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  • Author: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In this new Transition 2017 paper, Institute expert Andrew J. Tabler argues that Syria remains de facto partitioned, making the establishment of safe zones in non-Assad-controlled areas the Trump administration's most expedient course of action. Moreover, it would further Washington's cause to drive a wedge into the country's Russia-Iran alliance, and both isolate and pressure the Assad regime. If Washington's objectives in Syria are to defeat U.S.-designated terrorist groups and stem the outflow of refugees, President Bashar al-Assad is under no circumstances the right person to entrust with these missions. Simply in practical terms, he lacks the manpower to retake and hold the two-thirds of Syrian territory outside his control any time soon, despite having sufficient support from Russia and Iran to maintain control in large parts of the country. But more important, Assad is an avowed adversary of the West, undeserving of its cooperation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil War, International Security, International Affairs, Neoimperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt, Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has an opportunity to reset, tighten, and maximize America's strategic relations with the Gulf states. For the United States, expanded security cooperation and coordination could be a force multiplier in campaigns to achieve key policy goals, such as countering Iran's destabilizing policies and defeating the Islamic State. Gulf leaders have expressed optimism over the new administration's gestures, despite its "America First" rhetoric. But the administration also faces challenges, including those brought about by its own emphasis on "radical Islamic terrorism." This two-part Transition 2017 paper, featuring contributions by Gulf experts Lori Plotkin Boghardt and Simon Henderson, navigates the complex U.S.-Gulf relationship. The first essay provides an overview of its basic tenets, stressing the importance of rapport to bilateral ties and discussing key policy priorities. The second essay narrows the focus to the Washington-Riyadh link, the most important U.S. tie with the conservative Gulf. It analyzes differences in viewpoint, policy options, and some anticipated Saudi responses on the core issues of oil, terrorism, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Gulf allies, and the Sunni bloc.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Jonathan Rynhold
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 23, Jonathan Rynhold and Elliott Abrams addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Rynhold is a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), director of the Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People, and author of the just-released book The Arab-Israel Conflict in American Political Culture (Cambridge University Press). Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Mohammed S. Dajani, Zainab al-Suwaij
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 25, Mohammed Dajani and Zainab al-Suwaij addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Dajani is the Institute's Weston Fellow and founder of al-Wasatia, a moderate Islamic movement in Palestine. Suwaij is cofounder and executive director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: America, Palestine
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The coalition effort to rebuild and retrain the Iraqi security forces (ISF) will have better odds of success if American advisors urge their counterparts to incorporate lessons from other Arab armies that have experienced defeat, learned from their failures, and eventually prevailed against their enemies. These armies -- Egypt in the 1973 war with Israel, Iraq in the latter phases of its 1980-1988 war with Iran, and even hybrid actors such as the "Islamic State"/ISIS -- succeeded by developing workarounds for persistent shortcomings exhibited by conventional Arab armies, and by adapting foreign concepts and practices to their specific needs.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Arabia
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has decided to skip the Forum for the Future in Abu Dhabi this weekend, a move that will deepen concerns surrounding the Bush administration's Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative. Although Deputy Secretary John Negroponte will attend the forum -- an annual meeting of G-8 and Middle East foreign ministers -- Rice's absence will signal waning American interest in the region's political and economic reform, and will probably cause other ministers to stay home. Additionally, her absence may fuel ongoing speculation that the initiative will not survive this administration. Rather than letting the initiative fall into disuse, the next president needs to reinvent and reinvigorate this multilateral effort to accelerate badly needed reform. This endeavor will be especially important for countries trying to survive the revisionist challenge from Iran and its proxies.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Hamas's military takeover of Gaza is the sort of clarifying act of violence that should trigger, among all relevant parties, a period of reassessment. So far, however, it is not apparent that the Bush administration has taken a critical look at the policies that failed -- in the pre-Hamas period -- to help develop the Palestinian Authority (PA) into a truly effective, accountable, transparent government, or -- in recent months -- to impede Hamas's rise or strengthen the forces arrayed against it. Before Washington proceeds too far down the path of propping up President Mahmoud Abbas and resuscitating Fatah without reflecting on how U.S. action (or inaction) contributed to the current situation, the administration should revisit the basic principles underlying U.S. relations with the PA.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Dvorah Chen
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel's summer war with Hizballah has again raised legal questions about the imprisonment of terrorists in Israel. From its founding, the state of Israel has been forced to confront belligerent activities by hostile states and organizations seeking to destroy it. The struggle against Palestinian terrorism has taken an enormous toll over the course of the second intifada, during which time more than one thousand Israelis have been killed and thousands more wounded. Enemy combatants are imprisoned in order to prevent them from causing further destruction. Therefore, terrorist detentions play a central role in the struggle to prevent terrorist activities, and the legal issues surrounding these detentions pose crucial concerns for the entire international community. There are two major processes for the prosecution of terrorist detainees in Israel: (1) through the normal civilian criminal track based on penal legislation, and (2) through special administrative measures under the minister of defense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Akbar Ahmed, Gregg Rickman
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Of all the forms of anti-Semitism in Arab societies, Holocaust denial is one of the most pernicious and widespread. Generally it takes one of three forms: outright denial, Holocaust glorification, and Holocaust minimization or trivialization. One does no favor to Arabs by exempting them from this history, whatever its connection to their political dispute with Israel. And because jihadists' conspiracy theories target a coalition of “Crusaders and Jews,” exempting Arabs from Holocaust history certainly does America no favor either.
  • Topic: International Relations, Genocide, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America, Israel
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 20, amid reports of al-Qaeda plots against local American targets, the people of the strategically important but impoverished Arabian Peninsula state of Yemen go to the polls to elect a president. The president will not be new -- the incumbent Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for twenty-eight years, is expected to be reelected. Apart from last-minute doubts about the poll caused by the security crisis, the main question is how sweeping his victory will be. The last time elections were held, in 1999, President Saleh polled 96 percent, including the vote of his only opponent, a member of his own political party who said he considered Saleh more worthy. This time the field includes four other candidates. Saleh's main rival is Faysal bin Shamlan, a former oil minister who is backed by an alliance of opposition parties and whom Saleh has linked to an arrested "major terrorist."
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Yemen
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The capture yesterday of two Israeli soldiers (eight more were killed) in a crossborder raid by the Lebanese group Hizballah, as Israeli forces in Gaza continued to search for an Israeli soldier kidnapped last week by Hamas and to clear Qassam rocket launch sites, marked the opening of a second front in the war against Israel being waged by these two Islamist terrorist groups and their state sponsors, Syria and Iran. These developments highlight the potential for further escalation and illustrate the rising dangers posed by the emergence of an anti-Israel and anti-American military axis comprised of Hamas, Hizballah, Syria, and Iran.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sami al-Arians plea agreement, unsealed last week in Tampa, Florida, has been almost universally billed as a domestic counterterrorism victory. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing financial and material support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. specially designated terrorist group, and agreed to be deported. He is one of a small but important number of U.S. deportees (out of approximately 200,000 annually) who have connections to international terrorism.Many in the United States will say good riddance to people like al-Arian, a sentiment shared by a substantial portion of Europeans whose governments are increasing their own efforts to send terrorist suspects back to their countries of origin. Since the July 7 London transit bombings, Britain has signed deportation agreements with Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon, and is negotiating a similar one with Algeria. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands have all recently introduced or passed legislation that will facilitate deportation on national security grounds, while the French for their part wonder why other Western democracies have been so slow to catch on. France has been deporting terrorist suspects and other extremists for more than a decade, including more than a dozen radical imams in 2005 alone. American and European deportation policies differ in key areas. U.S. policy is aimed at lawbreakers generally, whereas Europe, because of its more ingrained challenge of domestic radicalism, targets extremist imams and other purveyors of jihadist ideology who can have a pervasive radicalizing effect on a community. Nevertheless, the same rationale underpins deportation on both sides of the Atlantic, and enthusiasm for the policy seems almost universal. Sending problem immigrants back to their native countries allows Western governments to deal with extremists outside the framework of domestic legal codes that remain woefully ill-equipped to address the threat of terrorism. Deportation minimizes the need to adopt draconian measures such as indefinite detention. It is counterterrorism on the cheap, and has become the policy of first choice for domestic law enforcement agencies that lack the personnel and resources to conduct adequate surveillance on all potential terrorists. But although deportation of terrorist suspects may be the most appealing of several bad policy options, it is by no means a perfect solution. Deportation is designed to displace the threat, but it may ultimately create a host of other challenges for the West in Muslim countries and ultimately on its own territory.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, France, Libya, London, Palestine, Germany, Algeria, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 22, two days after a reportedly unproductive meeting with President George W. Bush in Washington, President Hu Jintao of China will arrive in Saudi Arabia. Relations between the two countries are an increasingly important part of world diplomacy. In energy, China is the leading customer of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter. On the military front, the kingdom bought now-obsolete ballistic missiles with a 1,500-mile range from China in the 1980s; the Saudis are reportedly interested in replacing them with more modern Chinese-designed missiles, perhaps with Pakistani nuclear warheads. Unlike his American visit, Hu's trip to the kingdom will unambiguously be given the status of a state visit. It is especially significant because King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited China as recently as January this year, the first visit by a Saudi monarch since diplomatic relations were established in 1990 and Abdullah's first trip outside the Middle East since becoming monarch last August. During the January meeting, five agreements covering economic cooperation trade and double taxation as well as an energy pact were signed. Energy is expected to be central to the latest talks, though a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman noted it was “not the only domain” of cooperation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, America, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Gal Luft, Edward Morse
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 8, 2006, Gal Luft and Edward Morse addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Luft is executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and co-chair of the Set America Free Coalition. Mr. Morse is executive advisor at Hess Energy Trading Company and former publisher of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: James F. Hoge Jr., Stuart Rothenberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Barring any unforeseen developments in the region, there will be very little change in U.S. policy toward the Middle East this year. Terrorism will remain the top priority overall. In addition, the Bush administration will continue to maintain the priorities that have defined American approaches over recent decades, such as preserving energy supplies, containing strife, ensuring Israel's existence, and working with allies such as Turkey. Further, the White House will reiterate its condemnations of the Syrian regime—though it will refrain from more active policies of regime change for fear that a new government would be even worse. However, the issues of democratization, Iraqi development, the Iranian nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue will also be high on the agenda in 2006.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 11, retired Israeli maj. gen. Doron Almog declined to disembark from an arriving Israel El Al airliner at London's Heathrow airport and flew back to Israel, thereby avoiding British police waiting with a warrant for his arrest. The warrant, instigated in part by pro-Palestinian groups, alleged that Almog had committed war crimes while head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command operating in the Gaza Strip in 2002. The airport incident has serious implications, the full extent of which will only become clear in time, for visitors to Britain from Israel and possibly America (due to U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq). Israelis, Americans, and, indeed, British citizens could be vulnerable when visiting other countries as well. London's role in the Middle East peace process could also be constrained.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, America, Europe, Middle East, London, Palestine
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Seeking to prevent terror propaganda and incitement to terror in America, the U.S. government added al-Manar (Arabic for "the beacon"), the official television mouthpiece of Hizballah, or the Lebanese Party of God, to the Terrorism Exclusion List (TEL). By designating the network as a terrorist organization the government will effectively take Hizballah television off the air in the United States by denying entry to its employees and to anyone who supports the network.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As European and Iranian officials began negotiations December 14 on whether to make permanent Iran's temporary suspension of uranium enrichment, eight former Western foreign ministers issued a joint statement calling on Washington to support the European efforts by engaging with Iran. There is a growing chorus claiming that Iran will keep its nuclear program suspended only if offered significant incentives by the United States, such as security guarantees, an end to hostility, or at least normal relations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After an extended absence from public view, Osama bin Laden reappeared in video excerpts aired on al-Jazeera several days before the November 2 election, issuing warnings to the U.S. public about al-Qaeda's intention to continue striking the United States. The incident raises new questions about the extent to which bin Laden is directing terrorist operatives and operations. In recent months, many experts have opined that he is no longer in complete control, and that the groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are operating more independently, with bin Laden's organization serving predominately as a source of inspiration.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: British prime minister Tony Blair arrives in Washington on November 11 -- the first foreign leader to visit following President George W. Bush's reelection. The visit confirms Britain's status as America's most supportive ally and Blair's status as the president's closest foreign confidant. But the British leader is likely to use the two days of talks to place distance between himself and Bush. Unless obscured by diplomatic platitudes, the public differences will be most acute over the pace and direction of the Middle East peace process.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 2004 Republican Party platform, "A Safer World and a More Hopeful America," devotes a third of its ninety pages to foreign policy under the heading "Winning the War on Terror." The platform represents a comprehensive summary of the Bush administration's accomplishments and details the philosophy and principles behind the party's foreign policy. Explaining why "the American people are safer" now than they were three years ago, the platform points to gains in combating terrorists and tyrants, curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), promoting democracy, improving homeland security, and strengthening relationships with key allies via counterterrorism efforts. According to the platform, the administration's approach is "marked by a determination to challenge new threats, not ignore them, or simply wait for future tragedy -- and by a renewed commitment to building a hopeful future in hopeless places, instead of allowing troubled regions to remain in despair and explode in violence."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 2004 Democratic Party platform, "Strong at Home, Respected in the World," which will be formally adopted today at the party's convention in Boston, reflects the prominence of foreign policy in this year's election. Indeed, nearly half the document is devoted to strengthening American security policy after September 11 and U.S. Middle East policy writ large, including terrorism, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), democracy promotion, Arab-Israeli peace, U.S. military readiness, homeland security, and energy independence. By comparison, only ten of the fifty pages in the 2000 platform were devoted to foreign policy, and the Middle East did not stand out as a region of particular concern.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Stephen Hadley
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: You have heard President Bush talk about a forward strategy for freedom in the Middle East. The president's vision of the future for the Middle East is predicated on one clear principle: that the advance of freedom and democracy leads to peace and progress for all. As the president has said, as long as the Middle East is a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce men and movements that threaten the safety of Americans and our friends. We seek the advance of democracy for the most practical of reasons: because democracies do not support terrorists or threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past week, oil prices have exceeded $40 per barrel for the first time since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and gasoline prices in parts of the United States are now more $2 per gallon. Contributing to this increase were heightened concerns about supply, particularly in the wake of a May 1 terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter. Two Americans and three other Westerners were killed in the attack, and the body of one of the victims was dragged through the streets behind the terrorists' vehicle. Following the incident, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia urged Americans to leave the kingdom.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Dennis Lormel
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While individual terrorist attacks can be carried out at a relatively low cost, the need to recruit operatives and provide them with safe houses, training, and support requires significant funding. The United States has proven to be a good venue for fundraising by terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Hizballah. Although such activities could indicate the presence of operational sleeper cells, these organizations are unlikely to risk losing their funding sources by carrying out an attack on U.S. soil, at least under the current circumstances. After all, the revenue sources of certain terrorist organizations have become increasingly restricted following attacks in other parts of the world (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia), largely due to policy changes, more proactive law enforcement, and fear of prosecution on the part of front organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Three days after the terrorist bombings in Madrid, the pro-American, conservative Spanish government was defeated in general elections, to the surprise of many observers. Although officials have not yet confirmed that the al-Qaeda terrorist network was responsible for the attacks, the polling result was immediately interpreted as reflecting electorate anger at retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and the belief that his foreign policy had made Spain a target of foreign terrorists. An immediate pledge to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq by incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is a blow to the Bush administration's Iraq policy and represents, albeit unintentionally, a major political triumph for al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A surprising summit meeting yesterday in Ankara involving members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, the Turkish General Staff, the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization produced an agreement "in principle" to send Turkish "peacekeeping soldiers" to Iraq. From one perspective, if Turkish troops were deployed to Iraq, it could end the period of "strategic pause" between Washington and Ankara in place since March 1, when the Turkish parliament refused to open up a northern front for U.S. troops invading Iraq. There are still political obstacles to Turkish troop deployment -- such as a divided AKP and a fairly reluctant parliament. Moreover, Turkish law requires that parliament authorize sending troops abroad except in the case of international legislation (such as a UN resolution), or a call for help justifying such a deployment, and the Turkish parliament is in recess until October 1. But even before the AKP government determines its position on this issue, a major hurdle will have to be overcome: if American and Turkish troops are to work together in Iraq, they will first have to build mutual confidence, which -- once formidable -- seems to have quickly eroded over the past months. How can this be accomplished?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, the bitterness between Ankara and Washington over Turkey's failure to extend full support to the Iraq campaign culminated in a much-feared quagmire. On July 4, U.S. Army forces detained eleven Turkish special operations troops in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, possibly based on Iraqi Kurdish intelligence that they were planning to harm Kurdish officials in Kirkuk. Fortunately, no shots were fired and no one was hurt in the incident. Still, the fact remains that U.S. troops arrested soldiers from Turkey, a NATO ally viewed as one of America's staunchest friends until late 2002. Moreover, the Turks were allegedly conspiring against Kurds, America's best friends in Iraq. How to interpret this unpleasant episode? What can be done to prevent similar incidents in the future? Most important, can the United States and Turkey move forward in northern Iraq?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Secretary of State Colin Powell prepares to visit Syria and Lebanon on May 3, his agenda will most likely address the war on terrorism. The most active support for terrorism from both Damascus and Beirut is for Hizballah. To understand what the group's aims and ambitions are, few sources are better than al-Manar, Hizballah's Lebanese television station. The channel broadcasts messages calling for death to America and suicide bombings against American forces in Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Beirut
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- the oil producers' cartel of which Iraq is a founding member -- meets in Vienna to discuss production cuts intended to maintain the current, relatively high price of oil. The United States is not expected to send a representative for Iraq, although one or more among the plethora of political groups in the liberated country may send a would-be representative, unlikely to be seated. While ignoring the meeting, Washington still needs to make clear how it will reconstruct the Iraqi oil industry and utilize the nation's huge oil reserves, second in size only to those of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Vienna
  • Author: Graham E. Fuller, Daniel Pipes
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 3, 2003, Daniel Pipes and Graham Fuller addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and an adjunct scholar of the Institute. His most recent book is Militant Islam Reaches America (W.W. Norton, 2002). Mr. Fuller is former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council at the Central Intelligence Agency and senior political scientist at RAND. His latest book is The Future of Political Islam (Palgrave, 2003). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Hafez al-Mirazi, Jonathan Schanzer, Mouafac Harb
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: War remains a horrifying event and al-Jazeera will cover it realistically. Images carried by the network are graphic, but do not discriminate in showing American and Iraqi casualties. Similarly, al-Jazeera has covered both the unprecedented airpower brought to bear by the allied forces and the Iraqi government's own version of "shock and awe" in airing videotapes of American prisoners of war; failure to do so would challenge the station's credibility.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, speaking at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, after mentioning the war in Iraq, declared, "no challenge, no opportunity, is more important, more pressing, than the quest to put an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Such wording is similar to sentiments expressed in recent weeks by British prime minister Tony Blair. However, there are indications that Washington's view about Israeli-Palestinian issues sharply differs from that of London.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Israel, London, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Yitzhak Nakash
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The prospect of American military action in Iraq has raised concerns that dismantling the Ba'ath regime will weaken the state and spur the defection of its Shi'i majority under the influence of Iran. Yet, much of the pessimism surrounding this assessment obscures the historical role that the Shi'i community has played in supporting the Iraqi state, not to mention the vital interest it has in preserving the country's territorial integrity. If war in Iraq leads to a more representative government that is willing to address Shi'i political aspirations, the likely result would be stability and the establishment of a more moderate religious leadership quite different from that seen in Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Osama el-Baz
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S.-Egyptian relations always have been a critical aspect of American involvement in the Middle East. Although Washington and Cairo have disagreed on certain issues, they have nevertheless maintained a significant partnership. As regional tensions mount amid the possibility of war with Iraq and continued violence on the Israeli-Palestinian front, it is important to take a fresh look at this partnership. Recently, the Egyptian government has conveyed its concerns to the United States on two major issues: the potential for war in Iraq and Washington's role in attaining Arab-Israeli peace.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 25, Secretary of State Colin Powell met Turkish prime minister Abdullah Gul and the chair of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), Tayyip Erdogan, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Powell's meeting -- which followed a January 19 visit to Turkey by General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a December 6 visit by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz -- was aimed at persuading Ankara to allow American troops entry into Turkey in order to prepare a northern front against Iraq. After nearly two months of negotiations, the Turkish government still appears undecided on this issue. Why are the Turks hesitant to cooperate with U.S. military plans, and how can Washington overcome Ankara's indecision? Recent developments in Turkey may help answer both of these questions.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Switzerland
  • Author: Kenneth Bell
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1996, an off-duty police officer working as a security guard at a cigarette wholesaler in North Carolina noticed young men entering the building with grocery bags full of cash. The men would queue up in the cashier's line with 299 cartons of cigarettes each, while one of them stood at the register and paid cash as the others came through. Next, they would load the cigarettes into minivans and head toward Michigan. At the time, it was against the law to transport more than 300 cartons of cigarettes into another state unless they were marked with the tax stamp of that state. Yet, the smugglers in question took advantage of the fact that neither North Carolina nor Michigan stamped cigarettes to show tax paid. Given the large disparity between North Carolina's cigarette tax (50 cents per carton) and Michigan's ($7.50 per carton), each minivan load had the potential to generate $13,000 worth of profit; indeed, at the height of the operation, three to four minivans were running to Michigan each week.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, North Carolina
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a recorded statement released this week, Osama bin Laden called on Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks against Americans. Al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist organization to call for such attacks, however; just four days earlier, Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmed Yassin published an open letter calling on Muslims to "threaten Western interests and strike them everywhere" in the event of a "a crusaders' war" against Islam in Iraq. Indeed, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week that "the days when we made distinctions between terrorist groups are over." Moreover, in February 2002, Tenet told Congress that if Palestinian groups "feel that U.S. actions are threatening their existence, they may begin targeting Americans directly, as Hizballah's terrorist wing already does." In fact, several Palestinian groups are increasingly inclined to target American interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer, Lisa Anderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 26, 2002, Martin Kramer and Lisa Anderson addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Martin Kramer is the Institute's Wexler-Fromer fellow and author of its 2001 monograph Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America. Lisa Anderson is dean of international affairs at Columbia University and president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Education, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Colombia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week's bombing of a coffee shop and car-bombing attack against a Fatah figure in Ein al-Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, are the latest developments in a wave of recent violence in the camp. Al-Sharq al-Awsat has reported no less than nineteen bombings in Ein al-Hilweh since the end of September 2002. Asbat al-Ansar (League of partisans) – a predominantly Palestinian terrorist group based in the camp, with established links to al-Qaeda – is seen as the culprit behind this violence. In an apparent move to ignite heightened Arab-Israeli tensions, the group has destabilized the camp and surrounding areas. Mounting tensions in this long-neglected and impoverished camp could undermine Lebanese stability, aggravate its refugee crisis, and enfeeble America's efforts in the "war on terror."
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Thursday, October 24, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a new terrorist threat alert (this time warning of attacks on transportation systems), highlighting once more why attention has been focused on al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups since September 11, 2001. A year on, however, other Middle Eastern terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism still receive inconsistent attention despite a sharp rise in their activity. In fact, militant Islamist groups from al-Qaeda to Hamas interact and support one another in an international matrix of logistical, financial, and sometimes operational terrorist activity. Inattention to any one part of the web of militant Islamist terror undermines the effectiveness of measures taken against other parts of that web.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, intensified Islamist violence prompted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to launch his military's largest counteroffensive against radical Islamic elements in five years. The target of this ongoing operation is the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a breakaway faction of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). GSPC deserves special attention in America's "war on terror" for its extensive ties to al-Qaeda and its devastating effect on Algeria.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Algeria, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones was in Ankara Monday to discuss foreign policy issues including Iraq with her Turkish counterparts. Interestingly, Iraq's vice premier Tariq Aziz visited Ankara yesterday for the same purpose. These trips come at a crucial time as Washington prepares for a confrontation with Saddam Husayn. While prepared to stand with its close NATO ally the United States, Turkey remains uneasy about several issues.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer, Mouafac Harb
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Public diplomacy in the Middle Eastern context is not a new problem. Every non-Muslim state that has projected its power into the Middle East has had to win over the "hearts and minds" of the Muslim population under its control. Muslim Middle Easterners have always viewed the projection of non-Muslim power into the region with suspicion. Nevertheless, America does not have to reinvent the public diplomacy wheel. The United States should learn from the history of the European experience in the Middle East and from its own successful public diplomacy efforts in the Cold War era.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Seyfi Tashan, Heath Lowry
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S.-Turkish security relationship is becoming increasingly important to the stability of the Middle East. The two countries have long enjoyed a friendship based on mutual economic and military interests. Many perceive this to be an ideal relationship between the West and the Islamic world. Americans certainly have an interest in encouraging Muslim countries to develop more democratic societies. Yet, the secular structure of Muslim Turkey may not necessarily be the right model for the entire Muslim world. Any externally imposed model is a recipe for failure; individual countries must possess structures of their own that will allow them to develop secular institutions.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In two long sessions recently, the Turkish parliament adopted a historic reform package. Many view the legislation as a milestone for several reasons. First, it fully liberalizes the country's political system. Second, it lifts the few remaining limits on freedom of press, association, and expression. Third, it abolishes capital punishment, except in wartime circumstances. Fourth, it redefines and narrows the powers of the police forces, while increasing the communal rights of non-Muslim minorities. Fifth, in a gesture to the country's diversity, the bill facilitates the teaching of all languages spoken in Turkey, including Kurdish; it also extends broadcasting rights in these languages.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran's democratic movement has had a busy few weeks. Today, the usually weak-kneed President Muhammad Khatami spoke out about the importance of democracy and warned hardliners against their crackdown on reformers: "No problem will be solved through the superficial elimination of a group. . . . [S]uch tendencies would go into hiding and grow up at great cost." Sunday, 151 of the 290 Majlis members signed a statement criticizing the judiciary for its hardline crackdown, arguing that it would bring only disappointment and discontentment to the populace. Last week, the often timid main student organization (the Office for Strengthening Unity) issued its first strong defense of respected antiregime Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, demanding he be released from house arrest. Finally, two weeks ago, protests forced the Expediency Council to withdraw a proposed directive that would have placed it above the president and Majlis, able to overrule both.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Josef Joffe, R. James Woolsey
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the current campaign against terrorism is just unfolding, America has actually been in the middle of a new "World War" of sorts for some time. In order to understand this war, one must answer three crucial questions: 1) With whom is the United States at war? 2) Why is America at war with these particular adversaries? 3) How should the United States conduct this war, both at home and abroad?
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush completes his latest European trip — one highlighted by a symbolic Memorial Day speech in Normandy that underscored the link between America's past wars and the current war on terror — his European Union (EU) hosts have begun to implement a policy on terrorism that is fundamentally at odds with the "Bush Doctrine": namely, that those who support, fund, or abet terror are terrorists themselves.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Charlotte Beers
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The United States is viewed with suspicion by much of the rest of the world, and its motives are consistently questioned for several reasons. This reality can be addressed through actionable goals. First, the United States is perceived as being too big, a hyper power whose global reach is threatening. Second, dialogue with the Middle East is almost nonexistent, and when it does occur, the fundamental concepts underpinning American democracy, such as the rule of law, are often misunderstood and need to be explained. Third, American studies programs, which could be used to bridge the understanding and dialogue gap, are now nonexistent at Middle Eastern universities. Finally, the United States has a very small share in the kind of debate that takes place in the new global village, where communication is nearly instantaneous and a rumor sent via email can reach half the world's population by the end of a business day. In particular, the inaccurate perception that, post-September 11, the United States is waging a war against Islam both at home and abroad has been widespread.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After declining at least two earlier invitations since January 2001, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is due to meet President George W. Bush for the first time this Thursday. The de facto leader of America's leading oil supplier (his elder half-brother, King Fahd, is ailing) had previously snubbed Washington's efforts, ostensibly angry over the president's reluctance to become involved in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. In addition to the current crisis, the lunchtime talks at President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, are expected to cover a complete range of issues including the involvement of Saudis in the events of September 11 and extension of the war against terrorism to Saddam Husayn.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Paul Wolfowitz
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "It is the great good fortune of the United States to have in Turkey a friend and ally that has stood with us through war and peace, going back to the days of the Korean War. That is where American troops got their first look at Turkish courage — a fighting spirit and self-reliance that is also legendary in the annals of history. . . .
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Amy W. Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 6, Lorne W. Craner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, will testify before Congress on the State Department's just-released "2001 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" covering 195 countries. How the reports characterize human rights and influence U.S. policy in the Arab world is especially important this year. Traditionally, human rights have not figured prominently in U.S. policy toward the region. However, some U.S. officials have recently alluded to the promotion of "freedom" in the Middle East as part of the war against terrorism. Most notable were President George W. Bush's State of the Union remarks that "America will always stand firm for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance."
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With its longstanding support for terrorism, both pre- and post-September 11, Syria poses a unique challenge to U.S. antiterror strategy. Unlike Iran — whose leaders orchestrate public chants of "Death to America, death to Israel" and thereby provide rhetorical context to their sponsorship of terrorism — Damascus proclaims its desire for warm ties with the United States and its commitment to a "comprehensive" peace with Israel. Specifically, Syria has benefited from its role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and its suzerainty over Lebanon. These factors have for years combined to provide Syria with a measure of protection against U.S. (and Israeli) antiterror initiatives.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Mark Parris
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Visits by Turkish prime ministers to Washington have tended in years past to be low-profile events. With imagination and boldness on the American side, the January 16 meeting between President George W. Bush and Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit has the potential to be a watershed in a relationship that will affect vital U.S. interests well into the new century.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Lebanon may well have come to the West Bank and Gaza. Over the past year and a half, Hamas has adopted traditional Hizballah guerilla tactics such as roadside bombings, short-range rocket and mortar launchings, using squads of terrorists from a variety of groups, and videotaping attacks and potential suicide bombers. In the proud words of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, "[Palestinians] are now operating against the Israeli occupation with Hizballah methods." More ominous, there are increasing signs that Hamas may follow Hizballah's example and broaden its operational objectives to include targeting Americans for attacks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 3, the New York Times published an op-ed by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat titled "The Palestinian Vision of Peace." The timing of this op-ed is not coincidental. It appeared after several weeks of worsening U.S.-Palestinian ties, during which President George W. Bush registered his deep "disappointment" with the Palestinian leadership and U.S. officials contemplated cutting diplomatic ties with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Coming just days before visits to Washington by Israel's prime minister and defense minister, and just days after those Israeli leaders met with Palestinian interlocutors frequently cited as political successors to Arafat, this op-ed clearly sought to achieve several objectives: (1) to begin the process of repairing bilateral U.S.-Palestinian relations by spotlighting Arafat's peacemaking credentials; (2) to remind American audiences that Arafat — and not his subordinates and would-be successors — determines Palestinian strategy; and (3) to reorder the U.S.-Israel agenda this week to focus more on diplomacy and less on pressuring Arafat on terrorism and the investigation of the Karine-Aweapons-smuggling effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Growing U.S. military involvement in new locations such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines has raised concerns in the Pentagon about overstretching the military and has prompted a call to reassess the future of America's long-standing contribution to peacekeeping missions worldwide. One of the missions at risk of being curtailed is the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) — an independent, international peacekeeping and verification organization established by Egypt and Israel to monitor the security arrangements of their 1979 peace treaty. The idea of downsizing the 900-man U.S. contingent in the Sinai Peninsula has been raised several times by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "I do not believe that we still need our forces in the Sinai," he said in a recent public statement. But the timing of such a change — especially in light of the deterioration in Egyptian-Israeli relations since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada — is questionable. At a time when other voices are calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia, a withdrawal from Sinai — even if only a reduction — could symbolize to many a decreasing U.S. interest in the region. It could also deny the recently violent Egyptian-Israeli-Palestinian border area an important and necessary cooling-off mechanism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Middle East, Israel, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Michael Kramer
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Two decades ago, a generation of Middle East scholars in America revolted against their teachers — the founders of Middle Eastern studies in America. They did so in a bid to revitalize funding and job opportunities in the field. The banner they waived was that of Edward Said's 1978 Orientalism, in which he argued that Europeans and Americans were afflicted by bias when analyzing trends in the region. In effect, that left Middle Easterners as the only scholars who could claim to study the region objectively. Said's followers then proceeded to take over the field of Middle Eastern studies in America. But now, the revolutionaries have become the establishment, and it is time for the younger generation of Middle East scholars to effect a revolution against their own teachers..
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Shaykh Yousef al-Qaradawi, head of the Sunni studies department at Qatar University and a well-known Islamic scholar, was the first in the Arab Sunni world to Islamically legitimate the suicide operations of Hamas (1995). But he was also among the first Islamic scholars to condemn the September 11 attack on the United States. In mid-October, he joined four other scholars in sanctioning the participation of American Muslim military personnel in the attack on Afghanistan, as long as they were not involved in fighting and only in administrative and logistics activities. This report was viewed by American Muslims as a ruling, but the statement has not appeared on his official website (www.qaradawi.net) alongside his other rulings, articles, and interviews. Do his post-September 11 statements indicate a change in view?
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Joshua Teitelbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's visit to the Middle East and Central Asia last week — in an attempt to shore up the coalition against anti-American terrorism — brought him to Saudi Arabia as well. The Saudi government has neither openly acknowledged how they will allow the United States to use the space-age technology Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) that opened in June at Prince Sultan Air Base, near al-Kharj, southeast of Riyadh; nor has it said what landing or refueling rights will be granted. Amid conflicting statements by anonymous officials, the Saudi paper al-'Ukaz quoted Minister of Defense Sultan bin 'Abd al-'Aziz: "We do not accept the presence in our country of a single soldier at war with Muslims or Arabs." History is not encouraging here — the Saudi royal family did not allow the United States to use its air bases during 1998's Operation Desert Fox against Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: October 12 marks the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the American warship USS Cole, an attack that killed seventeen sailors while the ship was refueling in Aden harbor, Yemen. A year later, although United States and many Yemeni officials are certain that Osama bin Laden was behind the incident, the file remains open. Reflecting the continuing evolution of policy in the wake of September 11, the United States now describes Yemen as a "partner" in the fight against terror, whereas the State Department's 2000 "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report stated that the Yemeni government "did little to discourage the terrorist presence in Yemen."
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Government, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 13, 2001, Dennis Ross, counselor and distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute, delivered a presentation at a special briefing on the September 11 terrorist attacks. The following is an adaptation of Ambassador Ross's remarks.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 13, 2001, Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute, and Dennis Ross, counselor and distinguished fellow at the Institute, held a special briefing on the September 11 terrorist attacks. The following is a rapporteur's summary of Dr. Satloff's remarks; the report of Ambassador Ross's remarks will be distributed tomorrow.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A nuclear breakout by Iraq or Iran could have a number of direct and indirect effects on the region: First, a nuclear breakout by either will cause the United States to be much more careful in its dealings with that state, particularly when it comes to considering military action. America's military freedom-of-action will be greatly constrained. Second, an Iraqi breakout would almost certainly cause Iran to further accelerate its own nuclear efforts and might spur Tehran to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it increasingly sees as a liability. Third, the emergence of a nuclear Iraq and/or Iran could cause the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to seek an independent deterrent capability — including chemical weapons. (The large petrochemical industries of the Gulf could provide many of the precursor chemicals needed for such an effort.) Saudi Arabia might even seek to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: American policymakers face a number of decision points concerning U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran in the coming weeks. The UN Security Council has to act by June 4 to renew the oil-for-food program, providing the United States with an opportunity to secure approval for the "re-energized" sanctions regime that Secretary of State Colin Powell floated in March. Iran's policy direction will become clearer after its June 8 presidential elections, and that could influence the U.S. decision whether to renew the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act that expires August 5. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are reportedly considering whether to indict senior Iranians for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran, Arab Countries
  • Author: Amy W. Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Urgent regional matters — such as Iraq and the Arab–Israeli peace process — will dominate the agenda during Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's visit to Washington this week, while Egypt's transition to a free-market economy and U.S.– Egypt trade ties will also receive attention. Egyptian domestic politics, however, will register little, aside from U.S. frustrations over anti-Semitism in the Egyptian press and concern about the status of Egypt's Coptic Christians. Although the regime appears quite stable, having secured a "victory" in its 1990s conflict with violent extremist groups, the state of political reform in Egypt, America's most important Arab ally, merits a closer look. That is because Egypt's long-term economic reform — in which Washington has invested so much — can succeed only if accompanied by meaningful political liberalization.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Raymond Tanter, Meghan O'Sullivan, Ramin Seddiq
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sanctions provide the United States with a middle option that has the "least risk" in dealing with problematic Middle Eastern regimes. Sanctions are less costly than military intervention and better than doing nothing at all. During the Cold War, an evaluation of the success of a sanctions policy was not centered on whether or not the sanctions achieved compliance, but on whether such a measure resulted in the prevention of some negative event, such as the seizure of American citizens as hostages in the target states or enhanced Soviet intervention in the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Soviet Union
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary Powell's speech did not introduce any new substantive points into the debate. However, it outlined for the first time the Bush administration's view regarding the situation in the Middle East. It also offered some important symbolic points that could provide Yasir Arafat a means of ending the current impasse. He may indeed consider doing so. The points in the speech that will probably be well received by the Palestinians include the use of the term "occupation." Many Palestinians see occupation as the very essence of the conflict. Combining Powell's mention of occupation with his references to Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, Palestinians may infer that he is calling for a return to the June 1967 borders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia