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Middle East & North Africa

New Approach in Southern Syria

Middle East Report N°163, 2 September 2015

A man gestures as people rush to a site hit by what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus June 16, 2015.

Syria’s civil war is stuck in a vicious cycle, and the U.S. is best placed to change the appalling status quo. Washington should take advantage of opportunities in southern Syria to launch a new policy to improve the chance of a political settlement, chiefly by deterring regime aerial attacks on rebel-held civilian areas.

Recent Reports

New Approach in Southern Syria, Middle East Report N°163, 2 Sep 2015

Syria’s civil war is stuck in a vicious cycle, and the U.S. is best placed to change the appalling status quo. Washington should take advantage of opportunities in southern Syria to launch a new policy to improve the chance of a political settlement, chiefly by deterring regime aerial attacks on rebel-held civilian areas.

No Exit? Gaza & Israel Between Wars, Middle East Report N°162, 26 Aug 2015

Both Israel and Hamas recognise that another war is only a matter of time if Gaza’s fundamental problems are not addressed: the economy is a shambles; the acting government lacks the ability to collect or otherwise obtain the revenue necessary to pay salaries and provide services; and most residents cannot access the outside world.

Reform and Security Strategy in Tunisia, Middle East and North Africa Report N°161, 23 Jul 2015

Tunisia’s security apparatus is dysfunctional, at once fragmenting, asserting authority over democratic institutions, and failing to block significant jihadi advances. Without a comprehensive new strategy including reform of Tunisia’s internal security forces, the country will continue to stumble from crisis to crisis, and to​ swing between chaos and renewed dictatorship.

Lebanon’s Self-Defeating Survival Strategies, Middle East Report N°160, 20 Jul 2015

Lebanon is surviving internal and regional strains remarkably well, but this resilience has become an excuse for tolerating political dysfunction. If the Lebanese political class does not take immediate steps like holding long-overdue elections, fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law, its complacency will only make an eventual fall harder and costlier.

The Status of the Status Quo at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, Middle East Report N°159, 30 Jun 2015

Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade remains at the epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With the holy month of Ramadan underway and the Jewish high holidays soon to follow, tensions are likely to increase. Calming the conflict’s symbolic core requires more support for the site’s status quo, including Palestinian participation and encouraging religious dialogue.

עברית

Arming Iraq’s Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict, Middle East Report N°158, 12 May 2015

The US-led coalition’s military assistance to Kurdish forces against the Islamic State (IS) is inadvertently accelerating intra-Kurdish fragmentation. The West should coordinate its aid better, build upon Iraqi Kurdistan’s past efforts in transforming its peshmergas into a professional military, and encourage Kurdish coordination with Iraq’s central government in the fight against IS.

Yemen at War, Middle East Briefing N°45, 27 Mar 2015

Yemen is now at war. Fuelled by Saudi-Iranian rivalry and a violent jihadi upsurge, fighting is fragmenting the country and could spread beyond if parties do not immediately de-escalate and – with the support of Gulf neighbours – return to negotiations on a compromised, power-sharing leadership.

Libya: Getting Geneva Right, Middle East and North Africa Report N°157, 26 Feb 2015

After six months of worsening clashes, Libya is on the brink of all-out civil war and catastrophic state collapse. All parties must press the two rival authorities to join a national unity government, resolutely uphold the UN arms embargo, and persuade regional actors to stop fuelling the conflict.

Tunisia’s Elections: Old Wounds, New Fears, Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°44, 19 Dec 2014

Tunisia’s presidential election highlights the multiple divides that trouble the country and region. Unless the winner governs as a truly national leader, representing all Tunisians and not just his base, current tensions could escalate into violence.

Iran Nuclear Talks: The Fog Recedes, Middle East Briefing N°43, 10 Dec 2014

When twelve months of intense negotiations between Iran and the P5+1/EU3+3 ended with yet another extension, sceptics saw this as confirmation that the talks are doomed. But it would be as grave a mistake to underestimate the real progress as to overstate the chances of ultimate success. A landmark agreement is still within reach if both sides adopt more flexible postures on enrichment capacity and sanctions relief.

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Latest Translations

Lebanon's Self-Defeating Survival Strategies
Middle East Report N°160
Now available in Arabic
The Status of the Status Quo at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade
Middle East Report N°159
Now available in Arabic
Arming Iraq's Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict
Middle East Report N°158
Now available in Arabic
Yemen at War
Middle East briefing N°45
Now available in Arabic