Mona Yacoubian
Senior Advisor to the Vice President of Middle East & Africa
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Mona Yacoubian’s work centers on conflict analysis and prevention in the Middle East, with a specific focus on Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. In 2019, she served as executive director of the Congressionally-appointed Syria Study Group, which USIP was mandated to facilitate. Additional research interests include violent extremism, fragility and resilience.
Yacoubian joined the U.S. Institute of Peace after serving as deputy assistant administrator in the Middle East Bureau at USAID from 2014 to 2017, where she had responsibility for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Prior to joining USAID, Yacoubian was a senior advisor at the Stimson Center focusing on the Arab uprisings with an emphasis on Syria. Prior to joining the Stimson Center, she 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. From 1990 to 1998, Yacoubian served as the North Africa analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
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. She Yacoubian earned an master's in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor's from Duke University.
Mona Yacoubian on Lebanon’s Dangerous Meltdown
Thursday, June 24, 2021
By: Mona Yacoubian
As Lebanon teeters on the edge of total state collapse, USIP’s Mona Yacoubian says very little stands in the way of malign actors and possibly a new migrant crisis in the region: “The lights are truly blinking red … if the army collapses, then, honestly, I think all bets are off.”
Type: Podcast
Conflict Analysis & Prevention
Lebanon on the Brink of Historic Breakdown
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
By: Osama Gharizi; Mona Yacoubian
Lebanon’s devolving economic and financial crisis could potentially be one of the world’s three worst since 1850, according to a World Bank report released last week. The increasingly dire situation — exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and last year’s Port of Beirut explosion — has likely dragged more than half the population below the poverty line, as unemployment soars and the price of basic goods surges. Already accomplices to this economic collapse due to years of corruption and mismanagement, Lebanon’s leaders have been reviled for their limited response. With Lebanese exasperated with their increasingly desperate situation, there could be widespread social unrest and a major breakdown, which would have important humanitarian and regional security implications.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Democracy & Governance; Economics & Environment
Despite the Sham, Syria's Election is Still Significant
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
By: Mona Yacoubian
In the face of international pushback, the Assad regime is going forward with plans for a presidential election on May 26. While the outcome is in no way uncertain — Assad will win amid deeply unfair election practices — the decision to proceed with the vote has major implications for international efforts to resolve the decade-long civil war. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian looks at how the election might affect the situation on the ground in Syria, what it means for the U.N.-backed Geneva peace process and how the Assad regime’s renewed stranglehold on power could affect regional tensions and U.S. interests.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Democracy & Governance
What Can We Learn from Syria’s Devastating Decade of War?
Monday, March 15, 2021
By: Mona Yacoubian
As the Syrian conflict marks its 10th anniversary, the protest movement from which it emerged stands as perhaps the most consequential of the Arab uprisings. The March 2011 peaceful protests that erupted across Syria have since evolved into the world’s most complex conflict. Equally significant, the conflict’s trajectory provides important insights into the complexity of the challenges that lie ahead in Syria, with significant ramifications for the region and the broader international community.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Conflict Analysis & Prevention
As Lebanon Melts Down, Can it Avert Total Collapse?
Friday, March 5, 2021
By: Mona Yacoubian
As Lebanon marks the seven-month anniversary of the catastrophic blast at the Beirut port last August 4, the country appears to be in a rapidly accelerating free fall. Lebanon’s currency continues to plummet in value, hitting new lows this week. With foreign exchange reserves falling, Lebanese officials have raised fresh concerns that the country may soon not be able to import key necessities such as food and fuel. Meanwhile, despite a COVID pandemic surge, angry Lebanese have taken to the streets across the country, protesting the rapidly deteriorating economic and social conditions. At the same time, efforts to form a new cabinet following the government’s collapse last August remain stalemated.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Democracy & Governance; Economics & Environment
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Syria's last aid crossing in balance as Biden to meet Putin - Associated Press
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
USIP's Mona Yacoubian on “Despite the Sham, Syria's Election is Still Significant” - Sirius XM
Monday, May 24, 2021
Evening Edition: Civil War In Syria Reaches Ten Years - Fox News
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
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Critical Junctures in United States Policy toward Syria An Assessment of the Counterfactuals, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, August 2017
Lessons Learned for Stabilization in Syria, Stimson Center, June 2014
Renewed Conflict in Lebanon, Council on Foreign Relations, June 2014
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