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  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul and a cause that they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This book examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts, explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war, why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country, and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam
  • Author: Emmanuel Comolet
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Jordan is in the eye of the Arab cyclone. It remains stable while surrounded by chaotic political situations in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula. Jordan has not experienced the massive demonstrations aimed at regime change that have been seen elsewhere in the region, and its relative stability has enabled it to cash in on the geo-political services it provides. These services include: hosting refugees from Palestine, Iraq or Syria; remaining a reliable ally for many international powers; featuring a strong army that plays a stabilizing role in the region; serving as an intermediary when neighboring countries need a host or a dealmaker; and providing qualified Jordanian workers to fill open vacancies for companies and countries, especially in the Gulf. The current stability in Jordan matches well its historic capacity to resist and adapt to shocks. However, the contemporary situation of the labor market reveals that the weaknesses observed in the countries having experienced revolutions (e.g., Tunisia and Egypt) are also present in Jordan; labor market participation is low with very few women active, and the unemployment rate of educated young people is worrisome. Both the number of Jordanians working abroad and the number of migrant workers in Jordan show the discrepancy between demand and supply of labor in Jordan. This could become problematic, since the economic situation has been worsening, notably with fewer public jobs available. Hence there is a need for international donors to keep supporting Jordan in a difficult regional environment, for the government of Jordan to wittily manage the balance between Transjordanians and West Bankers in the near future and for new workers to alter their expectations in searching for opportunities outside the public sector.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Tunisia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Nicholas S. Yarosh, Chloe Coughlin-Schulte
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The political dynamics and violence that shape the current series of crises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – and daily events in Bahrain Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, and Yemen – dominate the current course of virtually every aspect of these states including much of the current course of violence and instability in the region. Political dynamics and the current levels of, however, are only part of the story.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: On April 20th, Iraq will hold its third provincial elections since 2005. There are 447 open seats nationwide, and competition for them is fierce. Previous elections illustrate that winning provincial seats can reverberate on the national level. A simple majority of seats offers the parties an opportunity to control the senior provincial posts, including the governorship and chairmanship of the councils. Control of these positions provides space for maneuvering to achieve national level objectives.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Danial Kaysi
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Within days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocratic country governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is in an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity, and one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shi'ite s and Sunnis and the ethnic division s between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities. At the same time, it must build a new structure of governance, economic, and social order after a period of dictatorship, war, sanctions, occupation and civil conflict that began in 1979 and has continued ever since. It must cope with a steadily growing population, and diversify an economy that is so dependent on petroleum exports that they provide some 95% of its government revenues. This struggle can still end in a new round of serious civil conflict and even in the division of the country. At the same time, Iraq does have great potential and its political divisions and ongoing low - level violence do not mean it cannot succeed in establishing stability, security, and a better life for its people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Peace Studies, War, Counterinsurgency, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is in an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity, and one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shi'ites and Sunnis as well as the ethnic divisions between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities. At the same time, Iraq's leaders must try to build a new structure of governance, economics, and social order after a mix of dictatorship, war, sanctions, occupation, and civil conflict that began in the 1970s and have continued ever since.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Regime Change, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Kathleen Kuehnast, Hodei Sultan, Manal Omar, Steven E. Steiner
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In transitioning countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, women are increasingly finding their rights limited by state and religious leaders. Cultural and national stereotypes can be quickly overcome by the shared backgrounds, accomplishments, obstacles, and aspirations of women in transitioning countries. Women living in countries in transition value opportunities to network with women from other countries in similar situations. Women leaders from Afghanistan and Iraq have genuine concerns about the challenges facing women in the Arab Spring. Their valuable opinions are based on their own experiences of overcoming those challenges. It is essential that women work together and with men to further women's rights. Women must plan for a transition before it happens and have a strategy of work going into the transition process. Laws empowering and protecting women do not work if they are not enforced. International donors need a long-term view of women's programming, as much of the required work will take time. Donors should consider nonurban areas when working with women, and when possible nonelite partners, as these leaders understand the limitations of local conditions. It is possible for women's groups to find common ground with religious leaders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Stephen Wicken
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: On Sunday, Iraqs Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi was sentenced to death by hanging after he and his son-in-law were convicted of organizing the murders of a security official and a lawyer. All told, Hashemi is subject to more than 150 charges of terrorism based upon allegations that he used death squads to target his political opponents. The verdict carries distressing implications for short-term domestic security in Iraq and for diplomatic relations with neighboring Turkey, where Hashemi currently resides and has been based since his trial began. While some observers view the case against Hashemi in purely sectarian terms, the targeting of a Sunni politician in a Shiite-led state, the sentence in fact highlights the pernicious nature of personal rivalries within Iraqi politics. Further, it demonstrates the politicization of the Iraqi judicial system under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has commandeered Iraq's legal institutions in order to consolidate power around his inner circle.
  • Topic: Democratization, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A surge in violence has dashed plans for a negotiated end to the 27-year-old Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) insurgency. Since Turkey's elections in mid-June, clashes have killed more than 110 people, country-wide ethnic friction has hardened opinion, and the government has started bombing PKK bases and talking about an imminent ground offensive in northern Iraq. The PKK must immediately end its new wave of terrorist and insurgent attacks, and the Turkish authorities must control the escalation with the aim to halt all violence. A hot war and militaristic tactics did not solve the Kurdish problem in the 1990s and will not now. A solution can only lie in advancing the constitutional, language and legal reforms of the past decade that have gone part way to giving Turkish Kurds equal rights. Given the recent violence, returning to a positive dynamic requires a substantial strategic leap of imagination from both sides. Neither should allow itself to be swept away by armed conflict that has already killed more than 30,000 since 1984.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Central Asia, Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Sherry Ricchiardi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: After the ouster of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, Iraq's tightly controlled state-run media underwent a transformation on two fronts: one driven by the Americans who made establishing a free press a priority; the other by an Iraqi citizenry that for three decades had been cut off from the free marketplace of ideas under a tyrannical regime.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Bernard Gwertzman (interviewer)
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine months of political wrangling, Iraq's parliament confirmed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new coalition government December 21. Though the government is "a good basis for setting out," says Iraq expert Joost Hiltermann, there's much uncertainty about how cohesive it will be and whether the inclusive government formed can govern. Hiltermann says there are questions about who will head the three major security ministries, whether a new National Council for Strategic Policy--designed as a "real check" against Maliki's power--will be approved by parliament, and whether Ayad Allawi, who headed the Iraqiya bloc that won the most seats in the election, will want to head that council. The United States pushed a power-sharing agreement "that went beyond the sharing of ministerial positions," says Hiltermann, but it remains to be seen whether various factions, including the prime minister and his allies, will allow that to happen.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As a rule, Iraq's post-Saddam elections have tended to magnify pre-existing negative trends. The parliamentary polls to be held on 7 March are no exception. The focus on electoral politics is good, no doubt, but the run-up has highlighted deep-seated problems that threaten the fragile recovery: recurring election-related violence; ethnic tensions over Kirkuk; the re-emergence of sectarianism; and blatant political manipulation of state institutions. The most egregious development was the decision to disqualify over 500 candidates, a dangerous, arbitrary step lacking due process, yet endorsed by the Shiite ruling parties. Under normal circumstances, that alone might have sufficed to discredit the elections. But these are not normal circumstances, and for the sake of Iraq's stability, the elections must go on. At a minimum, however, the international community should ramp up its electoral monitoring and define clear red lines that need to be respected if the results are to be considered legitimate. And it should press the next government to seriously tackle the issue – long-neglected yet never more critical – of national reconciliation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sandra Dieterich, Hartwig Hummel, Stefan Marschall
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This paper presents a survey of parliamentary 'war powers' based on a comprehensive and detailed review of the degrees and institutional forms of parliamentary involvement in military security policy-making. As our original research project focused on the involvement of European Union (EU) states in the recent Iraq war, we present data for the then 25 member and accession states of the EU as of early 2003. This survey of parliamentary war powers covers the legislative, budgetary, control, communicationrelated and dismissal powers of the respective parliaments relating to the use of military force. Referring to this data, we distinguish five classes of democratic nation-states, ranging from those with 'very strong' to those with only 'very weak' war powers of the respective national parliament.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Democratization, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe
  • Author: Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, James Danly
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Seven of the eight names of the Accountability and Justice Commission's additional candidates for disqualification, based upon the de-Baathification law, were released today by Haider al-Mullah, spokesman for the Iraqi List. These individuals join Ibrahim al-Mutlak, who was among the 52 candidates named prior to the election, but whose disqualification at the time was denied by IHEC for having been named too late in the election process.On April 26, 2010, the three-judge election panel nullified their candidacies in response to an appeal submitted by the State of Law List, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
  • Topic: Democratization, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: James Danly
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: This backgrounder is an update to the ISW publication dated January 14, 2010 and entitled "Sunni Politicians Barred from Candidacy." The political landscape in Iraq has changed dramatically. Multiple government entities and politicians have weighed-in on the issue of the candidate ban, various politicians have claimed un due foreign involvement by different governments and, as the elections draw near, Iraq's already tense politics have become even more divisive. The candidates' ban has sparked widespread claims of legal and constitutional illegitimacy, threats of election boycotts and a nationwide rise in vehement anti-Ba'athism. This political environment threatens the legitimacy of Iraq's second national elections since the fall of the Ba'athist regime in 2003. The following paper briefly details and analyzes the events that have unfolded since the publication of the original.
  • Topic: Democratization, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Richard N. Haass
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Asserting that the Iranian theocracy has become a "thugocracy," CFR President Richard N. Haass says the Iranian regime will likely prevail because of its use of force against the population. This makes the urgency of negotiating an end to the country's nuclear program more pronounced, and possibly more difficult, Haass says. "The Iranian challenge still exists, and may actually be somewhat worse," he says. "I'm talking about the nuclear program, their influence in Afghanistan and Iraq, their support of Hezbollah and Hamas. None of that has changed." Haass says the Obama administration "still ultimately has to try to deal with [Iran]" but adds: "It has become extraordinarily difficult to talk to this regime, and Iran has become in absolute and relative terms far more capable."
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 31 January, Iraqis will head to the polls in fourteen of eighteen governorates to elect new provincial councils. The stakes are considerable. Whereas the January 2005 elections helped put Iraq on the path to all-out civil war, these polls could represent another, far more peaceful turning point. They will serve several important objectives: refreshing local governance; testing the strength of various parties; and serving as a bellwether for nationwide political trends. In several governorates, new parties or parties that failed to run four years ago may oust, or at least reduce the dominance of, a handful of dominant parties whose rule has been marred by pervasive mismanagement and corruption. This in itself would be a positive change with far-reaching consequences as the nation braces for parliamentary elections later in 2009.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Waldner
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict, post-totalitarian societies like Iraq possess many economic, political, social, and cultural characteristics that are not conducive to democratic governance. A central pillar of democracy promotion is that judicious institutional engineering—crafting new institutions and other elements outlining the democratic rules of the game—can overcome these obstacles and engender stable democracies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Regime Change, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Bryan Groves
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush relinquishes the reigns as Commander-in-Chief to President Barak Obama, it is fitting to reflect on how the country will remember President Bush in years to come. Whether or not one agrees with his decision to commit U.S. forces to military action against Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq, it is clear that Bush's legacy will largly be determined by how Iraq turns out--whether as a stable, free, and peace-loving democracy or something short of that. There is certainly plenty of room for continued improvement in the conditions on the ground and ample time for the political, security, and economic situation to yet deteriorate. Yet, since "The Surge" and the change in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, developments in Iraq have taken a fundamentally and undeniably positive turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Imad Harb
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's higher education sector has the potential to play an important role in overcoming the country's widening sectarian divides and fostering long-term peace and stability. As a leading actor within Iraq's civil society, it could offer an institutional venue for resolving the country's political, social, and economic problems while promoting respect for human rights and democratic principles both on campus and in the wider society. Iraq's universities flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. However, after the rise of Saddam Hussein to power in 1979, they gradually lost their intellectual dynamism and became increasingly politicized in the service of the regime. UN sanctions imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 helped to isolate and impoverish the higher education sector. Universities, many of which were already in poor physical shape, were looted in the chaos that accompanied the invasion of 2003. Hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to rehabilitate campuses, but the budget for higher education is meager and most is earmarked for wages and salaries. Universities have also been hit hard by the violence that has followed the invasion. Hundreds of university professors and administrators have been killed and thousands have fled abroad. Meanwhile, sectarianism has begun to cast a dark shadow over student life. Campuses are highly politicized with student organizations vying, sometimes violently, for influence. There also has been an increase in religiosity and in efforts, especially in the south, to enforce veiling of women and separation of the sexes. The dismal situation is made worse by the fact that curriculum materials in all fields are in short supply, textbooks are outdated, administrative authority is overcentralized, new students are poorly prepared, and the teaching staff is inadequately trained. The international community has made a variety of efforts to support the rejuvenation of Iraq's universities by donating funds, providing expertise, and launching cooperative initiatives. International assistance has been helpful, but if the higher education sector is to reclaim its earlier dynamism and play a leading role in national reconstruction, it needs a comprehensive program of reform. Any package of reforms must emphasize the need to update and expand the curriculum. Universities should embrace new disciplines that will instruct students in conflict resolution, reconciliation, intercommunal tolerance, institution building, civil society development, women's studies, democracy, and human rights. Another pressing requirement is to give academics and students access to foreign scholars and publications through a series of international seminars and workshops and via a large-scale program of translating foreign-language books and journals into Arabic. Efforts must also be made to train faculty in new technologies and subjects and to increase the number of faculty who hold doctoral degrees. Foreign donors and governments should also offer scholarships abroad to Iraqi students and professors to help alleviate the burden of training a new class of university personnel. Like other public-sector institutions, higher education institutions are overcentralized and need more freedom to determine their own policies, procedures, and curricula. Iraqis cannot accomplish these reforms by themselves. They need the sustained support of foreign governments, international bodies, and non-governmental organizations if they are to demonstrate how universities in a divided society can play a leading role in promoting civic peace.
  • Topic: Democratization, Education, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Parliamentary elections across the Middle East have led to a wave of Islamist victories. Islamist parties typically boast leaders who are young and dynamic, with strong ties to the community; their party organizations brim with energy and ideas, attracting those who seek change. The U.S. government has quietly engaged moderate Islamist parties for several years. U.S. engagement has been most successful where democratic reform is already underway and where the government is genuinely committed to political opening. Other factors include the Islamist parties' political sophistication, popular credibility, and openness to working with U.S. organizations. A successful Islamist engagement strategy both empowers individuals and strengthens institutions to yield greater transparency, more accountability, and shifts toward greater moderation. Of the three cases addressed in this paper—Morocco, Jordan, and Yemen—Morocco appears to hold the greatest promise for U.S. engagement with moderate Islamists. Meanwhile, Jordan and Yemen offer important though limited instances of success. U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East affects the ability of U.S. organizations to promote democracy there. At times, Islamist parties have cut off contact with U.S. democracy promoters to protest specific aspects of U.S. foreign policy, such as the war in Iraq. Ultimately, U.S. engagement of moderate Islamists must be understood within the broader political context of the ideological battle in the Muslim world over the place of Islam in public life. Moderate Islamist parties that reject violence and practice democratic ideals are an important counterweight to Islamist extremism, and their work should be encouraged.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco
  • Author: Babak Rahimi
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since spring 2003, Sistani has become the preeminent and best financed of the grand ayatollahs remaining in the city of Najaf—and by extension, in Iraq. He remains one of the most powerful figures in Iraq and he brings the Shi'is closer together across the greater Middle East. Since 1997, the Internet has increased the size and the prestige of Sistani's social organization to an astonishing degree on a global basis. Like his father, Sistani is an adherent of a democratic Shi'i tradition that dates back to the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 to 1911 and continued with the Khatami reformist movement (1997–2005). As the general representative of the Hidden Imam, quietist Sistani can remain totally aloof from all political matters, while at times of perceived moral decadence, political corruption, great injustice, or foreign occupation, he can become more active in political affairs by engaging in activities such as consultation, guidance, and even the promotion of sacred norms in public life. Sistani's religious network is increasingly becoming an important source of local governance in southern Iraq, where many Iraqis are hired and at times agree to conduct duties that are usually carried out by the state. Sistani's insistence on recognizing Islam as a fundamental component of the Iraqi constitution is not intended to make Iraq an Islamist state based on juridical sharia strictures, but rather to limit the total secularization of the constitution, which would deprive a Muslim country of an “authentic” national identity based on its Islamic heritage. Sistani could contribute to reducing sectarian tensions by working with other Sunni and Shi'i religious leaders (including tribal leaders) to organize a National Reconciliation Initiative in order to display a united, powerful Sunni-Shi'i front with an emphasis on common Islamic ideals; to express condemnation of anti-Shi'i Wahabi extremism and anti-Sunni Shi'i radicalism; and to form communal solidarity through the ceremonial process of intersectarian group gatherings. Sistani remains a key religious figure who has influence as a peacemaker and mediator among various Shi'i factions and ethnic groups in Basra and Kirkuk that are competing for economic and territorial dominance in the northern and southern regions of the country. As long as the state army is unable to independently fight off the Sunni insurgency and Shi'i militias, it is highly unlikely that Sistani will call for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Sistani is mainly concerned with maintaining stability in the region while rejecting any form of U.S. military adventurism that could seriously endanger the integrity and autonomy of Muslim countries in the greater Middle East. Although Sistani is still a powerful figure within Iraq, his influence has diminished since the bombing of the Shi'i shrine in Samarra in February 2006 and the ensuing increase in Sunni–Shi'i violence. Washington should recognize that until the sectarian warfare subsides, there is no effective way for Sistani to become involved in the Iraqi political process. However, Washington should engage Sistani now, because of the positive role he would have in the democratization of Iraq if the sectarian tensions subside.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kirkuk, Basra
  • Author: Timothy Carney
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The military surge that was launched in February 2007 has improved the security situation in Baghdad and adjacent regions. It has curbed sectarian violence in the capital and reduced the freedom of action and the support base of insurgents and terrorists in the central governorates. The rationale for the surge was to provide an opportunity for political agreements to be negotiated among Iraqis, but political progress has been stalled and has not matched the security improvements. A political settlement is essential for sustaining the security gains and for longer- term stability. Despite the declaration of a national reconciliation plan by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in June 2006, by the fall of 2007 only limited progress had been made toward reconciling the differences between the political groups and forging a national agenda. The dominance of sectarian political groups has fueled polarization, and the inability of the government and Parliament to adopt crucial legislation is a measure of continuing distrust between the groups. Serious political dialogue between the sect- based parties has proved difficult and the results are limited. At the same time intra-sectarian rivalries are increasing, particularly in the southern governorates, where the Sadris and the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq vie for political and economic control of the region. Iraqi institutions have lost ground in the past year. Iraqi ministers from Sunni, Shia, and secular groups have withdrawn from the cabinet, adversely affecting the performance of the government. The sectarian blocs that entered Parliament in December 2005 have lost their cohesiveness. The Shia United Iraqi Alliance has unraveled, and the Sunni Tawafuq coalition is strained. The emergence of tribal forces in Anbar governorate presents opportunities and challenges to the Sunnis and the Shia alike. As the sectarian blocs weaken and the Anbar tribes seek a political role, new alliances are beginning to emerge, and some may succeed in crossing sectarian and regional divides. The debate in Washington has been restricted to the level and duration of U.S. troop presence in Iraq. In the coming months, the debate should turn to means of supporting the political process and strengthening governance in Iraq as a path to stability. Bottom-up approaches to reconciliation and accommodation do not obviate the need for a broader political settlement. The United States should support a sustained international mediation effort led by the UN Security Council resulting in an Iraqi compact endorsed by Iraq's neighbors and the international comm unity. Iraqi efforts to develop cross-sectarian political alliances and national platforms need to be encouraged. The incorporation of the Anbar tribes into national politics is important to sustaining security gains. A competent national government in Baghdad is essential to the long-term stability of Iraq. A weak government will be unable to ensure the internal and external security of the country or manage revenues. More effort and resources are needed to strengthen the competence and effectiveness of the Iraqi government.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Nathan Converse, Ethan Kapstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Since the “third wave” of democratization began in 1974, nearly 100 states have adopted democratic forms of government, including, of course, most of the former Soviet bloc nations. Policy-makers in the west have expressed the hope that this democratic wave will extend even further, to the Middle East and onward to China. But the durability of this new democratic age remains an open question. By some accounts, at least half of the world's young democracies—often referred to in the academic literature as being “unconsolidated” or “fragile”—are still struggling to develop their political institutions, and several have reverted back to authoritarian rule. Among the countries in the early stages of democratic institution building are states vital to U.S. national security interests, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Iraq
  • Author: Carl Conetta
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: In its National Strategy for Victory in Iraq the Bush administration recognizes that the key to defusing the insurgency is drawing the Sunni Arab community into the political process. And it correctly sees that this requires "inclusive institutions that offer power-sharing mechanisms and minority protections." As the strategy notes: such institutions would "demonstrate to disaffected Sunnis that they have influence and the ability to protect their interests in a democratic Iraq." Unfortunately, the administration finds it difficult to apply this precept where it would matter most: in the election process.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Carl Conetta
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: President Bush was correct when he asserted on 2 December 2004 that it was "time for the Iraqi citizens to go to the polls." Indeed, it is long past time. Elections should have occurred a year or so after the fall of the Hussein regime. But the fact that they are overdue does not mean that an adequate foundation for meaningfully democratic elections has been laid. It has not. Unfortunately, the balloting due to take place on 30 January will not fulfill the promise of democracy nor satisfy the Iraqi passion for selfdetermination. For these reasons, it cannot bring peace. It is more likely to exacerbate civil strife.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Patrick Basham
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Is Iraq capable of moving smoothly from dictatorship to democracy? This paper contends that the White House will be gravely disappointed with the result of its effort to establish a stable liberal democracy in Iraq, or any other nation home to a large population of Muslims or Arabs, at least in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas R. Pickering, James R. Schlesinger, Eric P. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On March 20, 2003, the United States launched Operation Iraqi Freedom, designed to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein. By mid-April, major fighting was essentially over, and on May 1, the United States declared an end to major combat operations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The removal of the Ba'ath regime in 2003 opened a Pandora's box of long-suppressed aspirations, none as potentially explosive as the Kurds' demand, expressed publicly and with growing impatience, for wide-ranging autonomy in a region of their own, including the oil- rich governorate of Kirkuk. If mismanaged, the Kurdish question could fatally undermine the political transition and lead to renewed violence. Kurdish leaders need to speak more candidly with their followers about the compromises they privately acknowledge are required, and the international community needs to work more proactively to help seal the historic deal.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia, Kirkuk
  • Author: Richard Gillespie
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of European Studies
  • Abstract: Richard Gillespie concentrates on the promotion of democracy as one of the instruments of Euro- Mediterranean region building in the framework of the EMP. In particular, this paper assesses the record of the EU's democracy promotion in North Africa. Gillespie emphasizes the obstacles, and the causes for hesitation within the EU to an effective promotion of democracy. He further examines the set-backs in light of post-Barcelona international events, such as the breakdown of the Middle East peace process, 9/11, the Iraq war, and the eastern enlargement of the EU. Gillespie argues that, in spite of constraints, the EMP could still prove to be a valuable framework for the promotion of democracy in the long run. This is especially the case if the EU will act as democracy promoter in a more energetic manner than hitherto, and if local developments in North Africa actually help place democracy more firmly on the political agenda. Richard Gillespie.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: The United States has plunged into an Iraqi swamp. The swashbuckling victory in the first Gulf War led to the most egregious sin that can be made in the military affairs—hubris and underestimation of the enemy. The U.S. and Soviet superpowers made the same mistake respectively in Vietnam in the sixties and seventies and Afghanistan in the eighties. But as those quagmires fade from memory, government officials apparently have to relearn the same lessons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Soviet Union, Vietnam
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As part of the changed U.S. geostrategic outlook arising from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, the Bush administration is giving greatly heightened attention to the issue of promoting democracy in the Middle East. Although a policy of coercive regime change has been applied in Iraq, in most of the region the administration is pursuing a more gradualist model of political change that emphasizes diplomatic pressure and democracy-related aid.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: No American administration has talked more about democracy in the Middle East than the Bush administration. The president and his advisors have spoken optimistically about a post-Saddam democracy in Iraq, one that might eventually become a veritable light to other Arab nations. This grand vision assumes that sooner or later, advocates of democracy throughout the Middle East will demand the same freedoms and rights that Iraqis are now claiming. Yet, however inspiring this vision appears, the actual reform plan that the administration has thus far set out is unlikely to produce radical changes in the Arab world. Regardless of how dramatic the change in Baghdad is, when it comes to our friends in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Yemen, the administration's reform plan points to evolution rather than revolution.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: George Perkovich, Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: American televisions are filled with war rooms, countdowns, deadlines, and showdowns with Iraq. The almost minute by minute coverage distorts public understanding of how inspections work and creates a false sense of the inevitability of war. No decision has in fact been made. Within the administration some indeed intend the buildup as the prelude to war while for others it presents the credible threat of war that is necessary to compel Iraq's disarmament through inspections.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Navigating the treacherous shoals of the Iraq conflict with a steady hand, Jordan appears to have emerged unscathed from the turbulent months just past. The Hashemite Kingdom adjusted its rhetoric to fit the public mood while backing U.S. policy in Iraq and in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, managed to overcome its principal weaknesses and now faces the post-war world with renewed confidence and authority.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Eight weeks after victoriously entering Baghdad, American forces are in a race against the clock. If they are unable to restore both personal security and public services and establish a better rapport with Iraqis before the blistering heat of summer sets in, there is a genuine risk that serious trouble will break out. That would make it difficult for genuine political reforms to take hold, and the political liberation from the Saddam Hussein dictatorship would then become for a majority of the country's citizens a true foreign occupation. With all eyes in the Middle East focused on Iraq, the coming weeks and months will be critical for shaping regional perceptions of the U.S. as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: This panel on global democratization is part of an ongoing ISD effort to focus policy debate on a topic of growing importance. The first in this series of panel discussions was held shortly after 9/11, and was entitled "Sustaining Global Democratization: a priority now more than ever". That title could serve well for this panel also, as the connected issues of democratization and nation building are more timely and urgent than ever. In the new National Security Strategy, the President commits the U.S. to "extend the benefits of freedom across the globe." Democratization is no longer on the fringes of the policy debate. Uppermost on the agenda of policy maker and analyst are the open questions relating to Afghanistan, Iraq and the West-Bank/Gaza. How our democracy promoting goals are to be pursued and achieved in these and other cases is far from clear. Panelists today and at subsequent forums will bring the benefit of their wide experience to these issues. The problems that we discuss are global in nature. Today's panel will for the most part focus on the Middle East. Other regions will be the focus of attention at subsequent forums.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Gaza
  • Author: Ryan J. Watson
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The National Academy of Public Administration
  • Abstract: Global debate and media awareness of the complex issues involved with post-conflict governance are at an all-time high. With the reconstruction of the Balkans still leaving much left undone, the United States and much of the international community are seeking to balance continued intervention in Afghanistan with the emerging challenge of rebuilding Iraq.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: As the situation in Iraq continues to stabilize, the people of Iraq will turn to the task of reconstituting an Iraqi state. One of the first steps in this process will be to design, agree upon, and implement a new constitutional structure. While drafting a new constitution is a difficult and contentious process for any country, the challenges are substantially magnified for Iraq given its complex mosaic of ethnic and religious identities, the history of repression under Saddam Hussein, the necessary presence of American forces, and Iraq's complex relations with its neighboring states.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Graham T. Allison, Emily Van Buskirk
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The date is July 1, 2001. Real world history and trends occurred as they did through March 19, 2001 — except for the hypothetical departures specified in the case below. Events after March 19 that are not specified in this case are assumed to be straight - line projections of events as they stand on March 19. Assume, for example, that sporadic violence continues in the Middle East at the current level of intensity; Britain and the U.S. are nearing the end of their review of UN sanctions against Iraq, and will soon make recommendations on refocusing the sanctions to make them “smarter”; as expected, Mohammad Khatami was reelected as President of Iran on June 8 with a mandate for continued reform; the price of oil is $25/barrel; events in Chechnya and Ukraine, and negotiations over Nagorno - Karabagh will continue as before.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, United States, Iraq, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia, United Nations