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  • Author: Anthony H Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The events in Iraq over the last month have shown that any success in Iraq requires both the Iraqi government and the United States to go far beyond the war against ISIS, and makes any partisan debate over who lost Iraq as damaging to U.S. national interests as any other aspect of America’s drift toward partisan extremism. The war against ISIS is a critical U.S. national security interest. It not only threatens to create a major center of terrorism and extremism in a critical part of the Middle East, and one that could spread to threaten the flow of energy exports and the global economy, but could become a major center of international terrorism. It is important to understand, however, that ISIS is only one cause of instability in the region, and only one of the threats caused by spreading sectarian and ethnic violence.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Andrew Radin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In developing U.S. intervention policy in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and most recently Syria, the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has repeatedly been used as an analogy. For example, John Shattuck, a member of the negotiating team at the Dayton peace talks that ended the war, wrote in September 2013 that for Syria “the best analogy is Bosnia…Dayton was a major achievement of diplomacy backed by force…A negotiated solution to the Syria crisis is possible, but only if diplomacy is backed by force.” Many other analysts and policymakers with experience in the Bosnian conflict—such as Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman at the time; Christopher Hill, a member of Richard Holbrooke's negotiating team; and Samantha Power, who began her career as a journalist in Bosnia—also invoked the Bosnian war to urge greater U.S. involvement in Syria. Although the rise of ISIS has significantly altered the conflict over the last year, echoes of the Bosnian conflict remain in Syria: the conflict is a multiparty ethnic civil war, fueled by outside powers, in a region of critical interest to the United States.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya, Kosovo, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the years since the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Southern Gulf states and the US have developed a de facto strategic partnership based on a common need to deter and defend against any threat from Iran, deal with regional instability in countries like Iraq and Yemen, counter the threat of terrorism and extremism, and deal with the other threats to the flow of Gulf petroleum exports.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, North America
  • Author: Maren Leed, Sarah O. Ladislaw, Jane Nakano, Molly A. Walton, Frank A. Verrastro, Michelle Melton, Andrew Metrick
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last nine years, U.S. shale gas and tight oil production has skyrocketed. Between 2005 and 2014, U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas has risen by nearly 65 and 34 percent, respectively, due to tight oil and shale gas development. The shale gas supplies from Pennsylvania alone equal the entire natural gas export capacity of Qatar, the world's second largest natural gas exporter in 2012. And the increase from light tight oil production in places like North Dakota and Texas over the last five years is equivalent to Iraq's current production levels. These increased energy supplies have fed not only national but global markets, helping to offset other market disruptions and stabilize prices, to the benefit of many.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, North America
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Americans are reluctant to accept terrorism is part of their daily lives, but attacks have been planned or attempted against American targets (usually airliners or urban areas) almost every year since 9/11. Europe faces even greater risk, given the thousands of EU citizens who will return hardened and radicalized from fighting in Syria and Iraq.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Syria
  • Author: Guillaume Lasconjarias
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The recent NATO Summit in Wales has been viewed as a watershed event not just because of the particular moment at which it took place, but because of the pledges taken by heads of states and governments. For sure, the still ongoing Ukraine crisis and the rising insurgency in Syria-Iraq might have acted as true “wake-up calls”, calling the Alliance to step up its posture and show its determination, especially in terms of commitments towards bolstering the main pillars of the Alliance. The initiatives announced in terms of readiness and defence posture, the Readiness Action Plan in particular, belong to a series of reassurance measures towards Eastern allies, but also revitalize the NATO Response Force through an expeditionary spearhead, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. Although some might consider these measures as “too little too late”, they prove the Alliance's cohesion and the commitment to the transatlantic link.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Ukraine, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Internal ethnic and sectarian tensions, civil conflict, continued instability, failed governance and economy. Syrian civil war. Iraq, Lebanon, “Shi'ite crescent.” Sectarian warfare and struggle for future of Islam through and outside region. Sunni on Sunni and vs. Shi'ite struggles Terrorism, insurgency, civil conflict linked to outside state and non-state actors. Wars of influence and intimidation Asymmetric conflicts escalating to conventional conflicts. Major “conventional” conflict threats: Iran-Arab Gulf, Arab-Israeli, etc. Economic warfare: sanctions, “close the Gulf,” etc. Missile and long-range rocket warfare Proliferation, preventive strikes, containment, nuclear arms race, extended deterrence, “weapons of mass effectiveness”.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Jomana Qaddour
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Images and videos emerging out of Syria since 2012, becoming increasingly violent and sectarian along the way, showcased extremist groups and even children chanting things like, "Assad we will bring you down, and then we will come next for the [Alawites]!" Since 1971, the Alawite community (roughly 12 percent of Syria's 22 million people) has sheltered Hafez al-Assad, and subsequently his son, Bashar al-Assad, by providing the family with both loyal foot soldiers who have aided the Assad regime throughout the many domestic, political uprisings it has faced (in 1964, 1980, 1982, and now 2011) and with a bureaucracy that has legitimized their theft of public funds. The number of Alawite casualties increased over the course of the crisis, either fighting to protect Assad or because they are accused of aiding his regime, while a growing number have faced the grim realization that the Assad family is motivated by self-interest alone. While researchers cannot pinpoint exactly how many Alewites have died, many have documented the number of Syrian soldiers instead to obtain an approximation, and have indicated that between 11,000 Alawites and 41,000 Syrian soldiers have been killed.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Sarah A. Emerson, Andrew C. Winner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. politicians often work the topic of oil import independence into their campaign rhetoric as an ideal that would help separate U.S. economic prosperity and military responsibility from the volatility of Middle Eastern politics. In theory, oil independence would mean that events such as the Iranian revolution or internal political unrest in key Arab oil producers would have much less direct impact on the flow of oil to the United States, and thus U.S. prosperity (even if, in a global market for oil, the price impact of any supply disruption is shared by all consuming countries). More importantly, intra-state conflicts such as the Iraq-Iran war or the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait would not necessarily require large-scale U.S. military involvement to ensure oil production and exports to the United States and its allies. This linkage between U.S. oil import dependence and military commitment to the Gulf region has given rise to a myth favored by policymakers, markets, and the public that if the United States could attain oil independence, we could also reduce our military responsibilities around the world. Recent and ongoing changes in both the oil sector and in political-military strategy are for the first time in forty years combining in a manner that is leading some to believe this story could come true.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait
  • Author: Seth Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: That the Arab Spring caught the world off guard is hardly surprising. Interpreting overt stability as a reflection of fundamental strength or resiliency has often set the international community up for surprise. Few forecast the dissolution of the Soviet Union, for example; far too few in Washington anticipated what would follow the invasion of Iraq. These are reminders that apparent stability can be little more than an illusion.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is a nation with 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 . Iraq cannot succeed, however, by denying its growing level of violence and the responsibility of Iraq's current political leaders for its problems.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • 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: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai, Daniel Dewit
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last active US combat forces left Iraq in August 2010, marking the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the beginning of Operation New Dawn. Some 49,000 advisory troops, four advisor assistance brigades, and a limited number of special operations forces (SOF) remained to train, advise, and assist Iraq's security forces after that date, including the military, intelligence, and police. Until the end, these US troops continued to serve a number of other important security functions: carrying out kinetic operations against Iranian-backed and other militant groups; providing training to the ISF; taking part in joint patrols along the borders of the Kurdish provinces and helping integrate ISF and Kurdish forces; and acting as a deterrent to Iraq's neighbors–in particular Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • 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, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of "independence," including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP -- in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of “independence,” including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP – in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • 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: Babak Rahimi
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: ''Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Persians, Jews, and Flies,'' was the provocative title of a pamphlet published in 1940 by Saddam Hussein's uncle, Khairallah Talfah. Saddam himself incorporated suchanti-Iranian sentiment into Ba'athist state ideology after his rise to power in 1979 and into the bloody 1980—1988 Iran—Iraq war. Such hostility is still visible today under the Victory Arch, popularly known as the Crossed Swords, in central Baghdad where thousands of the helmets of Iranian soldiers are held in nets, with some half buried in the ground. Before 2003, every year Saddam and his soldiers would proudly march over the helmets, as the symbol of Iraq's triumph over Persia.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Tehran
  • Author: Ömer Taşpınar
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For most of the 20th century, Turkey chose not to get involved in Middle Eastern affairs. During the past decade, however, in a remarkable departure from this Kemalist tradition (based on the ideology of the republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatu¨rk), Ankara has become a very active and important player in the region. Under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government since 2002, Turkey has established closer ties with Syria, Iran, and Iraq, assumed a leadership position in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), attended Arab League conferences, and contributed to UN forces in Lebanon. It has also mediated in the Syrian—Israeli conflict as well as the nuclear standoff with Iran. Ankara's diplomatic engagements with Iran and Hamas have led to differences with the United States and Israel, leaving many wondering if Turkey has been turning away from itsWestern orientation or if it was just a long overdue shift East to complete Turkey's full circle of relations.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, United Nations, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the coming months, the US must reshape its strategy and force posture relative to Iraq and the Gulf States. It must take account of its withdrawal of most of its forces from Iraq, and whether or not it can give real meaning to the US­Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. It must deal with steadily increasing strategic competition with Iran, it must restructure its post-­Iraq War posture in the Southern Gulf and Turkey, and define new goals for strategic partnerships with the Gulf states and its advisory and arms sales activity. It must decide how to best contain Iran, and to work with regional friends and allies in doing so. In the process, it must also reshape its strategy for dealing with key states like Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Aram Nerguizian
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf military balance is dominated by five major factors: The Southern Gulf states, Iran, Iraq, outside powers like the US, and non-state actors like the various elements of Al Qa'ida, the Mahdi militia, and various tribal forces. At present, the Southern Gulf states have large military resources but limited real-world effectivenerss and have made limited progress towards collective and integrated defense.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It may well be early 2011 before we know the actual results of the Iraqi election, and not because there were problems in the way the election was held, or in the counting of votes. Prime Minister Maliki is playing power politics with a relatively honest election, not protesting one with serious abuses. Elections, however, are ultimately about two things: Who gains power and who can govern.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Economics are as important to Iraq's stability and political accommodation as security and governance, and they are equally critical to creating a successful strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States. It is far from easy, however, to analyze many of the key factors and trends involved. Iraqi data are weak and sometimes absent. U.S. and Coalition forces generally failed to look in detail at many of Iraq's most serious economic problems, or they issued heavily politicized reports designed to show that Iraqi “reconstruction” had been far more successful than it really was.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Adam Mausner
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The security arena will face the most drastic changes in U.S.-Iraqi strategic relations over the next two years. Iraq must assume all responsibility for its internal and external security once the United States withdraws by December 31, 2011, unless it invokes the terms of the Strategic Agreement to seek additional US aid. Iraq must both deal with its own insurgents and with problems in its relations with neighboring countries like Iran, Syria, and the Gulf states. This makes the continued improvement of all elements of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) vital both to Iraq and to the stability of the region, during the period of US withdrawal in 2010-2011 and in the years that follow.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Elena Derby
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Although Iraq has made political progress over the past few years it still falls far short of the level of political accommodation it needs to control its ethnic and sectarian divisions, ensure adequate representation for all ethno-religious groups, and create the conditions for effective governance. Despite the success of the national elections in March 2010, when over two thirds of the population defied threats of violence to cast their ballots—with a particularly strong turnout among Sunnis and Kurds—it is still unclear whether Iraq can form a stable ―national coalition government. If Iraq is successful, it will still take years for the new elected and appointed officials to develop the capacity they need to govern effectively.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is changing rapidly, although the outcomes of many of these changes remain unclear. The country faces major challenges in many areas—ranging from quelling the ongoing violence to achieving political accommodation and economic stability. Each of these challenges is critical to the future security and stability of Iraq: Defeat the threat posed by the remnants of the Sunni insurgency, neo-Ba'athists, and Shi'ite militias. Deal with the risk of new forms of ethnic and sectarian violence——especially ethnic conflict between Arab, Kurd, and other minorities in the North. Create effective Iraqi security forces that can fully replace U.S. forces, defeat or reduce the various insurgent and terrorist groups to acceptable levels of activity, enforce the rule of law, and grow strong enough to ensure Iraq's security from threats or pressure from neighboring states. Restructure the Iraqi government to both reflect the results of the 2010 Parliamentary elections and create a level of effective governance that can bring together all of the nation's major factions. Accelerate the slow pace of political accommodation and meet the need for stable political compromises between each major faction so as to rebuild full national unity over time. Find a new balance between central, provincial, and local governance that effectively serves the needs of the Iraqi people, aids political accommodation, builds capacity, reduces corruption, and shifts the climate from one dominated by counterinsurgency to one focused on the rule of law. Cope with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment; poor distribution of income; and key problems in the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors than affect large portions of the population. Move Iraq toward economic development in ways that deal with the complex heritage of nearly 30 years of war and internal conflict; massive population growth; and the need to create a competitive economy. Put Iraq's budget on a stable path toward developing effective Iraqi security forces and government services; helping fund economic reconstruction and development; dealing with the near phaseout of international aid and continuing foreign debt and reparations issues; and reducing the dependence of the government on uncertain levels of oil export earnings for the majority of its revenues.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Maren Leed, Hilary Price, Tara Murphy
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Department of Defense's (DoD's) mission to protect the nation necessitates its leaders' concern about the military's readiness for a vast and expanding range of missions. These concerns are heightened in the midst of two ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and within the context of a world that is increasingly complex. To their credit, DoD leaders continue to seek insight from both inside and outside the department about areas of potential vulnerability; this study is one such effort.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Paralysis by democracy : lack of national unity government Lack of government effectiveness and capacity at every level Remnants of insurgency and possible revival Sectarian and ethnic challenges Budget crisis, crippled economy, loss of foreign aid Halt in progress in developing Iraqi security forces Coming US withdrawal Uncertain neighbors
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: John A. Nagl, Brian M Burton
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: After a slow start, the U.S. military has made remarkable strides in adapting to irregular warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is beginning to institutionalize those adaptations. Recent Department of Defense (DOD) directives and field manuals have elevated stability operations and counterinsurgency to the same level of importance as conventional military offensive and defensive operations. These changes are the outcome of deep reflection about the nature of current and likely future threats to U.S. national security and the military's role in addressing them. They represent important steps toward transforming a sclerotic organizational culture that long encouraged a ''we don't do windows'' posture on so-called ''military operations other than war,'' even as the nation's leaders called upon the armed forces to perform those types of missions with increasing frequency.
  • Topic: National Security, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Talking with insurgents is often a necessary first step toward defeating them or reaching an acceptable compromise. These talks must often be done even as insurgents shoot at U.S. soldiers, and they in turn, shoot at them. Iraq represents perhaps the most recent and notable case where diplomacy triumphed: U.S. efforts to reach out to Iraqi Sunni tribal groups, many of which were linked to various insurgent organizations, eventually paid vast dividends as these tribes ''flipped'' and began to work with the coalition against al Qaeda in Iraq. In Shi'a areas, both direct and indirect talks helped facilitate a ceasefire that has done much to keep Iraq's fragile peace intact.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Michael O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: How can we make sense of where the United States is in Afghanistan today? A poor country, wracked by 30 years of civil war, finds itself at the mercy of insurgents, terrorists, and narco-traffickers. NATO's economy-of-force operation there has attempted to help build a nation with very few resources. Yet, overall levels of violence remain relatively modest by comparison with other violent lands such as the Congo, Iraq, and even Mexico. Economic growth is significant and certain quality of life indicators are improving, though from a very low base. The United States is committed to Afghanistan and over the course of 2009 will roughly double its troop strength there. The international community is also seriously committed, with a number of key countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom fighting hard and applying solid principles of counterinsurgency.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Netherlands
  • Author: C. Raja Mohan
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major contributions of Barack Obama's presidential campaign during 2007—08 was his political success in shifting the focus of the U.S. foreign policy debate away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan. The reversal of fortunes in the two major wars that President George W. Bush had embarked upon during his tenure (a steady improvement in the military situation in Iraq during the last two years of the Bush administration and the rapidly deteriorating one in Afghanistan) helped Obama to effectively navigate the foreign policy doldrums that normally sink the campaigns of Democratic candidates in U.S. presidential elections. Throughout his campaign, Obama insisted that the war on terror that began in Afghanistan must also end there. He attacked Bush for taking his eyes off the United States' ''war of necessity,'' embarking on a disastrous ''war of choice'' in Iraq, and promised to devote the U.S. military and diplomatic energies to a region that now threatened U.S. interests and lives: the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, South Asia
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye, Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most significant effects of the Iraq war is Iran's seemingly unprecedented influence and freedom of action in regional affairs, presenting new strategic challenges for the United States and its regional allies. Although Middle Eastern governments and the United States are in general agreement about diagnosing Tehran's activism as the war's most alarming consequence, they disagree on how to respond. The conventional U.S. view suggests that a new Arab consensus has been prompted to neutralize and counter Tehran's rising influence across the region in Gaza, the Gulf, Iraq, and Lebanon. Parallels to Cold War containment are clear. Indeed, whether consciously or unwittingly, U.S. policy has been replicating features of the Cold War model by trying to build a ''moderate'' Sunni Arab front to bolster U.S. efforts to counter Iranian influence. Despite signals that the Obama administration intends to expand U.S. engagement with Iran, the foundations of containment are deeply rooted and engender bipartisan backing from Congress. Even if the Obama administration desires to shift U.S. policy toward Iran, containment policies will be difficult to overturn quickly; if engagement with Iran fails, reliance on containment will only increase.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last four months of U.S.-ROK relations under the Bush administration saw the completion of a mission that helped to define the broadening global scope of the alliance as well as the final resolution of the troublesome “beef issue.” Tough negotiations were completed on a new defense cost-sharing agreement and the ruling party in the ROK began the process of passing the implementing legislation for the free trade agreement. All of this amounts to President Obama's inheritance of an alliance relationship that is in fairly strong shape, but a North Korean nuclear negotiation that remains unfinished. Despite the best efforts of the U.S., Pyongyang remained unwilling to accept standard verification procedures as part of the six-party denuclearization agreement. This was despite the fact that on Oct. 11, the U.S. removed the country from the terrorism blacklist. Obama's team will need to adhere to seven key principles as it continues to navigate the labyrinth of these difficult negotiations and bolster the strength of the alliance.
  • Topic: Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Korea
  • Author: Joseph Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the conclusion of the final summit meeting between Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin at the Russian resort of Sochi in early April, relations between Moscow and Washington appeared to have righted themselves. The cordial meeting between the outgoing presidents left a sense of optimism in both Moscow and in the West that U.S.-Russia relations would improve until at least the fall presidential elections in the United States. Things have quieted down between the two nations over the last quarter, as the leadership of both countries has gone about business at home and has lessened (though not ceased) the often-negative rhetoric. But when the summer concludes, Russia will again loom large in U.S. political debates, and the big questions of U.S. foreign policy – whether they revolve around Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Northeast Asia, or even Venezuela – will necessarily include Russia policy. And as President Dmitry Medvedev unveils his own version of “sovereign democracy,” U.S. foreign policymakers will be forced to address the fundamental question of whether U.S. policy toward Moscow is centered on its strategic interests, or on democratic values.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Iraq, Washington, Moscow, Venezuela, Northeast Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The war in Iraq has expanded from a struggle between Coalition forces and the remnants of former regime loyalists to a multifaceted conflict involving numerous Sunni groups, Shi'ite militias, Kurdish nationals, and foreign jihadists. Iraq's Insurgency and the Road to Civil Conflict is Anthony Cordesman's latest assessment of the Iraqi conflict and documents its entire evolution, from the history of ethnic tensions through the U.S. "surge." He identifies each actor in the arena, analyzes their motivations, and presents a detailed record of their actions, tactics, and capabilities. Cordesman's exhaustive study, based on meticulous research, is the most thorough account of the war to date.Beginning with the consequences of imperial colonialism and touching on the ethnic tensions throughout Saddam's regime, Cordesman examines and details the confluence of forces and events that have paved the way toward Iraq's current civil conflict. He analyzes major turning points, including elections, economic developments, and key incidents of violence that continue to shape the war. Finally, he outlines the lessons learned from this history and what can and cannot be done to stabilize the nation.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Bill Elliot, Anna R. Wittman
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In early 2005, Kurt M. Campbell, Director of CSIS' International Security Program, accompanied Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a trip to Asia. Enroute, the Secretary and several of his close aides expressed an interest in learning more about the future of missile defenses in East Asia and the Subcontinent. Although familiar with the missile defense policies of countries in the region, they were concerned about how those policies were being implemented, whether the various national efforts were complementary or counterproductive, and how those efforts might affect the US approach to missile defense architecture.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Sara B. Moller, Eric M. Brewer
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: May 1, 2003 President George W. Bush declares an end to major combat operations in Iraq. The U.S. lost 138 soldiers during the war. Seven U.S. soldiers are wounded when grenades are thrown at an American base in Fallujah, a stronghold for Saddam Hussein loyalists. Earlier, U.S. troops killed 15 civilians at a protest in the city.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Maryland
  • Author: Nawaf Obaid
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During an official visit to Washington DC on September 20th, 2005, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal proclaimed: “US policy in Iraq is widening sectarian divisions to the point of effectively handing the country to Iran…. We fought a war together to keep Iran out of Iraq, now we are handing the whole country over to Iran without reason…. Iraq is disintegrating.”
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Maryland
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Wartime is scarcely the easiest time for demanding self criticism, but the recent exchanges between the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense over the mistakes the US did or did not make in Iraq have highlighted the fact that the US must both admit its mistakes and learn from them to win in Iraq and successfully engage in the “long war.” The full chronology of what happened in US planning and operations before, during, and immediately after the fight to drive Saddam Hussein from power is still far from clear. It is now much easier to accuse given US leaders than it is to understand what really happened or assign responsibility with credibility.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Onur Ozlu
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US aid effort in Iraq has not accomplished most of its sectoral goals, and more importantly, has not effectively initiated the reconstruction of the country's economy. After three years of struggle, the expenditure of more than $ 20 billion US aid funds, $ 37 billion Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) - UN accumulated from the oil for food program's revenues and the seizure of bank accounts- and death of thousands of US and other coalition soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis, Iraq is producing less oil, has less electricity and less water than it did during the Saddam period. After studying the modern Iraqi economic history as a background, this work analyzes why.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Maryland
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The rising insurgency in Iraq has become a “war after the war” that threatens to divide Iraq and thrust it into full-scale civil war. It dominates the struggle to reshape Iraq as a modern state, has become a growing threat to the Gulf Region, and has become linked to the broader struggle between Sunni and Shi'ite Islamist extremism and moderation and reform throughout the Islamic world.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: I was originally asked to address the five areas where our country has the most need to invest more for its security. This, however, is not the approach I would currently take to either issues involving national security or federal spending. In fact, my approach is almost the opposite. I am not a “spend without taxing” Republican, and I don't find much to celebrate in a President and Congress that have done the worst job of fiscal management in our nation's post-World War II history, if not our nation's entire history.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: James A. Lewis
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The first warnings of an “electronic Pearl Harbor” appeared in 1995. 1 They have appeared regularly since then. Before the conflict with Iraq that began in March 2003, there was speculation that the U.S. would experience cyber attacks in retaliation. Since the onset of the war, however, there have been no reported attacks that damaged U.S. infrastructure or affected U.S. military operations in Iraq. Nor have there been any reports of cyber attacks that damaged U.S. infrastructure or affected U.S. military operations since 1996.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There are major uncertainties about the military outcomes and political ramifications of an attack on Iraq. Really three sequential sets of scenarios: The prelude to war and the different ways in which war can occur. The actual process of conflict. The post-conflict occupation of Iraq and the way in which an independent Iraqi regime emerges.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Phillip McLean
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Once again events elsewhere have driven news of Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America off the front pages— even from newspapers in the region. Lack of attention may be the least of those countries' concerns about the war. The more serious consequence is likely to be that the war will accentuate the hemisphere's already evident problems. To the degree that the war slows the growth of world trade, the region's near-term economic prospects will suffer, and global uncertainties will dim the promise of more open and dynamic markets.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Canada, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Armand Peschard-Sverdrup
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When looking at the ramifications of the war in Iraq on the Western Hemisphere, it is clear that the conflict will have the greatest impact on the two nations with which the United States shares borders—Mexico and Canada. From a national security standpoint, these nations' immediate proximity to the United States automatically heightens the threat to their own national security, particularly because we seem to have entered an era in which the use of weapons of mass destruction—be they nuclear, chemical, or biological—poses a viable threat. From a U.S. homeland security standpoint, the shared border transforms both of our friendly neighbors into possible platforms from which rogue elements could stage attacks or enter the United States to threaten our homeland.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Canada, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Baris Omali
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On October 7, the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), dominated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) approved a resolution authorizing the government to send Turkish troops to Iraq. After the 358 to 183 vote, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented that Turkey had “come to the decision that it can't totally fulfill its duty as a neighbor in this big transformation process of Iraq with only political, humanitarian and economic support, without military contributions.” Although over 60 percent of the Turkish public were opposed to deployment, Erdogan committed his personal prestige and unchallenged authority over JDP parliamentarians to ensure a positive vote in contrast to the parliamentary reverse on March 1.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bulent Aliriza
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It has been three months since the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) failed to muster the appropriate number of votes to allow the United States to open a northern front through Turkey against Iraq. In retrospect it is clear that the March 1 vote reflected the public opposition to the imminent conflict, the perceptible ambivalence of the powerful military establishment and its reluctance to provide an unambiguous recommendation - in particular at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting one day before the vote - and the attitude of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. It also reflected the inability of the governing Justice and Development Party (JDP) to overcome its deep misgivings about the war to give a sufficiently clear lead.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the June 2000 summit meeting and meetings between high level U.S. and North Korean officials on the one hand, and economic turmoil and continued food shortages on the other, we believe North Korea remains committed to maintaining strong military forces. These forces continue to be deployed close to the border with South Korea in an offensively oriented posture, and North Korea's NBC and missile programs likely remain key components of its overall security strategy. The most likely large- scale regional war scenario over the near term, which would involve the United States, would be on the Korean peninsula. In recent years, North Korea has continued to pose a complex security challenge to the United States and its allies. Prior to the 1994 Agreed Framework, North Korea is believed to have produced and diverted sufficient plutonium for at least one, and possibly two, nuclear weapons. In addition, although North Korea froze the production of plutonium in 1994, there are concerns that North Korea is continuing with some elements of a nuclear weapons program. North Korea also possesses stockpiles of chemical weapons, which could be used in the event of renewed hostilities on the peninsula. Research and development into biological agents and toxins suggest North Korea may have a biological weapons capability. North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles available for use against targets on the peninsula, some of which are capable of reaching tar-gets in Japan. Its missile capabilities are increasing at a steady pace, and it has progressed to producing medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). North Korea also has continued development of even longer-range missiles that would be able to threaten areas well beyond the region, including portions of the continental United States. As a result of U.S. diplomatic efforts, however, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has maintained a moratorium on launches of long-range missiles for over one year.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Korea