Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

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Showing posts for "Issues & Topics"

The Deep State Mirage in Turkey

by Steven A. Cook
People wear masks depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during the Democracy and Martyrs Rally (Umit Bektas/Reuters).

This article originally appeared here in the Cipher Brief on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

The so-called “deep state” is like dark matter. There is wide belief in countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan that it exists, but no one has ever actually seen it. The term has now—rather surprisingly—become a part of the political lexicon in the United States. Among many others, President Donald J. Trump’s senior policy advisor, Stephen K. Bannon, and prominent radio personality Rush Limbaugh have invoked the deep state to explain the damaging leaks that have come out of the White House, and allegedly the intelligence community, during the administration’s first 60 days in office. These claims have been met with significant criticism, but it seems that in the polarized political environment that characterizes the United States today, the idea of the deep state is here to stay. Read more »

Should the U.S. Maintain its Alliance With Saudi Arabia? Unfortunately, We’re Stuck With Them

by Steven A. Cook
Saudi Arabia's King Salman attends a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia (Edgar Su/Reuters).

This article was originally published here at Salon.com on Sunday, February 26, 2017.

In late January, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the minister of defense, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the King Faisal Air Academy. On the occasion, the Saudis reportedly added to their fleet of warplanes a number of brand new F-15SAs. The new planes are a variant of the Boeing-manufactured F-15 fighter jets and are part of a $29.4 billion deal signed in late 2011 that includes 84 new F-15SAs and an additional 68 of the F-15S variant that will be upgraded. Read more »

The Deep State Comes to America

by Steven A. Cook
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his new National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (L) and that acting adviser Keith Kellogg (R) will become the chief of staff of the National Security Council at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on ForeignPolicy.com on Friday, February 24, 2017.

In the months and weeks leading up to the summer 2013 coup d’état in Egypt that brought Mohamed Morsi’s presidency to an end, Egyptians encountered one economic challenge after another. Blackouts had become commonplace, the tourism industry was dead, foreign investment was nonexistent, and the government was flirting with a solvency crisis. All of this meant severe hardship for the millions of Egyptians who had hoped that the end of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime would bring them the “bread, freedom, and social justice” so many had demanded in Tahrir Square a few years earlier. Read more »

Our Man in the Middle East: The Confusing Worldview of Trump Aide Derek Harvey

by Steven A. Cook
U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters accompanied by National security adviser General Michael Flynn (2nd L) after delivering remarks during a visit in Langley, Virginia (Carlos Barria/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Salon.com on Sunday, February 12, 2017.

Even since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the Middle East has been the central focus of American security and foreign policy. The United States maintains bases or access to facilities throughout the region. Its largest diplomatic post in the world is located in Iraq. American diplomats have spent countless hours encouraging democracy in Egypt and many more trying to forge peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The U.S. government has supported civil society in Tunisia and trained rebels in Syria. And the American defense industry sells billions of dollars worth of weapons to the region annually. Read more »

Are We Experiencing a Slow-Motion, Turkish-Style Coup? Or Our Own Arab Spring?

by Steven A. Cook
A police officer walks past people as they gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas (Laura Buckman/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Salon.com on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Read more »