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  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After several days of diplomatic tension between London and Tehran, eight British military personnel who had been captured by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were released and flown out of Iran on June 24. The men, who served with the coalition forces in Iraq, had been in three boats intercepted in the Shatt al-Arab waterway, the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that forms the border with Iran. (Tehran, which dislikes the Arab name, calls the waterway the Arvand River.) The incident comes after several weeks of minor clashes in the Persian Gulf and at a time when Iran is facing strong international pressure due to concerns about its suspected nuclear weapons program.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Muqtada al-Sadr represents a serious long-term political and military challenge to the coalition and the new Iraqi government. Open warfare between Sadr and the coalition first emerged on April 4, 2004, with "uprisings" by his militia, the so-called Mahdi Army, in Baghdad and across southern Iraq. Although Sadr has not achieved his objective of a broad-based Shi'i rebellion, coalition forces have not been able to bring him to justice or dissolve his militia. Both sides are now playing a high-stakes game. The coalition is betting that it can eliminate or reduce Sadr as a political force without causing a serious breach with the larger Shi'i community. Sadr is gambling that he can persist, even prosper, in the face of the coalition. Indeed, he has long-term political goals and is positioning himself for the upcoming elections. The prospects that the coalition can bring him under control at acceptable cost and risk remain uncertain.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Egemen Bagis
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For years, the Turkish Cypriots have been blamed for the Cyprus issue. Nevertheless, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally convinced UN secretary general Kofi Annan to open the fourth round of negotiations, and Rauf Denktas, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was much more productive in these talks than was the Greek Cypriot leader. The conclusions emerging from the Annan Plan negotiations were the best obtainable result, even though they did not address all Turkish priorities. According to the plan, the Greek and Turkish Cypriots each submitted the plan's proposals to a separate referendum. Yet, only the Turkish Cypriot leadership stood behind its word and asked for a "yes" vote. With this, the Turkish Cypriots sent the message that they were ready to integrate into the international community. Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriot leadership backed off of its support for the agreement, and the Greek Cypriots consequently rejected the plan in their referendum. The European Union (EU) had promised Greek Cypriot accession regardless of their referendum result, however, and on May 1, Greek Cyprus entered the EU while the Turkish side remains unfairly punished by international sanctions. The destiny of the Turkish Cypriots should not rest in the hands of the Greek Cypriots, and the world has begun to recognize this. Now, lifting the sanctions on the Turkish Cyprus is Turkey's priority.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Cyprus
  • Author: Stephen Hadley
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: You have heard President Bush talk about a forward strategy for freedom in the Middle East. The president's vision of the future for the Middle East is predicated on one clear principle: that the advance of freedom and democracy leads to peace and progress for all. As the president has said, as long as the Middle East is a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce men and movements that threaten the safety of Americans and our friends. We seek the advance of democracy for the most practical of reasons: because democracies do not support terrorists or threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky, Aaron David Miller, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A transfer of power within the Palestinian Authority, coupled with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, presents both challenges and opportunities for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The preconditions of past peace treaties between Israel and its Arab neighbors have demonstrated the necessity for calm on the ground and strong leaders who can force their constituents to accept peace. Unfortunately, the past four years of fighting, the lack of strong leadership, and the asymmetry of power between the Israelis and Palestinians all act as bulwarks against necessary change. The situation is complicated by the need to prevent Hamas and local warlords from expanding their power. Nevertheless, from the Israeli perspective, there are some opportunities for change. The disengagement plan proves that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon understands that Israel cannot sustain the settlements, while the continued construction of the West Bank fence presents opportunities for new negotiations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ten years on, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan has weathered a number of storms, including the passing away of King Hussein, four years of Israeli-Palestinian armed struggle, and war in Iraq. Despite considerable domestic anti-peace pressure on the Jordanian regime (nurtured by Islamist elements) and strained Israeli-Jordanian political relations, the two countries have developed impressive security and economic relations. The economic field in particular offers a ray of hope for the future, exemplifying how things could and should be done to enhance peace.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Zalman Shoval
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 6, the Israeli government approved a plan for unilateral separation by a 14 to 7 vote. The plan includes complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (with the exception of the so-called "Philadelphi Corridor" on the Egypt-Gaza border) and from certain West Bank settlements. It is scheduled to be implemented beginning in March 2005 and should be completed by the end of that year.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As attacks against the occupying forces and suicide bombs against civilian targets intensify, the need for a new political formula that will increase the powers, legitimacy and representative quality of Iraqi governing institutions is becoming more urgent than ever. The response to date, reflected in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1511, has been to tie the transfer of the exercise of sovereignty to the drafting of an Iraqi constitution, its adoption in a referendum and ensuing national elections.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Tucked away in a handful of villages in a remote pocket of Iraqi Kurdistan, a small group of radical Islamist fighters has been accused of being the Kurdish offspring of the al-Qaeda network, and thus has become a fresh target in the international war on terrorism. To compensate for its limited reach and popularity, this group, called Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam), has built on tenuous regional alliances to survive in the harsh mountainous environment above the town of Halabja in northwestern Iraq, just shy of the border with Iran. These alliances have enhanced its role as a minor spoiler in predominantly secular Kurdish politics in the Suleimaniyeh governorate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Geraldine Chatelard
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper describes and analyses the case of Iraqis who, in the 1990s, have arrived in Jordan as forced migrants, and have continued to Western Europe or Australia as asylum migrants. The argument put forth is that trends of asylum migration cannot be fully understood without looking at a set of interrelated issues in the countries of first reception of the forced migrants: reception standards, the migrants' poor socioeconomic conditions, further violations of their human rights, but also the functioning of the migrants' social networks and of human smuggling rings.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Australia, Jordan, Western Europe