Dr. Imad K. Harb, October 24, 2017

The Saudi leadership is on a path to serious domestic challenges after recent events in the kingdom’s east and the arrests of public figures. There are doubts about the steadiness of the ship of state with King Salman's poor health and the inexperienced hands of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Dr. Imad K. Harb, September 18, 2017

The Trump Administration must help safeguard GCC unity as a strategic bloc vital to American national interests and should coax GCC states toward a more open domestic social and political environment without which they may not be able to tackle the vicissitudes of the twenty-first century.

Dr. Imad K. Harb, October 23, 2017

As things stand today, it is likely that Congress will continue to be a decisive factor in the kingdom's arms acquisitions. In fact, members of Congress have expressed reservations related to two specific concerns: the war in Yemen and the continuing GCC crisis.

​Dr. Imad K. Harb, November 16, 2017

Mohammed bin Salman’s absolute power tactics strike at important pillars of legitimacy in Saudi Arabia. Three such pillars are consensual decision-making among members of the royal family, conservative Wahhabi religious authenticity, and the nature of the social contract between the ruler and the ruled

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Imad K. Harb and Khalil Jahshan November 21, 2017

Once again, the Palestinians are being asked to deliver more than they can, especially now that the Trump Administration has taken the `outside-in' approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli dilemma. Closing the PLO office in Washington will do nothing to assure the Palestinians' acceptance of the marginalization of their national rights in a state of their own with East Jerusalem as its capital.  

Hezbollah Continues Its Antics
Dr. Imad K. Harb, September 2, 2017

Hezbollah has once again usurped the Lebanese government's responsibility to decide the country's security after the Lebanese army succeeded in its military operation against remnants of the so-called Islamic State on the northeastern border with Syria. Having participated on the side of the Syrian army in the battle against the extremists from the Syrian side, the Party of God took it upon itself to negotiate the withdrawal of some 300 IS fighters and an equal number of family members to eastern Syria. As far as Hezbollah was concerned, the important thing was to rid the border area of jihadists who if not expelled would continue to threaten the party's constituency in such areas as Baalbek and Ras al-Ain. Moving them away from the border and to the Syrian city of al-Raqqa that is controlled by the organization seemed to be a logical solution that would serve the purpose.

But what Hezbollah has indeed done was to give a pass to a terrorist group that is responsible for the murder of more than 25 Lebanese soldiers and policemen it took hostage in 2014. The group is also responsible for the execution of imprisoned Hezbollah fighters. It also conducted some terrorist attacks and bombings against Hezbollah areas in Beirut, killing scores of innocent civilians. 

Now the party is calling for close coordination between the Lebanese government and army and the Syrian regime, in clear violation of  Lebanon's official policy of neutrality in the Syrian war. Such a change would not only be a betrayal to hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians killed at the hands of the party and its ally in Damascus, but would also result in one of two unwanted scenarios, or both simultaneously. First is the collapse of whatever civic peace that has so far been maintained in Lebanon despite Hezbollah's siding with the Bashar al-Assad regime, and thus a return to the dreaded civil war. The other, possibly helped by more Hezbollah control in Beirut, is a gradual return of direct Syrian suzerainty over Lebanon. 

With the party becoming too much of a burden for domestic Lebanese politics, no one knows how the next few weeks and months will look like. But what is clear from listening to many Lebanese not allied with Hezbollah is that neither the Lebanese people are ready to accept the party's, and Iran's and Syria's, over-lordship nor will the party be able to completely force itself on everyone in the country. 

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