Updates from the Center for Middle East Public Policy | Web version

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September 9, 2014


Dear colleagues,

With rapidly changing events in the region, I want to share a selection of recent RAND commentary and reports that may be of interest to you. For a full overview of RAND's Middle East work, please visit our web page (www.rand.org/cmepp). You also are welcome to follow me @dassakaye and my RAND colleagues on Twitter.


Dalia Dassa Kaye

Director, Center for Middle East Public Policy

This Update is part of a new CMEPP series sharing selected analysis on the Middle East from across the RAND Corporation.

Commentary »

A Broad Approach to Countering the Islamic State

Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

Recent analysis about how to defeat the Islamic State tends to be based on no more than intuition, a general sense of history, or a small number of cases of questionable comparability. A study of 71 historical cases of counterinsurgencies should help provide empirical evidence to this important debate. Read more »

Islamic State's Risky Business

Brian Michael Jenkins, Bloomberg Businessweek

In just a matter of weeks, al-Baghdadi’s group has risen to the top tier of the U.S. military’s most wanted. A look at the internal dynamics of the Islamic State, however, suggests that al-Baghdadi, while a charismatic leader, may also be the group’s weakest link. Read more »

Foreign Fighters Are a Global Threat

Christopher S. Chivvis, U.S. News & World Report

The threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters cannot be resolved by the United States, or any ally, working alone. It calls for broad international cooperation on law enforcement, intelligence sharing, and other areas for many years to come. The road ahead will be hard, but it's best to begin now with action by the UN Security Council. Read more »

What Can Airpower Do in Iraq?

Karl P. Mueller, U.S. News & World Report

While the United States could embark on a much wider war in Iraq, there's little reason to think it will rush to do so or that using airpower to help defend the Kurds will make such an escalation inevitable. Read more »

Hitting ISIS Where It Hurts: Disrupt ISIS's Cash Flow in Iraq

Patrick B. Johnston, Benjamin Bahney, The New York Times

President Obama's recent decision to conduct airstrikes against ISIS and send humanitarian aid will help buy time for both Iraqi and Kurdish forces to regroup. But Baghdad needs a strategy that aligns the political and economic interests of all Iraqis to hit ISIS where it hurts: its war chest. Read more »

Recent Reports »

Youth in Jordan: Transitions from Education to Employment

Jordanian youth use laptop computers

Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Ryan Andrew Brown, Louay Constant, Peter Glick, Audra K. Grant

Despite Jordan's strong economic growth during the last decade, youth unemployment remains high, as graduates don't possess the skills necessary for their desired professions. Numerous policy reforms could turn the tide. Read more »

A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa'ida and Other Salafi Jihadists

silhouette of militant with rifle

Seth G. Jones

Since 2010, there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of jihadist groups, a doubling of fighters, and a tripling of attacks by al Qaeda affiliates. The U.S. cannot afford to withdraw or remain disengaged from key parts of North Africa, the Middle East, or South Asia. Read more »

Getting to Negotiations in Syria: The Shadow of the Future in the Syrian Civil War

A Free Syrian Army fighter throws a Molotov cocktail in West Aleppo December 2013

Photo by Ammar Abdullah/Reuters

Paul D. Miller

It appears that there is almost no prospect for a negotiated solution to the civil war in Syria in the near term. This is because the Syrian factions believe — perhaps rightly — that they have more to gain by carrying on the fight than by negotiating toward peace. Read more »

Thinking Through the Days After Nuclear Negotiations with Iran

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations about Iran's nuclear capabilities on November 24, 2013

Photo by U.S. Department of State

Lynn E. Davis, Alireza Nader, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Jeffrey Martini

In three reports and various multimedia, RAND researchers examine potential policy outcomes on U.S.-Iran relations and the effects that a nuclear agreement would have around the Middle East. Read more »

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