Category: Middle East

The Khameni Complex

Ever since Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran in 2013, the West has looked towards Iran with a renewed sense of hope. Rouhani, a centrist armed with a platform of reform, represents perhaps the best promise of resumed relations with Iran since that country’s Islamic revolution in 1979. Prior to his election, tough sanctions… Read more »

Waves of Terror: The Islamic State and Water as a Weapon of War

The ground is dry and cracked. Tan desert stretches for miles in either direction and the air is saturated with brown dust. The fine sand from nearby dunes stirred up in the hot breeze. This is the Iraqi desert. It is nearly uninhabited, heat and drought having made it hostile to human life. Less than… Read more »

The Politics of Pouring Concrete

Following the 1947 War of Independence, the establishment of the state of Israel was predicated on the removal of the Palestinian population. Referred to as the Nakba, or the catastrophe in Arabic, the expulsion and displacement of the Palestinians has become the focal point for the call to a political solution to the conflict, particularly… Read more »

An Arab Summer: The Struggle to Create a New Libya

October 20, 2011: The world watched, transfixed, as Libyan rebels violently ended the life of Muammar Qadhafi, dictator of 42 years, whose reign of censorship and oppression drove the Libyan people to civil war and revolution. Violence and bloodshed aside, there is something irrationally romantic about Libya’s revolution and those others that materialized throughout the… Read more »

The Trouble in Istanbul: Not Just Another Arab Spring

When protests broke out in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in May 2013, the world braced itself for another of the Arab Spring uprisings that exploded across the Middle East’s landscape in 2011. Though technically a secular democracy since 1923, to many a Western eye, Turkey continues to be lumped with its authoritarian-ruled, Islamic Republic neighbors. People… Read more »

Taking the Wheel in Saudi Arabia

Intrepid Saudi women are defying the ban on female drivers, putting themselves at risk and calling into question Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Sharia law.

Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria

Chemical weapons use is often described in broadly referential terms by politicians who take positions on it and news sources that report it. By itself, the term chemical warfare is vague – it can describe anything from the use of a stink bomb to the dropping of a nuclear warhead. Because of this massive range… Read more »

An Unexpected Broker

Russia rarely plays the peace broker.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it lost its superpower status and fell under the shadow of the now-dominant United States. Unwilling to play junior ally to Washington, Moscow has since 1991 assumed the role of the spoiler. In the past decade alone, it has fought American-led plans… Read more »

Militarized Nationalism and the New Egyptian State

On September 23, 2013, the previously unheard of Cairo Court of Urgent Affairs passed a ruling that authorized the regime to seize the funds of the Muslim Brotherhood and effectively criminalized the group’s activities. Although it is still unclear whether the current military-backed regime can muster enough authority to enforce this ruling on its turbulent… Read more »