New Middle East Policy Articles Free to Read

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

By Middle East Policy

Full-text analysis and book reviews in the summer issue available to all through July 16.

Middle East Policy is excited to announce that all articles in its brand-new summer issue are now free to read, even for those readers without a subscription or access through a subscribing institution! This publication, the 156th of Middle East Policy’s history, covers a wide range of topics, from the future of regional security to Russian and Iranian power plays to the challenges Israel faces in the occupied territories and beyond to the dynamics that spark state failure.

The free-to-read window will close July 16.

Middle East Policy is consistently rated among the top 3 publications covering Middle Eastern & Islamic studies. Since 1982, the quarterly journal has provided policymakers and the public with credible, comprehensive analyses of political, economic, and cultural issues pertaining to US-Middle East relations. We combat disinformation by publishing high-quality research by top scholars and public officials.

To read all of the articles in the latest issue of Middle East Policy, please use this link through July 16:

Here is a look at the articles included in the Summer 2023 issue:



Symposium: The Future of Security in the Middle East, by Douglas A. Silliman, Mary Beth Long, David B. Des Roches, Asha Castleberry-Hernandez, and Bassima Alghussein

  • These former officials and foreign-policy experts analyze the new multipolar order emerging in the Middle East, featuring a newly assertive China as well as confident regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Panelists urged American officials to come to grips with the fact that the United States is no longer the undisputed hegemon in the region.
  • However, they also cautioned analysts not to overestimate China’s influence.
  • The transcript of the 112th Capitol Hill conference sponsored by the Middle East Policy Council, co-hosted by the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington 

Russia and the Kurds: A Soft-Power Tool for the Kremlin? by Anna Borshchevskaya

  • Russia has used an authoritarian-inflected soft power, for more than two centuries, to cultivate support from the Kurds.
  • The article reviews this long history, concluding with implications for the United States, given that Moscow will not let go of its Kurdish card, including in the context of the Ukraine invasion.

Iran and the SCO: The Quest for Legitimacy and Regime Preservation, by Nicole Bayat Grajewski

  • The article shows that Iran has viewed its involvement in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a means of bolstering external legitimacy, fostering security-oriented regionalism, and promoting the transition toward the so-called multipolar world order.
  • Tehran’s commitment to the normative order, sustained by the SCO’s discourse of noninterference, sovereignty, and countering the “three evils”—terrorism, extremism, and separatism—has galvanized the organization’s role as a common front against the imposition of liberal norms and challenges to regime security. 

The Negotiated Desecuritization of Turkey in Saudi Foreign Policy, by Hazal Muslu El Berni

  • After three and a half years of the Gulf crisis with Qatar, the Al-Ula accords allowed reconciliation among regional states and opened the way for the construction of new understandings based on diplomacy, tolerance of differences on regional and domestic security, and respect of sovereignty.
  • The article shows that this has spurred Saudi policy makers to de-securitize their discourse concerning Turkey—that is, to talk of it not as a threat, but as a potential partner. This process continues to develop gradually through cooperation on economics and investment, but it has required time to re-establish confidence among Saudi decision makers.



Hezbollah’s Coercion and the Israel-Lebanon Maritime Deal, by Daniel Sobelman

  • This article contends that Hezbollah coerced Israel into signing an agreement with Lebanon establishing their permanent maritime boundary and exclusive economic zones, and regulating their rights to gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
  •  For several months before the deal, the nonstate actor threatened all-out war if Israel proceeded with its plan to unilaterally extract gas from the contested Karish gas field.
  • Drawing on open-source materials and public statements in Arabic and Hebrew, the article analyzes Hezbollah’s coercive-diplomacy campaign and examines its implications for escalation scenarios between Israel and its central military opponent.

The Iran-Israel Conflict: An Ultra-Ideological Explanation, by Farshad Roomi

  • Iran intends through anti-Israel actions and messaging to internally mobilize its populace and, externally, to claim the leadership of the Muslim world and strike a balance against a regional nuclear power.
  • This article uses a critique based on constructivism and realism to argue that Iran’s adoption of this approach without taking its internal and external capacities into consideration has ironically bolstered the Israeli far right, increased global sympathies for Israel, escalated Iranophobia, aligned conservative Arab states with Israel, and marginalized the issue of Palestine.

Assessing Israel’s Motives in Annexing the Jordan Valley, by Fadi Nahhas

  • This article analyzes Israel’s motives in annexing the Jordan Valley—a plan that, if approved, will eliminate any possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, even on a small part of historic Palestine.
  • The analysis reveals that the Israeli annexation decision, even if postponed, has become a reality imposed by Israel on the international community, insinuated into formal and official government announcements and declarations.
  • In addition, the article highlights the danger of imposing Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley since it carries with it a threat to regional stability.



The Significance of ISIS’s State Building in Syria, by Samer Bakkour & Gareth Stansfield

  • This article analyzes the key components of ISIS’s state building, which was a reaction to the collapse of authority in Iraq and Syria, and the concomitant failure to protect peoples at risk.
  • The study examines the Islamic State on four dimensions: the stabilization of society, the extraction of income, the politicization of religion, and the use of sectarian divisions.
  • It finds that ISIS’s efforts were internally contradictory and contained a number of elements that impeded its establishing a conventionally defined state and its carrying out of actions expected of such a state.

Sultanism and Civil War in Libya, by Ibrahim Sadoun R. Tunesi

  • The political and social system enshrined by decades of Muammar Qadhafi’s rule featured fragile institutions that have allowed chaos and rivalry to persist without resolution since he was deposed and killed in the 2011 uprising.
  • The author surveyed Libyan citizens about their perceptions of how Qadhafi shaped the political order responsible for today’s institutional vacuum. While the revolution revealed the Qadhafi regime’s lack of popular and foreign support, as well as the inadequacies of state institutions, it could not use institutional channels to mobilize the public and organize authority, as in Tunisia and Egypt.



Nostalgia for the Empire: The Politics of Neo-Ottomanism, by M. Hakan Yavuz; reviewed by Michael M. Gunter

Erdoğan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey, by Hannah Lucinda Smith; reviewed by Matthew Goldman

Indispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in a Turbulent World, by Robert J. Lieber; reviewed by A.R. Joyce

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

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