 750,000 barrels.
October 21, 2016
Since oil prices plummeted in the last quarter of 2014, oil-producing countries have struggled to adapt to the new low-price environment.
October 19, 2016
From Syria, to climate change, North Korea, and the largest global refugee flows in history, the next President will face a uniquely challenging set of national security threats when she or he takes office.
October 2, 2016
Fighting in Aleppo has intensified with a Russian-backed government offensive to capture the rebel-held sector of Syria’s largest city.
August 31, 2016
Instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is at its worst in recent memory.
August 31, 2016
This July was the hottest month on record, that is, since the late 1800s (when recording keeping began), according to NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Japanese Mete
August 26, 2016
Today, Tunisia’s Parliament meets to hold a vote of confidence in the new unity government of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.
August 19, 2016
In 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said that “the only matter which could take Egypt to war again is water.” That war may not have come yet, but the truth behind Sadat’s warning remains just as relevant today, and not just in Egypt.
August 19, 2016
From 2007-2010, Syria suffered the worst drought since record-keeping. Amidst corruption and mismanagement, the drought caused crops to fail and over a million farmers abandoned their land for the cities. Not long afterward, social crisis in these cities ensued and then revolution.
August 19, 2016
In 2016, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has experienced record-setting high temperatures.
June 29, 2016
The beginning of the end of ISIS’s dominance over the Sunni Arab region of Iraq is at hand, following the Iraqi security forces’ clearance of ISIS from most of Fallujah, the first Iraqi city to fall to the terrorist group.
June 29, 2016
Last Sunday, Iraqi forces announced that Fallujah, the first major city captured by the Islamic State (ISIS) has been fully liberated. This is a significant win for the coalition fighting ISIS, allowing plans for the campaign to regain control of Mosul to begin.
June 29, 2016
More than two years after fighters from the Islamic State  (ISIS) captured the city of Fallujah, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) liberated the embattled city last Sunday, paving the way for the long-awaited march against the group’s lar
November 11, 2015
Security is of upmost importance to Israel in the extremely volatile Middle East.  Yaakov Perry spent nearly 30 years in Shin Bet, rising through the ranks and eventually becoming the director of the Israeli security agency.  Perry tells The Cipher Brief that the Iran nuclear deal, the Russia
November 11, 2015
As a former official of the Palestinian Authority, Ghaith Al-Omari continues to follow developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
November 11, 2015
While the recent uptick in violence in Israel has been attributed to disagreements regarding the Jerusalem holy site known as Temple Mount by Israelis, or Noble Sanctuary by Palestinians, the issues are actually much more complex and longstanding.  
November 11, 2015
Regardless of the turbulence weathered over the past year, the U.S.-Israel relationship has never been stronger.
November 4, 2015
As the military campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS continues to dominate U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, there is also an effort to disrupt and eliminate the terrorist group’s financial capacity.
November 4, 2015
For decades, belligerent groups have financed their operations by tapping into a variety of locally available economies, including illegal ones. The Shining Path in Peru was among the first groups to tax drug cultivation and smuggling.
November 4, 2015
In mid-October, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea published its latest report confirming that despite years of effort and the recent territorial gains that AMISOM (the African Union’s mission in Somalia) and the Somali government have made against al-Shabaab, the group continues to g
November 4, 2015
The Somalia based terror group al-Shabaab has “diversified its economy” to ensure a constant income, from kidnapping for ransom and confiscating food and aid sent to rural populations, to forcing households to have expatriate family members send remittances from abroad to al-Shabaab’s coffers.  S
September 29, 2015
The global oil industry is going through a lesson in Economics 101:  When supply increases, prices go down.  Crude oil prices are currently hovering around $45 per barrel, a 65 percent reduction from a summer 2014 peak at over $100 per barrel.  A surplus in crude oil supply has kept these prices
September 29, 2015
Global oil markets are in flux.
September 29, 2015
The business and geopolitical history of the 20th century was written in oil…black gold…Texas tea. Indeed, the need to secure abundant energy supplies has been an essential plot line of international relations ever since the Industrial Revolution.
September 29, 2015
In the seven months since arriving on the throne, new Saudi King Salman has brought fundamental changes to the Saudi power line-up and to succession politics.  Beneath the surface of the royal shake up, however, Saudi Arabia is also having to contend with trends in the global oil market that pose
September 20, 2015
CIPHER SNAPSHOT: Turkey is a critical country for U.S. interests. Recent developments in Turkey’s domestic politics, economic outlook, and foreign policy have significant ramifications for U.S. stakeholders.

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