This journal deals in a fraught subject, policy: "the unplanned and unforeseen result of a myriad of contingent strategic decisions" (according to Michael Ignatieff, New York Review of Books, 11/19/15).
Brian Katulis, Siwar al-Assad, William Morris
BRIAN KATULIS, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Board of Directors, Middle East Policy Council
I'm a policy analyst. I go to the Middle East once a month and try to conduct research and shape the debate and dialogue here. But sometimes, in forums like this and in antiseptic conference rooms in Washington, D.C., it's easy to get disconnected from the human tragedy. I think it's important to note this, as we have this discussion. My aim is to help to find a pathway toward peace and stability in Syria and Iraq and the broader region.
By the end of September 2015, 8,000 refugees and migrants, most of them Syrian, were arriving in Europe every day. By November, even with the onset of winter, that number had risen to an average of 8,700, with as many as 10,000 arriving on Greek shores on one October day.
Katherine Blue Carroll
The norms and strategic calculations of American warfare increasingly support the compensation of civilians for their suffering in both combat and noncombat operations. Since 1942, through the Foreign Claims Act (FCA) system, the U.S. military has paid the claims of those injured, those whose family members had been killed, and those whose property had been damaged in noncombat operations. But civilians whose injuries result from combat operations have no right to compensation under either U.S. or international laws.
The 3,000th air raid against Islamist forces in Iraq and Syria was carried out just before Easter 2015.1 By the end of the year, the figure is likely to rise close to 5,000. Meanwhile, experts have lost count of the number of people Syria's autocratic rulers have murdered and Islamic State (IS) militants have beheaded.
Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
Twenty-six years ago, when the elder President Bush asked me to be his ambassador to Saudi Arabia, he assured me that "nothing much ever happens in Arabia." That had been the case for quite a while. Now no one would refer to any part of the Middle East — even the Arabian Peninsula — as a zone of tranquility. It was a different world back then. Mistakes made here in Washington had a great deal to do with why and how that relatively stable world disappeared.
M. Hakan Yavuz and Nihat Ali Özcan
The June 7 elections in Turkey, which unsettled the longstanding center of gravity dictated by a pro-Islamist hegemony, reverberated through Turkey's diverse political constituencies. Middle-class and urban Kurds, liberal Turks and far-left voters became more visible, as they supported candidates attuned to the twenty-first-century political values of diversity, inclusivity and cultural pluralism. In fact, the results of the June elections not only represented the end of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's domination; they also produced the most representative parliament in recent memory.
Kilic Kanat and Kadir Ustun
Turkey's struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL, IS) took on a new dimension in the wake of the Suruc bombing on July 20, 2015.1 Soon after this first planned attack by ISIS on Turkish soil, Turkey announced that it would participate in military operations against ISIS as part of U.S.-led coalition efforts. Turkey also decided to allow U.S. forces to operate against ISIS out of Incirlik Air Base as well as bases in Diyarbakir and Malatya.
Mustafa Kibaroglu and Selim C. Sazak
Philip Robins's famous question, "What on earth is happening in Turkey?" has been echoing around the capitals of the Atlantic community, uttered variously in exasperation, in admiration and in wonder.1 The same refrain recently has been repeatedly raised around Turkey's careening towards an activist foreign policy in the Middle East, its increased willingness to break with its trans-atlantic allies on critical decisions and over its policies in Syria.
Richard J. Schmierer
Recent reports of the assistance provided by the Sultanate of Oman to secure the release of Americans being held in Yemen reminded me of the helpful role this unique country plays in the affairs of the world's most troubled region and its potential to help address future challenges. That sentiment was also rekindled by the July announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, which recalled the early days that helped set the stage for such an agreement.
Since January 2015, the new Saudi government led by King Salman bin Abdulaziz has continued to practice the kingdom's traditional foreign policy strategy, which Gerd Nonneman once referred to as "managed multi-dependence" (MMD).
William A. Rugh
Yemen is a country that rarely captures headlines in Western media. Then, in the spring of 2015, when the Saudi air force — with the support of a coalition including the United States — turned a domestic issue into an international one, global media started paying attention. Commentators sought to explain the conflict in terms of religious differences, or a Saudi-Iranian power struggle. Few understood the internal dynamics that were involved, or Yemen's complex history.
For much of the last two decades, few Middle East experts gave serious consideration to Qatar, its governance structure or its decision-making process.
At the core of the Young Turk revolution of July 23, 1908, is what Michelle Ursula Campos has called "civic Ottomanism," a grassroots imperial citizenship project that promoted a unified sociopolitical identity among a people struggling over their new rights and obligations (Ottoman Brothers:
The title The New Arabs may not mean much to many in the West who are just as unfamiliar with the old Arabs, but whether in the Middle East or in the West, the topic of the millennial generation is trending.
Haim Malka, deputy director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is American-educated and has lived and worked in Israel. He is a prolific writer and speaker.
In this comprehensive history of Syria, John McHugo compares the police state erected by the Assad family "with a crumbling block in a curved arch that is held in place by the adjoining rocks." The "tremor" of the uprising that started in 2011 has "loosened the Syrian block so that now it hangs p