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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell will return to the region next week in a bid to restart talks that have been stalled since the beginning of the Obama administration. In a television interview earlier this month, Mitchell declared that he would like to complete peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians within two years, if not sooner. Senior U.S. officials, including President Obama, have called for an unconditional return to the negotiating table. The official position of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is that talks cannot resume until Israel extends its settlement moratorium to east Jerusalem. He also wants the pre-1967 boundaries to serve as the baseline for negotiations. At the same time, he has made a statement indicating that he regrets how he reached his current position, hinting that the current impasse does not serve the Palestinian people's interests. Is there more convergence between the two sides than is readily apparent?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert O. Collins
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 20, 2006, the Arab League committee on Sudan backed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir's refusal of a UN peacekeeping force in the war-wracked Darfur region. At the UN Security Council, the only open critic of the proposal to send such a force is Qatar, the only Arab member of the Council. Within the week, President Bush responded by sending Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Fraser to Khartoum as his special envoy carrying a personal letter to al-Bashir urging him to permit the presence of a robust UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. This decision by the Arab League has been a discouraging development, given that in June, Arab League secretary-general Amr Musa had urged Sudan to accept UN peacekeepers to replace the fragile 7,000-person African Union (AU) African Mission in the Sudan (AMIS). The Arab League's position represents a stark about-face. In the past, the Arab League had supported Sudan's refusal to agree to a UN peacekeeping force. The change of heart exposed the ambiguities that have long characterized relations between Sudan and the Arab League—particularly Sudan's neighbors Libya, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Libya, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Jacqueline Kaufman
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past twelve years a revolution has taken place in the landscape of peacemaking in the Middle East. Twelve years ago, direct negotiations were non-existent and there was no peace process. While negotiations themselves do not ensure an agreement, their total absence ensures that there can be no resolution. The United States has borne the burden of trying to create dialogue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February marks ten years since the end of the Gulf War. The situation in the Middle East today is vastly more dangerous than in 1991. The favorable regional conditions in 1991 that allowed the current peace process to begin have been reversed. Three key trends are the following: After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, it was placed under UN monitoring and extensive sanctions, thereby removing a major threat from Israel's calculus. Today, the situation is drastically different, with the absence of UN inspections for more than two years and the deterioration of sanctions against Iraq. In 1991, Iran was still recovering from its exhaustive war with Iraq and could not fully participate in regional, specifically Arab–Israeli, affairs. By contrast, Iran is currently testing intermediate-range missiles and is expressing its strategic weight in places like Lebanon, where it has increased its support to Hizballah. In 1991, the USSR was crumbling before its eventual collapse and was no longer in a position to offer strategic and military support to the enemies of Israel, while its successor — the Russian Federation — has more or less acquiesced to U.S. positions on the Middle East. Since 1996, however, Russia has taken a contrary approach to many U.S. policies and leadership in the region, in particular with regard to Iraqi sanctions and weapons inspections and the transfer of missile technology to Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon