Search

You searched for: Political Geography Middle East Remove constraint Political Geography: Middle East
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Norbert Scholz
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section lists articles and reviews of books relevant to Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Entries are classified under the following headings: Reference and General; History (through 1948) and Geography; Palestinian Politics and Society; Jerusalem; Israeli Politics, Society, and Zionism; Arab and Middle Eastern Politics; International Relations; Law; Military; Economy, Society, and Education; Literature, Arts, and Culture; Book Reviews; and Reports Received.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: James Clay Moltz
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Nonproliferation Review
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama has outlined a course toward lower numbers of US nuclear weapons. Much attention has been paid to the US-Russian context, where deterrence is believed to be basically stable and conditions ripe for gradually reducing arsenals on both sides. But considerably less attention has been paid to the possible implications of lower nuclear numbers on other regions of the world and the reactions of both adversaries and US allies. If nuclear reductions are to be stabilizing and beneficial to security, reassurance and strengthened nonproliferation efforts in various regions need to accompany nuclear cuts. But the specific problems and remedies across regions vary. This article summarizes the results of a multi-author study. It concludes that regions with US allies and formal extended deterrence pledges may pose more vexing problems than those areas of the world without such close allies or commitments.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Dallas Boyd, James Scouras
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Nonproliferation Review
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: Since the post-World War II genesis of nuclear deterrence, two presidential initiatives have been presented to deliver humanity from the threat of its failure. The first was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a constellation of space- and ground-based systems that President Ronald Reagan envisioned would render nuclear weapons “impotent and obsolete.” The second is President Barack Obama's roadmap to “a world without nuclear weapons,” commonly referred to as “Global Zero.” While these proposals appear to have little in common, deeper investigation reveals a number of provocative similarities in motivation and presentation. Moreover, both generated fierce debate, often with ideological overtones, about their strategic desirability and technical feasibility. We use these parallels, as well as prominent dissimilarities, to draw lessons from the SDI experience that can be applied to the debate over Global Zero.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Soviet Union
  • Author: Ehud Eiran, Martin B. Malin
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Thucydides' ancient logic still governs: uncertainty (over Iran's nuclear intentions) and the fear this inspires (in Israel) increases the risk of another war (in the Middle East). Even if Israel's response to the Iranian nuclear program does not lead the region into a war, Israel's fears will be crucial in shaping Middle Eastern politics and will help to determine the stability of the region in the years ahead.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nathan R. Grison
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: As a bridge between the Middle East, the former Soviet republics, and the Euro-Atlan- tic zone, the Caspian Sea is increasingly at the center of the global geopolitical and commercial game. In addition to its strategic location, the Caspian Sea, according to analysts, could contain between 6 and 10 percent of the world's gas reserves, and from 2 to 6 percent of the world's oil reserves.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: John McNeil
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: William Polk, born in 1929, is one of the more successful scholar-diplomats in American life. He has written more than a dozen books, mainly on the modern Arab world, some for trade publishers and some for university presses. He taught Middle East and Islamic history at Harvard and the University of Chicago. He also served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, on the State Department's Policy Planning staff and later as an adviser to McGeorge Bundy, President Johnson's National Security Adviser, charged with handling the aftermath of 1967's Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors. His latest book is his first on Iran. He has visited the country from time to time since 1956, and in the 1960s met the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and some of the Iranian political elite. Aware of the stalemate that bedevils U.S.-Iranian relations, and frustrated by what he sees as the narrowness of war-game exercises and the field of international relations, Polk wrote this book “to bring forward what war games omit: in short, what it means when we speak of Iran and Iranians.” He feels American policy-makers pay insufficient heed to the history and culture of Iran and Iranians, and are thereby baffled by what seems to them illogical behavior. If they had adequate grounding in things Iranian, he believes, they would better understand Iran, its government, its policies, and its people. Adequate grounding, in Polk's view, extends back 2,500 years. He maintains that even if the majority of Iranians alive have scant knowledge of the Achaemenid dynasty they are nonetheless influenced by it. Indeed, he writes, “I am certain that the inhabitants of Iran today are largely governed by their past regardless of whether they consciously remember it.” He appeals to Carl Jung's notion of “collective unconscious” and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's “social contract” to make his case.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Chicago
  • Author: Philipp O. Amour
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: In December 2010, a revolutionary spark in Tunisia initiated what is now referred to as the Arab Spring. Since then, many countries across the broader Middle East have been swept up in uprisings that have led to fundamental shifts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. The same drive for change has also led to minor changes in Jordan, Morocco, and elsewhere.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Morocco
  • Author: Ayfer Erdogan
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: The last two years have witnessed an unexpected series of events unfolding in the Arab World leading us to make comparisons with the fall of Communism in 1989. Developments in the Middle East and North Africa made headway at a rapid pace. The overthrow of governments in Tunisia and Egypt, the civil war in Libya and the ongoing inner conflicts in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen were just as unexpected and stunning as the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. It is ironic that many observers attempting to make sense of these events have chosen the term 'Arab Spring' to define this movement, which somehow recalls the Eastern European analogue 'Prague Spring' in 1968. Many political scientists and analysts viewed these events taking the fall of Communism as a common point of reference. The Arab Spring is reminiscent of the Eastern European Revolutions in 1989 in many respects, yet a deeper analysis shows that significant similarities are outweighed by key differences. This paper attempts to address the recent wave of democratization which has swept across the Arab world in a comparative context and discuss the similarities and differences between the Arab Spring in 2011 and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Eastern Europe, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain
  • Author: Sean Foley
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: What was the intellectual vision that led to the Arab Spring and what are its roots? This article investigates how that vision took shape in the years immediately before the Arab Spring through the work of poets and popular Arab singers like Hamza Namira and Maher Zain. It argues that the vision in art and politics mirrored the desire of many Arabs and Muslims to find new ways to solve the challenges plaguing their societies. The vision also reflected a) how the downturn in the global economy after 2008 combined with major environmental changes to galvanize millions to act in the Arab World b) how social media and new communications tools helped to mobilize dissent and to limit the ability of governments to effectively repress their populations. More than two years after the Arab Spring began in late 2010 the movements it spawned are radically reconstructing societies in the Middle East. They are also undermining some of the basic assumptions of the international system, many of which have been in place since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Elizabeth Bishop
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Citizens of the Arab Middle East have taken part in a wave of democracy movements; in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia at least, their protests have resulted in regime change. Drawing on Michel Foucault's personal experiences in one of these countries, and informed by his concept of “biopolitics,” this essay connects Egyptians' current liberation struggle with their earlier revolution in 1952, in order to compare these experiences with Iraqis' 1958 Tammuz revolution. Were new social media as important, as the level of funding dedicated to the military? And what is the role of diplomacy in a revolutionary moment?
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Libya, Egypt
  • Author: Paul Kubicek
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: The “Turkish model” has been upheld as a positive example for Middle Eastern countries, particularly in light of the Arab Spring. While Turkey is, in many respects, successful—it has a dynamic economy and in recent years has made great strides toward political liberalization— and the current Turkish government has high standing in the Arab world, this paper will argue that the applicability of a “Turkish model” to other settings is limited. In part, this is due to confusion over what the “Turkish model” precisely is or should be. For many years, the “Turkish model” was taken to be Kemalism, or a statist, authoritarian, secular order imposed “from above” with the goals of modernization and Westernization. More recently, the “Turkish model” would mean embracing a more moderate-type of political Islam, exemplified by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). While the AKP has proven to be successful in Turkey, it came to power in conditions very different than those that prevail in the Arab world at present. In particular, the AKP has evolved to reconcile itself to secularism in Turkey and embraced a program of Europeanization through accession talks with the European Union, an option not on the table in Arab states. Finally, a comparison of the political culture of Turkey with that in much of the Arab world reveals significant differences in values and priorities between the two cases.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Moritz Pieper
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Turkey's role in the Iranian nuclear dossier is often portrayed as that of a 'facilitator' and 'mediator' in scholarly analyses. NATO member Turkey was seen as a potential bridge-builder between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the 'Western camp' of negotiators. During prime minister ErdoÄŸan's first legislature, however, Ankara's and Washington's foreign policy outlooks and strategic priorities started to diverge in the course of Turkey's new regional engagement in what has been theorized as a 'Middle-Easternization' of Turkish foreign policy. It is Turkey's location as a geostrategic hub in a politically instable region that informed Turkey's 'Zero problems with neighbors' policy and foreign minister DavutoÄŸlu's advocacy for a 'Strategic Depth' in Turkey's foreign and regional policies. Ankara emphasizes its need to uphold sound relations with its neighbors and publicly stresses an unwillingness to go along with Western pressure on Iran, and insists on the principle of non-interference and Iran's right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. All the same, Turkish-Iranian relations are undergoing a deterioration in the wake of the Syrian civil war at the time of writing, with both sides supporting diametrically opposite causes and factions. Turkish-Iranian fundamentally differing conceptions of regional order will also impact upon Turkey's leverage power to defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis. This paper therefore adds a timely contribution to our understanding of a multifaceted and nuanced Turkish foreign policy toward Iran that can be a critical complement to 'Western' diplomatic initiatives in the search for new paradigms for a new Middle East order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Henelito A. Sevilla
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring has brought significant changes to the political landscape in many Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries since early 2011. It has also affected the geo strategic and economic interests of powerful emerging Asian states, especially China and other net-energy consuming countries. One immediate result of the Arab Spring is its highly disrupted impact (a ' Black Swan') on the production and supply of crude oil to the economies in Asia due to their high degree of reliance on hydrocarbon from the Middle East. Chinese reactions to Arab Spring have fed tensions between itself and the countries with which it shares the South China Sea, most importantly the Philippines and Vietnam. This paper demonstrates that the black swan effect of the Arab Spring is manifested in the renewal of a geo-strategic competition in the South China Sea as China is re-asserting its historical claims over the control of the area and of its possible hydrocarbon reserves.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Vahit Yucesoy
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: Well-researched, and well-documented, L'Iran et la Turquie face au Printemps arabe (Iran and Turkey in the face of the Arab Spring), written by authors Mohammad-Reza Djalili and Thierry Kellner, sets out to analyse the Arab Spring from the vantage point of two major non-Arab powers of the Middle East. Given the shortage of academic books on the reaction of these two major powers to the Arab Spring, the authors' book comes at a very pertinent time.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Abdulkadir Civan, Savas Genc, Davut Taser, Sinem Atakul
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign policy has changed substantially within the last decade. Even though its relationship with the West still has significance, relations with neighboring countries and other countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have improved. This new foreign policy incorporates Turkey's political and economic aspirations. Its aim is to utilize the country's economic strength in order to reach political goals while simultaneously using political tools to obtain economic benefits. This study analyzes the effects of the recent change in foreign policy on Turkey's international trade. Specifically, we investigate the influence of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan's foreign visits on international trade by using a standard trade gravity model. Statistical analyses imply that Erdoğan's visits help increase Turkish international trade.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Jakub Wodka, Sarah Kuzmicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article explores the strategic importance Turkey holds to the European Union and how Ankara could contribute to the EU's achieving the status of a veritable global power. It seeks to understand how the often contradictory threads (democratization vs. creeping authoritarianism) in the recent transformation of Turkish domestic politics affects its European credentials. The main argument of the paper is that it is in the core interest of both parties to align their policies in the neighboring regions, namely the Balkans, Caucasus, and the Middle East, especially in the post Arab Spring era. What hinders the genuine EU-Turkey partnership is often the political and tactical short-sightedness of both parties rather than the factual divergence of strategic interests.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mohamed Metawe
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: For many decades, the Arab despots would serve the Western interests in the region in return for a Western disregard to democracy policies in their countries. By the outbreak of the Arab uprisings in the Middle East, this implicit agreement between the West and the Arab despots was put in jeopardy. This article defines the challenges faced by the Western interests as a result of these revolts. Moreover, it digs deeper into the American and European reactions to the uprisings. Finally, the article contemplates the reasons behind the western behavior towards these revolts. Against this backdrop, this article argues that the implicit agreement is still possible in spite of the Arab uprising, albeit with a diverse formula.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Oguzhan Goksel
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the so-called 'Turkish model' has become a key ingredient of the discourse of democratization in the Middle East. In this study, first, the assumption of the necessity of a 'model' for the emerging democracies in the Middle East will be discussed. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of the Turkish and Iranian models because of their potential to affect the policies of emerging states in the region. The study will acknowledge the fact that the full application of the model may not be possible, however, I will conclude that the Turkish model is much more applicable to the emerging democracies in Tunisia and Egypt than the Iranian model and it has a lot to offer to those societies in terms of guidance in areas such as the state-religion relations, economic development, and democracy building.
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Tunisia
  • Author: Elizabeth H. Ozdalga
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: STUDIES on late Ottoman society continue to be inviting for historians in many aspects. This period is not only important for historical research into the Ottoman world but also necessary for a better understanding of modern Turkey. This also can be extended to the Islamic world, including many Middle Eastern countries together with the Balkans, North Africa, and the Caucasus regions. Özdalga has made a valuable contribution with this comprehen-sive volume on the intellectual legacy of the period.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Fawaz A. Gerges
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: WITHIN Fawaz Gerges' text, The End of America's Moment?-Obama and the Middle East, the author endeavors to examine President Obama's implementation of inherently stagnant policies towards the highly volatile and rapidly evolving Middle East. Furthermore, Gerges elaborates on the manner in which the globalists and the Israel-first school succeed in shaping public opinion in the United States about the Middle East and how this process perpetually cripples Obama.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The momentous changes in the Middle East and North Africa have brought the issue of human rights and democracy promotion back to the forefront of international politics. The new engagement in the region of both the US and the EU can be scrutinised along three dimensions: targets, instruments and content. In terms of target sectors, the US and EU are seeking to work more with civil society. As for instruments, they have mainly boosted democracy assistance and political conditionality, that is utilitarian, bilateral instruments of human rights and democracy promotion, rather than identitive, multilateral instruments. The content of human rights and democracy promotion has not been revised.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Ian Bremmer
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: AS IF a global financial-market meltdown, the deepest U.S. recession in seventy years, an existential crisis in the euro zone and upheaval in the Middle East hadn't already created enough trouble for one decade, now the unrest and anxiety have extended to some of the world's most attractive emerging markets. Just in the past few months, we've seen a rough ride for India's currency, furious nationwide protests in Turkey and Brazil, antigovernment demonstrations in Russia, strikes and violence in South Africa, and an ominous economic slowdown in all these countries.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Turkey, Middle East, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Christian Caryl
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: A SPECTER is haunting Washington-the specter of George W. Bush. President Obama may have spent almost five years in the White House by now, but it's still possible to detect the furtive presence of a certain restless shade lurking in the dimmer corners of the federal mansion. Needless to say, this is something of a first: usually U.S. presidents have to die before they can join the illustrious corps of Washington ghosts, and 43 is, of course, still very much alive in his tony Dallas neighborhood, by all accounts enthusiastically pursuing his new avocation as an amateur painter. Yet his spirit is proving remarkably hard to exorcise.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Jennifer Lind
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: THE UNITED States has security partnerships with numerous countries whose people detest America. The United States and Pakistan wrangled for seven months over a U.S. apology for the NATO air strikes that killed twenty-four Pakistani soldiers in 2011. The accompanying protests that roiled Islamabad, Karachi and other cities are a staple of the two countries' fraught relationship. Similarly, American relations with Afghanistan repeatedly descended into turmoil last year as Afghans expressed outrage at Koran burnings by U.S. personnel through riots and killings. “Green on blue” attacks—Afghan killings of U.S. soldiers—plague the alliance. In many Islamic countries, polls reflect little warmth toward Americans. Washington's strategy of aligning with governments, rather than peoples, blew up in Egypt and could blow up in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. America's alliances in the Middle East and Persian Gulf are fraught with distrust, dislike and frequent crisis. Is there any hope for them? Turns out, there is. Fifty years ago, a different alliance was rocked by crisis and heading toward demise. Like many contemporary U.S. alliances, it had been created as a marriage of convenience between Washington and a narrow segment of elites, and it was viewed with distrust by the peoples of both countries. Yet a half century later, that pairing is one of the strongest security partnerships in the world—the alliance between the United States and Japan.
  • Topic: Security, Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Japan, America, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Enrique Krauze
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico. By Amy S. Greenberg. Knopf, 2012, 344 pp. $30.00 (paper, $16.95). Every country sooner or later confronts the sins of its past, though rarely all at once. In recent decades, historians of the United States have revealed and explored the sins of American imperialism, recounting in detail Washington's interventions in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Yet they have largely overlooked American meddling in Mexico. Consequently, few in the United States recognize that the Mexican-American War (1846–48) was Washington's first major imperialist venture. Fewer still would understand why future U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, who fought in Mexico as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, would come to see it as the country's most “wicked war.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Latin America, Mexico, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What roles do oil and energy play in international conflict? In public debates, the issue often provokes significant controversy. Critics of the two U.S.-led wars against Iraq (in 1991 and 2003) charged that they traded "blood for oil," and that they formed a part of an American neo-imperialist agenda to control oil in the Middle East. The U.S. government, on the other hand, explicitly denied that the wars were about oil, especially in 2003. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld argued that the war "has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil," a theme echoed by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Homeira Moshirzadeh
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Middle East has witnessed dramatic changes in the last few years. Although some countries are experiencing new democratic changes, others face serious problems. Some state formal relations have changed from close relations to some unfriendly exchange of words and severed relations. Some countries are on the verge of civil war while others witness daily acts of terror. The main question this paper addresses is how the plurality of identities have led to security challenges in the Middle East. The article argues that the plurality of identities may explain many security challenges in the region. Following a look at the variety of discourses that constitute different political identities in the region, their impact on domestic and regional security will be discussed.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mordechai Chaziza
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring has created a completely new situation, and with it new centers of instability in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA). The ramifications of these changes are unpredictable, as the process does not seem to be nearing an end. The new situation finds China itself confronting a complex situation, forcing it to alter attitudes and tactics and seek new opportunities. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China should act as a responsible power to help maintain regional stability, but in effect is not actively making efforts in this direction. Furthermore, the turmoil in the MENA region shows that China's policy toward the region does not come at a low cost, as Beijing might have thought.
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Stephen Blank, Younkyoo Kim
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Since the early 1990s, Turkey and Russia's strategic outlooks have gradually been converging. The two countries have incrementally shed their mutual apprehensions and started a comprehensive and multifaceted cooperation. Turkish–Russian interaction in the Middle East, Caucasus, and Mediterranean reveals that there might be limits to the future expansion of their partnership.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Barry Rubin
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article surveys all aspects of U.S. Middle East policy under the Obama administration, critiques this strategy and premises, and suggests what U.S. policy should be.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been experiencing deteriorating parameters for both food production and consumption for some time. Agricultural output is constrained by limited water resources, diminishing arable land, and poor public policy. Consumption is driven by high population growth and subsidies that encourage waste. The region is food insecure, both on the level of the individual consumer (high rates of poverty) and on a national level (reliance on imports). Rising food prices played a role in fomenting Arab Spring unrest but appear to have been quickly overtaken by other grievances. Nevertheless, MENA regimes–both the transitional governments emerging from the turmoil and incumbents seeking to retain power–responded by increasing food subsidies and adopting other economically unsustainable policies, thereby exacerbating the policies that contributed to the Arab Spring.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Merlyna Lim
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article offers a three-prong approach to investigating the emergence of contemporary Indonesian radical Islamism in the post-Suharto era (from 1998 onward). First, it places it within the historical context of radical Islamism in Indonesia, its past connection to colonialism, as well as a more contemporary one to Middle Eastern Islamism. Second, it puts this resurgence within the larger context of global jihad movements; it traces the origins of the ideology of radicalism itself, which is the global jihad meta-narrative that dominates much of the discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Arab countries. Third, it discusses the dissemination of radicalism in society, including how the media, particularly the internet, plays an important role in spreading the jihad meta-narrative and its stylized version of contemporary history.
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: This article argues that the Islamist resurgence of the 1980s and anti-American sentiments following the events of September 11 have led to the strengthening of political Islamism in both Malaysia and Indonesia. It also discusses the impact of Islamist movements and governments outside of Southeast Asia (i.e., the Middle East) in shaping the political thinking of Islamist organizations and political parties in Southeast Asia and how this has affected the politics of both Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The U.S. diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks include a considerable number of communications by American diplomats stationed in Israel, and an even larger number dealing with Middle Eastern issues of direct relevance and interest to Jerusalem. In a few cases, the revelations are of genuine and deep significance, offering a real addition to the understanding of the political and strategic processes in Israel and the broader Middle East. This article considers the cables directly focusing on Israel and the discussion they have provoked both in Israel and internationally.
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Jerusalem
  • Author: Barry Rubin
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: The gap between dominant Western perceptions of the Middle East and the region's reality is dangerously wide. While the “Arab Spring” is celebrated as an advance for moderation and democracy, in fact the advance is going to revolutionary Islamists. Developments in Turkey and Egypt especially threaten to plunge the Middle East back into an era of conflict, instability, and the worst threats to Western interests in decades.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Michael B. Bishku
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Middle East Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: Global Research in International Affairs Center, Interdisciplinary Center
  • Abstract: Located at the crossroads of Russia, the rest of Europe, and the Middle East, the South Caucasus republics' political and economic security has depended on the balancing of relations with both their regional neighbors and with the major powers. Matters of territorial integrity, historical memory, ethnic brethren residing in foreign countries, and trade routes have all become important factors in the development of foreign policy. This paper will examine the relations between the South Caucasus republics and Russia and how the former countries have attempted to decrease Russian influence through ties with other major powers.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: A. Lukmanov
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: TODAY, the peoples of the Middle East are living through one of the brightest and critical periods in their history known in the world as "Arab Spring." for two years now, the forces which emerged as a new political element have been fighting desperately in the name of subjugated peoples to restore their violated rights. They call on the world to support their ardent desire to free themselves from the shackles of "injustice" which have been restricting their freedom for a long time. In some cases, these efforts cause relatively little pain, in others, they run across fierce resistance of the ruling elites; they develop into street protest rallies, waves of violence and revolutionary upheavals.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Thorsten Hochwald
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: To look at social media in the context of conflict seems, at first glance, a stretch of the imagination. Before 2011, many would have argued that the Web 2.0 or social media was originally designed for business purposes and had little to do with conflict at all. However, following recent events, mainly in the Arab world, this view faces some serious challenges. Some would go so far as to claim that new media can be and actually have been "weaponized" in order to catalyze the transformation of existing authoritarian regimes in the Arab world. It has also been argued that social media was the single most important factor in bringing about the Arab Spring - leading to it being referred to as "Revolution 2.0." [1] Those who support the antithesis to this argument merely see social media as a set of new information exchange tools made available by the ever-advancing tide of technology. Whatever the truth may be, the events in the course of the Arab Spring, which swept the Region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since December 2010, took many by surprise. As these events are quite recent or still ongoing, factual data is fragmentary, and research on the connections between conflict and social media is incomplete at best. Although numerous books have been published, up-to-date information can be found mostly in think-tank research papers and articles on the Web. Much is still unresolved and in a state of change. Moreover, the nature of conflicts has changed after the end of the Cold War, from mainly inter-state to intra-state. Civil society's influence became a major and expanding factor within the conflict sphere. Last but not least, the nature and number of actors playing important roles in these struggles have also changed-not only in dimension but also in their scope of action.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Oldřich Bureš
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: This study analyzes the limits and further areas of possible privatization of security in the Czech Republic in the context of a growing number of private security companies (PSCs). With reference to the recent foreign studies of security privatization and interviews conducted with the owners and/or managers of PSCs operating in the Czech Republic, this study shows that the process of security privatization is not taking place somewhere outside the structures of the Czech state because the very (in)activity of its components in providing security, along with the understandable efforts of PSCs to maximize their profits by offering new services, or extending the range of the existing ones, represents one of its key determinants. By outlining possible further areas as well as limits of security privatization in the Czech Republic, this study has the ambition to be the basis for not only an academic, but also a political debate about the ways of ensuring the safety of the citizens of the Czech Republic in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, France, Arabia
  • Author: Zdeněk Ludvík
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: The realm of privatization of security and the consequent existence of private military companies is an important constitutive element of security with regard to international relations. This phenomenon is most strongly developed in the Anglo-Saxon world. However, in the case of the French Republic, we can observe significant developmental and functional disparities. This paper examines externalization processes in the context of the French approach to the legitimacy, legality and territoriality of the privatization of security functions of the state and explains the different causes of their development. It discusses the main aspects of externalization, defines the typical activities of French private military companies, describes their strengths and weaknesses and outlines the problems and possible solutions that lie before the French, which cannot be ignored in the future. Finally, this paper describes the most important French private military companies and their characteristics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, France, Arabia
  • Author: Linda Janků, Petr Suchý
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: The article deals with deterrence of terrorism. The aim is to assess validity of a proposition that it is possible to deter terrorist groups, but there are some specifics in comparison to the deterrence of states. First, we determine deterrence threats which can be applied in relation to terrorist groups and discuss possible restraints of their application in practice. This is followed by an analysis of whether deterrence can be applied against all types of terrorist groups without distinction, where we develop a model of classification of terrorist groups according to the goals which they pursue. So far, the topic of deterrence of terrorism has not been discussed in detail in the Czech academic texts. This article thus seeks to fill this lacuna and highlight the benefits of applying deterrence strategy to the terrorist groups.
  • Topic: NATO, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, France, Arabia
  • Author: Daša Adašková, Tomáš Ludík
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is one of important international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament measures. One of its pillars is the verification mechanism that has been built as an international system of nuclear testing detection to enable the control of observance of the obligations anchored in the CTBT. Despite the great relevance to the global non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, the CTBT is still not in force. The main aim of the article is to summarize the importance of the CTBT and its entry into force not only from the international relations perspective but also from the perspective of the technical implementation of the monitoring system.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, International Law, United Nations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia, France, Arabia
  • Author: Linda Piknerová
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: This text aims to analyze security cooperation in the Southern African Development Community. The article is based on two theoretical approaches, the first one is a concept of security community, the second one is a human security. Both theories have become widely accepted in the early 1990s because of their ability to cover wider international changes. The Southern African Development Community is seen as a regional integration plan which aspires to become a security community in Karl Deutsch's sense. Beside the both mentioned theories, the text deals with the history of security cooperation in the south of Africa and its changes. The main discussed question is wheher the SADC could be understood as a newly emerging security community.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Iran, Middle East, Asia, France, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Bonin, Amir Mohagheghi, Michael Yaffe
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Nonproliferation Review
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: The goal of establishing a Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone (WMDFZ) is shared in principle by all governments in the region. Political and strategic realities continue to make achievement of that goal elusive. For the past three years, the authors have participated in track-two discussions on the technical implementation parameters of a zone. The discussions brought together policy and technology experts from throughout the region, with an initial focus on biological arms control challenges. The interactions have yielded important insights, not only on specific technical issues, but also on how regional and global policy-making communities might move forward on advancing the broader WMDFZ question. This report provides an overview of the discussions, including the authors' insights and recommendations.
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Joseph Cirincione
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: There is a high risk that someone will use, by accident or design, one or more of the 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Many thought such threats ended with the Cold War or that current policies can prevent or contain nuclear disaster. They are dead wrong--these weapons, possessed by states large and small, stable and unstable, remain an ongoing nightmare. Joseph Cirincione surveys the best thinking and worst fears of experts specializing in nuclear warfare and assesses the efforts to reduce or eliminate these nuclear dangers. His book offers hope: in the 1960s, twenty-three states had nuclear weapons and research programs; today, only nine states have weapons. More countries have abandoned nuclear weapon programs than have developed them, and global arsenals are just one-quarter of what they were during the Cold War. Yet can these trends continue, or are we on the brink of a new arms race--or worse, nuclear war? A former member of Senator Obama's nuclear policy team, Cirincione helped shape the policies unveiled in Prague in 2009, and, as president of an organization intent on reducing nuclear threats, he operates at the center of debates on nuclear terrorism, new nuclear nations, and the risks of existing arsenals.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, East Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231164054
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Michael W. S. Ryan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: By consulting the work of well-known and obscure al-Qaeda theoreticians, Michael W. S. Ryan finds jihadist terrorism strategy has more in common with the principles of Maoist guerrilla warfare than mainstream Islam. Encouraging strategists and researchers to devote greater attention to jihadi ideas rather than jihadist military operations, Ryan builds an effective framework for analyzing al-Qaeda's plans against America and constructs a compelling counternarrative to the West's supposed "war on Islam." Ryan examines the Salafist roots of al-Qaeda ideology and the contributions of its most famous founders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a political-military context. He also reads the Arabic-language works of lesser known theoreticians who have played an instrumental role in framing al-Qaeda's so-called war of the oppressed. These authors readily cite the guerrilla strategies of Mao, Che Guevara, and the mastermind of the Vietnam War, General Giap. They also incorporate the arguments of American theorists writing on "fourth-generation warfare." Through these texts, readers experience events as insiders see them, and by concentrating on the activities and pronouncements of al-Qaeda's thought leaders, especially in Yemen, they discern the direct link between al-Qaeda's tactics and trends in anti-U.S. terrorism. Ryan shows al-Qaeda's political-military strategy to be a revolutionary and largely secular departure from the classic Muslim conception of jihad, adding invaluable dimensions to the operational, psychological, and informational strategies already deployed by America's military in the region.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231533270
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Lorenzo Vidino
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Few observers foresaw the Arab Spring, but it should not have surprised anyone that the Islamist movements - the most organized movements in the Arab world - became the main beneficiaries of the turmoil that ensued. Islamism, in its gradualist and pragmatic approach embodied by the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots worldwide, seems ready to reap the rewards of its three decades-old decision to abandon violence and focus on grassroots activities. This monumental change has created many concerns among liberals, religious minorities and, more generally, all non-Islamists in the countries where Islamists have won. In addition, Arab states ruled by non-Islamist regimes have expressed concern. The former worry that Islamist ideology - even in its more contemporary, pragmatic form - remains deeply divisive and anti-democratic, often at odds with their values and interests. The latter believe that on foreign policy issues, most of the positions of various Brotherhood-inspired parties are on a collision course with the policies of established regimes in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Islam, Self Determination, Political Activism, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The equity market has had a tough few months due to a combination of concerns, including fears that a US-led attack on Syria might lead to a wider Middle East conflict and threaten oil supplies. Of greater concern for equities are worries that a turn in the US monetary policy cycle could eventually kill off the US recovery. However with valuation not looking like a barrier to further gains, this four-and-a-half year equity bull market will in all likelihood climb the wall of worry and set another new high before the year is out.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: It is now looking all but certain that the United States will launch some form of attack on Syria. What is unclear is the severity and duration of the attack. Leaving aside the political ramifications, the immediate economic effects are likely to be limited (and are mostly already factored in). Opposing impacts on inflation and activity means that changes to central bank policy could be postponed. A prolonged campaign could have wider ramifications, not least if there is a risk of a geographical widening of the conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Şadi Ergüvenç
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The Mediterranean is where the atmosphere of mutual distrust, fear and polarization prevail. Arab Israeli dispute and Turkish Greek differences over the Aegean and Cyprus impede efforts for developing mutual confidence and co operation. Recently, economic and financial crises and the “Arab Risings” have brought along more reasons for concern. Islamophobia and racism versus Islamic jihadism increase the risk of confrontation. Turkey together with Spain appeals for an “Alliance of Civilizations” and exploits its double identity, European and Muslim, through a proactive and multilateral poli cy for finding peaceful solutions to chronic regional solutions. Greece and Greek Cypriot governments should refrain from unilateral attempts to declare maritime borders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Carolyn Barnett
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While rulers in the Maghreb and the Gulf have long engaged one an-other, until recently neither region held essential strategic importance for the other. Now, several GCC countries are seeking greater influence around the region, including in the Maghreb. Gulf countries have demonstrated their growing interest in the Maghreb through aid and investment, though aid disbursements have been slow to materialize. Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Algeria all have delicate relationships with the Gulf that intersect with domestic politics, debates over Islam and authority, concerns about instability, the need for stronger economic growth, and aversion to foreign interference. Promoting constructive GCC-Maghreb relations will be most feasible on the economic front. Successful management of enduring tensions will not ensure political and economic stability, but it will make that stability much more likely.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Political Economy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arabia, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In a region that recently has produced virtually nothing but bad news, Hassan Rouhani's 4 August swearing in as Iran's president offers a rare and welcome glimmer of hope. There are still far more questions than answers: about the extent of his authority; his views on his country's nuclear program, with which he long has been associated; and the West's ability to display requisite flexibility and patience. But, although both sides can be expected to show caution, now is the time to put more ambitious proposals on the table, complement the multilateral talks with a bilateral U.S.-Iranian channel and expand the dialogue to encompass regional security issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Although the threat of “resource wars” over possession of oil reserves is often exaggerated, the sum total of the political effects generated by the oil industry makes oil a leading cause of war. Between one-quarter and one-half of interstate wars since 1973 have been connected to one or more oil-related causal mechanisms. No other commodity has had such an impact on international security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Since the chemical weapons (CW) attacks on the Ghouta district just outside Damascus on 21 August, political developments have taken several unexpected twists leading Syria to become the 190th party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Russia and the United States reached agreement on a framework for the dismantlement of Syria's chemical warfare capacity, in which the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as well as the United Nations will play central roles. Western threats of military force – although they undeniably contributed to Syria's acceptance of the deal – have receded for the time being. And while the deferral of international justice regarding the Ghouta strikes will frustrate many parties, the emphasis on disarmament may actually open up the prospect of a negotiated end to the conflict.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Law, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Rouzbeh Parsi
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: When the 2009 presidential election in Iran went awry, and its aftermath rocked the authority and legitimacy of the system (nezam), it seemed that nothing could bring the Islamic Republic back to normalcy. Back then, the next presidential elections looked far away and beyond anyone's ability to imagine. Yet, for all other things that can be said about the Islamic Republic, it has insistently and regularly held its presidential polls, wars and political crises notwithstanding. And now, in 2013, we are yet again trying to grapple with the complicated game of politics in Tehran as the official campaign has started. Doubts exist about how many citizens will actually go to the polls this time (it was a remarkable 80 per cent in 2009), but the fact that - on 14 June - presidential elections are to be held in conjunction with local and city council votes may increase the chances of a decent voter turnout.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Tehran
  • Author: Thomas Pierret
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict's internal dynamics have reshuffled regional alignments alongside unprecedentedly clear-cut sectarian dividing lines; this has often occurred against the preferences of regional state actors−including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Foreign states have generally adopted expedient policies that followed sectarian patterns for lack of alternatives. Iran bears significant responsibility for exacerbating the conflict's sectarian character at the regional level. There is no such “diplomatic shortcut” to regional appeasement; it is the domestic Syrian deadlock that must be broken in order to alleviate sectarian tensions across the Middle East, not the opposite.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Like the Iraq war and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon's 2006 war, Syria's internecine conflict has enabled the Gulf's ruling families, media commentators, clerics, parliamentarians, and activists to invoke and amplify Sunni-Shia identities, often for goals that are rooted in local power politics. By-products of the mounting sectarian tension include the fraying of reform cooperation among sects and regions, and pressure on the Gulf's formal political institutions. Traditional and social media have served to amplify the most polarizing voices as well as provide reform activists new means for cross-sectarian communication that circumvent governmental efforts to control or block such activities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Fanar Haddad
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Iraq, as elsewhere in the Middle East, the social, political, and technological changes of the 21st century are giving birth to a new sectarian landscape. The three most consequential drivers behind the change in sectarian relations have been the political change in Iraq of 2003; the near simultaneous spread of new media and social networking in the Arab world; and – perhaps as a consequence of the first two – the ongoing search for alternatives to familiar but moribund forms of authoritarianism, as demonstrated most dramatically by the “Arab Spring.” 2003 highlighted the uncomfortable fact that there were multiple, indeed contradictory, visions of what it meant to be an Iraqi and by extension what it meant to be a part of the Arab world. New media, social networking, user-generated websites, and private satellite channels helped to make Iraq's accelerated sectarianization contagious. The mainstreaming of sectarian polemics has increased the relevance of religious, doctrinal, and dogmatic differences in views regarding the sectarian “other,” a particularly dangerous development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Joseph Bahout
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: When the Arab revolutions reached Syria, the Sunni-Shia cleavage in Lebanon was already well in the making. Syria's turmoil only added fuel to an existing fire in Lebanon. Syria's crisis is intensifying Sunni-Shia tensions in Lebanon on two levels, symbolic and identity-based on the one hand, and geopolitical or interest based, on the other hand. The shift toward identity-based or symbolic forms of sectarianism can probably be explained by the existential character the struggle in the Levant is taking, whereby both “communities,” however imagined or over-constructed, are coming to perceive themselves as defending not only their share of resources or power, but their very survival. Lebanon's minority communities – including Christian and Druze – are increasingly anxious about the changing regional environment. Lebanon and Syria must face the difficult equation of sectarian diversity and national unity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Melani Cammett
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis has had a negative impact on Lebanon's political scene, including the dynamics among political factions within and across the country's major sectarian communities. The political fragmentation of the Sunni community has implications for the growing trend toward political violence triggered by the Syrian conflict. The rise of challengers and the decline of centralized authority within the Sunni community further increase the probability of violence perpetrated by in-group factions. Despite the pressures from the Syrian conflict, mounting sectarian tensions will not inexorably spark another all-out civil war. If Lebanon does not move past the current political deadlock and stagnation, the spillover from the Syrian crisis stands to undermine the country's stability in the longer term.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Gorevan
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The world was rightly appalled by the use of chemical weapons in Damascus on 21 August 2013. If the recent diplomatic initiatives by the USA and Russia mean that these weapons are never again used, it would be a great achievement. But it won't be enough.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Crime, Human Rights, International Law, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Russia, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Trevor Findlay
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Disarmament during armed conflict: unprecedented Speed, efficiency and effectiveness of international institutions: breathtaking. The diplomatic choreography involved: impressive Complexity and interwoven nature of the arrangements; astounding.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Eckart Woertz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's domestic energy consumption is skyrocketing. The growth of electricity demand is particularly strong and shows a high degree of seasonality due to the need for air conditioning in the hot summer months. Demand drivers are population growth, industrial development and a subsidy regime that encourages wasteful consumption. Saudi Arabia now faces a natural gas shortage and is seeking alternative energy sources like nuclear power and renewables in order to reduce the common practice of using fuel oil, crude oil and diesel in power stations. If unchecked, domestic energy demand will threaten oil export capacity and could compromise Saudi Arabia's role as swing producer in global oil markets. However, a reform of the subsidy regime is politically sensitive, because citizens regard subsidies as an entitlement. The government is reluctant to touch subsidies in order to avoid the kind of political unrest that has occurred elsewhere in the wake of the Arab Spring.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Roberts
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Emir Tamim has become the new ruler of Qatar after the abdication of his father, Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani. The latter followed an independent foreign policy throughout his reign and sought good relations with all states, although Qatar's taking sides in the Arab uprisings have somewhat modified this position. Evaluating Qatar's foreign policy under Emir Tamim is difficult. In his upbringing Tamim was imbued with their vision of Qatar as an internationally oriented state. It would be very surprising if he were to backtrack on this basic thrust and withdraw Qatar internationally. Emir Tamim's Qatar will therefore likely continue to seek to extend the small state's influence throughout the region wherever and whenever possible.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Laurent Bonnefoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Due to the specific history of Saudi Arabia, the export of religious ideologies has long been seen as an important tool of Saudi "soft power". Through a variety of institutions and actors, only some of which can be linked to Wahhabism or even to Islam, interactions between Saudi Arabia and the world are complex and diverse. While mechanisms aiming to export a conservative interpretation of Islam that have been labelled Salafism may be manifest, this policy brief intends to question the efficiency of such mechanisms for the dissemination of religious ideologies. In order to do so, it will first define Salafism. It will then highlight the diversity of this concept, in particular when it comes to its relations with the Saudi monarchy. Finally, it will conclude by highlighting some changes triggered by the "Arab Spring" uprisings that affect the relationship among Salafi movements in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Flows of crude oil sales are determined by refining demand. In recent years Saudi Arabia has invested massively in captive refining capacity at home and abroad and will be able to refine two-thirds or more of its oil in controlled refineries by the end of the current decade. Because refineries in Europe are likely to be put on sale as distressed assets, Saudi Aramco would have no difficulty in further expanding its controlled capacity. A continuation of this trend may even lead to the Kingdom not exporting crude oil to third parties at all. This is in line with the country's ambition to diversify its economy and its limited interest in further expanding oil production for the sake of selling oil as crude.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The carefully managed handover of power in Qatar on June 25th 2013 will change the style, but not the substance of Qatari foreign policy. The abdication of Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and the replacement of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shaykh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani (HBJ) removes from office the two men behind Qatar's rise to global prominence since the 1990s. The new emir, 33-year old Shaykh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, will likely curb the excesses of Qatar's aggressive internationalisation strategy and recalibrate the country's regional policy to address its policy overreach in Syria. While the underlying substance of policy is likely to remain broadly similar, the biggest changes are expected in the hitherto-personalised style of decision-making associated with HBJ and the former emir. Greater emphasis on multilateral co-ordination will also replace the confrontational unilateralism associated with Qatar's post-2011 Arab Spring policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Laurent Bonnefoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's history since the mid-18th century has to a large extent been shaped by the relationship between the royal family, the Al Sa'ud, and religious clerics, in particular those from the Al al-Shaykh clan. This relationship has been structural and has played a central role in maintaining conservative religious policies inside the country. It has also been instrumental in legitimising the monarchy both at the national level and abroad. The fact that the two holiest sites of Islam (Mecca and Medina) are on Saudi soil has further strengthened the relationship that exists between the state and religious actors, the role that Islam plays in defining Saudi foreign policy, and the image of the country at the international level. This policy brief discusses the impact of this connection between state institutions and religion. It will first stress the diversity of the various ideologies and relationships that structure the politics-religion nexus in Saudi Arabia. In doing so it will stress the importance of not limiting one's understanding of this nexus to Wahhabism. It will then present the various instruments and mechanisms that contribute to the dissemination or export of religious ideologies beyond Saudi Arabia's borders. Finally, it will conclude by showing the extent to which Islam is one among many determinants of Saudi foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Governance, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Rachid Tlemçani, Derek Lutterbeck
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Even though many of the socioeconomic conditions that have driven the popular Arab Spring uprisings and toppled several regimes across the Middle East have been present in Algeria as well, the Algerian regime has thus far been able to weather the winds of change. This policy brief takes a closer look at the "Algerian exception" by examining the protest movement in Algeria and why it has been more limited than elsewhere, as well as recent political "reforms" adopted in response to the protests. It argues that in addition to the experiences of the bloody decade of the 1990s, a number of factors account for the more limited protest movement in Algeria, such as the regime's larger spending power and its experience in dealing with large-scale protests. While the Algerian regime has introduced reforms over the last two years, these have been mainly cosmetic, largely consolidating the political status quo. The policy brief also briefly discusses the threat of Islamist terrorism in the Sahel region, with particular reference to the recent In Amenas hostage crisis in Algeria. As for Algeria's future evolution and prospects for political reform, fundamental change seems unlikely, at least in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Steffen Hertog
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, has been a critical agent for the social, economic and infrastructural development of Saudi Arabia; its managerial capacities are unrivalled in the Kingdom – and, indeed, the Gulf region. After it played a rather limited role outside the hydrocarbons sector in the 1980s and 1990s, its range of tasks and ambitions has recently again expanded drastically into a number of new policy sectors, including heavy industry, renewable energy, educational reform, infrastructure-building and general industrial development. This presents both opportunities and risks for Aramco, which has started to operate far outside its traditional politically insulated "turf" of running the upstream oil and gas infrastructure in the Kingdom. It is now involved in activities that are more political and more closely scrutinised by the Saudi public, and will have to build up new institutional and political capacities to maintain its reputation for clean and efficient management.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Oil, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Madawi al-Rasheed
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The Saudi regime has a vested interest in the Saudi public remaining fragmented and unable to bridge the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide. Both Shia and Sunnis in Saudi Arabia have been invigorated by the ongoing Arab uprisings, and in their own regions have staged minor protests demanding similar rights. However, the regime's entrenched sectarian propaganda has succeeded in isolating the Shia and delaying a confrontation with Sunni Islamists. In the short term this may be a successful strategy, but in the long term it may fail to contain the frustration of Saudis who want serious political reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Cathrine Thorleifsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the paradox of Mizrahim (Arab Jews) supporting right-wing Israeli policies through a case study of the border town of Kiryat Shemona. Based on ethnographic research, it illuminates the enduring power of ethno-nationalism and demonstrates how it affects Mizrahi lives. Mizrahim became trapped by Israeli nation-building on the geographic and socioeconomic margins of the state positioned between the dominant Ashkenazi elite and the Palestinian population. Factors such as Mizrahim's partial inclusion in the nation; tensions between Jews and Arabs, and between the secular and the religious; the decline of the welfare state; and a shared perception of threats and dangers informed everyday nationalism in the town. Mizrahim contested Ashkenazi Israeliness through ethnic and transnational identifications and practices. Simultaneously, their support for the nation-in-arms and identification as "strong"and "civilised" reinforced the dominant logic of ethno-nationalism. Mizrahi support for right-wing militarism is likely to persist as long as national unity is used as a colonial practice by the centre. The inclusion of Mizrahim as equals together with other marginalised citizens would necessarily entail an Israeli Spring.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Nationalism, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Bernard Haykel
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Yemen is politically fragmented by three decades of misrule. Many political actors and constituencies oppose the Salih legacy and they need to be included in any future political framework if the country is to become stable. The main regional actor is Saudi Arabia, whereas the U.S. remains the principal hegemon in the region. Saudi Arabia's policy towards Yemen is in flux, whereas the U.S. is too narrowly focused on the threat posed by al-Qaeda. Unless the U.S. and the Saudis change their policies, Yemen will not develop a strong central government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Corruption, Islam, Armed Struggle, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Evanthia Balla
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus, situated as it is at the crossroads of Eurasia's major energy and transport corridors, continues to play a vital role in the world's security affairs. After the end of the cold war the South Caucasus emerged as a key region in the geopolitical contest among regional and global powers. The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are constantly performing a balancing act in their relations with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. Armenia has developed strong political and economic ties with Iran in order to counter the Turkish-Azerbaijani axis. Azerbaijan seeks to reinforce its links with the West, especially the U.S., as its main extraregional source of diplomatic and economic support, while it remains cautious towards both Russian and Iranian ambitions in the region. Especially after the 2008 war with Russia and the loss of its provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia has reinforced its links to Western powers and structures while strengthening its ties with Turkey. Both Turkey and Iran are trying to increase their influence in the region, while promoting their national interests in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: The Obama Administration has dramatically escalated targeted killing by drones as a central feature of its counterterrorism response. Over the past two years, the administration has begun to reveal more about the targeted killing program, including in a leaked Department of Justice White paper on targeted killing and in public remarks by several senior officials. While this information is welcome, it does not fully address our concerns.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Science and Technology, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Dario Cristiani, Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Just before another anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Al Qaeda (AQ) turned 25. Although after more than a decade of the war on terrorism the so called Al Qaeda Central is far from thriving operationally, it still advises and inspires jihadists around the world. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring AQ Central affiliates and allies have re-constituted themselves and are growing in various parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Nonetheless, de-centralisation of the world's counter-terrorism effort, with the focus not on AQ Central but on its "subordinates," may in the longer term lead to a serious disruption of the totality of the organisation, already riddled with internal contradictions.
  • Topic: Islam, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Szymon Bochenskii
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: A review of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) has concluded that chemical weapons disarmament is on track. However, the information about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has added a new sense of urgency to chemical weapons disarmament. It has proven that a global ban on this lethal arms category cannot be achieved without making the CWC a truly universal treaty. At the same time, the Review Conference recognised new challenges associated with the rapid growth of the chemical industry worldwide. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will have to find a golden mean to ensure implementation of the Convention without hampering the peaceful uses of chemicals.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Human Rights, International Law, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United Nations
  • Author: Ahmad Khalid Majidyar
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Persian Gulf states of Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have largely been immune to the rising tide of sectarianism that has rocked the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring. The three monarchies have successfully integrated their Shi'ite minority populations into their countries' sociopolitical and economic spheres, giving those populations little reason to engage in violence or seek political guidance from Iran or Iraq. Omani, Qatari, and Emirati Shi'ites strongly identify themselves as citizens of their respective countries and remain loyal to their ruling regimes. However, the spillover effects of the Syrian civil war—a sectarian conflict between the Shi'ite Iran-Hezbollah-Assad axis and the opposition groups backed by regional Sunni governments—are threatening Sunni-Shi'ite stability in the UAE, Qatar, and to a lesser degree, Oman. The United States should help maintain harmony in these states by reaching out to independent Shi'ite business communities and by working with regional leaders to ensure equal citizenship, political rights, and religious freedom among minority populations.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Islam, Post Colonialism, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Ahmad Khalid Majidyar
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: For decades the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been America's indispensable ally in the Middle East, and the ­Kingdom's stability remains vital for US strategic interests in the region. While antigovernment protests in the Kingdom's Sunni-majority regions have been small and sporadic in the wake of Arab Spring, there has been an unremitting unrest in the strategic Eastern Province, home to Saudi Arabia's marginalized Shi'ite minority and major oil fields. As in the 1980s, if government repression and discrimination push the Shi'ites to extremes, some may resort to violence and terrorism, jeopardizing American interests in the region, benefitting Iran and ­al-Qaeda, disrupting the equilibrium of global oil markets, and adversely affecting economic recovery in the West. To ensure lasting stability in the Kingdom, the United States must work with the Saudi government to achieve gradual but meaningful reforms that include integrating the Shi'ites into the Kingdom's sociopolitical system.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Islam, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Kuwait is perhaps America's closest Arab ally; it remains the only country in the Middle East on whose behalf the United States went to war. Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has at times tried to leverage Kuwait's large Shi'ite minority against the Kuwaiti state, it has mostly been unsuccessful. Indeed, Kuwait's Shi'ite ­community has repeatedly worked to prove its loyalty to Kuwait. Recent political instability, however, is again opening the door for sectarian forces to undermine Kuwait and, by extension, an important pillar of US defense strategy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Aki Peritz
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: President Obama drew a "red line" for Syria: if the Assad regime used its chemical weapons, such a move would "change [the] calculus" for an American response. As the UN and others investigate whether Assad has indeed crossed that red line, the U.S. must consider its options—because a failure to act could undermine our credibility. But "further action" is a broad category in the Syrian conflict. Our options range from increasing non-lethal aid to deploying troops in Syria. In this guide to the debate, we provide answers to six key questions: What are America's security interests in Syria? Which rebel groups should we support? What are Syria's military capabilities? What is the status of Syria's chemical weapons? What are the international community's options? What are America's options?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Syria, North America
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Aki Peritz
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Despite serious, continuing concerns with the Egyptian government—including a return to authoritarianism and the president's use of anti-Semitic slurs—America should not gut its foreign aid to Cairo. Here's how to make the case against punishing the Egyptian government and in favor of continuing U.S. assistance: Egypt plays a critical role in the region and in America's security interests there. U.S. businesses get a return when we provide aid to Egypt. The bulk of our aid goes to the most stable pillar of secular Egyptian society: the military. Things could get much, much worse in Egypt—and for us.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Armed Struggle, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, North America, Egypt
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Aki Peritz, Faris Alikhan
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Our deal with Russia to destroy Syrian chemical weapons (CW) is a huge win for the United States because it will help keep those arms out of the hands of terrorists. Nevertheless, skeptics claim: We can't trust the Russians or the Syrians—despite America's history of reaching arms reduction deals with the Soviets and the Russians; We can't eliminate CW during a civil war—despite our experience with CW destruction; We will pay too much to implement this plan—even though it is far less than what we would spend on strikes. So far, the skeptics are wrong. While the destruction of Syria's CW will be a challenge, it is one that we can and should meet.
  • Topic: Civil War, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Richard LeBaron
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Two important issues are testing relations between the United States and its allies in the Gulf: democratic transitions in the Arab world and regional security. Their outcome will either strengthen or disrupt what has been a long-term partnership. The United States and its Gulf allies are well into their second year of reacting to, and attempting to influence, the rapid political change in the Middle East and North Africa, but their efforts are informed by differing motivations. Meanwhile the looming threat of Iran attaining nuclear weapons has brought greater urgency to efforts to enhance Gulf security, but also some disquiet in the Gulf about any possible US deal with Iran that would serve global non-proliferation interests but threaten their vital regional security interests.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, North Africa, North America
  • Author: Odeh Aburdene
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: It is in the interest of the world community to increase all energy resources—oil, gas, coal, solar, green, and nuclear. There are 7 billion people on this planet today. By 2100 that number will rise to 10 billion people. We can only meet their needs by maximizing energy production and using it in the most efficient means available.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Biofuels
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In President Barack Obama's first term, his administration withdrew US forces from Iraq, ratcheted up pressure to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, began the adjustment to relations with post-authoritarian governments in Arab countries including Egypt, struggled with how best to handle an increasingly bloody rebellion in Syria, and attempted to restart diplomacy on the Israeli/Palestinian problem. At the beginning of his second term, US interests are at significant risk as the region continues to undergo profound changes, and Arab and European allies are asking for greater US engagement. The region also presents the United States with unanticipated opportunities, such as the development of Arab democracies and a reduction in Iranian influence. The challenge facing the United States is how to lead without dominating, and how to protect and promote US interests without absolving other actors of responsibility. Thus, the task for this administration is to develop a strategy: to match the president's positive rhetoric with meaningful follow-up in terms of diplomacy, assistance, and security cooperation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa, North America
  • Author: Mahmoud Hamad
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Egypt's judiciary has played a central role in the country's transition since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The political forces that led the uprising agreed on almost nothing except their profound rejection of dictatorship, corruption, and injustice. The military generals who took over from Mubarak lacked the imagination or the will to set out a clear roadmap to democracy. Ultimately, it fell to the judiciary to shape many aspects of the transition. In the legally murky climate of the past two years, judges drew fire from forces across the political spectrum, issuing decisions affecting the public perception of their objectivity.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Yasmin Alem
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Iran has never had what the West would regard as free, fair, and competitive elections. Some would point to the brief periods following the 1906 Constitutional Revolution and between the end of World War II and 1953, when a CIA-backed coup re-installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as possible exceptions to this rule. The upcoming presidential elections this June will be no such exception, with candidates restricted to eight proven loyalists to the regime. Nevertheless, the vote will be an important barometer of the stability and durability of an embattled regime that is increasingly unpopular domestically and isolated internationally. The elections will also produce a new turn of the kaleidoscope within Iran's shrinking political elite, as existing factions break apart and regroup. The next president is likely to be more moderate in tone, if not in policy, and more competent and less divisive than the outgoing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This could have important implications not just for the country's domestic course but for Iran's confrontation with the United States and the international community over the nuclear question.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Ramin Asgard
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This issue brief of the Atlantic Council's Iran Task Force outlines the 179-year history of US contacts with Iran, which have experienced periods of breakdown but currently are continuing at a low level despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties. It also recommends actions to advance these exchanges as a national security imperative—especially as the nuclear dispute with the Iranian government could well persist.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America
  • Author: Faysal Itani, Sarah Grebowkski
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: To describe the increase in violence and instability in Lebanon since the civil war in Syria began as simply a spillover is misleading. it risks casting Lebanon as a victim to negative externalities divorced from its own political dysfunction. in truth, Lebanon's troubles long preceded the war in Syria, and the conflict's more complex and pernicious effect on Lebanon has been the exposure and deepening of pre-existing rifts among Lebanese.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Human Rights, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Syrian civil war is accelerating Lebanon's political and institutional decline and poses a serious long-term threat to its economy. Lebanon has largely been spared the political upheavals of the Arab Spring, its fractious political system is intact, and the weakness of its central government means there is no authoritarian order to revolt against. However, Lebanon's own political dysfunction, the regional powers' stakes in Lebanese politics, and their anxieties over the geopolitical challenges that the Arab uprisings pose magnify the economic dangers of Syria's disintegration.
  • Topic: Economics, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When most people think of the "military option" against Iran, they imagine a US attack that takes out Iran's most important known nuclear facilities at Natanz, Fordow, Arak, and Isfahan. They expect Iran to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, sending missiles into Israel, and/or supporting terrorist attacks on US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: While Jordanians are focused on the conflict raging in neighboring Syria and the prospect of violence spilling over onto Jordanian soil, below the surface the same kind of political, economic, and social grievances that launched a wave of uprisings in the Arab world are present and intensifying in Jordan with each passing day. As calls for political change swept through Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli, and Sanaa in the spring of 2011, periodic protests emerged throughout Jordan as well, where a diverse mix of people came out in calls for greater freedoms and economic opportunity. Many of the anti-government demonstrations were led by youth, representing a broad spectrum from conservative East Bank tribes to the urban Palestinian-Jordanian elite, and the normally politically apathetic youth population seemed engaged in unprecedented ways. Young Jordanians struggle to land decent jobs, find affordable housing, and save enough money to get married; with 55 percent of the population under the age of twenty-five, and a 26 percent unemployment rate among males between fifteen and twenty-five years old, there is reason to be cognizant about youth discontent emerging in unexpected or critical moments of pressure.
  • Topic: Economics, Youth Culture, Social Movement, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Guillaume Lasconjarias, Jean-loup Samaan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In recent years, the issue of missile defense has become one of the most prominent features of Israel's military debate. During Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip on November 2012, air defense systems such as Iron Dome proved crucial against rockets targeting Israeli territory. As a result, they have attracted increasing political attention. Against this backdrop, international media and policy circles now focus on Israel as the most advanced case to test the validity of missile defense. NATO, in particular, has dedicated a lot of attention to the Israeli experience in missile defense and the lessons to be drawn from it.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Libyan economy collapsed in the wake of the popular uprising in February 2011 that led to the overthrow of the Muammar Qaddafi regime later that year. As the war raged, virtually all economic activity, especially oil production (the mainstay of the Libyan economy) witnessed a dramatic decline. While there was some recovery in 2012 when the war ended and oil production came back faster than expected, the economy has not yet reached a point of sustained, longer term economic growth. In fact, by 2013, the economy has only just got back to what it was prior to the uprising.
  • Topic: Economics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Although it appears Jordan has survived the Arab uprisings thus far, all is not well in the Hashemite Kingdom. Over the past twenty years, its political economy has changed profoundly, putting pressure on the foundations of regime stability. The state in Jordan has been retreating from many citizens' economic lives, shrinking its circle of privilege and patronage, and leaving the population to fend for itself in a dysfunctional economy. Worryingly, the segment of the population most affected is the monarchy's base, which sees the Palestinian-Jordanian population as benefiting from the new status quo. Today, Jordan is also coping with hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom may remain in the country long term. Yet the real danger to the monarchy's stability is not the immediate cost of refugee care but the alienation of its traditional power base.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • 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: Barbara Slavin, Fatemah Aman
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When compared to its often rocky relations with Arab countries to the west, the Islamic Republic of Iran has managed to retain largely cordial ties with its neighbors to the east. Historic linguistic, religious, and cultural connections have helped Iran keep its influence in South Asia and become a key trading partner despite US-led sanctions. Because of its strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, Iran provides India with access to Afghanistan and Central Asia that does not require transit through Pakistan. However, Iran and its neighbors, including Pakistan, face acute challenges such as scarce and poorly managed water resources, ethnic insurgencies, energy imbalances, and drug trafficking that require regional solutions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iran, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Arabia, North America, Persia
  • 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