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  • Author: Richard Speier
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A dispute is rapidly growing between UN inspectors and Baghdad concerning Iraq's stockpile of al-Samoud missiles. The UN is expected to order the destruction of these missiles today. According to Hans Blix, executive chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, the fact that these missiles are capable of attaining a range 22 percent greater than that allowed under UN restrictions is a "prima facie" case for their proscription. Yet, Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has said, "There is no serious violation," and it is unclear whether Baghdad would obey a destruction order. Understanding the significance of the al-Samoud requires a closer look at the missile's developmental history, technical capabilities, and strategic purpose.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Ladan Boroumand
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For many years, Western democracies have been pessimistic about the possibility of Iran becoming a secular democracy. Thus, Western policy toward Iran has long been characterized by a series of hesitant, inconsistent, and ad hoc decisions aimed at countering Iranian-sponsored terrorism, coupled with a relative lack of concern about the tyrannical nature of the Iranian regime. This unfounded pessimism is predicated on a profound misreading of the Islamic Republic as a traditional religious government rather than a revolutionary regime.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Osama el-Baz
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S.-Egyptian relations always have been a critical aspect of American involvement in the Middle East. Although Washington and Cairo have disagreed on certain issues, they have nevertheless maintained a significant partnership. As regional tensions mount amid the possibility of war with Iraq and continued violence on the Israeli-Palestinian front, it is important to take a fresh look at this partnership. Recently, the Egyptian government has conveyed its concerns to the United States on two major issues: the potential for war in Iraq and Washington's role in attaining Arab-Israeli peace.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Following Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 6 address to the United Nations Security Council, some questioned his description of the "sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network." In fact, the relationship between Baghdad and terrorism mirrors the way in which today's international terrorist groups function: not as tightly structured hierarchies, but rather as shadowy networks that, when necessary, strike ad hoc tactical alliances bridging religious and ideological schisms. Osama bin Laden's recent call on Muslims to come to Iraq's defense, even as he derided the "infidel" regime in Baghdad, is a case in point.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Bassem Awadallah
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jordan has always been regarded as a buffer state, wedged between turmoil to its east in Iraq and to its west in Israel and the West Bank. While those neighbors have faced turbulence in recent years, Jordan has enjoyed three years of substantial economic growth. Indeed, Jordan provides a positive example of what reform can accomplish in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Merissa Khurma
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Planning to target the English-speaking market for the first time in its history, the popular twenty-four-hour Arabic television news network al-Jazeera is working to launch a new English-language website sometime this spring. Upon its launch, the site will reach a new and diverse audience beyond the borders of the Arabic-speaking world. The Christian Science Monitor has even reported that this might be a first step toward the creation of an English-language television channel designed to broadcast controversial news programming in the United States "by satellite and cable."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the United States looks to disarm Iraq and to defuse or defer a nuclear crisis with North Korea, another nuclear crisis -- with Iran -- looms on the horizon. U.S. policymakers could face critical decisions this year regarding Iran's nuclear program as the Bushehr reactor approaches completion, as Iran's efforts to produce fissile material progress, and, most alarming, as North Korea appears poised to become a significant producer -- and perhaps supplier -- of fissile material.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Michael Eisenstadt, David Kay, Philip Gordon
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 27, Hans Blix, director of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), delivered a straightforward report to the Security Council regarding Iraqi compliance with arms resolutions. Twelve years after taking up the obligation to disarm under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 687, Baghdad still does not genuinely believe that it needs to disarm. Hence, asserting that inspections will work if given time is rather naive. Many in Europe have made this very argument, claiming that the Blix report is just the beginning of a long-term process. Yet, the mission of the inspectors under UNSCR 1441 (passed in November 2002) is to confirm that Iraq has made the decision to disarm and to verify that disarmament has in fact taken place; the Blix report shows that neither of these criteria has been met.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Shafeeq Ghabra
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Regime change in Baghdad could do more than make Iraq a positive force in the Middle East instead of a source of trouble; it could also give a strong boost to liberalizing trends throughout the Middle East. Therefore, a war to topple Saddam Husayn's regime would create both opportunities and dangers for the region.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 25, Secretary of State Colin Powell met Turkish prime minister Abdullah Gul and the chair of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), Tayyip Erdogan, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Powell's meeting -- which followed a January 19 visit to Turkey by General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a December 6 visit by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz -- was aimed at persuading Ankara to allow American troops entry into Turkey in order to prepare a northern front against Iraq. After nearly two months of negotiations, the Turkish government still appears undecided on this issue. Why are the Turks hesitant to cooperate with U.S. military plans, and how can Washington overcome Ankara's indecision? Recent developments in Turkey may help answer both of these questions.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Switzerland
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, the Saudi government published what it described as a "Charter to Reform the Arab Stand," a document intended for endorsement at the next summit of Arab leaders, due to be held in Bahrain in March. Addressed to Arab kings and presidents, the charter calls for more internal reforms and "categorically reject[s] any illegal external aggression against any Arab state."
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Reform
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain
  • Author: Max Abrahms
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, hundreds of U.S. soldiers will participate in Juniper Cobra, a joint exercise with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to test the interoperability of U.S. Patriot and Israeli Arrow antiballistic missile systems. Such bilateral cooperation, coupled with reports that the Bush administration is considering providing Israel an additional $4 billion in military assistance, suggests that Washington is relying mainly on carrots to discourage an Israeli military response in the event of an Iraqi attack. These moves may explain Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent declaration, "We never had such cooperation in everything as we have with the current administration." Yet, precisely what form would this "cooperation" take if Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against Israel or otherwise inflicted mass casualties? Would Washington attempt to shape Israel's retaliatory options as it did during Operation Desert Storm?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, E.J. Dionne, Fred Barnes
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Dilemmas for U.S. Middle East policy will arise in the immediate post-Saddam aftermath. Foremost will be America's preoccupation with stabilizing Iraq and transforming its new government into a democracy. Vague at present is whether U.S.-led forces will focus on existing institutions (e.g., the Iraqi military) or build new ones to achieve these goals. Such decisions will affect the degree and nature of Iraq's transformation, and the new regime's composition could be significantly different if the United States were to depend on a reformed Iraqi military to promote stability. Moreover, Iraqi transformation corresponds directly to a region-wide transformation, because increased efforts to transform Iraq with a broad-based, representative government will send signals of political reform to Iraq's neighbors. U.S. policy must stand ready to assist other Middle Eastern regimes in their transition to more responsible governments that offer their people hope and the prospect for change.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Kenneth Bell
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1996, an off-duty police officer working as a security guard at a cigarette wholesaler in North Carolina noticed young men entering the building with grocery bags full of cash. The men would queue up in the cashier's line with 299 cartons of cigarettes each, while one of them stood at the register and paid cash as the others came through. Next, they would load the cigarettes into minivans and head toward Michigan. At the time, it was against the law to transport more than 300 cartons of cigarettes into another state unless they were marked with the tax stamp of that state. Yet, the smugglers in question took advantage of the fact that neither North Carolina nor Michigan stamped cigarettes to show tax paid. Given the large disparity between North Carolina's cigarette tax (50 cents per carton) and Michigan's ($7.50 per carton), each minivan load had the potential to generate $13,000 worth of profit; indeed, at the height of the operation, three to four minivans were running to Michigan each week.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, North Carolina
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate active in Iraqi Kurdistan since September 2001, is a prototype of America's enemies in the "war on terror." The group serves as a testament to the global spread of al-Qaeda affiliates, achieved through exploitation of weak central authorities and a utilitarian willingness to work with seemingly differing ideologies for a common cause. Lengthy reports on Ansar have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and Kurdish leaders have given Washington a plethora of intelligence on the group. Nevertheless, Ansar has yet to appear on official U.S. terrorism lists. Meanwhile, political complexities would make military action against the group difficult, at best. Hence, this small force of 650 fighters is a textbook example of the ongoing challenges posed by the war on terror.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, New York, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 11, 2002, the Canadian government banned Hizballah, labeling it a terrorist organization. Strangely, some in Canada are having second thoughts about this measure, likely under the assumption that Hizballah is not a terrorist group but a social and political organization engaged in armed struggle against Israel. Yet, evidence of Hizballah's international activity as a terrorist group of global reach is overwhelming.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Canada, Arabia
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The record of formal efforts to negotiate peace in protracted ethno-national conflicts (Balkans, N. Ireland, Sri Lanka, etc.) is not encouraging. Israel needs a serious insurance policy, in the form of unilateral separation, to minimize vulnerability to another and potentially more deadly terror campaign, should the "roadmap" fail. The construction of a separation barrier is supported by over 70 percent of the Israeli public, representing a broad consensus from across the political spectrum that favors a physical barrier blocking access to Israeli cities in order to prevent a resumption of the Palestinian terror campaign of the past three years. Political separation will also promote a two-state solution, allowing Israel to remain a culturally Jewish and democratic society while fostering Palestinian sovereignty. Key policy issues concern the pace of construction and the route to be taken for the remaining sections. While options range from a minimalist 300 km line to a 600 km alternative that would include most Israeli settlements, a pragmatic middle route including settlement blocs like Ariel and Gush Etzion may provide the optimum mix under present circumstances. If the Palestinian security framework proves its capabilities in preventing terror, and political negotiations on borders progress, the barrier can be relocated.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Arabia, Balkans, Ireland
  • Author: Anne Bayefsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The roadmap has significant roots in the UN, an organization long understood as biased against Israeli interests and Jewish well-being in general. Examples include the work of the UN "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories," established in 1968, and the UN "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," created in 1975. There is a pressing need to clarify with the American administration what attributes of sovereignty will not be accorded a Palestinian state with provisional borders prior to final status negotiations. Israel must reassert that its consent is necessary for any decision affecting its essential interests. An American commitment to object to any unilateral declaration of independence should be immediately forthcoming and clearly understood by the parties. The UN and the European Union must be kept out of any monitoring and assessment function. Recognition of a fundamental breach, and the ability to apply the necessary consequences, require that precise and public monitoring by Israel start now.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The quest for defensible borders has been an axiom of Israeli governments since 1967 on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242. Defensible borders for Israel has been explicitly backed by Washington since the Reagan administration. In Rabin's last Knesset address he made clear that Israel "will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines." He insisted on a map including a united Jerusalem, the settlement blocs, and the Jordan Valley. In 2003, Israeli planners will have to operate under the assumption that the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure will be incomplete, and should a Palestinian state nonetheless be established, its complete demilitarization will not be reliable. During the Oslo years, the Palestinian leadership was in material breach of the military clauses of the Interim Agreement, seeking to import illegal weaponry like SA-7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and manufacturing Qassam rockets. Many of the same security figures who breached Oslo now serve the government of Mahmud Abbas. Moreover, fundamentalist groups like Hamas that mentioned the Islamic term hudna, for cease-fire, understood that it means a truce that is maintained until the balance of power changes. This means they will seek rearmament; Israeli military intelligence was, in fact, reporting that Hamas had accelerated production of Qassam rockets in early July. In their pronouncements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have even used a weaker term: ta'liq - a temporary cessation of hostilities. In the wake of the decline of the threat from Iraq, Israel will require defensible borders to meet the growing lethality of the Palestinian threat, backed by the assistance of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration should provide Israel with assurances concerning defensible borders as it seeks Israel's acquiescence to the creation of a Palestinian state.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Justus Reid Weiner
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent decades, municipalities and governments in all parts of the world have struggled with illegal building. However, compared with the incessant denunciation of rather infrequent demolitions by the Jerusalem Municipality, there has been nearly a complete lack of publicity when other governments demolish illegal structures. Those who complain that many Arabs cannot afford housing in Jerusalem ought to recognize economic reality; Jewish residents of Jerusalem who also cannot afford the high cost of housing find it necessary to move to the periphery of the city where housing is more affordable. In New York, nobody would excuse or tolerate people building illegally in Central Park, whatever their attachment to Manhattan or however large their family. Even the Palestinian Authority has demolished houses constructed illegally. Particularly refreshing was PA leader Sari Nusseibeh's statement that the "gangs that build illegally on land that does not belong to them should be thrown into jail," and that "Nobody in their right mind is in favor of illegal building."
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: New York, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem