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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell will return to the region next week in a bid to restart talks that have been stalled since the beginning of the Obama administration. In a television interview earlier this month, Mitchell declared that he would like to complete peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians within two years, if not sooner. Senior U.S. officials, including President Obama, have called for an unconditional return to the negotiating table. The official position of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is that talks cannot resume until Israel extends its settlement moratorium to east Jerusalem. He also wants the pre-1967 boundaries to serve as the baseline for negotiations. At the same time, he has made a statement indicating that he regrets how he reached his current position, hinting that the current impasse does not serve the Palestinian people's interests. Is there more convergence between the two sides than is readily apparent?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Having raised Arab expectations months ago with the idea of a settlement freeze, the Obama administration now has the unpleasant task of coaxing Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas to tacitly accept an agreement on settlements that offers less than expected -- if more than was offered in the past. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the United States will succeed at arranging a trilateral summit involving President Barack Obama, President Abbas, and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN next week that would culminate in the announcement of a formal relaunching of peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Nearly three months have passed since Iran's bloody crackdown on the mass protests over the controversial June 12 presidential election. The Obama administration, however, has yet to determine a strategy to support the first serious challenge to the regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Last week's statement by Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- that he saw no proof the British or the West were behind the protests -- should encourage the United States to pursue a more assertive approach to support Iranians working for change. Nevertheless, the State Department's Iran Democracy Fund -- currently the only tool available for promoting democracy in Iran -- has been extremely cautious in its funding decisions since President Barack Obama's inauguration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With rumors in the air of a U.S.-brokered, mid-September meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, various regional actors are busy positioning themselves for the coming round of diplomacy. Analysis of these dynamics provides some useful perspective on the road ahead, beyond the usual focus on the minutiae of settlement construction, prisoner exchanges, or other immediate concerns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Two and a half months after U.S. president Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu first hit an impasse over the settlement issue, the dispute has not only continued, it has also grown more complex. Saudi Arabia has now rebuffed requests from Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell to pursue confidence-building measures toward Israel, even in return for a moratorium on settlement construction. Although the Obama administration has not yet leveled any public criticism against Riyadh, it continues to be critical of Israeli settlements. To move diplomacy forward, Washington will have to engage in some creative policymaking.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Singh
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A number of top U.S. national security officials are visiting Israel this week, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones, and Iran will surely be at the top of their agenda. With Iran making steady progress toward nuclear weapons capability and remaining silent on the U.S. offer to negotiate, and with the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran looming ever closer, U.S. officials' public message on the consequences for Iran should engagement fail will draw close scrutiny. Although the Obama administration appears to understand the need for serious consequences, its public messaging on this point has been uneven, blunting its effectiveness.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 25, 2006, Jeffrey White, David Makovsky, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White is the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute and the coauthor, with Michael Eisenstadt, of the Institute Policy Focus Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. He, like Jeffrey White, recently returned from a trip to Israel. Dennis Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Emile El-Hokayem, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Daniel Christman
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 23, 2006, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Daniel Christman, Emile El-Hokayem, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Christman is senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and previously served as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Emile El-Hokayem is a Middle East analyst at the Henry L. Stimson Center. Michael Eisenstadt is director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Cecile Zwiebach
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While U.S. and coalition forces—and increasingly the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)—struggle to defeat the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, they are also dealing with a range of armed groups that complicate the security scenario. Militias and ad hoc units with different levels of government sanction are growing in strength, and the training of the ISF is progressing unevenly. While it is not possible to conduct a comprehensive survey of both independent groups and ISF units, a sampling of less publicized units illustrates how diffuse military power in Iraq has become.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Jeffrey White, 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: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: I have spent the past month in Jerusalem, meeting with Israelis and Palestinians here, in Ramallah, and in Gaza City. In my years of dealing with both sides, I cannot recall a time when emotion in general, and frustration in particular, have so clearly shaped their outlook. Given the death of Yasser Arafat, the emergence of Mahmoud Abbas, and Ariel Sharon's decision to disengage from Gaza, this should be a time of hope and opportunity. Instead, there is less a sense of possibility than of foreboding. It may not yet be too late to use the withdrawal as a platform on which to build a different future. Yet, much of what could have been done to prepare the ground for disengagement has not been done—and that may explain the unease that pervades both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Dennis Lormel
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While individual terrorist attacks can be carried out at a relatively low cost, the need to recruit operatives and provide them with safe houses, training, and support requires significant funding. The United States has proven to be a good venue for fundraising by terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Hizballah. Although such activities could indicate the presence of operational sleeper cells, these organizations are unlikely to risk losing their funding sources by carrying out an attack on U.S. soil, at least under the current circumstances. After all, the revenue sources of certain terrorist organizations have become increasingly restricted following attacks in other parts of the world (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia), largely due to policy changes, more proactive law enforcement, and fear of prosecution on the part of front organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The State Department released the 2003 edition of Patterns of Global Terrorism last week in accordance with its congressional mandate to provide an accounting of international trends. With several spectacular terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq, and a series of counterterrorism victories, 2003 witnessed profound changes in the arena of international terrorism. Unfortunately, the structure and content of the latest Patterns are strikingly similar to those of years past, missing an important opportunity to help senior policymakers fight the war on terror by assessing important new trends.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 24, Greek and Turkish citizens of Cyprus voted on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan to resolve the long-standing dispute on the island. The elusive Cyprus issue once again evaded solution: although 65 percent of the Turkish Cypriots voted to accept the Annan plan, 76 percent of Greek Cypriots said no. The plan — born out of recent UN-sponsored negotiations between Turkey and Greece, as well as Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaderships — envisaged the unification of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey, and the internationally recognized Government of Cyprus (GOC) in the ethnically Greek south into a federal state ahead of the May 1 deadline when the GOC is scheduled to enter the European Union (EU) representing the whole island. Why was the Annan plan accepted by the Turkish Cypriots, yet rejected by the Greek Cypriots? What are the implications of the new situation for Turkey, the EU, and the United States?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In congressional hearings on Iraq last week, legislators repeatedly asked testifying administration officials whether the United States would negotiate a formal security agreement with the post-June 30 Iraqi interim government. The officials explained that following the planned transfer of sovereignty to Iraq, U.S. and coalition forces would operate in accordance with current arrangements or a new UN resolution, pending the conclusion of a formal agreement. This solution has some advantages as the eventual negotiation of a security agreement is liable to be a contentious affair. It also has drawbacks, as the continued presence of coalition forces will almost certainly cause political controversy in Iraq, leading to the imposition of constraints on the coalition's military freedom of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The intensification of Sunni-based resistance operations and the onset of Muqtada al-Sadr's Shi'i rebellion in early April confronted the coalition with a number of serious military and political challenges, few of which have been resolved. Coalition forces are facing new and increased operational demands, and among these demands is a substantially enlarged requirement for the coalition forces and reconstruction program to secure the main lines of communication (LOCs) connecting Baghdad to the outside world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, 2004, Jeffrey White, Michael Knights, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. A rapporteur's summary of the remarks made by Jeffrey White and Michael Knights was presented in PolicyWatch No. 861. The following is a summary of Michael Eisenstadt's remarks. Mr. Eisenstadt is a senior fellow at the Institute.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Michael Kights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, 2004, Jeffrey White, Michael Knights, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White, an associate of the Institute, previously headed the Defense Intelligence Agency's Regional Military Assessments Group and that agency's Office for Middle East-Africa Regional Military Assessments. Michael Knights, the Institute's Mendelow defense fellow, wrote his doctoral dissertation at King's College, London, on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq during and since the 1991 Gulf War. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks. A summary of Michael Eisenstadt's remarks is presented in PolicyWatch No. 862.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 5, Iraqi gunmen attacking U.S. forces in Baghdad's predominantly Sunni al-Azamiya neighborhood were joined by members of radical Shi'i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, Jaysh al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army). Soon thereafter, posters of al-Sadr, along with graffiti praising the cleric's "valiant uprising" appeared in the Sunni-dominated city of Ramadi. On April 8, as violence raged in Fallujah, another Sunni city, announcements erupted from both Shi'i and Sunni mosques in the Baghdad area, calling on all Iraqis to donate blood, money, and medical supplies for "your brothers and sons in Fallujah." A donation tent in the Shi'i-dominated Kadhimiya neighborhood urged individuals to "prevent the killing of innocents in Fallujah by all means available." That night, thousands of Shi'i and Sunni demonstrators marched to Fallujah from Baghdad in a display of solidarity. On April 9, in the mixed town of Baquba, Shi'is and Sunnis joined forces to attack a U.S. military base, damaging both government and police buildings.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Madrid's determination to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, combined with the collapse of some multinational forces during recent fighting, poses serious questions about the contribution that such forces can make to security during the period leading up to the June 30 transfer of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The challenge posed by Muqtada al-Sadr in the past several weeks remains unresolved, and its consequences are likely to be felt for some time to come. Al-Sadr's actions since March 28 present a complex challenge, one with both military and political implications. Eliminating al-Sadr and his organization as a political and military factor entails risk; but, if handled properly, the risks are worth taking.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow's meeting in Washington, D.C., between President George W. Bush and visiting British prime minister Tony Blair was scheduled before the recent outbreaks of violence in Iraq and before Wednesday's announcement of U.S. support for Israel's plan to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. But both subjects will top the agenda of talks between the two leaders, and decisions emerging from the meeting could shape international affairs for years to come. Despite the fact that both men need each other's support at the moment, significant political and policy differences between the two persist.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The battle for Fallujah, in which U.S. forces have been fighting to break Sunni resistance elements in that city, has been one of the most sustained fights of the Iraq war and subsequent occupation. Significantly, Sunni insurgents are not only fighting in Fallujah, but also across the Sunni heartland. Militarily, the battle suggests that the resistance maintains substantial capabilities despite a year of counterinsurgency operations, and that more tough fights lie ahead. Politically, it points to expanded Sunni opposition to the occupation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Petraeus
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, 2004, Maj. Gen. David Petraeus addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously, he served as assistant chief of staff for operations in the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia, and as deputy commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force there. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Faced with both the Muqtada al-Sadr uprising and intense fighting in Ramadi and Fallujah, Washington announced that it will hold the number of U.S. forces in Iraq at the current level of 134,000 by delaying plans to withdraw some troops during the current rotation. The announcement is a recognition that Iraqi security forces are not yet able to handle civil emergencies and armed resistance on the scale being seen in central and southern Iraq. These forces have been sorely tested in recent incidents; the Iraqi Police Service (IPS) failed to warn about the attack on U.S. contractors in Fallujah, and it surrendered control of its police stations and vehicles to Sadr's Mahdi Army in cities from Baghdad to Basra. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), designed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to provide paramilitary support to IPS and coalition forces, underperformed in its first major deployment in the Fallujah fighting and failed to prevent the collapse of IPS forces in the face of Mahdi Army pressure in the south. These incidents should prompt new analysis of what can be done to support the continued development of Iraqi security forces, and a realistic reevaluation of expectations regarding the role of these forces before, during, and after the upcoming transition period. Most important, these fragile forces should not be prematurely exposed to serious fighting or other situations that are likely to strain their loyalties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past week, Muqtada al-Sadr, a leading radical Shi'i cleric in Iraq, has begun to launch direct, violent challenges to the coalition's authority. After a relatively quiet period of organization and preparation, Sadr and his faction have emerged as an even more dangerous factor in an already unstable security situation. His latest actions come at a difficult moment, as the coalition attempts to deal with an increasingly obdurate Sunni insurgency, a political challenge from Grand Ayatollah Ali Husayn al-Sistani (the most senior Iraqi Shi'i cleric), and a general rise in political tensions before the approaching June 30 transfer of power. Coalition leaders may in fact have decided to provoke Sadr into an open challenge now rather than waiting for him to take action later. Yet, Sadr was ready, willing, and able to exploit this opportunity, inciting violent protests across much of southern Iraq and in his Baghdad stronghold.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Yasemin Congar
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, 2004, Turks voted in nationwide municipal elections for the mayors of more than 3,000 cities and towns, as well as administrative council members for all eighty-one Turkish provinces. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won an overwhelming victory, increasing its national standing. With 41.8 percent of the vote -- almost 8 percent more than in the November 2002 general elections that catapulted the party to power -- the AKP emerged, by a wide margin, as the most popular party in Turkey. The opposition was weak; together, the three main opposition parties -- the social-democrat Republican Peoples Party (CHP), the nationalist/center-right True Path Party (DYP), and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) -- received fewer votes (38.6 percent) than the AKP alone (41.8 percent). What are the implications of Turkey's new political landscape for Turkish domestic and foreign policy?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Thirty months after the massive World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, al-Qaeda is a significantly different organization, thanks to the successful efforts of the U.S.-led war on terror. It would be wrong, however, to assume that the threat of "global jihad" posed by al-Qaeda has diminished just because the organization itself is weakened. More accurately, al-Qaeda has adjusted to the relentless assault on its leadership structure by devolving into a set of regional networks -- each with its own political agenda and operational schedule, as a whole lacking a distinct command center.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Yemeni media recently reported that thousands of Iraqis who fled Saddam Husayn's brutal regime and have lived in Yemen for more than a decade are now thinking about returning home. Many of these individuals are encouraged by signs of new infrastructure and a recovering economy in Iraq. If and when they return, they will see a number of stark similarities between their old homeland and Yemen, including primordial federalism, a "triangle" of terrorism, and questions of Sunni-Shi'i relations. Although Yemen is certainly not a model to which Iraq should aspire, San'a does have experience in dealing with challenges similar to those currently facing Iraq. Yemen's handling of these challenges provides reasons for cautious optimism about Iraq's future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 29, Arab heads of state will convene in Tunis for the sixteenth summit of the twenty-two-member Arab League. The two days of discussion and the summit's final communique will provide some indication of the seriousness with which Arab leaders intend to tackle the issue of internal reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, Turks will go to the polls in nationwide local elections to vote for mayors and more than 90,000 council seats in 3,184 towns and cities. The outcome of these elections will not change the composition of Turkey's current Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which came to power in a political landslide in November 2002, receiving 34 percent of the popular vote and two-thirds of the seats in the legislature. Nevertheless, according to surveys, AKP may win as much as 50 percent of the votes on March 28, securing the mayorships of most Turkish cities, including Istanbul and Ankara. Such a sweeping victory would be unusual in Turkey, where more than a dozen parties usually run in local elections and where a given party is deemed successful if it receives more than 20 percent of the vote. These developments raise two crucial questions: Why is AKP receiving such immense electoral support? And would an overwhelming victory in the upcoming elections politically embolden the party to revive its seemingly dormant Islamist roots?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 25, British prime minister Tony Blair will meet with Col. Muammar Qadhafi in Libya, marking an important moment in the process of bringing Libya back into the international community. The March 23 meeting between Qadhafi and U.S. assistant secretary of state William Burns suggests that the United States and Britain are moving in parallel. Although Burns reportedly handed Qadhafi a letter from President George W. Bush, so far there is no sign that the two leaders will meet anytime soon. Indeed, it also remains unclear what role Qadhafi will play in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Egyptian officials and businessmen are visiting Israel this week to discuss the creation of Egyptian-Israeli qualified industrial zones (QIZs), which would give them free trade access to U.S. markets. They seek to emulate Jordan's QIZs, the most successful example to date of U.S.-Arab free trade. Indeed, these zones have given Jordan -- a relatively poor and resource-scarce country -- its most substantial "peace dividend" from its 1994 treaty with Israel. Yet, the Jordan QIZ experiment is in danger of failure, a situation that has important implications for U.S. efforts to promote regional free trade.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A gathering of Arab civil society activists convened by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, last weekend provided a revealing glimpse into the two faces of reform in the Middle East today. In an opening address, Egypt's president for the past twenty-three years, Hosni Mubarak, presented the traditional case for stability as the touchstone of any reform, the argument dismissed by President George W. Bush as one of the great failed policies of the last six decades. Offering an alternative model of reform in the name of "democratic transformation" were the Alexandria conferees themselves, who issued a closing "declaration" that deserves careful scrutiny with regard to its articulation of operational objectives for reform -- for Arabs and by Arabs. That details of both models were disseminated in a special newsletter by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington this week suggests, at the very least, that the reform impulse has gained enough strength for the Egyptian government to give the conferees a respectful hearing, even if this vision -- radical in implications, moderate in ambitions -- collides head-on with the case that Egypt's veteran president presented to the delegates.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since March 8, 2004, Syria has witnessed an unprecedented series of riots by Kurds and protests by human rights activists and intellectuals. These developments set the stage for the Bush administration's imminent announcement about imposing sanctions in accordance with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 15, 2004, Michael Knights addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Knights, the Mendelow defense fellow at the Institute, is a frequent contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review and author of a forthcoming Institute monograph on Persian Gulf security. He has a doctorate from the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, where he wrote his dissertation on U.S. military operations in Iraq from Operation Desert Storm through Operation Iraqi Freedom. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, London, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: One year after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Iraqi security forces are beginning to take greater responsibility for the security of the country. Nevertheless, questions remain concerning the diffusion of military power within Iraq. The Iraqi Fundamental Law drafted earlier this month stated that militias will be considered illegal entities after the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) transfers power to local authorities on June 30, 2004. In practice, however, many militiamen will likely be absorbed into existing security organizations such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), where their loyalties will continue to be divided between their Baghdad paymasters and local or sectarian affiliations. The challenge for the CPA is to find practical ways of balancing these sometimes contending pressures on local militias in order to prevent them from diluting the CPA's -- and, eventually, the Iraqi central government's -- power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Three days after the terrorist bombings in Madrid, the pro-American, conservative Spanish government was defeated in general elections, to the surprise of many observers. Although officials have not yet confirmed that the al-Qaeda terrorist network was responsible for the attacks, the polling result was immediately interpreted as reflecting electorate anger at retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and the belief that his foreign policy had made Spain a target of foreign terrorists. An immediate pledge to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq by incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is a blow to the Bush administration's Iraq policy and represents, albeit unintentionally, a major political triumph for al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Iraqi Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) -- to be officially published tomorrow, when the mourning period for the victims of the March 3 Ashura bombings ends -- includes an extensive bill of rights. Yet, several of the Arab countries whose constitutions offer similar rights have a decidedly unsatisfactory record on human rights. Indeed, the region's poor track record with regard to actually implementing constitutional guarantees may make the TAL appear less impressive to Arabs than it does to Americans. At least as important as what the TAL says is whether the legislation will be respected in practice.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the eve of the "Super Tuesday" Democratic primaries, voters are scrutinizing the positions of the two leading candidates, Senators John Edwards and John Kerry. The following quotes outline their views on Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shaul Bakhash, Haleh Esfandiari
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 17, 2004, Shaul Bakhash and Haleh Esfandiari addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Bakhash, who has worked for many years as a journalist in Iran, is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University and author of Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution (Millefleurs, 1991). Haleh Esfandiari, who recently returned from a trip to Iran, is consulting director of the Middle East Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Previously she served as deputy secretary-general of the Women's Organization of Iran. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Paula Dobriansky
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 12, 2004, Paula Dobriansky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. As the undersecretary of state for global affairs, Dr. Dobriansky is the senior State Department official responsible for a broad range of transnational issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, counternarcotics, law enforcement, refugees, humanitarian relief, and environmental and scientific matters. The following are excerpts from her remarks; the full text of her presentation can be found at www.washingtoninstitute.org/media/speakers/dobriansky021204.htm
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Bush administration has recently circulated to its G-8 partners the details of the Greater Middle East Partnership (GMEP) that Washington hopes will win endorsement at the group's May 2004 summit in Sea Island, Georgia. The GMEP is a core element of the administration's larger Greater Middle East Initiative, which has additional security and political components beyond those outlined in the GMEP. Last week, the English-language website of the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat published what it called the "U.S. working paper for G-8 sherpas" (the latter term referring to the government officials responsible for preparing the event). If this eight-page document is in fact authentic -- a claim that no administration official has disputed -- then the president's "forward strategy of freedom" is likely to remain illusory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries, Georgia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: To no one's surprise, the Iranian parliamentary elections resulted in a conservative sweep; the hardliners had rigged the rules so as to prevent a serious contest. As the hardliners consolidate their control, they may be interested in improving relations with the United States, though a major initiative would likely appear only after they retake the presidency at the end of Muhammad Khatami's term in May 2005. The most obvious bait for such engagement is Iran's nuclear program. On February 22, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Mohamed ElBaradei met with Iranian Supreme National Security Council head Hassan Rohani to discuss the IAEA report due out this week, which shows once again that Iran has made clandestine progress toward nuclear enrichment, further raising the stakes. Given the risks, would a U.S.-Iranian deal be appropriate?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Assaf Moghadam
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 5, 2004, a German court acquitted Abdelghani Mzoudi, a thirty-one-year-old native Moroccan, of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization (al-Qaeda). Mzoudi is suspected of having provided material and financial support to the Hamburg cell that helped organize and perpetrate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. According to the presiding judge, Mzoudi was acquitted for lack of evidence, not out of a belief in the defendant's innocence. The acquittal was the most recent example of a growing dilemma faced by the United States and other countries in their efforts to prosecute suspected terrorists: how to gain access to intelligence for criminal proceedings without compromising the sources of that information. Indeed, Mzoudi's acquittal comes at a time when, despite nearly three years of fighting the war on terror, German intelligence claims that the presence of militant Islamist groups on German soil has reached new heights. U.S. officials face similar circumstances.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Germany, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's meeting between President George W. Bush and visiting Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali may be a low-profile event with a leader of a country in which the United States has only limited strategic interests. Yet, the repercussions of their luncheon tete-a-tete for the administration's larger objective of Arab political reform could be profound. Invitations to meet with the president in Washington are a rare privilege -- Ben Ali has not been there in fourteen years and is only the sixth Arab head of state that Bush has received there (joining the leaders of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Yemen). Given that there are no burning issues on the bilateral U.S.-Tunisian agenda, the principal question regarding this visit is whether Bush will use the occasion to press a visiting Arab leader on his ambitious plan for Arab political reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Algeria, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The violent incidents that have occurred in Iraq since the beginning of this month illustrate the diverse faces of Iraqi resistance. The terrorist-style attacks in Iskandariyah and Baghdad on February 10 and 11 drew much attention to the presumed links of terrorist organizations to anti-occupation incidents. Although resistance elements do indeed employ terrorist tactics, the broad scope of resistance activity faced by the coalition has been reflected in several recent incidents, including a failed ambush on February 7, a series of military-style attacks in Falluja on February 12 and 14, and day-to-day attacks involving a range of explosive devices. Indeed, resistance elements seem to have rebounded from their losses of November-December 2003.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The character of Iraqi politics has completely and irreversibly changed in recent months. The prevailing sense among Iraqis is that Saddam Husayn is not coming back; they are now focused on the question of what new power arrangements will emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Resistance activities in Iraq were at a high pitch in fall 2003. Attacks became better organized and more lethal, and several successful operations were mounted against the coalition. By the end of December, however, the hope was that the security situation was improving in the wake of several developments: the capture of Saddam Husayn; a series of U.S.-led offensive operations; an increased understanding of resistance forces; attrition within the resistance networks and their leadership; and the capture of significant amounts of money and arms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Barham Salih
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current situation in Iraq constitutes a unique moment in the history of the Islamic Middle East. For the first time, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, and Assyrians of the same nation have an opportunity to cooperatively evaluate the task of shaping their shared future. The challenge between now and June 30, 2004 -- when the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is scheduled to hand over power to the local authorities -- is to articulate a transitional law through which a sovereign provisional government can be elected. Naturally, there is significant debate as to how this goal can be achieved. Although significant challenges lie ahead, the progress made following the liberation of Iraq has been incredible, particularly in light of the country's numerous complicating factors. Iraq's leaders now have the opportunity to build on this unique situation by creating a viable state.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arab Countries