During the 15 months I wrote the Middle East Memo newsletter, I sought to explore the myriad challenges the Middle East faces, from authoritarianism, to human rights abuses, to the climate crisis, to poor governance. In the end, I remain more certain than ever that the region’s future depends mainly on its people.
In the wake of Joe Biden’s Middle East visit in mid-July, some U.S. officials suggested that critics of the trip should reserve judgement until they see the “deliverables” agreed upon by the regional leaders Biden met with. Hopefully many such deliverables do materialize, beginning with reviving the multilateral Iran nuclear deal.
The political impasse in Iraq has reached an ominous phase that underscores the danger of litigating politics through displays of force. And in Lebanon, the many twists and turns in its deadlocked politics demonstrate that negotiation through violence can give way to a sustainable—if bloody—alternative to civic democracy.