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  • Author: Ray Takeyh, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran is facing its most acute crisis since the 1979 revolution. Over the past six years, political institutions have played a key role in opening the path to reform. Yet, the success of President Muhammad Khatami's efforts to involve the Iranian people in electoral processes and political institutions has led to a conservative backlash. A coalition of hardliners has been successfully implementing a strategy for retaining power, namely, fostering popular apathy by controlling public discourse, imprisoning reformers, and negating the deliberations of elected institutions. This strategy reached its apex during local and council elections in February in which only 30 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia
  • Author: Hafez al-Mirazi, Jonathan Schanzer, Mouafac Harb
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: War remains a horrifying event and al-Jazeera will cover it realistically. Images carried by the network are graphic, but do not discriminate in showing American and Iraqi casualties. Similarly, al-Jazeera has covered both the unprecedented airpower brought to bear by the allied forces and the Iraqi government's own version of "shock and awe" in airing videotapes of American prisoners of war; failure to do so would challenge the station's credibility.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amidst the war in Iraq, the Lebanese group Hizballah has decided not to open up what could have been a "second front" by attacking Israel. This decision should not be mistaken for passivity, however. With the world paying scant attention, Hizballah is seeking to shape Arab public opinion against the United States. It is important to understand the underlying forces that drive Hizballah's campaign against the United States so as to better comprehend the organization's stakes in the Iraq war and its aftermath.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate in northern Iraq, was rocked by U.S. missile and air strikes over the weekend, concluding an eight-day campaign against the organization. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) stated that, with help from more than 100 U.S. Special Forces operatives, they have "completely overrun" Ansar's stronghold. The PUK reportedly killed twenty-four Ansar fighters on Monday alone. Yet, the group may not have been defeated completely. Although its enclave was literally flattened, Ansar al-Islam is threatening new attacks, and will likely live to fight another day.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the coalition prepares for the decisive phase of the war against Saddam Husayn's regime, it is crucial that combat operations set the conditions for achieving U.S. war aims and -- just as important -- winning the peace afterward. The principal war aims are: 1) eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD); 2) achieving regime change; and 3) setting the conditions for the emergence of a stable, broad-based post-Saddam government. Moreover, prospects for winning the peace will be greatly enhanced if the coalition moves quickly to improve postwar living conditions for the largest possible number of Iraqis; to establish a modicum of stability in the country; and to create conditions wherein coalition forces are viewed not as occupiers, but as partners for building a new Iraq. How should the coalition fight the war in order to achieve these objectives?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, speaking at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, after mentioning the war in Iraq, declared, "no challenge, no opportunity, is more important, more pressing, than the quest to put an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Such wording is similar to sentiments expressed in recent weeks by British prime minister Tony Blair. However, there are indications that Washington's view about Israeli-Palestinian issues sharply differs from that of London.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Israel, London, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a dramatic session yesterday, the Turkish parliament convened to consider a motion sent by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which had requested that a large U.S. force be permitted to use Turkish soil as a staging ground for a possible campaign in Iraq. The legislature refused to authorize the motion, however, blocking the creation of a northern front in the looming war. Of the 533 deputies in session, 264 voted for the motion, 250 voted against it, and 19 abstained, bringing the motion only three votes shy of the majority required by the constitution. AKP assurances that only 30 to 40 of its delegates would object to the motion crashed to a halt over the course of the session, with 99 of the party's deputies voting nay. Although the democratic will of the Turkish parliament should be respected, the fact remains that the AKP government failed to pass its agenda through the legislature. Some analysts argue that this spells trouble for both Turkey and AKP, with others speculating that U.S.-Turkish relations are now at a historical threshold.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Mark Parris
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's parliament will soon vote on whether to allow U.S. forces to use Turkish soil as a staging ground for a possible war with Iraq. Since Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz's trip to Ankara in early December 2002, Turkey and the United States have engaged in a protracted dialogue about Ankara's stance toward potential U.S. military action. Why has Turkey been hesitant to support Washington's plans, and how might such vacillation affect the U.S.-Turkish strategic alliance in the future?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As war with Iraq looms closer, postwar questions are receiving increasing attention. Senior defense officials have been addressing such issues frequently, and the White House held a press briefing yesterday on "Humanitarian Reconstruction" in Iraq. One of these issues concerns individuals who have been complicit in the crimes of Saddam Husayn's regime. According to the Washington Post, the United States intends to conduct a "de-Baathification" program in Iraq similar in some ways to the "de-Nazification" program conducted in Germany in the wake of World War II. Although the details of this program are still to be worked out, the Post indicated that complicity in "human rights and weapons abuses" would be key criteria in determining which Iraqi officials would be permitted to keep their jobs.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Germany
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, Syria has begun to alter its military tactics in Lebanon as a direct consequence of U.S. policy toward Iraq. Even without U.S. forces firing a shot against Saddam Husayn, leaders throughout the Middle East have already begun to position themselves for an eventual U.S.-led victory and the reverberations to follow.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria