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

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

by William Hartung and Elias Yousif


Arm & 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.

Is America becoming a police state?

by Elias Yousif


Security Assistance Monitor

In repressive states across the world, I have often watched with deep dismay the response of foreign military and police forces towards political reform movements or popular mobilization efforts. In many cases, brutal tactics, sometimes made possible by U.S. equipment, are used to stifle civil society and to guard the regime in power from criticism, accountability and reform. Yet, even as a member of an organization that tracks and scrutinizes the policies and behaviors of U.S.-backed foreign security forces, I was ill-prepared for the surreal yet painfully familiar scenes that have taken place across the United States since the killing of George Floyd.

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.

What it cost to kill Soleimani

by Elias Yousif


Security Assistance Monitor

For those who hoped 2020 would offer an opportunity to set a gentler course in U.S. foreign policy, it took just three days for President Trump to shatter those aspirations. The targeted killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassim Soleimani on January 3 injected global panic into the New Year, with actors on all sides scrambling to avert the prospect of a full-scale war.

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