Middle East Programs

  • Can the United States and China Cooperate in the Middle East?

    While the United States and China grapple over trade, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, and geopolitical tensions in East Asia, open competition has not yet extended to the Middle East, a region where Washington remains a major player and Beijing has rapidly expanded its influence.

    “The story has not been written yet on the Middle East,” William Wechsler, director of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East programs, said on June 6. “There are a number of places where the United States’ and China’s interests align. And there are a number of places where the United States’ and China’s interests do not.”


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  • Israel's Political Meltdown

    A white flag of surrender was raised aloft over the Knesset just after the stroke of midnight on May 29. Six nail-biting weeks after he was first tasked by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to construct Israel's next government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to concede defeat and admit that he had failed to cobble together a new ruling coalition.

    Faced with a series of options, the incumbent prime minister pulled the scorched earth lever. According to Israeli law, an expired mandate returns to the country's president, who may then tap a different parliamentarian to try and craft a government. In order to block Rivlin from exercising that prerogative, Netanyahu assembled a preemptive majority to vote for new elections instead. He hopes surely to improve his own prospects when the repeat ballot takes place on September 17.


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  • Lipner in Haaretz: America Is Now a Perfect Bipartisan Incubator for Pathological Anti-Semitism


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  • Roundtable with Ouidad Bouchamaoui

    On Wednesday, April 10, the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Programs hosted a discussion with Nobel Laureate Ouidad Bouchamaoui for a roundtable discussion on Ms. Bouchamaoui’s experience during the Tunisian revolution, current affairs, and hopes for Tunisia’s future. The discussion, moderated by Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson, touched on how Libya’s conflict can potentially affect Tunisia’s security, the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, and the role Ms. Bouchamaoui believes Tunisia should play in the region moving forward.


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  • Environmental Security in the Middle East

    On Wednesday, March 27, the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted a conversation on environmental degradation, water shortages, climate change and implications for the Middle East and North Africa region. Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative, moderated the discussion as Peter Gleick, a world-renowned expert, innovator, and communicator on water and climate issues framed some of the most impending challenges the region faces today. Kaveh Madani, an environmental scientist, educator, and activist, and former Iranian government official, discussed Iran’s challenges in this area, and Caitlin Werrell, co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security examined the implications of climate change, water stress and natural resource mismanagement in Syria and North Africa.

    Read the full recap of the event here and watch the discussion ...
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  • Luncheon with Sir Peter Westmacott

    On Monday, February 4, the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted a discussion on the durability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow Sir Peter Westmacott. Future of Iran Initiative Director, Barbara Slavin, introduced the speaker and welcomed participants.

    Sir Westmacott made remarks on the outlook of the British government regarding the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a mechanism by European governments to salvage the deal, and prospects for European firms in conducting business inside Iran.


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