Elias Yousif

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.


June 14, 2021

Israel’s Exceptional Security Partnership with Washington

Elias Yousif

Israel is the largest historical recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, totaling more than $146 billion since 1950, equivalent to $236 billion in 2018 dollars, the vast majority coming in the form of military aid. But in the wake of Israel’s recent offensive in Gaza that killed over 243 Palestinians, including 63 children, and wrought untold physical damage on the densely populated enclave, advocates and lawmakers are raising questions about the wisdom and risks of the current U.S. security partnership with Israel, including the ways in which the partnership contravenes traditional norms, regulations, and statutes governing U.S. arms sales and security sector assistance.

This brief summarizes the exceptional elements of the Israeli military partnership with
Washington that pose unique challenges to oversight, accountability, and civilian protection.

Israel’s Exceptional Security Partnership with Washington
June 2, 2021

Ever Shifting Goal Posts: Lessons from 20 Years of Security Assistance in Afghanistan

by Lauren Woods and Elias Yousif

In light of President Biden’s announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by
September 11 of this year, this report offers several lessons learned, including committing
to a longer-term vision for security assistance in future endeavors. This is a conversation
and goal that U.S. and international planners should have prioritized from the very first days
in Afghanistan. There is no way to turn back the clock to reverse the mistakes of the last
20 years, but if some lessons can be gained from these efforts and the sacrifices that have
been made, then future similar efforts, if they must be made at all, will at least have a better
roadmap for what may lie ahead.

Ever Shifting Goal Posts: Lessons from 20 Years of Security Assistance in Afghanistan
May 12, 2021

Factsheet: US Arms Sales and Security Assistance to Israel

by Elias Yousif

Israel has been the most significant recipient of U.S. security assistance, with more than $3B allocated annually in recent years. Since FY2001, Israel has received over $63B in security assistance, with over 90% funded by the State Department's Foreign Military Financing program, a grant program that provides money to purchase U.S. armaments.

Factsheet: US Arms Sales and Security Assistance to Israel


June 9, 2021

Warfighting vs Institution-Building: America’s Chronic Contradiction in Afghanistan

By Lauren Woods and Elias Yousif

The contradiction between the goals of warfighting and institution-building is just one of many factors in the failures of the United States and NATO countries to build up capable security forces in Afghanistan, but it is one of the most important, most ignored, and unfortunately, likely to be repeated.

April 30, 2021

Biden Promised to Crack Down on Egypt’s Dictator. Why Is the President Still Sending Him Weapons?

Elias Yousif quoted

Our Elias Yousif was quoted in this article about US security assistance to Egypt's dictator. “Whether or not this transfer is routine replenishment, as officials are claiming, the message of political support it communicates is unmistakable and goes against the spirit of the Biden Administration’s pledge to break with America’s past embrace of dictators."

June 2, 2021

Politico Morning Defense - Afghanistan

Lauren Woods and Elias Yousif's SAM Afghanistan Report quoted

A new report out today on the international security assistance effort offers a detailed rundown of lessons learned. “The scale, scope, and ambitions for security assistance often failed to consider what was actually achievable and the staggering resources that would be required to achieve them,” said the report from the Center for International Policy. “In the end, a striking asymmetry between the expectations of nations providing security assistance, especially the United States, put upon Afghanistan, regardless of its size and abilities, raised expectations for maximalist achievements and laid the groundwork for strategic failures.”

April 10, 2021

Today's D Brief: WestPac maneuvers; Iranian ship attacked; Hypersonic failure; Top US arms customers; And a bit more.

Center for International Policy mentioned

Security Assistance Monitor's report, "U.S Arms Sales Trends: 2020 and Beyond from Trump to Biden" cited in Defense One's D Brief.