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  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, the Sunday Times of London reported that Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan had warned U.S. officials during a secret visit to Washington of covert Iranian plans for enriching uranium, which may mean Tehran was "nearer to acquiring nuclear weapons than widely believed." The same report quoted Knesset Foreign and Defense Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz as saying that Iran might be only a year from developing a bomb. Meanwhile, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed ElBaradei is on the record as saying that, once Iran can enrich uranium in quantity, making an actual bomb would only take "a few months." And, in August 2005, the Washington Post reported that the new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate "projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing [sufficient highly enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years." In such circumstances it is small wonder if the public is confused, wondering whether some officials are exaggerating the potential danger of a nuclear-armed Iran while others seem to be almost irresponsibly unconcerned. In fact, the statements above are not mutually inconsistent, reflecting instead the discrepancy between hard fact and plausible interpretation. Since Iran's controversial uranium enrichment technology was initially acquired from Pakistan, an examination of that country's progress toward a nuclear bomb is both worthwhile and illuminating.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Tehran
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 18, the Jordanian government announced it had discovered a cache of weapons -- including rockets, C-4 explosives, and small arms -- in a northern Jordanian town. Jordanian authorities said the weapons belonged to Hamas and had entered Jordan from Syria. Subsequently, Jordan arrested ten Hamas militants and cancelled a scheduled visit by Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader. While the discovery of these weapons underscores Hamas's continuing efforts to prepare for terrorist acts even while it proclaims a tahdiya (period of calm), it also has important implications for internal Jordanian politics and the rising influence of Jordan's own Islamist movement.
  • Topic: Government, Religion, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, the State Department announced its plan for restructuring aid to the Palestinians in response to the formation of a government led by Hamas, which has refused Quartet demands to recognize Israel, cease violence and terror, and accept past diplomatic agreements. In order to target assistance toward the Palestinian people rather than the Hamas leadership, the United States will now provide the vast majority of its aid (some $203 million) for humanitarian needs, including food, health, and education programs primarily administered by United Nations agencies such as the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the UN World Food Program. An additional $42 million is allocated for "securing and expanding democracy," in an effort that "protects and promotes moderation and democratic alternatives to Hamas." Assisting the development of such a peaceful and democratic alternative -- as distinct from an immediate overthrow of Hamas -- will require the United States to support programs driven internally by Palestinians that can foster a broad-based political movement. Bolstering a centralized Fatah-like organization run by elites will only lead to further corruption and the continued alienation of the Palestinian public.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • 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: John Vines
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 13, 2006, Lt. Gen. John Vines addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Vines served until January 2006 as commander of the Multinational Corps–Iraq (MNC–I). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran's nuclear program presents one more issue on which Washington sees Middle East developments in a different light than does the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Turkey. Since coming to power in November 2002, AKP leaders have pursued rapprochement with Damascus and enhanced dialogue with Iran. In March 2006, the AKP welcomed Hamas leaders in Ankara. It is surprising that Turkey, a traditional bastion of Western policies in the Middle East, is promoting close ties with anti-Western actors that have hurt Turkey for decades—Syria provided safe haven to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Iran supported the PKK and radical Islamist terrorists. Why do the Turkish people not resent such policies? The Iraq war and the U.S. agenda for political transformation in the Middle East have clashed with the Turkish people's desire to preserve the Middle Eastern political landscape. What is more, U.S. inaction against the PKK's Qandil enclave in Northern Iraq is angering most Turks in the way Syrian and Iranian support for the PKK upset them in the 1990s. Turkish confusion and anger toward the United States stands in sharp contrast with the improved image of Syria and Iran in Turkey. Meanwhile, with AKP discussing Middle Eastern politics in terms of Islamic codes, some Turks now identify with the region through Islam and not their national identity. The challenge for Washington is to find a way to prevent Turkey's popular slide away from the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Syria
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The ongoing debate over whether or not Iraq is on the verge or in the midst of a civil war is a distraction from the main challenge the United States now faces in Iraq: how to reduce or contain sectarian (and ethnic) violence that could derail the political process and drag Iraq's neighbors into the conflict. That said, the recent increase in sectarian violence following the attack on Samarra's Askariyya Shrine does not necessarily alter the fundamental character of the conflict: attacks on Shiites have long been an important element of Sunni Arab insurgent operations, although Shiites have only recently begun striking back in a sustained way. The violence does, however, have the potential to spiral out of control should another insurgent attack damage an important Shiite shrine or result in very large loss of life.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 22, leaders from across the Lebanese political spectrum completed another round of the ongoing National Dialogue. The talks, which started earlier this month, have touched on some of the more salient topics in Lebanese politics. Conspicuously absent from the agenda, however, has been a discussion of disarming militias, such as Hizballah, a key element of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. The indefinite postponement of this critical issue will make it difficult for the United States to continue to actively support its democratic allies in post-Syria Lebanon.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the international donor community struggles to determine its stance on aid to the Palestinians under the Hamas government, it is important to remember the extent to which the Palestinian economy is dependent upon Israeli decisions. Last year the international community gave the Palestinians $1.4 billion in aid; Israel has the potential to affect at least that sum through its policies on trade, Palestinian workers in Israel, and the tax revenue it collects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yaaron Deckel
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 16, 2006, Yaron Deckel and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Deckel is a leading political analyst in Israel and Washington correspondent for Israel Television and Israel Radio. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. Mr. Makovsky's remarks were released in PolicyWatch no. 1086, “The Shape of Israel's Election Race.” The following is a rapporteur's summary of Mr. Deckel's remarks. In several recent interviews with the press, Israeli acting prime minister Ehud Olmert articulated a specific agenda for disengagement and the evacuation of thousands of additional settlers from the West Bank, distinguishing his campaign from the vague promises that have characterized past Israeli elections. Ariel Sharon campaigned in 2003 on eventual “deep and painful” future concessions, but did not specifically address disengagement until after the elections. It is therefore important to evaluate the prospect that Kadima will head the next government and what policies it would likely follow if in power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a surprise move prior to Israel's March 28 election, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unveiled a proposal that Israeli settlers be consolidated into West Bank settlement blocs largely adjacent to the Green Line. A week after the announcement, Israeli public reaction suggests his gamble seems to have paid off. According to a Yediot Ahronot poll released on March 17, Israelis favor Olmert's unilateralist proposal by a margin of 52 percent to 45 percent. Moreover, Olmert's poll standing was not negatively impacted by the proposal, despite the fact that it could mean the removal of an estimated 60,000 settlers from dozens of settlements scattered across the larger part of the West Bank outside Israel's security barrier. (Inside the Israeli security barrier, there are approximately 193,000 settlers, mostly in blocs, in the 8 percent of the West Bank largely adjacent to the pre-1967 boundaries. By comparison, President Clinton's final proposal in 2000 involved Israel keeping 5 percent of the land.) An Olmert security advisor and former Shin Bet head, Avi Dichter, says the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will not be withdrawn from the West Bank. Olmert was able to use his commanding lead to answer critics who say that the new party leader lacks Ariel Sharon's track record and therefore the authority to ask the public to trust his decisions. In the March 17 poll, Olmert's Kadima stood to win 39 seats in the 120-seat Knesset; Labor was polling at 19 seats and Likud, 15 seats. Olmert's standing was undoubtedly assisted by Israel's March 15 operation to seize from a Jericho prison the assassins of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi. Olmert hopes the operation will burnish his security credentials and undercut Netanyahu's argument that he is uniquely tough enough to challenge Hamas. (Olmert needs to be concerned about the 22 percent of Israelis who are undecided—the equivalent of twenty-five Knesset seats.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky, Patrick Clawson, Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 3, 2006, Marc Otte, Patrick Clawson, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Otte is the European Union's special representative for the Middle East peace process. Dr. Clawson, The Washington Institute's deputy director for research, is author with Zoe Danon Gedal of the Institute monograph Dollars and Diplomacy: The Impact of U.S. Economic Initiatives on Arab-Israeli Negotiations. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Michael Herzog, Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the immediate aftermath of Hamas's parliamentary victory in late January, the Quartet—the United States, the EU, Russia, and the UN—set clear criteria for funding a Palestinian Authority (PA) under Hamas's leadership. The Quartet said direct funding would be a function of the new government's “commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.” Indeed, there is no other example of taxpayers subsidizing a government run by an organization that appears on State Department and EU terror lists.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 24 attack by al-Qaeda on Saudi Arabia's giant oil processing facility at Abqaiq failed. At least two of the attackers were killed, along with two security guards. On February 27, Saudi authorities said they had killed another five terrorists linked to the Abqaiq attack in a clash in Riyadh, and they were interrogating a further suspect. The failure of the attack and the reported success of the subsequent counterterrorist operation give the impression of Saudi efficiency, but it should at least as much serve as a warning. The planned attack, targeting the world's largest oil exporter, should give impetus to President Bush's determination, declared in his January State of the Union address, to wean the United States off foreign oil.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Khalid Mishal, a Hamas leader currently residing in Damascus, visited Ankara today. Despite fierce debate in the Turkish press and objections from the secular-minded foreign policy elite, Mishal's visit went ahead with backing from Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. From the American perspective, the visit is important for three reasons. First, it could potentially hurt Turkey's longstanding role as an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Second, it serves as yet another foreign policy breech between Turkey and the West. Third, the visit is a telltale sign of the AKP's policy of “strategic depth” toward the Middle East, a policy that Washington needs to understand given U.S. objectives in Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 8, 2006, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon served until June 2005 as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. The following is a transcript of his remarks. “Hamas's recent victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections challenges all those actors currently invested in promoting change in the Middle East. These include Israel, Western nations, Arab democrats, and Palestinian moderates. Adding to this challenge is the perception of radical Islamists—Sunni and Shiite alike—that Hamas's victory is a defeat for U.S. policy in the region, a blow to democratization, and a victory for Islamist fundamentalism.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Jonathan Powell
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In January, the United States halted talks on free trade with Egypt to protest the Egyptian government's imprisonment of Ayman Nour, a leading opposition figure who challenged President Hosni Mubarak in September 2005 presidential elections. Washington made no formal announcement, perhaps hoping to avoid open confrontation with Cairo, and in doing so missed an opportunity to highlight its growing success in negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with U.S. allies in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In his January 31 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil” and urged spending on technologies “to break [that] addiction.” Noting that oil is often imported from unstable parts of the world, he set a goal of replacing more than 75 percent of U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Depending on exactly what Bush means by that statement, such a policy could have huge significance for U.S. policy in the region, or it could be less than meets the eye.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Israelis assess the implications of Hamas's victory in January elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, a new threat may be developing in Lebanon. Al-Qaeda–linked terrorists have been present in Lebanon for a decade, but recent statements by Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi suggest that the dual objectives of destabilizing Arab regimes and targeting Israel proper are becoming top al-Qaeda priorities. Al-Zarqawi–linked terrorists in Lebanon have already engaged in low-level targeting of Israeli and Lebanese interests, yet several obstacles may hinder their ability to launch significant attacks in or from Lebanon. The Lebanese government, although weak, has a clear interest in preventing both internally and externally directed al-Qaeda activity. The dynamic among Hizballah, the Palestinians, and al-Qaeda remains more ambiguous, but early signs suggest potential antagonism among the groups. Together, Israel and the United States may be able to help Lebanon contain this emerging threat.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 30, 2006, Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, and Michael Herzog addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr Satloff is the Institute's executive director. Ambassador Ross is the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow. Michael Herzog is a brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a visiting military fellow at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Yigit Alpogan
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 24, 2006, Yigit Alpogan, secretary-general of Turkey's National Security Council, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Alpogan, who assumed his current post in August 2004 as the first civilian head of the Turkish National Security Council, previously served as the Turkish ambassador to Greece and Turkmenistan as well as deputy undersecretary of foreign affairs. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Greece
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At a time when attention is focused on the problems democracy has brought in one part of the Middle East, such as the Palestinian territories, it has been easy to overlook how democratic processes were key to resolving a crisis in another Middle Eastern country: Kuwait. The January 15 death of Kuwait's emir, or ruler, Sheikh Jaber brought to power the physically and mentally incapacitated Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah. But the crisis engendered by his ill health and his refusal to abdicate was resolved quickly through democratic processes. On January 24, the parliament of the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Kuwait exercised a previously unused constitutional power and voted to oust Sheikh Saad. The new emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, is expected to be confirmed by parliament on January 29, and is now under pressure from some members of parliament to choose a prime minister from outside the ranks of the ruling al-Sabah family.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 23, 2006, Washington Institute executive director Robert Satloff addressed the 2006 Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel's National Security. Excerpts from Dr. Satloff's remarks follow. “Beware the unintended consequences of sound policies. On June 24, 2002, President Bush announced a major shift in U.S. policy. No longer would fulfillment of diplomatic requirements—that is, acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 242 or recognizing Israel's right to exist—alone merit the full engagement of the United States in assisting Palestinians as they try to achieve their legitimate rights through negotiations with Israel. From then on, how they handled themselves at home—whether they are corrupt, whether they are democratic, whether they are, as the president said, 'untainted by terrorism'—would all matter.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • 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: Michael Young
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Shiite ministers recently “suspended” their participation in the Lebanese cabinet, though without resigning, it highlighted an increasingly apparent reality in post-Syria Lebanon: Two powerful camps coexist today. One, led by Hizballah, in alliance with the Amal movement, sits atop a Shiite community generally, though not unanimously, supporting their positions. The other reflects a cross-communal parliamentary majority, the cornerstone of which is the Sunni-led Future Movement of Saad Hariri, son of the murdered former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Abdul Halim Khaddam, who was vice-president of Syria from 1984 to June 2005, gave an explosive interview to the Dubai-based al-Arabia TV on December 30 implicating the Syrian leadership, including President Bashar al-Asad, in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Khaddam's action widened irrevocably the crack in Syria's political system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the eve of the Palestinian legislative elections, Fatah maintains only the slightest of leads over Hamas, a scenario which would have been unimaginable one year ago. Since Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004, Hamas has increased its strength by 40 percent, while in the same period Fatah has only increased its support by 10 percent.
  • Topic: Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Wednesday, January 25, Palestinian voters will elect a new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) for the first time since the initial PLC was elected ten years ago. The participation of Hamas in the elections marks a turning point in Palestinian politics; the group boycotted the original 1996 ballots as part of its rejection of the Oslo process. Ensuring a smooth transition from elections to the seating of the new PLC will require passing several hurdles, not the least of which is protecting balloting and vote-counting from violent disruptions. Assuming election day proceeds without incident—no small matter given the level of domestic lawlessness over the last several weeks—Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will then face the challenge of selecting a prime minister to form the next government. What remains unknown is precisely how well Hamas will finish in relation to Abbas' own Fatah party, and whether a tight race will lead Abbas to include Hamas as an active partner in the next Palestinian government—or, indeed, whether a poor Fatah showing might prompt Abbas to resign.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With just over two weeks left before January 25 Palestinian legislative elections, the mainstream Fatah movement remains bitterly divided, with some of its key factions advocating the postponement of elections and others demanding that voting be held as scheduled. Having publicly aired its internal problems over the last weeks rather than developing a clear campaign message, Fatah is unlikely to win more than 40 percent of the seats in the next Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Even though the question of Israel allowing voting in East Jerusalem now seems resolved, it remains to be seen whether elections will take place. If they do proceed, Fatah is certain to lose its monopoly on the Palestinian Authority and will require a coalition to form the next government.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 2, Iraq's Defense Ministry appealed to junior officers from Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to return to service. The decision to include these soldiers is part of an ongoing strategy to minimize support for terrorism by reintegrating Sunnis into the political fabric of the new Iraq. This latest effort comes as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group steps up targeting of Shiite civilians in an effort to spark retaliatory attacks against Sunnis. But as Zarqawi's attacks on Shiites exact growing toll among civilians, his tactics may be causing a divide within the ranks of the resistance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Eunice Youmans
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 11, Bahrain will welcome government officials and civil society groups to the second meeting of the Forum for the Future. The forum was founded at the 2004 G-8 summit at Sea Island, Georgia, as the centerpiece of the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative to promote change in the region. Political reform tops the forum's 2005 agenda with two-thirds of the conference sessions set to address political reform, human rights, women's empowerment, and the rule of law. The agenda, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs Scott Carpenter says, reflects the Bahraini government's willingness to discuss sensitive issues of reform, and U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice will address the conference.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Georgia, North Africa
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The United States has been lobbying the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution about reinforcing Lebanon's sovereignty, building on the October 25, 2005, report by UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. That resolution, adopted on September 2, 2004, called for the disbanding and disarmament of all militias in Lebanon, the extension of Lebanese government control over all Lebanese territory, and the strict respect of Lebanese sovereignty. Important as each might be in light of recent developments, the Resolution 1559 requirements are closely interconnected.
  • Topic: Security, Sovereignty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Khairi Abaza
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The November 10 meeting at the White House between U.S. president George W. Bush and Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh will be the third time the two men have met since the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. Yemen is an oft-forgotten close U.S. ally, arguably as crucial to the success of the war on terror as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Egypt. The south Arabian country, with its rugged, desert landscape, remains a sanctuary for al-Qaeda operatives. With seacoasts along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Yemen dominates the Bab el-Mandab shipping chokepoint, the route by which oil from the Persian Gulf reaches the Suez Canal and hence the European market. (A French supertanker was badly damaged in an al-Qaeda attack off the Yemeni coast in 2002.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Mohsen Sazegara
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Mohsen Sazegara, recently a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute and now at Yale University, posted on several Persian-language websites (including gooya.com) a long open letter to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Hossein Khamenei. Below are translated extracts from that letter.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Düden Yegenoglu, Ekim Alptekin
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey opened accession talks with the European Union (EU) on October 3. In the aftermath of the March 2004 Madrid bombings, the November 2004 murder of film director Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, and the July 2005 London bombings, all committed by radical Islamists, some people in Europe wonder whether Islam is compatible with European values and, accordingly, whether letting the predominantly Muslim Turkey join the EU is a good idea. Will Turkey's EU accession compound Europe's problem with radical Islam, or is Turkey's version of Islam a panacea for Europe's Islamist problem?
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Meral Varis
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Now that negotiations toward full Turkish membership in the European Union (EU) have begun, what are the prospects for the Turkish economy? In particular, could Turkey attract significant global investment and take off economically as happened in Spain, Portugal, and Greece in the 1980s and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in the 1990s when those countries negotiated for EU accession?
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The long-awaited report by the international commission investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was released on October 21. Overseen by UN chief investigator Detlev Mehlis, the report concluded, "Given the infiltration of Lebanese institutions and society by the Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services working in tandem, it would be difficult to envisage a scenario whereby such a complex assassination plot could have been carried out without their knowledge." The dynamics engendered by the report, coupled with the political atmosphere of gloom pervading Syria, confront the Bashar al-Asad regime with a bitter choice: accept international demands or go down the self-destructive path of continuing with its old political mindset and flawed one party rule.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr, lashed out at Saudi diplomacy while speaking to journalists in Amman on October 2. Referring to Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, Jabr said Iraq would not be lectured by "some Bedouin riding a camel." Broadening his remarks to the Saudi ruling family, the House of Saud, the Iraqi minister said, "There are regimes that are dictatorships; they have one god, he is the king, he is god of heaven and earth, and he rules as he likes. A whole country is named after a family."
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 25, 2005, Lebanese journalist May Chidiac nearly lost her life in yet another car bomb attack on prominent Lebanese figures who are critical of Syria. Led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, the international commission charged with investigating the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is expected to issue a report on its findings to the UN Security Council on October 21. Many Lebanese fear that during the countdown to the report, which reportedly may implicate senior Syrian officials in Hariri's assassination, Syria and its allies in Lebanon might try to destabilize the country in an act of retribution against the Lebanese opposition and the "ungrateful" country.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Samer Abu Libdah
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: King Abdullah II's latest domestic reform initiative for Jordan — the National Agenda Committee — will soon release a series of major political recommendations. These proposals will provide the Jordanian government with a detailed framework to guide the reform process in coming years.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 17, the United Nations (UN) report on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is due to be handed to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. It may be delayed by a few months, however, to allow the international community to insist that Syrian officials be questioned and, if suspected, held for trial.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Eastern Europe, Syria
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Though armed insurgencies can last for a decade or more, they also can have decisive periods in which their paths are set, even if those paths do not become apparent for some time. Iraq appears to be entering just such a period of decision.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Warnings by Sunni politicians of even greater violence if Sunni Arab concerns are not addressed in the draft Iraqi constitution raise the question: could the insurgency get worse? The answer can be found by examining the insurgency's demographic dimension.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Orhan Babaoglu
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR), a regional maritime security initiative started by Turkey in 2001, was activated August 14-27. With world attention devoted to Iraq and the Middle East, important developments in the nearby Black Sea region involving energy politics, frozen conflicts, and new regional security initiatives have gone mostly unnoticed. The Black Sea is a stable but complex basin with vast economic resources and strategic importance as a medium for energy transportation. Is the Black Sea a bridge or a barrier between United States and Turkey? Does the issue of Black Sea security provide an opportunity to mend deteriorated relations or a new source of friction?
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Sana Nourani
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran's hardline establishment often declares that all Iranian citizens are united in their determination to see Iran exercise its "right" to nuclear power and "self-sufficiency" — that is, operation of the complete fuel cycle. But are all Iranians really so enthused by the national nuclear program and heedless of international repercussions? What follows is a collection of Iranian reactions to the recent nuclear impasse.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji, Mohsen Sazegara
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran's bold August 7 decision to resume uranium conversion—previously frozen under an agreement with Britain, France, and Germany—came only four days after new president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office. This confrontational step suggests that the new administration may take strong actions to advance its hardline agenda. At the same time, the new government may not be as unified as it appears. Signs of serious division have emerged among the ruling elite, and these differences could preoccupy Iranian politicians for some time to come.
  • Topic: Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Iran, Middle East, France, Germany
  • Author: Michael Jacobson, Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following is a preview of a forthcoming Washington Institute monograph focusing on U.S., British, and German counterterrorism efforts from September 11 to the London bombings, written by former Institute Soref fellow Michael Jacobson. Current Soref fellow Emily Hunt offers excerpts from Mr. Jacobson's timely book, along with commentary of her own. The London bombings served as an unpleasant reminder that Britain remains a primary target of the global Islamist terrorist movement. Michael Jacobson's forthcoming book on legal and law enforcement changes in the United States and Europe is particularly pertinent in light of such attacks. The following excerpts from his analysis challenge popular misperceptions about U.S. and European approaches to counterterrorism and highlight their common ground. They also shed light on the way in which the "security vs. civil liberties" debate is playing out on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, Poland
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Jack Keane, Francis West
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Daily images of carnage from Iraq and uncertainty over how to measure coalition progress continue to stoke debate in the United States. How does one assess the status of the insurgency? How are the efforts to recruit and train Iraq's security forces proceeding? What are America's options in Iraq?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Vietnam, Syria
  • Author: Haluk Sahar
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Anatolian Eagle is one of the largest and most complex joint air force exercises in the world, paralleled only by Red Flag, held periodically at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base, and the annual Maple Flag exercise in Canada. The Turkish Air Force (TUAF) is now preparing for the multinational leg of the next Anatolian Eagle, scheduled to take place September 12-23. Anatolian Eagle has obvious public relations value for Turkey and its air force as hosts of the event. Moreover, as an exercise mimicking realistic aerial war minutes away from the U.S. forces, it also serves as an important component of U.S.-Turkish military cooperation.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 20, the Saudi foreign ministry announced that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the long-serving Saudi ambassador to the United States, was stepping down, and that "the process of nominating" Prince Turki al-Faisal, the current Saudi ambassador in London, to replace him had begun. When the widely anticipated death of the recently hospitalized, eighty-four-year-old King Fahd occurs, both Prince Turki and Prince Bandar, as senior "next generation" princes, could be crucial players.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: R. Nicholas Burns
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 18, 2005, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns addressed The Washington Institute's Seventh Turgut Ozal Memorial Lecture. Undersecretary Burns's prepared remarks were delivered by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried. The following are excerpts from the speech followed by a summary of the subsequent question-and-answer session. "Today, we have all gathered to honor Turgut Ozal, a strong leader with a clear vision of Turkey's future. Ozal — who we as Americans are proud to call a close friend — sought tirelessly to advance Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's legacy, his dream of a modern, democratic Turkey anchored in the West....
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 19, Lebanon's incoming prime minister, Fuad Siniora, announced the formation of a new Lebanese cabinet, a move praised in Washington as another step toward democratic reform. At the same time, the State Department warned that it would not be able to maintain contact with newly appointed Minister of Energy and Water Muhammad Fneish, who is a member of Hizballah. Beyond the fact that U.S. officials are prohibited by law from dealing with members of officially designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations like Hizballah, Fneish's appointment raises the larger question of how to deal with the extensive presence of active terrorist groups in a Lebanon no longer dominated by Syria.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The July 16–18 visit to Tehran by Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim Jafari and ten other members of his council of ministers has been hailed by some as the beginning of a new era in Iran-Iraq relations. In fact, the pattern of near-term relations was set during Iraqi defense minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi's preparatory visit to Iran on July 5–7. At a joint press conference on July 7 with his Iranian counterpart, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Iraqi official fell victim to the oldest trick in the Iranian diplomatic playbook. Speaking well beyond what had been agreed by the two sides, Shamkhani announced “wide defense cooperation” and alluded to the imminent conclusion of a defense pact between the two countries (as Iran has done in the past with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia). Al-Dulaimi was likewise forced to clarify the limited nature of the discussions while also taking pains to state, “Iraq will not be a source of insecurity and instability for any of its neighbors. Nobody can use [Iraqi territory] to attack its neighbors.” The message to both Tehran and Washington was clear: the three-way game between the governments of Iran, Iraq, and the United States has begun again. With Iraq caught in the middle, Baghdad intends to play an increasingly autonomous role as the game unfolds.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Mohsen Sazegara
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 29, 2005, Iran's Guardian Council confirmed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as winner of the June 24 presidential election, as dictated by Iran's constitution and in accordance with the wishes of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He will take office on August 4. The fact that Ahmadinejad won the election would have meant nothing unless Khamenei approved the results. While the president is titular head of the Iranian government, he is at most second-in-command after the Supreme Leader. In order to understand how the Ahmadinejad presidency will unfold, then, one must first realize that Khamenei will now have even more direct powers than before.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Jamie Chosak
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 11, al-Seyassah, an independent Kuwaiti newspaper, reported that Syrian president Bashar al-Asad froze the assets of his country's minister of interior affairs, Ghazi Kanaan. If so, that is surely a reaction to Kanaan's June 30 designation—along with Chief of Syrian Military Intelligence for Lebanon Rustum Ghazali—by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Specially Designated National (SDN) under Executive Order (EO) 13338. The two were cited for directing “Syria's military and security presence in Lebanon and/or contributing to Syria's support for terrorism.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kuwait, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Beginning on July 6, British prime minister Tony Blair will host the G8 summit in Gleneagles, a hotel and golf course in Scotland. Africa and climate change are the two main topics on the agenda, but counterterrorism, proliferation, and political reform in the Middle East are scheduled to be discussed as well. The annual G8 summit has become the sole forum in which the leaders of the seven top industrialized countries (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States) and Russia meet to discuss and decide on courses of action. Diplomatic grandstanding and expected antiglobalization demonstrations aside, the summit is an opportunity to set the international political and bureaucratic agenda for months ahead.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Oil, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Africa, Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Middle East, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 20, 2005, Kuwait's first female cabinet minister, Massouma al-Mubarak, was sworn in, taking responsibility for the planning portfolio. Six months earlier, a woman was appointed minister of economy and planning in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Women have assumed ministerial posts in Bahrain and Oman as well. And in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, women now have the right to vote. Indeed, women's political rights, previously nonexistent in the conservative Arab Gulf states, have undergone extraordinary growth in recent years. Yet, how much progress has there really been, given that women's representation in this region is still poor even compared with the rest of the Arab world? In particular, can the United States, which actively encourages enhanced rights for women, do anything about Saudi Arabia's anomalous lack of such progress?
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman
  • Author: Mohsen Sazegara
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Once again the Iranian nation is at a fork in the road: a choice between worse and worst. It is not clear when it will have the possibility of choosing, under a democratic structure, between better and best. A problematic election and the intervention of the armed services in politics have created a bitter equation, on one side of which stands a fascistic reading of religion. The people of Iran, in shock and fearful of the nightmare before them, are being invited to the other side of the equation, namely, to support Hashemi Rafsanjani. If they do so, in two months time they will have to add another disappointment to the many that have afflicted their nation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Naysan Rafati
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iranians will head back to the polls on June 24 to decide an unprecedented presidential runoff pitting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Ahmadinejad, mayor of Tehran, defied pre-election forecasts by reportedly finishing with 5,710,354 (19.5 percent) of the 29,317,042 ballots cast in the original election on June 17. Rafsanjani, president from 1989 to 1997 and current chairman of the Expediency Council, reportedly received 6,159,452 votes (21 percent). The following is a survey of each candidate's recent statements on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues. It should be noted that their past statements on some of these issues may differ with what they have said in the past few weeks.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Tehran
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Moshe Yaalon, Avi Dichter
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 15, 2005, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Avi Dichter, and Ambassador Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Institute, is the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff. Mr. Dichter, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, is the former head of the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet). Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (2004). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Former Israeli prime minister and recently resigned finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the Likud leadership primary on December 19, beating the foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, by a margin of 45 percent to 33 percent. Netanyahu returns to the leadership of Likud, which he vacated after his loss in the 1999 election. Netanyahu's victory comes a day after Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon suffered what his doctors called a mild stroke; he was released from the hospital within forty-eight hours. At seventy-seven, Sharon already shares the record for the oldest Israeli prime minister; David Ben-Gurion was seventy-seven when he resigned in 1963. Sharon turns seventy-eight in February.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Keyes
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, al-Qaeda has responded by splintering into affiliate groups that work along the same lines as the parent group but have a wider degree or organizational latitude. One of the newest may be taking shape in Gaza. The Israeli Ministry of Defense recently reported that al-Qaeda members had crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip after Israel's withdrawal from the territory. If al-Qaeda gains a foothold in Gaza, it would be a most disturbing development not only for the Arab-Israeli peace process, but for America's counterterrorism efforts as well.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After a relatively calm first round of Fatah primaries in five of the West Bank's eleven electoral districts, a second round of primaries in five additional districts—four in the West Bank and one in Gaza—held between November 28 and December 3 have caused increased tensions within the movement. Where the victories by the younger generation of Fatah leaders in the primaries could have represented a watershed moment in Fatah's evolution, they have been marred by a haphazard system of voting and numerous accusations of fraud. Moreover, repeated incidents of violence at polling stations demonstrate Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas's difficulty in enforcing his principle of One Authority, One Gun even within his own movement. Rather than unifying Fatah, the primaries have highlighted the party's disorganization and divisions. The old guard represented by Fatah's Central Committee, which dominates a committee of the wise tasked to determine Fatah's final electoral lists, will now have greater leverage in that process to place its own members high on Fatah's national list of candidates in Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections scheduled for January 2006.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 25, Palestinians celebrated the opening of their first self-governed external passage, the Rafah border crossing that separates the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Following months of negotiations, on November 15 Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) reached the Agreement on Movement and Access, governing the flow of people and goods into and from the Gaza Strip. Isreal's disengagement from the whole of Gaza, including the border with Egypt, made an accord on border crossings necessary. The agreement was achieved through extensive mediation by Quartet's special envoy, James Wolfensohn, and at the final stage through the unprecedented involvement of U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. The agreement is an attempt to balance Israeli security concerns with Palestinian political, humanitarian, and economic concerns.
  • Topic: International Relations, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Palestine, Egypt
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In preparation for January elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian faction that dominates the current council, held its first ever primaries on November 25.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amir Peretz's decision to pull the Labor Party he leads out of its national unity government with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon set Israel's new political calendar and precipitated Sharon's decision to bolt the Likud Party and consent to elections in March 2006. Peretz is a veteran labor union leader who won the leadership of the Labor Party on November 10, defeating Shimon Peres, a dominant force in the party since 1974.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Monday, November 21, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon announced that he is bolting the Likud Party and forming a new National Responsibility Party. The Knesset took a preliminary vote to dissolve itself. While wrangling may continue, a final date will soon be set for elections in March 2006. Sharon remains prime minister during the interregnum.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ten years ago today, the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated. This was one of the darkest days in the history of the State of Israel, the Israeli democracy, and the Jewish people. Prime Minister Rabin, who had also previously served as the IDF's chief of the General Staff, was born in Jerusalem in1922—perhaps symbolically, during the days of the first significant Arab murderous attacks against there established Israeli settlements in the land of Israel. In January 1964, Yitzhak Rabin was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, becoming the seventh IDF chief of the General Staff. After war broke out in 1967, General Rabin led the IDF to the decisive victory in the Six Day War and, on December 31, 1967, stepped down from his command with Israel enjoying, for the first time since its establishment, defensible borders.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the leadup to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's October 20 visit to Washington, the Bush administration urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to tighten rules enacted in 1995 and change the law governing upcoming Palestinian legislative elections to make it clear that candidates, even those backed by Hamas or other militant groups, could not incite violence or keep ties with militias. However, the PA seems unlikely to adopt this approach, in part because the administration reportedly backed away from its position. What alternative strategies exist for limiting Hamas's political influence?
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas returned to Ramallah from Washington last week having missed a key opportunity to spur President George W. Bush to reengage in the Roadmap. Instead, the October 20 joint press conference at the White House concluded with Bush acknowledging that his presidency may not witness the creation of a Palestinian state by 2008. His administration, Bush said, might merely “lay that foundation so that the process becomes irreversible.” The same administration that two years ago endorsed the Quartet's Roadmap to Israeli-Palestinian peace based upon a detailed schedule of commitments now expresses hesitancy on committing to any “timetable” for the creation of a Palestinian state. Bush administration policy has always had a performance-based rather than a time-based approach, but now it is not putting down any time markers.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Jamie Chosak, Julie Sawyer
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 22, 2005, Abbas al-Sayyid was convicted of masterminding two Hamas suicide bombings: the March 27, 2002, attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya and the May 18, 2001, shopping mall bombing that killed five and injured one hundred. The Park Hotel bombing, considered the terror group's most devastating attack since the outbreak of the second intifada, had implications extending far beyond the murder of thirty innocent civilians. The attack prompted Israel to launch Operation Defensive Shield, the reoccupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Additionally, the bombing highlighted Hamas's program of radicalization and recruitment in Palestinian universities and the group's experimentation with chemical and biological agents.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli authorities on September 27 announced the arrest of an Israeli-Arab Hamas activist who played central militant, political, and financing roles for the group in coordination with what Israeli authorities described as a “Hamas command in Saudi Arabia.” The arrest is just the latest evidence that support for Hamas in particular and Islamic extremism in general continues to emanate from within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • 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: Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Empowering Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas and fellow moderates at this critical time may be in the interest of everyone who favors a return to peace negotiations, but Abbas himself faces immense challenges to his authority that make him unlikely to be able to implement significant changes in the four months left before Palestinian legislative elections in January. The weakened position Abbas inherited included limited control over security forces, paralyzing rivalries within the Fatah movement that limit any support for difficult decisions, and an increasingly assertive Hamas that constantly flaunts its ability to act independently. None of these sources of Abbas's weakness is likely to change significantly in the coming months. And, despite Abbas's intentions to establish law and order and begin economic revitalization in Gaza as articulated in a speech delivered on September 13, the chaos exhibited along the border at Rafah and in the old Israeli settlements immediately after the Israeli withdrawal demonstrates just how difficult his task will be.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 12, the last departing Israeli forces closed the gates of Gaza behind them, followed by a salvo of Palestinian rockets aimed at southern Israel. In the unsettled aftermath of the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, only one camp seems clearly to know where it is heading -- the militant Palestinian Islamist groups, led by Hamas. These groups now profess their intention to continue their violent campaign in and from the West Bank. Their strategy, using armed and political capabilities, poses a serious challenge to both Palestinian and Israeli leaderships and may undermine prospects of improved Israeli-Palestinian relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky, Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A key issue in the runup to January's Palestinian parliamentary elections is whether the radical Islamist party Hamas will be allowed to participate and under what conditions. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and foreign minister Silvan Shalom have insisted that the group disarm, disavow terror, and end its call for Israel's destruction before it is permitted to run in elections. Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has favored an unconditional acceptance of Hamas's electoral participation, believing that it could coopt Hamas within the Palestinian political fold. However, he said in a Washington Post interview published on September 11, 2005, "A political party plus a militia is unacceptable," but he did not elaborate specific plans that would prevent Hamas from participating in elections as both party and militia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Jamie Chosak
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Now that Israel has disengaged from the Gaza Strip and four settlements from the northern West Bank, the international community has a clear interest in doing all it can to see that the post-withdrawal security situation remains stable so that the exit from Gaza leads to further steps along the path laid out in the Quartet's Roadmap to Middle East peace. As former World Bank leader James Wolfensohn, now Washington's special envoy for disengagement, lobbies world leaders to offer significant support for Palestinian development projects, a parallel effort is necessary to create new, transparent public and private social-service organizations unaffiliated with Hamas or other groups engaged in terrorism or political violence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Humanitarian Aid, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The September 1 meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul between Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Kasuri, was historic. There have been no public official contacts between the two nations since Pakistan was founded in 1947 as a home for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent just a few months before Israel, the Jewish national home, achieved statehood in 1948. The meeting represents a major breakthrough in Jerusalem's efforts to overcome diplomatic isolation and also indicates that Turkey is determined to play a more active role than previously thought.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank settlements has left in its wake three important crises for the religious Zionist movement that spearheaded settlements in Israel. These crises involve the settlers' future relationships with the Israeli public, the Israeli state, and the political secular right. For settlers, these three relationships are now colored by a sense of betrayal, raising the question of whether disengagement will radicalize the ideological settlers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: An immediate consequence of Israel's disengagement from Gaza was Benjamin Netanyahu's August 7 resignation as finance minister, making a Likud Party leadership challenge between him and Ariel Sharon virtually inevitable. What will be the impact of such a challenge on Sharon's policy in the postdisengagement period? And how would a Netanyahu challenge affect the chances of a split within the Likud—and perhaps a broader realignment of Israeli politics?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 4, 2005, Dennis Ross, Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and former U.S. Middle East peace envoy, has just returned from a month in the region. General Herzog of the Israel Defense Force is a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute. Formerly the senior military aide to the minister of defense, he was also an Israeli peace negotiator. Mr. Makovsky, senior fellow and the director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's July 22-24 visit to the Israeli-Palestinian scene came amid critical domestic challenges to the Palestinian leadership against the backdrop of imminent Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, scheduled to begin August 15. In an unprecedented step, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas recently demonstrated the will to enforce his policy of nonviolence on Hamas and curb the group's efforts to become an alternative armed authority. Given his precarious vacillation between appeasement and enforcement, the international community should encourage Abbas to continue down the latter path and provide him with practical support toward that end.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: I have spent the past month in Jerusalem, meeting with Israelis and Palestinians here, in Ramallah, and in Gaza City. In my years of dealing with both sides, I cannot recall a time when emotion in general, and frustration in particular, have so clearly shaped their outlook. Given the death of Yasser Arafat, the emergence of Mahmoud Abbas, and Ariel Sharon's decision to disengage from Gaza, this should be a time of hope and opportunity. Instead, there is less a sense of possibility than of foreboding. It may not yet be too late to use the withdrawal as a platform on which to build a different future. Yet, much of what could have been done to prepare the ground for disengagement has not been done—and that may explain the unease that pervades both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Aviezer Ravitsky
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 24, 2005, Aviezer Ravitsky, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an expert on religious Zionism, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. The impending Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank threatens the ideological foundations of many settlers. This is particularly true for religious settlers, most of whom view Israeli habitation of the West Bank as the fulfillment of a biblical mandate initiated by the Hebrew patriarchs. The fact that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a prime architect of the settlement movement during his tenure as housing minister in the late 1970s, unilaterally proposed the disengagement epitomizes what many settlers see as their abandonment by the political establishment. They fear that Israel will eventually withdraw from most, if not all, of the West Bank. That prospect threatens to undermine the cause of the national-religious camp in Israel, which has championed the settlement movement above all else since Israel assumed control over the territories in 1967.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The June 21 meeting between Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas highlighted the widening expectations gap between the two parties. Less than two months before Israel commences its pullout from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, the security situation is worsening, while the PA appears largely unprepared to assume effective security control over these areas. Without an urgent predisengagement "crash program" to improve security, the opportunity afforded by Yasser Arafat's departure from the scene and Israel's departure from Gaza will be lost.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian security reform was high on the agenda during Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent visit to Ramallah. A spike in armed clashes, crime, and demonstrations in the territories has highlighted the issue of law and order among the Palestinian people, who are increasingly concerned about their daily security. On June 14, Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Ahmed Qurei threatened to suspend the work of the cabinet "if the security forces fail to put an end to the trespasses and anarchy."
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Minda Lee Arrow
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the challenges facing the Israeli government in the weeks before the Gaza disengagement commences are relocating evacuated settlers and determining the future of settlement assets. This Peace Watch will examine the former issue; a future Peace Watch will address the latter.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House Thursday with an unprecedented shower of diplomatic, political, and financial support. Most media attention has focused on two high-profile signs of U.S. backing of Abbas -- Bush's bold characterization of his guest as a "man of courage" and the dispatch of $50 million in direct assistance to the PA. As constructive as these messages were in bolstering the new Palestinian leader, little attention has been given to several other surprising messages Bush delivered -- both by omission and commission -- that could rebound against the administration's twin objectives of strengthening Palestinian democracy and advancing the vision of "two states living side by side in peace and security."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 18, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is scheduled to debate the law governing the legislative elections scheduled for July 17, the first such elections since the inaugural polls of 1996. The issues under contention underscore the larger divisions in Palestinian politics, particularly the dominant Fatah PartyÕs internal factionalism and its fear of an increasingly popular Hamas.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog, Dennis Rose
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, 2005, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, former U.S. Middle East peace envoy, and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004). Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Brig.-Gen. Herzog, a visiting military fellow at the Institute, was formerly the senior military aide to the defense minister and a peace negotiator. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks; David Makovsky's remarks served as the basis for PeaceWatch no. 498.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Isaac Herzog
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 4, 2005, Isaac Herzog addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Herzog was recently named Israel's minister of housing and construction when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon broadened his government to include the Labor Party. Heading a ministry that was key in backing past settlement activity, Mr. Herzog has called for a thorough ministerial review of Israel's settlement policy. A Labor member of the Knesset since 2001, Mr. Herzog previously served as cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 11, 2005, President George W. Bush will host Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. The meeting comes at a key juncture, given Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank. Mr. Makovsky, who recently returned from a ten-day trip to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, and Jordan, discussed the upcoming summit at The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum on April 7. This PeaceWatch is based on his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Egypt, Czech Republic
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The March 8 mass rally in Beirut, organized by Hizballah to counter the popular Lebanese opposition movement, serves as a reminder that establishing genuine freedom and democracy in Lebanon will require more than a Syrian withdrawal. Whereas the opposition, backed by strong international and regional sentiment, focuses on rejecting Syria's occupation, Hizballah focuses on rejecting international interference in Lebanese affairs. Yet, if Iran and Hizballah are permitted to fill the void created by a Syrian departure, Lebanon will continue to be subjected to such foreign interference. Such a development would also increase the potential for escalation on the Lebanese-Israeli front, with possible regional spillover. Accordingly, while encouraging the ongoing historic events in Lebanon and pushing for an end to Syrian domination, the international community should not neglect two other key implications of UN Security Council Resolution 1559: ending the Iranian presence and disarming Hizballah.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 24, 2005, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the new cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. Often described as technocratic and progressive, the cabinet is widely seen as fitting the Bush administration's requirement of being "untainted by terror." Indeed, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice highlighted the new cabinet as one of the "important steps" the Palestinian Authority (PA) had taken toward reform and described this week's London conference, held in support of the PA, as an opportunity to express "international support for their extremely important reform movement." Yet, one cabinet appointment gives reason for concern: the new minister of economy, Mazen Sunuqrut, has close, longstanding ties to Hamas.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky, Anna Hartman
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, the Israeli cabinet approved modified routing of the security fence, the first officially sanctioned changes since the cabinet approved construction in October 2003. The modifications, prompted by an Israeli supreme court decision last summer made to avert Palestinian hardship, are characterized by four major adjustments: (1) revised routing in several areas that will bring the fence closer to the Green Line (pre-1967 boundaries); (2) the elimination of all fence routes that create Palestinian enclaves or "double fences" (areas where Palestinians would have been completely encircled by the security fence); (3) the addition—for the first time on any official Israeli map—of fence around the Maale Adumim settlement bloc; and (4) final authorization of fence routing and construction near the Etzion bloc.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 1, British prime minister Tony Blair will host a conference in London dedicated to garnering support for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The summit is intended to help the new Palestinian leadership strengthen PA institutions, with a special focus on facilitating economic development, encouraging donor pledges, and identifying investment opportunities. Israel will not be participating, but Saudi Arabia and several other oil-rich Arab countries will attend. These countries reaped unexpectedly high government revenues in 2004 due to increased oil prices—excluding Iraq, the Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) saw $45 billion in additional revenue compared to 2003. How much of this windfall is offered to bolster the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will be seen, at least in Washington, as a key indicator of the willingness of the Arab world to secure a settlement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 24, 2005, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the new cabinet presented by Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei by a vote of fifty-four to ten, with four abstentions, establishing the first official government appointed after the January election of President Mahmoud Abbas. After a week of political infighting over the makeup of the cabinet, Qurei yielded to pressure from the Fatah bloc and offered a list composed almost exclusively of technocrats with professional expertise in the fields of their respective ministries. Nearly all of Yasser Arafat's political appointees from the old guard were removed. The reformers within Fatah who led the opposition to Qurei compromised as well by agreeing that no sitting member of the council (other than the prime minister and the new deputy prime minister, Nabil Shaath) could be in the cabinet, thereby keeping the most prominent political proponents of reform outside the executive branch.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • 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