Ahmad K. Majidyar studies political and security affairs in South Asia and the Middle East, with a special focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. He also travels frequently to military bases across the United States to instruct senior U.S. Army and Marine officers about culture, religion, and domestic politics in Afghanistan, and about terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before joining AEI in 2008, Mr. Majidyar worked as a media analyst with BBC Monitoring in Kabul, and served as an aid worker with the United Nations agency for refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan. He is fluent in Dari (Persian), Pashto, and Urdu.
Escalating Shi’ite-Sunni conflict in the Persian Gulf in the wake of the Arab Spring threatens sectarian stability in the UAE, Qatar, and Oman. The United States must take a more active role in shaping Omani, Qatari, and Emirati Shi’ites’ perceptions of their governments and the West.
If government repression and discrimination push Saudi Arabia's Shi'ites to extremes, some may resort to violence and terrorism, with grave worldwide consequences. The United States must work with the Saudi government to achieve gradual but meaningful reforms that include integrating the Shi'ites into the Kingdom's sociopolitical system.
A political solution to end the Afghan war is desirable, but a short-sighted deal with the insurgents could undo the hard-won gains of the past decade and serve as a recipe for another civil war in the country.
The U.S. mission in Afghanistan has suffered serious setbacks recently. The Taliban’s audacious September 14 attack on a major coalition base in Helmand Province suggested that the security gains in the south remain fragile and reversible, and that the insurgents are trying to make a comeback as foreign troops are withdrawing.