Robert Malley on the ‘Lack of Change Propelling Change’ in the Middle East

A woman walks past American, United Arab Emirates, Israeli and Bahraini flags on the Peace Bridge in Netanya, Israel, Sept. 14, 2020 (AP photo by Ariel Schalit).
A woman walks past American, United Arab Emirates, Israeli and Bahraini flags on the Peace Bridge in Netanya, Israel, Sept. 14, 2020 (AP photo by Ariel Schalit).

The Middle East is “a place that is both remarkably impervious to change…and at the same time always sort of on the verge of an explosion, where you always think that something quite catastrophic could happen,” says Robert Malley, president and CEO of International Crisis Group and a former special adviser on the region to former President Barack Obama. This volatility grows out of the tension between popular demands for greater responsiveness and accountability from governments, especially since the 2011 uprisings, and the “sclerotic nature…of the Middle East system,” Malley explains. “On the one hand, it’s the stagnation that leads […]

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