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.

Climate Change Is Exacerbating Iraq’s Complicated Water Politics

Aug 06, 2019

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...

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

Jul 12, 2019

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...

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

Jun 24, 2019

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...

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

Jun 20, 2019

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%...

Kuwait Is Risking a Catastrophic Drop in Foreign Investment

May 30, 2019

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...

Divided Arab States Look to Russia

May 07, 2019

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...

Enemies with Benefits: How Israel and Gulf Monarchies Work Together

May 03, 2019

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,...

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

Mar 19, 2019

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...

How Are Sovereign Wealth Fund Decisions Made?

Dec 22, 2017

Over the last eight years, considerations of politics and national security have come to play an influential role in the decision-making of Gulf sovereign wealth funds. In 2015, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) — Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) — declared its intention to invest $35 billion in the United...

Horn of Africa Feels Geopolitical Impact of Qatar Crisis

Nov 07, 2017

Extensive web of alignments and divisions across the Horn of Africa puts pressure on countries to declare solidarity with either side of the Qatar crisis. The oil-rich Arabian Peninsula states have long represented a beacon of stability in the tumultuous Middle East. Yet the five-month-old Qatar crisis has drastically challenged...

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