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  • Sectarianization Book Cover

    Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East

    Edited By: Nader Hashemi, Danny Postel

    Sectarianization trenchantly challenges the lazy use of ‘sectarianism’ as a magic-bullet explanation for the region’s ills, focusing on how various conflicts in the Middle East have morphed from non-sectarian (or cross-sectarian) and nonviolent movements into sectarian wars. Through multiple case studies — including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Kuwait — this book maps the dynamics of sectarianization, exploring not only how but also why it has taken hold. The contributors examine the constellation of forces — from those within societies to external factors such as the Saudi–Iranian rivalry — that drive the sectarianization process and explore how the region’s politics can be de-sectarianized.

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Occasional Paper Series

The Chimera of Peace Between Israel and the Arab World: A Critique of the Abraham Accords

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CMES Director Nader Hashemi takes a dissenting view on the Abraham Accords, the agreement in summer 2020 between Israel and two Arab states (Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates).

Israeli Policy Toward Syria: 2011-2019

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Elizabeth Tsurkov, a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, offers a close analysis of internal Israeli debates as it relates to the war in Syria and documents the specifics of Israeli intervention in Syria from 2011 to 2019.

Why the Arab World Needs Democracy Now

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Just months before his death, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi delivered the keynote speech at the 19th Annual Conference of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) in Washington, DC, where he received the Muslim Democrat of the Year Award. Following his murder in the fall of 2018, CMES published an edited transcript of his speech in honor of his courage and willingness to speak truth to power.

Occasional Paper Series

  • The Chimera of Peace Between Israel and the Arab World

    A Critique of the Abraham Accords

    By Nader Hashemi

    The normalization of relations between Israel and two Arab states (Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates) during the summer of 2020 was widely celebrated as a historic breakthrough and an important contribution to peace in the Middle East. Despite their deep policy differences, on this issue, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, were in full agreement, reflecting conventional views in the Republican and Democratic Parties. The mainstream media and foreign policy debate similarly produced a broad consensus that hailed this agreement as a positive move for the region and for American foreign policy more generally. This paper takes a dissenting view. It argues that the foundations of the Abrahamic Accords rest on a set of arguments and short term calculations that cannot withstand critical scrutiny. Specifically, this agreement was informed by a set of prejudicial and authoritarian assumptions about Middle East and American politics that raise troubling questions about the long term viability of this agreement, and its potential to contribute to peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Arab-Islamic world.

  • Israeli Policy Toward Syria 2011 - 2019

    By Elizabeth Tsurkov

    One of the key dimensions of the war in Syria has been the role of outside actors. There is one Middle East regional power, however, that
    has not received sufficient attention in terms of its role and policy orientation toward the war in Syria—the state of Israel. In this paper, Elizabeth Tsurkov, a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, seeks to fill this void. Based on a close reading of internal Israeli politics, she examines the debate within Israel on Syria, and the national security concerns that inform this debate. She also documents, based on extensive research, the specifics of Israeli intervention from 2011 to 2019.