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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As events in late December 2013 and early 2014 have made brutally clear, Iraq is a nation in crisis bordering on civil war. It is burdened by a long history of war, internal power struggles, and failed governance. Is also a nation whose failed leadership is now creating a steady increase in the sectarian divisions between Shi'ite and Sunni, and the ethnic divisions between Arab and Kurd.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Mohsen Milani
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When the Arab Spring reached the Mediterranean shores of Syria in early 2011, there was an ephemeral exuberance that Bashar Assad's dictatorship would be replaced with a democratic order. Today, Syria has descended into an existential civil war among religious sects and ethnic communities. The country has transformed into a battleground for a proxy war among regional and global powers that pursue irreconcilable objectives. Balkanization of Syria appears underway as the government, the Kurds, and the opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime control different swaths of the country, while the civil war has ominously metastasized to Syria's neighbors. Alarmingly, a large number of foreign born jihadists and terrorists with possible links to al Qaeda have also flooded the country to foment mischief. Amidst all the destruction, the complex civil war has reached a stubborn stalemate with no breakthrough in sight.
  • Topic: Civil War
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Seth Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: That the Arab Spring caught the world off guard is hardly surprising. Interpreting overt stability as a reflection of fundamental strength or resiliency has often set the international community up for surprise. Few forecast the dissolution of the Soviet Union, for example; far too few in Washington anticipated what would follow the invasion of Iraq. These are reminders that apparent stability can be little more than an illusion.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the years since the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Southern Gulf states and the US have developed a de facto strategic partnership based on a common need to deter and defend against any threat from Iran, deal with regional instability in countries like Iraq and Yemen, counter the threat of terrorism and extremism, and deal with the other threats to the flow of Gulf petroleum exports.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, North America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: I have been asked to help set the stage for this conference by looking at the broader issues that can address the issue of A World with No Axis? International Shifts and their Impact on the Gulf. I have spent enough time in the Gulf over the years to know how often people have strong opinions, interesting conspiracy theories, and a tendency to ignore hard numbers and facts. We all suffer from the same problems, but today I'm going to focus as much on f act s and numbers as possible. I'm only going to select only a portion of the key trends and numbers involved in my oral remarks , but I will leave the conference with a much longer paper that lists a fuller range of such data. This paper that will also be on the CSIS web site, along with a series of very detailed papers on the military balance in the Gulf. If you want to provide me with your card, I'll also make sure the papers involved are sent to your directly.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II, Omar Mohamed
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula are critical to US strategic interests and collectively represent the single most important theater in the US - Iranian strategic competition. The proximity of the Arab Gulf states to Iran; the region's geostrategic value to the stability of the global economy; the shifting military balance; and the social, demographic, and economic tensions that threaten to create political upheavals in several key states make it a potential flash -point for tensions between Washington and Tehra.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Washington, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper provides an updated analysis of the military balance in the Gulf region focusing on US power projection capability and the relative size and capability of GCC and Iranian military forces. It shows that Iran is anything but a regional superpower if GCC states provide the cooperation and interoperability between their forces.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Iran, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is no one way to measure the level of security and stability in given countries, the conditions of life, or the rising threat posed by internal; and domestic terrorism. This analysis provides a wide range of metrics from reporting by the World Bank, UN, and US government. It focuses on trends and it will be immediately clear to the reader that it does not always reflect the shattering impact of the violence and upheavals that have taken place in some countries since 2011.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism, International Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Maghreb is in motion. Political changes underway across North Africa have created opportunities for more representative and transparent governance. Debates over the nature of authority and the role of the state that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago now shape political discourse. And yet, doubts remain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: US “independence” from energy imports has been a key source of political dispute ever since the October War in 1973 and the Arab oil embargo that followed. Much of this debate has ignored or misstated the nature of the data available on what the US options are, as well as the uncertainties involved in making any long range projections.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US faces major challenges in dealing with Iran, the threat of terrorism, and the tide of political instability in the Arabian Peninsula. The presence of some of the world's largest reserves of oil and natural gas, vital shipping lanes, and Shia populations throughout the region have made the peninsula the focal point of US and Iranian strategic competition. Moreover, large youth populations, high unemployment rates, and political systems with highly centralized power bases have posed other economic, political, and security challenges that the GCC states must address, and which the US must take into consideration when forming strategy and policy. An updated study by the CSIS Burke Chair explores US and Iranian interests in the region, Gulf state and GCC policies toward both the US and Iran, and potential flash-points and vulnerabilities in the Gulf to enhanced competition with Iran. This study examines the growing US security partnership with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – established as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It analyzes the steady growth in this partnership that has led to over $64 billion in new US arms transfer agreements during 2008-2011. It also examines the strengths and weaknesses of the security cooperation between the southern Gulf states, and their relative level of political, social, and economic stability. The study focuses on the need for enhanced unity and security cooperation between the individual Gulf states. It finds that such progress is critical if they are to provide effective deterrence and defense against Iran, improve their counterterrorism capabilities, and enhance other aspects of their internal security.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Oil, Terrorism, Natural Resources, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Far too much of the analysis of Iran's search for nuclear weapons treats it in terms of arms control or focuses on the potential threat to Israel. In reality, Iran's mix of asymmetric warfare, conventional warfare, and conventionally armed missile forces have critical weaknesses that make Iran anything but the hegemon of the Gulf. Iran's public focus on Israel also disguises the reality that its primary strategic focus is to deter and intimidate its Gulf neighbors and the United States – not Israel. It has made major progress in creating naval forces for asymmetric warfare and developing naval missiles, but it has very limited air-sea and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (IS) capabilities. It lacks modern conventional land, air, air defense and sea power, has fallen far behind the Arab Gulf states in modern aircraft and ships, and its land forces are filled with obsolete and mediocre weapons that lack maneuver capability and sustainability outside Iran. Iran needs nuclear weapons to offset these facts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is a nation with great potential and its political divisions and ongoing low - level violence do not mean it cannot succeed in establishing stability, security, and a better life for its people . Iraq cannot succeed, however, by denying its growing level of violence and the responsibility of Iraq's current political leaders for its problems.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Nicholas S. Yarosh, Chloe Coughlin-Schulte
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The political dynamics and violence that shape the current series of crises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – and daily events in Bahrain Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, and Yemen – dominate the current course of virtually every aspect of these states including much of the current course of violence and instability in the region. Political dynamics and the current levels of, however, are only part of the story.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Matt Bryden
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia marked a milestone in September 2012 with the establishment of a new federal government that has since won the support and recognition of the international community. After more than 20 years of conflict, crisis, and statelessness and 12 years of ineffectual transitional authorities, the Somali federal government (SFG) has been widely welcomed as Somalia's first “post-transition” government. It has been greeted with such a groundswell of optimism that many observers, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, have drawn parallels with the “Arab Spring” that has transformed parts of the Middle East. It is tempting to imagine that Somalia is finally on the path to recovery.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Islam, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Arabia, Somalia
  • Author: Carolyn Barnett
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While rulers in the Maghreb and the Gulf have long engaged one an-other, until recently neither region held essential strategic importance for the other. Now, several GCC countries are seeking greater influence around the region, including in the Maghreb. Gulf countries have demonstrated their growing interest in the Maghreb through aid and investment, though aid disbursements have been slow to materialize. Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Algeria all have delicate relationships with the Gulf that intersect with domestic politics, debates over Islam and authority, concerns about instability, the need for stronger economic growth, and aversion to foreign interference. Promoting constructive GCC-Maghreb relations will be most feasible on the economic front. Successful management of enduring tensions will not ensure political and economic stability, but it will make that stability much more likely.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arabia, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II, Omar Mohamed
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Yemen is the most troubled state in the Arabian Peninsula. It remains in a low - level state of civil war, and is deeply divided on a sectarian, tribal, and regional level. A largely Shi'ite Houthi rebellion still affects much of the northwest border area and has serious influence in the capital of Sana and along parts of the Red Sea coast. Al Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) poses a threat in central Yemen, along with other elements of violent Sunni extremism, there are serious tensions between the northern and southern parts of Yemen, and power struggles continue between key elements of the military ruling elite in the capital and outside it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai, Daniel Dewit
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last active US combat forces left Iraq in August 2010, marking the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the beginning of Operation New Dawn. Some 49,000 advisory troops, four advisor assistance brigades, and a limited number of special operations forces (SOF) remained to train, advise, and assist Iraq's security forces after that date, including the military, intelligence, and police. Until the end, these US troops continued to serve a number of other important security functions: carrying out kinetic operations against Iranian-backed and other militant groups; providing training to the ISF; taking part in joint patrols along the borders of the Kurdish provinces and helping integrate ISF and Kurdish forces; and acting as a deterrent to Iraq's neighbors–in particular Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Any estimate of energy risk is highly uncertain. The reality can vary sharply according to national and global economic conditions, politics, war, natural disasters, discoveries of new reserves, advances in technology, unanticipated new regulations and environmental issues, and a host of other factors.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Ephraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite all the optimism accompanying the uprisings of 2011, the Arab Middle East remains a stagnant region in deep socio—political crisis with little chance for positive change anytime soon. The current regimes may stay in power or get replaced by new dictatorships, moderate or radical. Either way, in the near future, weak states will continue to grapple with domestic problems and the direction of their foreign policies. For good reason, this situation has Israeli leaders worried about the implications for their country's national security. The changing regional balance of power favors Turkey and Iran, both of whom encourage radical elements in the region, not Israel, while the seeming decline in U.S. clout has negatively affected both the Arab—Israeli peace process and Israel's deterrent power.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is in an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity, and one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shi'ite s and Sunnis and the ethnic division s between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities. At the same time, it must build a new structure of governance, economic, and social order after a period of dictatorship, war, sanctions, occupation and civil conflict that began in 1979 and has continued ever since. It must cope with a steadily growing population, and diversify an economy that is so dependent on petroleum exports that they provide some 95% of its government revenues. This struggle can still end in a new round of serious civil conflict and even in the division of the country. At the same time, Iraq does have great potential and its political divisions and ongoing low - level violence do not mean it cannot succeed in establishing stability, security, and a better life for its people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Peace Studies, War, Counterinsurgency, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Any estimate of energy risk is highly uncertain. The reality can vary sharply according to national and global economic conditions, politics, war, natural disasters, discoveries of new reserves, advances in technology, unanticipated new regulations and environmental issues, and a host of other factors.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Energy Policy, Islam, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Riyadh Declaration, which was issued at the end of the GCC meeting in December 2011, calls for efforts to explore creating a “single unity” that could deal with the many challenges facing the Arab Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is in an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity, and one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shi'ites and Sunnis as well as the ethnic divisions between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities. At the same time, Iraq's leaders must try to build a new structure of governance, economics, and social order after a mix of dictatorship, war, sanctions, occupation, and civil conflict that began in the 1970s and have continued ever since.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Regime Change, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Harsh V. Pant
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last few years, India's policy toward the Middle East has often been viewed through the prism of Indian—Iranian relations. The international community, and the West in particular, has been obsessed with New Delhi's ties to Tehran, which are actually largely underdeveloped, while missing India's much more substantive simultaneous engagement with Arab Gulf states and Israel. India's relationship with the Middle East as a region is dramatically different than a generation ago. From 1947—1986, as at least one academic has argued, India was too ideological toward the region, paying insufficient attention to Indian national interests, particularly in its subdued ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.1 Today, however, India is developing its new Middle Eastern strategy around these three states, with New Delhi recently taking special care to nurture all these relationships and pursue its substantial regional interests.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, India, New Delhi, Arabia
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Americans took heart as they watched Egyptian demonstrators rally in Tahrir Square and topple the regime of Hosni Mubarak in a peaceful revolution. Next door in Israel, however, the mood was somber: “When some people in the West see what's happening in Egypt, they see Europe 1989,” an Israeli official remarked. “We see it as Tehran 1979.” Political leaders vied to see who could be the most pessimistic, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly warning that it was even possible that “Egypt will go in the direction of Iran,” with the new Cairo government becoming even more dictatorial and lashing out abroad. As he pointed out in remarks to the Knesset, “They too had demonstrations; multitudes filled the town squares. But, of course it progressed in a different way.” As unrest spread from Egypt to Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and Yemen, the gloom seemed to deepen.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Yemen, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain
  • Author: Mina Al-Oraibi, Gerard Russell
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “We are in an information war...and we are losing” declared U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, describing U.S. efforts to counter extremists and engage Arab publics during this year's unprecedented and historic change in the Middle East. She is right. In the decade since 9/11, thousands of American lives and more than a trillion dollars have been spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while millions of dollars have been spent on public diplomacy programs aimed at the Arab world. In 2009, President Barack Obama delivered a landmark speech in Cairo designed to seek “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” Two years on, according to the latest polling data in Egypt, unfavorable views of the United States outnumber favorable ones by nearly four to one. With some exceptions, the United States likewise remains unpopular in most majority-Muslim countries from Morocco to Pakistan. Why? And what can be done about it?
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the coming months, the US must reshape its strategy and force posture relative to Iraq and the Gulf States. It must take account of its withdrawal of most of its forces from Iraq, and whether or not it can give real meaning to the US­Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. It must deal with steadily increasing strategic competition with Iran, it must restructure its post-­Iraq War posture in the Southern Gulf and Turkey, and define new goals for strategic partnerships with the Gulf states and its advisory and arms sales activity. It must decide how to best contain Iran, and to work with regional friends and allies in doing so. In the process, it must also reshape its strategy for dealing with key states like Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Aigerim Zikibayeva
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The demonstrations that were sparked by Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation in protest of police corruption in Tunisia in December 2010 spread a contagion of revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East. The revolutionary spirit that spread to the neighboring countries of Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, and Jordan, has raised the question of a possible spillover in other regions of the world. The long-term instability in Eurasia as a whole, in Central Asia and the Caucasus in particular, has caused serious concerns about the possibility of rising radical Islamic threats in these regions, as well as the possibility of similar revolutions against the existing regimes. Perceptions and responses to these events in Russia and the United States also bear impact on the "reset" policy between the two nations.
  • Topic: Armed Struggle, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Central Asia, Arabia
  • Author: William Thornberry, Jaclyn Levy
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emerged from a decades-long militant Islamist tradition in Algeria. In 1998, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat, or GSPC) broke away from the Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armé, or GIA) because of the GIA's extensive targeting of civilians. Gradually, the GSPC evolved to encompass global jihadist ideology in addition to its historical focus on overturning the Algerian state. In 2006, the GSPC officially affiliated with al Qaeda core, soon rebranding itself as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In the following years, AQIM was able to conduct a small number of large-scale attacks, most notably its 2007 bombing of the UN headquarters in Algiers. In recent years, counterterrorism pressure and weak governance have combined to shift the center of AQIM's presence to the Sahara-Sahel region. AQIM continues to make its presence known through smuggling operations, kidnappings, and clashes with security forces in the desert. In the coming years, general instability within the region could allow AQIM to further expand its influence.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Judging by the popular press, in January 2011 Twitter and Facebook went from being simply engaging social diversions to become engines of political change that upended decades of Arab authoritarianism. It is tempting to be swept away by this narrative, which suggests that social media prompted hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of Tunisians and Egyptians to pour into the streets and peacefully demand change. Brittle authoritarian regimes had little choice but to comply, and in this way, social media irrevocably changed the future of the Middle East. Following the logic to its conclusion, it would suggest that the Middle East is on the brink of a period of democratic consolidation, as the ideals and tools of revolutionaries lead the region forward into a period of anti-sectarianism, liberalism, and hope.
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Uri Dadush
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Arab countries straddle the lifelines of world trade. They link Europe to Asia and, with Iran, surround the Persian Gulf home to some 54 percent of global oil reserves. The region's many international and domestic disputes, as well as restraints on political expression and human rights, have spawned extremism. In turn, the region's endemic instability or perceived risk of instability has provided cover for some of the world's most authoritarian and corrupt regimes. Until the turn of this year, the Arab countries had almost uniformly resisted the process of democratization that swept up other regions in recent decade.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Arms transfer to the Middle East are not the sole cause of the regional problems. In fact the acquisition of arms has been the product of the unresolved political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as other conflicts in the region. Over the past five decades there have been a number of arms control proposals and attempts for the Middle east. One main weakness of these proposals was that they were not integrated into a political process. The continued Arab-Israeli conflict made it practically impossible to formulate and implement formal arms control agreements, resulting in a failure from the beginning. Therefore, in any move towards arms control and regional security in the region, the linkage between both conventional and non-conventional weapons and the ongoing peace process must be made. A peaceful solution to the Arab –Israeli conflict should proceed alongside any arms control negotiations, specially in the establishment of a Weapons of Mass destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the region. It is quite evident that peace cannot be achieved while still being threatened by a weapons of mass destruction capability of a neighboring country, nor can a WMDFZ be achieved without the context of a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. This has been recognized by the Obama administration as being a “vital national security interest of the United States”. The position of many countries in the region is that they find it difficult to enter serious arms control negotiations until some form of regional peace is fully established. This stems from their perception that nations in the region still consider military force as the only viable source to achieve their policy objectives. The danger from this underlying reasoning, if perceived as the only alternative to preserving a regional security balance, is that it could give rise to an uncontrollable arms race and to a parallel proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Any massive rearmament will surely create an unrestricted arms race in the Middle East which will automatically be accompanied by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The fear is that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could give rise to states announcing a so-called “in-kind” deterrence or “the right to retaliate in kind”. Unless controlled this arms race will give rise to another military conflict with catastrophic human and environmental consequences.
  • Topic: Security, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is changing rapidly, although the outcomes of many of these changes remain unclear. The country faces major challenges in many areas—ranging from quelling the ongoing violence to achieving political accommodation and economic stability. Each of these challenges is critical to the future security and stability of Iraq: Defeat the threat posed by the remnants of the Sunni insurgency, neo-Ba'athists, and Shi'ite militias. Deal with the risk of new forms of ethnic and sectarian violence——especially ethnic conflict between Arab, Kurd, and other minorities in the North. Create effective Iraqi security forces that can fully replace U.S. forces, defeat or reduce the various insurgent and terrorist groups to acceptable levels of activity, enforce the rule of law, and grow strong enough to ensure Iraq's security from threats or pressure from neighboring states. Restructure the Iraqi government to both reflect the results of the 2010 Parliamentary elections and create a level of effective governance that can bring together all of the nation's major factions. Accelerate the slow pace of political accommodation and meet the need for stable political compromises between each major faction so as to rebuild full national unity over time. Find a new balance between central, provincial, and local governance that effectively serves the needs of the Iraqi people, aids political accommodation, builds capacity, reduces corruption, and shifts the climate from one dominated by counterinsurgency to one focused on the rule of law. Cope with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment; poor distribution of income; and key problems in the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors than affect large portions of the population. Move Iraq toward economic development in ways that deal with the complex heritage of nearly 30 years of war and internal conflict; massive population growth; and the need to create a competitive economy. Put Iraq's budget on a stable path toward developing effective Iraqi security forces and government services; helping fund economic reconstruction and development; dealing with the near phaseout of international aid and continuing foreign debt and reparations issues; and reducing the dependence of the government on uncertain levels of oil export earnings for the majority of its revenues.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Paralysis by democracy : lack of national unity government Lack of government effectiveness and capacity at every level Remnants of insurgency and possible revival Sectarian and ethnic challenges Budget crisis, crippled economy, loss of foreign aid Halt in progress in developing Iraqi security forces Coming US withdrawal Uncertain neighbors
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Fred McGoldrick
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is hard to know what is more disturbing — Iran's continued defiance of UN Security Council Resolutions ordering Tehran to cease its uranium enrichment activities and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), or the tour that North Korea recently gave to U.S. scientists of its new uranium enrichment plant. Policymakers fear that these programs will enable these states to produce more fissile materials for nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia