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This article originally appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of Foreign Affairs. View it here.

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group...

Photo: Mishaal Al Gergawi speaking at the 2017 Gaidar Forum in Moscow, Russia

The situation in West Asia may seem hopeless. Syria is in a civil war that has turned the country into a global breeding ground for extremism. Iraq continues to struggle under sectarian and secessionist tensions, weak governance and high levels of corruption. A resolution to the conflict in Yemen remains elusive with a looming humanitarian crisis. Bahrain’s internal tensions are far from resolved. Lebanon may have final...

May 31, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the World Humanitarian Summit, May 23, 2016.  Original, Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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Over five thousand international delegates gathered in Istanbul last week to mull over the dire state of the world´s humanitarian needs. The venue of the World Humanitarian Summit could not have been more appropriate. It reflects Turkey´s central role in the Syrian crisis, as host to the bulk of the conflict´s exiles and its disconte...

Executive summary of a speech given in a seminar at the House of Commons, London

20 November 2014.

*Emirhan Yorulmazlar

Whether the advent of ISIS is inevitable or reactionary is a question preoccupying policy elites in major political capitals. Despite an inherent determinism, this question does rightly reflect the need to sort out the root causes of the current chaos in the Middle East. 

It also alludes to the inappropriate choices that have been made by the international community and have contri...

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The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
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