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  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Washington should look for small changes in Kuwait and Qatar's political and security calculus that could provide opportunities to support counter-terrorist financing measures there. On April 30, the U.S. State Department noted that private donations from Persian Gulf countries were "a major source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups, particularly...in Syria," calling the problem one of the most important counterterrorism issues during the previous calendar year. Groups such as al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), previously known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, are believed to be frequent recipients of some of the hundreds of millions of dollars that wealthy citizens and others in the Gulf peninsula have been donating during the Syrian conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Syria, Qatar
  • 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: Seyed Vahid Karimi, Amir Hooshang Mirkooshesh
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between the doctrine of Tony Blair and America's invasion of Iraq? This paper tries to answer this question. So, it looks at the American invasion of Iraq and the British response, and argues that Brain always prevails over brawn. United States was and still is a hard power. Britain plays a soft power role in international relations. Britain usually uses the American strength and resources for the benefit of Britain. When the British describe their relations with the United States as "special," they mean that they have the power to influence and direct US foreign policy. For an understanding of the international politics, we must concentrate on Anglo-Saxon "interdependency" through the "special relationship" which often exists between British Prime Ministers and US Presidents. Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister of the 1940s, Harold Macmillan in the 1960s, Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and Tony Blair in the 2000s, all had special relationships with their US counterparts. While not always the case, the relationship between Tony Blair, British Prime Minster, and George Bush, American President, was beneficial to British interest and Blair's doctrine of International Community declared in 1999. it is imperative not only to understand international politics, but also to react properly to international politics. As it has been proven in the Iraq case, Tony Blair manipulated US foreign policy during the George Bush presidency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Michael Shifter
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: At first glance, perhaps the most notable feature of Plan Colombia has been its longevity. Given the current divisiveness in Washington, the bipartisan support it has received across three administrations now seems remarkable. After 12 years, the plan is gradually winding down, but the U.S. allocated more than $300 million under the program in 2012 alone. Although the Plan has evolved considerably since it was approved by the U.S. Congress in July 2000, it has become shorthand for wide-ranging U.S. cooperation with Colombia to assist that country in combating drugs, guerrilla violence, and related institutional and social problems. All told, the U.S. has spent nearly $8 billion on the initiative—more than anywhere outside of the Middle East, and Iraq and Afghanistan since the end of the Cold War. Although the effort gave priority to counter-narcotics operations—and specifically the eradication of coca in southern Colombia—from the outset it also encompassed assistance for the judiciary and economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Kilic Bugra Kanat
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The transformation of Turkish foreign policy has become a closely followed subject, fueling important debates on the underlying reasons, resources, actors, outcomes, and nature of the policy progress. This change has also introduced new challenges to those who have adopted generic models to understand and explain Turkish foreign policy. This article will examine and discuss the main causes that have complicated the study of Turkish foreign policy during this period, such as simultaneous changes in the nature and conceptualization of the international system –the end of the unipolar world, the emergence of new power centers - and domestic transformations in Turkey, including active civilian control of military, the emergence of an attentive public opinion in foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Author: Ni̇met Beri̇ker
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper presents the Foreign Policy Circumplex (FPC) coding framework and the (FPC-TR) to identify aspects of Turkish foreign policy behavior between 2002 and 2011. The findings show an increase in cooperative foreign policy behavior and relational third party engagements in the second term of the AK Party administration. Turkey increased its third-party role in the context of crises with Iran and Syria. In relations with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestinian and Russia/Georgia conflicts, the same role, albeit with a decreasing tendency, continued. There were a number of decreased interactions related to issues, such as EU-Cyprus, Cyprus, Greece, Iraq, and Israel-Palestine. That said, we see an increase in relations with North Africa, the Balkan countries, Syria, the Middle East, Armenia and Israel. There is also greater cooperation in the context of Turkey's high priority bilateral relations, such as with the US, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia, as well as with the UN and European Council. With the EU and Israel, however, a reverse trend is observed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: V. Surguladze
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: In Ukraine, the West demonstrated once more the efficiency of its organizational weapon and its skill in pushing states into military operations of low intensity. there is still hope that unlike Serbia, Iraq, Libya, etc. Ukraine will not degenerate into another textbook study-case and a tick in the appropriate box in the list of successes of Western political technologists and experts in political coups and “protection of democracy.” While watching what is going on in Ukraine we should demonstrate the strength of spirit and a morally healthy social atmosphere so that to stand opposed to Western ideological attacks and to develop our state, rationally and consistently. Without this, it is impossible to survive in the world where certain countries have mastered the skills of disguising their destructive foreign policy aims with high-sounding phrases about common good and “human values and freedoms” which they distort beyond recognition.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, War, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, Serbia
  • Author: Edmund Cairns
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The UK needs a safe world in which to trade and invest, and to be free from the security threats caused by conflicts or fragile states. Yet spiralling inequality and climate change, among many other factors, threaten to create a more dangerous, unequal world. As the continuing tragedy in Syria shows, the world's old and new powers have not yet found a way to unite to end conflicts. The age of interventions, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, is over. But a new rule-based world in which China, India, and others unite with Western powers to protect civilians and end conflicts has not yet come into being. Whoever wins the 2015 UK general election, the greatest test for UK foreign policy will be how much it can do to help build that world.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Poverty, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, India, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Encouraging signs have emerged that the collapse of federal government control in Iraq may have slowed and that Baghdad is beginning the transition to counteroffensive operations to regain ground. Massive mobilization of largely Shiite volunteers has given Baghdad an untrained but motivated "reserve army" that can be used to swamp cross-sectarian areas around the Iraqi capital. All available formed military units have been pulled out of reserve and brought toward Baghdad to defend the capital. In this effort, all Department of Border Enforcement units have been relocated from the country's borders, and Iraqi army and Federal Police units have been redeployed from southern Iraq. Isolated federal government units are scattered across northern Iraq, in some cases hanging on against Sunni militants with the support of adjacent Kurdish forces.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Law Enforcement, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Jihadists are steadily capturing territory and resources and establishing a state in Syria and Iraq. The most capable jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), now controls swathes of territory, energy resources, and sophisticated military hardware in both countries. Although the extremists are currently occupied with fighting other nonregime armed groups and the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, these efforts are a means to an end: building a state from which to confront and target the United States, its allies, and its interests in the region. These jihadist groups also bring boundless suffering to the populations they control, and serve as a magnet for and inspiration to jihadists worldwide.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Turkish parliament's vote to authorize the deployment of military forces in Syria and Iraq provided a legal and official framework for such action It may appear to be a positive step in degrading and destroying the putative Islamic State (IS), however, the parliament in its vote used the broader term "terrorist organizations," thus the landscape for Turkey, Syria-Iraq, and regional states and interests remains exceptionally complex Though there is nearly universal and implacable opposition to IS among all actors in Syria and Iraq, Turkey's future role-depending on steps taken-could aggravate tensions not only with Arab Gulf states and Kurdish elements in Syria and Iraq, but Iran, Russia, and the Iraqi government Turkey's desire to create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of its common border remains one of the most sensitive issues Amid reports of increased IS pressure on Kobani, Kurdish PKK has insinuated Turkey will be to blame-not IS-for creating conditions for the refugee crisis, and threatens to resume opposition activity in Turkey. The Turkish parliament's vote Thursday to authorize use of its army and military facilities in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) may appear at first look to be a positive step for the broader coalition. The measures-to be determined-are in addition to any financial, diplomatic, humanitarian, and support activities for the anti-IS coalition. However, parliament's vote did not entail Turkey's officially joining the coalition. After the recent deal-details yet to be revealed-to bring home over 40 hostages IS had taken from Turkey's consulate in Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, pressure increased for Turkey to take military steps in the anti-IS fight. A factor increasing the possibility of military action is Turkish special operations forces' guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave in Syria reported to be increasingly surrounded by IS. Though there is almost universal animus toward IS in the region, there is also nearly uniform resistance to Turkey's perceived unilateral military involvement in Syria and Iraq, outside the framework of the anti-IS coalition. Turkey's next moves may cause more conflict than benefit in the anti-IS fight. Indeed, the political landscape for Turkey's moves at home and abroad remains extraordinarily complex.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As King Abdullah remains out of sight, worries persist over Saudi Arabia's ability to handle its many domestic and foreign issues The Sunni-Shi'a divide is now seen largely in terms of competition for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran But it is not just the Sunni-Shi'a tension which impacts the region as Saudi Arabia and Turkey also compete for primacy in the Arab Middle East; the three-way competition has been a key factor in the chronic conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen Common antipathy toward the self-declared Islamic State is the only glue that holds together the US-led coalition at this time: there's no consensus on how to defeat it, what to put in its place, and the role of Iran-issues made more complicated by questions about Saudi Arabia's internal decision process.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Power Politics, Counterinsurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: As if sustaining an effective coalition against the anti-Islamic State coalition weren't complicated enough, increasingly open Iranian support for Syrian and Iraqi Kurds has the potential to further destabilize the situation Geopolitical machinations have excluded Iran from the international coalition but geographical realities will ensure the country has a significant role to play in the future of both Iraq and Syria Iran is seeking to leverage its support for the Kurds as a way to bolster its beleaguered ally in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, and increase Iranian influence in Kurdish regions at the expense of Turkey and the West Overt Iranian support for the Kurds-while reaffirming support for Assad-will further stress the coalition, inevitably increasing sectarian tensions among members already grumbling that Assad and not IS is the true enemy; all while the West remains focused on IS and how to avoid entanglement in Syria As a sign of Iran's surprising Kurdish influence, Turkish and Iranian officials met on October 9 to discuss the unfolding events in Kobani, remarkable in that neither country is a member of the coalition but both hold most of the cards to resolve the immediate crisis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Kirk Talbott, John Waugh, Douglas Batson
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Burma wavers on the cusp of a transition from conflict, plunder, and risk towards peace and a more open, stable society. A half-century of armed warfare, largely financed by the rapid exploitation of high-value natural resources, may be coming to an end in mainland Southeast Asia's largest nation. The use and extraction of environmental assets will continue, however, to determine Burma's political and economic future. Unfortunately, natural resources too often play a perverse role in preventing needed reforms in countries emerging from protracted conflict. In an era of fiscal constraint, "sequestration," and a decade of Iraq and Afghanistan nation-building fatigue, how can the U.S. best aid Burma's transformation? The on-the-ground situations in Burma, namely, ethnic conflicts, land grabs, internally displaced persons, each undergirded by a deep distrust of the central government, are as varied as they are fluid. U.S. foreign policy issues regarding the nation also known as Myanmar, beginning with that nation's toponym,2 are so complex as to defy the Interagency and Tactical Conflict Assessment Frameworks, respectively vaunted by U.S. government civilian agencies and military services.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The establishment of the EU-China 'strategic partnership' on 30 October 2003 came at a time of converging priorities between the two actors. It also coincided with one of the worst crises in transatlantic relations, mainly due to disagreements over the US-led war in Iraq and the foreign policy stance of the first Bush ad¬ministration. As a result of the partnership, the then EU-15 and China adopted three initiatives which caught the attention of US policymakers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Biosecurity
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Europe
  • Author: Richard LeBaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tension between the United States and its partners in the Gulf flared up visibly in the last several months, notably with Saudi Arabia's public displays of displeasure with the US approach to the Syria conflict, nervousness about an interim nuclear deal with Iran, and sharp differences over Egypt. Gulf distrust of US intentions and actions is nothing new, and is in no small part rooted in the Gulf states' deep frustration with how the United States executed the war in Iraq, which they perceive as placing Iraq under Iran's sphere of influence. But these latest tensions also point to a fundamental gap in expectations about the US role in the region and its commitment to security for the Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff, Müjge Küçükkeleş
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Growing disorder throughout the Middle East has created the possibility for major changes to the status of Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey's handling of its Kurdish population and its relations with Kurdish groups throughout the region are creating new challenges for US foreign policy and US-Turkish relations. US policy toward the Kurds remains subordinate to wider regional security interests. Officially, the United States does not support the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. In practice, however, US policy is often inconsistent: the United States backs Kurdish groups in some states while opposing them in others.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan
  • 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: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Upon taking office in January 2009, President Barack Obama inherited a democracy promotion policy badly damaged from its prior association with the war in Iraq and with forcible regime change more generally. The Bush years had also seen a decline in America's reputation as a global symbol of democracy and human rights as well as rising fears of a broader democratic recession in the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Reform
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America
  • Author: Ramzy Mardini
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani will be visiting the White House on April 4 and meeting with President Barack Obama. Discussions are likely to involve Kurdish concerns about Iraq's prime minister, but may largely focus on defining what Vice President Joseph Biden termed as a "special relationship" between the U.S. and Kurds during his visit to Arbil last December. Relations between the governments of the United States and Kurdish Region have grown and deepened considerably since the 2003 U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq. The Kurds continued to be staunch proponents of the American presence and ongoing engagement in Iraq.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Stephen Wicken
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Opponents of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have been pushing for his removal from power for much of his second term in office. In recent months, Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani and leaders from the Iraqiyya list have turned to an effort to withdraw confidence in Maliki as prime minister. Iraq's Shi'ite parties, though concerned about Maliki's accumulation of power, have largely abstained from the no-confidence push. Yet the anti-Maliki effort gained new life in mid-April when the powerful Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr intensified his opposition to Maliki and voiced his intention to remove the premier. Sadr's push for a no-confidence vote is an important inflection not only in his own posture towards Maliki, but also in the ongoing political crisis in Iraq. It has prompted a backlash from Iran, which has supported Maliki by seeking to restrain Sadr and to prevent a vote of no confidence. This backgrounder explores the possible calculus and responses of Sadr, Iran, and Maliki as Iraq's governmental stalemate continues to drag on.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Regional Cooperation, Governance, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Kemal İnat
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Sakarya University, Institute of Social Sciences
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign policy toward the Middle East has confronted with more and novel security challenges in 2012. The problematic issues related to Arab revolutions of 2011 have already had negative repercussions for Ankara. As a result of diverging policy choices toward the Arab revolutions, these conflicting issues caused more strained relations between Turkey and its neighbors in the region. Regional actors divided over how to respond to political deadlocks in the Middle East. While Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have sided together, Iran, Syria and the central government of Iraq have made their policies jointly. This very division between the regional actors has increased the security risks within the Middle East. These two camps have particularly conflicting policy agendas and as a result, they have become part of a “proxy war” in Syria which constitutes the biggest security threat to the whole region. Despite the deteriorating situation in Syria and its own tense political environment domestically, Turkey, has continued to strengthen its economic relations with the Middle Eastern capitals except Damascus. It was partly a result of this policy that Turkey's export toward the Middle East increased significantly.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Damascus, Ankara
  • Author: Stephen Biddle, Jacob N. Shapiro, Jeffrey A. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why did violence decline in Iraq in 2007? Many credit the "surge," or the program of U.S. reinforcements and doctrinal changes that began in January 2007. Others cite the voluntary insurgent stand-downs of the Sunni Awakening or say that the violence had simply run its course after a wave of sectarian cleansing. Evidence drawn from recently declassified data on violence at local levels and a series of seventy structured interviews with coalition participants finds little support for the cleansing or Awakening theses. This analysis constitutes the first attempt to gather systematic evidence across space and time to help resolve this debate, and it shows that a synergistic interaction between the surge and the Awakening was required for violence to drop as quickly and widely as it did.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The two rising powers in the Middle East—Turkey and Iran—are neighbors to Iraq, its leading trading partners, and rapidly becoming the most influential external actors inside the country as the U.S. troop withdrawal proceeds. Although there is concern in Washington about bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Iran, their differing visions for the broader Middle East region are particularly evident in Iraq, where a renewal of the historical Ottoman-Persian rivalry in Mesopotamia is likely as the dominant American presence fades. Turkey aims for a robust Iraqi political process in which no single group dominates, sees a strong Iraq as contributing to both its own security and regional stability, and is actively investing in efforts to expand Iraqi oil and gas production to help meet its own energy needs and fulfill its goal of becoming the energy conduit from the Middle East to Europe. Iran prefers a passive neighbor with an explicitly sectarian political architecture that ensures friendly Shiite-led governments; sees a strong Iraq as an inherent obstacle to its own broader influence in the region and, in the nightmare scenario, once again possibly a direct conventional military threat; and looks askance at increased Iraqi hydrocarbon production as possible competition for its own oil exports. Baghdad meanwhile believes that it can become a leader in the Middle East but is still struggling to define an inclusive national identity and develop a foreign policy based on consensus. In its current fractured state, Iraq tends to invites external interference and is subsumed into the wider regional confrontation between the Sunni Arab defenders of the status quo and the “resistance axis” led by Shiite Iran. Turkey has an opening in Iraq because it is somewhat removed from this toxic Arab-Persian divide, welcomes a strong Iraq, and offers the Iraqi economy integration with international markets. Ankara could now allay Iraqi Shiite suspicions that it intends to act as a Sunni power in the country and not allow issues on which Turkish and Iraqi interests deviate to set the tone for their relationship. The U.S. conceptualization of an increased Turkish influence in Iraq as a balance to Iran's is limited and could undermine Turkey's core advantages by steering it towards a counterproductive sectarian approach. A more productive U.S. understanding is of Turkey as a regional power with the greatest alignment of interests in a strong, stable, and selfsufficient country that the Iraqis want and that the Obama administration has articulated as the goal of its Iraq policy. On the regional level, a strong and stable Iraq is a possible pivot for Turkish and Iranian ambitions, enabling Ankara and hindering Tehran. Washington may well have its differences with Turkey's new foreign policy of zero problems with its neighbors, but the Turkish blend of Islam, democracy, and soft power is a far more attractive regional template than the Iranian narrative of Islamic theocracy and hard power resistance. The United States should therefore continue to welcome increased Turkish-Iraqi economic, trade, and energy ties and where possible support their development as a key part of its post-2011 strategy for Iraq and the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Imperialism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nicole Koenig
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU's reaction is slow, the EU is divided, the EU is unable to deliver: time and time again, newspapers depict the image of an incoherent and uncoordinated EU foreign policy. This time, the topic under discussion is the EU's response to the Libyan crisis. Many have compared the EU's internal divisions over Libya with those over the Iraq war, an often-used example to illustrate the limits of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). This paper aims to assess the coherence of the EU's short- to medium-term response to the Libyan crisis. It distinguishes between the horizontal, interinstitutional, vertical and multilateral dimensions of EU coherence. The analysis shows that unilateral actions or inactions of the member states mainly account for the EU's incoherent response. The post-Lisbon institutional structure has done little to compensate for these internal divisions. While the EU cannot change the course of national foreign policies, it should increase its 'leadership for coherence', communitarize its crisis response in the medium term and aim at preventing incoherence in the longer term.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Ramzy Mardini
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: On October 21, 2011, President Barack Obama announced his decision to withdraw all of the remaining 39,000 U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year. The complete pullout of U.S. forces satisfies the final phase of the withdrawal timetable established by the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement signed in December 2008 by outgoing President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The decision comes after negotiating efforts failed to reach a new security arrangement with Iraq that would have allowed for a continued U.S. military presence beyond 2011. This document compiles and analyzes many of the reactions of Iraq's leaders to the cessation of negotiations and the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Sandra Halperin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: This article relates the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq to fundamental aspects of Anglo-American political economy, including the increasing integration of the British and US economies, and the largely Anglo-American-led project of global economic restructuring currently taking place. Part I discusses the political economy of UK–US relations and the evolution of an Anglo-American military–industrial conglomerate. Part II links the Anglo-American relations and interests detailed in the first part of the article to an on-going project of global reconstruction. With this as a context, Part III reviews the history of British and US foreign policies towards Iraq and the culmination of these policies in the invasion of the country. The conclusions draw implications for the overall nature and direction of current trends of change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Michael J. Boyle
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Why have two successive US administrations concluded that fighting terrorism must involve democracy promotion? This assumption became prevalent in US political discourse following the events of September 11 despite the fact that the empirical evidence linking democracy and terrorism is weak or ambiguous. More strikingly, it has persisted even after the missions to establish democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to increasing violence, including a worldwide increase in terrorist attacks. This article argues that the link between democracy and terrorism was established by the combined effect of three factors: (a) the framing of the September 11 attacks in a way that increased the receptivity to this conceptual opposition between freedom and fear; (b) the ideological influence of the Wilsonian tradition, as manifested today in an unusual consensus between modern neo-conservatives and liberal internationalists on the desirability of democratic reform as a means of changing foreign policy behaviour; and (c) a powerful bipartisan domestic constituency in favour of democracy promotion. Owing to these three factors, the contraposition of democracy and terrorism in American political discourse is effectively over-determined because it mirrors the dominant ideological and political preferences of American elites. This fixed preference for democracy promotion explains why the Obama Administration has remained wedded to the binary distinction between freedom and fear in its public statements despite its efforts to break in style and substance with the policies of its predecessor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I recently spoke with Dr. John David Lewis about American foreign policy, the uprisings in the Muslim world, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the light that history can shed on such matters. Dr. Lewis is visiting associate professor in the philosophy, politics, and economics program at Duke University and he's the author, most recently, of Nothing Less Than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History. —Craig Biddle Craig Biddle: Thank you for joining me, John. John David Lewis: I'm glad to be here. Thank you for having me. CB: Before we dive into some questions about U.S. foreign policy and the situation in the Middle East, would you say a few words about your work at Duke? What courses do you teach and how do they relate to foreign policy and the history of war? JL: The courses I teach all bring the thought of the ancients into the modern day and always dive to the moral level. For example, I teach freshman seminars on ancient political thought. I also teach a course on the justice of market exchange in which I draw upon the thought of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, etcetera, and approach the question from a moral perspective. In regard to foreign policy and the history of war, I just finished a graduate course at Duke University on Thucydides and the Realist tradition in international relations. International relations studies have been dominated by a school of thought called Realism. This course explores the ideas of Thucydides and how they've translated through history into modern international relations studies and ultimately into the formulation of foreign policy in the modern day. I also teach courses at the University of North Carolina on the moral foundations of capitalism, which use Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged as its core text. I've been involved in speaking to Duke University medical students on health care where, again, I approach the issue from a moral perspective, namely, from the principle of individual rights. CB: That's quite an array of courses, and I know you speak at various conferences and events across the country as well, not to mention your book projects. Your productivity is inspiring. Let's turn your historical lights to some recent events. On the second of May, U.S. SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. This is certainly worthy of celebration, but it's also almost ten years after he and his Islamist cohorts murdered nearly three thousand Americans on American soil. In the meantime, America has gone to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than five thousand additional American soldiers have been killed, and now we're at war in Libya as well. In all of this, neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration has so much as touched the regimes that everyone knows are the main sponsors of terrorism, those in Iran and Saudi Arabia. What's more, neither administration has identified the enemy as Islamists and the states that sponsor them. Bush called the enemy “terror” and “evildoers,” and Obama, uncomfortable with such “clarity,” speaks instead of “man-caused disasters” and calls for “overseas contingency operations.” Are there historical precedents for such massive evasions, and whether there are or aren't, what has led America to this level of lunacy? JL: That's a very interesting question, with many levels of answers. . . .
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Nigel Biggar
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It is uncontroversial that the invasion and occupation of Iraq involved the following errors: the misinterpretation of intelligence; the underestimation of the number of troops requisite for law and order; the disbanding of the Iraqi army; and indiscriminate debaathification of the civil service. The first error was one of imagination rather than virtue; the others were caused by 'callousness', impatience, and consequent imprudence. These vices were partly responsible for massive civilian casualties, which many wrongly assume to teach the fundamentally erroneous character of the invasion. Nonetheless, we should beware such moral flaws in tomorrow's policy-makers and renounce the managerial mentality that fosters them. Another lesson is that, in so far as nation-rebuilding requires substantial and long-term commitments, it must command the support of the nation-builder's domestic electorate; and to do that, it must be able to justify itself in terms of the national interest. From this we should not infer the further lesson that morality's reach into foreign policy is limited, since, according to Thomist ethics, the pursuit of the national interest can itself be moral. Finally, one lesson that we should not learn from Iraq is never again to violate the letter of international law and intervene militarily in a sovereign state without Security Council authorization. The law's authority can be undermined as much by the UN's failure to enforce it, as by states taking it into their own hands. It is seriously problematic that the current international legal system denies the right of individual states to use military force unilaterally except in self-defence, while reserving the enforcement of international law to a body, whose capacity to act is hamstrung by the right of veto. Given this situation, military intervention without Security Council authorization could be morally justified on certain conditions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Paul K. MacDonald, Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power's international legitimacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Jon Western, Joshua S. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No sooner had NATO launched its first air strike in Libya than the mission was thrown into controversy -- and with it, the more general notion of humanitarian intervention. Days after the UN Security Council authorized international forces to protect civilians and establish a no-fly zone, NATO seemed to go beyond its mandate as several of its members explicitly demanded that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi step down. It soon became clear that the fighting would last longer than expected. Foreign policy realists and other critics likened the Libyan operation to the disastrous engagements of the early 1990s in Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, arguing that humanitarian intervention is the wrong way to respond to intrastate violence and civil war, especially following the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq. To some extent, widespread skepticism is understandable: past failures have been more newsworthy than successes, and foreign interventions inevitably face steep challenges. Yet such skepticism is unwarranted. Despite the early setbacks in Libya, NATO's success in protecting civilians and helping rebel forces remove a corrupt leader there has become more the rule of humanitarian intervention than the exception. As Libya and the international community prepare for the post-Qaddafi transition, it is important to examine the big picture of humanitarian intervention -- and the big picture is decidedly positive. Over the last 20 years, the international community has grown increasingly adept at using military force to stop or prevent mass atrocities. Humanitarian intervention has also benefited from the evolution of international norms about violence, especially the emergence of “the responsibility to protect,” which holds that the international community has a special set of responsibilities to protect civilians -- by force, if necessary -- from war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide when national governments fail to do so. The doctrine has become integrated into a growing tool kit of conflict management strategies that includes today's more robust peacekeeping operations and increasingly effective international criminal justice mechanisms. Collectively, these strategies have helped foster an era of declining armed conflict, with wars occurring less frequently and producing far fewer civilian casualties than in previous periods.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia
  • Author: Dominic Tierney, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C., he broke an ancient law forbidding any general to enter Italy with an army-thus making war with Rome inevitable. Ever since, "crossing the Rubicon" has come to symbolize a point of no return, when the time for deliberation is over and action is at hand. When decisionmakers cross the Rubicon, or stop debating which of several options to pursue and start implementing a chosen policy, the psychological effects can shape the political world in powerful ways-including the outbreak of war.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Annie Tracy Samuel
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This policy brief seeks to contribute to and inform the debate concerning a possible attack by the United States and/or Israel on Iranian nuclear and military facilities. The presumed aim of such an attack would be to weaken the Islamic Republic, particularly by hindering its ability to build a nuclear weapon. However, the history of the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980 calls into question the contention that an attack will weaken the regime in Tehran. This policy brief examines Iran's reactions to the Iraqi invasion in order to shed light on Iran's possible reactions to a U.S. or Israeli attack. It will assess how the Iranian people responded to the invasion and its effects on Iranian politics and the position of the new regime. It will also explore the nature of the policies adopted by the Islamic Republic in waging the Iran-Iraq War that carried on for eight years after the Iraqi invasion.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Over the past three decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown remarkable endurance. It has survived an eight-year war with Iraq, mounting economic sanctions, and serious domestic unrest. It has benefited from the missteps of adversaries, which have created opportunities for Iran to expand ties to militant movements in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories, and to increase its influence in Afghanistan. Recent uprisings against Arab governments long allied with Washington have encouraged the Iranian government to portray itself as the fulcrum of a "new" anti-Western Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Palestine, Lebanon
  • Author: Andrew Bennet, Andrew Loomis
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Abstract: Focusing on the evolving views of the 77 U.S. Senators who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2002, we seek to explain why some political leaders changed their views markedly from 2002 to 2008 and others did not. We argue that in view of the great preponderance of evidence that the initial premises of U.S. intervention in Iraq were not fulfilled, Bayesian updating cannot by itself explain the persistence of divergent views on Iraq. It is also puzzling that a half-dozen senators persisted in their support of Bush's position on Iraq even though this may have contributed to their electoral defeat. We use a combination of political and psychological variables, including ideology, party affiliation, safety of the senator's seat, military service, cognitive style, and presidential aspirations to explain why some senators changed their public positions on Iraq within a year, others did so by 2006, still others in 2007, and some changed very little in more than five years. We combine these variables into a typological theory and test it against a qualitative analysis of 20 senators' views on Iraq. We conclude that our model is relatively successful in predicting not only when senators' views changed but what rationales they gave for why their initial expectations were not borne out. We also note several senators who prove important anomalies for our model, including Senators Lieberman, who was the only Democrat who did not move toward opposing Bush's policies, and McCain, who thus far has not moved toward the political center on Iraq despite having effectively secured his party's nomination.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Miller, Moran Mandalbaum
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following the post - 2003 US intervention in Iraq, and with a potential US use of force against Iran, one key analytical question stands out, which has major policy implications: Does military defeat by the great powers have stabilizing or de - stabilizing effects on the aggressive behavior of revisionist states? Somewhat similarly to the pre - 2003 Iraq invasion debate, the great powers have a number of options for dealing with the potential Iranian nuclear threat: diplomatic engagement, deterrence, or resort to military power -- either to bring about a regime change, or to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities. Taking into account the possibility of resorting to force against Iran, an intriguing question emerges: what does IR theory lead us to expect -- and what does the historical record show -- with regard to the effects of military defeats on the war - propensity of revisionist states? In other words, why do some militarily defeated states become war - like, while others peaceful?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Germany
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutaş
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the early 2000s, Turkish foreign policy has experienced a fundamental transformation. Turkey's regional and global position, its relations with the countries in surrounding regions, and its long-lasting disputes with its neighbors were reshaped through the adoption of the "zero-problem with-neighbors" policy. In line with this policy, Turkey has taken a pro-active stance and followed a multi-dimensional foreign policy approach to establish itself, first, as a conciliatory partner for peace with its neighbors, and second, as an agent of mediation between its clashing neighboring countries. 2009 was a year of foreign policy initiatives towards Syria, Armenia, and Iraq, including the Kurdish Regional Government. And it marked the beginning of more positive and constructive relations between Turkey and the United States. Turkey gained substantial ground in becoming a regional hub for energy by undersigning two critical energy deals. Yet, two major issues remain as challenges for Turkish foreign policy: a) the EU accession process, and b) the Cyprus dispute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Syria
  • Author: Kelly McHugh
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: KELLY McHUGH describes Tony Blair's failed attempts to use his friendship with George W. Bush to influence U.S. foreign policy in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. She finds that although Blair was often successful in persuading Bush in private meetings, he was outmaneuvered by Vice President Dick Cheney, who opposed Blair's advocacy of multilateralism and diplomacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Tuncay Babalı
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey has become an important east-west and north-south gas and oil transit route and an energy hub, thanks to the Turkish straits, and the existing and proposed pipelines that run through its territory. Economic opportunities, however, can present diplomatic liabilities. In a tough and complicated region, Turkey finds itself caught between the interests of competing superpowers and regional players. As the world's 16th largest economy, Turkey's thirst for energy will only increase. Satisfying this thirst requires not only diversification of sources and routes, but also good relations with all neighbors, in addition to traditional partners. An analysis of Ankara's options and new foreign policy vision shows that Turkey has little choice but to use greater caution and engagement. Following its own national interests and security concerns will drive Turkey to new openings in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and other CIS countries. Energy will be one of the main pillars of Turkey's policy of engagement and integration in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia, Syria
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Ana Echague
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: European Union policy towards the Middle East and North Africa suffers from geographic fragmentation and an increasing functional imbalance which reflects a growing trend towards securitisation. While policy towards the Mediterranean is highly institutionalised, the Gulf Cooperation Council states receive much less attention and policies towards Iran, Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territories exist in isolation. A narrow focus on an exclusionist approach to security has taken over to the detriment of political and economic concerns. The shortcomings in European foreign policy towards the broader Middle East in terms of lack of breadth and coherence need to be addressed in order to forge a more cohesive and effective policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Iran, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Andy Johnson, Scott Payne
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: A key component of US strategy to defeat global terrorist groups like al Qaeda is denying them the physical space to operate with impunity. The ability of the US and our allies to train foreign military and security forces can be an effective tool in both preventing terrorists from establishing a foothold in vulnerable states and empowering foreign partners to move against terrorists where they exist today. Yet the current array of US training programs is fragmented, ad hoc, and underfunded. Moreover, overreliance on contractors to provide large scale military and police training in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a collective cost of $48 billion, has led to findings of poor performance, wasteful spending, weak oversight and insufficient accountability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, North America
  • Author: Bryan Groves
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Military Academy, Department of Social Science
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush relinquishes the reigns as Commander-in-Chief to President Barak Obama, it is fitting to reflect on how the country will remember President Bush in years to come. Whether or not one agrees with his decision to commit U.S. forces to military action against Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq, it is clear that Bush's legacy will largly be determined by how Iraq turns out--whether as a stable, free, and peace-loving democracy or something short of that. There is certainly plenty of room for continued improvement in the conditions on the ground and ample time for the political, security, and economic situation to yet deteriorate. Yet, since "The Surge" and the change in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, developments in Iraq have taken a fundamentally and undeniably positive turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Candidate Obama pledged that his Middle East policy would include re-engagement with Syria; President Obama will find that the past is not easily overcome. The reasons behind his vow remain pertinent. Syria holds important cards in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, is Iran's most important Arab ally and has substantial influence over Hamas and Hizbollah. There are indications of potential common ground on which to build, from resuming Israeli-Syrian negotiations, to consolidating progress in Iraq to blunting the rise of jihadi militancy and sectarianism. But significant obstacles to healthy, mutually beneficial relations remain, along with a legacy of estrangement and distrust. They dictate the need for a prudent approach that seeks first to rebuild ties and restore confidence. It will be critical to reassure Damascus that the U.S. is interested in improving relations and resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, not in regime change. It is also equally critical not to compromise on core principles such as Lebanon's sovereignty or the integrity of the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The top concern for both Riyadh and Damascus remains blowback from Iraq: the ascendance of ethnic and sectarian identity and the spread of Islamist militancy. The need to contain this threat is the dominant force that shapes their relations with Iraq. Both Syria and Saudi Arabia have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq's emerging political order is inclusive of Sunni Arab Iraqis, who have not yet been fully incorporated into Iraqi institutions. Syria and Saudi Arabia do not look at Iraq in isolation, nor do they assign it top priority among their foreign policy concerns. For them, Iraq is merely one element in a comprehensive view encompassing other regional players (including the U.S. and Iran) and other regional crises, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lingering resentment and bitterness toward Washington is now mixed with intense curiosity and modest optimism about President Barack Obama. Saudis still bristle when recalling how the Bush Administration sidelined Riyadh on Iraqi matters; as do Syrians, who believe the previous administration was intent on isolating and undermining Damascus. Iraq remains very much isolated in its neighborhood. Recent Progress on regional cooperation notwithstanding, these two neighbors are still focused more on containment than engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Paul B. Stares, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since taking office, the Obama administration has repeatedly affirmed its intent to prevent potential future international crises from becoming the source of costly new U.S. military commitments. In one of the earliest foreign policy pronouncements of the new administration, Vice President Joseph R. Biden declared: “We'll strive to act preventively, not preemptively, to avoid whenever possible or wherever possible the choice of last resort between the risks of war and the dangers of inaction. We'll draw upon all the elements of our power—military and diplomatic; intelligence and law enforcement; economic and cultural—to stop crises from occurring before they are in front of us.” Not long afterward, General James L. Jones, in his first speech as national security adviser, echoed much the same objective: “We need to be able to anticipate the kind of operations that we should be thinking about six months to a year ahead of time in different parts of the world to bring the necessary elements of national and international power to bear to prevent future Iraqs and future Afghanistans.” And in a major speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2009, President Barack Obama also declared that “one of the best ways to lead our troops wisely is to prevent the conflicts that cost American blood and treasure tomorrow.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Henri J. Barkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The consequences of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq will doubtless be debated for years to come. One result, however, is already clear: the long suppressed nationalist aspirations of the Kurdish people now dispersed across four states—Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria—have been aroused, perhaps irrevocably, by the war. Already in Iraq, Kurdish regions, which have benefited from Saddam Hussein's overthrow, have consolidated themselves into a federal region. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is a reality and a force for further Kurdish empowerment as it seeks to incorporate other Kurdish-majority areas and the oil-rich Kirkuk province in particular into its domain. The KRG's existence and demands have already alarmed all of Iraq's neighbors and the Baghdad government. The issues are far from being settled. If ignored or badly handled, Kurdish aspirations have the potential to cause considerable instability and violence in Iraq and beyond at a particularly delicate time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nationalism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's “responsible redeployment” from Iraq is made even more urgent by the requirements resulting from worsening conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For redeployment to occur on scale and on schedule, the United States seeks an end-state in Iraq that is stable and at peace with its neighbors. Simmering sectarian violence is inevitable, but it will not break Iraq. However, ethnic conflict between Arabs and Kurds could escalate into a major conflagration with regional implications.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • 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: Jeremy Pressman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The administration of President George W. Bush was deeply involved in the Middle East, but its efforts did not advance U.S. national security. In the realms of counterterrorism, democracy promotion, and nonconventional proliferation, the Bush administration failed to achieve its objectives. Although the United States did not suffer a second direct attack after September 11, 2001, the terrorism situation worsened as many other countries came under attack and a new generation of terrorists trained in Iraq. Large regional powers such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia did not become more democratic, with no new leaders subject to popular mandate. The model used in Iraq of democratization by military force is risky, costly, and not replicable. Bush's policy exacerbated the problem of nuclear proliferation, expending tremendous resources on a nonexistent program in Iraq while bolstering Iran's geopolitical position. The administration failed because it relied too heavily on military force and too little on diplomacy, disregarded empiricism, and did not address long-standing policy contradictions. The case of the Bush administration makes clear that material power does not automatically translate into international influence.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt