Arab Transitions

Emerging Global Challenges

Political changes in the wake of the Arab Spring have changed the national security landscape in the region. Stimson experts offer analysis and innovative policy ideas to examine and help mitigate sectarian and regional conflict.


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Current Research

April 27, 2016 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

The readout from President Barack Obama’s trip last week to the Gulf reflects the ongoing strains in U.S. relations with the Gulf monarchs. Both sides share responsibility for the current state of affairs. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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?” READ MORE

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. READ MORE

June 18, 2015 | EXPERT: Geneive Abdo

It is no secret that Iran’s political elites are divided over many issues involving a final deal Iran might strike with the West over its nuclear program. But public opinion favoring an agreement could be a major factor in reaching a positive outcome by the deadline at the end of this month. READ MORE

May 29, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

The Rashomon effect, as this phenomenon is often called, was in evidence this month, when reports leading up to and following the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit earlier this month produced wildly divergent assessments, from total failure to “better than expected.” READ MORE

May 26, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

Stimson President and CEO Ellen Laipson discusses the potential for a positive outcome for the Iran nuclear deal and opportunities for cooperation with Iran in the region. "This is a moment of opportunity," said Laipson. "Together, they can reshape the agenda." READ MORE

May 12, 2015 | EXPERT: Richard Cincotta

Among the few bright spots in the 2015 Freedom in the World Report, the brightest may be Tunisia, which for the first time was assessed as “free” – Freedom House’s highest “freedom status” and for many political scientists the definitive indication of a liberal democracy. READ MORE

March 3, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

When the Arab Spring began in late 2010 in Tunisia, and then quickly spread to Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria, it was hailed as a historic moment of transformation for the Middle East region. READ MORE

February 18, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson , EXPERT: Geneive Abdo

On February, 5, 2015 Geneive Abdo and Ellen Laipson of the Stimson Center were called to provide testimony before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in the House of Commons of Canada to discuss the rise of ISIL, also known as ISIS and IS. READ MORE

January 29, 2015 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

When the recently deceased Saudi king, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, was crown prince, Western capitals worried that, when he eventually assumed the throne, Abdullah would be focused on internal Arab identity issues and would be less friendly or flexible when it came to outside powers’ priorities, such as regional security. His legacy will turn out to be more textured than any could have imagined. READ MORE

January 16, 2015 | EXPERT: Geneive Abdo

In Stimson's continuing series on the Escalating Shi'a-Sunni confilct, held by our Middle East program, discussions have included the role of state actors, contrasting the influence of religion and politics, and assessing the control of ISIS. READ MORE

December 31, 2014

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, joined Stimson Chairman Ambassador Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr. to discuss U.S. policy in the Middle East, the importance of engagement in the region, as well as specific successes in Afghanistan. READ MORE

November 20, 2014 | EXPERT: Ellen Laipson

As Tunisia approaches its presidential election later this month, it's important to take the long view on the changes that began with the Tunisian revolt in late 2010. READ MORE

September 24, 2014 | EXPERT: Geneive Abdo

As the United States gears up for possible airstrikes inside Syria, it should remember one thing: No matter how much planning has gone into US military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change READ MORE

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