Analysis & Commentary

Policy Briefs


24th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Mubarak Freed, Egypt Shrugs

Oren Kessler

Hosni Mubarak was freed Friday from a military hospital in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, six years after massive crowds ousted him in the seminal episode of the Arab Spring.

22nd March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Organizations Under Fire for Alleged Hamas Support

Jonathan Schanzer

Turkey’s ties to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas are once again in the spotlight. Israeli authorities claimed this week that two charities with close ties to the ruling elite in Ankara were providing financial and military support to the Gaza-based Islamist faction.

22nd March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

A Temporary Thaw in Egyptian-PA Relations

Grant Rumley

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted his Palestinian Authority counterpart Mahmoud Abbas this week in Cairo for the first official summit between the two leaders in nearly a year.

22nd March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Sanctions Bahrainis Linked to Iran-Backed Group

Tzvi Kahn, David Andrew Weinberg

The State Department on Friday designated two Bahrainis with ties to Iran as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, thereby denying them access to the U.S. financial system, freezing their U.S. assets, and prohibiting American citizens from conducting transactions with them.

16th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Morocco Arrests Hezbollah Financier

Tony Badran

Lebanese media reported Tuesday that the tycoon and terror financier Qassem Tajeddin has been apprehended in Morocco before boarding a flight to Beirut. The U.S. Treasury Department designated Tajeddin in 2009 for being “an important financial contributor” to Hezbollah and for operating...

16th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Saudi Arabia’s Charm Offensive with New U.S. President

David Andrew Weinberg

Saudi Arabia’s most powerful prince, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, became the first Arab leader to meet in the White House on Tuesday with President Donald Trump, who was accompanied by White House advisors but not his secretaries of state or defense. The delegations did not...

16th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Ecuador, Iran, and Latin America’s Pink Tide

Michaela Frai

Ecuador will elect a new leader on April 2 to replace its left-wing, populist president Rafael Correa. Washington should pay close attention. Correa’s vice-president Lenin Moreno is a close second in the polls, but should he win, he will likely continue Correa’s economic populism and...

14th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

North Korea Looms Over Tillerson’s Asia Trip

Anthony Ruggiero

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Japan, South Korea, and China on Wednesday. His visit comes at a pivotal time: Early last week, North Korea simulated a missile attack on a U.S. base in Japan, and by week’s end, South Korea’s president had been impeached.

14th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran Announces New Charges Against Iranian-American

Tzvi Kahn

Tehran announced new charges against an Iranian-American and his Iranian wife on Sunday, accusing them of promoting “corruption on Earth” and founding a “cult.” The move represents a direct challenge to the Trump administration, which has pledged to secure the release of...

9th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran’s Missile Launch is Test for New Administration

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Iran reportedly fired two ballistic missiles this weekend, the first alleged ballistic missile test since the Trump administration put the Islamic Republic “on notice” a month ago. On Thursday morning, an Iranian official said the projectile was a Hormuz-2 anti-ship ballistic missile...

9th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Lebanon’s New Army Chief has History of Coordination with Hezbollah

Tony Badran

Lebanon’s new cabinet announced Staff Brigadier General Joseph Aoun as the new head of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) on Wednesday. Aoun, who commanded the 9th Brigade, was a favorite to take the post, and reportedly has the backing of newly-elected President Michel Aoun (no relation), a...

8th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Gauging the North Korea-Iran Relationship

Anthony Ruggiero

A new report alleges that North Korea is helping Iran continue development of a nuclear weapon in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. If true, the allegations would mark a dangerous development in the two rogue states’ efforts to advance each other’s illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic...

7th March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

UN Report Reveals North Korea’s Sanctions Evasion

Anthony Ruggiero

The United Nations issued its annual report Monday on North Korea, revealing numerous sanctions violations and confirming widespread suspicions that international sanctions on Pyongyang are poorly enforced.

3rd March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iranian Officials: Obama-era Prisoner Release was ‘Ransom’

Saeed Ghasseminejad

Iranian intelligence agencies are fighting over credit for forcing the U.S. to pay ransom for five U.S. prisoners in January 2016.

2nd March 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Lebanon’s Armed Forces and Hezbollah Increasingly Intertwined

Tony Badran

General Joseph Votel of U.S. Central Command reportedly visited Lebanon on Monday and met with top officials to discuss U.S. aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Votel’s visit followed a separate visit last week by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and a delegation of congressional staff...

17th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran’s Financial Rebranding Efforts and the FATF Plenary

Toby Dershowitz

The Plenary and Working Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – a global body for combatting money laundering and terror and proliferation finance – will meet from February 18 to 24 in Paris. While Iran is not on the agenda, it could figure prominently in discussions at the...

15th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Meet Mahmoud al-Aloul, Abbas’ New Deputy

Grant Rumley

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced the surprise appointment of Mahmoud al-Aloul as his deputy in the Fatah party Wednesday night. This is the first time in Fatah’s history that the party has appointed a deputy. The move and the man are both seen as controversial.

15th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

North Korea Debuts New Solid-Fuel Missile

Anthony Ruggiero

North Korea on Sunday launched a new ballistic missile, the Pukguksong-2. The launch represents not just a significant advancement for Pyongyang’s missile program, but the first foreign policy challenge for the Trump administration.

14th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Terror Financiers “Operating Openly” in Qatar and Kuwait

David Andrew Weinberg

A White House readout following President Trump’s phone conversation Thursday with the emir of Qatar said the two leaders discussed stopping terror finance throughout the region. Washington has good reason to raise the issue: Just last week, the Obama administration’s Assistant Treasury...

12th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Will North Korea’s Missile Launch a New U.S. Policy?

Anthony Ruggiero

North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), probably the Musudan (Hwasong-10), from western North Korea on Sunday morning (North Korea time). It is no coincidence that the provocation came during a working dinner in Florida between President Trump and Japan’s Prime...

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