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

  • U.S. Army Soldiers run to UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters after conducting a search for weapons caches in Albu Issa, Iraq, March 2008

    Event

    Lessons from 13 Years of War

    During the past 13 years of war, U.S. conventional and special operations forces worked more closely together than in any previous conflict. Linda Robinson will discuss how special operations forces can be applied in Iraq and Syria and how the U.S. can apply the broad lessons of these years to a future strategy.

    Dec 10, 2014

  • Turkish demonstrators chant Islamic slogans as they set fire to US and Israeli flags outside the Beyazit mosque in Istanbul, January 9, 2009

    Event

    The Challenges for Democracies Facing Asymmetric Conflicts

    While conventional warfare between nations declined in the past half-century, democratic countries increasingly have become involved in conflicts with non-state actors. Join us for a discussion of lessons learned in using military force in response to terrorism, as well as the legal, ethical, and moral implications of doing so.

    Dec 4, 2014

  • Report

    An Assessment of the Present and Future Labor Market in the Kurdistan Region — Iraq: Implications for Policies to Increase Private-Sector Employment (Kurdish-language version)

    The study addresses the issue of improving the private-sector labor market in the Kurdistan Region--Iraq. Doing so will involve creating mechanisms by which job-seekers can develop the right skills and employers can find the employees they need.

    Nov 21, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Social, Relational and Network Determinants of Unprotected Anal Sex and HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Beirut, Lebanon

    Social, relational and network determinants of condom use and HIV testing were examined among 213 men who have sex with men (MSM) in Beirut.

    Nov 21, 2014

  • Militant Islamist fighters parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province

    Commentary

    When Jihadis Come Marching Home

    The existing pool of determined jihadists in America is very small and lacks training and experience, which fighting in Syria and Iraq would provide. Returning jihadi veterans would be more formidable adversaries. Still, the threat appears manageable using current U.S. laws and existing resources.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul November 18, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The NATO Coalition in Afghanistan

    The imminent changes to the NATO mission in Afghanistan will be profound and, more crucially, carry unpredictable outcomes. After January 1, the removal of tens of thousands of coalition troops will trigger an inevitable period of adjustment as all sides involved in the conflict press for a new equilibrium that tilts in its favor.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video that Islamic State militants released in September

    Report

    When Jihadis Come Marching Home

    Although the numbers of Westerners slipping off to join the jihadist fronts in Syria and Iraq are murky, U.S. counterterrorism officials believe that those fighters pose a clear and present danger to American security.

    Nov 18, 2014

  • Karen Elliott House, Brian Michael Jenkins, Dalia Dassa Kaye, James Dobbins, and Seth G. Jones at RAND's Politics Aside 2014

    Blog

    ISIS in Perspective

    While ISIS poses a threat to the U.S., violence from the group is not likely to be aimed directly at the American homeland any time soon, according to a panel of experts who discussed the Middle East at RAND's Politics Aside event. But an attack could be mounted against the U.S. if ISIS were to establish a nation from the territory it holds in Syria and Iraq.

    Nov 15, 2014

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to the crowd in the holy city of Qom, October 2010

    Commentary

    Ignore Flap Over Obama Letter

    While it is not surprising that the alleged letter from President Obama to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei has upset domestic critics of the nuclear negotiations, the alleged correspondence has also unsettled Israel and Saudi Arabia, which fear a “bad” deal with Iran and even secret collusion between Washington and Tehran. But such concerns seem unfounded.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Afghan policemen in Kabul

    Commentary

    Afghanistan After America: A Fragile Stability

    Since 2011, the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban have engaged in intermittent and often indirect talks about peace negotiations. It may be stalemate on the battlefield that eventually forces the parties to break this stalemate over the shape of a peace process.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Report

    An Assessment of the Present and Future Labor Market in the Kurdistan Region — Iraq: Implications for Policies to Increase Private-Sector Employment (Arabic-language version)

    The study addresses the issue of improving the private-sector labor market in the Kurdistan Region--Iraq. Doing so will involve creating mechanisms by which job-seekers can develop the right skills and employers can find the employees they need.

    Nov 11, 2014

  • Afghan men attend an election campaign by Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in Kabul, June 8, 2014

    Commentary

    Are Ethnic Politics Afghanistan's Great Hope?

    Afghanistan's ethnic politics have tended to absorb inter-communal struggle more than exacerbate it. Afghan politicians have consistently opted for an ethnic balance of power once the votes are counted. The unity government deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry aims to restore the ethnic balance that persisted under Hamid Karzai for more than a decade.

    Nov 11, 2014

  • Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani walk with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, October 3, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The Afghan Government

    With the election dispute settled, one can sense a feeling of hope and opportunity among the Afghan political spectrum. Members of each camp are voicing optimism and saying the right things, but before the unity government can address the country's issues, it must first clear the hurdle of appointing new leadership.

    Nov 10, 2014

  • Mark Hulkower and fellow defense attorneys speak to members of the media outside of the U.S. District Court after five Blackwater security guards were charged with killing 14 unarmed civilians and wounding 20 others in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad

    Commentary

    The Future of Blackwater and Other Guns for Hire

    The story of how private military security companies came to play a pivotal role in wartime operations is an important one, and Ann Hagedorn, a former reporter for the Journal, was right to take it on.

    Oct 28, 2014

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells the 69th U.N. General Assembly on September 29 that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat to the world than Islamic State militants

    Commentary

    Not to Worry, Israel

    Some Israelis worry that America's fight against the Islamic State is distracting from the Iranian nuclear challenge. But the idea that the U.S. would make additional concessions to Iran in the nuclear negotiations because of the anti-Islamic State group effort is not based on realities on the ground.

    Oct 23, 2014

  • Kurdish men, women, and children fleeing Syria to seek protection by the Turkish government as refugees

    Report

    Alternative Futures for Syria

    A December 2013 workshop evaluated possible outcomes from the Syrian civil war, but the period through August 2014 brought many changes. A reassessment of the workshop's findings shows that while a regime victory now appears to be likely, it would not be as big of a blow to ISIS due to the group's territorial gains in Iraq.

    Oct 22, 2014

  • Tank silhouette at sunset

    Commentary

    Destroy ISIL's Heavy Weapons and Vehicles: Level the Playing Field

    More than any other option, employing air power decisively to deny ISIL the ability to use its armor and artillery has the potential to immediately and dramatically shift the battlefield balance against it.

    Oct 20, 2014

  • Oil barrels under a clear, blue sky

    Commentary

    The Upside of Lower Oil Prices

    Movement toward sharply lower oil prices should be a prominent component of any strategy directed at disabling many of the world's most disruptive threats: Iran's nuclear development, ISIS, Hamas attacks on Israel, and Russia's threat to Ukraine.

    Oct 17, 2014

  • Smoke rises after a U.S.-led airstrike in Kobani, Syria, October 10, 2014

    Commentary

    Air Campaign Against ISIS Is Just Getting Off the Ground

    More than 60 countries have joined the coalition against ISIS, with at least 12 participating in the air campaign. Eventually, this will be an impressive armada, but the campaign is still in its first stage, and most of the coalition participants joined the effort only recently.

    Oct 17, 2014

  • U.S. Army boots on sand

    Commentary

    What Could U.S. Boots on the Ground Do in Iraq and Syria?

    Before embracing American boots on the ground as a strategy to fight ISIS, it's essential to be clear about what they're going to do, what they may require, and what risks may be entailed.

    Oct 15, 2014