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  • Author: Robert Satloff, Akbar Ahmed, Gregg Rickman
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Of all the forms of anti-Semitism in Arab societies, Holocaust denial is one of the most pernicious and widespread. Generally it takes one of three forms: outright denial, Holocaust glorification, and Holocaust minimization or trivialization. One does no favor to Arabs by exempting them from this history, whatever its connection to their political dispute with Israel. And because jihadists' conspiracy theories target a coalition of “Crusaders and Jews,” exempting Arabs from Holocaust history certainly does America no favor either.
  • Topic: International Relations, Genocide, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America, Israel
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: From October 30 to 31, 2006, U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf will join the armed forces of several other countries to hold a naval exercise in the interception and search of ships carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles. Though long planned, the exercise has added importance because of this month's nuclear test in North Korea and President George W. Bush's subsequent warning that Pyongyang will be “held to account” if it sells nuclear material to Iran or al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 20, 2006, eighty-three-year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced changes to the kingdom's “Basic Law”—effectively its constitution—that appear to formalize procedures for the selection of future kings. However, it is difficult to know how much the current system of succession will actually change. For the foreseeable future, it is most likely that the world's largest oil exporter and the center of the Islamic world will still be led by an octogenarian, with the probability that his successor will be of similar age, and perhaps even infirm.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 1, 2006, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit became Turkey's new chief of staff. Compared with his predecessor, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, who came into office about the same time as the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, General Buyukanit is a more vocal personality on many issues, including secularism. As Turkey prepares for the April 2007 election of a new president by parliament, General Buyukanit's term marks a new, crucial era in military-civilian relations in Turkey. What are the dynamics of this new era, and what implications does it have for U.S. policy?
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since the breakdown in talks over the formation of a unity government in mid-September, the Palestinian political environment has become more dangerous and dysfunctional. Paralyzed by ongoing international economic and political isolation, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has essentially ceased to function as tens of thousands of public sector employees continue to strike in protest against unpaid salaries. Factional violence assumed a new level of intensity on October 1 when the Hamas interior minister, Sayed Siam, ordered Hamas's security force to break up demonstrations by the mainstream Fatah-dominated security services, who were protesting after not receiving salary payments. The resulting gun battles left twelve people dead and dozens injured. Fatah loyalists responded to the incident in Gaza by targeting Hamas interests in the West Bank, burning offices, kidnapping officials, and threatening to assassinate Hamas leaders.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Environment, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 20, amid reports of al-Qaeda plots against local American targets, the people of the strategically important but impoverished Arabian Peninsula state of Yemen go to the polls to elect a president. The president will not be new -- the incumbent Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for twenty-eight years, is expected to be reelected. Apart from last-minute doubts about the poll caused by the security crisis, the main question is how sweeping his victory will be. The last time elections were held, in 1999, President Saleh polled 96 percent, including the vote of his only opponent, a member of his own political party who said he considered Saleh more worthy. This time the field includes four other candidates. Saleh's main rival is Faysal bin Shamlan, a former oil minister who is backed by an alliance of opposition parties and whom Saleh has linked to an arrested "major terrorist."
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Yemen
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The West at War focuses on both U.S. and European counterterrorism efforts from the September 11 attacks until June 2005, specifically the role of law enforcement and prosecutors in the United States and Europe. The 9-11 Commission's examination of the counterterrorism policies of Britain and especially Germany made clear that Europe did not posses the adequate tools to counter the terrorist threat prior to the September 11 attacks. Al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell produced the leaders of the September 11 hijacking teams. Prior to the September 11 attacks, German authorities were constrained by domestic factors that inhibited their ability to investigate terrorist organizations. While Europe's approach to terrorism suffered from many problems, there are also were some potential lessons for the United States. In particular, the experience of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI-5 may have possible implications for strengthening the counterterrorism capabilities of U.S. authorities.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro, Telmo Baltazar
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the past ten years, the European Union's (EU) counterterrorism capabilities have changed dramatically. Two of the most evident changes have been the emergence of an increasingly unified European approach to terrorism and the virtual elimination of internal border controls on the Continent. As the EU begins to act decisively in the fight against terror, trans-Atlantic cooperation has become vital for mutual security.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 11, 2006, advisors to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Ismail Haniyeh announced that the two had reached agreement on the formation of a national unity government after months of on-again, off-again discussions. The core of the agreement appears to be that Haniyeh will remain prime minister, Hamas will yield some key ministries, such as finance and foreign affairs, to Fatah, and the government will adopt some formula for its program that will allow it to claim it has met the Quartet's three conditions for renewing international aid. According to the Quartet's statement on January 30, “future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government's commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.”
  • Topic: Development, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As part of their close consultation over how to respond to the Iranian nuclear challenge, top officials from the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany met in Berlin on September 7. In developing a plan for influencing Iran, a key consideration is, who are the key decision-makers in Iran? In particular, what are the relative roles of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad? The record from Ahmadinezhad's first year in office suggests that at least on domestic policy, his actions have systematically reinforced Khamenei's authority.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Germany
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Lebanon has secured pledges for assistance roughly equal to its $3.6 billion estimate of what is required to rebuild from the recent war. Though foreign assistance will be an important element in the short-term physical reconstruction, it will do little to help Beirut contend with the longstanding structural maladies afflicting the economy—particularly $40 billion in government debt. Lebanon also faces the challenge of how to reinforce central government authority in the face of Hizballah's efficient reconstruction efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Barak Ben-Zur
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As part of the international effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel can become a sustainable ceasefire, much attention has been paid to blocking arms shipments to Hizballah, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1701. But another threat to peace in the region is Hizballah's potent terrorist wing. Arguably its most dangerous offensive weapon, Hizballah's terrorist wing was active throughout this recent conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 25, 2006, Jeffrey White, David Makovsky, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White is the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute and the coauthor, with Michael Eisenstadt, of the Institute Policy Focus Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. He, like Jeffrey White, recently returned from a trip to Israel. Dennis Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Emile El-Hokayem, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Daniel Christman
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 23, 2006, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Daniel Christman, Emile El-Hokayem, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Christman is senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and previously served as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Emile El-Hokayem is a Middle East analyst at the Henry L. Stimson Center. Michael Eisenstadt is director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Seth Wikas
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 15, Syrian president Bashar al-Asad gave a significant policy speech to the Syrian Journalists Union in which he expressed his support for Hizballah. More importantly, the address sought to redefine Syria's position in the Arab world. Building on Washington's talk of the birth of a new Middle East, Asad described his own vision for a new Middle East, one with an empowered Arab resistance, a weakened Israel, and a renewed regional unity against Western interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Robert O. Collins
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 20, 2006, the Arab League committee on Sudan backed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir's refusal of a UN peacekeeping force in the war-wracked Darfur region. At the UN Security Council, the only open critic of the proposal to send such a force is Qatar, the only Arab member of the Council. Within the week, President Bush responded by sending Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Fraser to Khartoum as his special envoy carrying a personal letter to al-Bashir urging him to permit the presence of a robust UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. This decision by the Arab League has been a discouraging development, given that in June, Arab League secretary-general Amr Musa had urged Sudan to accept UN peacekeepers to replace the fragile 7,000-person African Union (AU) African Mission in the Sudan (AMIS). The Arab League's position represents a stark about-face. In the past, the Arab League had supported Sudan's refusal to agree to a UN peacekeeping force. The change of heart exposed the ambiguities that have long characterized relations between Sudan and the Arab League—particularly Sudan's neighbors Libya, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Libya, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Cecile Zwiebach
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While U.S. and coalition forces—and increasingly the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)—struggle to defeat the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, they are also dealing with a range of armed groups that complicate the security scenario. Militias and ad hoc units with different levels of government sanction are growing in strength, and the training of the ISF is progressing unevenly. While it is not possible to conduct a comprehensive survey of both independent groups and ISF units, a sampling of less publicized units illustrates how diffuse military power in Iraq has become.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: David Schenker, Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recent developments related to the war in Lebanon—a warning from Damascus that Israeli forces in Lebanon should keep away from the Syrian border, the placement of Syrian forces on a heightened state of alert, the explosion of a crude improvised explosive device (IED) on the Syrian side of the Golan, President Bashar al-Asad's bellicose August 1 Army Day speech, Syrian facilitation of Iranian efforts to resupply Hizballah, and Israeli attempts to interdict these supply lines through air strikes along the Lebanon-Syria border—have prompted concerns that the fighting in Lebanon could escalate to involve Syria. Warnings from Damascus that an international stabilization force for Lebanon would be seen as an army of occupation, and therefore a legitimate target of resistance, have likewise raised the possibility that Syria might sponsor or support attacks on such a force, as it sponsored attacks against the Multi-National Force (MNF) in Beirut in 19821984.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Barak Ben-Zur
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this week, Israel began its long-anticipated ground offensive in Lebanon intended to degrade Hizballahs military apparatus, pacify Israels northern border with Lebanon, and lay the foundation for what is now frequently referred to as a sustainable ceasefire. Reaching a consensus on the precise meaning of the term sustainable will be a difficult prerequisite. But however such a ceasefire is defined beyond the presence of a robust international force, there is widespread agreement that it must include the participation of Syriaparticularly a commitment by Damascus to adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680. So far, Syria has given no indication that it will agree to such a course, and, given the events of the past several weeks, it is difficult to imagine the circumstances under which Syrian president Bashar al-Asad might change his mind. That said, Israels new ground offensive in Lebanon represents a significant change in the status quo, one that may force Syria to reconsider.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As diplomacy to end hostilities between Israel and Lebanon intensifies at the United Nations, with a first resolution passed perhaps on Monday, conceptual gaps between the parties remain. The differences range from substantive to procedural. France has been at the center of diplomacy surrounding the passage of a UN Security Council resolution, since it is expected to lead the multinational force to southern Lebanon. From the outset of its consultations with the United States, which are at the center of UN diplomacy, France has sought two Security Council resolutions; this plan has won the backing of U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. The first resolution would declare an immediate ceasefire and establish general principles to guide the period after the ceasefire. The second resolution would, among other things, define the scope and mission of the multinational force.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, France, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Lebanon plunges deeper into ruin and chaos as a result of Hizballah's “gang war” tactics against Israel's expanded military campaign to degrade the power of the Islamist party, Hizballah, Syria, and its allies in Lebanon are devising plans to subvert an international agreement on a multinational force to guard the Israel-Lebanon border. They are also preparing for a political comeback in a postconflict Lebanon by riding the wave of the victory Hizballah is sure to claim whatever the outcome—a supposed triumph that in reality will be at best a Pyrrhic victory.
  • Topic: International Relations, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 1, 2006, the Honorable Shimon Peres addressed the Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum to discuss Israel's political and military strategy in its war against Hizballah. Shimon Peres is the deputy prime minister of Israel and a member of Knesset from the Kadima Party. A former prime minister, defense minister, and foreign minister, he has played a central role in the political life of Israel for more than half a century and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. The following is a rapporteur's summary of Mr. Peres's remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With the ongoing clashes between Israel and Hizballah raging without respite and Lebanon sustaining significant human and material losses, the sociopolitical scene in Beirut is bursting with both centrifugal and centripetal forces. While these forces threaten the country with implosion, they are sparking a national debate on Lebanese national identity that may prevent Lebanon from disintegrating as a sovereign state. While many Western observers see the civilian deaths in Qana as galvanizing Lebanese support for Hizballah, national solidarity against Israeli attacks should not be mistaken for a widespread embrace of Hizballah.
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 25, 2006, Robert Satloff and David Pollock addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Satloff is the executive director of The Washington Institute and the author most recently of the Institute monograph Assessing What Arabs Do, Not What They Say: A New Approach to Understanding Arab Anti-Americanism. Dr. David Pollock, formerly head of Near East research in the U.S. Information Agency, currently works in the Office of the Undersecretary of Global Affairs at the Department of State. His remarks were off the record. The following is a rapporteur's summary of Dr. Satloff's remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The critical question of whether or not the current conflict in Lebanon will escalate to a broader regional war is being answered in two overly simple ways. One such analysis is that this is a “meltdown” with escalating violence and mounting pressures for further escalation. A second, equally simplistic view is that since no one has an interest in escalating to a regional conflict it will not happen. Both of these views do not account for the complex set of dynamics and the real possibility that accident and error can intervene.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Wednesday, an international conference will open in Italy to discuss the state of Lebanon and explore potential formulas for an Israeli-Hizballah ceasefire. Current conditions make an immediate ceasefire unlikely, but should changing events make a ceasefire possible, one of the first priorities for the Bush administration and the international community will be to find a mechanism to reinvigorate and implement the remaining stipulations of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. In particular, that means disarming Hizballah. The group will no doubt oppose international and domestic efforts to disarm it, but the Lebanese government and the international community can take steps in the context of a ceasefire to consolidate Lebanese resentment toward Hizballah and press ahead with Resolution 1559.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As diplomacy to halt the violence in Lebanon slowly gathers momentum, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has endorsed the idea of an international “stabilization force” to keep the peace, seconding proposals previously put forward by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, British prime minister Tony Blair, and European Union foreign policy envoy Javier Solana. Such a force, however, is liable to face major obstacles and incur substantial risks that could jeopardize its prospects for success. For this reason it is essential to consider what past experiences in Lebanon, the Middle East, and elsewhere teach about peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, the sort of challenges such a force could encounter, and the kind of mandate and capabilities required to meet these challenges.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Barak Ben-Zur
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a July 17 article in Kayhan, a newspaper sponsored by Iran's supreme leader, editor Hossein Shariatmadari wrote, “The Muslim nations should not let the engagement [with Israel] remain in its limited regional boundaries. The Zionists are scatted in many parts of the world and their identification is not that difficult. . . . Everywhere in the world must be made insecure for the Zionists.” Even without this exhortation from Iran, there is a real possibility that the conflict could expand beyond the borders of Lebanon and Israel. History has shown that Iran and Hizballah together have significant capabilities to conduct violent terrorist attacks anywhere in the world.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Schenker, Dennis Ross, Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 19, 2006, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, David Schenker, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Institute, is the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff. Mr. Schenker, a senior fellow in Arab politics at the Institute, served until 2005 as Levant country director of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 10, 2006, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, David Makovsky and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Institute, is the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff. Mr. Makovsky, senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 17, 2006, Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog and Patrick Clawson addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Herzog, an active officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute. General Herzog recently published Iranian Public Opinion on the Nuclear Program: A Potential Asset for the International Community, an Institute monograph available for free download. Dr. Clawson is deputy director for research at The Washington Institute, and recently published Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos. Mehdi Khalaji also contributed to the panel; his remarks appear in a separate PolicyWatch. The following is a rapporteur's summary of General Herzog and Dr. Clawson's remarks.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Israel
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Westerners believe Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad to be popular in Iran, in no small part because of his strong support for Iran's nuclear program. However, there is much evidence to the contrary. There is limited information available with which to form a judgment about the popularity of any politician or political program in Iran. The government forbids any independent opinion polling on matters as ordinary as the raging problem of drug addiction, let alone sensitive issues like negotiations with the United States or the nuclear program. The main sources of information for Western media are the statements and photographs that come from Iranian state media, or other Western journalists who go to Iran but cannot work freely in the face of government controls. The Western newsmedia has taken the massive turnouts at demonstrations in support of Ahmadinezhad and his nuclear policy as evidence of popular support for both. But the size of such demonstrations has no meaning beyond illustrating the efficiency of the regime's propaganda machine. Unfortunately, Western media take this propaganda for the truth. The Iranian regime has nearly succeeded in fashioning its own image and imposing it on its critics. Official results show Ahmadinezhad was elected by only 35 percent of eligible voters—in an election that was not free and fair, according to many top Iranian officials. Most of Ahmadinezhad's support came from rural regions and the poorer classes of Iranian society; these voters hoped that Ahmadinezhad's election would reduce corruption and raise their standard of living. Today there are clear signs of dissatisfaction within these constituencies. The evidence comes from independent journalists, blogs, and independent Iranian news websites which have reported increasing discontent with Ahmadinezhad's domestic policies.
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Weapons, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Having come into existence by virtue of Iranian military and financial patronage, Hizballah has used massive Iranian support to transform itself from a purely military group into an armed political party that has had an enduring impact on Lebanese political life and served as an outpost of Islamic fundamentalism in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Lebanon
  • Author: Rana Shaab, Nicholas Ravella, Nathan Hodson, Daniel Fink
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The outbreak of hostilities after Hizballah's July 12 raid into Israel, in which it captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others, has elicited a variety of responses from government officials and other prominent figures throughout the Middle East. Though it is not surprising to see harsh statements about Israel, it is unusual to see Arab leaders criticizing Hizballah for its role in precipitating the conflict. The usually cautious Saudi authorities implicitly criticized Hizballah for adventurism; is seems that Riyadh may be wary of Iranian influence. The following is a sampling of Middle Eastern reactions, compiled from various regional and international media sources.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The capture yesterday of two Israeli soldiers (eight more were killed) in a crossborder raid by the Lebanese group Hizballah, as Israeli forces in Gaza continued to search for an Israeli soldier kidnapped last week by Hamas and to clear Qassam rocket launch sites, marked the opening of a second front in the war against Israel being waged by these two Islamist terrorist groups and their state sponsors, Syria and Iran. These developments highlight the potential for further escalation and illustrate the rising dangers posed by the emergence of an anti-Israel and anti-American military axis comprised of Hamas, Hizballah, Syria, and Iran.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier today, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashal held a press conference in Damascus broadcast live on al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and Syrian state television. During the broadcast, Mashal described kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit as a “prisoner of war,” said that prisoner exchange was the only solution to the crisis, and appeared to recommend direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The press conference was significant, not only for its content, but because it was held in a Damascus hotel: typically in the past, when Syria-based terrorist organizations took responsibility for operations, they did so from Beirut. The high profile Mashal statement from Damascus suggests that the Asad regime has changed its rules of engagement from tacit to explicit support for Hamas. The shift highlights Syria's emboldened foreign policy a year and a half after the assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: Samer Abu Libdeh
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even while Israelis and Palestinians are locked in deepening conflict over the kidnapping of a young Israeli soldier and the future of the Hamas government, political life on the East Bank of the Jordan River is increasingly focused on internal Jordanian concerns.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Hizballah has been deployed along the blue line, the internationally accepted border between Lebanon and Israel, since May 2000 when the Israeli army left southern Lebanon. Hizballah's fulltime strength is 500–600 well trained, combat experienced fighters, but in an emergency the organization can also call upon thousands of other fighters with elementary training. Training continues in the eastern Bekaa valley, although at a much reduced rate compared to the 1990s. At present, Hizballah uses Shebaa Farms to justify its military operations and continued weapons possession, a rationale based on the claim that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese territory occupied by Israel, even as the United Nations considers this territory to be Syrian.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The June 29 parliamentary elections in Kuwait achieved international media coverage because women were allowed to stand for office and vote for the first time in the sheikhdom. Less well reported were the local political divisions that had brought about elections a year earlier than expected. The results of the balloting—in which, incidentally, none of the women candidates won office—worsened the divisions between the Kuwaiti government and the National Assembly and could lead to greater public disagreement about the character of the country's alliance with the United States.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Taken together, the kidnapping on Sunday of an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier and the signing on Tuesday of an agreement among Palestinian factions to create a unity government for the Palestinian Authority (PA) suggest that significant seismic forces may be developing within Hamas that may have a decisive impact both on the organization's solidarity and on the future course of Israeli-Palestinian relations. While the unity agreement itself has little significance beyond internal Palestinian politics—it is a nonstarter for the Israelis and represents a major retreat from previous Palestinian positions—its importance lies in the fact that it highlights the possible emergence of a fissure within the Hamas organization between its internal leaders, headed by Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, who experience the brunt both of popular concerns and Israeli reprisals, and its external leaders, chief among them Damascus-based Khaled Mashal, who are free of these constraints and therefore able to insist on more maximalist positions. However, in signing this agreement—apparently without full consultation with, or the approval of, the Damascus contingent—the Hamas leaders in the territories have signaled both their independence and their intention to embark on a more pragmatic path than that preferred by Hamas's more ideological external elements. Indeed, the timing and nature of the attack seems to have been specifically intended to disrupt the effort to agree on a unity government with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, and thereby, the possible emergence of a more moderate Hamas strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's pursuit of a referendum on the Palestinian National Accord has been widely interpreted by commentators and reporters as a power play designed to circumvent the Hamas-led government and force it to implicitly accept Israel's existence. But while the process of conducting a referendum -- the legality of which remains questionable -- would shift power away from the government and the legislature, the actual text of the document, which a group of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails negotiated, more closely resembles the political program of Hamas than that of Abbas. Moreover, Hamas has recovered from its initial surprise at the referendum initiative and has mounted an effective response, first by challenging the legality of a referendum, then by dragging Abbas into negotiations over the substance of the Accord. Despite a possible compromise that may emerge in coming days and shift the composition of the government or modify the language of the Accord, Hamas has used the internal Palestinian debate over a referendum to secure its internal legitimacy and advance many of its governing priorities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Eric Edelman
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sayin arkadashlar merhaba. Hello, my good friends. It is an honor to be here today to deliver this years Turgut Ozal lecture. I would like to thank The Washington Institute, Rob Satloff, Soner Cagaptay, and in particular, Mark Parris, one of my distinguished predecessors as ambassador to Turkey, for inviting me. This institutions excellent work in promoting U.S.-Turkish relations does not go unnoticed and I am proud to be a part of it. In fact, I would argue that the Institutes work on Turkey is more important now than it has ever been. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the important efforts of my successor, Ambassador Ross Wilson, who with great dedication and skill works everyday at maintaining our strong relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Acting Lebanese interior minister Ahmad Fatfat arrived in Washington June 20 for his first official visit in his new capacity. The U.S. trip comes one month after a radical Sunni Islamist organization was legalized in Lebanon, and just weeks after thousands of Shiite Hizballah supporters rioted in Beirut after the broadcast on LBC television of a comedy skit satirizing Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. These developments highlight growing tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. Unchecked, this dynamic could lead to a resumption of the type of conflict that has long plagued Lebanon and threaten the gains of the Cedar Revolution.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the most wanted man in the country, died violently and fittingly in a coalition airstrike June 7. His death represents a case of justice delayed, but justice done, and constitutes an important victory for the coalition and the Iraqi government. Nevertheless, Zarqawi's demise is likely a setback rather than a decisive turning point for the insurgency, and observers need to be conservative in their assessment of the effects.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a June 4 speech marking the anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a warning to the United States in the crisis of over Iran's nuclear program. “If the Americans make a wrong move toward Iran, the shipment of energy will definitely face danger, and the Americans would not be able to protect energy supply in the region,” Khamenei said. This raises questions about the strength of the Iranian military and how the United States could counter it, using military power, alternative export routes, or a combination of both.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Ali M. Koknar
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently in Iran, tens of thousands of Iranian Azeris took to the streets for several days of demonstrations touched off by the May 12 publication of a racist cartoon in the state-run Iran newspaper. (The cartoon depicted an Azeri-speaking cockroach.) Iranian security forces cracked down violently on the demonstrators, killing at least four people (Azeri nationalists claim twenty dead), injuring forty-three, and detaining hundreds of others. These developments indicate brewing discontent among Iran's Azeri population and should be studied for their implications for U.S. and Western policy toward Tehran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Tehran
  • Author: William McCoy, James Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 18, 2006, Ambassador James Jeffrey and Maj. Gen. William McCoy addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Jeffrey is senior advisor to the secretary of state and coordinator for Iraq policy at the U.S. Department of State. He previously served as deputy chief of mission and charge d'affairs in Baghdad, ambassador to Albania, and deputy chief of mission in Turkey and Kuwait. General McCoy is commander of the Gulf Region Division, Army Corp of Engineers, in Baghdad, where he oversees most of the U.S. government's major infrastructure projects in Iraq. Previously, he served as assistant commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School, held command and staff positions in various combat engineer units, and served in Saudi Arabia. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 17, a gunman chanting Islamist slogans attacked the Turkish Council of State (the Danistay, or high court for administrative affairs) in Ankara. The gunman killed one judge and wounded four others who were sitting in the Council's second chamber, which has recently upheld Turkey's ban on “turbans” in schools. In accordance with the European and Turkish notion of secularism (laïcité in French) as freedom from religious symbols in the public sphere, Turkey bans public officials and school students wearing turbans—a specific style of women's headcover that emerged in the mid 1980s and that the courts consider an Islamist political symbol. (Turbans are distinct from traditional headscarves, which are not banned.) Photographs of the judges had earlier been published in Islamist newspapers with headlines targeting them.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi, Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas's surprise May 25 announcement that he would call for a national referendum should Palestinian factions fail to reach agreement during their national dialogue was wrongly interpreted as a peace plan by many in the press. The document Abbas threatened to put to a popular vote is intended to quell the daily gun battles, kidnappings, and assassination attempts among rival armed groups in Gaza. However, since each party will interpret the document to affirm its own interests, the vague language on relations with Israel could be interpreted either as advocating a one-state solution that would eliminate prospects for peace or as recognizing a two-state solution. Abbas and Fatah may view the “national accord,” negotiated earlier in May among prominent prisoners in Israeli jails, as a means of forcing Hamas into a corner on negotiating with Israel, but the text of the document much more closely resembles Hamas's own political program. (Read an English translation of the national accord in PDF format).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Efraim Halevy
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the current global circumstances, the role of intelligence gathering and analysis in policymaking has become increasingly important. As a result, intelligence leaders have ever more influence in the policymaking process. This is particularly the case in Israel, where some of the political leadership's most significant decisions came on the heels of Mossad and Military Intelligence initiatives and assessments.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Jerusalem
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany consult today about what measures to take to influence Iran's decisions about its nuclear program, it is worth evaluating what impact outside pressure would have on President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad's administration and its ability to overcome internal political and economic challenges. International pressure has already increased tensions between different factions within the Islamic Republic and laid bare the contradictory aspects of the president's political and cultural management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Germany
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ehud Olmert is proposing a plan to withdraw 60,000 settlers from the West Bank and consolidate Israel's borders. His reasoning is that these settlers have been in limbo for thirty-nine years. He does not want their presence in the West Bank to jeopardize Israel's democratic nature, nor to use them as human bargaining chips in negotiations. He is looking at the issue from the perspective of security instead of ideology.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The second meeting in a new round of twice-yearly strategic dialogues between the United States and Saudi Arabia will be held May 18 in Washington. Established at the Crawford summit between President George W. Bush and then Crown Prince Abdullah in April 2005, the first meeting was held in the Saudi city of Jeddah last November. The meetings were instituted because of the bilateral problems highlighted at the Crawford talks. The issues then were discussed "frankly and plainly" (the Saudi description) and the talks were "candid" (the American official description) -- diplomatic codes for little agreement. This time the Saudi side is spinning "the prospects of expanding cooperation," though the United States is still concerned about the "lag" it sees between official Saudi statements and action. Six working groups were established at the Jeddah meeting in November: counterterrorism; military affairs; energy; economic and financial affairs; consular affairs and partnership; and education exchange and human development. The generic titles obscure some major differences. As the labels suggest, the Saudis have successfully avoided any direct reference to political reform and human rights, areas that have been particularly criticized by a succession of U.S. officials and congressional figures. Even when such issues were raised, reports say that in the case of human rights, the Saudi side immediately riposted with concern about the circumstances of Saudi detainees at Guantanamo Bay, where they are said to form the single largest national contingent.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 7, Lebanese Druze leader and member of parliament Walid Jumblat told reporters in Cairo that Hizballah should disarm. These comments came just four days after Jumblat offered his assistance to the Syrian opposition in establishing "a democratic and free Syria." Jumblat has always been an enigmatic and unpredictable interlocutor, and his recent statements on Syria and Hizballah typify his disregard for the conventions of the Lebanese political establishment. While many Lebanese may quietly support Jumblat's truth telling, his statements are sure to increase his list of powerful enemies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 7, Lebanese Druze leader and member of parliament Walid Jumblat told reporters in Cairo that Hizballah should disarm. These comments came just four days after Jumblat offered his assistance to the Syrian opposition in establishing "a democratic and free Syria." Jumblat has always been an enigmatic and unpredictable interlocutor, and his recent statements on Syria and Hizballah typify his disregard for the conventions of the Lebanese political establishment. While many Lebanese may quietly support Jumblat's truth telling, his statements are sure to increase his list of powerful enemies.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, the Sunday Times of London reported that Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan had warned U.S. officials during a secret visit to Washington of covert Iranian plans for enriching uranium, which may mean Tehran was "nearer to acquiring nuclear weapons than widely believed." The same report quoted Knesset Foreign and Defense Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz as saying that Iran might be only a year from developing a bomb. Meanwhile, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed ElBaradei is on the record as saying that, once Iran can enrich uranium in quantity, making an actual bomb would only take "a few months." And, in August 2005, the Washington Post reported that the new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate "projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing [sufficient highly enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years." In such circumstances it is small wonder if the public is confused, wondering whether some officials are exaggerating the potential danger of a nuclear-armed Iran while others seem to be almost irresponsibly unconcerned. In fact, the statements above are not mutually inconsistent, reflecting instead the discrepancy between hard fact and plausible interpretation. Since Iran's controversial uranium enrichment technology was initially acquired from Pakistan, an examination of that country's progress toward a nuclear bomb is both worthwhile and illuminating.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Tehran
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Jeffrey White, Matt Sherman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 28, 2006, Jeffrey White, Matt Sherman, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White, the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute, spent thirty-four years with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Matt Sherman recently returned from Iraq after serving for two years as the senior coalition advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. During his tenure, he counseled four interior ministers and was the lead coordinator for policy on Iraqi police services. Michael Eisenstadt is director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program, and is the coauthor, with Jeffrey White, of the Institute Policy Focus, Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 18, the Jordanian government announced it had discovered a cache of weapons -- including rockets, C-4 explosives, and small arms -- in a northern Jordanian town. Jordanian authorities said the weapons belonged to Hamas and had entered Jordan from Syria. Subsequently, Jordan arrested ten Hamas militants and cancelled a scheduled visit by Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader. While the discovery of these weapons underscores Hamas's continuing efforts to prepare for terrorist acts even while it proclaims a tahdiya (period of calm), it also has important implications for internal Jordanian politics and the rising influence of Jordan's own Islamist movement.
  • Topic: Government, Religion, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, the State Department announced its plan for restructuring aid to the Palestinians in response to the formation of a government led by Hamas, which has refused Quartet demands to recognize Israel, cease violence and terror, and accept past diplomatic agreements. In order to target assistance toward the Palestinian people rather than the Hamas leadership, the United States will now provide the vast majority of its aid (some $203 million) for humanitarian needs, including food, health, and education programs primarily administered by United Nations agencies such as the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the UN World Food Program. An additional $42 million is allocated for "securing and expanding democracy," in an effort that "protects and promotes moderation and democratic alternatives to Hamas." Assisting the development of such a peaceful and democratic alternative -- as distinct from an immediate overthrow of Hamas -- will require the United States to support programs driven internally by Palestinians that can foster a broad-based political movement. Bolstering a centralized Fatah-like organization run by elites will only lead to further corruption and the continued alienation of the Palestinian public.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sami al-Arians plea agreement, unsealed last week in Tampa, Florida, has been almost universally billed as a domestic counterterrorism victory. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing financial and material support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. specially designated terrorist group, and agreed to be deported. He is one of a small but important number of U.S. deportees (out of approximately 200,000 annually) who have connections to international terrorism.Many in the United States will say good riddance to people like al-Arian, a sentiment shared by a substantial portion of Europeans whose governments are increasing their own efforts to send terrorist suspects back to their countries of origin. Since the July 7 London transit bombings, Britain has signed deportation agreements with Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon, and is negotiating a similar one with Algeria. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands have all recently introduced or passed legislation that will facilitate deportation on national security grounds, while the French for their part wonder why other Western democracies have been so slow to catch on. France has been deporting terrorist suspects and other extremists for more than a decade, including more than a dozen radical imams in 2005 alone. American and European deportation policies differ in key areas. U.S. policy is aimed at lawbreakers generally, whereas Europe, because of its more ingrained challenge of domestic radicalism, targets extremist imams and other purveyors of jihadist ideology who can have a pervasive radicalizing effect on a community. Nevertheless, the same rationale underpins deportation on both sides of the Atlantic, and enthusiasm for the policy seems almost universal. Sending problem immigrants back to their native countries allows Western governments to deal with extremists outside the framework of domestic legal codes that remain woefully ill-equipped to address the threat of terrorism. Deportation minimizes the need to adopt draconian measures such as indefinite detention. It is counterterrorism on the cheap, and has become the policy of first choice for domestic law enforcement agencies that lack the personnel and resources to conduct adequate surveillance on all potential terrorists. But although deportation of terrorist suspects may be the most appealing of several bad policy options, it is by no means a perfect solution. Deportation is designed to displace the threat, but it may ultimately create a host of other challenges for the West in Muslim countries and ultimately on its own territory.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, France, Libya, London, Palestine, Germany, Algeria, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 22, two days after a reportedly unproductive meeting with President George W. Bush in Washington, President Hu Jintao of China will arrive in Saudi Arabia. Relations between the two countries are an increasingly important part of world diplomacy. In energy, China is the leading customer of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter. On the military front, the kingdom bought now-obsolete ballistic missiles with a 1,500-mile range from China in the 1980s; the Saudis are reportedly interested in replacing them with more modern Chinese-designed missiles, perhaps with Pakistani nuclear warheads. Unlike his American visit, Hu's trip to the kingdom will unambiguously be given the status of a state visit. It is especially significant because King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited China as recently as January this year, the first visit by a Saudi monarch since diplomatic relations were established in 1990 and Abdullah's first trip outside the Middle East since becoming monarch last August. During the January meeting, five agreements covering economic cooperation trade and double taxation as well as an energy pact were signed. Energy is expected to be central to the latest talks, though a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman noted it was “not the only domain” of cooperation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, America, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: John Vines
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 13, 2006, Lt. Gen. John Vines addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Vines served until January 2006 as commander of the Multinational Corps–Iraq (MNC–I). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran's nuclear program presents one more issue on which Washington sees Middle East developments in a different light than does the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Turkey. Since coming to power in November 2002, AKP leaders have pursued rapprochement with Damascus and enhanced dialogue with Iran. In March 2006, the AKP welcomed Hamas leaders in Ankara. It is surprising that Turkey, a traditional bastion of Western policies in the Middle East, is promoting close ties with anti-Western actors that have hurt Turkey for decades—Syria provided safe haven to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Iran supported the PKK and radical Islamist terrorists. Why do the Turkish people not resent such policies? The Iraq war and the U.S. agenda for political transformation in the Middle East have clashed with the Turkish people's desire to preserve the Middle Eastern political landscape. What is more, U.S. inaction against the PKK's Qandil enclave in Northern Iraq is angering most Turks in the way Syrian and Iranian support for the PKK upset them in the 1990s. Turkish confusion and anger toward the United States stands in sharp contrast with the improved image of Syria and Iran in Turkey. Meanwhile, with AKP discussing Middle Eastern politics in terms of Islamic codes, some Turks now identify with the region through Islam and not their national identity. The challenge for Washington is to find a way to prevent Turkey's popular slide away from the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Syria
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Walter Posch, Vladimir Esveev
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 3, 2006, Walter Posch, Vladimir Esveev, and Patrick Clawson addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Walter Posch is a research fellow at the European Union's Institute for Security Studies in Paris. Vladimir Esveev is a senior associate at the Center for International Security at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. Patrick Clawson, a senior fellow and deputy director for research at The Washington Institute, is coauthor with Michael Rubin of Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos (Palgrave, 2005). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Washington, Moscow
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 21 and 22 as many as three thousand foreign construction workers rioted in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai in protest at conditions on the site where the world's tallest building is being built. Cars and construction machinery were wrecked and office windows broken as the workers demanded higher wages and improved conditions. The unrest highlights the desperate conditions faced by the expatriate labor that performs most of the manual work in the oil-rich Gulf Arab states.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, Dubai, Persia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The ongoing debate over whether or not Iraq is on the verge or in the midst of a civil war is a distraction from the main challenge the United States now faces in Iraq: how to reduce or contain sectarian (and ethnic) violence that could derail the political process and drag Iraq's neighbors into the conflict. That said, the recent increase in sectarian violence following the attack on Samarra's Askariyya Shrine does not necessarily alter the fundamental character of the conflict: attacks on Shiites have long been an important element of Sunni Arab insurgent operations, although Shiites have only recently begun striking back in a sustained way. The violence does, however, have the potential to spiral out of control should another insurgent attack damage an important Shiite shrine or result in very large loss of life.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 22, leaders from across the Lebanese political spectrum completed another round of the ongoing National Dialogue. The talks, which started earlier this month, have touched on some of the more salient topics in Lebanese politics. Conspicuously absent from the agenda, however, has been a discussion of disarming militias, such as Hizballah, a key element of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. The indefinite postponement of this critical issue will make it difficult for the United States to continue to actively support its democratic allies in post-Syria Lebanon.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the international donor community struggles to determine its stance on aid to the Palestinians under the Hamas government, it is important to remember the extent to which the Palestinian economy is dependent upon Israeli decisions. Last year the international community gave the Palestinians $1.4 billion in aid; Israel has the potential to affect at least that sum through its policies on trade, Palestinian workers in Israel, and the tax revenue it collects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yaaron Deckel
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 16, 2006, Yaron Deckel and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Deckel is a leading political analyst in Israel and Washington correspondent for Israel Television and Israel Radio. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. Mr. Makovsky's remarks were released in PolicyWatch no. 1086, “The Shape of Israel's Election Race.” The following is a rapporteur's summary of Mr. Deckel's remarks. In several recent interviews with the press, Israeli acting prime minister Ehud Olmert articulated a specific agenda for disengagement and the evacuation of thousands of additional settlers from the West Bank, distinguishing his campaign from the vague promises that have characterized past Israeli elections. Ariel Sharon campaigned in 2003 on eventual “deep and painful” future concessions, but did not specifically address disengagement until after the elections. It is therefore important to evaluate the prospect that Kadima will head the next government and what policies it would likely follow if in power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a surprise move prior to Israel's March 28 election, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unveiled a proposal that Israeli settlers be consolidated into West Bank settlement blocs largely adjacent to the Green Line. A week after the announcement, Israeli public reaction suggests his gamble seems to have paid off. According to a Yediot Ahronot poll released on March 17, Israelis favor Olmert's unilateralist proposal by a margin of 52 percent to 45 percent. Moreover, Olmert's poll standing was not negatively impacted by the proposal, despite the fact that it could mean the removal of an estimated 60,000 settlers from dozens of settlements scattered across the larger part of the West Bank outside Israel's security barrier. (Inside the Israeli security barrier, there are approximately 193,000 settlers, mostly in blocs, in the 8 percent of the West Bank largely adjacent to the pre-1967 boundaries. By comparison, President Clinton's final proposal in 2000 involved Israel keeping 5 percent of the land.) An Olmert security advisor and former Shin Bet head, Avi Dichter, says the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will not be withdrawn from the West Bank. Olmert was able to use his commanding lead to answer critics who say that the new party leader lacks Ariel Sharon's track record and therefore the authority to ask the public to trust his decisions. In the March 17 poll, Olmert's Kadima stood to win 39 seats in the 120-seat Knesset; Labor was polling at 19 seats and Likud, 15 seats. Olmert's standing was undoubtedly assisted by Israel's March 15 operation to seize from a Jericho prison the assassins of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi. Olmert hopes the operation will burnish his security credentials and undercut Netanyahu's argument that he is uniquely tough enough to challenge Hamas. (Olmert needs to be concerned about the 22 percent of Israelis who are undecided—the equivalent of twenty-five Knesset seats.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Gal Luft, Edward Morse
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 8, 2006, Gal Luft and Edward Morse addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Luft is executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and co-chair of the Set America Free Coalition. Mr. Morse is executive advisor at Hess Energy Trading Company and former publisher of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington
  • Author: David Makovsky, Patrick Clawson, Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 3, 2006, Marc Otte, Patrick Clawson, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Otte is the European Union's special representative for the Middle East peace process. Dr. Clawson, The Washington Institute's deputy director for research, is author with Zoe Danon Gedal of the Institute monograph Dollars and Diplomacy: The Impact of U.S. Economic Initiatives on Arab-Israeli Negotiations. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Michael Herzog, Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the immediate aftermath of Hamas's parliamentary victory in late January, the Quartet—the United States, the EU, Russia, and the UN—set clear criteria for funding a Palestinian Authority (PA) under Hamas's leadership. The Quartet said direct funding would be a function of the new government's “commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.” Indeed, there is no other example of taxpayers subsidizing a government run by an organization that appears on State Department and EU terror lists.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 24 attack by al-Qaeda on Saudi Arabia's giant oil processing facility at Abqaiq failed. At least two of the attackers were killed, along with two security guards. On February 27, Saudi authorities said they had killed another five terrorists linked to the Abqaiq attack in a clash in Riyadh, and they were interrogating a further suspect. The failure of the attack and the reported success of the subsequent counterterrorist operation give the impression of Saudi efficiency, but it should at least as much serve as a warning. The planned attack, targeting the world's largest oil exporter, should give impetus to President Bush's determination, declared in his January State of the Union address, to wean the United States off foreign oil.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Khalid Mishal, a Hamas leader currently residing in Damascus, visited Ankara today. Despite fierce debate in the Turkish press and objections from the secular-minded foreign policy elite, Mishal's visit went ahead with backing from Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. From the American perspective, the visit is important for three reasons. First, it could potentially hurt Turkey's longstanding role as an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Second, it serves as yet another foreign policy breech between Turkey and the West. Third, the visit is a telltale sign of the AKP's policy of “strategic depth” toward the Middle East, a policy that Washington needs to understand given U.S. objectives in Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 8, 2006, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon served until June 2005 as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. The following is a transcript of his remarks. “Hamas's recent victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections challenges all those actors currently invested in promoting change in the Middle East. These include Israel, Western nations, Arab democrats, and Palestinian moderates. Adding to this challenge is the perception of radical Islamists—Sunni and Shiite alike—that Hamas's victory is a defeat for U.S. policy in the region, a blow to democratization, and a victory for Islamist fundamentalism.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Jonathan Powell
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In January, the United States halted talks on free trade with Egypt to protest the Egyptian government's imprisonment of Ayman Nour, a leading opposition figure who challenged President Hosni Mubarak in September 2005 presidential elections. Washington made no formal announcement, perhaps hoping to avoid open confrontation with Cairo, and in doing so missed an opportunity to highlight its growing success in negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with U.S. allies in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent months, the growing controversy surrounding the Iranian nuclear program and Western suspicions about the military intentions of the Iranian regime has reached a crucial phase. A serious problem for the Western campaign to press the Islamic Republic about its nuclear program is that Iranian society has been indifferent or hostile to the West's efforts. The United States in particular needs to find ways to reenergize its outreach to Iranian society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In his January 31 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil” and urged spending on technologies “to break [that] addiction.” Noting that oil is often imported from unstable parts of the world, he set a goal of replacing more than 75 percent of U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Depending on exactly what Bush means by that statement, such a policy could have huge significance for U.S. policy in the region, or it could be less than meets the eye.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Israelis assess the implications of Hamas's victory in January elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, a new threat may be developing in Lebanon. Al-Qaeda–linked terrorists have been present in Lebanon for a decade, but recent statements by Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi suggest that the dual objectives of destabilizing Arab regimes and targeting Israel proper are becoming top al-Qaeda priorities. Al-Zarqawi–linked terrorists in Lebanon have already engaged in low-level targeting of Israeli and Lebanese interests, yet several obstacles may hinder their ability to launch significant attacks in or from Lebanon. The Lebanese government, although weak, has a clear interest in preventing both internally and externally directed al-Qaeda activity. The dynamic among Hizballah, the Palestinians, and al-Qaeda remains more ambiguous, but early signs suggest potential antagonism among the groups. Together, Israel and the United States may be able to help Lebanon contain this emerging threat.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 30, 2006, Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, and Michael Herzog addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr Satloff is the Institute's executive director. Ambassador Ross is the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow. Michael Herzog is a brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a visiting military fellow at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Yigit Alpogan
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 24, 2006, Yigit Alpogan, secretary-general of Turkey's National Security Council, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Alpogan, who assumed his current post in August 2004 as the first civilian head of the Turkish National Security Council, previously served as the Turkish ambassador to Greece and Turkmenistan as well as deputy undersecretary of foreign affairs. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Greece
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At a time when attention is focused on the problems democracy has brought in one part of the Middle East, such as the Palestinian territories, it has been easy to overlook how democratic processes were key to resolving a crisis in another Middle Eastern country: Kuwait. The January 15 death of Kuwait's emir, or ruler, Sheikh Jaber brought to power the physically and mentally incapacitated Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah. But the crisis engendered by his ill health and his refusal to abdicate was resolved quickly through democratic processes. On January 24, the parliament of the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Kuwait exercised a previously unused constitutional power and voted to oust Sheikh Saad. The new emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, is expected to be confirmed by parliament on January 29, and is now under pressure from some members of parliament to choose a prime minister from outside the ranks of the ruling al-Sabah family.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 23, 2006, Washington Institute executive director Robert Satloff addressed the 2006 Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel's National Security. Excerpts from Dr. Satloff's remarks follow. “Beware the unintended consequences of sound policies. On June 24, 2002, President Bush announced a major shift in U.S. policy. No longer would fulfillment of diplomatic requirements—that is, acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 242 or recognizing Israel's right to exist—alone merit the full engagement of the United States in assisting Palestinians as they try to achieve their legitimate rights through negotiations with Israel. From then on, how they handled themselves at home—whether they are corrupt, whether they are democratic, whether they are, as the president said, 'untainted by terrorism'—would all matter.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: James F. Hoge Jr., Stuart Rothenberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Barring any unforeseen developments in the region, there will be very little change in U.S. policy toward the Middle East this year. Terrorism will remain the top priority overall. In addition, the Bush administration will continue to maintain the priorities that have defined American approaches over recent decades, such as preserving energy supplies, containing strife, ensuring Israel's existence, and working with allies such as Turkey. Further, the White House will reiterate its condemnations of the Syrian regime—though it will refrain from more active policies of regime change for fear that a new government would be even worse. However, the issues of democratization, Iraqi development, the Iranian nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue will also be high on the agenda in 2006.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Young
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Shiite ministers recently “suspended” their participation in the Lebanese cabinet, though without resigning, it highlighted an increasingly apparent reality in post-Syria Lebanon: Two powerful camps coexist today. One, led by Hizballah, in alliance with the Amal movement, sits atop a Shiite community generally, though not unanimously, supporting their positions. The other reflects a cross-communal parliamentary majority, the cornerstone of which is the Sunni-led Future Movement of Saad Hariri, son of the murdered former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After years of quiet diplomatic frustration, the oil-rich Persian Gulf federated state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has publicly reopened a dispute with neighboring Saudi Arabia over two parts of their common border. A map in the 2006 edition of the official UAE Yearbook shows the UAE extending westward as far as Qatar, across territory currently controlled by Saudi Arabia. (The map in the 2005 edition does not show this.) Less obvious, but also depicted, is a southern border that extends to include most of the Shaybah Oil Field, Saudi Arabia's newest oil production area.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Abdul Halim Khaddam, who was vice-president of Syria from 1984 to June 2005, gave an explosive interview to the Dubai-based al-Arabia TV on December 30 implicating the Syrian leadership, including President Bashar al-Asad, in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Khaddam's action widened irrevocably the crack in Syria's political system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the eve of the Palestinian legislative elections, Fatah maintains only the slightest of leads over Hamas, a scenario which would have been unimaginable one year ago. Since Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004, Hamas has increased its strength by 40 percent, while in the same period Fatah has only increased its support by 10 percent.
  • Topic: Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Wednesday, January 25, Palestinian voters will elect a new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) for the first time since the initial PLC was elected ten years ago. The participation of Hamas in the elections marks a turning point in Palestinian politics; the group boycotted the original 1996 ballots as part of its rejection of the Oslo process. Ensuring a smooth transition from elections to the seating of the new PLC will require passing several hurdles, not the least of which is protecting balloting and vote-counting from violent disruptions. Assuming election day proceeds without incident—no small matter given the level of domestic lawlessness over the last several weeks—Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will then face the challenge of selecting a prime minister to form the next government. What remains unknown is precisely how well Hamas will finish in relation to Abbas' own Fatah party, and whether a tight race will lead Abbas to include Hamas as an active partner in the next Palestinian government—or, indeed, whether a poor Fatah showing might prompt Abbas to resign.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With just over two weeks left before January 25 Palestinian legislative elections, the mainstream Fatah movement remains bitterly divided, with some of its key factions advocating the postponement of elections and others demanding that voting be held as scheduled. Having publicly aired its internal problems over the last weeks rather than developing a clear campaign message, Fatah is unlikely to win more than 40 percent of the seats in the next Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Even though the question of Israel allowing voting in East Jerusalem now seems resolved, it remains to be seen whether elections will take place. If they do proceed, Fatah is certain to lose its monopoly on the Palestinian Authority and will require a coalition to form the next government.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 2, Iraq's Defense Ministry appealed to junior officers from Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to return to service. The decision to include these soldiers is part of an ongoing strategy to minimize support for terrorism by reintegrating Sunnis into the political fabric of the new Iraq. This latest effort comes as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group steps up targeting of Shiite civilians in an effort to spark retaliatory attacks against Sunnis. But as Zarqawi's attacks on Shiites exact growing toll among civilians, his tactics may be causing a divide within the ranks of the resistance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Eunice Youmans
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 11, Bahrain will welcome government officials and civil society groups to the second meeting of the Forum for the Future. The forum was founded at the 2004 G-8 summit at Sea Island, Georgia, as the centerpiece of the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative to promote change in the region. Political reform tops the forum's 2005 agenda with two-thirds of the conference sessions set to address political reform, human rights, women's empowerment, and the rule of law. The agenda, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs Scott Carpenter says, reflects the Bahraini government's willingness to discuss sensitive issues of reform, and U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice will address the conference.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Georgia, North Africa
  • Author: Robert Rabil
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The United States has been lobbying the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution about reinforcing Lebanon's sovereignty, building on the October 25, 2005, report by UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. That resolution, adopted on September 2, 2004, called for the disbanding and disarmament of all militias in Lebanon, the extension of Lebanese government control over all Lebanese territory, and the strict respect of Lebanese sovereignty. Important as each might be in light of recent developments, the Resolution 1559 requirements are closely interconnected.
  • Topic: Security, Sovereignty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Khairi Abaza
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: November 9 marks the start of legislative elections in Egypt. These are the first elections to be contested after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak pledged to implement political reforms during his presidential campaign in September. The political opposition maintains that the legislative elections will not reflect the true will of the Egyptian people and that the political environment is still not conducive to truly democratic politics.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Khairi Abaza
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The November 10 meeting at the White House between U.S. president George W. Bush and Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh will be the third time the two men have met since the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. Yemen is an oft-forgotten close U.S. ally, arguably as crucial to the success of the war on terror as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Egypt. The south Arabian country, with its rugged, desert landscape, remains a sanctuary for al-Qaeda operatives. With seacoasts along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Yemen dominates the Bab el-Mandab shipping chokepoint, the route by which oil from the Persian Gulf reaches the Suez Canal and hence the European market. (A French supertanker was badly damaged in an al-Qaeda attack off the Yemeni coast in 2002.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Mohsen Sazegara
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Mohsen Sazegara, recently a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute and now at Yale University, posted on several Persian-language websites (including gooya.com) a long open letter to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Hossein Khamenei. Below are translated extracts from that letter.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Düden Yegenoglu, Ekim Alptekin
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey opened accession talks with the European Union (EU) on October 3. In the aftermath of the March 2004 Madrid bombings, the November 2004 murder of film director Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, and the July 2005 London bombings, all committed by radical Islamists, some people in Europe wonder whether Islam is compatible with European values and, accordingly, whether letting the predominantly Muslim Turkey join the EU is a good idea. Will Turkey's EU accession compound Europe's problem with radical Islam, or is Turkey's version of Islam a panacea for Europe's Islamist problem?
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Meral Varis
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Now that negotiations toward full Turkish membership in the European Union (EU) have begun, what are the prospects for the Turkish economy? In particular, could Turkey attract significant global investment and take off economically as happened in Spain, Portugal, and Greece in the 1980s and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in the 1990s when those countries negotiated for EU accession?
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal
  • Author: Joshua Prober
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: An increasingly accepted argument holds that terrorism has become a cheap enterprise. Louise Richardson, executive dean of the Radcliff Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, made just that case while testifying before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in 2003. "The crucial point to bear in mind about terrorism, of course, is that it is cheap," Richardson said. She went on to argue that although the September 11 attacks cost $500,000, "It takes a great deal less to buy some fertilizer, rent a truck, and use them to bring down a building." If terrorism is cheap, as Richardson contends, then logic follows that financial counterterrorism measures are largely powerless to prevent terrorist attacks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Education, Terrorism