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  • Author: Nazar Janabi
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Away from the headlines, Sunnis and Shiites are testing the waters of reconciliation in the Iraqi parliament with an agreement that may come at the expense of country's Kurdish population. The Kurdish political reaction to such an agreement could potentially exacerbate anti-Kurdish sentiment among many Arab parliamentarians, costing the Kurds some of the hard-earned political ground they have gained thus far.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Fatah-Hamas unity agreement reached in Mecca last week has powerful implications for all regional players. The most serious challenge it poses is to U.S. diplomacy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Mecca
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire announced on February 8 in Sharm al-Sheikh created a window of opportunity that will slam shut quickly if terrorists resume attacks against Israel. After four-and-half years of incessant terrorist activity, Israeli tolerance for negotiating peace in the face of ongoing attacks is nil. The entire project, therefore, is premised on the assumption that the ceasefire will hold. But will it? Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have so far dismissed it, and previously negotiated ceasefires have all failed. Moreover, Iran and Hizballah are more proactively involved in recruiting, training, and financing Palestinian suicide bombers than ever before.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: If new Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is to succeed, he must deal with the issue of violence. Over the past year, positive changes have emerged in all areas of Palestinian public opinion except one: the role of violence. In the eyes of the public, violence pays. Three-fourths of Palestinians perceive the disengagement as a victory for violence. To be sure, more than two-thirds of Palestinians believe that Abbas should negotiate with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Yet, the public views Israel's unilateral moves as a threat, not an asset. They see only settlements, closures, checkpoints, and humiliation. These perceptions are responsible for their anger. Abbas must help remove dynamics that encourage the public to believe in the utility of violence; otherwise, the issue will continue to impede his ability to govern effectively.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The newly announced ceasefire provides an opportunity for progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations, especially with the newly elected Palestinian leadership and the new Israeli coalition government. The time has come for both Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) to roll up their sleeves and, with international support, get down to the formidable tasks facing them in the coming months: stabilization of the security situation, Palestinian institution-building, Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank, and Israeli-Palestinian reengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky, Kenneth Stein
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is widely expected to win the presidential elections scheduled for January 9. The media has focused on statements he has made on the campaign trail; below is a survey of his statements on a variety of policy issues over the past several years.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Irshad Manji
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 7, 2004, Irshad Manji addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ms. Manji is host of the Canadian public television program Big Ideas and author of the bestselling book The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in her Faith (2004). She is currently launching "Operation Ijtihad," an initiative to revive Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. The following is a rapporteur's summary of her remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent years, especially since September 11, 2001, several Middle Eastern terrorist groups have shown growing interest in waging mega-terror -- attacks that would kill hundreds, even thousands, of innocent victims, cause mass disruption, and profoundly affect the psychology of the targeted society. While not the first incidents of mega-terror, the September 11 attacks were the most successful. As such, they have been a source of inspiration for these groups, showing that it is possible to inflict mass casualties through the imaginative employment of means available to most terrorist organizations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Christopher Kojm, C. Michael Hurley, Thomas Dowling
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 18, 2004, three staff members from the 9-11 Commission—Christopher Kojm, C. Michael Hurley, and Thomas Dowling—addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Kojm was the commission's deputy executive director. From 1998 until February 2003, he served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence policy and coordination in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Mr. Dowling was a professional staff member with the commission. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2002 after a thirty-year career in which he served in several Middle Eastern countries. In his last assignment, he was the deputy director and acting director of the Office of Near East and South Asian Analysis in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Mr. Hurley was senior counsel on the commission and head of its counterterrorism team. A career CIA officer, he served as National Security Council director for the Balkans from 1998 to 1999. He also led CIA and military Special Forces teams in Afghanistan in the months after the September 11 attacks. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Eyal Zisser
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the face of international criticism, Syria strong-armed Lebanon into accepting a constitutional amendment last week that would extend the term of the sitting Lebanese president, Emile Lahoud. Yet, far from being a sign of Damascus's strength against foreign intrusion, this episode should be viewed as further confirmation of the immature leadership of Syrian president Bashar al-Asad.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • 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: Jeffrey White, Anna Solomon-Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Muqtada al-Sadr has placed the Interim Iraqi Government in a difficult position, forcing it to demonstrate both strength and skill. His challenge exploits the political and military seams between the interim government and the coalition, and within the Iraqi political system. He has also exploited popular hostility toward the coalition and, in some quarters, the suspect legitimacy of the interim government.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Anna Solomon-Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The fractious and dangerous Iraqi Shi'i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is once again attempting to foment a rebellion. In scenes virtually identical to those of his April-May 2004 uprising, his militia is in the streets, Shi'is are demonstrating en masse, and he is alternately talking peace and vowing to fight to the death. Iraq has changed since the April rebellion, however, with al-Sadr now pitted against the coalition as well as the new Interim Iraqi Government and its expanding security forces.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Yonatan Levy
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 9-11 Commission has received much media attention for its findings on the al-Qaeda threat. The commission's documents detail information on Middle Eastern states and terrorist groups. Below is a summary of some of the report's findings on the roles key regional actors played in the growth, setbacks, and evolution of al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Morocco is a nation of nearly 30 million people, part Arab, part Berber, and overwhelmingly Muslim, yet distant enough from Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian arena so that those issues, while relevant, are not all-consuming. Hence, it provides an excellent vantage point from which to assess the ideological battle between radical Islamists, on the one hand, and non- and anti-Islamists on the other.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Jonathan Schanzer, Thomas Lippman
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 21, 2004, Jonathan Schanzer, Thomas Lippman, and Simon Henderson addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Schanzer is a Soref fellow at the Institute and author of the monograph Al-Qaeda's Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups and the Next Generation of Terror. Mr. Lippman is an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, specializing in U.S. foreign policy and Middle Eastern affairs. Simon Henderson, a London-based associate of The Washington Institute, currently heads Saudi Strategies, a group that advises governments and corporations on regional developments. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Ali Koknar
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 1, 2004, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) -- an organization that appears on the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and whose attacks caused more than 30,000 deaths in Turkey during the 1980s and 1990s -- declared that it had rescinded its unilateral "ceasefire" of February 2000. This declaration was quickly followed by an escalation of violence in southeastern Turkey. This development poses a threat to Turkey's internal security and to the European Union reform process that began after Ankara apprehended PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in February 1999. Ocalan's capture led to a drop in PKK violence and a relaxation in the country's political environment, catalyzing reforms on the Kurdish issue that had previously been deemed impossible (see PolicyWatch no. 786).
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 22, 2004, Philip Gordon, Simon Serfaty, and Soner Cagaptay addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Gordon is a senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He has also served as director for European affairs on the National Security Council. Dr. Serfaty is the director of the Europe Program and the Zbigniew Brzezinski chair in global security and geostrategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is also a senior professor of U.S. foreign policy at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Cagaptay is coordinator of The Washington Institute's Turkish Research Program. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During late May and early June 2004, Muqtada al-Sadr's revolt was challenged by continuing coalition military action and mounting Shi'i political and religious pressure. His militia was increasingly on the defensive, clinging tightly to defensive positions near key holy sites and disappearing from the streets whenever coalition military operations became too overwhelming. In response, Sadr initiated a combination of political and militant actions designed to deflect political pressure, expand his influence, and impede coalition military progress against his forces.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Muqtada al-Sadr represents a serious long-term political and military challenge to the coalition and the new Iraqi government. Open warfare between Sadr and the coalition first emerged on April 4, 2004, with "uprisings" by his militia, the so-called Mahdi Army, in Baghdad and across southern Iraq. Although Sadr has not achieved his objective of a broad-based Shi'i rebellion, coalition forces have not been able to bring him to justice or dissolve his militia. Both sides are now playing a high-stakes game. The coalition is betting that it can eliminate or reduce Sadr as a political force without causing a serious breach with the larger Shi'i community. Sadr is gambling that he can persist, even prosper, in the face of the coalition. Indeed, he has long-term political goals and is positioning himself for the upcoming elections. The prospects that the coalition can bring him under control at acceptable cost and risk remain uncertain.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia