The U.S. Institute of Peace established the Middle East and Africa Center (MEA) to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflicts in those regions by engaging directly in conflicts zones, providing policy analysis to the US government and resources to those working for peace in this region.  To do this, our experts engage local, national, and regional actors in participatory processes that promote sustainable peace.

Within this wide region, the MEA Center has programs on:

  • The Middle East:  Within the Middle East, MEA currently focuses on Iraq and Syria, where we work to promote reconciliation and social cohesion by engaging religious, civic, and tribal leaders in action-oriented dialogues.
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  MEA works at the policy and grassroots levels to bridge divides and prepare the ground for peace. We support dialogue and joint action across religious and ideological communities, train Palestinian peacebuilders in conflict resolution skills, contribute policy analysis to diplomatic efforts, and work to build trust and cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian institutions to create an environment conducive to a sustainable peace.
  • Iran:  MEA’s Iran Program runs The Iran Primer, the world’s most comprehensive website on Iran, which provides resources and analysis on Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program.
  • North Africa:  MEA’s North Africa Program focuses on Tunisia and Libya, where we work to strengthen the rule of law and promote non-violent conflict resolution through facilitation and mediation in country-specific dialogue projects.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa:  In Sub-Saharan Africa, MEA’s programming focuses on promoting wider participation in governance and peace processes, bridging divides within societies suffering from conflict, and engaging global and regional actors to help end violent conflicts.

Current Projects

Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework

The Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework (CSMF) is a data collection tool adapted to the Iraq context from USIP’s Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments framework. CSMF collects data directly from Iraq’s conflict-affected communities using a set of 48 indicators tied to four core conflict and stabilization dynamics: community security, rule of law, governance, and livelihoods. The CSMF was created to establish a robust evidence base for peacebuilding in Iraq using systemic, longitudinal data.

Red Sea Rising: Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East

Red Sea Rising: Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East

The states on the western side of the Red Sea to the south of Egypt and the Arab states from the east of Egypt through the Arabian Gulf have long been considered distinct regions. This is increasingly a distinction without a difference, however, as these states now operate more as a common political, security, and economic zone.

Syria Study Group

The Syria Study Group (SSG) was established by Congress with the purpose of examining and making recommendations on the military and diplomatic strategy of the United States with respect to the conflict in Syria. The SSG is a bi-partisan working group composed of 12 participants each appointed by a member of Congress for the duration of the study.

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Featured Publications

Four Things to Know About Libya’s Conflict and Foreign Interference

Four Things to Know About Libya’s Conflict and Foreign Interference

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

By: Thomas M. Hill

Libya’s post-2011 conflict has degenerated into a theater for regional and major power competition. The competing Libyan factions—the western-based, internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on one side and Khalifa Haftar’s forces and the Tobruk-based parliament on the other—each have significant foreign support that has only exacerbated the country’s existing conflict drivers. Despite repeated attempts by the international community to limit foreign interference, the major players only continue to deepen their involvement. What does this all mean for Libya’s political future and for its people? Here are four things you need to know.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

Driven from Their Homes By ISIS, Minorities Face a Long Road Back in Iraq

Driven from Their Homes By ISIS, Minorities Face a Long Road Back in Iraq

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

In 2014, Islamic State militants committed genocide against religious and ethnic minorities, particularly Yazidis and Christians, across northern Iraq. Kidnapping, rape, and murder marked this campaign of terror; thousands fled their homes. Six years later, with ISIS defeated militarily and its leader, Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, dead following a U.S. raid, many displaced Iraqis have yet to return to their homes. The obstacles they face range from bureaucracy to a fear for their lives amid signs of an ISIS resurgence to Turkish airstrikes against groups Ankara sees as threatening its national interest.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience; Human Rights

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