Before the war, Yemen was already the Arab world’s poorest country and nearly four years later more than three-quarters of the country’s population is in desperate need of aid and protection, with millions displaced. Further complicating the situation, the conflict has become another battleground in the regional Saudi-Iran power struggle. USIP’s Dr. Elie Abouaoun and Sarhang Hamasaeed analyze the multi-layered nature of the conflict, Yemen’s dire humanitarian situation and the prospects for peace.
After a trip to assess humanitarian crises in some of the world’s most troubled nations, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley said he concluded that a matrix of conflict, corruption and “climate chaos” is driving one of the biggest periods of displacement in modern history.
Over the past two weeks, the Syrian government has embarked on a military offensive across Syria’s southwest, focused on retaking the city of Dara’a. Russia has played a critical role, backing the operations with airstrikes. The United Nations estimates that at least 160,000 Syrian civilians have been displaced by the fighting, and the number could increase as the battle intensifies.
As neighbors with a 585-mile frontier, Iran and Afghanistan have connections spanning centuries. Since 1979—the year of Iran’s revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—relations between Tehran and Kabul have ebbed and flowed. USIP’s Scott Worden discusses the complex relationship between the two countries, how Iran has built influence there, and where the U.S. and Iranian interests have overlapped in relation to Kabul.
Subcommittee Chairman Gardner, Ranking Member Markey and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning on “Next Steps on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea.” I am a Senior Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace, although the views expressed here are my own. USIP was established by Congress over 30 years ago as an independent, national institute to prevent and resolve violent conflicts abroad, in accordance with U.S. national interests and values.
In Washington, discussion of the threat of nuclear proliferation mostly focuses on Iran and North Korea. Yet in South Asia, a nuclear stalemate between India and Pakistan persists, with decades of tension that regularly threaten to escalate at a moment’s notice.
While Iran and North Korea dominate Western headlines, tensions between Pakistan and India—two nuclear states that have grown unpredictable—are at the highest levels in over a decade, threatening a potential catastrophic outcome, says Moeed Yusuf.
Ties between Tehran and Damascus have been close since the 1979 revolution, but the relationship deepened after Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011. With the Assad regime’s survival at stake, Tehran doubled down on its support, providing critical military assistance—fighters and strategists—and economic aid estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
As technological innovation develops at a blistering pace, it has fundamentally altered how conflicts develop and play out, and how peacebuilders prevent and mitigate violence. Throughout history, technology has driven warfare and international security.
Tehran’s interventions in conflicts throughout the Middle East have become a particular point of contention for detractors of the Iran Deal, which placed constraints on the country's nuclear program without addressing its role in Syria, Yemen, and across the region. There is no place Iranian influence has played a more conspicuous role than in neighboring Iraq.