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  • Author: Joshua Teitelbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's visit to the Middle East and Central Asia last week — in an attempt to shore up the coalition against anti-American terrorism — brought him to Saudi Arabia as well. The Saudi government has neither openly acknowledged how they will allow the United States to use the space-age technology Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) that opened in June at Prince Sultan Air Base, near al-Kharj, southeast of Riyadh; nor has it said what landing or refueling rights will be granted. Amid conflicting statements by anonymous officials, the Saudi paper al-'Ukaz quoted Minister of Defense Sultan bin 'Abd al-'Aziz: "We do not accept the presence in our country of a single soldier at war with Muslims or Arabs." History is not encouraging here — the Saudi royal family did not allow the United States to use its air bases during 1998's Operation Desert Fox against Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A nuclear breakout by Iraq or Iran could have a number of direct and indirect effects on the region: First, a nuclear breakout by either will cause the United States to be much more careful in its dealings with that state, particularly when it comes to considering military action. America's military freedom-of-action will be greatly constrained. Second, an Iraqi breakout would almost certainly cause Iran to further accelerate its own nuclear efforts and might spur Tehran to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it increasingly sees as a liability. Third, the emergence of a nuclear Iraq and/or Iran could cause the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to seek an independent deterrent capability — including chemical weapons. (The large petrochemical industries of the Gulf could provide many of the precursor chemicals needed for such an effort.) Saudi Arabia might even seek to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As U.S. policymakers review options for national missile defense and ways to reshape the military to meet future threats, nuclear proliferation — particularly in the Middle East — looms large as one of the most critical future challenges facing the United States. In the coming years, it is conceivable, if not likely, that the United States will have to respond to a nuclear breakout by Iraq and/or Iran. Such a development could have a dramatic impact on the strategic environment of the Middle East by altering the regional balance of power and encouraging further proliferation in the region and beyond. A nuclear breakout by either of these countries would also undermine international proliferation norms, put U.S. forces in the region at risk, pose a direct threat to U.S. friends and allies, and greatly constrain America's military freedom of action in the region. The likelihood of such a development — or at least its potential impact — will, however, be influenced by steps the United States takes now to deal with such an eventuality. And Washington is more likely to successfully manage the consequences of a nuclear breakout by Iraq or Iran if its response is not improvised, but based on prior planning.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: August 2, 2001 marks eleven years since Saddam Husayn invaded Kuwait. Given Washington's unsuccessful effort to win UN Security Council approval for a reformed sanctions regime, the Bush administration must now reconsider the options for Iraq policy.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Kuwait, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2001, Michael Rubin, a Washington Institute visiting scholar and Carnegie Council fellow, addressed the Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Dr. Rubin has just returned from nine months in northern Iraq, where he taught in the region's three universities. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Iraq remains at the forefront of U.S. and international attention. Many contentious issues — such as sanctions, weapons of mass destruction, and the future political disposition of the country — remain unresolved. In analyzing the source of Iraq's problems, it is useful to compare those portions of Iraq under the control of Saddam Hussein to the three northern governorates (Dahuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniyyah), which are controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Islamic Unity Movement of Kurdistan — especially as all parts of Iraq fall under the same set of UN sanctions. The population in the north is approximately 3.5 million, many of whom are Kurdish, Turkoman, or Assyrian, and almost 1 million of whom are displaced persons expelled from Saddam's portion of Iraq. By refusing to grant visas to many journalists, Saddam's government consistently seeks to deny press coverage to northern Iraq. Those who do visit Baghdad-controlled Iraq are restricted to guided tours with Iraqi government minders and are prevented from traveling into the Kurdish-controlled north. Foreigners visiting the north, however, are able to move around freely without prearrangement.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • 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: 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: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: American policymakers face a number of decision points concerning U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran in the coming weeks. The UN Security Council has to act by June 4 to renew the oil-for-food program, providing the United States with an opportunity to secure approval for the "re-energized" sanctions regime that Secretary of State Colin Powell floated in March. Iran's policy direction will become clearer after its June 8 presidential elections, and that could influence the U.S. decision whether to renew the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act that expires August 5. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are reportedly considering whether to indict senior Iranians for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran, Arab Countries
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the main purpose of Secretary of State Colin Powell's first foray into the Middle East was to discuss Iraq, he also visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority and injected a dose of what some would call "evenhandedness" — giving each both something to be pleased about and something to be unnerved about.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February marks ten years since the end of the Gulf War. The situation in the Middle East today is vastly more dangerous than in 1991. The favorable regional conditions in 1991 that allowed the current peace process to begin have been reversed. Three key trends are the following: After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, it was placed under UN monitoring and extensive sanctions, thereby removing a major threat from Israel's calculus. Today, the situation is drastically different, with the absence of UN inspections for more than two years and the deterioration of sanctions against Iraq. In 1991, Iran was still recovering from its exhaustive war with Iraq and could not fully participate in regional, specifically Arab–Israeli, affairs. By contrast, Iran is currently testing intermediate-range missiles and is expressing its strategic weight in places like Lebanon, where it has increased its support to Hizballah. In 1991, the USSR was crumbling before its eventual collapse and was no longer in a position to offer strategic and military support to the enemies of Israel, while its successor — the Russian Federation — has more or less acquiesced to U.S. positions on the Middle East. Since 1996, however, Russia has taken a contrary approach to many U.S. policies and leadership in the region, in particular with regard to Iraqi sanctions and weapons inspections and the transfer of missile technology to Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, four factors have combined to make the situation in the Middle East far more combustible than it is has been for a long time. These elements are: Iraq has managed to break out of the boundaries imposed by the UN sanctions regime and to evade weapons inspections. Saddam Husayn is now stronger than ever and ready to play a role in the region. He has signaled this intention by his deployment of troops on the western borders of Iraq just before the Arab summit in Egypt. Although he has since pulled them back, this maneuver was intended to send the message that Saddam Husayn is a force to be reckoned with from now on. Iran has enhanced its efforts to use a consortium of terrorist groups against the remnants of the peace process. Intelligence information shows that Iran has deployed long-range Katyusha missiles in Lebanon and that it is encouraging Hizballah activities against Israel. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has disappointed most analysts, who hoped that he would focus on addressing Syria's economy and other domestic concerns. Instead, his speeches both at the Arab summit in Egypt and at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar have been extremely bellicose. In addition, it is clear that the recent kidnappings by Hizballah and a Palestinian group's attempt to infiltrate Israel through Lebanon could not have taken place without at the least a green light from Damascus, even if Bashar himself did not authorize them specifically. Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat has evidently changed course from negotiation to confrontation. So far, the Palestinian cause has proven to be uniting force in the Arab world; under certain circumstances, it might also serve as a good pretext for resumption of full-scale hostilities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Alan Makovsky, Cengiz Candar, Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The emergence of close Israeli-Turkish relations is one of the significant strategic developments in the post-Cold War Middle East. These ties are likely to flourish as long as Israel and Turkey remain pro-Western, anti-Islamic fundamentalist, and compatible in military inventory. Turkish-Israeli ties should be described as a "strategic relationship," not as an alliance. Turkey and Israel are not obligated or likely to go to war if the other is attacked. They also have somewhat differing threat perceptions regarding Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria