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  • Author: Mohsen Milani
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When the Arab Spring reached the Mediterranean shores of Syria in early 2011, there was an ephemeral exuberance that Bashar Assad's dictatorship would be replaced with a democratic order. Today, Syria has descended into an existential civil war among religious sects and ethnic communities. The country has transformed into a battleground for a proxy war among regional and global powers that pursue irreconcilable objectives. Balkanization of Syria appears underway as the government, the Kurds, and the opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime control different swaths of the country, while the civil war has ominously metastasized to Syria's neighbors. Alarmingly, a large number of foreign born jihadists and terrorists with possible links to al Qaeda have also flooded the country to foment mischief. Amidst all the destruction, the complex civil war has reached a stubborn stalemate with no breakthrough in sight.
  • Topic: Civil War
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Seth Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: That the Arab Spring caught the world off guard is hardly surprising. Interpreting overt stability as a reflection of fundamental strength or resiliency has often set the international community up for surprise. Few forecast the dissolution of the Soviet Union, for example; far too few in Washington anticipated what would follow the invasion of Iraq. These are reminders that apparent stability can be little more than an illusion.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Arabia
  • Author: Ephraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite all the optimism accompanying the uprisings of 2011, the Arab Middle East remains a stagnant region in deep socio—political crisis with little chance for positive change anytime soon. The current regimes may stay in power or get replaced by new dictatorships, moderate or radical. Either way, in the near future, weak states will continue to grapple with domestic problems and the direction of their foreign policies. For good reason, this situation has Israeli leaders worried about the implications for their country's national security. The changing regional balance of power favors Turkey and Iran, both of whom encourage radical elements in the region, not Israel, while the seeming decline in U.S. clout has negatively affected both the Arab—Israeli peace process and Israel's deterrent power.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Harsh V. Pant
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last few years, India's policy toward the Middle East has often been viewed through the prism of Indian—Iranian relations. The international community, and the West in particular, has been obsessed with New Delhi's ties to Tehran, which are actually largely underdeveloped, while missing India's much more substantive simultaneous engagement with Arab Gulf states and Israel. India's relationship with the Middle East as a region is dramatically different than a generation ago. From 1947—1986, as at least one academic has argued, India was too ideological toward the region, paying insufficient attention to Indian national interests, particularly in its subdued ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.1 Today, however, India is developing its new Middle Eastern strategy around these three states, with New Delhi recently taking special care to nurture all these relationships and pursue its substantial regional interests.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, India, New Delhi, Arabia
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Americans took heart as they watched Egyptian demonstrators rally in Tahrir Square and topple the regime of Hosni Mubarak in a peaceful revolution. Next door in Israel, however, the mood was somber: “When some people in the West see what's happening in Egypt, they see Europe 1989,” an Israeli official remarked. “We see it as Tehran 1979.” Political leaders vied to see who could be the most pessimistic, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly warning that it was even possible that “Egypt will go in the direction of Iran,” with the new Cairo government becoming even more dictatorial and lashing out abroad. As he pointed out in remarks to the Knesset, “They too had demonstrations; multitudes filled the town squares. But, of course it progressed in a different way.” As unrest spread from Egypt to Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and Yemen, the gloom seemed to deepen.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Yemen, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain
  • Author: Mina Al-Oraibi, Gerard Russell
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “We are in an information war...and we are losing” declared U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, describing U.S. efforts to counter extremists and engage Arab publics during this year's unprecedented and historic change in the Middle East. She is right. In the decade since 9/11, thousands of American lives and more than a trillion dollars have been spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while millions of dollars have been spent on public diplomacy programs aimed at the Arab world. In 2009, President Barack Obama delivered a landmark speech in Cairo designed to seek “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” Two years on, according to the latest polling data in Egypt, unfavorable views of the United States outnumber favorable ones by nearly four to one. With some exceptions, the United States likewise remains unpopular in most majority-Muslim countries from Morocco to Pakistan. Why? And what can be done about it?
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Judging by the popular press, in January 2011 Twitter and Facebook went from being simply engaging social diversions to become engines of political change that upended decades of Arab authoritarianism. It is tempting to be swept away by this narrative, which suggests that social media prompted hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of Tunisians and Egyptians to pour into the streets and peacefully demand change. Brittle authoritarian regimes had little choice but to comply, and in this way, social media irrevocably changed the future of the Middle East. Following the logic to its conclusion, it would suggest that the Middle East is on the brink of a period of democratic consolidation, as the ideals and tools of revolutionaries lead the region forward into a period of anti-sectarianism, liberalism, and hope.
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Uri Dadush
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Arab countries straddle the lifelines of world trade. They link Europe to Asia and, with Iran, surround the Persian Gulf home to some 54 percent of global oil reserves. The region's many international and domestic disputes, as well as restraints on political expression and human rights, have spawned extremism. In turn, the region's endemic instability or perceived risk of instability has provided cover for some of the world's most authoritarian and corrupt regimes. Until the turn of this year, the Arab countries had almost uniformly resisted the process of democratization that swept up other regions in recent decade.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye, Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most significant effects of the Iraq war is Iran's seemingly unprecedented influence and freedom of action in regional affairs, presenting new strategic challenges for the United States and its regional allies. Although Middle Eastern governments and the United States are in general agreement about diagnosing Tehran's activism as the war's most alarming consequence, they disagree on how to respond. The conventional U.S. view suggests that a new Arab consensus has been prompted to neutralize and counter Tehran's rising influence across the region in Gaza, the Gulf, Iraq, and Lebanon. Parallels to Cold War containment are clear. Indeed, whether consciously or unwittingly, U.S. policy has been replicating features of the Cold War model by trying to build a ''moderate'' Sunni Arab front to bolster U.S. efforts to counter Iranian influence. Despite signals that the Obama administration intends to expand U.S. engagement with Iran, the foundations of containment are deeply rooted and engender bipartisan backing from Congress. Even if the Obama administration desires to shift U.S. policy toward Iran, containment policies will be difficult to overturn quickly; if engagement with Iran fails, reliance on containment will only increase.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia, Gaza, Lebanon