Middle East

green icon of the Middle East

Middle East

Produced by like minded partner organizations, these evidence based policy articles and reports focus on the geographical region of Middle East.

This table contains the entire repository of data and resources that the Better Evidence Project has collected and curated for the Middle East. To find resources you are interested in, simply use the search box on the top right of the table and search based on any parameters that you are interested in: Country name, Keywords, Type of Resource, Authors, etc. The table will automatically populate as you search.  You can expand the number of entries you’d like to see by toggling the show entries box (top left of the table) and selecting the number you’d like to see. 

To help narrow your search by keywords, please refer to this post that features a running list of keywords in use in the repository.


Resource Library

Navigate through our resource library, search for the terms you are interested in and the table will populate automatically with matching results.
TitleAuthorsSubject KeywordsAbstractLinkCountry Name
Disaster risk reduction, urban informality and a ‘fragile peace’: the case of LebanonKatie Peters, Kerrie HollowayFragility, Climate and Conflict, Corruption and Conflict
For too long, policy-makers, practitioners and funders in the international community have failed to pay sufficient attention to disaster risk reduction (DRR) in contexts of conflict. As a result, states and citizens living in fragile, volatile and violent situations are often unable to prepare for or mitigate against risk and, when natural hazards occur, the impacts are likely to be disproportionately devastating.
Although on the surface, Lebanon appears to be a relatively peaceful and stable society, digging deeper reveals a turbulent undercurrent, described by interviewees for this study as a ‘fragile peace’. This refers to the deep-seated inter- and intracommunity tensions that impede social cohesion in cities and that could flare up into violence at any time. The situation is exacerbated by a fragile political system built on sectarianism, inadequate urban governance and widespread corruption, coupled with inequitable access to rights and resources for displaced and refugee populations.
The Lebanon case highlights many of the complexities and contradictions associated with achieving disaster resilience in conflict situations. It also challenges conventional concepts of what constitutes a conflict context, and reveals new insights on how DRR can be pursued in these situations. Insight into sectarian divisions, urban informality, the marginalisation of refugees, and the prioritisation of conflict risk over natural hazards, help to develop our collective understanding and shed light on the types of DRR approaches and actions that are viable and appropriate in contexts characterised as holding a ‘fragile peace’.
Preventing A Conflict Relapse Between Iraq And KuwaitElliot ShortPeacekeeping, Conflict Prevention, Monitoring/Verification: United NationsUN peacekeepers helped to prevent further hostilities between Kuwait and Iraq after the First Gulf War.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/preventing-a-conflict-relapse-between-iraq-and-kuwait/Iraq / Kuwait
Peace Process Support in Times of Crises: The National Dialogue Support Programme in Yemen 2014-16Oliver Wils, Sonja NeuweilerConflict Management and Resolution, DialogueThis report details the work of the National Dialogue Support Programme (NDSP) in Yemen during the period of 2014-16. It provides the analysis from the perspective of the Berghof Foundation which was Originally set up in 2012, the NDSP provided process, facilitation and logistical support, negotiation and dialogue trainings, as well as analysis papers, coaching and public education materials to the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The NDSP was actually run by the Berghof Foundation in collaboration with Political Development Forum Yemen. The National Dialogue Support Programme's aim was to strengthen and protect the political transition process by supporting locally-owned and inclusive structures and mechanisms for political dialogue, informed decision-making and trust- and consensus-building. Yet, at the same time it had to respond to the political dynamics in Yemen which changed dramatically - and at times very quickly- between February 2014 and December 2016. This report presents many of the lessons learned, particularly about the coordination of a dialogue facilitation process in conjunction with a high-level political process. It also explores how the dialogue process incorporated informal dialogues and local level peacebuilding.https://berghof-foundation.org/library/peace-process-support-in-times-of-crises-the-national-dialogue-support-programme-in-yemen-2014-16Yemen
Preventing Renewed Interstate Conflict Between Israel and Jordan Elliot ShortMediation, Peace AgreementThe mediation efforts of the Government of USA ended the state of war between Israel and Jordan that had existed for 46 years, greatly reducing the risk of further interstate conflict and stabilising the region.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/preventing-renewed-interstate-conflict-between-israel-and-jordan/Israel
Local agreements as a process: the example of local talks in Homs in SyriaRim TurkmaniLocally-led Peacemaking Initiatives, Peace Agreement, NegotiationsThis article sets out why it is important to conceptualise local agreements as a process of talks that have a value in their own right rather than as a discrete event reached on a particular date. Throughout this process the terms of intermittently negotiated agreements are continuously shaped by two competing logics, the logic of violence and peace. Based on detailed empirical evidence covering six years of local talks in the city of Homs and its Al-Waer suburb, the article shows that even if an agreement is not reached, the mere process of local talks could lead to a steep reduction in the level of violence, fatalities and an improvement in the standard of living at a time when talks at higher level fail to deliver such results. The article also challenges the main methods of gathering empirical evidence about local peace agreements and discussed potential policy implications.
Qatar and the UAE in Peacemaking and PeacebuildingCourtney FreerDiplomacy, Economics and Conflict, MediationThis paper seeks to highlight ways in which Qatari and Emirati peacemaking/ peacebuilding engagement is qualitatively different from other states’ or international organisations’ efforts in this sphere. The main questions explored were how Qatar and Emirati approaches to peacemaking/peacebuilding are unique, whether or to what extent their engagement has been useful to the resolution of conflicts, and how the FCDO can leverage these states’ interest in this sphere. Through the research, the authors uncovered five main characteristics of peacemaking/ peacebuilding done by these small but wealthy states. First, small states, unlike regional or global superpowers, tend to have fewer direct links to the conflicts themselves, and so they can be selective about cases in which they become involved. Second, the fact that both states benefit from immense hydrocarbon wealth undoubtedly aids their ambitious goals abroad. Third, efforts at peacekeeping in the states analysed here tend to be guided by a desire to distinguish themselves abroad, something of statebuilding through foreign policy. Fourth, the trend towards the involvement of Qatar and the UAE in regional peacemaking/peacebuilding, as well as potential build-up of military capacity, is likely to accelerate, given perceptions of UK and US withdrawal from the region. Fifth, a lack of institutional depth in these small states means that policies are at times abandoned quickly and without explanation and that personal ties are of critical importance.https://peacerep.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Qatar-and-UAE-in-Peacemaking-and-Peacebuilding95.pdfQatar, UAE
Preventing Renewed Interstate Conflict Between Israel and Jordan Elliot ShortMediation, Peace AgreementThe mediation efforts of the Government of USA ended the state of war between Israel and Jordan that had existed for 46 years, greatly reducing the risk of further interstate conflict and stabilising the region.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/preventing-renewed-interstate-conflict-between-israel-and-jordan/Jordan
Ending the Kurdish Civil War in IraqElliot ShortMediation, Peace AgreementThe Washington Agreement ended a four-year armed conflict between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Iraqi Kurdistan during the 1990s.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/ending-the-kurdish-civil-war-in-iraq/Iraq
Localising Responses to Conflict and Crisis in Arab–Muslim ContextsSultan Barakat, Mohammad AbunimerConflict Resolution, Humanitarian Response, Localization"The set of articles in this special issue examines specific cases in which outside entities carry out their interventions in Muslim conflict and humanitarian crisis contexts. These interventions vary in their intentions, design, scope, and results. However, these cases all point toward the need for further and more serious consideration of the voices, needs, and values of local actors and communities. "https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1542316620941766Middle East
Maintaining Stability and Containing Armed Conflict in LebanonElliot ShortPeacekeepingUN Peacekeepers have helped maintain stability and contain or end several armed conflicts in Lebanon since 1978.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/maintaining-stability-and-containing-armed-conflict-in-lebanon/Lebanon
How local are local agreements? Shaping local agreements as a new form of third-party intervention in protracted conflictsRim TurkmaniNegotiations, Peace Agreement, Multi-Track DiplomacyBased on two case studies from Syria, this article argues that unilateral external intervention in protracted conflicts is not only about military and financial support to one or other warring party. Unilateral external actors often get involved in the negotiation of local agreements, creating a hybrid form of intervention that combines the roles of warfighting, mediation, and policing. In this context, external actors are able to transform their military, financial and logistical support to states and non-state armed groups into leverage and negotiating power that determines the outcome of local negotiations, thereby gearing the dynamics of the conflict towards their own interests and away from the local agenda. This hybrid external intervention may, in some circumstances, contribute to an unjust and uncertain stabilisation process, while in other circumstances, it can undermine local peace efforts. The clear implication is the need for a greater role and mandate for multilateral actors.https://peacerep.org/publication/how-local-are-local-agreements/Syria
The World Food Programme’s Contribution to Improving the Prospects for Peace in LebanonKristina TschunkertCorruption and Conflict, Economics and Conflict, Internally Displaced Persons/Refugees
This report aims to provide a better understanding of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) contribution to improving the prospects for peace in Lebanon. Specifically, the report investigates where and how WFP’s cash-based transfer (CBT) interventions in the country make potential peace contributions and looks at how these contributions could be further developed.

The findings are based on a review of programme documents, in-depth interviews with a range of stakeholders and field visits to project sites in Lebanon in 2021. The findings suggest that WFP’s CBT interventions can—and do—positively contribute to improving the prospects for peace in Lebanon. However, the conflict and peacebuilding environment in Lebanon is extremely complex and rife with uncertainties. With this in mind, the report emphasizes the importance of taking conflict sensitivity concerns into account and provides 13 recommendations on how WFP’s contribution to peace in Lebanon could be enhanced.

Resolving the Militarised Territorial Dispute between Bahrain and QatarElliot ShortDiplomacy, ArbitrationThe longstanding militarised territorial dispute between Bahrain and Qatar regarding the Hawar Islands was prevented by the diplomatic intervention of the Government of Saudi Arabia and resolved by the International Court of Justice in 2001.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/resolving-the-militarised-territorial-dispute-between-bahrain-and-qatar/Qatar
Middle East and North Africa Local Service Delivery Initiative : Promoting Social Accountability and Demand for Good GovernanceBeddies, Sabine; Felicio, Mariana; Dedu, Gabriel; Fall, Fatou; Vagneron, Caroline governance,citizen action, rule of lawGood governance is an underlying condition for the formulation of effective and efficient public policies, programs, and services. It implies a social contract and adherence to rules and laws that enable improved interaction between government and constituents on transparency, accountability, and participation. Good governance is equitable and inclusive, responsive and consensus-oriented. Governance reforms rank high on the development agenda of many Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, particularly in regard to public service delivery. Social accountability approaches aim to improve the performance of public services, user satisfaction, and value for money. This note highlights lessons learned thus far from the four Local Service Delivery Initiative (LDSI) pilot programs. https://mars.gmu.edu/handle/1920/12776Middle East
Resolving the Militarised Territorial Dispute between Bahrain and QatarElliot ShortDiplomacy, ArbitrationThe longstanding militarised territorial dispute between Bahrain and Qatar regarding the Hawar Islands was prevented by the diplomatic intervention of the Government of Saudi Arabia and resolved by the International Court of Justice in 2001.https://bep.carterschool.gmu.edu/resolving-the-militarised-territorial-dispute-between-bahrain-and-qatar/Bahrain
Supporting Social Accountability in the Middle East and North Africa : Lessons from TransitionsBousquet, Franck; Thindwa, Jeff; Felicio, Mariana: Grandvoinnet, HeleneGovernance: Reforms, Governance: TransitionSocial accountability is increasingly recognized as a way to make governance reforms and development efforts more effective in responding to the needs of citizens. Supporting initiatives that strengthen social accountability at the regional and national levels is consistent with the priority the Bank places on social and economic inclusion, citizen participation, and the quality of governance. The longer paper provides a brief overview of some experiences in the Middle East and North Africa (MNA) Region and international experiences from Indonesia, Turkey and the Philippines supporting social accountability during political and economic transitions. The full paper was prepared for a conference around the 2011 Annual Meetings in Washington, DC and included high-level policy makers from Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Indonesia and the Philippines. A panel of civil society organizations from the MNA Region exchanged perspectives about social accountability in the region, emerging opportunities and remaining challenges in making government more effective through an informed and engaged citizenry. https://mars.gmu.edu/handle/1920/12781Middle East
Mediation in the Yemeni Civil War: Actors, Outcomes, and Lessons LearnedJúlia Palik, Siri Aas RustadMediation, Peace Processes: Strategies, Negotiations
​Yemen is the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today. Qatar, the UN, EU, US, and the Gulf Cooperation Council have tried to mediate the conflict between the Government of Yemen and the Houthis. But mediation efforts have been complicated by the duality of roles: some mediators have been directly involved as a conflict party, and others indirectly involved, providing support to those engaged in the war. These factors violate the mediation principle of impartiality and diminish a mediator’s credibility and leverage. This brief analyzes all mediation efforts between the Yemeni government and the Houthis since 2007, reviewing the strategies, outcomes, and implementation processes to identify the factors that have hindered successful mediation.
MENA Regional Organisations in Peacemaking and Peacebuilding: The League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council and Organisation of Islamic CooperationCourtney FreerMonitoring/Verification: Regional Organization, Multi-Track Diplomacy, Peace ProcessThis report, compiled through desk research and interviews with academics and policymakers, serves to highlight primary assets and challenges of three regional organisations in the MENA peacemaking/peacebuilding space: the League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. It introduces the primary goals of each organisation before illustrating the assets and pitfalls of each through the use of concrete case studies of their involvement in regional conflicts. The report seeks to interrogate the efficacy of three regional organisations in peacemaking/peacebuilding, ways in which their involvement in this sector differs from that of other regional or extra-regional bodies, the unique challenges facing the MENA region, and the best way for the FCDO to engage, either with these bodies or others, to enhance progress towards peace in a region that houses several ongoing political conflicts.https://peacerep.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Regional-Organisations-in-Peacemaking51.pdfMiddle East