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  • Author: Khaled Elgindy, Dana ElKurd, Yousef Munayyer, Mustafa Barghouti
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Part 2 – Toward a Palestinian National Strategy Former Vice President Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump is likely to produce a major reset in American-Palestinian relations as well as in Washington’s role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. No U.S. president had done more to isolate Palestinians and delegitimize Palestinian national aspirations than Trump. Meanwhile, Biden has pledged to reverse the most destructive aspects of Trump’s policies and restore U.S.-Palestinian relations in the hope of salvaging what remains of a two-state solution. Yet even as the Palestinians breathe a collective sigh of relief at Trump’s departure, the Palestinians’ internal house remains in a state of disarray and decline. The Palestinian national movement, now at one of the lowest points in its history, continues to be racked by political division, institutional stagnation, and a lack of strategic clarity.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nilsu Gören, Wolfgang Pusztai, Jason Pack, Mohamed Htweish, Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Over the last year, a new form of extraterritorial air war has proved extremely decisive in military conflicts in both Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. In both instances, the Turkish backed side has emerged victorious, despite initially being on the backfoot. In 2019, it seemed Tripoli was on the verge of falling to the forces of General Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA.) The LNA had received military assistance in the forms of drones, mercenaries, and diplomatic support from the UAE, Egypt, and Russia. However, following an announced ceasefire, Turkey utilized the brief pause of fighting to turn the tide of battle by backing Haftar’s rival, the General National Council. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to launch a recent publication, “Turning the Tide: How Turkey Won the War for Tripoli.” Why did Turkey decide to fully engage in Libya’s Second Civil War? What strategies and tactics did Turkey establish throughout its involvement? Which modern military technologies helped shape the outcome of the War for Tripoli? What are the next likely steps in the international community’s mediation efforts in Libya?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, Drones, Conflict, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Douglas London, Chris Costa, Charles Lister, Karen Greenberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: After nearly two decades of the so-called War on Terror, the threats and challenges posed by terrorism to the United States and its allies have proliferated in number, grown in sophistication, and expanded geographically. While our terrorist enemies have proven resilient and adaptable, our strategy and tactics have remained largely unchanged. Although the U.S. mainland may be better protected from a 9/11-style attack, our interests overseas and the stability of regions like Africa and the Middle East have never been more challenged. As terrorism continues to evolve and the threats we face diversify, the time has come for a serious re-examination of American counterterrorism policy and the determination of more effective approaches to counter the threats of tomorrow. What lessons can we learn from the past two decades of countering terrorism? In what ways have our enemies adapted? How might we adapt to more effectively counter terrorism? Given domestic political constraints, what approaches are likely to be most realistic and effective?
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Salem, Ishac Diwan, Fadlo Khuri, Maha Yahya
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon is going through one of the most acute crises in its modern history. A complex economic collapse is driving hundreds of thousands into poverty and the risk of hunger, and shuttering an already wounded economy. A large cross section of the population revolted in October of last year and has created a standoff with a corrupt and sectarian oligarchy. The government is unable to chart and implement a way out of the crisis, and state institutions stand on the brink of failure. The multiple crises have threatened all sectors, including the critical education sector, previously one of the success stories of the country; universities, like other institutions, have been hard hit.
  • Topic: Poverty, Sectarianism, Hunger, Economy, Protests, Crisis Management, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Gonul Tol, Ahmet Davutoğlu
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East Institute’s Turkish Studies Program is pleased to welcome H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister of Turkey, to discuss pressing issues in Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy. Since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, Turkey has gone through an extraordinary transformation, one in which H.E. Davutoglu played a critical role. Please join us for this timely conversation, moderated by Turkish Studies Director Gonul Tol, which will delve into questions about that change as well as recent developments including the Turkish court decision to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and Ankara's military presence in Libya.
  • Topic: Politics, Domestic politics, AKP
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Darin LaHood, Paul Salem, Edward M. Gabriel, Jean AbiNader, Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon is on the brink of collapse due to its domestic economic and political crises, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another failed state in the Middle East would negatively impact strategic US interests. Lebanon requires a thorough reorientation towards stability and renewed socio-economic sustainability, which entails fundamental domestic reforms and targeted international support led by the US. The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) are pleased to co-host the public launch of a joint policy paper, Recommendations for a Sustainable Bilateral Relationship. What are the strategic interests the US has in Lebanon’s stability, and how can the US support Lebanese prosperity? Is the Lebanese government’s new financial recovery plan sufficient for the US to initiate support for the government? In what ways can the US best support a strong future for Lebanon?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Laith Al Ajlouni, Sara Kayyali, Oraib Al Rantawi, Rana Husseini
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The start of the new decade in Jordan has been marred by unrest. In January, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest both President Trump’s Middle East peace plan and the gas deal signed between Israel and Jordan. This wave of dissent came on the heels of the 2019 protests against increased austerity measures, a follow up to the 2018 movement that saw the resignation of Hani Mulki’s government. Though Jordan quickly adopted stringent measures to combat the virus, the economy will suffer a huge blow, exacerbating Jordan’s existing development challenges and popular discontent. Furthermore, the pandemic prompted troubling restrictions on freedom of speech, with an April decree stating that sharing anything that may “cause panic” about the pandemic is punishable with up to three years in prison. How have protest movements in Jordan been impacted by Covid-19, and what do recent protests over honor killings and gender based violence portend for progress in this area? How do these long standing grievances meet the current moment of the impending Israeli annexation? What will be the long term impact of the pandemic on Jordan’s economy and human rights, especially for the country’s millions of refugees?
  • Topic: Refugees, Economy, Political stability, Protests, Austerity, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Tarek Osman, Ariane Tabatabai, Morad Vaisibiame, Alex Vatanka
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The January assassination of Qassem Soleimani shocked the leadership in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had not expected the United States to escalate tensions between the two countries in such a manner. The assassination of Soleimani was an effort to change Tehran’s strategic calculations and policies for the Middle East. With continued sanctions imposed by the United States, regional tension, and the loss of a key decision maker, Iran is facing intensified challenges to achieve its goals at home and in the region. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome a group of experts to assess Iranian policy towards the Arab world following the death of Soleimani and to discuss how Arab states are reacting to Iran’s actions. How has Iran’s strategy in the Arab world performed following Soleimani’s death? In what ways have proxy forces in the Middle East that operate under Tehran’s command been affected? Who is left to make key decisions about the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the Arab states, and are we faced with a weaker IRGC Quds force after Soleimani? Finally, what do Arabs think of Iranian policies aimed at them?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sanctions, Qassem Soleimani, Assassination, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, United States of America
  • Author: Joyce Karam, Sawsan Abdulrahim, Noof Assi
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Protests in Iraq and Lebanon have drawn global attention as protestors advocate for political and economic reform and an end to corruption, especially in the wake of the Beirut blast and Lebanon’s disaster response. These countries also face economic crisis and socio-political challenges relating to the millions of refugees and IDPs within their borders and the lack of sustainable policies to address displaced people’s needs. In Lebanon and Iraq, refugees and IDPs face discrimination and lack of access to educational and public health resources in addition to the widespread economic pain and disenfranchisement that these countries protest movements aim to confront. How have refugees in these countries been active in or left out of these movements? How can access gaps and discrimination be overcome to integrate refugee rights into these protest movements? How do protest movements reflect a desire to integrate refugees and IDPs into the social fabric of these countries?
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Reform, Refugees, Displacement, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Amira Roess, Mia Atoui, Essam Daod, Mohammed Abo Hilal
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: In addition to economic and legal insecurity, many refugees and IDPs suffer from the immediate and long-term effects of PTSD and other mental health issues resulting from their experiences with conflict, displacement, and discrimination in their new environments. While government and NGO initiatives exist in Jordan, Iraq, and other host countries to promote mental health awareness and services in refugee communities, these resources are insufficient to address this dire need. How can aid and development programs prioritize mental health as a key component of refugee support? What are the gaps in the regional mental health systems that must be bridged in order to serve refugee communities? What initiatives exist to empower refugee communities at the grassroots level to advocate for mental health services?
  • Topic: Refugees, Displacement, Trauma, Mental Health, NGOs, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, Jordan