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  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The May 28 meeting between the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq was mostly notable for its length -- four hours -- and the lack of anything to show for all that time together. And the very next day, Iran announced that three detained Iranian Americans visiting their homeland, including renowned scholar and women's rights advocate Haleh Esfandiari, were being formally charged with espionage -- charges that would be merely laughable if they were not so tragic.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, the Arab League will convene the annual summit of its twenty-two member states in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Despite a record of disunity and inconclusiveness, this annual meeting of Arab leaders remains the subject of intense interest in the region. Rising Sunni-Shiite tensions, talk of a peace opening with Israel, and developments in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Lebanon have generated more attention for this year's summit than usual.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Riyadh
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 23, at 10:30 a.m. local Iraqi time, fifteen British naval personnel were seized by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the northern Persian Gulf. The British personnel -- eight from the Royal Navy and seven from the Royal Marines -- were in two light craft returning to the frigate HMS Cornwall after successfully inspecting a merchant ship for goods being smuggled into Iraq. Iran has accused the personnel, who include one woman, of illegally entering Iranian territorial waters, and has threatened to put them on trial. The incident is a diplomatic and military embarrassment to Britain. Meanwhile, fears of escalation in the Gulf have contributed to a global surge in oil prices.
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Martin Walker, Joe Klein
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush's plan of a troop surge coupled with counterinsurgency tactics comes too late for Iraq. Securing Baghdad is a precondition for establishing a secure Iraq. The success of U.S. counterinsurgency tactics is contingent upon a functional central government. The resources that will be devoted to securing Baghdad could be best employed in Afghanistan. Currently, the Iraqi government is a fig leaf for Shiite militias and it is doubtful that Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's government will wage war on Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Andrew Exum
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the context of debate surrounding U.S. military strategy in Iraq, Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz offers this classic directive: it is essential to understand the nature of the war you are fighting. To this end, the U.S. military in Iraq no longer faces a traditional insurgency conflict -- as those the French fought in Algeria or the United States fought in Vietnam -- in which one faction seeks to undermine and supplant the national government. Instead, the strategic landscape of Iraq today bears far more resemblance to the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s and 1980s, in which various sectarian militias battled each other for control of specific parts of the country. The Iraq war has indeed become a militia war.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Vietnam, Algeria
  • Author: Robert Gates
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 24, 2004, Gates was interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman of the Council on Foreign Relations: Gwetzmann: “Do you have any predictions as to how Iraq is going to turn out?” Gates: “No. We have the old line in the intelligence business that everything we want to know is divided into two categories: secrets and mysteries.” Gwertzman: “And Iraq is which?” Gates: “Iraq is very much the latter.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Jeffrey White, Matt Sherman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 28, 2006, Jeffrey White, Matt Sherman, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White, the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute, spent thirty-four years with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Matt Sherman recently returned from Iraq after serving for two years as the senior coalition advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. During his tenure, he counseled four interior ministers and was the lead coordinator for policy on Iraqi police services. Michael Eisenstadt is director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program, and is the coauthor, with Jeffrey White, of the Institute Policy Focus, Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The ongoing debate over whether or not Iraq is on the verge or in the midst of a civil war is a distraction from the main challenge the United States now faces in Iraq: how to reduce or contain sectarian (and ethnic) violence that could derail the political process and drag Iraq's neighbors into the conflict. That said, the recent increase in sectarian violence following the attack on Samarra's Askariyya Shrine does not necessarily alter the fundamental character of the conflict: attacks on Shiites have long been an important element of Sunni Arab insurgent operations, although Shiites have only recently begun striking back in a sustained way. The violence does, however, have the potential to spiral out of control should another insurgent attack damage an important Shiite shrine or result in very large loss of life.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Khalid Mishal, a Hamas leader currently residing in Damascus, visited Ankara today. Despite fierce debate in the Turkish press and objections from the secular-minded foreign policy elite, Mishal's visit went ahead with backing from Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. From the American perspective, the visit is important for three reasons. First, it could potentially hurt Turkey's longstanding role as an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Second, it serves as yet another foreign policy breech between Turkey and the West. Third, the visit is a telltale sign of the AKP's policy of “strategic depth” toward the Middle East, a policy that Washington needs to understand given U.S. objectives in Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr, lashed out at Saudi diplomacy while speaking to journalists in Amman on October 2. Referring to Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, Jabr said Iraq would not be lectured by "some Bedouin riding a camel." Broadening his remarks to the Saudi ruling family, the House of Saud, the Iraqi minister said, "There are regimes that are dictatorships; they have one god, he is the king, he is god of heaven and earth, and he rules as he likes. A whole country is named after a family."
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Warnings by Sunni politicians of even greater violence if Sunni Arab concerns are not addressed in the draft Iraqi constitution raise the question: could the insurgency get worse? The answer can be found by examining the insurgency's demographic dimension.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Orhan Babaoglu
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR), a regional maritime security initiative started by Turkey in 2001, was activated August 14-27. With world attention devoted to Iraq and the Middle East, important developments in the nearby Black Sea region involving energy politics, frozen conflicts, and new regional security initiatives have gone mostly unnoticed. The Black Sea is a stable but complex basin with vast economic resources and strategic importance as a medium for energy transportation. Is the Black Sea a bridge or a barrier between United States and Turkey? Does the issue of Black Sea security provide an opportunity to mend deteriorated relations or a new source of friction?
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Jack Keane, Francis West
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Daily images of carnage from Iraq and uncertainty over how to measure coalition progress continue to stoke debate in the United States. How does one assess the status of the insurgency? How are the efforts to recruit and train Iraq's security forces proceeding? What are America's options in Iraq?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Vietnam, Syria
  • Author: R. Nicholas Burns
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 18, 2005, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns addressed The Washington Institute's Seventh Turgut Ozal Memorial Lecture. Undersecretary Burns's prepared remarks were delivered by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried. The following are excerpts from the speech followed by a summary of the subsequent question-and-answer session. "Today, we have all gathered to honor Turgut Ozal, a strong leader with a clear vision of Turkey's future. Ozal — who we as Americans are proud to call a close friend — sought tirelessly to advance Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's legacy, his dream of a modern, democratic Turkey anchored in the West....
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The July 16–18 visit to Tehran by Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim Jafari and ten other members of his council of ministers has been hailed by some as the beginning of a new era in Iran-Iraq relations. In fact, the pattern of near-term relations was set during Iraqi defense minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi's preparatory visit to Iran on July 5–7. At a joint press conference on July 7 with his Iranian counterpart, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Iraqi official fell victim to the oldest trick in the Iranian diplomatic playbook. Speaking well beyond what had been agreed by the two sides, Shamkhani announced “wide defense cooperation” and alluded to the imminent conclusion of a defense pact between the two countries (as Iran has done in the past with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia). Al-Dulaimi was likewise forced to clarify the limited nature of the discussions while also taking pains to state, “Iraq will not be a source of insecurity and instability for any of its neighbors. Nobody can use [Iraqi territory] to attack its neighbors.” The message to both Tehran and Washington was clear: the three-way game between the governments of Iran, Iraq, and the United States has begun again. With Iraq caught in the middle, Baghdad intends to play an increasingly autonomous role as the game unfolds.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's economic crisis is naturally the leading issue in bilateral U.S.-Turkish relations, and it is almost certainly topping the agenda of today's meetings of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem with Vice President Richard Cheney and other senior officials. Of course, these meetings pose the difficult question of how much Washington should do, if anything, to bail out its strategically vital ally. But this is only one of several uncertainties characterizing U.S.-Turkish relations in the early days of the Bush administration. Because so much of Turkey's importance to the United States derives from its critical strategic location, bilateral relations are greatly affected by U.S. policies toward other states in Turkey's region. Of most concern to Turkey will be the evolution of Bush administration policy toward Iraq, Iran, and Russia, and also toward Europe's nascent bid to develop an autonomous security capacity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ramin Seddiq
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to rule tomorrow on the longstanding border dispute between two Persian Gulf sheikdoms, Qatar and Bahrain. This dispute has preoccupied the ruling families in both countries for decades. It and the much better known Iraq–Kuwait border dispute (not detailed here) are hardly the only ones on the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, almost every country on the peninsula has — or until very recently, has experienced — a disagreement over border demarcation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Bahrain, Arabian Peninsula
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 26, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell begins his tour of Iraq's Arab neighbors just as UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is scheduled to hold discussions with Iraqi foreign minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf in New York. Key themes in these meetings will be the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq; the future of UN sanctions; the need to prevent Iraqi adventurism, especially into the Arab–Israeli arena; and the larger U.S. goal of "regime change" in Iraq.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, New York, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While President Bill Clinton is laying out his plans for peace in the Middle East, others are talking about their readiness for war. Iraqi dictator Saddam Husayn's defiant January 6 Army Day speech supporting the Palestinian revolt followed on the December 31 four-hour "Al Aqsa Call" military parade in Baghdad dedicated to the Palestinian cause. By some reports, this parade included hundreds of tanks, dozens of helicopters, new troop-transport trucks, and new short-range missiles — impressive, given that the Iraqi army was assumed to be having problems maintaining its equipment, much less acquiring new systems. One unconfirmed report suggests that elements of the Hamurabi Republican Guard Division would be permanently stationed west of Baghdad on the road to either Syria and Jordan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the main purpose of Secretary of State Colin Powell's first foray into the Middle East was to discuss Iraq, he also visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority and injected a dose of what some would call "evenhandedness" — giving each both something to be pleased about and something to be unnerved about.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine