Program & Research Associate, Security Assistance Monitor


Elias joins CIP with several years of experience in foreign affairs research and human rights advocacy. He was previously with the Atlantic Council as part of their external relations team. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, he was a Campaigns and Research Officer with Crisis Action, an international civilian protection advocacy organization.


While with Crisis Action, based both in Beirut, Lebanon, and Washington D.C., Elias provided in-depth research and analysis to a global coalition of civil society organizations campaigning for civilian protection in South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. He holds a Bachelors degree in International Relations from American University, with a focus on Middle East politics and U.S. foreign policy.

Latest News

Amidst Rising Tensions, an Opportunity in the Arab Gulf


The very real threat of open conflict between the United States and Iran still looms large in the wake of September’s attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations. What remains of the Iran nuclear deal is quickly crumbling, and we’ve arrived at the logical conclusion of several years of escalating hostility between the United States, its Gulf allies, and Iran. Fortunately, staring down the barrel of war has had a sobering effect on Saudi, Emirati, Iranian, and American policymakers, who have all sent limited but noteworthy signals of their desire to reduce tensions. The Trump administration, already mired in more crises than it can manage, should not miss the opportunity these signals present to walk the region back from the brink.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

This is Why America Fights Forever Wars


When President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. troops from Syria who had been acting as a buffer between America's bitterly opposed Kurdish and Turkish allies, he didn't cite any change in the security landscape, any new strategic calculations, or any grand diplomatic bargain to ease tensions on this volatile fault line. Instead, he simply noted that he was fulfilling a longtime campaign promise to end the perennial deployment of U.S. troops to far-flung parts of the world.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

American Friendships Wither in Syria


Trump’s seemingly unplanned decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria, who have acted as a buffer between Turkey and US Kurdish allies, is just the latest, if not the most flagrant, demonstration of the fragility of American commitment to the region. The results are sure to be tragic. Just days after the announcement, Turkish troops have begun crossing the border into Syria, setting the stage for all-out conflict between a NATO ally and the Kurdish forces who have spent years fighting alongside US troops to dislodge the Islamic State.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

The U.S. Gives Military Aid to Corrupt Countries All the Time


If you take Donald Trump at face value about his now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which occurred shortly after he mysteriously stopped military aid meant for Ukraine, he was only concerned about sending millions to a country known for corruption. It was just a coincidence that he named his political rival’s son, Hunter Biden.

Elias Yousif mentioned

Security Assistance Monitor

Trump Can Still Prove He's a Deal Maker - By Brokering Peace in Yemen and Defusing a Regional War with Iran


Amidst rising tensions in the Gulf, Yemen—the terrain where Iranian and Saudi proxies have been engaged in a bitter civil war—presents President Trump with a unique opportunity to salvage his reputation as a dealmaker. More importantly, it could be a vital first step in reversing a dangerous game of saber-rattling between Washington and Tehran.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

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