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  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: King Salman has confirmed his reputation as a religious conservative through the reappointment of traditionalist clerics However he has also made some effort to streamline the Saudi government Recent changes have given considerable power to two men from the next generation: King Salman's son and his nephew The result may be good for hard security measures, but less certain for the soft measures necessary for Saudi Arabia to weather the storm.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: There hasn't been a lasting and successful end to an armed conflict in the Middle East in decades, and the newest fighting in Yemen can be seen through a lens of deep regional frustration over countless issues that seem to defy solutions The entire region is frustrated with the worsening status quo, but the consensus and creativity to meaningfully address the challenges is lacking, even with the newly announced Arab 'rapid response force' to an extremist problem that has been openly growing for a decade The only actors not frustrated are non-state actors, who fill the ever-widening chasm between what regional governments can deliver and what their populations demand.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Algeria
  • Author: Bessma Momani, Dustyn Lanz
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In response to the Arab uprisings in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, the IMF has changed its perspective on the social outcomes of its economic policy advice. The Fund now explicitly advocates inclusive growth, reduced inequality and increased attention to, and spending on, health and education services. Although this is a welcome transition, there is still room for improvement. In particular, the Fund could strengthen its commitment to the social dimensions of public policy by delivering more specific, tangible policy advice for countries to achieve inclusive growth, reduce inequality and improve health and education outcomes. More diverse expertise, achieved through wider recruitment of staff, would help the IMF achieve these goals.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Rabab el-Mahdi
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The puzzle of Egypt's apparently wild swings from the Mubarak regime to a Muslim Brotherhood government and then back to a military dictatorship have been manipulated to fit the simplistic linear and binary categorical models of democratic transition, with an emphasis on procedural outcomes, when in fact deeper structural issues are at stake. Three challenges explain mainstream Egyptians' choices and the tumultuous path the revolution has been following. The first is the structural economic crisis facing Egypt, coupled with lack of state administrative capacity, which no government has been able to effectively deal with. The second is the repercussions of Egypt's post-colonial history, which as a consequence tends to see the army as the "saviour" and "liberator" of the nation. The third is the failure of alternative groups to to provide solid political alternatives for the majority to rally around against the two reactionary poles and their inability to devise strategies to break loose from and reconstruct the hegemonic discourse . Consequently, international actors who throw their weight behind one reactionary faction or the other based solely on pragmatic considerations of their ability to bring about stability will be backing the wrong horse.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The popular uprisings that swept the Middle East in early 2011 dramatically altered the political landscape of the region with the overthrow of autocratic regimes in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen. These uprisings gave hope to citizens that this was the beginning of a long-overdue process of democratic transition in the Arab world. The monarchies of Jordan and Morocco also went through profound political changes, even though the rulers maintained their power. While the promise of democracy in the Arab transition countries was seen as the driving force in the uprisings, economic issues were an equally important factor. The explosive combination of undemocratic regimes, corruption, high unemployment, and widening income and wealth inequalities all created the conditions for the uprisings. The citizens of these countries thus expected governments to simultaneously address their political and economic demands.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Mustansir Barma
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: “Bread, freedom, and social justice,” is the familiar slogan chanted across the Middle East and North Africa since the Arab uprisings erupted in December 2010. Labor issues fit into this trifecta: bread is a symbol of earning a decent living, freedom is tied to worker rights such as assembly and industrial action, and social justice is linked to dignity derived from employment and better working conditions. Egyptian workers remain frustrated about the lack of progress in achieving the labor rights that are fundamental to this rallying cry.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Food
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Pinar Dost-Niyego, Orhan Taner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The recent events in Ukraine have revived the question of European dependence on Russian natural gas. The security of Europe's natural gas supply has been a consistently important issue in Russian-European Union (EU) relations. Russia provided 34 percent of EU gas in 2012, and Russian policies can have a direct impact on EU supplies. After the West-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, a lot has been said about the 'US shale gas revolution' and the possibilities of the United States becoming an energy exporter for future European energy needs. Although US energy independence seems to promise new perspectives for future European energy security, as well as for the balance of power in the Middle East, this is not for this decade. We cannot expect that the European Union would be able to cut off all of its energy relations with Russia, but we can foresee–or at least agree–that the European Union should diversify its natural gas supplies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Kenneth Katzman
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since the seizure of US hostages in Iran following the 1979 revolution, the US government has imposed a succession of economic penalties against the Islamic Republic. The complexity and severity of these sanctions intensified following Iran's resumption of a uranium enrichment program in 2006. However, there are a variety of ways to provide extensive sanctions relief should there be a deal placing long-term restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: That nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, U.S. and Germany) were extended beyond the 20 July 2014 deadline was neither unexpected nor unwelcome. The parties ha d made enough headway to justify the extension, which was envisioned in the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that was signed in November 2013 and came into force in January, but given the political and technical complexity, they remain far apart on fundamental issues. Unless they learn the lessons of the last six months and change their approach for the next four, they will lose the opportunity for a resolution not just by the new 24 November deadline but for the foreseeable future. Both sides need to retreat from maximalist positions, particularly on Iran's enrichment program. Tehran should postpone plans for industrial- scale enrichment and accept greater constraints on the number of its centrifuges in return for P5+1 flexibility on the qualitative growth of its enrichment capacity through research and development.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Economics, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, France
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The equity market has had a tough few months due to a combination of concerns, including fears that a US-led attack on Syria might lead to a wider Middle East conflict and threaten oil supplies. Of greater concern for equities are worries that a turn in the US monetary policy cycle could eventually kill off the US recovery. However with valuation not looking like a barrier to further gains, this four-and-a-half year equity bull market will in all likelihood climb the wall of worry and set another new high before the year is out.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: It is now looking all but certain that the United States will launch some form of attack on Syria. What is unclear is the severity and duration of the attack. Leaving aside the political ramifications, the immediate economic effects are likely to be limited (and are mostly already factored in). Opposing impacts on inflation and activity means that changes to central bank policy could be postponed. A prolonged campaign could have wider ramifications, not least if there is a risk of a geographical widening of the conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Eckart Woertz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's domestic energy consumption is skyrocketing. The growth of electricity demand is particularly strong and shows a high degree of seasonality due to the need for air conditioning in the hot summer months. Demand drivers are population growth, industrial development and a subsidy regime that encourages wasteful consumption. Saudi Arabia now faces a natural gas shortage and is seeking alternative energy sources like nuclear power and renewables in order to reduce the common practice of using fuel oil, crude oil and diesel in power stations. If unchecked, domestic energy demand will threaten oil export capacity and could compromise Saudi Arabia's role as swing producer in global oil markets. However, a reform of the subsidy regime is politically sensitive, because citizens regard subsidies as an entitlement. The government is reluctant to touch subsidies in order to avoid the kind of political unrest that has occurred elsewhere in the wake of the Arab Spring.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Steffen Hertog
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, has been a critical agent for the social, economic and infrastructural development of Saudi Arabia; its managerial capacities are unrivalled in the Kingdom – and, indeed, the Gulf region. After it played a rather limited role outside the hydrocarbons sector in the 1980s and 1990s, its range of tasks and ambitions has recently again expanded drastically into a number of new policy sectors, including heavy industry, renewable energy, educational reform, infrastructure-building and general industrial development. This presents both opportunities and risks for Aramco, which has started to operate far outside its traditional politically insulated "turf" of running the upstream oil and gas infrastructure in the Kingdom. It is now involved in activities that are more political and more closely scrutinised by the Saudi public, and will have to build up new institutional and political capacities to maintain its reputation for clean and efficient management.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Oil, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Evanthia Balla
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus, situated as it is at the crossroads of Eurasia's major energy and transport corridors, continues to play a vital role in the world's security affairs. After the end of the cold war the South Caucasus emerged as a key region in the geopolitical contest among regional and global powers. The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are constantly performing a balancing act in their relations with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. Armenia has developed strong political and economic ties with Iran in order to counter the Turkish-Azerbaijani axis. Azerbaijan seeks to reinforce its links with the West, especially the U.S., as its main extraregional source of diplomatic and economic support, while it remains cautious towards both Russian and Iranian ambitions in the region. Especially after the 2008 war with Russia and the loss of its provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia has reinforced its links to Western powers and structures while strengthening its ties with Turkey. Both Turkey and Iran are trying to increase their influence in the region, while promoting their national interests in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Odeh Aburdene
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: It is in the interest of the world community to increase all energy resources—oil, gas, coal, solar, green, and nuclear. There are 7 billion people on this planet today. By 2100 that number will rise to 10 billion people. We can only meet their needs by maximizing energy production and using it in the most efficient means available.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Biofuels
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Syrian civil war is accelerating Lebanon's political and institutional decline and poses a serious long-term threat to its economy. Lebanon has largely been spared the political upheavals of the Arab Spring, its fractious political system is intact, and the weakness of its central government means there is no authoritarian order to revolt against. However, Lebanon's own political dysfunction, the regional powers' stakes in Lebanese politics, and their anxieties over the geopolitical challenges that the Arab uprisings pose magnify the economic dangers of Syria's disintegration.
  • Topic: Economics, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: While Jordanians are focused on the conflict raging in neighboring Syria and the prospect of violence spilling over onto Jordanian soil, below the surface the same kind of political, economic, and social grievances that launched a wave of uprisings in the Arab world are present and intensifying in Jordan with each passing day. As calls for political change swept through Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli, and Sanaa in the spring of 2011, periodic protests emerged throughout Jordan as well, where a diverse mix of people came out in calls for greater freedoms and economic opportunity. Many of the anti-government demonstrations were led by youth, representing a broad spectrum from conservative East Bank tribes to the urban Palestinian-Jordanian elite, and the normally politically apathetic youth population seemed engaged in unprecedented ways. Young Jordanians struggle to land decent jobs, find affordable housing, and save enough money to get married; with 55 percent of the population under the age of twenty-five, and a 26 percent unemployment rate among males between fifteen and twenty-five years old, there is reason to be cognizant about youth discontent emerging in unexpected or critical moments of pressure.
  • Topic: Economics, Youth Culture, Social Movement, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Libyan economy collapsed in the wake of the popular uprising in February 2011 that led to the overthrow of the Muammar Qaddafi regime later that year. As the war raged, virtually all economic activity, especially oil production (the mainstay of the Libyan economy) witnessed a dramatic decline. While there was some recovery in 2012 when the war ended and oil production came back faster than expected, the economy has not yet reached a point of sustained, longer term economic growth. In fact, by 2013, the economy has only just got back to what it was prior to the uprising.
  • Topic: Economics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Although it appears Jordan has survived the Arab uprisings thus far, all is not well in the Hashemite Kingdom. Over the past twenty years, its political economy has changed profoundly, putting pressure on the foundations of regime stability. The state in Jordan has been retreating from many citizens' economic lives, shrinking its circle of privilege and patronage, and leaving the population to fend for itself in a dysfunctional economy. Worryingly, the segment of the population most affected is the monarchy's base, which sees the Palestinian-Jordanian population as benefiting from the new status quo. Today, Jordan is also coping with hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom may remain in the country long term. Yet the real danger to the monarchy's stability is not the immediate cost of refugee care but the alienation of its traditional power base.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: As part of the United States plan to begin military withdrawals from Afghanistan in 2014, the Department of Defense (DOD) contracted with the Russian state owned arms dealer, Rosoboronexport, to provide helicopters to the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). DOD has continued and expanded its purchases from Rosoboronexport even while acknowledging that the Russian arms dealer has enabled mass atrocities by supplying Syria's Bashar al-Assad with weapons that have been used to murder Syrian civilians.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Human Rights, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: John Bowlus
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On December 26, 2011, in response to US, European, and potential Asian sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the government in Tehran issued a threat to “cut off the Strait of Hormuz.” The US Defense Department responded that any blockade of the strait would be met with force. On first read, it is easy to dismiss such saber rattling as another chapter in the new Cold War in the Middle East between Iran and its allies – including Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah – and the US, Israel, and the Sunni Gulf States, mostly notably Saudi Arabia. Iran has since backed away from its threat, but the event still carries importance because it is unclear how both the US and Iran will continue to respond, particularly as the diplomatic and economic pressures grow more acute while Iran's controversial nuclear program advances. Could such a verbal threat by Iran to cut off the Strait of Hormuzignite a military conflagration in the region? The relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions is well established; however, policymakers and analysts tend to focus on the incidents in which military conflict causes disruptions in oil supplies and sharp increases in prices. The first and most obvious example of this dynamic was the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. The subsequent oil embargo by the Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) against the United States and the Netherlands for their support of Israel caused prices to soar as oil-consuming nations endured supply shortages. The Iranian Revolution from 1978 to 1979 was another event that curtailed Western nations' access to oil and caused prices to spike. When thinking about the relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions, however, policymakers and analysts should also recognize that the competition over oil – and even verbal threats to disrupt oil supplies by closing oil transit chokepoints – have either led directly to military conflict or have provided a useful cover under which countries have initiated military conflict. By examining past episodes when countries issued threats to close oil transit chokepoints, this Policy Brief helps illuminate the dangers associated with the current crisis over the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Stephen J. Hadley, Steven A. Cook, Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Among the most important developments in international affairs of the past decade is the emergence of Turkey as a rising regional and global power. Turkey has long been an important country as a stalwart member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an aspirant to European Union (EU) membership, and an important link between the West and the East. Yet the changes in Turkey over the past decade have been so dramatic—with far-reaching political and economic reforms, significant social reforms, and an active foreign policy—that the country is virtually unrecognizable to longtime Turkey watchers. Today Turkey is more democratic, prosperous, and politically influential than it was five, ten, and fifteen years ago.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Democratization, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Muhittin Ataman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: When we consider Saudi Arabian large population, territories and natural resources, it is obvious that it will continue to preserve its geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-cultural importance in future. The assumption of King Abdullah as the ruler of the country provided an opportunity to restructure the country's foreign policy. The new king began to follow a more pragmatic, rational, interdependent, multilateral and multidimensional foreign policy. He pursues an active foreign policy required to be less dependent on a single state (the United States) and on a single product (oil).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Tural Ahmadov
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Throughout the years the overwhelming preponderance of US global leadership is debated by scholars and politicians. In light of the 'rise of the rest', this preponderance is either diminishing or still standing. As of now, yet again, the US is a dominant player both economically and militarily. However, economic recession is likely to make the United States put more emphasis on domestic problems and less emphasis on foreign challenges. Since political and economic landscape is swiftly changing overseas, the United States should act accordingly and cooperate with regional powers on issues of mutual interest. Similarly, as current development is under way in the Middle East, the United States should staunchly back Turkey as the regional hub in dealing with Syrian crisis and foiling Iranian menace.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Steffen Hertog
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries' financial sectors are solid, but not very sophisticated: business is mostly financed through bank lending rather than bonds or stock issues, and banks continue to rely on state support and, in many cases, are directly state owned.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Andrew Gardner
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Although large-scale migration to the Arabian Peninsula is often framed as a new or novel situation, an examination of historical accounts reveals cities, ports and peoples intricately connected with the greater Indian Ocean world for more than a millennium. For much of the past century, however, migration to the region has been organised through the kafala , or sponsorship system, which is almost ubiquitously posited as the causal force behind current labour-related problems. The right to work in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states has been globally commodified, and low-skilled workers often pay $2,000 or more for the right to work in Arabia for a year or more. Low-skilled workers in the GCC states are best conceptualised as emissaries of a larger household livelihood and investment strategy. Living quarters for such workers in Arabia are often substandard, and the enforcement of existing laws, regulations and policies is often poor to inadequate. Youthful and worldly local populations have a demonstrably different attitude to labour rights and issues than their predecessors and elders, and these growing trends should be broadly supported through policy planning in the region. The enforcement of existing regulations and labour laws should also be supported where possible. Finally, the overall number of international organisations now focused on labour rights in Arabia provides ample opportunity for policy planners to seek collaborative relationships that might strategically yield significant benefits.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With Egypt in the midst of a political transition, this is a crucial time to rethink the US's relationship with Egypt, argues Atlantic Council Director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Michele Dunne in this policy brief for the Project on Middle East Democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Vicken Cheterian
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Arab revolt that started in Tunisia and over¬threw the reign of Zein El-Abedeen Ben Ali is taking the form of a huge wave. The regime of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the central state of the Arab World, followed suit. Uprising in Libya continues, in spite of attempts by the Kaddhafi regime to kill it in blood and fire. Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen declared that he will not seek a new mandate, a concession which only emboldened both opposition and youth revolt. King Abdallah of Jordan sacked the unpopular government of Samir Rifai, and named Maruf Bakhit as the new prime minister and asked him to bring “true political reforms”. In a word, the entire Arab World is facing an unprecedented wave of revolt.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Economics, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Beata Wojna, Monika Arcipowska
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since its launch in 2004, the ENP has succeeded in bringing about a strengthening of economic relations, especially trade, between the EU and its neighbours. However, the political record of the seven-year implementation of this policy is relatively poor. The violent, unprecedented socio-political changes in North Africa and the Middle East, which started in January 2011, revealed weaknesses and problems in the European policy towards its southern neighbours as developed in the framework of the Barcelona Process and the Union for the Mediterranean. Arab spring has shown that the EU support to introduce political reforms and to build and consolidate democracy in the southern neighbouring countries has yielded very limited results. The Eastern Partnership seems to be one of the few positive manifestations of the European Neighbourhood Policy's evolution in recent years but is not free from problems. The most tell-tale sign of the Eastern Partnership's deficiencies is a palpable relapse in democratisation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A highly unusual and credible private poll of Saudi citizens taken in late November 2009 by a reputable regional firm shows solid popular support for tough measures against Iran, even though domestic economic issues loom larger in the public's perception. Conducted in partnership with Pechter Middle East Polls, a new, Princeton-based research organization, the survey involved face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 Saudi citizens in the major metropolitan areas of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam/al-Khobar. A comparable poll was conducted in Egypt during the same period, with a representative national sample of 1,000.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Semira Nikou
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran has subsidized petroleum products, basic foodstuffs, medical goods and utilities since 1980, first to manage hardships during the eight-year war with Iraq, and then to prevent political and economic challenges after the war. Since the 1990s, three presidents have tried to cut back subsidies that are now estimated to cost Iran between $70 billion and $100 billion annually. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won parliamentary approval for a controversial plan to phase out subsides by 2015. Under the plan, universal price controls are to be replaced with small cash payments to families and direct support of industries. Some economists are concerned that lifting price controls will trigger dramatic rises in inflation and unemployment. The cutbacks come at a time the government already faces serious economic troubles and tougher international sanctions. For the public, the change is likely to produce the most economic disruption since the revolution. Economic reforms have triggered unrest in the past. If reform succeeds, however, the program could help reduce waste, shrink state outlays and enhance efficiency and productivity.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: There are voices in the Obama Administration who believe that the Kremlin is able and willing to exert pressure on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, perceived geopolitical and economic benefits in the unstable Persian Gulf, in which American influence is on the wane, outweigh Russia's concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. The Kremlin sees Iran not as a threat but as a partner or an ad-hoc ally to challenge U.S. influence. Today, both Russia and Iran favor a strategy of "multipolarity," both in the Middle East and worldwide. This strategy seeks to dilute American power, revise current international financial institutions, and weaken or neuter NATO and the OSCE, while forging a counterbalance to the Euro-Atlantic alliance. Russian technological aid is evident throughout the Iranian missile and space programs. Russian scientists and expertise have played a direct and indirect role in these programs for years. According to some reports, Russian specialists are helping to develop the longer-range Shahab-5, and Russia has exported missile production facilities to Iran. Moscow has signed a contract to sell advanced long-range S-300 air-defense systems to Iran. Once Iran has air defenses to repel Israeli or American air strikes and nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles, it will possess the capacity to destroy Israel (an openly stated goal of the regime) and strike targets throughout the Middle East, in Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. Beyond that, if and when an ICBM capability is achieved, Tehran will be able to threaten the U.S. homeland directly. Given the substantial Russian interests and ambitions, any grand bargain would almost certainly require an excessively high price paid by the United States to the detriment of its friends and allies. Russia simply does not view the situation through the same lens as the U.S.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Economics, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Pettis
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In September, the Obama administration imposed tariffs on Chinese tires. In October, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would launch an investigation into imports of seamless steel pipes from China. That same month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.–China Business Council, two groups that in the past have defended Chinese policies, testified to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that Chinese contracting rules, technical standards, and licensing requirements were protectionist.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Late on November 25, just before the start of the Islamic Eid festival and, coincidentally, Thanksgiving in the United States, Dubai's flagship investment company Dubai World announced that it would be requesting a six-month delay on paying its debts. Within hours, Dubai's reputation was being rewritten, and its ambition to be a financial center, building on its historic reputation as a focal point for regional trade, was being recast. Uncertainty continued on November 30, when the Dubai government said that it would not guarantee Dubai World's debt. In any event, the larger story has been the nervousness of world financial markets, which are now also evincing worry about the debt of countries like Greece or Ireland. Within the Middle East, the focus is on the extent of support that Dubai will receive from Abu Dhabi, the neighboring -- and richer -- member sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whether other city-states like Bahrain and Qatar are also at risk, and whether Dubai's links with Iran will change as a result of its financial situation.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi
  • Author: Erdal T. Karagöl
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since 1960, nineteen Standby arrangements have been signed. With these agreements, significant progress has been made in Turkish economy: inflation has fallen to the lowest level since 1986, the public debtto- GNP ratio has been falling, and interest rates have declined rapidly. IMF's immediate goals concern exchange rate stability and balance of payments, and evaluations of IMF programs tend to concentrate on these two objectives. Yet, whether or not the IMF programs have positive effects on these short-term goals, what ultimately matters is that they induce economic growth and do not concentrate on incomes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Saudi king Abdullah is in the United States this week to discuss issues of considerable interest to both countries. Tomorrow and Thursday, he is in New York City for an interfaith meeting he is sponsoring and which President Bush will be attending. On Friday and Saturday, the Saudi monarch will be at the White House, where he will be the sole Islamic or Arab representative at a summit of major economic powers discussing the world financial crisis. In a separate meeting with President Bush, he is expected to report on Saudi mediation efforts with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Despite some common interest in all these areas, perspectives differ significantly on issues such as radical Islam and the price of oil. The United States, particularly during a time of presidential transition, should be careful not to concede ground on continuing points of disagreement.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Clashes, rocket fire, and threats of escalation challenge Gaza's five-month-old ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. In the past two weeks, Israeli forces have reportedly killed 17 Palestinian fighters, while militant groups in Gaza have fired over 140 rockets into Israel. Despite the ceasefire's benefits -- for Israel, the end of cyclical clashes, rocket attacks, and civilian casualties, and for Hamas, a reprieve from Israel's intense military and economic pressure -- there is no guarantee it will hold. As such, it is worth considering how the ceasefire might end, what renewed conflict might look like, and what this means for Israel's long-term confrontation with Hamas.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • 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
39. Panic
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The credit crisis that followed the collapse of the housing bubble turned into a financial panic on Wednesday, September 17, 2008. There was a run by households out of money-market funds and into safe Treasury bills, pushing their yields to zero for the first time since the Great Depression. There was a liquidity trap in the interbank market, in which banks that are supposed to lend to each other hoarded cash for fear of runs by their depositors and the insolvency of other banks. Financial markets simply froze in the midst of chaos.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Western policy toward Iran relies heavily on economic pressure, and Iran's political trajectory is shaped in large part by its economic prospects and constraints. A toughened regime of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran and uncertainties about the viability of its petroleum sector—compounded by deep structural distortions caused by a history of economic mismanagement—raise real questions about the state of the Iranian economy. The Iran Policy Forum at the United States Institute of Peace convened a meeting to discuss the status of Iran's economy and energy sector; the effect of Iran's uncertain political climate and concerns over its nuclear program on the economy; and actions the government should take to avoid future economic troubles. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Kimmitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: What are the relative constraints of a multilateral approach versus a bilateral approach to the use of financial tools against illicit activity? Anytime we see a threat to the country through the financial system, we are going to take action immediately using the domestic authorities we have. We try to be careful, however, to make sure that those are carefully targeted to conduct and are not extra territorial. That provides a good basis for entering into discussion with friends and allies throughout the world, both on a bilateral basis with others and then on a multilateral basis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, the Egmont Group -- an international body of more than 100 national financial intelligence units (FIUs) -- is holding its annual plenary session and working group meetings in Bermuda. One of the issues on the agenda is whether to admit a Syrian FIU into the group. Although Syria may in fact technically qualify for membership despite some significant shortcomings, extending membership to a state the United States regards as a sponsor of terrorism would raise serious questions about Egmont's standards and continued efficacy in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michael Jacobson, David Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 10, 2007, President Bush and U.S. Treasury secretary Henry Paulson launched an "open investment" initiative to encourage foreign investment in the U.S. economy. In a statement, the president emphasized that his administration "is committed to ensuring that the United States continues to be the most attractive place in the world to invest." Washington's focus on this issue is at least partly a reflection of the ongoing fallout from last year's Dubai Ports World (DPW) controversy. Although it is still premature to gauge the long-term economic impact of the DPW case, the process for reviewing foreign investments has already changed significantly.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Meral Varis Kiefer
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, 2007, the Turkish stock market slumped and the value of the lira dropped following a massive demonstration in Istanbul against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, coupled with a statement by the military voicing support for secularism. Previously, the comparatively healthy Turkish economy had boosted the chances that the AKP, rooted in the country's Islamist movement, would achieve further electoral victories this year. On April 24, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan named Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as his party's candidate for president -- a legislatively elected post. In the April 27 parliamentary session, however, the secular opposition boycotted the vote, and the AKP failed to muster the required two-thirds majority. The Turkish constitutional court subsequently annulled the vote, and the status of the presidential election is now uncertain. In the meantime, the parliament has moved legislative elections up from November to July 22.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 1-5, the seventeen Arab members of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) met in Jordan to discuss terrorism financing and money laundering in the region. Although the task force's record to date shows some promise, the organization can do far more to address these critical issues.
  • Topic: Economics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, released on March 1, offers a little-noted reference to a dubious claim: an Iranian government statement (made to the UN) that Tehran has established a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The report notes that Iran has provided no further details. Even if the Iranian claim were true, the creation of an FIU would do little to combat terrorism financing in the nation, given Tehran's official support for terrorist groups. In other countries, FIUs are an important element of effective counterterrorism policy -- though the record of key Middle Eastern nations is somewhat mixed in this regard.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Oren
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 9, 2007, Michael Oren addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. A historian and senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, Dr. Oren authored the recent bestseller Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 25, Lebanon will participate in Paris III, the third international donor conference for Lebanon convened by French president Jacques Chirac since February 2001. The top agenda items are grants and soft loans for Lebanon and the economic reform plan of Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora. For Siniora and his "March 14" ruling coalition, the success of the conference -- i.e., international commitments to provide billions to Lebanon -- is exceedingly important, as the government is coming under increasing pressure from the Hizballah-led opposition. Indeed, this week, the opposition upped the ante in its continuing effort to topple the Siniora government, closing key Lebanese arteries, including the highways into Beirut and the airport road. If Paris III is broadly perceived as "successful," it will strengthen Siniora and demonstrate that the March 14 coalition can govern and advance key Lebanese interests without Hizballah participation in government. Should international donors not prove particularly generous, the momentum will shift toward the opposition.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, France
  • Author: Jason Yossef Ben-Meir
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The new strategy of the United States in Iraq does not include an extensive overhaul of reconstruction efforts at this critical time. Very little money is now being appropriated for reconstruction. As the Iraq Study Group Report explains, of the $21 billion to date that has been appropriated for the “Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund” (IRRF), $16 billion has been spent and the remaining funds have been committed. The administration requested $750 million for 2007, and President Bush's new proposal is to add $1.2 billion to that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Justin Logan
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: It appears increasingly likely that the Bush administration's diplomatic approach to Iran will fail to prevent Iran from going nuclear and that the United States will have to decide whether to use military force to attempt to delay Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability. Some analysts have already been promoting air strikes against Iran, and the Bush administration has pointed out repeatedly that the military option is “on the table.” This paper examines the options available to the United States in the face of a prospective final diplomatic collapse.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A UN/World Bank survey conducted after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime revealed that even though women represented about 55 percent of Iraq's population, they made up only 23 percent of the workforce. Although the international community and Iraqis have since devoted considerable attention to boosting the status of women in Iraq, most of these efforts have focused on the social and political empowerment of women. Full democratic consolidation in Iraq can only be achieved by guaranteeing, in addition, a leading economic role for women in Iraq.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Lebanon has secured pledges for assistance roughly equal to its $3.6 billion estimate of what is required to rebuild from the recent war. Though foreign assistance will be an important element in the short-term physical reconstruction, it will do little to help Beirut contend with the longstanding structural maladies afflicting the economy—particularly $40 billion in government debt. Lebanon also faces the challenge of how to reinforce central government authority in the face of Hizballah's efficient reconstruction efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the international donor community struggles to determine its stance on aid to the Palestinians under the Hamas government, it is important to remember the extent to which the Palestinian economy is dependent upon Israeli decisions. Last year the international community gave the Palestinians $1.4 billion in aid; Israel has the potential to affect at least that sum through its policies on trade, Palestinian workers in Israel, and the tax revenue it collects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky, Michael Herzog, Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the immediate aftermath of Hamas's parliamentary victory in late January, the Quartet—the United States, the EU, Russia, and the UN—set clear criteria for funding a Palestinian Authority (PA) under Hamas's leadership. The Quartet said direct funding would be a function of the new government's “commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.” Indeed, there is no other example of taxpayers subsidizing a government run by an organization that appears on State Department and EU terror lists.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 24 attack by al-Qaeda on Saudi Arabia's giant oil processing facility at Abqaiq failed. At least two of the attackers were killed, along with two security guards. On February 27, Saudi authorities said they had killed another five terrorists linked to the Abqaiq attack in a clash in Riyadh, and they were interrogating a further suspect. The failure of the attack and the reported success of the subsequent counterterrorist operation give the impression of Saudi efficiency, but it should at least as much serve as a warning. The planned attack, targeting the world's largest oil exporter, should give impetus to President Bush's determination, declared in his January State of the Union address, to wean the United States off foreign oil.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Powell
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In January, the United States halted talks on free trade with Egypt to protest the Egyptian government's imprisonment of Ayman Nour, a leading opposition figure who challenged President Hosni Mubarak in September 2005 presidential elections. Washington made no formal announcement, perhaps hoping to avoid open confrontation with Cairo, and in doing so missed an opportunity to highlight its growing success in negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with U.S. allies in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In his January 31 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil” and urged spending on technologies “to break [that] addiction.” Noting that oil is often imported from unstable parts of the world, he set a goal of replacing more than 75 percent of U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Depending on exactly what Bush means by that statement, such a policy could have huge significance for U.S. policy in the region, or it could be less than meets the eye.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 30, 2006, Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, and Michael Herzog addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr Satloff is the Institute's executive director. Ambassador Ross is the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow. Michael Herzog is a brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a visiting military fellow at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), an important component of the Bush administration's policy of promoting Middle East reform, is falling short. MEPI should be relaunched as a private foundation funded by the government, akin to the Asia Foundation or the Eurasia Foundation. Such a relaunch would permit MEPI to develop greater expertise in the region, use more flexible, effective aid methods, and gain some independence from other U.S. programs and policies that serve conflicting ends. The restructuring of MEPI should be part of a broader set of measures to establish a more visible, coherent institutional policy structure to pursue the critical goal of fundamental political and economic change in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Danielle Pletka
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Only economic liberalization and political freedom can quell the frustration that breeds Islamic extremism in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: David Frum
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Radical Islamic terrorists across the Middle East have thus far claimed to represent a global Islamic nation, yet millions of Iraqis risked their lives on January 30 to reject that claim with their ballots.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian, Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing , written by Scott Lasensky and Mona Yacoubian of the Institute's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, is based on discussions at a recent seminar. The views expressed do not reflect those of the Institute, which does not take policy positions. Syria is facing unprecedented pressure from the international community on issues ranging from Syrian meddling in Lebanon to its support for terrorist groups. The United Nations investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri will release its second report in mid- December 2005. The current crisis has increased speculation about prospects for political change in Syria. The opacity of Syrian politics means there are more questions than answers. Nonetheless, a number of key indicators suggest a changing political environment, in a country where political development has essentially been frozen for thirty-five years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Meral Varis
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Now that negotiations toward full Turkish membership in the European Union (EU) have begun, what are the prospects for the Turkish economy? In particular, could Turkey attract significant global investment and take off economically as happened in Spain, Portugal, and Greece in the 1980s and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in the 1990s when those countries negotiated for EU accession?
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Jamie Chosak
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 11, al-Seyassah, an independent Kuwaiti newspaper, reported that Syrian president Bashar al-Asad froze the assets of his country's minister of interior affairs, Ghazi Kanaan. If so, that is surely a reaction to Kanaan's June 30 designation—along with Chief of Syrian Military Intelligence for Lebanon Rustum Ghazali—by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Specially Designated National (SDN) under Executive Order (EO) 13338. The two were cited for directing “Syria's military and security presence in Lebanon and/or contributing to Syria's support for terrorism.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kuwait, Syria
  • Author: David Frum
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Having won an electoral mandate, President George W. Bush now must restore bipartisanship to U.S. foreign policy in order to realize the goal of a Middle East transformed by freedom and democracy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although U.S. forces removed Saddam Hussein's regime in record time, completing regime change in Baghdad and spreading democracy and stability in the greater Middle East will require an open-ended commitment and more political resolve than currently demonstrated within many circles in Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Christopher DeMuth
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: War mobilization can lead to incontinent government growth, jeopardizing the economic dynamism upon which a successful war effort ultimately depends. This is a gathering threat to our ability to sustain a "generational commitment" to defeating terrorism.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Michael A. Ledeen
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: History reveals that freedom and democracy can grow among peoples liberated from tyrannical regimes. While some would argue such political transformation depends more upon a slow and lengthy process of change than on military intervention, nothing so effectively discredits tyranny as its defeat in war, as the collapse of Nazism and Japanese imperialism so clearly demonstrate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: At an alarmingly increasing frequency, westernized Muslims and converted Christians in Western Europe are joining radical Islamic organizations to wage jihad against the United States and its allies. These young Muslim males funnel continental anti-Americanism and the alienation of centuries-old Islamic struggle against the Christian West into full-fledged rage that threatens to divide Western allies who together withstood the advance of the Islamic empires during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Sally Satel
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As soldiers return home from the conflict in Iraq, the press continues to link this war with the Vietnam War in tactical and diagnostic terms. Despite evidence that post-traumatic stress disorder may not have been as widespread as many mental health experts claimed, the debate surrounding this syndrome has been renewed with an eye toward helping soldiers from Iraq reintegrate into civilian society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Vietnam
  • Author: Radek Sikorski
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although the American media seems to focus exclusively on American--and occasionally British--troops in Iraq, the coalition does include soldiers from Central and Eastern European nations, among others. The difficulties of forming ad hoc international coalitions for military operations, however, may lead the United States to rely in the future upon associations like NATO, which are already experienced in coordinating military operations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: he Bush administration needs to be aware of Islamic history as it works with the Iraqis to forge a democracy in their country. The Shiite Muslims, who constitute a majority of the population, are clamoring for direct elections after centuries of injustice suffered at the hands of others. If the administration rejects that approach to democratization, it runs a serious risk of losing Iraq to violence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke, Matt Sekerke
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Following a swift military campaign to remove the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq, it has become clear that preparations for the postwar period have been inadequate and that the occupying forces lack a workable exit strategy. Specifically, the Coalition Provisional Authority has failed to anticipate the challenges that face the postwar Iraqi economy, including the introduction of sound money to facilitate exchange.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Real progress has been made in the war on terror-al Qaeda no longer enjoys state-sponsorship, and Iraq is moving toward democracy. But because neither the rogue regimes nor the "holy warriors" in the region can afford to allow the United States to successfully introduce democracy into Iraq, we must expect them to ratchet up the level of violence to prevent that from happening.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Joshua Muravchik
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The longstanding media practice of whitewashing tyrannical regimes and their actions continues in most coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Journalists must figure out how to avoid giving a tyranny the upper hand when it takes on a democracy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Karl Zinsmeister
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Until recently, U.S. policy toward Iraq has been handicapped by a lack of acknowledged support for the United States from the Iraqi people themselves. According to most news and media outlets, Iraqi public opinion toward the United States is negative, but a recent study commissioned by The American Enterprise and conducted by Zogby International, a well-known polling agency, indicates Iraqi support for a continued U.S. presence in the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Bush administration has joined those calling for more international troops in Iraq as a consensus-building approach to stabilizing the region. It is unlikely, however, that Iraqis will easily accept the authority of foreign troops—especially foreign Muslim troops.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Richard Perle
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The war in Iraq has demonstrated the significance of strong, decisive government leadership, bold military tactics coupled with advanced technology, and the possibility of spreading freedom and democracy throughout the Arab world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Serfaty
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) have been significant institutional casualties of the war in Iraq. European heads of state and government who joined the coalition of the willing organized by President George W. Bush (with a decisive assist from Prime Minister Tony Blair) often did so in spite of significant opposition from their general public. States that gathered, vocally or passively, in the coalition of the unwilling (and even resentful) organized by President Jacques Chirac (with a decisive assist from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder) did so at the expense of a Euro-Atlantic structure within which the states of Europe have gained unprecedented security, stability, and prosperity. As the first phase of the coalition's military action in Iraq comes to an end, the prevailing view in the United States is that the EU is a troubled and troubling union: troubled in terms of its internal divisions, and troubling in terms of the motivation that seems to underline the actions of its older members. As for NATO, the prevailing view is that it is a fading organization with a blocking minority of members who are not only unwilling but also broadly incapable and frankly irrelevant.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Felix G. Rohatyn, Jean-Paul Béchat
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On January 24, 2003, the CSIS Commission on Transatlantic Security and Industrial Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century, under the leadership of CSIS president and CEO John J. Hamre, released its final report, The Future of the Transatlantic Defense Community. Cochaired by Jean-Paul Béchat, chairman and CEO of SNECMA and president (in 2001-2002) of the European Association of Aerospace Industries (AECMA), and former U. S. ambassador to France Felix G. Rohatyn, this Commission consisted of 22 senior business leaders and former policymakers from both sides of the Atlantic. An Experts Group, directed by CSIS Europe Program director Simon Serfaty and composed of several representatives from the private and public sectors and academia, assisted the Commission in its work.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey Brown, Kang Wu
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea—a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers—and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42–90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies—a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Indonesia, Middle East, India, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Adam S. Albion
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The triumph of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey's November 3 national election represents a significant opportunity to demonstrate both to the West and the Muslim world that it is possible for a democratic, Islamic party to effectively lead a modern secular state. Such a demonstration of the compatibility of Islam and democracy could produce a catalytic and strategically important effect among moderate Muslims throughout the world. The AKP seems to have recognized the importance of this opportunity by pledging to continue with much-needed political and economic reforms and EU integration efforts. The EU and the West must not let this opportunity pass them by; they must continue to encourage Turkey on its path to economic and political reform by establishing a concrete timeline towards EU membership and by helping Turkey to overcome its current financial crisis. Rejection by the West at this critical juncture could have very damaging effects, not only for Turkey, but for the viability of moderate Islamic parties throughout the Muslim world.
  • Topic: Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Kemal Derviş
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's recovery from the economic crisis of February 2001 has so far been very successful. Fundamental reforms have been undertaken and strict fiscal discipline has been implemented. Furthermore, this process is, to a large degree, irreversible. For the recovery to be truly successful, however, it is essential that Turkey's relations with the European Union (EU) be promoted and that foreign direct investment be encouraged.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ellen Laipson, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the year 1000, the Middle East had a population of approximately 30 million people, and it remained around that level until 1800. Between 1800 and 1900, however, the figure grew by 75 percent, and then by another 565 percent during the twentieth century, bringing the population to 386 million, or nearly thirteen times its historically stable level. But this increase is coming to an end. In the year 2050, the population will be less than twice what it was in the year 2000, and it will stop increasing entirely by the late twenty-first century, when it will reach its maximum of approximately twice the level it was in the year 2000. In other words, the population increase over one thousand years is essentially concentrated in a 150-year period between 1875 and 2025. This anomalous period of population growth has been a time of tremendous social, political, and economic turmoil.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Helena Kane Finn
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S.-Turkish military strategic relationship has been a strong one historically, based on the loyalty of Turkey — a staunch NATO ally — over the past half century. As a result of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's visit to Washington in January, business contacts between the United States and Turkey have intensified, adding a new and very significant dimension to the relationship. Perhaps the most concrete result of the meeting between President George W. Bush and the Turkish prime minister is the State Department's creation of the Economic Partnership Commission (EPC), scheduled to hold its first meeting in Ankara on February 26-27. State Department undersecretary for economic affairs Alan Larson will lead the U.S. delegation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Philip H. Gordon, Henri J. Barkey
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The landslide victory of an Islamic party in a Turkish election would hardly seem to be good news for Americans at anytime. Butwithwarlooming inIraq,Turkeytrying torecoverfromits worst financial crisis ever, emerging questions about European defense and NATO, Cyprus talks at a critical stage, and Ankara's application for membershipinthe EuropeanUnioninthe balance, the November3electoralvictory oftheJusticeand DevelopmentParty(AKP)probably struck many U.S. observers as the wrong outcome at the wrong time.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Niyazi B. Gunay, Ismail Cem
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, 2001, His Excellency Ismail Cem, foreign minister of Turkey, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Over the past four years Turkish foreign policy has been experiencing a transformation. Turkey now sees itself not only as part of Europe but also as part of Asia. The Asian character of Turkey, which has been downplayed for decades, has been revitalized, making Turkish foreign policy more active in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union and helping Turkey to improve relations simultaneously with the Arabs and Israel. Turkey's relations with the European Union are progressing favorably; EU membership is a goal, but not an obsession for Turkey.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Amy W. Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Urgent regional matters — such as Iraq and the Arab–Israeli peace process — will dominate the agenda during Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's visit to Washington this week, while Egypt's transition to a free-market economy and U.S.– Egypt trade ties will also receive attention. Egyptian domestic politics, however, will register little, aside from U.S. frustrations over anti-Semitism in the Egyptian press and concern about the status of Egypt's Coptic Christians. Although the regime appears quite stable, having secured a "victory" in its 1990s conflict with violent extremist groups, the state of political reform in Egypt, America's most important Arab ally, merits a closer look. That is because Egypt's long-term economic reform — in which Washington has invested so much — can succeed only if accompanied by meaningful political liberalization.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's economic crisis is naturally the leading issue in bilateral U.S.-Turkish relations, and it is almost certainly topping the agenda of today's meetings of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem with Vice President Richard Cheney and other senior officials. Of course, these meetings pose the difficult question of how much Washington should do, if anything, to bail out its strategically vital ally. But this is only one of several uncertainties characterizing U.S.-Turkish relations in the early days of the Bush administration. Because so much of Turkey's importance to the United States derives from its critical strategic location, bilateral relations are greatly affected by U.S. policies toward other states in Turkey's region. Of most concern to Turkey will be the evolution of Bush administration policy toward Iraq, Iran, and Russia, and also toward Europe's nascent bid to develop an autonomous security capacity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, a simmering debate between the two major power centers in domestic Lebanese politics has spilled into public view. This debate pits newly installed Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who represents those who want Lebanon to take advantage of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon to focus on internal stability, economic reconstruction and securing foreign investment, against Hizballah leader Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, who — with the support of Syria and Iran — champions maintaining Lebanon's role on the front line of the ongoing revolutionary resistance against Israel. This tension was described in the Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar as the choice between "Hanoi" (Nasrallah) and "Hong Kong" (Hariri). As with most Middle East crises, the development of this delicate and flammable dispute carries both risks and opportunities for Lebanon and other players on the Middle East scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Political Economy, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Hong Kong
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's economic near-meltdown last week — its second financial crisis in three months — was precipitated by political problems, not by narrowly economic issues. Until the political problems are addressed, the prospects for any new economic package will be questionable. With Turkish leaders and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both seemingly floundering, Turkey likely would welcome suggestions on how to proceed, and the United States would do well to send a special high-level representative to Ankara for several days, as a source of informal advice and as a powerful symbol of U.S. support.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Politics, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Bahraini Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa announced January 23 that a national referendum will be held February 14-15 on a National Charter, under which the lower house of a national assembly would be elected in 2004. Sheikh Hamad's reformist moves are the latest example of a trend in the Gulf kingdoms toward the establishment of representative institutions. However, Bahrain's proposed reforms are unlikely to be sufficiently far-reaching to address the political and economic discontent among Bahrain's Shia majority.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Bahrain
  • Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Why is it that Israel's per capita GNP still lags substantially behind that of the leading countries of the world? Why is it likely to take decades for the Israeli economy to catch up? This is while the Israeli papers are full of news about very promising high-tech start-ups, and we even hear occasionally about payments of billions of dollars by major foreign firms to acquire Israeli businesses which were founded a few years ago and have at most several hundred employees.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week, the Majlis approved a government bill authorising immediate use of the 2000-01 budget surplus. The windfall surplus, largely the result of increased oil revenues, should amount to 6-10 billion dollars by the end of the fiscal year in March. It will certainly transform Iran's external finances, but its impact on the domestic economy will be less immediate, and it will do little to ease investor concerns. Khatami's efforts to attract greater foreign investment depend on reform of the judiciary and other key changes to the regulatory climate. In the meantime, continuing political turmoil will deter all but those investors prepared to take a long-term view of Iran's economic potential.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Roger Kirk, Jack M. Seymour Jr., John Lampe, Louis Sell
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Basic Factors Underlying a Regional Settlement 1. Any overall settlement in the Balkans should be area-wide and coordinated among the entities directly involved, the neighboring states, the key nations of the outside community, and the relevant political and economic international institutions. 2. It will have to include political arrangements, international security guarantees, and substantial economic assistance as a basis for genuine peace and reconciliation. 3. It must embrace generally accepted international standards, including respect for human rights and rights for ethnic minorities; right of return for all area refugees; rule of law; effective media freedom; and free elections supervised or, where necessary, organized by the international community. 4. The settlement should promote and institutionalize political and economic cooperation, regional trade and/or formal ties among the participating states and entities of the former Yugoslavia, and neighboring states as feasible, including the free flow of goods, labor and capital. 5. International assistance in reconstruction, economic reform and development of economic ties among the peoples of the region and with the European Community must be massive. It should, however, be designed to promote democratic institutions, market reform, adherence to peace agreements, and respect for human rights. 6. Such assistance should target the private sector, encourage local initiatives, and help governments pursue effective economic reform policies. It should seek to curtail corruption and the maintenance of unprofitable state industries. It should avoid encouraging international dependency. The purpose should be to build societies and practices conducive to self-reliance, international cooperation, and outside investment. Positive and negative lessons can be drawn from experiences in Bosnia. 7. The support of the broad population of Serbia will be necessary if peaceful and economically viable regional arrangements are to last. The reconstruction process implied in these arrangements will itself be an incentive for the Serbs to opt away from destructive nationalist policies and join in the regional reconstruction process. 8. Neither lasting peace in the Balkans nor democracy in Serbia can be achieved as long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power. He has been indicted by the Tribunal in The Hague for crimes against humanity and his removal from power is a prime NATO objective. There are increasing and encouraging signs of popular Serb desire to be rid of Milosevic, but it is not certain that he will depart in the near future. 9. A regional settlement may have to be negotiated indirectly with, or imposed upon, Milosevic as the ruler of Serbia. It should nevertheless be made clear that the West condemns Milosevic\'s actions, that Serbia cannot resume its rightful place in Europe as long as it is governed by indicted war criminals, and that the West will help the people of Serbia in their efforts to bring forth new, democratic, cosmopolitan leadership in their country. 10. The Kosovar Albanians cannot be expected to live under Serbian control again for the foreseeable future. Arrangements short of formal independence such as an international protectorate or trusteeship are possible, indeed likely, for a transitional period. A more permanent and self-sustaining arrangement is highly desirable if it can be achieved without creating more instability in the former Yugoslav space and the neighboring area. 11. A credible international military presence is needed to encourage the return of the remaining Albanian-Kosovars, the continued residence of Serb-Kosovars and to maintain peace and order within Kosovo and on its borders. Such a presence will also be a lasting part of any transitional arrangement. Any foreseeable regional settlement will similarly require a prolonged foreign military presence. This settlement should, however, lay the foundation for an end to that presence by, among other things, providing for supervised demilitarization of the states and entities involved, and a comprehensive regional arms control agreement. 12. A central objective of any regional settlement should be to promote conditions that will encourage a stable political and military environment, economic growth, and increasing self-reliance. These changes will permit an end to the foreign military, political, and economic presence in the region, though no date for that termination should be set.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Eliyahu Kanovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Blaming "the other guy" for current problems is a human frailty, but there are cases where there is substance to the allegation. I believe that the widespread criticism of Netanyahu's economic record lacks, at the very least, a sense of fairness and balance. On the economic front, the Netanyahu administration is faulted for the slow rate of economic growth since 1997, and, as a consequence, the rising rate of unemployment. The opposition contends that in 1996, Netanyahu inherited from the previous administration (Rabin-Peres) a thriving, prosperous, and stable economy, and then proceeded to "mess things up." What are the facts and figures? What is the larger picture?
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mordechai Abir
  • Publication Date: 09-1997
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The stability of Saudi Arabia (and the Persian Gulf as a whole) is crucially important to the world's industrial countries. According to the Gulf Center of Strategic Studies, "oil is expected to account for 38 percent of all the world consumption of energy until 2015, compared to 39 percent in 1993. Increasing world-wide demand for oil, now about 74 million barrels per day, is projected to rise by 2015 to about 110 million" (Gulf Report, London, July 1997). Over 60 percent of the world's proven oil reserves are located in the Persian Gulf, and Saudi Arabia alone controls 25 percent of the total.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Energy Policy, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia