Issue Brief posted May 16, 2013
Syria Crisis: U.S. Leadership Needed to Coordinate Allies
One negative implication of the Obama Administration’s “lead from behind” efforts on the worsening Syria crisis is that U.S. allies have independently stepped forward to advance their own interests by backing various rival groups within the ad hoc Syrian opposition coalition. These external aid efforts, often pursued with little coordination, have bolstered Islamist…
Issue Brief posted May 15, 2013
U.S.–Turkish Relations: Greater Cooperation Should Be Goal of Obama–Erdogan Meeting
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits Washington this week amid escalating and intertwined Middle East crises. Turkey is a key NATO ally that borders Syria, Iran, and Iraq: three major focal points of U.S. Middle East policy. President Obama should consult with Prime Minister Erdogan to coordinate policies on these three fronts and to encourage Turkey to…
Issue Brief posted May 1, 2013
Syria's Chemical Weapons: U.S. Should Engage Syria's Opposition to Defuse Threat
President Obama yesterday backpedaled away from taking immediate action on the Syrian chemical warfare issue. Caution on the chemical warfare issue is warranted, and Washington should clearly establish the facts to rule out the possibility that the chemical warfare reports are misinformation or disinformation.
But as bad as the reported chemical attacks by Syria’s Bashar…
Issue Brief posted March 15, 2013
Obama’s Middle East Trip: Security Goals Should Be the Highest Priority
President Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan comes at a tense time in an increasingly turbulent region. High on his agenda will be halting Iran’s nuclear weapons efforts, forging a common policy on containing the destabilizing spillover effects of Syria’s meltdown, and reviving the long-stalled Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations.
Backgrounder posted March 12, 2013
Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered
When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya.
Issue Brief posted February 28, 2013
Kerry Offers More Aid but Still Lacks Sound Strategy on Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry has embarked on his first official trip abroad, traveling to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Although NATO and European issues have been featured prominently in Kerry’s early stops, much of his agenda will focus on containing the destabilizing spillover effects of…
Issue Brief posted January 17, 2013
Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Confirmation Hearings: Middle East and North Africa Issues
The United States Senate will soon hold confirmation hearings for the Obama Administration’s nominees for three key positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Backgrounder posted December 20, 2012
The Arab Spring Descends into Islamist Winter: Implications for U.S. Policy
In 2011 and 2012, a wave of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East shook the region’s autocratic regimes, prompting euphoric reactions in the West about an “Arab Spring” and a supposed new age of democracy. While the overthrow of authoritarian regimes can give democracy a chance to bloom, it has also created opportunities for a wide spectrum of…
Issue Brief posted November 21, 2012
Gaza Crisis: U.S. Should Press Egypt to Rein in Hamas
Although the current Gaza crisis is in many ways reminiscent of the last flare-up in December 2008–January 2009, there are important differences this time around. Hamas’s terrorist reach now includes Israel’s heartland cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv due to long-range Iranian rockets. However, Israel’s new Iron Dome missile defense system has mitigated this threat. The…