Security Assistance Monitor tracks and analyze U.S. security and defense assistance programs worldwide. By informing policymakers, media, scholars, NGOs and the public (in the United States and abroad) about trends and issues related to U.S. foreign security assistance, we seek to enhance transparency and promote greater oversight of U.S. military and police aid, arms sales and training.

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Amidst Rising Tensions, an Opportunity in the Arab Gulf


The very real threat of open conflict between the United States and Iran still looms large in the wake of September’s attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations. What remains of the Iran nuclear deal is quickly crumbling, and we’ve arrived at the logical conclusion of several years of escalating hostility between the United States, its Gulf allies, and Iran. Fortunately, staring down the barrel of war has had a sobering effect on Saudi, Emirati, Iranian, and American policymakers, who have all sent limited but noteworthy signals of their desire to reduce tensions. The Trump administration, already mired in more crises than it can manage, should not miss the opportunity these signals present to walk the region back from the brink.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

This is Why America Fights Forever Wars


When President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. troops from Syria who had been acting as a buffer between America's bitterly opposed Kurdish and Turkish allies, he didn't cite any change in the security landscape, any new strategic calculations, or any grand diplomatic bargain to ease tensions on this volatile fault line. Instead, he simply noted that he was fulfilling a longtime campaign promise to end the perennial deployment of U.S. troops to far-flung parts of the world.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

American Friendships Wither in Syria


Trump’s seemingly unplanned decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria, who have acted as a buffer between Turkey and US Kurdish allies, is just the latest, if not the most flagrant, demonstration of the fragility of American commitment to the region. The results are sure to be tragic. Just days after the announcement, Turkish troops have begun crossing the border into Syria, setting the stage for all-out conflict between a NATO ally and the Kurdish forces who have spent years fighting alongside US troops to dislodge the Islamic State.

by Elias Yousif

Security Assistance Monitor

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