Markaz

  • Markaz

    The Saudi Prince to Watch

    Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh in 2013.

    Bruce Riedel profiles Prince Muhammad bin Salman, whose father Salman became king of Saudi Arabia last week upon the death of King Abdallah. The new king appointed the 34-year-old Muhammad bin Salman to two key positions, Minister of Defense and Chief of the Royal Court, making him the youngest Saudi in a senior decision-making role.

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    The Absence of Women from Middle East Policy Debates: An Update

    U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman sits after arriving for a trilateral meeting with UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov during the second round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland (REUTERS/KEYSTONE/Valentin Flauraud).

    Earlier this week, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Marc Lynch shed light on a troubling feature of Beltway debates about Middle East policy: the relative exclusion of women from public events at some of D.C.’s leading think tanks (Brookings, sadly, included). The lack of female speakers at think-tank events is notable because the field of Middle East policy boasts a large number of prominent women experts, officials and former officials. The article reignited the debate on gender balance in the policy making world. Now, Wittes and Lynch offer some further thoughts on diversity in our public policy discussion, and provide the data underlying their claim that 65% of the events they tracked last year featured no women speakers at all.  Read More

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    Iranian Press Week in Review

    Hezbollah members and supporters mourn over coffin of Mohamad Issa

    This week's review of the Iranian press highlights Iranian news coverage of the Israeli strike in Syria; reaction to the latest round of nuclear negotiations, and commentary on developments in Yemen.

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    Five Bad Options for Gaza

    Smoke rises following air strike in Gaza

    Daniel L. Byman examines Israel's current policy toward Gaza and presents four alternative approaches that could help Israel and Hamas break out of the seemingly endless cycle of provocation, response, and war. 

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    Succession in Saudi Arabia: Salman's Ascension Promises Continuity at a Time of Regional Crisis

    Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz held meetings in Beijing in March 2014.

    The announcement of King Abdallah's death places Saudi Arabia in the hands of his designated successor, Crown Prince Salman. Bruce Riedel details the biography of the man who will be king, highlighting his long tenure as a provincial governor and his efforts to fund the Afghan mujahedeen during the 1980s. While Salman will provide continuity at a time of crisis in the Arab world, the Kingdom will soon face the unprecedented challenge of selecting its future leaders from among the royal family's next generation.

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    Israeli Elections: Who Will Win? (The Numbers, Take 1)

    Markaz: Israeli Elections

    As political parties in Israel finalize their candidate lists ahead of the January 29th deadline, Natan Sachs analyzes the polling data currently available, outlining possible scenarios for Israel’s next government.

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    Domestic Politics and Diplomacy Toward Tehran: Congress and the Real Threat to an Iranian Nuclear Deal

    President Obama announces an agreement reached with Iran on its nuclear program.

    President Barack Obama defended his Iran diplomacy in his State of the Union address, seeking to convince the Republican-controlled Congress that new sanctions on Iran would be a mistake. But while Obama is mostly correct in his admonition against sanctions, the reality is that Congress is not the real threat to the prospects for a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. Rather, the primary obstacle to a deal rests where it always has — with the unwillingness of Iran’s ultimate authority, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to compromise on Iran’s production and stockpiles of enriched uranium.
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    State of the Union 2015: Sobering Dilemmas for Obama's Middle East Policy

    Secret Service officers patrol in front of the White House before President Obama's State of the Union speech.

    Tamara Wittes forecasts whether and how President Barack Obama will discuss the Middle East in his annual State of the Union speech. She addresses the three most significant topics for U.S. policy toward the region in the year to come including the campaign against violent Islamist extremists; ongoing efforts to conclude a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran; and the prospects for an issue that consumed much of the administration's attention in 2014, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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    The Threat of Terrorism from Westerners Returned from Fighting in Syria and Iraq

    Police officers gesture near Lindt cafe in Martin Place, where hostages are being held, in central Sydney (REUTERS/Jason Reed).

    On January 12, Dan Byman and Jeremy Shapiro launched their new policy paper on the threat of terrorism from Western foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.  Read More

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    Israeli Elections: Labor's Challenge

    Markaz: Israeli Elections

    This week Israel’s Labor Party held its primaries to determine its list of candidates for the upcoming elections, scheduled to be held on March 17th.  Natan Sachs outlines the four key elements that have assured Labor's victory in the past, and argues that though the combined Labor-Hatnua list is currently polling slightly ahead of the Likud, the Labor Party still faces a formidable challenge.

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