Elias Yousif

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.



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

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

Report: Beyond Performance: Lessons Learned from U.S. Security Assistance to Tunisia

Elias Yousif

This report takes a holistic look at Tunisia’s unique civil-military and political history in its broad assessment of Washington’s security partnership with Tunis. By mapping out these factors, this project aims to illustrate conditions and decisions that aid in the development of strong, healthy, and mutually beneficial security partnerships.

Report: Beyond Performance: Lessons Learned from U.S. Security Assistance to Tunisia


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.

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

William Hartung and Elias Yousif quoted

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.”

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.

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

by William Hartung and Elias Yousif

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.

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