Middle East Notes and Comment: Sisi Risks a Quagmire in Libya
June 24, 2020
A mantra in police training is never to pull a gun unless you are prepared to use it. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt has brandished his weapon in Libya, threatening on Sunday to intervene in that country’s east if forces based in the west move past the city of Sirte on the central coast. Sisi is not playing from a position of strength, though. And Libya is far more likely to be a trap for him than a springboard to victory.
Read Jon Alterman's full piece on the The Hill.
Babel: Translating the Middle East
In the most recent episode of Babel, Jon Alterman talked with the Carnegie Endowment's Fred Wehrey about the conflict in Libya and who is involved. They also discussed foreign fighters, drone warfare, and what's next for Libya.
In another episode, Jon interviewed Georgetown University's Marwa Daoudy about the climate-conflict nexus in Syria. They covered past reforms in Syria, the relationship between climate change and human insecurity, and government corruption.
Jon hosted an event on June 22 on U.S. grand strategy in the Middle East with the Carnegie Endowment's Jake Sullivan. They discussed U.S. policy towards, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen and how to lead with diplomacy. "We need to decouple [physical U.S. troop presence in the region] with the notion of U.S. staying power or U.S. support," says Sullivan. Watch the event back on the CSIS website here or read the transcript here.
Jon and Will contributed to a new report by the World Bank's Harun Onder on the ripple effects of the Syrian conflict on the Mashreq region, called The Fallout of the War.
In the News
The Middle East Program's event with Jake Sulllivan was referenced in an Al Monitor article. Sullivan's remarks during the event are quoted, saying "The election of [President Hassan Rouhani] was not irrelevant toward the outcome of nuclear diplomacy, but it’s also not dispositive.” (06/22/20).Jon's work on China in the Middle East was referenced in an Atlantic Council piece by Jonathon Fulton, who said "Iran provides a useful foil for Beijing." (06/09/20).