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  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014 by James Phillips Obama’s Saudi Summit: Focus on Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Terrorism

    President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday amid mounting reports of acute Saudi disillusionment with Obama’s foreign policy. The Saudis, like other Middle Eastern allies including Israel, are concerned that Obama cannot be trusted to safeguard their national interests in the face of Iran’s military buildup, the political turbulence of the…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Anthony B. Kim, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips U.S. Should Support Tunisia’s Democratic Progress with Concrete Action

    On January 26, three years after the beginning of Tunisians’ uprising for greater freedom, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly peacefully and decisively ratified a model constitution that lays the foundation for a functioning democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Tunisia’s remarkable political turnaround, epitomized by the near unanimous ratification of the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 14, 2014 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James Phillips Top Five Foreign Policy Priorities for 2014

    The United States faces mounting challenges abroad in 2014. With weak leadership from the White House over the past five years, the U.S. has been confronted and all too often sidelined by America’s adversaries and strategic competitors. The Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” strategy has been a spectacular failure that has led to confusion among traditional U.S.…

  • Issue Brief posted November 5, 2013 by James Phillips Greater Iraqi–American Cooperation Needed on Counterterrorism, Syria, and Iran

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to Washington last week in search of greater U.S. security assistance in battling the al-Qaeda-led insurgency that increasingly threatens Iraq's internal security as well as regional stability in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The United States shares Maliki's goal of defeating al-Qaeda's franchise in Iraq, which has expanded into…

  • Commentary posted October 23, 2013 by James Phillips Why US aid cuts will backfire in Egypt

    Earlier this month the Obama administration announced it was cutting military aid to Egypt by hundreds of millions of dollars.  The move had nothing to do with the budget battle in D.C. Rather, it was a belated reaction to last July’s military coup against President Mohamed Morsi’s increasingly autocratic Islamist government.  Unfortunately, the administration has taken…

  • Issue Brief posted October 18, 2013 by James Phillips U.S. Should Maximize Pressure on Iran at Nuclear Talks

    The Geneva talks have once again raised hopes for a breakthrough in the long-stalled nuclear negotiations with Iran. Western diplomats have expressed “cautious optimism” about the prospects for success after two days of talks. But Iran has not budged from its defiance of key elements of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions; it has merely adopted a softer and more…

  • Issue Brief posted September 30, 2013 by Charlotte Florance, James Phillips, James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Peter Brookes Kenya Attack: Vigilance Required to Combat al-Shabaab’s Resurgence

    Al-Shabaab’s bloody four-day siege on the Westgate Shopping Center in Nairobi, Kenya, comes on the heels of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s calls for attacks on non-Muslims. Al-Shabaab’s close affiliation with al-Qaeda has made its fighters more sophisticated in their use of terrorist tactics—evidenced in the Nairobi attack by the group’s ability to deploy a…

  • Issue Brief posted September 10, 2013 by James Phillips, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. After the Hearings: Syrian Intervention Still a Bad Idea

    The Obama Administration has failed to articulate U.S. national interests in Syria or offer a clear plan that justifies America’s direct involvement in the conflict. As Congress deliberates on the Administration’s request for the use of force, it should consider what is in the best interest of the U.S., what precedents might be set, and what practical considerations it…

  • Issue Brief posted August 23, 2013 by James Phillips Egypt’s Coup Requires a Cautious U.S. Response

    Egypt’s July 3 coup and the crackdown on President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood have sparked renewed calls from Congress for a cutoff of U.S. foreign aid to the new Egyptian government. While there are strong arguments in favor of continuing aid, the Obama Administration cannot continue to deny that what happened in Egypt was indeed a coup, which legally requires a…

  • Commentary posted July 15, 2013 by James Phillips Obama Administration Lags Behind the Curve on Syria

    White House officials recently made a low-key announcement that President Obama has authorized the transfer of arms to Syria's rebels. This 180-degree shift in the administration's policy, after two years of hand-wringing and diplomatic posturing, was announced by an obscure National Security Council official rather than the president. President Obama has distanced…

  • Backgrounder posted July 9, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., James Phillips Egypt: A Way Forward After a Step Back

    Egypt’s army recently ousted President Mohamed Morsi, just as it removed Hosni Mubarak in 2011, to prevent growing civil disorder from undermining the power of the state and its own privileges within the state. The intervention was widely applauded by opposition political parties and the overwhelming majority of the millions of protesters who demanded that Morsi step…

  • Issue Brief posted June 28, 2013 by James Phillips U.S. Should Warn Egyptian President Morsi Against a Crackdown

    Egyptian opposition groups have called for massive demonstrations on June 30 to protest the first anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi’s inauguration. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government has grown increasingly unpopular due to its authoritarian nature; growing curbs on political, social, and religious freedoms; and failure to effectively address Egypt’s…

  • Play Movie Syrian-Egyptian Relations: Phillips on 'Special Report' Video Recorded on June 27, 2013 Syrian-Egyptian Relations: Phillips on 'Special Report'

    Senior Research Fellow Jim Phillips discusses Syrian-Egyptian relations on Fox News' 'Special Report'.…

  • Play Movie Should the U.S. Trade with the Taliban? Phillips on CNN Video Recorded on June 21, 2013 Should the U.S. Trade with the Taliban? Phillips on CNN

    Senior Research Fellow Jim Phillips discusses whether the U.S. should trade with the Taliban on CNN.…

  • Issue Brief posted June 12, 2013 by James Phillips Time to Freeze U.S. Aid to Egypt

    Last week, Egyptian courts sentenced 43 staff members of pro-democracy non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including 16 Americans, to prison terms of up to five years for their activities to support civil society and democracy after Egypt’s 2011 revolution. The trial and harsh sentences underscore the fact that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government is…