Emile El-Hokayem

Former Non-Resident Research Fellow

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 Biographical information is not maintained and may be out of date.
Research & Writing

Commentary
Are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq’s future?

This commentary appeared in the Daily Star on August 6, 2004. The most substantial outcome of the American invasion of Iraq has been the removal of a potential Iraqi WMD threat. Despite pre-war claims by the Bush administration, it’s clear that Saddam…

Commentary
Reflections On Iraq’s Predicament

Iraq is in a very precarious condition. With a stalled political process, major disagreements over the Constitution, profound sectarian tensions and a pervasive sense of insecurity, the prospects for a strong, modern Iraq are at best dim. The central p…

Commentary
Memo to Mr Obama: Gulf Security and Why it Matters

Dear President Obama, As you review the foreign policy legacy of your predecessor you will find much to discard, amend or reform. But one set of policies deserves preservation as you complement them with renewed and direct diplomacy with Iran: the appr…

Chapter
Gulf-US Relations in 2008: A Year of Transition

This book chapter appeared in the Gulf Yearbook 2008-2009, published by the Gulf Research Center.  The year 2008 turned out to be one of relative stability in the Gulf. During its last year in power, the Bush administration focused on stabilizing…

Commentary
In a tough neighbourhood, the UAE makes sure its voice is heard

As tough neighbourhoods go, few would dispute that the Gulf region ranks high on the list. Three major interstate wars in as many decades (the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, the first Gulf war, and the Iraq war), great power competition and hegemony, the th…

Commentary
King Abdullah has given reform and Saudi their best chance yet

The removal of the much-feared head of the religious police known for its excesses. The dismissal of the most senior cleric on the Supreme Justice Council, a man who approved of the killing of TV executives who broadcast “decadent programming” and oppo…

Commentary
America is talking, but is anyone in Iran listening?

It did not take long after President Barack Obama made an overture to Iran in his Nowrooz message for some commentators to criticise both the timidity of the gesture and continuing US hubris. The noted Jordanian-Palestinian writer Rami Khouri, for exam…

Commentary
Fear, Fascination, Delusion: The Legacies Of Iran’s Revolution

Thirty years ago this week, a frail 77-year old cleric landed in Tehran, where he was welcomed by millions of enthusiastic Iranians. His revolutionary ideas about Islam’s place in political life and role in the world would soon transform his country in…

Commentary
The Gulf States Must Press The Nuclear Issue Before It’s Too Late

Yesterday the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany were joined by those of Egypt, Jordan and the GCC states to discuss next steps on Iran and Gulf security. The surprise meeting comes at a moment of flu…

Report
US Policy in the Gulf: Resisting the Temptation of One-Dimensional Policies

By Emile El-Hokayem The Challenge The new US Administration needs to restore US influence in the Persian Gulf. Success will depend largely on how the United States approaches and reconciles the world’s two most pressing crises: a cooling but not yet st…

Commentary
Iran and Syria: why this unlikely alliance endures

Anyone interested in Middle East affairs understands the power of ideologies and alliances in shaping the politics and direction of the region. Some have collapsed under the weight of their own contradictions, others have endured despite apparent adver…

Commentary
The Saudi Arabia that the Middle East needs is finally emerging

In 1979, a group of religious zealots led by Juhayman al Uteybi stormed the Grand Mosque in Mecca to herald the dawn of a new, more intransigent Islamic age, leading to an existential crisis for the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. The theological and po…

Commentary
Three Options for Obama to Engage Iran: All with Dangers

Barack Obama is not yet sitting in the Oval Office, and is still putting together his national security team. But it is safe to assume that he and his advisers are already thinking of the big policy shifts he intends to announce. And somewhere at the t…

Commentary
Gulf security and the role that Nato is looking to play here

In their quest to ensure their own security and the stability of the Gulf, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are finding a growing number of partners willing to invest political capital and resources in cultivating good relations. This is u…

Commentary
Iran, and the diplomatic tango that may keep us safe

There is a political ritual that has a boring and repetitive quality to it, but the outcome of which could prove essential for regional peace. It is called diplomacy. Every few months the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) releases a report asse…

Commentary
Sarkozy courts Syria but who will benefit other than Assad?

The foray of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy into Middle East diplomacy has been called many things: a pure act of vanity by an intensely egotistic person; opportunism in a void created by US diplomatic weakness; and boldness by a visionary states…

Report
Towards a More Secure and Stable Lebanon: Prospects for Security Sector Reform

On December 13, 2007, the Stimson Center’s Southwest Asia/Gulf Project organized the seminar Towards a More Secure and Stable Lebanon: Prospects for Security Sector Reform. The seminar brought together Lebanese, US, European and UN government and non-g…

Testimony
Syria: Options and Implications for Lebanon and the Region

Emile El-Hokayem Research Fellow The Henry L. Stimson Center   Written Testimony Senate Foreign Relations Committee Near East and South Asia Subcommittee November 8, 2007 For a transcript of the hearing, please click here. For a video of the heari…

Commentary
How to Engage Syria, If You Really Have to

This article first appeared in Al Hayat on May 6, 2007 Syria, we are told lately, is ready to deal. A full return of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights would transform Syria from a spoiler to a stabilizing partner in the Middle East. This may be true,…

Commentary
Hizballah and Syria: Outgrowing the Proxy Relationship

This commentary was first published in the Spring 2007 edition of The Washington Quarterly. Terms such as “proxy” and “client” are often used to characterize the power dynamic between Hizballah and its allies Iran and Syria. These states’ vital resourc…

Commentary
Lebanon: Hizbollah’s Enduring Myth

This commentary was first published in the November 2006 edition of Carnegie’s Arab Reform Bulletin. A version in Arabic is available here. Serious thinking about reforming Lebanon’s fragile and inefficient system of governance has been among the…

Commentary
Can the United States Contain Iran?

This commentary was published in the Daily Star on December 5, 2006. With no sign of Iran retreating on its nuclear program and growing acknowledgment of the risks and limitations of military options, the Bush administration appears to be gearing up fo…

Policy Paper
The Middle East after the Lebanon War

A shorter version of this paper, commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, is available here. The summer of violence in the Levant has highlighted the many predicaments faced by local, regional and international actors in addressing the sources of Mi…

Commentary
Arab Gulf States: The Iran Complex

This commentary originally appeared in openDemocracy on August 31, 2006.   On 31 July 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1696 giving Iran exactly one month – until 31 August – to stop its uranium enrichment and reprocessin…

Commentary
Can an International Force Solve Lebanon’s Woes?

This article first appeared in the Journal of International Peace Operations on September 21, 2006.   As the fighting intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens in Lebanon, there seems to be a growing consensus among UN, peacekeeping and Midd…

Commentary
Iran’s Calculations and the New Round of Diplomacy

The new round of diplomacy initiated by Condoleezza Rice’s cautious diplomatic overture offers welcome if limited hope for a durable solution to Iran’s nuclear challenge. This and the new package put forward by the P5 and Germany will likely fail to pe…

Report
The Arab Gulf States in the Shadow of the Iranian Nuclear Challenge

Proponents of the 2003 Iraq war anticipated that the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime would dramatically improve security in the Persian Gulf. Under Hussein’s reckless, brutal and risk-taking leadership, Iraq had adopted a threatening posture that pr…

Report
Conference in Tehran on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Iran’s Nuclear Energy Program: Policies & Prospects Tehran, Iran, 24-25 April 2006 a Joint Conference of the Pugwash Conferences and the Center for Strategic Research, Tehran Report by Emile El-Hokayem 25 April 2006 On April 24-25, 2006, Emile El-H…

Commentary
Syria Loves Ankara but will the Relationship Last?

This commentary appeared in the Daily Star on April 19, 2005. How quickly things change in the Middle East. In 1998, Turkey massed troops on its border with Syria to coerce the regime of President Hafez Assad into relinquishing its support for the Syri…

Commentary
The Arab Gulf states and the Iranian nuclear challenge

This commentary appeared in the Daily Star on January 15, 2005.   For those who worry about Iran’s nuclear aspirations, there is something deeply disconcerting about the absence of any Gulf Arab involvement in the negotiations aimed at stoppi…

Commentary
Cutting through the Myriad Cons about the Neocons

This commentary appeared in the Daily Star on December 8, 2004. An Arabic version of this analysis is available here. As the U.S. presidential election approached, many in the Arab world impatiently awaited the demise of the neoconservative ideology th…

Commentary
How the United States and Europe Can (And Do) Cooperate in the Middle East

Despite the continuing tensions between the United States and some of its European allies over Iraq, some signs point to a greater convergence of views on important security and political issues between the two sides of the Atlantic. While some observe…

Commentary
A Showdown on Iran’s Nuclear Program

This commentary appeared in the Daily Star on October 1, 2004. After a week of intense negotiations at the IAEA, the Iranian nuclear challenge remains very much unresolved. Delegates in Vienna have struggled to come up with a unified stance on the…

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