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Nicholas Noe

Bayrut, Lebanon
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About Nicholas
Nicholas Noe recently served as Regional Organizing Director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign in Michigan where he managed the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operation for the crucial areas of Wayne County and Dearborn City. Previous to this, Mr. Noe lived in Beirut (2004-2016) and in Tunis (2012-2014) where he was a co-editor of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s journal on the Middle East, Perspectives, and co-founder of the news translation service Mideastwire.com (2005-Present) covering the Middle East media.

He regularly provides analysis and commentary for Al-Jazeera International, BBC and several US and European publications and is the author of a White Paper for the New America and Century Foundations entitled: “Re-Imagining the Lebanon Track: Towards a New US Policy." He is also the editor of the 2007 book "Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah" and was a Visiting Fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations in 2014.

Mr. Noe’s Op-Eds on the region have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Foreign Policy Magazine, Asia Times, The National and The National Interest among other publications.

From 1999-2000, Mr. Noe worked for First Lady Hillary Clinton as an opposition researcher for her successful United States Senate campaign and then went on to serve in local New York City government as a speechwriter for the President of the New York City Council and as a Policy Advisor on technology.
 He graduated with honors from Cambridge University (MPhil, International Relations, 2006) where he was elected a scholar of Selwyn College and Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University (1999).
Arabic English French
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The Great Dome of Israel and the Dahiye Doctrine: A Recipe for Disaster?

04 Apr 2024  |  counterpunch.org
The article discusses the recent announcement by Israeli officials about the deployment of a comprehensive anti-missile defense system, including the US-backed Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome, to protect against threats from Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. The author, Nicholas Noe, highlights the heightened fears of war between Israel and Hezbollah, noting the political and public sentiment in Lebanon and Israel. The article examines the potential flaws in both sides' strategies and the belief that a new conflict could be devastating. It also addresses the broader geopolitical context, including the roles of the US, Russia, Iran, and regional Sunni states, and the potential for miscalculation to spark a major conflict. Noe suggests that rational decision-making may not be enough to prevent war and calls for disaster planning in Lebanon and a reevaluation of military strategies in Israel.

View from Westminster email

04 Apr 2024  |  independent.co.uk
The article discusses the recent developments in Israel's missile defense systems, including the Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome, which are designed to counter threats from Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. It highlights the first successful use of the Arrow-3 system against a Syrian missile. The author, Nicholas Noe, expresses concern over the escalating military tensions in the Levant, suggesting that a new conflict involving Hezbollah and Israel is becoming more likely. The article also touches on the political dynamics within Lebanon, the resilience of Hezbollah, and the potential implications of the Trump administration's policies in the region. Noe concludes by questioning whether any great power, particularly the US, will intervene to prevent further escalation and war in the Middle East.

The Looming Battle for Southern Syria

04 Apr 2024  |  huffpost.com
The article discusses the escalating conflict in Southern Syria, where a military axis consisting of Hezbollah, the Syrian army, and Iranian forces is conducting coordinated maneuvers against Syrian rebel groups, Al-Qaeda's al-Nusra front, and indirectly against Israeli military and intelligence. The author highlights the complexity of the alliances and the potential for a broader regional confrontation, exacerbated by recent military strikes and counter-strikes between Israel and Hezbollah. The article suggests that the conflict's intensification could lead to a larger, more intractable war, and emphasizes the urgency for international focus on this battlefield. The author, Nicholas Noe, warns that the slow pace of diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict is outpaced by the rapid developments on the ground, potentially leading to further violence and a challenging reconstruction process, especially with Israel's direct involvement.

Commentary: How can we improve humanitarian aid to Ukrainians? Let them control it

04 Apr 2024  |  derrynews.com
The article discusses the challenges faced by Ukrainians in receiving humanitarian aid amidst the ongoing conflict in their country. It suggests that a more effective approach to aid would be to allow Ukrainians to have control over the distribution and management of the resources provided. The author argues that this would not only empower the local population but also ensure that the aid is more efficiently and effectively utilized, as the locals have a better understanding of their own needs and circumstances. The commentary critiques the traditional top-down approach to humanitarian assistance and advocates for a bottom-up strategy that involves the beneficiaries in the decision-making process.

Refugees and migrants under threat in Tunisia

04 Apr 2024  |  brookings.edu
The article discusses the emerging trend of Tunisia becoming the main departure point for migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe, surpassing Libya. This shift has led to an increase in both migration across the Mediterranean and the number of deaths at sea. The article highlights the need for urgent policy action in response to these developments. Additionally, it raises concerns about the rise in authoritarianism in Tunisia under President Kais Saied, which could exacerbate the risks faced by refugees and migrants, including potential mistreatment and violence. Refugees International and the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings are organizing a webinar to delve into these issues and propose policy solutions. The event will feature simultaneous Arabic-English translation and allow for audience questions through Zoom.

France’s president is shocked, shocked that gambling has been going on in Lebanon

05 Apr 2023  |  warontherocks.com
The article discusses Lebanon's financial crisis, attributing it not only to the corruption of local leaders but also to the significant role of foreign powers. It criticizes the tendency to overlook the influence of external forces, such as Western governments, who have failed to push for reforms and have often supported the sectarian system for their own interests. The piece highlights the historical context of foreign intervention in Lebanon, from the creation of the state by France to the recent backing of Lebanese elites by Western and Gulf states. It also examines the U.S. role in supporting controversial figures like central bank governor Riad Salameh, despite signs of corruption. The article suggests that for genuine reform, foreign actors must match their rhetoric with action and stop interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs, allowing for the development of independent and accountable national institutions.

Ukraine's Humanitarian Aid Challenge: Empowering Local Response

27 Mar 2023  |  latimes.com
The article discusses the humanitarian response in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. Initially, the relief efforts were led by Ukrainian civil society, volunteer networks, and local officials, proving to be highly effective. However, as international aid agencies and NGOs have become more involved, the majority of the financial aid from donors like the U.S. and Europe is being channeled through these organizations rather than directly to Ukrainian groups. This has led to concerns about the creation of parallel administrative systems, the diversion of local talent, and the undermining of Ukrainian institutions. The authors, Hardin Lang and Nicholas Noe of Refugees International, argue for a shift in approach to empower local Ukrainian organizations and address issues of corruption and aid distribution while adhering to humanitarian principles.

Summary and Recommendations

01 Sep 2022  |  refugeesinternational.org
The article discusses the humanitarian response in Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February 2022. Initially, local volunteer-driven efforts were the backbone of relief operations due to slow international mobilization. However, as donors have committed over $12 billion in aid, the funds are predominantly going to the United Nations and international NGOs, which then pass resources to Ukrainian organizations. This process undermines Ukrainian organizations' leadership and creates a costly and inefficient system. The internationalization of aid is also diverting human capital from Ukraine's civil society and government, and potentially privileging international organizations over local entities. The article argues for a localization strategy that empowers Ukrainian organizations and government, suggesting specific steps such as setting concrete targets for localization, using the UN Ukraine Humanitarian Fund to channel resources to local groups, and donors adjusting their risk tolerance. It also recommends investing in capacity building for local actors, supporting local consortia, ensuring fairness in overhead costs, and embedding anti-corruption systems within Ukrainian organizations. The article is based on visits and interviews conducted by a Refugees International consultant across Ukraine.

Biden's Energy Envoy's Maritime Deal Faces Rejection from Lebanon

22 Sep 2021  |  responsiblestatecraft.org
President Biden appointed Amos Hochstein as an energy envoy to resolve the maritime boundary dispute between Lebanon and Israel, which involves potentially valuable energy resources. Hochstein, trusted by both sides and with a deep energy sector background, proposed a deal that has been rejected by Lebanon, risking the collapse of negotiations. His suggestion for Israel and Lebanon to share the Qana Prospect hydrocarbon field was seen as unacceptable by Lebanese political actors, especially given the enmity with Israel and the influence of Hezbollah. The article suggests that the Biden administration should reconsider its approach to avoid further destabilizing the region and missing the opportunity to establish a stable maritime boundary that could benefit all parties involved, especially in light of Europe's energy needs post the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nicholas Noe: Director, The Foundation for Global Political Exchange

31 Aug 2017  |  mideastwire.com
Nicholas Noe is a Senior Visiting Fellow at Refugees International and the director of The Foundation for Global Political Exchange. He co-founded Mideastwire.com and has served as a Political Advisor at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Noe has been involved in various political roles, including working for Hillary Clinton's campaign and in local New York City government. He has contributed Op-Eds to major publications and authored policy papers on Middle East policy and aid in Ukraine. Noe has held fellowships and advisory positions with several think tanks and foundations, and he has co-founded initiatives in Beirut and Tunis. He is an alumnus of Brown University and Cambridge University.

In The Levant, The Balance of Terror Is Falling Apart

05 Apr 2017  |  mideastwire.wordpress.com
Nicholas Noe analyzes the escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, highlighting the recent deployment of Israel's advanced anti-missile defense system. This system includes the Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome, all backed by the US, to counter threats from Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. Noe discusses the mutual assumptions and strategies of Israel and Hezbollah, which may lead to miscalculations and an increased likelihood of conflict. He notes the regional and international dynamics, including Iran and Hezbollah's regional power versus their isolation, the changing alliances in the Middle East, and the Trump administration's aggressive stance towards Iran. Noe suggests that while the great powers are unlikely to prevent a new war, local disaster planning and a reevaluation of military strategies by both Israel and Hezbollah could mitigate the risks of a major confrontation.

The False, Perilous Choice Of A "Limited" American Bombing Campaign In Syria

28 Jun 2016  |  huffpost.com
The article discusses the debate surrounding U.S. military intervention in Syria, highlighting the lack of military expertise among many advocates for intervention. It critiques a report by Century Foundation Fellow Thanassis Cambanis, who argues for limited military pressure against the Assad regime to foster a negotiated end to the war. The article points out the absence of consideration for how Assad's allies, such as Hezbollah and Iran, might respond to U.S. attacks. It also notes the lack of engagement with opposing views and the failure to consider the complexities of power-sharing in a post-conflict Syria. The author suggests that a temporary partition of Syria, acknowledging its de facto state, could be a more viable solution to focus on defeating ISIS and other extremist groups while allowing Assad to control a rump state.

The Problem With Saving Tunisia

27 May 2016  |  huffpost.com
The article discusses the challenges Tunisia faces post-2011 revolution, including economic regression, social divisions, and terrorist attacks. Despite a new Constitution and democratic elections, the country struggles with stability. The consensus among Western elites that Tunisia is a model success story is at risk of unraveling. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published reports proposing a grand bargain to save Tunisia, highlighting the need for specific policies to address the corrupt 'parallel state' undermining economic and security reforms. The reports suggest quick wins and modest reforms to build confidence for international support. However, the article critiques both Western governments and think tanks for not addressing the structural imbalance of weak democratic forces against the entrenched parallel state. It suggests that without empowering local democratic forces, Tunisia cannot effectively combat corruption or protect itself from economic collapse and insurgencies. The article proposes an International Anti-Corruption Court or a U.N. investigation with a hybrid tribunal as potential solutions to dismantle the parallel state and support Tunisia's democratic transition.

For the Sake of Tunisia, Don't Escalate the Armed Conflict in Libya

18 Mar 2016  |  huffpost.com
The article discusses the potential consequences of Western military intervention in Libya, particularly in relation to Tunisia's stability. Five years after NATO's involvement in ousting Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is attempting national reconciliation. The author argues that intervention could fracture this process and exacerbate violence, pushing more people towards extremism. The article highlights Tunisia's vulnerability, with recent ISIS attacks and economic struggles, including a collapsed tourism sector and rising unemployment. The author suggests that instead of military action, support should be given to Libya's reconciliation, Syria's peace process, and Tunisia's defense capabilities. The article also touches on the concept of a parallel state in Tunisia, suggesting a hybrid Tunisian-UN tribunal to combat corruption. The author concludes by urging immediate action to prevent further destabilization of the region.

The Problem With Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet

09 Oct 2015  |  tabletmag.com
The article discusses the Nobel Committee's decision to award the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet the Nobel Peace Prize, arguing that the main actors in Tunisia's transition to democracy were the democratically-elected representatives and political party leaders, not the Quartet. The author suggests that the leading Islamist party, An-Nahda, and their secular coalition allies or the Nidaa Tounes party would have been more logical recipients. The Quartet, which includes various organizations from the dictatorship era, is criticized for its lack of transparency and public engagement during the negotiation process. The article also highlights the Quartet's role in promoting the idea of bypassing democratic structures in favor of backroom negotiations with NGOs and other groups when facing challenges.

When NGOs Call For Military Intervention in Syria: The Case of the International Crisis Group

15 Sep 2015  |  huffpost.com
The article discusses the role of the International Crisis Group (ICG) in the context of the Syrian Civil War. It critiques the ICG's 2011 report which predicted the collapse of the Syrian regime without considering the potential intervention by Russia, Iran, or Hezbollah. The article argues that the ICG's overconfidence may have contributed to a rejection of diplomacy, prolonging the war. It also examines the ICG's recent report advocating for US-led military escalation as a means to pressure the Syrian regime, criticizing the lack of discussion on the potential consequences of such actions. The author suggests that the ICG has neglected its duty to advocate for international engagement and negotiated solutions, and has failed to consider alternative diplomatic approaches that could involve pressuring regional allies or reassessing the demand for Assad's departure before a settlement.

Hezbollah’s subtle shift on Syria

30 Mar 2012  |  Foreign Policy
Hezbollah has subtly shifted its public stance on the Syrian conflict, with Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah calling for a negotiated political solution and condemning violence from both the regime and the opposition. Nasrallah's speech reflects a heightened sense of urgency and concern over the potential for civil war and regional instability. Despite Hezbollah's historical support for Assad, Nasrallah acknowledges the regime's strategic mistakes and the need for a concerted international effort to de-escalate the conflict. The article highlights the complexities of Hezbollah's position and the broader geopolitical implications of the Syrian crisis.

In Syria, We Need to Bargain With the Devil

07 Feb 2012  |  www.nytimes.com
A year after anti-government protests began in Syria, the likelihood of a full-scale civil war is increasing, with potential for a multifront conflict involving conventional and unconventional warfare. The idea of a controlled collapse of Bashar al-Assad's government is deemed unlikely due to substantial support from the army, elite, and external allies like Russia, China, and Iran. The prolonged conflict is expected to exceed moral and strategic limits for the West and its allies, exacerbating sectarian tensions in Syria and neighboring countries like Lebanon and Iraq.

The cedar retribution

29 Jul 2010  |  Foreign Policy
Hezbollah, led by Hassan Nasrallah, is preparing for potential indictments by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) regarding the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Despite concerns, Hezbollah feels more secure politically, diplomatically, and militarily than in previous years. The STL's actions are seen as part of a broader strategy to delegitimize Hezbollah, potentially leading to increased conflict in Lebanon. The party is wary of the STL's impact on its global legitimacy and the potential for renewed violence, but remains confident in its ability to counter these challenges.

A fair fight for Lebanon's army

18 Jun 2008  |  www.nytimes.com
In the aftermath of a narrowly avoided civil war in Lebanon, the United States has a unique opportunity to strengthen the Lebanese Armed Forces. Despite providing over $300 million in tactical aid since 2005, the Bush administration has refrained from supplying strategic weapons due to a prohibition against providing advanced equipment that could be used against Israel. This policy is criticized as short-sighted and contradictory, especially given Hezbollah's superior weaponry. The lack of advanced equipment has hindered the Lebanese army's effectiveness in recent conflicts, including battles with Hezbollah and Islamist militants. The United Arab Emirates' donation of Gazelle helicopters, albeit stripped of advanced rocketry due to US restrictions, is highlighted as a positive contribution.

Getting Hezbollah to Behave

21 Jul 2007  |  www.nytimes.com
A year after the war between Israel and Hezbollah, there are indications of both parties preparing for potential conflict, with Hezbollah re-arming with Syrian and Iranian support, and Israel with American aid. The article suggests that the United States and Israel consider nonviolent alternatives to contain Hezbollah by undermining public support for its resistance operations, especially since Hezbollah has engaged more in Lebanese politics since Israel's withdrawal in 2000. The article also discusses Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's conditions for reducing violence, including the return of Lebanese prisoners and the cessation of Israeli overflights. The strategy involves addressing the 'four bleeding wounds' that justify Hezbollah's violence, potentially pushing the group further into Lebanese politics and away from armed conflict.

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