Featured Content Slideshow

podcast cover art reading: Counter/Argument, a middle east podcast. "Not all prisoners are political prisoners in Iran."

Counter/Argument: A Middle East Podcast — Streaming Now!

In part two of this special two-part episode, Golnar Nikpour discusses misconceptions about how and why people end up in Iran’s prisons, as well as the regime’s use of new technologies to surveil the population.

Displaced Yazidis cross the Iraq-Syria border at Feeshkhabour border point, northern Iraq, Aug. 10, 2014.

A New Middle East Brief From the Crown Center

In this Brief, Houman Oliaei outlines the shortcomings of the agreement in addressing past discrimination against Yazidis, the formation of new political identities and alliances, and ongoing conflicts over control of the Sinjar region.

Syrian government troops and allied militiamen walk inside the key town of Salma in Latakia province, Syria. The photo was released on Jan 12, 2016. (SANA via AP, File)

A Crown Seminar with Deborah Amos—March 29, from 11am-12:15pm EDT

In the Syrian exile community of Germany, the accounts of Ukrainian cities besieged by Russian forces are tragically familiar. Drawing on her decades of covering the Middle East for NPR, Deborah Amos will examine how Syria was the prelude to Ukraine.

books covers with Arabic text on the covers

A Crown Seminar with with Hosam Aboul-Ela, in Conversation with Mona Kareem

How is Arabic literature repackaged for the West, and what is the translator's role? Aboul-Ela looks at the "exportability" of Arabic literature through original and translated works by Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim.

Upcoming Events

March 29, 2023, 11:00am-12:15pm EDT
"One War, Two Countries: Syria and Ukraine"
Deborah Amos

April 19, 2023, 11:00am-12:15 EDT
"Exportability and Commitment: Arabic Literature in the Euro-American Market"
Hosam Aboul-Ela

Catch up on past seminars over at our YouTube channel.

The Crown Center for Middle East Studies is committed to conducting balanced and dispassionate research of the modern Middle East that meets the highest academic standards.

The Center seeks to help make decision- and opinion-makers better informed about the region. The scope of the Center’s research includes the 22 members of the Arab League as well as Turkey, Iran, and Israel. The Crown Center’s approach is multi-disciplinary in its study of the politics, economics, history, security, sociology, and anthropology of the region’s states and societies. 

Recent News and Publications

March 8, 2023

Middle East Brief 151 (Summary)Nine years after the ISIS campaign of genocide against the Yazidi community in the northern Iraqi region of Sinjar, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis continue to live in displacement camps in Iraqi Kurdistan. Efforts to implement the 2020 UN-brokered Sinjar Agreement between Iraqi and Kurdish governments to restore stability in the region have not only failed but also resulted in new waves of Yazidi displacement and further militarization of the region. In our latest Middle East Brief, Houman Oliaei outlines the shortcomings of the agreement in addressing past discrimination against Yazidis, the formation of new political identities and alliances, and ongoing conflicts over control of the Sinjar region as a disputed territory that hinders Yazidis' ability to relocate outside of Sinjar. Oliaei concludes that though the agreement was embraced by national and international stakeholders as a solution for Yazidi displacement, it does not tackle the root causes of Yazidi vulnerability to displacement and violence and, thus, is unlikely to be successful.

January 27, 2023

Crown Conversations 16 (Summary) — Over its forty-year history, the Lebanese party Hezbollah developed sophisticated military and organizational capabilities that have elevated it to be the most influential non-state actor in the Middle East. These capabilities make it the lynchpin of the so-called Axis of Resistance, the network of states and militias in the region that are closely allied with Iran. In this Crown Conversation, Mohammad Ataie discusses shifts in Hezbollah’s popularity and cross-sectarian appeal, and how Hezbollah's conflicts in its formative years with many of its current allies shaped the party that exists today.

December 19, 2022

Middle East Brief 150 (Summary)Is Israeli democracy at risk? This was a question raised by analysts and opinion makers after the results of the November 2022 Knesset elections in Israel, and the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu and far right parties aligned with him. In this Brief, Michal Ben-Josef Hirsch argues that while the election results raise the short-term risk of populist authoritarianism in Israel, the more significant and longer-term risks are the erosion of democratic institutions and decline in democratic values, particularly among Israeli youth. She concludes that these risks further shape and are being shaped by Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories.

October 3, 2022

Crown Conversations 15 (Summary) — In April, the two main warring parties in Yemen—the Houthi movement and the Government of Yemen—agreed to a two-month truce brokered by the United Nations that has since been extended twice. After the initial truce, Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi handed power to an eight-member Presidential Leadership Council, a development that many Yemenis and observers hope will lead to an end of almost eight years of war in the country. In this Crown Conversation, we spoke with Yasmeen al-Eryani and Stacey Philbrick Yadav about efforts to end the war, the importance of inclusion in peacebuilding, and the myriad ways in which conflict and international humanitarian efforts have changed the nature of research in Yemen.

August 19, 2022

Middle East Brief 149 (Summary) — The question of Iran's nuclear capabilities has been a major issue in US foreign policy for several decades. While many analysts have probed the politics of decision-making inside the Iranian regime, the technical dimensions of Iran's nuclear program are less understood. In this Brief, Gary Samore discusses what Tehran would need to do to build a nuclear bomb—and how quickly it could do it. Samore presents three possible scenarios in which Iran might obtain nuclear capabilities: breakout, sneak out, and creep out. US foreign policy towards Iran will only be effective, Samore suggests, if we accurately understand the technical foundations of Tehran’s nuclear aspirations.