Middle East

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As the center of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths; the world's main source of petroleum; and a religious, political, and ethnic tinderbox, the Middle East plays a considerable role in world affairs. RAND research on the region covers a wide range of cultural, economic, educational, military, and political topics, including in-depth examinations of Qatar, Palestine, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Israel.

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    Project

    The RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy

    Jan 8, 2013

    The RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) provides expertise on the Middle East. CMEPP analysts are in touch with political, social, economic, and technological developments in and around the region. Through research and analysis, CMEPP helps public and private decision makers solve problems, tackle challenges, and identify ways to make society safer, smarter, and more prosperous.

Explore Middle East

  • A masked American soldier in a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'God Is Not Here,' by Bill Russell Edmonds

    'God Is Not Here' shows how not to send a soldier to war. The experience is searing and often brutal, and only a well-led, well-trained, cohesive unit can help servicemen and servicewomen do their duty and survive both mentally and physically.

    May 19, 2015

  • An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen's capital Sanaa May 12, 2015

    Commentary

    Yemen: Victim of the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry

    Instability in Yemen does not benefit Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the United States. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a major threat to all three countries. And neither side in the Yemeni conflict has the capability to impose central authority in Yemen by itself.

    May 12, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    How Accurate Is TV's Portrayal of Terrorism?

    Acclaimed television writer, producer, and author Howard Gordon joins 30-year CIA veteran and RAND senior policy analyst Andrew Liepman for a discussion about the allure of terrorism as a subject for entertainment in this Events @ RAND podcast.

    May 6, 2015

  • People run for cover after an explosion in Jalalabad April 18, 2015

    Commentary

    Has Islamic State Entered Afghanistan?

    The bulk of the Islamic State of Khorasan is thought to be in Pakistan, but the group is trying to make inroads into Afghanistan. That said, the group's actual ability to operate in Afghanistan appears rather limited.

    May 4, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

    Essay

    Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: Looking Ahead

    As world leaders work to piece together a nuclear deal with Iran, RAND experts asked, What would change on the day after a final deal? Their analysis helps clarify what a nuclear deal would mean for the United States, the region, and the world.

    May 4, 2015

  • Report

    RAND Review: May-June 2015

    This issue of RAND Review reports on smart-grid technologies, the nuclear deal with Iran, the education crisis among Syrian children, diversity in the biomedical scientific workforce, and recent philanthropic gifts to RAND.

    May 4, 2015

  • Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi observe a guard of honour at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, April 29, 2015

    Commentary

    Seduced by a Strongman?

    It is not true that domestic politics can be quarantined from foreign policy. In fact, Egypt's domestic and foreign policies are becoming more entangled by the day. And that bleed-over should raise concerns.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • A member of the Taliban insurgency during the execution of three men in Ghazni Province, April 18, 2015

    Commentary

    The Afghan Warlord with a Cheshire Cat Grin

    Matiullah Khan was an Afghan militia leader turned police chief whose rise to power demonstrated both the dangers and opportunities posed by the lack of governance in Afghanistan. The victim of a Taliban suicide bomber, his death left a power vacuum that persists today. His successor, Gulab Khan, was murdered last week.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • A fighter of the Kurdish People's Protection Units fires an anti-aircraft weapon at Islamic State fighters in Tel Tamer, Syria, February 25, 2015

    Testimony

    Historical Lessons for the Wars in Iraq and Syria

    The wars in Iraq and Syria are deeply intertwined and must thus be dealt with simultaneously. Understanding the factors that brought past insurgencies to an end can provide lessons for how to proceed.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • Report

    RAND's Impact in the Middle East

    Provides an overview of RAND's impact in the Middle East in the areas of supporting youth, health and health care, education, energy and environment, labor market reform and private-sector development, capacity-building, and planning for the future.

    Apr 29, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Is Bipartisan National Security Policy Possible in Today's Political Environment?

    Should the United States make a nuclear deal with Iran? What threat do cyber attacks pose to our nation? Should there be intelligence reform? In this Events @ RAND podcast, Mike Rogers speaks to these and other timely national security issues.

    Apr 21, 2015

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2014

    Commentary

    Why the United States Needs to Be Patient with Iran

    No one should expect miracles after a nuclear deal. Khamenei and his system will not change so easily. But Iranians have been patient. The United States should be as well.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • Testimony

    There Will Be Battles in the Heart of Your Abode: The Threat Posed by Foreign Fighters Returning From Syria and Iraq: Addendum

    Document submitted on April 17, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on March 12, 2015.

    Apr 17, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and staff watch a tablet in Lausanne, Switzerland as President Barack Obama addresses the status of the Iran nuclear talks, April 2, 2015

    Commentary

    Why the Nuclear Deal Won't Change U.S. Regional Politics

    The United States can't wait for a final nuclear deal with Iran to begin thinking through how to manage its aftermath. The challenges ahead are already clear. Washington should prepare for them by setting aside old formulas that have failed to advance stability.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks after nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2, 2015

    Commentary

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Framework

    President Barack Obama hailed last week's framework for an Iranian nuclear accord as a “historic understanding,” and there was celebration in Iran, but many challenges remain.

    Apr 6, 2015

  • Meeting to discuss Iran nuclear deal at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne March 29, 2015

    Project

    As Negotiations with Iran Progress, Experts Look Ahead

    Negotiations have produced a framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran, with the goal of reaching a comprehensive agreement by the end of June. RAND experts are exploring what the days after a successful deal will bring in terms of U.S. options, Iranian foreign policy, and regional responses.

    Apr 2, 2015

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while addressing a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, March 25, 2015

    Commentary

    Give Ghani a Chance: Why This Time Is Different

    After years of broken promises, there's reason to believe that these will be kept under President Ashraf Ghani and that the pronouncements about a better U.S.-Afghan future deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    Mar 31, 2015

  • An Iraqi soldier rides in an armoured vehicle in Salahuddin province, Iraq, March 4, 2015, where Islamic State militants set fire to oil wells in the Ajil field east of the city of Tikrit to try to hinder aerial attacks aimed at driving them from the oilfield

    Commentary

    Oil Bonanza: Good News for the World

    World oil prices have fallen by more than 40 percent since June 2014 and over the next several years prices are more likely to fall than to rise. The global economy will benefit hugely from this shift, and it's possible that global security will also benefit from lower oil prices.

    Mar 31, 2015

  • A damaged picture of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Idlib, March 28, 2015

    Commentary

    Syria and Iraq: Inside the Terrorist Factory

    As the civil wars in Syria and Iraq continue, they sharpen the sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shias, threatening the stability of the region and attracting a steady flow of foreign volunteers, effectively turning Syria and Iraq into a terrorist factory.

    Mar 30, 2015

  • U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, March 16, 2015

    Commentary

    Don't Scare Off Investors from Iran

    Non-American corporations must decide whether the benefits of pursuing business opportunities in Iran outweigh the risks, and they will likely stay away as long as Congress keeps debating the imposition of new sanctions. Their reluctance to invest could prevent Iran from seeing the economic benefits of a nuclear deal.

    Mar 27, 2015