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  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 5, 2001, Michael Rubin, a Washington Institute visiting scholar who was in 2000/2001 a visiting professor at the three universities in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, addressed the Institute's Policy Forum luncheon. This event marked the publication of Dr. Rubin's new study, Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami's Iran (Policy Paper no. 56, The Washington Institute). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, Mohammed Khatami is sure to be re-elected president of Iran. But that is not likely to make much difference to Iranians, as Khatami has no coherent program for any of Iran's three pressing problems: economic revitalization, political liberalization, and reduction of security threats. Even though Khatami has shown disinterest in improving relations with the United States, Washington should try once again, while not expecting much-if any-response.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Geneive Abdo
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In May, Geneive Abdo, a research scholar at the Middle East Institute of the Columbia University School of International Affairs, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of her remarks. To see her remarks in their entirety, The election of Muhammad Khatami as president of Iran four years ago has given rise to a perception that he is a maverick, a rare political leader in Iranian history who advocates values important to the Western world: political pluralism, freedom of expression, and human rights for all, including religious minorities. However, Khatami's unwillingness to confront the establishment became clear early in his presidency. After students staged five days of protest in July 1999 — the first true test of Khatami's courage — the president took a different turn. He decided at critical moments to side with the establishment, no matter how much he might alienate his own supporters.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, the United States and United Kingdom are circulating a draft resolution in the UN Security Council proposing a package of new measures intended to "re-energize" sanctions against Iraq. They hope to bring the resolution to a vote before the next six-month phase of the "oil for food" program begins on June 4. This revamped sanctions regime will lift restrictions on civilian trade, while retaining both international control over Iraq's oil income through the UN escrow account, and a ban on the import of arms and dual-use items critical to the production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Bush administration this week launched initiatives on two fronts of U.S. concern about the Middle East: Secretary of State Colin Powell's proposals to end Arab–Israeli violence and Vice President Dick Cheney's national energy policy. While the energy policy report concentrates on domestic issues, it necessarily discusses the Middle East. Its prescriptions about the Middle East, however, are vague. At worst, Washington appears unwilling to criticize the price-influencing production policies of the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, dominated by Middle Eastern countries.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Tansu Ciller
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 8, 2001, Tansu Ciller, former prime minister and the leader of Turkey's True Path Party, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of her remarks. At the dawn of the new millennium, Turkey remains a significant actor in its region despite economic difficulties. Turkey, a strategic partner with the United States, is a source of steadiness that is vital for peace in its region. Turkey's long relations with Israel play a stabilizing role in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In April, Brenda Shaffer, research director of Harvard University's Caspian Studies Program and visiting fellow at The Washington Institute in 2000, addressed The Washington Institute to mark the publication of her Policy Paper, Partners in Need: The Strategic Relationship of Russia and Iran. The following is a rapporteur's summary of her remarks. Russia and Iran see themselves as strategic partners, and therefore their relations are based on an overall security conception. It would be a misperception to assume that because Washington and Moscow share concerns about Islamist radicalism that Russia would necessarily decide to cooperate with the United States on Iran. It would also be a misperception to think that Russia wants to sell arms to Iran solely in order to make money and that the United States can induce Russia not to make these sales by offering a better economic deal.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's decision by Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to run for re-election was more important than the actual election on June 8, which he is sure to win. But neither matters nearly as much as the crucial question for Iran's future — namely, will hardliners let the formal government rule or will they continue their crackdown through the revolutionary institutions they control? The answer will be key for U.S. policy options towards Iran.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri begins his visit to Washington, his first since the September 2000 elections that saw his return to the office he held from October 1992 to December 1998. His ears are ringing with voices of two interwoven debates at home — namely, debates about the deterioration of the security situation along the Lebanese–Israeli border and about the continued Syrian presence in Lebanon. Hariri, a seasoned businessman who is well aware of the delicacy of the situation and of his limitations as the head of a government with restricted powers, does not see this visit as a mere courtesy call, but as a milestone. To assure his own political survival, he needs to extricate Lebanon from its severe economic crisis and avoid entanglement in war. For the new American administration that is still formulating its Middle Eastern policy, this visit could be an opportunity to prevent a conflagration in Lebanon and to begin a new long-term policy towards Lebanon and Syria.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Mark Parris
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey is important . . . The new administration, based on what it has said and done since January, understands this." "One reason [for Turkey's importance], of course, is its location and the issues that come with that geography-big issues; issues that have literally made or broken past administrations' foreign policies: Russia; the Caucasus and Central Asia; Iran; Iraq; post-Asad Syria; Israel and the Arab world; Cyprus and the Aegean; the Balkans; the European Security and Defense Initiative (ESDI); drugs, thugs, and terror. I would submit that no administration can achieve its objectives on any of these issues unless the Turks are on the same page.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria, Cyprus
  • Author: Niyazi B. Gunay, Ismail Cem
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, 2001, His Excellency Ismail Cem, foreign minister of Turkey, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Over the past four years Turkish foreign policy has been experiencing a transformation. Turkey now sees itself not only as part of Europe but also as part of Asia. The Asian character of Turkey, which has been downplayed for decades, has been revitalized, making Turkish foreign policy more active in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union and helping Turkey to improve relations simultaneously with the Arabs and Israel. Turkey's relations with the European Union are progressing favorably; EU membership is a goal, but not an obsession for Turkey.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Amy W. Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Urgent regional matters — such as Iraq and the Arab–Israeli peace process — will dominate the agenda during Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's visit to Washington this week, while Egypt's transition to a free-market economy and U.S.– Egypt trade ties will also receive attention. Egyptian domestic politics, however, will register little, aside from U.S. frustrations over anti-Semitism in the Egyptian press and concern about the status of Egypt's Coptic Christians. Although the regime appears quite stable, having secured a "victory" in its 1990s conflict with violent extremist groups, the state of political reform in Egypt, America's most important Arab ally, merits a closer look. That is because Egypt's long-term economic reform — in which Washington has invested so much — can succeed only if accompanied by meaningful political liberalization.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's economic crisis is naturally the leading issue in bilateral U.S.-Turkish relations, and it is almost certainly topping the agenda of today's meetings of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem with Vice President Richard Cheney and other senior officials. Of course, these meetings pose the difficult question of how much Washington should do, if anything, to bail out its strategically vital ally. But this is only one of several uncertainties characterizing U.S.-Turkish relations in the early days of the Bush administration. Because so much of Turkey's importance to the United States derives from its critical strategic location, bilateral relations are greatly affected by U.S. policies toward other states in Turkey's region. Of most concern to Turkey will be the evolution of Bush administration policy toward Iraq, Iran, and Russia, and also toward Europe's nascent bid to develop an autonomous security capacity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ramin Seddiq
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to rule tomorrow on the longstanding border dispute between two Persian Gulf sheikdoms, Qatar and Bahrain. This dispute has preoccupied the ruling families in both countries for decades. It and the much better known Iraq–Kuwait border dispute (not detailed here) are hardly the only ones on the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, almost every country on the peninsula has — or until very recently, has experienced — a disagreement over border demarcation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Bahrain, Arabian Peninsula
  • Author: Raymond Tanter, Meghan O'Sullivan, Ramin Seddiq
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sanctions provide the United States with a middle option that has the "least risk" in dealing with problematic Middle Eastern regimes. Sanctions are less costly than military intervention and better than doing nothing at all. During the Cold War, an evaluation of the success of a sanctions policy was not centered on whether or not the sanctions achieved compliance, but on whether such a measure resulted in the prevention of some negative event, such as the seizure of American citizens as hostages in the target states or enhanced Soviet intervention in the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Soviet Union
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, a simmering debate between the two major power centers in domestic Lebanese politics has spilled into public view. This debate pits newly installed Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who represents those who want Lebanon to take advantage of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon to focus on internal stability, economic reconstruction and securing foreign investment, against Hizballah leader Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, who — with the support of Syria and Iran — champions maintaining Lebanon's role on the front line of the ongoing revolutionary resistance against Israel. This tension was described in the Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar as the choice between "Hanoi" (Nasrallah) and "Hong Kong" (Hariri). As with most Middle East crises, the development of this delicate and flammable dispute carries both risks and opportunities for Lebanon and other players on the Middle East scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Political Economy, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Hong Kong
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iranian president Mohammed Khatami will conduct an official visit to Russia on March 11 through March 15. This constitutes the highest-level visit of an Iranian official to Russia since 1989. There could be an intensification of cooperation between Russia and Iran during Khatami's visit — including on arms sales. In addition to military issues, the delineation of borders along the Caspian Sea will be a focus of discussion. Following talks in Moscow, Khatami will visit St. Petersburg and Kazan, the capital of the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's economic near-meltdown last week — its second financial crisis in three months — was precipitated by political problems, not by narrowly economic issues. Until the political problems are addressed, the prospects for any new economic package will be questionable. With Turkish leaders and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both seemingly floundering, Turkey likely would welcome suggestions on how to proceed, and the United States would do well to send a special high-level representative to Ankara for several days, as a source of informal advice and as a powerful symbol of U.S. support.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Politics, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Secretary of State Colin Powell and former President George Bush celebrate the tenth anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait, for many Gulf Arabs the occasion marks a decade since Saddam Husayn's tanks put the lie to the promises of security that local leaders had made to their people. After popular trust in these Gulf leaders was tarnished by their need to rely on U.S. and allied forces to expel the Iraqis (despite the billions of dollars of oil wealth these rulers had spent on high-tech weaponry over the years), Gulf monarchs started to concede to their peoples a greater say in political life.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Michael P. Moskowitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Secretary of State Colin Powell and former President George Bush touch down in Kuwait on Sunday, celebrations scheduled to commemorate the expulsion of Saddam Husayn's forces ten years ago will also—albeit less explicitly—recognize the more robust state of Gulf militaries. A decade after Operation Desert Storm, each of the six states comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—possess armed forces that are not just more modern, but larger than ever before.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 26, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell begins his tour of Iraq's Arab neighbors just as UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is scheduled to hold discussions with Iraqi foreign minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf in New York. Key themes in these meetings will be the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq; the future of UN sanctions; the need to prevent Iraqi adventurism, especially into the Arab–Israeli arena; and the larger U.S. goal of "regime change" in Iraq.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, New York, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Mohamed Abdel-Dayem
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Arab reactions to Ariel Sharon's overwhelming victory in the recent Israeli national election were mixed. Some condemned him with a confrontational tone, while some suggested that the election made no difference — that is, that all Israeli leaders have basically the same stance. Several Arab leaders opted to take a "wait and see" approach. An optimistic minority of Arab commentators viewed Sharon's leadership in a positive light. The following is a representative sampling of Arab reactions to Sharon's victory.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian officials have threatened an intensification of violence, should — as is expected — Ariel Sharon be elected prime minister of Israel tomorrow. The Palestinian leadership that "rewarded" Prime Minister Ehud Barak's diplomatic flexibility with the "al-Aqsa Intifada" thus seems poised to "punish" the Israeli public for electing Sharon with an escalation of the bloodletting. Its goal would be to force Israel to soften its negotiating position, and perhaps provoke a harsh response that would place world opinion — largely unsympathetic to Sharon to begin with — squarely on the Palestinian side.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are emerging as one of the first major foreign policy challenges of the Bush administration. Free of weapons monitors and with sanctions eroding, Iraq has resumed its aggressive policies. After the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada last September, it briefly moved elements of four to five divisions toward its border with Syria in a show of solidarity, and on several occasions since then, Saddam Husayn has threatened to destroy Israel. Then, earlier this month, his older son Uday reasserted Iraq's claim to Kuwait. With its conventional military capabilities hobbled by two bloody wars and more than a decade of sanctions, Iraq's retained WMD capabilities assume renewed salience.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait, Syria
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Bahraini Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa announced January 23 that a national referendum will be held February 14-15 on a National Charter, under which the lower house of a national assembly would be elected in 2004. Sheikh Hamad's reformist moves are the latest example of a trend in the Gulf kingdoms toward the establishment of representative institutions. However, Bahrain's proposed reforms are unlikely to be sufficiently far-reaching to address the political and economic discontent among Bahrain's Shia majority.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Bahrain
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This is the second of two PolicyWatch articles about Syria, marking the six months since Bashar al-Asad became president on July 17. This article examines the implications of Syria's foreign policy; the previous article (PolicyWatch #512, January 17) looked at the domestic political scene and economic reforms in Syria. For a region used to the late Hafiz al-Asad's stodgy predictability, his son Bashar's six-month-old presidency has displayed a surprisingly active foreign policy, including a willingness to break with the past. However, on issues of greatest importance to the United States — peace with Israel, control over Lebanon, and support for Palestinian terrorist groups — Bashar's regime is mainly a carbon copy of his father's.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: January 17 marks the tenth anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East, when U.S.-led forces began the liberation of Kuwait. In that operation, the militaries of the Gulf monarchies played a minor role. At their meeting in Bahrain at the end of December, the leaders of these monarchies agreed to a joint defense agreement by which an attack on one would be considered an attack on all. While this agreement could enhance the defense capabilities of these states, they will still be unable to fend off attack by either of their large neighbors, Iraq or Iran. The monarchies will continue to rely on the United States as their ultimate security guarantor.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Ray Takeyh
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After much experimentation, the Clinton administration settled on a policy of incremental normalization with Iran, whereby the United States and Iran would gradually improve their relations through mutual concessions and confidence-building measures. As the Bush team assesses policy options towards Iran, it is important to note the meager results of the Clinton team's creative efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While President Bill Clinton is laying out his plans for peace in the Middle East, others are talking about their readiness for war. Iraqi dictator Saddam Husayn's defiant January 6 Army Day speech supporting the Palestinian revolt followed on the December 31 four-hour "Al Aqsa Call" military parade in Baghdad dedicated to the Palestinian cause. By some reports, this parade included hundreds of tanks, dozens of helicopters, new troop-transport trucks, and new short-range missiles — impressive, given that the Iraqi army was assumed to be having problems maintaining its equipment, much less acquiring new systems. One unconfirmed report suggests that elements of the Hamurabi Republican Guard Division would be permanently stationed west of Baghdad on the road to either Syria and Jordan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 16, Palestinian television broadcast a pre-recorded speech in Arabic by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasir Arafat calling for "a complete cessation of any operation or actions, especially suicide attacks." Since he said many of the right words, it is important to clarify what would constitute a "100 percent effort" against terror.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The decision by Israel's security cabinet last night to sever contact with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasir Arafat, declaring him "irrelevant" in halting current Hamas suicide bombings and attacks, marks a new nadir in Israeli-Palestinian relations since the 1993 Oslo accords. Israel is frustrated by how little the PA has done to arrest Hamas members and other terrorists who are allegedly connected to the ongoing violence. But Israel's options are limited.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli cabinet's December 4 decision to treat the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a "terror-supporting entity," and the Tanzim militia and PA chairman Yasir Arafat's elite unit Force 17 as terrorist organizations, has seemingly expanded the range of military options for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in its war against terrorism. Unlike the first fourteen months of the current intifada, the IDF has now received a green light from its government to destroy two of the PA's most important military branches, as well as the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements which have already been singled out as enemies. However, this change in the government's policy does not necessarily ease the life of Israel's military brass. On the contrary, the current strategy continues to impose on the IDF limitations in the use of force and requires the highest degree of dexterity from the IDF's planners and fighters.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Ivry
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 4, 2001, David Ivry, Israeli ambassador to the United States, addressed the Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Ambassador Ivry has been Israel's national security advisor, head of the National Security Council, principal assistant minister of defense for strategic affairs, director-general of the Ministry of Defense, and deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of this weekend's heinous Hamas suicide attacks in Israel, President Bush demanded, "Now more than ever, Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions and not merely their words their commitment to fight terror." Last month the administration designated Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). Today, the administration led by example, following up on its strong words to Arafat with action of its own. The president characterized Hamas as a group of "global reach" and announced the freezing of financial assets associated with three organizations linked to Hamas as part of the administration's effort targeting terrorist fundraising. With today's order, the president expanded the active war on terrorism beyond Al Qaeda and the Taliban to include groups who target the Middle East peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary Powell's speech did not introduce any new substantive points into the debate. However, it outlined for the first time the Bush administration's view regarding the situation in the Middle East. It also offered some important symbolic points that could provide Yasir Arafat a means of ending the current impasse. He may indeed consider doing so. The points in the speech that will probably be well received by the Palestinians include the use of the term "occupation." Many Palestinians see occupation as the very essence of the conflict. Combining Powell's mention of occupation with his references to Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, Palestinians may infer that he is calling for a return to the June 1967 borders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, November 20, Dr. Robert Satloff, The Washington Institute's executive director, participated in a Policy Forum panel discussion assessing Secretary of State Colin Powell's November 19 address on the Middle East peace process. Following is an edited version of his comments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 8, 2001, Ephraim Sneh addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Mr. Sneh is minister of transportation in Israel's national unity government and a member of the Knesset from the Labor party. He has served previously as minister of health under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and as deputy minister of defense under Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Meridor
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Despite the current tense situation, there has been no change in the fundamentals of the Israel-U.S. relationship. Israel understands the unique character of the relationship and will do what it can to accommodate vital U.S. needs. If post-September 11, the United States needs Israel to maintain a lower profile, so be it. Since that date, the United States has been very helpful in pressing Arafat to desist from terrorist attacks, and Israel appreciates that effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Adam Garfinkle, Ehud Yaari, Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 23, 2001, Ehud Ya'ari, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Adam Garfinkle addressed the Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum about their new study, After Arafat? The Future of Palestinian Politics. Ya'ari is the chief Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 2, associate editor of the Jerusalem Report, and an associate of The Washington Institute. Abu Toameh is a senior writer for the Jerusalem Report and special correspondent for U.S. News and World Report. Garfinkle is editor of the National Interest and rapporteur of the Washington Institute's multi-year Project on Managing Leadership Change in the Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi today outside his hotel room in Jerusalem is unprecedented. With the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) taking responsibility, it marks the first time that an Israeli cabinet minister has been assassinated by a Palestinian since Israel was established. According to Israeli security officials, the assailants fled in the direction of Palestinian Authority (PA)controlled territory, that is, Ramallah. In front of the cameras, PFLP in Gaza immediately took responsibility, declaring that the assassination was in retaliation for Israel's killing on August 27 of PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Martin Indyk
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 1, 2001, Ambassador Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum to discuss the impact of the September 11 attacks on ending the year-long Palestinian intifada. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current Palestinian-Israeli truce — certified by the meeting between Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat at Rafah Airport, Wednesday — has a greater chance of taking hold than any of the five previous ceasefire agreements announced since the outbreak of the intifada exactly one year ago. The potential of this effort to achieve a relative calm stems not only from the changed international circumstances following the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, but also from a growing sense among Palestinians that the intifada has lost its way and is failing to produce any tangible gains.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At the direct and repeated behest of the Bush administration, Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat met yesterday at the Gaza Airport — their first meeting since June. Given the extraordinary circumstances of the September 11 attacks and the U.S. desire to fashion an international coalition against terrorism, the meeting is bound to raise hopes that the latest ceasefire will take hold. As previous Israeli-Palestinian ceasefires have collapsed, however, the implications of this meeting cannot be predicted with any certainty. This Friday, September 28, marks the first anniversary of the violence that has engulfed Israelis and Palestinians and scuttled the peace process. Such an occasion presents an opportunity to assess the impact of this violence and to consider the future in light of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Yesterday's killing of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) chief Abu 'Ali Mustafa by Israel, and the State Department's condemnation of this act, have refocused attention on Israel's use of "targeted killings" as part of its counter-terror policy. Since the start of the "al-Aqsa intifada," Israeli forces have killed more than three dozen Palestinians allegedly involved in planning or carrying out attacks on Israeli civilians. Nearly all have been from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated groups such as the Fatah Tanzim. Critics of these actions claim they are ineffective, if not counterproductive. What does the record show?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the horrific Hamas suicide bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria on August 9, President Bush once again called on Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasir Arafat to take the necessary steps to end the violence. Inside the PA, however, there is little discussion about a cessation of violence. Instead, the principal topic of discussion in the PA today concerns the prospect that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the leading nationalist opposition groups may join a Palestinian "government of national unity," formalizing the already close cooperation between these groups.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Margaret Warner, Jim Hoagland
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 8, Dennis Ross, Counselor and Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute and former Special Middle East Coordinator, answered questions posed by Margaret Warner and Jim Hoagland at a special question and answer session. The following are excerpts from the discussion. The full text is posted on the Institute's homepage.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The horrific suicide terror bombing today, during lunchtime in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, cannot merely be dismissed as an attack by a deranged fanatic. In the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah Shalah immediately went on the popular Arab satellite television station Al-Jazeera defending the attack and calling for similar blasts to be launched against the United States. (Immediately after providing Shalah with twenty minutes to deliver a soliloquy, the Al-Jazeera anchor called the terrorist incident that killed at least fifteen civilians including six infants, a fedayeen or guerilla operation.)
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Ehud Barak
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on July 19, 2001. The following are excerpts from his remarks. "I will . . . make some telegraphic remarks about why I believe we are facing now the kind of violence that we are facing, what could or should be done about it from my point of view, and what is the longer term prospect for what will happen in the Middle East. . . . "Why are we facing this violence? Since Chairman Arafat decided deliberately to turn to violence. . . . He decided [this] when he realized at Camp David exactly a year ago we had a moment of truth where real tough, painful decisions were needed on both sides, not just plain or smooth talk.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Reuven Paz, academic director of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziliya, Israel, visiting fellow at The Washington Institute in 2000-2001, and author of the forthcoming Institute policy focus, Tangled Web: International Networking of the Islamist Struggle, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on July 12, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nabil Sha'ath
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Nabil Sha'ath, the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on June 21, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. The current Palestinian-Israeli tension is creating an explosive situation throughout the region — a situation that seriously threatens regional stability and affects the security, economic, and geopolitical interests of the United States as well as those of every Middle East country. The international community has a real interest in moving Israelis and Palestinians away from the brink and back to the negotiating table. This is where the support of the new U.S. administration is needed. In reaching their objectives of freedom and independence, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinian people still see no alternative to a peace process and a negotiated settlement leading to an outcome that is seen as fair, comprehensive, and just, with a viable Palestinian state as the ultimate goal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine