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  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Outside of its own borders, Iran now has significant proxy presence and influence in four countries encompassing 1.1 million square kilometers and 82 million people, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon It has done this by leveraging tactical decisions made by other countries into its own strategic expansion; from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and now Yemen, Iran is taking advantage of the short-term actions of others in its long-term plan The complete collapse of the U.S.-aided Yemeni president and the associated counterterrorism and military support is just the latest example of measures intended to address immediate pressures, which ultimately benefit Iran-all while U.S. airstrikes support Iraqi and Iranian militias in Tikrit against the immediate threat of the Islamic State It's not that Iranian leaders are all-knowing, masterful chess players but rather that the Middle East has for decades been a battlefield of ad hoc stability measures by numerous countries that have enabled Iran to steadily project power, to the extreme concern of countries such as Saudi Arabia, which has now launched airstrikes in Yemen.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Syria
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Iraqi security forces, which include more Shi'a militia than Iraqi army personnel, have retaken nearly all of Tikrit, with Islamic State fighters still holding out in the center of the city The tomb of former dictator Saddam Hussein was destroyed during the fighting; the Islamic State is placing the blame on Shi'a militia while the Iraqi government says Islamic State fighters were responsible It is unlikely that the destruction of the tomb will rally many Sunnis to the Islamic State's cause, though it doesn't help lower sectarian tensions; it will be far more destructive if sectarian fighting follows the fall of Tikrit and other towns The Islamic State will seek every opportunity to turn this conflict into a repeat of Saddam's 1980-1988 war on Iran, where the Iraqi Sunni battle the Shi'a of both countries; only if the Shi'a militia oblige the group by perpetrating atrocities and oppression towards the Sunni population they liberated will this be achievable.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran
  • Author: Edmund Cairns
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The UK needs a safe world in which to trade and invest, and to be free from the security threats caused by conflicts or fragile states. Yet spiralling inequality and climate change, among many other factors, threaten to create a more dangerous, unequal world. As the continuing tragedy in Syria shows, the world's old and new powers have not yet found a way to unite to end conflicts. The age of interventions, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, is over. But a new rule-based world in which China, India, and others unite with Western powers to protect civilians and end conflicts has not yet come into being. Whoever wins the 2015 UK general election, the greatest test for UK foreign policy will be how much it can do to help build that world.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Poverty, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, India, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The loss of government control in a major city may be just the wakeup call Iraqi politicians need to embrace a more ambitious reconciliation agenda.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Armed Struggle, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Jihadists are steadily capturing territory and resources and establishing a state in Syria and Iraq. The most capable jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), now controls swathes of territory, energy resources, and sophisticated military hardware in both countries. Although the extremists are currently occupied with fighting other nonregime armed groups and the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, these efforts are a means to an end: building a state from which to confront and target the United States, its allies, and its interests in the region. These jihadist groups also bring boundless suffering to the populations they control, and serve as a magnet for and inspiration to jihadists worldwide.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Peter Billerbeck
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Congress should pass a new, specific authorization for the President to act against ISIS. ISIS represents a substantial threat, and left unchecked, could launch attacks against the US. Because defeating ISIS will be a long-term effort, it is incumbent on Congress to pass a new authorization for the use of force. Unlike previous authorizations, this one should be carefully tailored and come in the context of a broader strategy.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Gorevan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: While the world's attention is on crises in Gaza, Ukraine and elsewhere, the humanitarian crisis in Syria continues to deteriorate beyond anything that could have been envisaged when protests broke out over three years ago. A staggering 190,000 people have been killed and 6.5 million displaced inside the country, and the conflict shows little sign of abating. There are three million registered refugees from Syria in neighbouring countries and an unknown number who have not registered. Jordan's planning minister has highlighted the fact that the presence of Syrian refugees in Jordan is akin to 'the United States absorbing the entire population of Canada'.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Canada, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Daryl Press, Keir A. Lieber
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Nuclear terrorism is often described as the single biggest threat to U.S. national security. The fear is that a hostile state could surreptitiously transfer a nuclear weapon or fissile material to a like-minded terror group, thus orchestrating a devastating attack on the United States or its allies while remaining anonymous and avoiding retaliation. This fear served as a key justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and it helps drive current arguments in favor of a military strike against Iran's nuclear program.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran
  • Author: Ahmad Khalid Majidyar
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Persian Gulf states of Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have largely been immune to the rising tide of sectarianism that has rocked the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring. The three monarchies have successfully integrated their Shi'ite minority populations into their countries' sociopolitical and economic spheres, giving those populations little reason to engage in violence or seek political guidance from Iran or Iraq. Omani, Qatari, and Emirati Shi'ites strongly identify themselves as citizens of their respective countries and remain loyal to their ruling regimes. However, the spillover effects of the Syrian civil war—a sectarian conflict between the Shi'ite Iran-Hezbollah-Assad axis and the opposition groups backed by regional Sunni governments—are threatening Sunni-Shi'ite stability in the UAE, Qatar, and to a lesser degree, Oman. The United States should help maintain harmony in these states by reaching out to independent Shi'ite business communities and by working with regional leaders to ensure equal citizenship, political rights, and religious freedom among minority populations.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Islam, Post Colonialism, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Richard LeBaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tension between the United States and its partners in the Gulf flared up visibly in the last several months, notably with Saudi Arabia's public displays of displeasure with the US approach to the Syria conflict, nervousness about an interim nuclear deal with Iran, and sharp differences over Egypt. Gulf distrust of US intentions and actions is nothing new, and is in no small part rooted in the Gulf states' deep frustration with how the United States executed the war in Iraq, which they perceive as placing Iraq under Iran's sphere of influence. But these latest tensions also point to a fundamental gap in expectations about the US role in the region and its commitment to security for the Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Sean Kane, William Taylor
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With U.S. military forces scheduled to depart Iraq in December of this year, the State Department and other civilian agencies are being asked to assume a scale of operational and programmatic responsibilities far beyond any other embassy in recent memory. The capacity of the U.S. civilian agencies to assume these responsibilities does not now fully exist. Notably, securing and moving U.S. civilians will require more than 5,000 security contractors. A limited U.S. military contingent post-2011 may well be more cost-effective than private security guards and could also relieve State and other civilian agencies of logistical and security responsibilities. This would enable them to focus on their comparative advantages: diplomacy and development assistance. Planning for the post-2011 U.S. mission in Iraq, however, remains hampered by uncertainty as to whether the Iraqi government will request an extension of the American military presence in the country. A small follow-on U.S. military force would appear to safeguard Iraqi stability and make the achievement of U.S. strategic objectives in Iraq more likely, but cannot be counted on. Should such a request not be received from the Iraqi government, the U.S. may need to reduce the planned scale and scope of its operations and goals in Iraq.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Alison Laporte-Oshiro
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Consolidating the legitimate use of force in the hands of the state is a vital first step in post-conflict peacebuilding. Transitional governments must move quickly to neutralize rival armed groups and provide a basic level of security for citizens. Two processes are vital to securing a monopoly of force: disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) involve disbanding armed groups that challenge the government's monopoly of force. Security sector reform (SSR) means reforming and rebuilding the national security forces so that they are professional and accountable. U.S. experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo yielded three crosscutting lessons: go in heavy, tackle DDR and SSR in tandem, and consolidate U.S. capacity to implement both tasks in a coordinated, scalable way.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Liberia
  • Author: Ramzy Mardini, Marisa Cochrane Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed in 2008 by outgoing President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, requires the U.S. military to completely withdraw from Iraq no later than December 31, 2011. However, Iraq is failing to maintain internal security, continues to experience serious external defense deficiencies, and has unresolved political disagreements that could threaten stability. The national security interests of the United States and Iraq require extending the SOFA and retaining a smaller but still substantial U.S. military footprint in Iraq. The U.S. has signaled its willingness to extend its presence if requested by Iraq. Although Iraq's leaders increasingly recognize the necessity of extending the Status of Forces Agreement to permit U.S. military involvement beyond 2011, political obstacles have precluded them from initiating a domestic debate on extending the SOFA. As a result, it is necessary for the United States to take on a proactive and leading role when engaging with Iraq's leaders, and to communicate the importance and value of a new security agreement.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Summit was important for two reasons. Firstly, the acceptance of a new strategic concept, the seventh since NATO was founded. The new concept comes after the Al Kaide attacks, the Afghan and Iraq wars and a greater threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, relations with Russia were reset, making them of strategic importance. The second important aspect is the acceptance of a missile defence system whereby all populations, territory and forces will be protected.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iraq
  • Author: Robert Perito, Madeline Kristoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is responsible for the supervision, training and administrative support for Iraq's non-military security forces. These include: the Iraqi Police Service, the Iraq National Police, the Iraqi Border Enforcement Service and the Facilities Protection Service. In total, MOI is responsible for nearly 600,000 men under arms or a force that is three times the size of the new Iraqi Army, Navy and Air Force combined.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Crime, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 17, Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a draft legislation that would require the ratification of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, also known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), in a national referendum coinciding with the national elections on January 16, 2010. Out of the 275 Iraqi parliamentarians, a simple majority is needed to authorize the draft law when the National Assembly reconvenes on September 8, 2009. If a referendum takes place, and the Iraqis reject the security agreement, U.S. forces would be required to leave Iraq by January 16, 2011, instead of December 31, 2011. The referendum could also change the nature of the upcoming national elections, focusing attention on nationalistic posturing at the expense of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship, and distracting Iraqi politicians and voters from the many serious issues facing the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Nazar Janabi
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While experts negotiate the technical aspects of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) -- an arrangement that would govern future security relations between Iraq and the United States -- Iraqi politicians are engaged in a rhetorical campaign against such an agreement, making it nearly impossible to finalize a deal by this summer. Meanwhile, the escalating debate now includes Iraq's neighbors, with top Iranian officials expressing their opposition to any kind of security arrangement.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Rend Al-Rahim Francke
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In meetings conducted in Beirut and Baghdad in mid-January 2008, a high-ranking and broad cross-section of the Iraqi political spectrum expressed views on the current political situation, main priorities for the next year, prospects for moving forward on key issues, and the American military presence in Iraq. The Iraqis, numbering about 40, included parliamentary leaders, members of the presidency and their staffs, top government officials and leaders in both the Anbar and Baghdad "Awakenings" (tribal groups prepared to fight Al Qaeda and guard their own neighborhoods.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Sam Parker, Rusty Barber
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since their 2005 inception in Iraq, PRTs have struggled to fully define their mission, overcome structural problems, learn to work alongside their military counterparts and assist Iraqis down the path to self-governance and stability so that U.S. forces can withdraw. While the concept was born in the Afghan conflict, PRTs in Iraq bear little resemblance to their Afghan cousins, which are led and largely staffed by military officers. PRTs in Iraq are largely civilian-led and are required to address a host of issues including local governance, economic and women's development, health, agriculture, rule of law and education. In this respect, they resemble mini development task forces, harnessing civilian expertise sourced from the U.S. and augmented by military civil affairs officers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Health, Terrorism, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: Until Dec. 27, the "success" of U.S. President George Bush's defiant rejection of the American public's repudiation of his Iraq and Afghanistan war policies – evidenced by the November 2006 congressional election – looked to be the most significant aspect of major armed conflicts around the world during 2007.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, America
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: Celebrations in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs are occurring around the world in 2007. National groups from Denmark to Russia, Sri Lanka to the United States, and Spain to Japan, are organizing events to commemorate the very first meeting, held in July 1957 at the home of Cyrus Eaton in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, and to remind the world of the ever-present threat posed by nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, Iraq, Middle East, Denmark, Spain
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. military occupation of Iraq has now lasted longer than U.S. involvement in World War II. Yet there is no end in sight to the mission. Staying in Iraq is a fatally flawed policy that has already cost more than 3,000 American lives and consumed more than $350 billion. The security situation in that country grows increasingly chaotic and bloody as evidence mounts that Iraq has descended into a sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Approximately 120 Iraqis per day are perishing in political violence. That bloodshed is occurring in a country of barely 26 million people. A comparable rate of carnage in the United States would produce more than 1,400 fatalities per day.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In December 2006, Iraq's “Year of the Police” ended with the completion of several milestones. The Multi-National Security Transition Command's (MNSTC-I) program trained and equipped 135,000 members of the Iraq Police Service. Training and equipment was also provided to the 24,400 members of the Iraq National Police (constabulary) and 28,360 members of the Border Police. Nearly 180 American Police Transition Teams and 39 National Police Transition Teams were embedded with Iraqi forces, while a 100-member Ministry Transition Team was assigned to the Ministry of Interior to improve its operations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As vice president for peace and stability operations at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Daniel Serwer has for three years supervised a Congressionally-funded peacebuilding effort in Iraq, after a decade spent on Balkans peacebuilding efforts both at the State Department and USIP. This USIPeace Briefing, prepared as testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in early January 2007, presents his personal views, not those of the Institute, which does not take positions on specific policies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Vesselin Popovski, Nicholas Turner
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Decisions over the use of force are the most significant and dangerous that leaders must take, both morally and in terms of achieving their goals. Consideration of the reasons that can justify behaviour resulting in the elimination of human life is as philosophical and ethical as it is political and legal. In the context of exponential increases in the destructiveness of war, particularly with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, such consideration assumes an even greater significance.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Peace Studies, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo
  • Author: Jones James
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Retired Marine General James Jones, Chairman of the Atlantic Council, chaired the Committee that produced this report assessing Iraq's national police force. The report's overall assessment said "the Iraqi armed forces - Army, Special Forces, Navy, and Air Force - are increasingly effective and are capable of assuming greater responsibility for the internal security of Iraq; and the Iraqi police are improving, but not at a rate sufficient to meet their essential security responsibilities. The Iraqi Security Forces will continue to rely on the Coalition to provide key enablers such as combat support (logistics, supply chain management, and maintenance), and training. The Commission assesses that in the next 12 to 18 months there will be continued improvement in their readiness and capability, but not the ability to operate independently. Evidence indicates that the ISF will not be able to progress enough in the near term to secure Iraqi borders against conventional military and external threats."
  • Topic: Security, War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As all eyes are turned toward efforts to stabilise Iraq, the conflict that has been percolating in Kirkuk remains dangerous and dangerously neglected. That struggle is equal parts street brawl over oil riches, ethnic competition over identity between Kurdish, Turkoman, Arab and Assyrian-Chaldean communities, and titanic clash between two nations, Arab and Kurd. Given the high stakes, the international community cannot afford to stand by, allowing the situation to slip into chaos by default. It needs to step in and propose a solution that addresses all sides' core concerns without crossing their existential red lines. The most viable negotiated outcome, which a special UN envoy should mediate between leaders of Kirkuk's communities as well as representatives of the federal government and the Kurdish federal region, would rest on the following provisions: Postponing the constitutionally-mandated referendum on Kirkuk's status which, in today's environment, would only exacerbate tensions; Designating Kirkuk governorate as a stand-alone federal region falling neither under the Kurdish federal region nor directly under the federal government for an interim period; Equitable power-sharing arrangements between Kirkuk's four principal communities; and continued reversal of past abuses, including managed return of those who were forcibly displaced by previous regimes; facilities and compensation for those brought by previous regimes (including their offspring) who agree to leave voluntarily; resolution of property disputes via the established mechanism; and a process by which former Kirkuk districts can either be restored to Kirkuk governorate or remain where they are.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan, Kirkuk
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The debate about American policy and strategy in Iraq has veered off course. A number of myths have crept into the discussion over the past two years that distort understanding and confuse discussion. It is possible and appropriate to question the wisdom of any particular strategy proposed for Iraq, including the Bush administration's strategy, and there is reason to be both concerned and encouraged by recent events there. But constructive dialogue about how to choose the best way forward is hampered by the distortions caused by certain myths. Until these myths recede from discussions about Iraq strategy, progress in those discussions is extremely unlikely.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Public opinion surveys show that Iraqis feel the greatest security threat they face is not the insurgency or sectarian conflict but pervasive criminal violence. For a people accustomed to a stifling regime security presence under Saddam Hussein—and the correspondingly safe streets—the post-intervention upsurge in murder, home invasion robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, and rape is fundamentally disturbing.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Crime
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • 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: 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: 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
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: The first half of 2006 witnessed continuing sectarian violence and domestic insurgency in Iraq and the inability of Iran and the international community to find a politically acceptable means for ensuring adequate transparency and confidence that Iran's nuclear technology program would not be diverted to military purposes. To that end, the Pugwash Conferences and the Center for Strategic Research in Tehran co-sponsored an international conference in April 2006 covering both Iran's nuclear energy program and the equally important issue of Iraq and regional stability (see p. 35). Unfortunately, little progress was made on either issue, whether at the conference or by the international community. When added to the continuing stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process occasioned by the election of a Hamas government, the outlook for Middle East stability could not have been more bleak.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Paul C. Light
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Whatever his legacy as an architect of the war in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has already earned a place in American bureaucratic history as one of its most ambitious organizational reformers. Rumsfeld is determined to complete a top-to-bottom overhaul of his department before he leaves office. Rumsfeld may be one of history's most ambitious reformers, but his actual impact is far from assured. He still faces intense resistance from the armed services, especially the Army, which has the most to lose in the movement to a much lighter military. And many of his proposals are either still under consideration in Congress or only in the early stages of implementation in the department.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: U.S. defense policy today rests heavily on two basic assumptions: that the American armed forces will make perfect decisions and take perfect actions, and that the enemy will never surprise us or offer us unexpected opportunities to exploit. These assumptions can be seen in the elimination of reserve forces from all echelons of the military structure and the heavy burden that the current war has placed on the Army Reserves and National Guard. The result of these decisions has been to leave the United States with little ability to react to unforeseen difficulties, either in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere. If this policy continues, it will place American national security in grave jeopardy for years to come.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: One hundred days into the second term of President George W. Bush, a clear national security agenda and policy team have emerged. While there has been some change—most notably, the elevation of Condoleezza Rice to secretary of state and primary policy pilot—there is also a great deal of continuity, particularly in the Pentagon, where Donald Rumsfeld still rules supreme. In addition to fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the defense secretary is leading the charge on a third front—the internal fight to transform the U.S. military. Yet two recent books by experienced war correspondents tell important stories that call parts of the transformation program into question. David Zucchino and Sean Naylor, both “embedded” with units in the thick of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively, perform the traditional journalist's function of telling truth to power. Their books and their messages deserve careful scrutiny.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Vance Serchuk, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As this goes to press, Iraqis are preparing to vote on January 30 in what will be their country's first democratic elections in nearly fifty years. In the face of the ongoing insurgency in the Sunni Triangle and efforts by guerrillas to disrupt voting, however, a chorus of voices—from former U.S. national security advisers to prominent Sunni politicians—is warning that the elections are likely to do more harm than good, strengthening the very forces responsible for the violence. But while some of these critics raise compelling objections, they fail to grasp why it is precisely U.S. counterinsurgency strategy—as much as any abstract, moral commitment to democracy—that makes holding elections more, rather than less, necessary.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Vance Serchuk, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Despite ingrained perceptions of unilateralism, the Bush administration has overseen the most sweeping expansion of American security commitments around the world since the dawn of the Cold War. Even as recriminations over Iraq dominate headlines, the contours of a new alliance system are quietly emerging out of America's partnerships with dozens of countries, from Mali to the Philippines, under attack by al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates. The challenge now is to ensure that this coalition of the willing is also a coalition of the committed—an enduring network of relationships for fighting the war on terror that the Bush administration can bequeath to its successors, be they Democrat or Republican.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Philippines
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 29, Algerians will vote on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's proposed Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, a policy that would provide amnesty for most of the one-thousand Islamic terrorists the government believes are still hiding in Algeria and neighboring countries. Between three hundred and five hundred of the terrorists still at large belong to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). This cadre of Afghanistan-trained, al-Qaeda-linked militants was behind the September 24 ambush of a police patrol east of Algiers that killed eight people. These holdouts have shown no interest in a government amnesty, despite the Algerian population's clearly waning interest in Islamist-inspired political violence.
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, North Africa
  • Author: Orhan Babaoglu
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR), a regional maritime security initiative started by Turkey in 2001, was activated August 14-27. With world attention devoted to Iraq and the Middle East, important developments in the nearby Black Sea region involving energy politics, frozen conflicts, and new regional security initiatives have gone mostly unnoticed. The Black Sea is a stable but complex basin with vast economic resources and strategic importance as a medium for energy transportation. Is the Black Sea a bridge or a barrier between United States and Turkey? Does the issue of Black Sea security provide an opportunity to mend deteriorated relations or a new source of friction?
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Caroline Holmqvist
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: It was estimated in March 2003 that 15 000–20 000 private security contractors were working in Iraq, and the conflict there was referred to as 'the first privatised war'. Since then, both the number and the visibility of contract personnel in Iraq have increased, triggering a broad debate on the role of private companies which provide military and security services to states, corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, the phenomenon is neither new nor exclusive to the Iraqi conflict. The past decade has seen the rise and consolidation of a global industry for private security provision, with over 100 companies operating in as many countries worldwide.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Ali Mostashari
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Iran is now an important focal point for U.S. foreign policy. Yet many have argued that the United States lacks a coherent foreign policy on Iran, amounting to no more than an enormous list of “evils”: namely, that Iran exports its radical Islamist revolution, supports Hezbollah and Hamas and actively opposes the Middle East peace process, is building nuclear and biological weapons capacity, was involved in the bombings of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires and the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, provides Al-Qaeda with safe passage and refuge, helps insurgents in Iraq, assassinates its own dissidents and oppresses its people, and so on.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Cindy Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Some two years into the occupation in Iraq, the U.S. Army faces a serious staffing challenge. As of May 30, 2005, the active-duty Army had missed its recruiting goals for four months in a row. If things do not improve substantially, the service will have only 10 percent of needed enlistees pre-signed for basic training at the beginning of 2006; normally it begins the year with about one-third of its trainees already committed to contracts.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Les Roberts
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: A disturbing thing happened to me in Afghanistan last May while working on a project to install wells in villages. After a delightful month of working in a rural province, filled with welcoming leaders and offers of tea at every house, the mood suddenly changed. A young man walked up to my 42-year-old female American colleague and bashed her in the face. As we collected our interviewers and headed back to the vehicles, children from the village pelted us with stones. This violence against anything foreign played out in hundreds of locations across Afghanistan that day.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Regardless of who is elected to the presidency in November, the growing threat posed by a nuclear Iran is certain to be at the top of the next administration's national security agenda. Unfortunately, neither a "grand bargain" with Tehran nor a conventional military strike against its nuclear facilities offers much hope of preventing one of the world's most dangerous regimes from acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons. In the short term, at least, the United States must instead work to isolate Iran not only militarily but ideologically, by succeeding in the democratic transformation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: While the Bush administration has articulated an ambitious agenda for the liberalization of the greater Middle East, fighting to establish beachheads of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as pressuring regimes in the region to adopt domestic reforms, it has thus far proven somewhat reluctant to embrace this commitment to liberty in other parts of the world. Nowhere has this retreat from its rhetoric been more pointed than in Taiwan, a flourishing free-market democracy menaced by an authoritarian colossus next door. Taiwan's March 20 election provides fresh evidence of the extent to which the "one China" policy and "strategic ambiguity"—those avatars of conventional wisdom—have passed into the realm of anachronism. Indeed, if the Bush Doctrine represents anything, it is the conviction that there must be nothing ambiguous about America's support for the forces of freedom.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, Middle East, Taiwan
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: What used to be called the "post–Cold War world" has gone through three distinct periods. First, the "Long 1990s"—beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and ending with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—marked a time of drift and, at least in international politics, American confusion and indecision. The second, from 9/11 until the March 19, 2003, invasion of Iraq, was a period of transition, during which the Bush administration struggled to fashion a response to events that destroyed its illusions that the world's problems could be "managed" by a small knot of confident and competent pragmatists, acting in the spirit of humble realpolitik. The invasion of Iraq marked the start of the third period—a new era of Pax Americana, distinguished by the energetic exercise of U.S. power not simply to protect the status quo of American global preeminence but to extend the current liberal international order, beginning in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With the capture of Saddam Hussein and the diminishing number of attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, there is a new sense of confidence and optimism about the direction of the Bush administration's foreign policy. It is important, however, to place these recent developments within the broader context of the endeavor to which the president has committed our nation. The invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 and that of Iraq in the spring of 2003 together mark a significant departure from longstanding American strategy in the greater Middle East. In place of "off-shore balancing," wherein the United States sought to preserve the status quo by supporting a revolving rogue's gallery of native regimes, American power is now actively engaged in reshaping the political order of the Islamic world. This is, by definition, a generational commitment.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • 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: 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