Mona Yacoubian

Former Senior Advisor, Middle East | Project Director, Pathways to Progress

This is the profile of a former staff member, affiliate, intern, or guest author. Biographical information is not maintained and may be out of date.

Mona Yacoubian is senior advisor for Stimson’s Middle East program. Her work focuses on the Arab Uprisings, with a particular concentration on Syria. She is the director of “Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity and Change in the Middle East,” a joint initiative with the George C. Marshall Foundation that explores the dynamics propelling the Arab revolts and seeks innovative policy solutions that will ensure that the region embarks on a path towards peace and prosperity. Yacoubian also co-directs the Stimson-US Institute of Peace Lebanon Working Group.

Yacoubian joined the Stimson Center in 2011, having previously served as a special advisor and senior program officer on the Middle East at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where her work focused on Lebanon and Syria as well as broader issues related to democratization in the Arab world. She has worked as a consultant on the Middle East for several years. From 1990-1997, she served as the North Africa analyst at the U.S. Department of State.

Yacoubian is a frequent commentator on the Arab world and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Syria (1985-86) and held an International Affairs Fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations. Yacoubian has an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Duke University.

Selected Publications

 

Multimedia

Research & Writing

Commentary
Lessons Learned for Stabilization in Syria

The Syrian conflict poses enormous challenges for US policy and for US efforts to engage with affected Syrians, including through stabilization projects. Ongoing violence in which civilians are actively targeted shows no sign of abating. As US efforts…

Report
Lessons Learned for Stabilization in Syria

Syria’s complex conflict poses a significant set of challenges for the United States. The Stimson Center, in cooperation with the US Institute of Peace, gathered a group of experts over the past six months to identify some “lessons learned” from previo…

Commentary
A strategy to rescue diplomacy on Syria

The Syrian crisis is rapidly turning into a humanitarian and security nightmare with regional and possibly global implications. The conflict is now firmly entrenched in a military stalemate. While “stalemate” conveys a sense of stasis, the impasse tran…

Commentary
Making Sense of the Geneva II Syria Peace Talks (video)

Mona Yacoubian participated in a discussion at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East on the Geneva II peace talks. The event examined the outcomes of negotiations and how they will impact the situation on the ground. Also parti…

Commentary
Examining What’s Next for Syria (video)

Mona Yacoubian, senior advisor in Stimson’s Middle East program, participated Jan. 8 in a conversation about the conflict in Syria with Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. The con…

Commentary
Geneva 1.5

As currently conceived, Geneva II — the diplomatic process aimed at reaching a political settlement in Syria — is headed for near-certain failure. Continued difficulty in setting a firm meeting date underscores a fundamental obstacle: the Syrian prot…

Commentary
Mona Yacoubian on C-SPAN: Syrian Civil War and Chemical Weapons

Mona Yacoubian talked about efforts by international inspectors to locate and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, as well as the continued violence in Syria on C-SPAN. She also responded to telephone callers and viewers asking questions electronically. T…

Commentary
A potential turning point for Syria

In the dizzying debate over U.S. military intervention in Syria, one key point of consensus stands out: Both the Obama administration and Congress recognize that the resolution to Syria’s conflict must come through a negotiated settlement. Key internat…

Commentary
Mona Yacoubian in New York Times: A Catch 22 With Russia

The United States should lead an allied cruise missile attack against Syria if evidence of the Syrian government’s culpability is conclusive. The costs of inaction outweigh the significant risks of military intervention. Yet, U.S. policy makers should…

Commentary
The Security Situation in Syria: Implications for U.S. National Security and Policy Options

Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, July 17, 2013 Video of the Hearing Statements of all witnesses Mona Yacoubian, Senior Advisor, Middle East, The Stimson Center Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the House Armed Services Committe…

Commentary
Hezbollah’s Gamble in Syria

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, appeared to cross a Rubicon last week. In a defiant speech on May 25, he emphasized the Lebanese Shia militant group’s unbridled support for the Assad regime in Syria. In doing so, he lifted the veil of secrec…

Commentary
Give Peace Talks in Syria a Chance

The recent call by the United States and Russia for an international conference on Syria offers the best chance for a peaceful resolution to the escalating conflict that has claimed more than 70,000 lives and turned an estimated 1.4 million Syrians int…

Stimson in the News
Mona Yacoubian’s op-ed on Syrian peace talks is published at CNN.com

The recent call by the United States and Russia for an international conference on Syria offers the best chance for a peaceful resolution to the escalating conflict that has claimed more than 70,000 lives and turned an estimated 1.4 million Syrians int…

Research Pages
Pathways to Progress News

Mona Yacoubian participates in an online International Affairs Forum entitled “The Post-Arab Spring and U.S. Policy,” on February 6, 2012. Click here to read. Mona Yacoubian was interviewed by Michele Kelemen of NPR on November 22, 2011, on h…

Stimson in the News
Syria Beyond Assad: Building a New Syria from the Grassroots

The Stimson Center and the Middle East Institute were pleased to co-host a panel discussion on grassroots efforts to begin laying the groundwork for a new Syria. As the second anniversary of Syria’s uprising approaches, its deepening turmoil and expand…

Commentary
Presidential Inbox 2013: Reinvigorate American Soft Power to Shape Change in the Arab World

Click here to view the complete Presidential Inbox series. The Challenge As turbulent change roils the Arab world, the Obama Administration must develop a coherent, long-term strategy to address the Arab transitions.  At the outset of th…

Commentary
It’s What Happens After Jordan’s Elections That Really Matters

Jordan’s recent parliamentary elections were notably free of widespread fraud and registered a respectable 56% voter turnout rate.1 Yet, the technically clean vote belies deeper structural flaws-an emasculated parliament that disproportionately represe…

Commentary
Harnessing Innovation for Economic Growth in the Arab World

With the Arab transitions now well into their second year, the region’s stark economic challenges remain largely unaddressed. Job growth in particular stands out as an urgent and acute need, with a demand of 50-million new jobs in the next decade. Inno…

Commentary
Mona Yacoubian publishes op-ed in the Hill’s Congress Blog on Marshall Plan for Arab Spring nations

Mona Yacoubian publishes an op-ed in the Hill’s Congress Blog on developing a new Marshall Plan for the countries impacted by the Arab Spring uprisings. Click here to read.

Commentary
Saving Syria from civil war

This article first appeared on ForeignPolicy.com As Syria’s uprising lurches toward its seventh month, fears that the country will descend into a sectarian civil war are mounting. Several troubling developments suggest the potential transformation of S…

Commentary
Hezbollah’s Gamble In Syria

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, appeared to cross a Rubicon last week. In a defiant speech on May 25, he emphasized the Lebanese Shia militant group’s unbridled support for the Assad regime in Syria. In doing so, he lifted the veil of secrec…

Report
Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East

The momentous events sweeping the Arab world since late 2010 raise important questions about the art and science of analyzing political and societal events. In an age of information surplus, which creates the illusion that one can easily know what is h…

Commentary
Even if Bashar Wins, He Has Already Lost

This article was first published on ForeignPolicy.com. Six weeks into Syria’s unprecedented unrest, it seems increasingly apparent that the key cornerstones buttressing President Bashar al Assad’s regime — iron-fisted rule and geostrategic depth — ma…

Commentary
Can Lebanon Avoid its Impending Autumn of Discontent?

This article first appeared on ForeignPolicy.com. Beirut has witnessed a distinct spike in tensions in recent days as elements across Lebanon’s diverse political spectrum brace for impending indictments to be issued by the U.N. Special Tribunal for Leb…

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