Winter 2023 Middle East Policy Is Now Available

  • 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.

All of the newest articles from the journal are now available online, with investigations and book reviews covering war, politics, and society from Libya to Afghanistan. 

Middle East Policy is excited to announce the publication of its Winter 2023 issue, the 158th in the journal’s history. Featuring analyses from experts around the world, the publication covers a wide range of topics, from power struggles between militant groups in Afghanistan to Turkey’s balancing act between East and West to regional-power rivalries in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.  

Check out the full Winter 2023 issue of Middle East Policy using this link: 

Recently published articles include an examination of the historical context of the Gaza war, the prospects for change as the Iran protests enter their second year, analysis of the UAE’s foreign policy calculations, and the domestic issues Turkey is grappling with 

Middle East Policy is consistently rated among the top 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.  

Here is a look at the articles included: 

The Israel-Hamas War: Historical Context and International Law, by M. T. Samuel 

  • This article contextualizes the war in the long history of the two sides and argues that the primary cause of the October 7 attack was not antisemitism, but rather disillusionment with the international system and approaches to the longstanding conflict. 
  • Since 1923, Israel has consistently violated international law without penalty, but Palestine is expected to comply with the same laws that Israel has ignored. 
  • The repression of their self-determination put the Palestinians in a difficult position and enabled Hamas’ rise. 


Woman, Life, Freedom, One Year Later: Will the Iran Protests Succeed?, by Mahmood Monshipouri and Ramtin Zamiri 

  • This article analyzes Iran’s “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement’s unique elements and potential to bring change to the Islamic Republic. 
  • Methods of dissent in Iran have been fundamentally changed as the movement continues to use openly confrontational rhetoric and focus on working outside the system. 
  • The future of the movement and regime is uncertain, as the authors note the possibility of ethno-sectarian conflict, the rise of a military dictatorship, or long-term change. 

The Fertility Revolution of the Arab Countries Following the Arab Spring, by Onn Winckler 

  • This article examines the fertility patterns in regional states before and following the revolutions of the Arab Spring, analyzing their impact on governments’ natalist policies. 
  • While fertility rates prior to the Arab Spring were a mixed bag of increases and decreases, the second half of the 2010s saw declines in the rates of all Arab states, and most prominently in those in the GCC. 
  • Winckler cites the widespread slashing of subsidies on energy and food and emphasized government family-planning strategies as contributors to the decreases. 


How the Islamic State Rivalry Pushes the Taliban to Extremes, by Raj Verma and Shahid Ali 

  • Despite its early promises of moderation, the Taliban government in Afghanistan has continued and, in some cases, expanded its repressive policies. 
  • This article contends that a domestic rivalry with the Islamic State-Khorasan is a main driver of the broken vow, as the Taliban believes any compromise on its stringent Islamic governing practices will be seen as weakness and undermine their authority. 

The UAE’s Foreign Policy Drivers, by Sherko Kirmanj and Ranj Tofik 

  • This article examines the central drivers of the UAE’s foreign policy, identifying four key drivers: combating political Islam; containing Iran; controlling regional waterways; and increasing its economic prosperity. 
  • These drivers have pushed the UAE to become a major actor in the Middle East that is increasingly independent of the West. 

The Saudi-UAE Divide Over the Yemen Quagmire, by Selim Öztürk 

  • This article analyzes the differing approaches of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to intervention in Yemen’s civil war, arguing that the divide seems to be prolonging the conflict. 
  • A key disagreement is the Saudis’ favoring the al-Islah party, an offshoot of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The Emiratis rejected this group and opposed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who Saudi supported, due to his links to the movement. 
  • The two states also differ in how they believe Yemen should be governed: Saudi Arabia has sought a unified Yemen, while the UAE prefers a divided state that they can influence, especially in the resource-rich south. 


Erdoğan’s Bid to Re-Establish Dominance After His Pyrrhic Victory, by Nihat Ali Özcan and Pınar İpek 

  • This article examines President Erdoğan’s approach following his election, arguing that, despite the victory, he is in a weakened position as a result of Turkey’s mounting economic challenges and democratic backsliding. 
  • The warning shot of the election, in which he narrowly survived a run-off after getting less than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, has reoriented Erdoğan’s foreign policy priorities to a more pragmatic stance, including negotiations on Sweden’s NATO membership and rapprochement with Greece. 

Explaining the Decline of Suicide Terrorism in Turkey, by Sertif Demir and Murat Ülgül 

  • Since 2016, Turkey has experienced a marked decline in suicide terrorism, a tactic that militant groups like the PKK and Islamic State had employed with some frequency over the previous 20 years. 
  • The article identifies three factors in reducing suicide attacks before a minor incident in October 2023: 
    • the introduction of new antiterrorism concepts and technologies 
    • fears among terror groups that they will lose legitimacy in the eyes of supporters or foreign public opinion 
    • changes in the international environment. 

The Impact of Eurasianism on Turkey’s Role in the Ukraine War, by Göktürk Tüysüzoğlu 

  • This article evaluates Turkey’s attempts to act as a mediator in the war between Russia and Ukraine as the country wants to avoid taking sides between Moscow, an important partner, and the West, where Ankara has aspirations of further European integration.  
  • The benefits from each relationship, the commercial side with Russia and China and economic and security sides with the West, have driven Turkey’s hedging strategy. 

Turkey’s Nuclear Security Regime: An Assessment, by Şebnem Udum 

  • In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, states were made to develop new systems of security, particularly around their nuclear programs. Turkey, as a newcomer to nuclear energy, is susceptible to the dangers posed by nonstate actors, including the theft of targeting of nuclear materials and facilities. 
  • Recognizing this weakness, Ankara has begun to reform its nuclear security regime. This article identifies the areas of stakeholder cooperation, training and education, and nuclear security culture as the main areas where further work is needed, and offers insight into what actions the state should take to create an effective nuclear security regime. 


The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People, by Walter Russell Mead. Reviewed by Richard J. Schmierer 

Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco That Pushed America and Its World to the Brink, by Ethan Chorin. Reviewed by Ronald Bruce St John 

Qatar and the Gulf Crisis, by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen. Reviewed by Irina Andriiuc 

  • 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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