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  • Author: Aaron Rock-Singer
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Religion was a pillar of pre-modern political identity in the Middle East, arising out of Muslims’ understanding of Islam’s foundational moment and state institutions that developed with the spread of Islamic Empire. Beginning at the turn of the 19th century, European colonial powers and indigenous reformers questioned the centrality of religious identity; instead, it was to be the nation that defined the political community. Since then, the nationalist project has permeated 20th century ideological conflicts in the region, equally shaping the claims of secularists and Islamists. Today, advocates of religious change refer back to early Islamic history as they seek to place religious over national identity, yet they, like their competitors, are unmistakably shaped by the secular nationalist project.
  • Topic: Islam, Nationalism, Post Colonialism, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Lev Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The majority of the Middle East’s population today is Muslim, as it has been for centuries. However, as the place of origin of a range of world religions – including Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and many lesser-known faiths – it remains a region of remarkable religious diversity. This article considers the place of religious minorities in the modern Middle East from three angles: their distinctive religious and communal identities, their place in the major transformations of the region’s political landscape from the nineteenth century to the post-World War I era, and the challenges of contemporary political conditions.
  • Topic: Demographics, Islam, Religion, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Instead of healing the growing divisions between Iraq's three principal communities -- Shiites, Kurds and Sunni Arabs -- a rushed constitutional process has deepened rifts and hardened feelings. Without a strong U.S.-led initiative to assuage Sunni Arab concerns, the constitution is likely to fuel rather than dampen the insurgency, encourage ethnic and sectarian violence, and hasten the country's violent break-up.
  • Topic: Government, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries, Kurdistan
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli authorities on September 27 announced the arrest of an Israeli-Arab Hamas activist who played central militant, political, and financing roles for the group in coordination with what Israeli authorities described as a “Hamas command in Saudi Arabia.” The arrest is just the latest evidence that support for Hamas in particular and Islamic extremism in general continues to emanate from within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Minda Lee Arrow
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the challenges facing the Israeli government in the weeks before the Gaza disengagement commences are relocating evacuated settlers and determining the future of settlement assets. This Peace Watch will examine the former issue; a future Peace Watch will address the latter.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House Thursday with an unprecedented shower of diplomatic, political, and financial support. Most media attention has focused on two high-profile signs of U.S. backing of Abbas -- Bush's bold characterization of his guest as a "man of courage" and the dispatch of $50 million in direct assistance to the PA. As constructive as these messages were in bolstering the new Palestinian leader, little attention has been given to several other surprising messages Bush delivered -- both by omission and commission -- that could rebound against the administration's twin objectives of strengthening Palestinian democracy and advancing the vision of "two states living side by side in peace and security."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 18, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is scheduled to debate the law governing the legislative elections scheduled for July 17, the first such elections since the inaugural polls of 1996. The issues under contention underscore the larger divisions in Palestinian politics, particularly the dominant Fatah PartyÕs internal factionalism and its fear of an increasingly popular Hamas.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog, Dennis Rose
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, 2005, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, former U.S. Middle East peace envoy, and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004). Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Brig.-Gen. Herzog, a visiting military fellow at the Institute, was formerly the senior military aide to the defense minister and a peace negotiator. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks; David Makovsky's remarks served as the basis for PeaceWatch no. 498.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The March 8 mass rally in Beirut, organized by Hizballah to counter the popular Lebanese opposition movement, serves as a reminder that establishing genuine freedom and democracy in Lebanon will require more than a Syrian withdrawal. Whereas the opposition, backed by strong international and regional sentiment, focuses on rejecting Syria's occupation, Hizballah focuses on rejecting international interference in Lebanese affairs. Yet, if Iran and Hizballah are permitted to fill the void created by a Syrian departure, Lebanon will continue to be subjected to such foreign interference. Such a development would also increase the potential for escalation on the Lebanese-Israeli front, with possible regional spillover. Accordingly, while encouraging the ongoing historic events in Lebanon and pushing for an end to Syrian domination, the international community should not neglect two other key implications of UN Security Council Resolution 1559: ending the Iranian presence and disarming Hizballah.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky, Anna Hartman
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, the Israeli cabinet approved modified routing of the security fence, the first officially sanctioned changes since the cabinet approved construction in October 2003. The modifications, prompted by an Israeli supreme court decision last summer made to avert Palestinian hardship, are characterized by four major adjustments: (1) revised routing in several areas that will bring the fence closer to the Green Line (pre-1967 boundaries); (2) the elimination of all fence routes that create Palestinian enclaves or "double fences" (areas where Palestinians would have been completely encircled by the security fence); (3) the addition—for the first time on any official Israeli map—of fence around the Maale Adumim settlement bloc; and (4) final authorization of fence routing and construction near the Etzion bloc.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 1, British prime minister Tony Blair will host a conference in London dedicated to garnering support for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The summit is intended to help the new Palestinian leadership strengthen PA institutions, with a special focus on facilitating economic development, encouraging donor pledges, and identifying investment opportunities. Israel will not be participating, but Saudi Arabia and several other oil-rich Arab countries will attend. These countries reaped unexpectedly high government revenues in 2004 due to increased oil prices—excluding Iraq, the Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) saw $45 billion in additional revenue compared to 2003. How much of this windfall is offered to bolster the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will be seen, at least in Washington, as a key indicator of the willingness of the Arab world to secure a settlement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 24, 2005, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the new cabinet presented by Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei by a vote of fifty-four to ten, with four abstentions, establishing the first official government appointed after the January election of President Mahmoud Abbas. After a week of political infighting over the makeup of the cabinet, Qurei yielded to pressure from the Fatah bloc and offered a list composed almost exclusively of technocrats with professional expertise in the fields of their respective ministries. Nearly all of Yasser Arafat's political appointees from the old guard were removed. The reformers within Fatah who led the opposition to Qurei compromised as well by agreeing that no sitting member of the council (other than the prime minister and the new deputy prime minister, Nabil Shaath) could be in the cabinet, thereby keeping the most prominent political proponents of reform outside the executive branch.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 8 Sharm al-Shaykh summit may have marked the definitive end of the Arafat era. Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders issued orchestrated parallel statements declaring cessation of hostilities and highlighted the resumption of bilateral engagement after almost four and a half years of armed confrontation. Within hours, however, militant Palestinian groups challenged these commitments through attacks on Israeli targets. To take full advantage of the opportunities now available will require active effort to consolidate the fledgling ceasefire. This includes imposing the full force of the Palestinian central authority against rejectionists, clarifying the ambiguities in the parallel commitments, and enlisting key states and international actors in the campaign to combat Iranian and Hizballah designs to undermine this fragile process.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Iran nuclear issue will be on the international agenda in the coming months. The often-postponed visit to Tehran by the head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency (Minatom) Alexander Rumyantsev to sign an agreement on the delivery of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power plant is now set for January. Meanwhile, early January will see the second round of negotiations between the Europeans and Iran, which is insisting it will end its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment unless there is significant progress within the three-month timeframe set in the November 15 Paris Accords. That is no easy matter, given that in response to Iran's demands that the negotiations cover a wide range of security and economic issues, the initial European position evidently was to raise the full set of concerns which led to suspension of EU-Iran talks about a Trade Cooperation Agreement, namely, terrorism (such as al-Qaeda), Middle East peace, human rights, and all of Iran's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The usual Western assumption is that "minority rule" is illegitimate and an inversion of natural order. This is, however, a very modern and European idea. Minority rule has a long tradition in the Middle East, where it has never had the same stigma that the modern West attaches to it.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Adil Abd al-Mahdi
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Iraqi elections rapidly approach despite an entrenched and violent insurgency, the country's economic challenges are extensive. The government is faced with the momentous task of transforming a war torn, state-dominated economy into a transparent, investment-friendly institution, all during the course of daily political violence.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ammar Abdulhamid
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When discussing the topic of "minority rule," it is worth remembering that all dictatorships in fact are a form of minority rule, whether it be ethnic, religious, or bureaucratic. Once a minority establishes control over a nation, a crisis of legitimacy for the government will naturally arise. However, after the initial crisis fades, the main objective of those rulers is to establish representative coalitions that function under their control and rules. The norm is that nearly everybody is eventually represented within a system of parochial interests. In order to democratize one cannot champion the cause of the majority, but must instead champion the cause of civic education and citizenship -- otherwise, the country will fall into the trap of sectarian politics.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Todd Orenstein, Max Sicherman
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Attacks by insurgents on Iraqi police officers and facilities have become a major feature of this stage of the insurgency in Iraq. Hundreds of police personnel have been killed, the police in some areas have been routed by insurgent forces, and police have been penetrated and subverted by the insurgents. Deployed widely and to the neighborhood level in towns and cities, they have become a prime target for the insurgents.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The announcement Sunday that Israel would release 170 Palestinian prisoners as a "gesture of goodwill, friendship, and gratitude" to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is the latest in a series of events, statements, and diplomatic activity over the past several weeks that has signaled a warming in Egyptian-Israeli relations. While it is too early to tell whether this thaw can be transformed into a fully constructive relationship, after the death of Yasser Arafat both sides are attempting to work together more closely, at least for now.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Seeking to prevent terror propaganda and incitement to terror in America, the U.S. government added al-Manar (Arabic for "the beacon"), the official television mouthpiece of Hizballah, or the Lebanese Party of God, to the Terrorism Exclusion List (TEL). By designating the network as a terrorist organization the government will effectively take Hizballah television off the air in the United States by denying entry to its employees and to anyone who supports the network.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today, President George W. Bush will sign the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), which represents the most dramatic and fundamental changes to the U.S. intelligence community since 1947, when the CIA was created. While public and media attention has been focused on the establishment of a director of national intelligence and a National Counterterrorism Center, other equally important aspects of IRTPA have received far less attention. Perhaps of greatest significance, IRTPA will improve the FBI and Justice Department's ability to combat international terrorism in a variety of ways.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As European and Iranian officials began negotiations December 14 on whether to make permanent Iran's temporary suspension of uranium enrichment, eight former Western foreign ministers issued a joint statement calling on Washington to support the European efforts by engaging with Iran. There is a growing chorus claiming that Iran will keep its nuclear program suspended only if offered significant incentives by the United States, such as security guarantees, an end to hostility, or at least normal relations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries
  • Author: Daniel Benjamin, Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are a threat not only in the countries in which they operate, but also at the global level. Al-Qaeda's presence throughout the Muslim world comes largely in the form of these groups; attacks in Bali, Yemen, Casablanca, Iraq, and elsewhere have been linked to such affiliates.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Mark Parris, Egemen Bagis
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 6, 2004, the European Commission released its final report on Turkey's progress toward satisfying the EU's accession rules, known as the Copenhagen Criteria. Although the report stated that "Turkey satisfies the Copenhagen Criteria sufficiently" to enter accession talks, many European counties and the EU itself are still debating whether or not to take that step. This fact serves as proof that Turkish accession is not only a technical process -- defined for other candidate countries as satisfying the Copenhagen Criteria -- but also a political one in which other "non-Copenhagen" criteria and expectations play a role. Hence, even though Ankara has satisfied the Copenhagen Criteria, Turkey's EU membership is not yet a certainty.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The December 6 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which killed five non-American staff members, was a worrisome display of al-Qaeda's careful planning, detailed timing, and audaciousness. Worse still, the assault contradicts Riyadh's claims that it has contained the threat of terrorism. The incident, which comes at a time of persistent high oil prices, has only exacerbated concerns about some of the most senior members of the ruling al-Saud family with regard to their health and ability to govern.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Orhan Babaoglu
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 23, 2004, Gen. James Jones, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, praised Operation Active Endeavour (OAE) for its role on the war on terror. OAE is NATO's post-September 11 answer to the question of naval security in the Mediterranean Sea. With the threat of terrorism on the open waters gaining increasing attention, especially in the aftermath of the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen and the September 11 attacks, the Mediterranean basin (including the Black Sea) has become a new focal point for policymakers. The basin lies between three dangerous conflict areas -- the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Moreover, as a passageway between developed and underdeveloped nations, with access to three strategically important sea passages -- Gibraltar in the west, the Suez Canal in the south, and the Turkish Straits in the north -- the Mediterranean gives terrorists, human traffickers, and drug and arms smugglers easy access to the long and difficult to patrol coastlines of Europe. Is the West doing an adequate job of confronting the new threats in the Mediterranean? What role does the U.S.-Turkish alliance play in this enterprise?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East, Yemen, Arab Countries, Balkans
  • Author: Ghassan al-Atiyyah
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The forces at play in Iraqi politics have changed over the past seventeen months. There is a glaring absence of moderate Iraqis throughout the political scene, within all three major ethno-religious groups -- Shiites, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds. The interim government has perpetuated the dominance of the same seven prominent political parties that controlled the Iraqi Governing Council before the June 2004 transfer of sovereignty. Those outside this elite group of parties, especially Sunni Arabs, are frustrated at the perception that their voices are not being heard.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The military outcome of the long-anticipated coalition operation to break the insurgents' control of the city of Falluja was never in doubt. Only the speed of the operation and the casualties inflicted and taken were in question. Ultimately, of course, it remains to be seen if Iraqi and coalition forces can prevent the insurgents from reestablishing a presence in the city. Nevertheless, the fight for Falluja tells us much about the maturing resistance that U.S. and Iraqi troops now face in Iraq. While there are unlikely to be any more battles like Falluja, there will be no cheap or easy victories over the resistance in the battles to come.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jordan's King Abdullah stripped his younger half brother Hamzeh of the latter's position as crown prince yesterday. He has not yet named a new successor, though by the terms of the Jordanian constitution Abdullah's ten-year-old son Hussein would automatically inherit the throne.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Jordan
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 25, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors will meet to consider Iran's nuclear program, in light of the November 14 Paris Accords between Iran and Britain, France, and Germany (the E3). If the Paris Accords are going to work as a stepping-stone toward ending Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions -- rather than as a stalling tactic while Iran makes progress on that program -- several steps will be necessary to clarify and build on the Paris Accords.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Paris, France, Germany, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush will enter his second term leading a country that is at war on five fronts at once. Four are clear: in Iraq and Afghanistan, against al-Qaeda and its global affiliates, and within the homeland. The fifth front, however, is the poor stepsister to the other four. It is being fought with an arsenal of outmoded and dysfunctional weaponry, a set of confused and self-defeating battlefield tactics, and no clear strategy for victory. Such is the status of the U.S. effort to fight the "battle of ideas" -- the ideological war to prevent Islamists and their sympathizers from capturing the social, cultural, economic, and political high ground in Muslim societies around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 22-23, officials from several countries will hold a conference in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt, regarding Iraq's future. The meeting will represent the first major international event focused on Iraq since the reelection of President George W. Bush and the resignation of U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell. Though organized to improve international assistance to Iraq, the conference promises risks as well as rewards.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Avi Jorisch, Salamech Nematt
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Al-Manar, the official television station of Hizballah, is cited in public opinion polling in some Arab countries as one of the most widely used sources of news on the Arab-Israeli conflict. With ground stations in Lebanon and programming broadcast on seven satellites worldwide, al-Manar is watched by fifteen million viewers daily and has the look of an advanced television network. The professional appearance, however, is not at all complemented by professional, fair, and balanced journalism.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The November 2 death of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan -- president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of its largest emirate, Abu Dhabi -- had been widely anticipated, and the succession of his eldest son, Khalifa, to both positions has been smooth and faster than expected. Yet, filling the gap left by the man whom local newspapers describe as "visionary" and "sage of the Arab world" is likely to challenge both the al-Nahyan family and its relations with the ruling families in the other emirates.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Abu Dhabi
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After an extended absence from public view, Osama bin Laden reappeared in video excerpts aired on al-Jazeera several days before the November 2 election, issuing warnings to the U.S. public about al-Qaeda's intention to continue striking the United States. The incident raises new questions about the extent to which bin Laden is directing terrorist operatives and operations. In recent months, many experts have opined that he is no longer in complete control, and that the groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are operating more independently, with bin Laden's organization serving predominately as a source of inspiration.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: British prime minister Tony Blair arrives in Washington on November 11 -- the first foreign leader to visit following President George W. Bush's reelection. The visit confirms Britain's status as America's most supportive ally and Blair's status as the president's closest foreign confidant. But the British leader is likely to use the two days of talks to place distance between himself and Bush. Unless obscured by diplomatic platitudes, the public differences will be most acute over the pace and direction of the Middle East peace process.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Coalition and Iraqi government forces are moving to retake Falluja from insurgents who have held the city since April 2004. On the evening of November 8, U.S. troops with large-scale air support began to penetrate at several points, encountering some resistance. The coalition and the Iraqi government are gambling that they can break the insurgents hold on the city with acceptable losses and without a protracted battle. The insurgents are hoping to avoid annihilation, inflict embarrassing losses, create an image of wanton destruction by the coalition and government forces, and force an inconclusive end to the fighting. Indeed, Falluja has become a kind of "Stalingrad on the Euphrates" -- a city imbued with political, military, and symbolic consequence, and a battle whose outcome will have long-term implications.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: FBI officials recently announced that they are trying to retrace the steps of Dhiren Barot, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who spent time in New Jersey in 2000 and 2001. The FBI is particularly focused on determining whether any of Barot's associates remain in the area. Recently, however, the bureau's ability to investigate this and other international terrorist networks was potentially curtailed when a federal court ruled that a key investigative tool -- a special subpoena referred to as a "National Security Letter" (NSL) -- was unconstitutional. The type of NSL at issue in this case allowed the FBI to obtain customer information from email and internet companies without judicial review and prohibited the companies from ever disclosing that they received an NSL. It is difficult to gauge the full extent to which this ruling will affect the FBI's counterterrorism efforts, since the Department of Justice (DOJ) has released so little information about how it has used NSLs. The DOJ has been equally secretive in its use of many other legal tools established or enhanced by the USA PATRIOT Act. This reticence continues to undermine public confidence in the legislation's necessity, in addition to raising serious civil liberties concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) have had to confront both bureaucratic red tape and insurgent terrorism in their effort to recruit, train, and equip the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Nevertheless, progress is being made. Equipment is arriving, ISF personnel are being trained, and the flow of new recruits (motivated by the prospect of stable employment and, in many cases, patriotic pride) continues in the face of terrorist attacks on ISF personnel and facilities. Ultimately, however, success in creating a relatively stable, if not peaceful, Iraq will depend in part on whether the ISF can surmount the operational challenges it is liable to face in the coming months and years, both in conjunction with coalition forces and, ultimately, on its own.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The counterinsurgency in Iraq has entered a critical phase: the start of operations by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces to pacify insurgent-held areas, smoothing the way for January 2005 elections. In recent weeks, coalition and Iraqi forces have battled insurgents in Tal Afar, Samarra, Mahmudiya, and Latifiya, as well as Sadr City and Haifa Street in Baghdad. They now appear to be preparing to move against Falluja, which has been described by some U.S. officials as the "center of gravity" of the Sunni insurgency.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Wendy Sherman
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "One year ago today, Donald Rumsfeld wrote in a memorandum, which later appeared in USA Today, 'Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing, or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrasses and the radical clerics are recruiting, training, and deploying against us?' Sadly, painfully, crucially, these critical questions still stand. And the evidence of the last year, to my mind, is not encouraging. . . .
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Stephen Hadley
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 15, 2004, Stephen Hadley addressed the 2004 Weinberg Founders Conference. Mr. Hadley is assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor. The following is a selection of excerpts from his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer, Gilles Kepel
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the Cold War, Washington reached out to some Islamists in order to counter the Soviet threat. Some claim that engaging so-called "moderate" Islamists would serve U.S. interests today. But in any U.S.-Islamist dialogue, the Islamists are certain to demand concessions from the United States, including visas, freedom to raise money for their organizations, U.S. support for their participation in the politics of their home countries, and a reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East, including support for Israel. In return, Islamists would propose to condemn terrorist attacks against the United States, and discourage new attacks on American soil.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Soviet Union, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Nazli Gencsoy, Beril Unver
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 6, the European Union (EU) Commission, the executive arm of the EU, issued its report on Turkey's progress toward satisfying the Copenhagen Criteria, the union's membership rules that mandate "rule of law, institutions guaranteeing democracy, and respect for minorities." Although the commission praised Turkey's dramatic reform efforts since 1999, it stopped short of suggesting a date for accession negotiations with Ankara. This represents a departure from established traditions -- apparently only for Turkey, since the commission also reviewed Croatia's candidacy, suggesting a 2005 date for accession talks with that country. In another departure from tradition -- accession talks are normally only close-ended -- the report stated that any negotiations with Ankara "would be open-ended" and that their "outcome cannot be guaranteed." Finally, the report suggested that Turkey further improve its democracy, leaving the final decision on Ankara's membership to the December 17 meeting of the EU Council of Ministers, the union's highest decisionmaking body.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 6, the European Union (EU) Commission, the executive arm of the EU, will issue its much-anticipated report on whether Turkey has satisfied the EU's accession rules, the Copenhagen Criteria. The report will serve as a recommendation to the EU Council, the top ministerial body of the union, which will meet on December 17 to decide on Turkey's EU accession prospects. Based on the commission's recommendations, the council will either open accession talks with Turkey -- paving the way toward the country's eventual EU membership -- or keep Ankara's application, which dates back to 1987, on the backburner. Is Ankara ready for the EU? And, if so, is Brussels ready for Turkey?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ramadan starts on October 15 or 16, depending on the sighting of the moon. Last year on the first day of Ramadan, five car bombs went off in Baghdad within an hour, including one in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offices. There is a disturbing prospect that the insurgents could try in Ramadan this year to mount a more significant offensive than any attacks to date. Such an offensive would underline the insurgents' claim to act in the cause of Islam; it could significantly complicate plans for elections in Iraq; and it might aim to influence the U.S. elections.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, scheduled to begin in November, have been postponed until 2005. Given that these will be the first public political elections ever to take place in the kingdom, their introduction has been keenly watched, both domestically and from abroad. The latest delay, the second since the original announcement in 2003, indicates that the Saudi royal family is divided over the present usefulness of the sort of broadened political participation that the United States considers vital to combating the militant Islamism of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. No official reason was given for the change, which was reported on September 12 as being a rescheduling rather than a postponement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Surprise in war is inevitable. It is impossible to anticipate all enemy actions or the impact of the social and political forces unleashed by war. To succeed, one must be able to rapidly adjust one's plans when their underlying assumptions are proven wrong. In this regard, the U.S. performance in Iraq has been found wanting. The war brought surprises in four areas: The insurgency. The Sunni insurgency resulted from the way the war was fought by both sides: U.S. forces brought about the rapid collapse of the regime without instilling a sense of defeat among its members, while many members of the regime's security forces survived the war because, whenever possible, they relied on paramilitary forces drawn from the dregs of Iraqi society to do the fighting for them. Moreover, the U.S. failure to realize that the fall of Baghdad did not end the war enabled the resistance to organize itself and stay one step ahead of coalition forces. The United States must prevent further entrenchment of the resistance and stamp out the miniature "republics of fear" that have emerged in the Sunni Triangle and deterred many residents from embracing the Iraqi Interim Government. It must be remembered, however, that successful counterinsurgency campaigns often take years to bear results. The question is whether the U.S. presence will become politically untenable before Iraqi political and security structures are in place.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Todd Orenstein, Max Sicherman
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The effects of resistance operations have been felt in terms of stability and governance, reconstruction, and military security. Sunni resistance has removed some areas from government and coalition control and permitted the emergence of local rule by anticoalition and antigovernment elements. Officials working with the government have been killed, wounded, kidnapped, or otherwise intimidated, again with the effect of limiting government influence.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Todd Orenstein, Max Sicherman
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The prospects for violence in Iraq were much discussed in the period leading to the June 28, 2004, transition to Iraqi sovereignty. The "smart money" was on the expectation that violence against the transitional government and coalition forces would increase. This has proved to be the case, with Sunni-based resistance actions in Iraq increasing in number, scope, sophistication, and lethality. Between the beginning of June and the end of August, some 150 U.S. soldiers have been killed in action and 1,977 have been wounded. It is now possible to speak not only of certain cities that have slipped beyond coalition or government control (such as Falluja, Ramadi, and Samarra), but also of "zones of resistance" that extend across multiple cities and towns in Sunni Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries