Middle East

Grand Strategy in Pivotal Places

Middle East

The Middle East program explores issues that affect regional security from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. The program’s two primary focuses include the strategic struggles between the Arab world and Iran, and sectarian identity in the region.

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Research and Analysis

April 20, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

In the past five days, both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter have visited Iraq.

April 13, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

This week, three of the United Nations’ thankless peace missions—in Libya, Yemen and Syria—will mark steps forward. To be sure, the definition of success is modest. For now, just reducing violence and beginning a political process is the best that one can hope for. But the U.N.

March 2, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

Every year in February, the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies present Congress with an unclassified threat assessment. The quality of the document this year is uneven, and it’s clear that intelligence leaders remain conflicted about how much of their knowledge belongs in the public domain.

February 26, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, Ellen Laipson, president emeritus of the Stimson Center and a WPR weekly columnist, joins host Peter Dörrie for a discussion on current trends in the international system, including the changing roles of the United Nations, regional powers and the United States

February 23, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

The standoff this past week between the U.S.

February 16, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

ARRAKECH, Morocco—There is a strong consensus among counterterrorism experts in the Maghreb and the Sahel that comprehensive and integrated approaches are needed to confront the threat from al-Qaida, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and their regional affiliates and rivals.

February 9, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

This week, world leaders are gathering in Dubai for the fourth World Government Summit.

January 5, 2016

The shocking news that Saudi Arabia executed 47 people over the weekend, including Shiite cleric and opposition figure Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, got the new year off to a tense start in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

December 2, 2015

A somber weariness has settled in across Western democracies in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. Defeating and destroying the so-called Islamic State with military force has won broader support. 

November 23, 2015 | EXPERT: Aditi Gorur , EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

To commemorate the new partnership between the Stimson Center and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, we convened a panel comprised of scholars and scholar/practitioners from both institutions.

November 17, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

World leaders from the 20 top economies as well as observer states met Sunday and Monday in southern Turkey for the annual G-20 summit. The gathering had been set to focus on an ambitious agenda to promote inclusive economic growth and global trade and investment.

August 26, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

For months, the critical issue for Iraq has been its capacity to win back territory in its western provinces controlled by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

August 26, 2015 | EXPERT: Geneive Abdo

Once considered rising political players in Lebanese politics, the Salafists who were active in aiding the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are now in retreat.

July 27, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

Laipson noted that the success of the agreement will be dependent upon robust implementation and Iranian compliance. She also addressed the question: “Does it change the dynamics for regional security?”

June 18, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

In the weeks since the Lausanne talks that set a late June goal for a formal agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear activities, the media coverage and political discourse in the United States have resembled a roller-coaster ride, with some shrieks, thrills and stomach lurches.
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