Acting Director, 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

Not So Fast, Say Lawmakers Who Suspect Lame Duck Trump is Expediting UAE Weapons Deal

Elias Yousif and William Hartung quoted


Security Assistance Monitor and Arms & Security Program

“The UAE continues to maintain a contingent of forces in Yemen, and to arm and train militias that have engaged in systematic human rights abuses,” writes William Hartung and Elias Yousif in a recent Security Assistance Monitor brief. They also point to the UAE’s use of drones in Libya, which is in violation of a United Nations embargo.

In F-35 sale to UAE, Senate seeks State Dept. guarantee for US technology and Israel

William Hartung and Elias Yousif quoted

Arms & Security Program and Security Assistance Monitor

Another advocacy organization, the Center for International Policy concluded in a new report that, in spite of the Trump administration’s assertions the deal will enable the UAE to address threats posed by Iran, the armed drones and precision-guided munitions included, “are more likely to find practical use in Yemen or Libya.”

It’s Been 2 years Since Khashoggi’s Killing. Why is Trump Still Enabling the Saudi Regime?

by William Hartung and Elias Yousif


Arms & Security Program and Security Assistance Monitor

Two years have passed since the grisly murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissident, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. It is widely believed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Both the CIA and the United Nations have concluded as much. Prince Salman himself acknowledged that the murder took place, as he put it, “under my watch.” Yet the United States continues to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, supplying Prince Salman’s regime not only with the means to continue pursuing violence at home and abroad, most notably in Yemen, but also with an implicit endorsement of its autocratic agenda.

Congress Needs a Veto, Not a Notification, on Arms Sales

by William Hartung and Elias Yousif


Arms & Security Program and Security Assistance Monitor

Though there is no shortage of examples of President Trump’s contempt for the authority of Congress, his administration’s efforts to dismantle congressional oversight over U.S. arms sales are especially troubling.

Militarization of the Middle East began long before the US invasion of Iraq

by Elias Yousif


Security Assistance Monitor

Drawing out the trends and patterns that have defined U.S. Middle East strategy over the past two decades is essential to understanding why American engagement with the region has proved so dissatisfying.

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