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  • Author: William A. Rugh
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Despite the focus on the results of the Yemeni conflict, its underlying causes have not been very well understood. It is a complicated story but this essay seeks to highlight three important factors behind the current turmoil in Yemen that are often overlooked. First, the country has major domestic divisions that are the primary reasons for the conflict in the first place. Second, Saudi direct intervention in Yemen is nothing new and is motivated by Saudi leadership’s strong views about the country. Third, American policy toward Yemen has more to do with Saudi Arabia and the region than with Yemen itself.
  • Topic: Civil War, Cold War, Diplomacy, Politics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Soviet Union, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Deniz Çıtak
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: On January 20, 2018 at 17:00 local time, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) entered Afrin, a city in northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan named the military operation “Operation Olive Branch” (Zeytin Dalı Harekâtı) for the region’s many olive trees. According to Turkey, the operation does not violate international law because the operation was against the PYD and YPG as an act of self-defense, aiming to guarantee the security of Turkey’s borders. For Turkey, the links between the PKK and Syrian Kurdish groups classify Kurdish activity in northern Syria as a threat to Turkey’s domestic security.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Military Intervention, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: John Millock
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: ISIL recruited children through a variety of means, including abducting children from orphanages and hospitals, or offering to pay parents hundreds of dollars a month in exchange for each child’s attendance at military training. Additionally, child soldiers were often taken from particular ethnic groups or religious communities, such as Yazidis and Christians, as a means to terrorize these groups. Since the territorial collapse of ISIL began in 2017, many of these child soldiers have defected; some fled ISIL territory and are living anonymously in Europe while others returned to their home countries. Debates about how national legal systems should handle these former child soldiers have arisen in all of these jurisdictions. In Iraq, which has dealt with a particularly large number of former ISIL child soldiers, there have been concerns about the national justice system’s capacity to adequately address the prosecution and rehabilitation of ISIL’s former child soldiers.
  • Topic: United Nations, Law, Children, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Nicholas Norberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the backdrop of negotiations over drafting Syria’s new constitution and a transition in UN representation on Syria, the conflict in Idlib continues to simmer. Unrest in Idlib and dissatisfaction there with the internationally-recognized opposition, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), leaves residents of Syria’s northwest excluded from constitutional committee. This is significant because the constitutional convention is increasingly viewed as a precondition for advancing the larger peace process. The constitutional committee is no place to hammer out granular differences between warring factions in Idlib, but the course of events there hold significant implications for the future of the broader peace process.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Conflict, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, United Nations, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Robert Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: U.S. Army Colonel Robert E. Hamilton is a Black Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and is a professor in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. He has served as a strategic war planner and country desk officer at U.S. Central Command, as the Chief of Regional Engage- ment for Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, and as the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and as the Deputy Chief of the Security Assistance Office at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. Colonel Hamilton was a U.S. Army War College fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where he authored several articles on the war between Russia and Georgia and the security situation in the former Soviet Union. Colonel Hamilton holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Virginia. Colonel Robert Hamilton spoke with The Fletcher Security Review in early November 2017 at Fletcher’s Religion, Law and Diplomacy Conference. The following conversation is an excerpt from their extensive interview.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, Syrian War, Identities, Interview
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew McIndoe
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: On 6 December the Trump administration made an unprecedented decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The announcement, which both recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and conveyed President Trump’s intention to relocate the United States’ embassy to the Holy City, is a move shrouded in obscure motivations. Was it a manifestation of the strongly pro-Israel orientation of the new government? Was it merely the fulfilment of a campaign promise, a sop to the president’s evangelical and pro-Israel support base? Or was it truly designed, as the President maintained, to reenergize a peace process that has been stuck in the mud for years?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, Trump, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, United States of America
  • Author: Ches Thurber, Austin Bowman
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Ches Thurber is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. He was previously a research fellow at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism at the University of Chicago and at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His current book project, Strategies of Violence and Nonviolence in Revolutionary Movements, examines why political movements seeking to overthrow the state embrace strategies of either armed insurgency or civil resistance.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Non State Actors, Sectarianism, Social Movement, Conflict, Interview
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Erika Weinthal
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In the Middle East, water often crosses political borders; because water is a shared resource, its effective management demands cooperation among different users. In the absence of cooperation, conflict is likely. Indeed, conflict and cooperation over shared water has defined Israeli-Palestinian relations since 1967 when Israel gained full control over the Eastern and recharge zone of the western Mountain aquifer, as well as the southern Coastal aquifer. These resources, combined with water from the Sea of Galilee have provided about 60% of Israel’s water consumption. With the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel placed restrictions on the drilling of new wells for the Palestinian population in the West Bank, and instead chose to supply water to Palestinian households through its national water company, Mekorot. The signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (Oslo I) and the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Oslo II) between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization offered an historic opportunity to move from conflict to cooperation over shared water resources. Unlike many other peace agreements, water was codified in the Oslo Accords, as it was understood that water sharing was of critical importance for human security, economic development, and regional cooperation. Specifically, the Oslo Accords called for the creation of a Joint Water Committee (JWC) during an interim period before the final status negotiations, comprised of equal number of members from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, whose functions would include the coordinated management of water resources and water and sewage systems in the West Bank. Oslo II, Article 40 on water and sewage recognized Palestinian water rights in the West Bank and the need to develop additional water supply. Oslo II also detailed specific water quantities to be allocated to the Palestinian population, mostly from the eastern Mountain aquifer in the West Bank.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Water, Conflict, Negotiation, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, West Bank
  • Author: Abdallah Al Dardari
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Aleppo is a landmark in the Syrian conflict and has become the strongest signal of the failure of the western approach to diplomacy and other means of influence to end the conflict. This failure calls for a dramatic change in the approach if we want to preserve Syria as one country, safeguard its diversity, and ensure the rebuilding of the nation. The moment fighting in Aleppo ends and the current government, along with the Russians and the Iranians, feel they have the upper hand in this conflict, the immediate goal and challenge is to rebuild. Yet, how do we deliver services and create jobs? How do we support reconstruction? How do we ensure stability after “military achievement”?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economy, Political stability, Conflict, Syrian War, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Syria, United States of America