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Crown Center


Save the Date - September 10, 2017
Looking Forward, Looking Back: 100 Years to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
A Special Public Event


Join us for this exciting half-day public conference on the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The conference will bring together top scholars and public figures to assess the past and discuss the future for both Israel and Palestine...Read More


Middle East Brief
Turkey's Failed Peace Process with the Kurds: A Different Explanation
Serra Hakyemez, Neubauer Junior Research Fellow at the Crown Center

In 2013, the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) entered into historic peace talks that signaled the possibility of an end to the Kurdish question in the Turkish republic. However, by July 2015, the Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), launched an unprecedented military offensive against the PKK...Read More


Former Fellows Update: Oxford University Press book published
Beyond the Arab Cold War: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68
Asher Orkaby, Crown Center Junior Research Fellow 2014-2015 and currently a Research Fellow at Harvard University's Department for Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Beyond the Arab Cold War brings the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68, to the forefront of modern Middle East History. Throughout six years of major conflict, Yemen sat at the crossroads of regional and international conflict as dozens of countries, international organizations, and individuals intervened in the local South Arabian civil war. This internationalized conflict was a pivotal event in Middle East history, overseeing the formation of a modern Yemeni state, the fall of Egyptian and British regional influence...Read More


In the News: May 26, 2017 - Middle East Research and Information Project
Lessons Learned (and Ignored): Iran's 2017 Election in Context
Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University
Naghmeh Sohrabi, Associate Director for Research at the Crown Center and the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History

On May 23, 1997, Mohammad Khatami, who had spent most of the 1990s as head of the National Library, defeated Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, the speaker of Parliament, to become president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The election was a turning point in post-revolutionary history—the underdog beat the preferred candidate of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Leader of the Islamic Revolution (rahbar), with roughly 20 million votes or 70 percent of the total...Read More


Middle East Brief
The Failure to End Libya's Fragmentation and Future Prospects
Jean-Louis Romanet Perroux, Junior Research Fellow at the Crown Center

Six years after a popular uprising against a ruthless dictator, Libyans struggle to understand why stability and prosperity did not come to their resource-rich country. Libya's sovereign power is currently contested among two parliaments, three governments, and nine members of a presidential council. This abundance of political bodies is far from affording peace, stability, and prosperity...Read More


In the News: May 22, 2017 - The National Interest
Netanyahu Can't Predict What Trump Will Do Next
Shai Feldman, Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center

During his campaign for the U.S. presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly stressed that Israel does not have a better friend than himself. So why has the level of anxiety in Jerusalem regarding the president’s visit this week reached such heights? Actually, the anxiety is perfectly understandable given that it is rooted in important recent developments in Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah...Read More


In the News: May 18, 2017 - The Washington Post
What's Really at Stake in Iran's Presidential Election
Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi, Researcher at the Crown Center and graduate student at Harvard University
Naghmeh Sohrabi, Associate Director for Research at the Crown Center and the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History

Tomorrow, Iran will hold its 12th presidential election. The election is now a two-man race between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, the centrist-reformist candidate, and Ebrahim Raisi, the candidate closest to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In the past week, polls show Rouhani over the 50 percent threshold he needs to win, but also show that almost 50 percent of voters are either undecided or don’t express their preference...Read More


In the News: May 9, 2017 - Fathom Journal
1967 | Internalising defeat - the Six-Day War and the Arab world: an interview with Kanan Makiya
Interview with Kanan Makiya, Senior Fellow at the Crown Center and Professor Emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Kanan Makiya is known for two seminal books – Republic of Fear, which called attention to the cruel human rights abuses in Saddam’s Iraq, and Cruelty and Silence which highlighted how many Arab intellectuals and Western Leftists were turning a blind eye to that cruelty, their silence justified on ‘ideological’ grounds...In this anniversary year of the Six-Day War, Fathom spoke to him about the legacy of the Six Day War for the Arab World, for Arab politics, for the left, and for Kanan Makiya...Read More


Middle East Brief
What Does the 2017 Presidential Election Tell Us about the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi, Researcher at the Crown Center and graduate student at Harvard University
Naghmeh Sohrabi, Associate Director for Research at the Crown Center and the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History

On May 19, 2017, Iranians go to the polls to elect their next president from six candidates, including the incumbent Hasan Rouhani. The election has become surprisingly competitive for a variety of reasons, including the unclear economic benefits of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015....Read More


In the News: May 8, 2017 - The Conversation
Iranian Voters' Economic Gloom May Doom President Rouhani's Reelection Bid
Nader Habibi, Henry J. Leir Professor of the Economics of the Middle East

Markets breathed a collective sigh of relief after Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency. But there’s another vote this month that’s just as consequential yet has received far less attention: Iran’s May 19 presidential election. If the incumbent moderate Hassan Rouhani doesn’t win a second term, one of his conservative challengers would likely take his place. This could complicate increasingly tense relations with the U.S. and put the success of the nuclear agreement at risk...Read More


In the News: May 1, 2017 - The National Interest
Trump Has a Shot at Arab-Israeli Peace
Shai Feldman, Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center

Most experts regard Trump’s talk about achieving a breakthrough in Arab-Israeli peacemaking as reflecting his inexperience and arrogance. But is this necessarily so? Is it not simply possible that Trump’s unconventional approach to policymaking and policy implementation might work, especially since all efforts to apply conventional remedies to the conflict have failed? And is it not possible that some of what most students of the presidency regard as Donald Trump’s weaknesses and shortcomings may prove to be assets when attempting to resolve this seemingly intractable conflict?...Read More


Middle East Brief
Morocco's Salafi Ex-Jihadis: Co-optation, Engagement, and the Limits of Inclusion
Mohammed Masbah, Marilyn and Terry Diamond Junior Research Fellow at the Crown Center

In the wake of the political protests that erupted in Morocco in 2011, King Mohammed VI issued royal pardons in March 2011 and February 2012 to a group of prominent Salafi ex-Jihadis, that is – Salafi Jihadis who had renounced violence.... Read More


Middle East Brief
Beyond Sectarianism: Understanding Lebanese Politics through a Cross-Sectarian Lens
Jeffrey G. Karam, Visiting Research Scholar at the Crown Center

In October 2016, after two and a half years of failed attempts to fill the post of the President of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, the Sunni former Premier, nominated Michel Aoun, the Christian Maronite former commander in chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces and ally of Shii Hezbollah.... Read More