Theodore Karasik

Theodore Karasik is a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation. For the past 30 years, Karasik worked for a number of US agencies examining religious-political issues across the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia, including the evolution of violent extremism and its financing. He lived in the United Arab Emirates from 2006 until 2016, where he worked on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign policy and security issues surrounding cultural awareness, cybersecurity, maritime security, counter-piracy, counterterrorism, and infrastructure and national resilience. GCC relations with Russia and implications for the Arabian Peninsula states were also under Karasik’s mandate.
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Saudi Geopolitics Amid COVID-19 and the Oil Crisis

With West Texas Intermediate futures trading in negative territory for the first time in history, it seemed the market had finally come to terms with what experts had long warned: The world is running out of oil storage. With human movement restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, aviation grounded and the global economy halted, demand for oil plummeted. By March, Saudi Arabia warned that... Continue Reading

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Indonesia-UAE Relations Strengthen Amid COVID-19

On April 28, the United Arab Emirates sent 20 tons of medical aids for the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus in Indonesia. This equipment is expected to help around 20,000 medical personnel in dealing with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. While the assistance was just the latest in a series of such initiatives, it nonetheless puts the spotlight on Indonesia’s... Continue Reading

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Climate Change Is Exacerbating Iraq’s Complicated Water Politics

Today, what is commonly known as the Fertile Crescent — the cradle of civilization and the Garden of Eden — is not so fertile anymore. The region that extends from the Nile Valley, through the Levant and along the Tigris-Euphrates river system is facing unprecedented pressure stemming from a toxic combination of global climate change and localized poor environmental management. An article... Continue Reading

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Turkey’s New Role in the Middle East Divides the Arab World

When Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) ascended to power in 2002, Ankara’s foreign policy in the Middle East was extremely different from what it is today. From the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 until the beginning of this century, the ideology and stances of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk defined Turkish foreign policy. Suffering from an “Ottoman hangover,” Ankara’s... Continue Reading

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A Delicate Balance of Power in Syria’s Last Opposition Stronghold

The politics of Idlib are extremely complicated, particularly with respect to outside powers that have vested interests in the outcome of the fight for the province. The delicate balance of power in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib appears unsustainable and, to say the least, it is difficult to predict how events will unfold. The Russian-backed Syrian regime offensive to take over the... Continue Reading

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Bombs, Then Food: Saudi Arabia’s Humanitarian Strategy in Yemen

Riyadh’s strategy of breaking down Yemen without allowing it to collapse entirely now provides the kingdom with more opportunities to lead its reconstruction. Yemen’s population is enduring extreme living conditions with little chance of a positive change on the horizon. According to the World Bank, output has contracted by 40% since the beginning of the conflict, while 22.2 million people... Continue Reading

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Kuwait Is Risking a Catastrophic Drop in Foreign Investment

Marsha Lazareva’s case raises red flags for foreign investors and could send them fleeing Kuwait. Kuwait has a high-profile international case on its hands that threatens to harm the country’s foreign investment climate. The case, which has now been brought to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, coupled with several recent legal complaints from international investors, could... Continue Reading

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Divided Arab States Look to Russia

Unlike Western powers, Russia seems to have both the means and the willingness to intervene when its interests are at stake. The West has grown reluctant to intervene in ongoing crises in the Middle East and North Africa. At the same time, several Arab states are increasingly determined to flex their muscles with the aim of establishing a regional order that advances their interests. The... Continue Reading

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Enemies with Benefits: How Israel and Gulf Monarchies Work Together

Amid public pressure, ties between Israel and Gulf monarchies will have to be limited to informal meetings, public denials, middlemen and foreign subsidiary companies. In 1967, when asked “what sequence of events you would like to see now in the Middle East?” Saudi King Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud swiftly replied, “the extermination of Israel.” Since then, narratives in Saudi Arabia... Continue Reading

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Russia and China’s Agendas in the Middle East Challenge Washington

As US foreign policy in the region shifts dramatically, Moscow and Beijing align on many MENA issues, in no small part due to shared concerns about Washington’s conduct in the region. While America’s 2020 presidential race is already in full swing, Washington continues to project a confusing and contradictory foreign policy. Countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are in a... Continue Reading

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