Elias Yousif

Deputy 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.



Issue Brief: U.S. Security Sector Assistance (SSA) to Nigeria

by Temi Ibirogba and Elias Yousif

In October 2020, peaceful Nigerian protestors faced violent crackdowns from the Muhammadu Buhari administration during nationwide protests. The #EndSARS movement seeks to end police brutality and bad governance in the country. The United States has provided security sector assistance (SSA) to the Nigerian military and police for many years. This issue brief looks at the trends in U.S. assistance to Nigeria since FY2001. CIP’s Security Assistance Monitor has provided the data which demonstrates the magnitude of the U.S. role.

Issue Brief: U.S. Security Sector Assistance (SSA) to Nigeria

Exception(s) to the Rule(s): Civilian Harm, Oversight, and Accountability in the Shadow Wars

coauthored by Elias Yousif

This report, produced by Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in partnership with the Stimson Center and Security Assistance Monitor, examines the tradeoffs and consequences involved with the continued use and availability of certain counterterrorism authorities and practices as the “endless war” enters its twentieth year. In examining these tradeoffs, it focuses on the proliferation and normalization of authorities and tools for employing lethal force, including modes of security cooperation where the use of lethal force and civilian harm are reasonably foreseeable outcomes. It focuses on three specific programs that are subject to fewer rules and much narrower forms of congressional oversight than other “conventional” military and intelligence programs, especially those forms of oversight that govern national decisions to go to war; the prevention and accountability for civilian casualties; and the protection of internationally recognized human rights.

Exception(s) to the Rule(s): Civilian Harm, Oversight, and Accountability in the Shadow Wars

Fact Sheet: U.S. Security Assistance in the Maghreb

by Elias Yousif and Security Assistance Monitor

The proliferation of armed groups and simmering conflicts in several countries of the Maghreb - Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, and Libya - have made the region a central theater for U.S. counterterror efforts, which have included expanded and controversial U.S. military operations. The U.S. has substantially increased its security sector assistance to the region, averaging $176 million per year between FY2017-19.

Fact Sheet: U.S. Security Assistance in the Maghreb


US ending aid to Saudi-led forces in Yemen, but questions persist

William Hartung's and Elias Yousif's report quoted

“The Trump administration has concluded two major deals for precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia of the type being used in its brutal war in Yemen, as well as upgrades of its US-supplied F-15 aircraft that are a bulwark of the Saudi air war in Yemen,” the report said.

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

Elias Yousif and William Hartung quoted

“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.

Biden should reverse Trump's bomb sales to Saudi Arabia

by William Hartung and Elias Yousif

It will ultimately be up to the Biden administration to reverse the Trump administration’s last-minute arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a move the president-elect may be inclined to make given his statement that his administration will not “check its values at the door” with respect to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its role in the Yemen war. Doing so would not only save lives in Yemen but also signal to friends and foes alike that the United States will no longer look the other way as American arms are used to empower autocrats or kill civilians.

UAE Enrolls Its Lobbyists in F-35 Fight

"Center for International Policy" mentioned

The United Arab Emirates has enrolled its fleet of lobbyists to try to assuage bipartisan concerns from Capitol Hill and the incoming Joe Biden administration over its pending acquisition of the F-35 fighter jet.

Others have pointed to the UAE’s military actions in Libya and Yemen, which have come under international criticism, as reasons to be wary about selling the Gulf country more weapons.

“The UAE’s active role in a number of regional conflicts raises the prospect that the arms and munitions announced as part of the package could directly contribute to ongoing violence and a troubling history of international humanitarian law violations,” the dovish Center for International Policy said in a Nov. 13 issue brief.

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