"At the crossroads of three continents, the Middle East is home to many diverse peoples, with ancient and proud cultures, in varying stages of political and socio-economic development, often times in conflict. Now in a state of historic flux, the Arab Spring and subsequent upheaval, including the rise of ISIS, have transformed the Middle Eastern landscape, with great consequence for the national security strategies of the countries of the region and the international community. The course surveys the national security challenges facing the region's primary players today (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians and Turkey) and how the convolutions of recent years have affected them. Unlike many Middle East courses, which focus on US policy in the region, the course concentrates on the regional players' perceptions of the threats and opportunities they face and on the strategies they have adopted to deal with them. As a contemporary policy oriented course, students will assume the role of senior decision makers from the different countries and draft “policy papers” to their heads of state, elucidating the various issues and recommending means of resolving them. In addition to learning the complexities of the issues, students will also deal with the challenging process of drafting real-world policy papers and recommendations.The course is designed for those with a general interest in the Middle East, especially those interested in national security issues, students of comparative politics and future practitioners."