Mona Yacoubian joined the U.S. Institute of Peace after serving as deputy assistant administrator in the Middle East Bureau at USAID from 2014-2017 where she had responsibility for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Yacoubian was a senior advisor at the Stimson Center where her work focused on the Arab uprisings with an emphasis on Syria.  Prior to joining the Stimson Center, Ms. Yacoubian served as a special advisor on the Middle East at the U.S. Institute of Peace where her work focused on Lebanon and Syria as well as broader issues related to democratization in the Arab world.  

Ms. Yacoubian’s research focuses on conflict analysis and prevention in the Middle East, with a specific focus on Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Her interests also include fragility and resilience.

Ms. Yacoubian was a Fulbright scholar in Syria where she studied Arabic at the University of Damascus from 1985 to 1986.  She has held an international affairs fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and is currently a CFR member. Ms. Yacoubian earned an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Duke University.
 

Publications By Mona

Stabilizing the Middle East: A Shared Transatlantic Goal

Stabilizing the Middle East: A Shared Transatlantic Goal

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

By: Mona Yacoubian

In an era of global disorder—propelled by the intertwined dynamics of globalization and proliferating technology—the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) stand out as perhaps the most chaotic region. A proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” the MENA region’s numerous conflicts and endemic instability have exposed...

Global Policy

Regime Offensive Aims to Retake Southwest Syria, Displaces Thousands

Regime Offensive Aims to Retake Southwest Syria, Displaces Thousands

Monday, July 2, 2018

By: Mona Yacoubian

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.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Iran and Israel Are Racing Toward Confrontation in Syria

Iran and Israel Are Racing Toward Confrontation in Syria

Monday, May 21, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Mona Yacoubian

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.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Lebanon’s New Election Law Results in Limited Change

Lebanon’s New Election Law Results in Limited Change

Friday, May 11, 2018

By: Mona Yacoubian

On May 6, Lebanon held parliamentary polls—its first in nine years—under a new electoral law. I served as an international observer with the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) mission. It was a unique opportunity to witness firsthand Lebanon’s complex political system. Deployed to Zahle, a multi-confessional district in eastern Lebanon, I gained a deeper appreciation of the election’s enormous challenges and limited bright spots.

Democracy & Governance

Q&A: After Airstrikes, What’s Next for the U.S. in Syria?

Q&A: After Airstrikes, What’s Next for the U.S. in Syria?

Monday, April 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Mona Yacoubian

On Friday evening, the United States, together with Britain and France, launched a joint military operation in response to the Syrian regime’s April 7 chemical weapons attack on Douma. The Douma attack left more than 40 civilians dead and several hundred experiencing symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals. The coordinated airstrikes hit three targets associated with Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure: a scientific research center, a chemical weapons production facility, and a chemical weapons storage area. Around this time last year in April 2017, the Trump administration launched a unilateral cruise missile strike on the Shayrat airfield following a sarin attack by the Syrian regime on the town of Khan Shaykhoun, which killed more than 90 civilians. U.S. Institute of Peace Senior Advisor for Syria Mona Yacoubian provides some insight into the airstrikes and the challenges that lie ahead.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

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