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  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For nearly two weeks, the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain has experienced near-daily disturbances following government arrests of opposition activists from the majority Shiite community. The timing of the arrests seemed geared toward preempting trouble in advance of the scheduled October 23 parliamentary and municipal elections, which minority Sunni parties and candidates are currently projected to win. The street violence and other incidents are of particular concern to the United States because Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, whose mission is to "deter and counter disruptive countries" -- a wording likely aimed at Iran, which claimed the island as its territory prior to 1970.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Robert Jordan
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 13, 2009, Ambassador Robert Jordan and Simon Henderson addressed a special Policy Forum luncheon at The Washington Institute to discuss succession in Saudi Arabia and the challenges it could pose for the United States. Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute. His most recent Policy Focus, After King Abdullah: Succession in Saudi Arabia, will be released this month. Robert Jordan is a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, where he was posted shortly after the September 11 terror attacks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Islam, Regime Change, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's resignation of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf creates a power vacuum in the most crucial country in the fight against al-Qaeda and Islamic extremism. For the foreseeable future, political power in Pakistan will not be in the hands of lackluster prime minister Yousef Raza Gilani, but in those of the ruling coalition rivals -- Benazir Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Future political contests will likely emphasize Musharraf's perceived closeness to Washington, an issue that united domestic opinion against him. This growing political reality, in addition to Islamabad's unwillingness to confront Islamic militants, further complicates U.S. policy toward Pakistan.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After a six-week delay following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis will go to the polls on February 18 to elect a new National Assembly. Pakistan and Afghanistan are "where many of our most important interests intersect," as Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 5. Accordingly, the election results could affect the position of a key U.S. ally in the war on terror -- the increasingly unpopular President Pervez Musharraf.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter, Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, around 400,000 Omani men and women are expected to vote in elections for eighty-five seats on the nation\'s Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Council. Among the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf region, Oman -- a key U.S. ally and exporter of oil and gas, strategically positioned opposite Iran -- is often considered to be the most politically progressive, perhaps even evolving slowly toward a constitutional monarchy. But the country remains dominated by its ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and for now, the council is limited to advice on public services and infrastructure.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Oman
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There are fast-moving developments in the British hunt for the terrorist cell that tried to set off two car bombs in central London on June 29. Two men were arrested after they tried to crash a vehicle loaded with flammable material into a Glasgow airport terminal on June 30. And a man and woman were arrested yesterday when their vehicle was stopped on the major highway between London and Scotland. Houses have been searched in several parts of Britain, and the number detained rose to eight today, including one in an undisclosed foreign country.
  • Topic: Government, Intelligence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, the Arab League will convene the annual summit of its twenty-two member states in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Despite a record of disunity and inconclusiveness, this annual meeting of Arab leaders remains the subject of intense interest in the region. Rising Sunni-Shiite tensions, talk of a peace opening with Israel, and developments in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Lebanon have generated more attention for this year's summit than usual.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Riyadh
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 20, 2006, eighty-three-year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced changes to the kingdom's “Basic Law”—effectively its constitution—that appear to formalize procedures for the selection of future kings. However, it is difficult to know how much the current system of succession will actually change. For the foreseeable future, it is most likely that the world's largest oil exporter and the center of the Islamic world will still be led by an octogenarian, with the probability that his successor will be of similar age, and perhaps even infirm.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At a time when attention is focused on the problems democracy has brought in one part of the Middle East, such as the Palestinian territories, it has been easy to overlook how democratic processes were key to resolving a crisis in another Middle Eastern country: Kuwait. The January 15 death of Kuwait's emir, or ruler, Sheikh Jaber brought to power the physically and mentally incapacitated Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah. But the crisis engendered by his ill health and his refusal to abdicate was resolved quickly through democratic processes. On January 24, the parliament of the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Kuwait exercised a previously unused constitutional power and voted to oust Sheikh Saad. The new emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, is expected to be confirmed by parliament on January 29, and is now under pressure from some members of parliament to choose a prime minister from outside the ranks of the ruling al-Sabah family.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Khairi Abaza
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The November 10 meeting at the White House between U.S. president George W. Bush and Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh will be the third time the two men have met since the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. Yemen is an oft-forgotten close U.S. ally, arguably as crucial to the success of the war on terror as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Egypt. The south Arabian country, with its rugged, desert landscape, remains a sanctuary for al-Qaeda operatives. With seacoasts along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Yemen dominates the Bab el-Mandab shipping chokepoint, the route by which oil from the Persian Gulf reaches the Suez Canal and hence the European market. (A French supertanker was badly damaged in an al-Qaeda attack off the Yemeni coast in 2002.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt