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  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: President Mohammed Khatami was re-elected on June 8 by a huge margin. Khatami's supporters are already talking about a renewed campaign for reform under a reorganised cabinet and a reinvigorated Majlis. However, the obstacles to such a programme remain formidable. Khatami is likely to press a little more strongly for reform, especially in the economic field. However, doubts remains that he or his parliamentary colleagues have the means to use the renewed mandate provided by the election to press for radical change. Any change is therefore likely to modest and incremental, though, in the Iranian context, significant.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Likud leader Ariel Sharon's resounding victory in last Tuesday's election for prime minister has produced a chaotic political situation. The Knesset is likely to remain as dysfunctional as it was before the election campaign and Sharon will face immense difficulties in his attempts to form a government and pass the budget. Even should he succeed, it is possible that the government will fall before the next scheduled election, and that he will face a credible challenge from former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Senior Palestinian officials this week rejected US President Bill Clinton's peace proposals. All the Palestinian factions have now rejected the proposals designed to end the conflict with Israel. This is a sign of the overwhelming domestic pressure Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is under. However, his position remains one of conditional acceptance as he awaits further US interpretations and clarifications. Arafat's conditional acceptance of the US proposals is an attempt to improve his diplomatic position. He hopes to make use of the enhanced Arab engagement in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process to improve on the terms of a future peace agreement. This will be essential if he is to win domestic approval of any deal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel this week launched missile attacks against Palestinian security targets in Gaza in retaliation for the bombing of a school bus carrying settlers. Tel Aviv and Washington have blamed Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat for the current crisis, saying he could reduce the violence. In fact, the uprising is a spontaneous revolt against the terms of the Oslo peace process. Far from being undermined by the crisis, Arafat is using it to maximise his political and diplomatic position in the event that negotiations resume. The crisis marks a decisive shift in the Palestinians' conditions for peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week, the Majlis approved a government bill authorising immediate use of the 2000-01 budget surplus. The windfall surplus, largely the result of increased oil revenues, should amount to 6-10 billion dollars by the end of the fiscal year in March. It will certainly transform Iran's external finances, but its impact on the domestic economy will be less immediate, and it will do little to ease investor concerns. Khatami's efforts to attract greater foreign investment depend on reform of the judiciary and other key changes to the regulatory climate. In the meantime, continuing political turmoil will deter all but those investors prepared to take a long-term view of Iran's economic potential.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Despite last week's crackdown on pro-reform demonstrations, there is still considerable momentum behind President Mohamed Khatami's political liberalisation drive. While the democratisation movement may have suffered a short-term setback and is likely to encounter further opposition from right-wing clerics, Khatami's reform coalition remains in place and is still likely to be buoyed by next year's parliamentary election results. Nonetheless, the president needs quickly to reassert his commitment to change in the run-up to the election.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East