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  • Author: Eric Herring, Piers Robinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT PUBLISHED A DOSSIER on 24 September 2002 setting out its claims regarding Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Parliament was recalled for an emergency session on the same day to hear Prime Minister Tony Blair's presentation of it. The dossier stated that Iraq had WMD and was producing more. After the invasion in March 2003, no WMD were found. Ever since, there has been controversy as to whether the dossier reported accurately intelligence which turned out to be wrong, as Blair has claimed consistently, or whether the dossier deliberately deceived by intentionally giving the impression of greater Iraqi WMD capability and threat than the intelligence suggested.
  • Topic: Government, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Nadia Helmy
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: In the past three decades, Chinese Iranian and Middle East Studies have become more and more systematic, which is reflected not only in the great volume of publication, but also in the varied research methodologies and the increase in Iranian and Middle East academic journals. The development of Chinese Middle East studies have accelerated in particular after Arab Spring revolutions and the political changes in the Middle East (2000- 2013). Research institutes evolved from state-controlled propaganda offices into multi-dimensional academic and non-academic entities, including universities, research institutes, military institutions, government offices, overseas embassies and mass media. At the same time, publications evolved from providing an introduction and overview of Iran and Middle Eastern states to in-depth studies of Middle East politics and economics in three stages: beginnings (1949- 1978), growth (1979- 1999), and dealing with energy, religion, culture, society and security. The Middle East-related research programs' funding provided by provincial, ministerial and national authorities have increased and the quality of research has greatly improved. And finally, China has established, as well as joined, various academic institutions and NGOs, such as the Chinese Middle East Studies Association (CMESA), the Asian Middle East Studies Association (AMESA) and the Arabic Literature Studies Association (ALSA). However, Chinese Middle East Studies remain underdeveloped, both in comparison with China's American, European, and Japanese studies at home, and with Middle East studies in the West.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Government, Politics, Religion, Culture, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Alireza Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Having reached an interim accord in Geneva, two governments with a tortured political history must now work to sell it and the diplomatic strategy they have laid out to their own constituencies back home. In this paper, the role of the United States Congress in the process of developing American foreign policy in general and, in the current matter of Iran's nuclear file in particular will be examined. To do so, it describes the history of the relationship between the White House and Congress and then examines the difficult task of the Obama administration to garner support for its strategy in Congress. It reviews the reservations voiced by many in Congress regarding the Geneva nuclear interim accord as well as their misgivings regarding a final agreement. As the matter at hand involves high stake politics in the Middle East, it may carry grave consequences for the status quo in the region. The possible ramifications and the way this effects the position of those in Congress will also be explored. Lastly, since lobby groups have historically had a major role in American foreign policy towards the Middle East, their extensively-discussed role in this case as well as challenges they face will also be touched upon. In general, this paper proposes to describe specifically the way the US policy towards Iran is being formulated and what role Congress plays in the process. Effort will be made to find out to what extent the domestic politics has an impact on the approach of Congress towards Iran and how Congress may be influenced by Middle East regional powers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Shifter
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: At first glance, perhaps the most notable feature of Plan Colombia has been its longevity. Given the current divisiveness in Washington, the bipartisan support it has received across three administrations now seems remarkable. After 12 years, the plan is gradually winding down, but the U.S. allocated more than $300 million under the program in 2012 alone. Although the Plan has evolved considerably since it was approved by the U.S. Congress in July 2000, it has become shorthand for wide-ranging U.S. cooperation with Colombia to assist that country in combating drugs, guerrilla violence, and related institutional and social problems. All told, the U.S. has spent nearly $8 billion on the initiative—more than anywhere outside of the Middle East, and Iraq and Afghanistan since the end of the Cold War. Although the effort gave priority to counter-narcotics operations—and specifically the eradication of coca in southern Colombia—from the outset it also encompassed assistance for the judiciary and economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Bruce Gilley
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: It is a commonly expressed idea that a key goal of intervention in and assistance to foreign nations is to establish (or re-establish) legitimate political authority. Historically, even so great a skeptic as John Stuart Mill allowed that intervention could be justified if it were "for the good of the people themselves" as measured by their willingness to support and defend the results. In recent times, President George W. Bush justified his post-war emphasis on democracybuilding in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East with the logic that "nations in the region will have greater stability because governments will have greater legitimacy." President Obama applauded French intervention in Mali for its ability "to reaffirm democracy and legitimacy and an effective government" in the country
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Surveying today's Middle Eastern and North African landscape offers few straws of hope. Iran's reemergence producing a potential catalyst for a focus on core domestic political, economic and social issues could be one of those few straws. Whether Iran wittingly or unwittingly plays that role, the Middle East and North Africa are only likely to break their internecine cycle of violence and despair when the alternative becomes too costly. A resolution of the nuclear issue offers Iran far more than the ultimate lifting of crippling international sanctions. It would also allow Iran to capitalize on geostrategic gains it has made despite its international isolation. What worries opponents of the nuclear deal like Israel and Saudi Arabia most is the potential transformation of Iran from a game spoiler into a constructive player.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Malik Mufti
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the first years of its tenure in office, as the AK Party focused on consolidating its position domestically, Turkey's reengagement with the Arab world after decades of alienation took a largely unproblematic form. Inevitably, however, as Turkish activism deepened, conflicts of interest emerged both with other aspirants to regional influence such as Iran and Israel, and then - especially after the outbreak of the 2011 uprisings - with many Arab regimes as well. The future character of Turkey's engagement with its Arab neighbors will depend on its ability to combine an adherence to a conception of community based on Islam rather than ethnic nationalism, with a commitment to democratization both at home and regionally.
  • Topic: Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Joerg Baudner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article aims to explain the evolution of Turkish foreign policy through the search for a foreign policy role concept. It will argue that the AK Party government has already adopted two different foreign policy role concepts. Thus, the changes in Turkish foreign policy can best be characterized as the adoption of a foreign policy role with many traits of civilian power (2002-2005), subsequent limited change (2005-2010) and the adoption of a regional power role (from 2010 on).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Alireza Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Israel lobby in Washington is a network of organizations and community groups dedicated to influencing American policy towards the Middle East. Their success and access has made them the model for lobbies on Washington's Capitol Hill and US Government. Long known for successfully influencing American policy towards the Middle East, the lobby now faces its strongest challenge in history at a time when it is also facing what it considers a historically significant issue. The interim accord between Iran and members of the P5+1 have led to turmoil in Washington over the wisdom and plausibility of President Obama's diplomatic approach and about the softening of the current US posture towards Iran. In this debate, powerful conservative groups, a number of key Democrats, and the Israel lobby have been pit against progressive groups and Democratic elected officials in the Senate and the White House. In this article, I will briefly look at the history of the Israel lobby in America and explore its evolution as well as investigate the factors that, over time, caused it to take on a hard-line posture and drift towards the right. I will explore the tactics and strategies that the Israel lobby-the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in particular-has undertaken to influence the outcome of events and undermine the possibility of diplomatic conflict resolution. Finally, I will examine the pitfalls and challenges hard-line pro-Israel groups face in effectively pursuing these policies and the long term harm they expose themselves to in alienating progressive and pro-peace groups.
  • Topic: Government, History
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Amir Sajedi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: India and Israel share many common characteristics such as having emerged from a colonial past of the British Empire, and having a parliamentary system which encompasses moderate and radical forces. In spite of this shared background, for nearly four decades, India did not show interest in establishing complete diplomatic relations with Israel, and in general supported and voted for defense of the Palestinians and the Arab Middle-Eastern governments and for condemnation of Israel in world bodies such as the United Nations. However the broad changes in the world stage arising in the 1990's such as the break-up of the Soviet Union, the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent crisis in the Middle-East, the rise of the price of oil, the reduction in the remittances sent back to India by the returning Indian workers from Arab countries, and also the change of the political climate in India, the increase in support for the right wing (B J P) all changed the direction of the attitudes of most Indian politicians towards Israel. But developing Indo-Israel relations does not affect Indo-Iran's relations.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Middle East, India, Israel, Kuwait, Soviet Union, Palestine, Arabia, United Nations
  • Author: Arturo Marzano
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel's international position has declined in recent years. Even if its relationship with the EU - and even more with the US - is solid, there have been frictions that are not likely to disappear in the years to come. Its relations with other states, from Middle Eastern countries to India and China, are either highly problematic or have not improved despite the Israeli government's efforts. It is Israel's policy in the Occupied Territories that is being increasingly criticised and this is creating a sort of 'vicious circle' in Israel: the critiques reinforce Israeli's 'bunker mentality', strengthening the ethno-nationalist character of Israeli politics and society and causing de-democratisation, and this, in turn, brings on more international isolation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, 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: 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
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: As the spring issue of Insight Turkey goes to print the Middle East nears another great crisis or even a war. The Syrian quagmire may be the current harbinger of full-out war in the region. It has been a year since the uprisings started. The Syrian regime met the peaceful demonstrations of its people with violent and bloody repression. The Arab spring, it seems at the moment, got stuck in Syria where President Bashar Assad confronted the demands of his people for change with a violent crackdown. The well-known "mukhabarat state" of Syria did not bow to "people power," at least for the time being.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ann Florini
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Imagine that you could wave a magic wand and provide everyone in the world with easy access to clean and affordable energy. In one stroke you would make the world a far cleaner, richer, fairer, and safer place. Suddenly, a billion and a half of the world's poorest people could discover what it is like to turn on an electric light in the evening. The looming threat posed by climate change would largely disappear. From the South China Sea to the Middle East to the Arctic, geopolitical tensions over energy resources would fade away. Human health would benefit, too, as vaccines and perishable foods could be refrigerated the world over. And many of the world's most corrupt government officials could no longer enrich themselves by bleeding their countries dry of revenues from fossil fuel sales.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East
  • Author: Khalilollah Sardarnia
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The prevailing outlook among analysts before the advent of the recent social movements in North Africa and a number of Arab Middle Eastern countries indicated that the region will continue to resist the wave of democratization. The fall of several authoritarian regimes and continuity of social movements has generated serious doubts in this outlook, leading to the appearance of promising horizons for democratization. This paper argues that these social movements originate from the exacerbating legitimacy crisis of authoritarian governments and rising political, social and economic dissatisfaction of the general public, including the youth and the modern middle class. This work seeks to answer the question: what are the major sociological origins and precipitating factors influencing the advent of social movements in the Middle East and North Africa? In response, it can be argued that the advent of social movements in a number of Middle East and North African countries is rooted in the legitimacy crisis, as well as rising political, social and economic dissatisfaction of the general public, the youth and the modern middle class in recent decades. The web-based social networks and cell phones acted as precipitating factors in the massive mobilization and integration of mass protests and those of the modern middle class and the fall of a number of authoritarian regimes. These movements are notably characterized by being comprehensive, Islamic, democratic, anti-despotic, independence-seeking, and highly reliant on new information and communications technologies. The web-based social networks served as a precipitating factor in massive mobilization of the aforementioned strata within the context of an exacerbated legitimacy crisis and the gap between the state and the society rather than as a structural deep-rooted factor.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government, Islam, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Alexander Lee
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: In Gridlock, Pardis Mahdavi explores the social issues of labor migration in Dubai-a topic less visible than those that make up the daily headlines on the Middle East. The book is a mix of Mahdavi's personal experiences in the Emirate and a scholarly discourse on trafficking policy and its associated political pressures. Peppered throughout with the stories of labor migrants from a variety of backgrounds and working in a diversity of sectors, the book aims for both breadth and academic depth. The former goal works ultimately to the detriment of the latter, as Mahdavi retreads the same ground several times. Nevertheless, the book serves as an important look at a key international issue from a perspective that policy makers may be ignoring. Current U.S. policy regarding the issue of trafficking centers on the State Department's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report-the government's "principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking." Mahdavi's central thesis relates to her opinions on the use of this report which, at the time of her writing, was primarily used as a diplomatic tool for leveraging political bargaining power against countries such as Dubai with a "known" record of poor human rights. She believes that the TIP report holds a great deal of potential to expand beyond a bargaining tool and can instead be used for enacting true reform in trafficking and migration policy. For this to come about, however, Mahdavi believes that governments need a broader understanding of trafficking beyond their current focus on female sex workers. The accounts of labor migrants in her book serve as a survey of other types of trafficked persons. Though Gridlock's organization may feel more like a collection of essays than a singular, focused work, Mahdavi explores this complex, multifaceted issue from a unique perspective. The breadth of her research appears broader than the views of most policy makers involved in this issue and presents a compelling case for policy reform, with direct social consequences for a multitude of labor migrants from around the globe.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Victoria Webster
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Informality and Illegality in the Exploitation of Gold and Timber in Antioquia Jorge Giraldo Ramírez and Juan Carlos Muñoz Mora (Medellín: Centro de Análisis Político Universidad Eafit and Proantioquia, 2012), 197 pages. In Informality and Illegality authors Jorge Giraldo Ramírez and Carlos Muñoz Mora, both professors in Antioquia, Colombia, analyze how the gold and timber sectors have become a source of financing for armed groups. Rather than simply rehashing the old resource-curse debate, this slim, but dense, Spanish-language book performs a microlevel analysis of Antioquia's extractive supply chains and impressively identifies the precise mechanisms that incentivize illegal armed actors to enter the market. According to the authors, the confluence of informal extractive markets with high levels of socio-economic inequality and the absence of a well-functioning state incentivizes nonstate actors to assume the state's role and engage in criminal activity. This "criminal ecology" is a self-perpetuating system that is characterized by ineffective state intervention, weak regulation and penalization, and high levels of political and economic leverage by nonstate actors. Ramírez and Mora's findings are impressive, even if their data seems suspect: they find positive correlations between gold mining and the presence of illegal armed groups, informal land tenure, increased violence, and weak institutions. The authors' concluding discussion of contemporary policy recommendations, currently being debated in a variety of forums, including the country's mining code reform and ongoing institutional restructuring process- though appropriate-is too theoretical to be of much use. Moreover, given the dominant role multinational corporations (MNCs) play in Colombia's legal, security, and political spheres, their limited analysis of the relationship of MNCs with Antioquia's supply chain ignores a large part of the policy debate. Though repetitive and dry, Ramirez and Mora's work is a unique take on a polarizing debate. Their framework of the complex relationship between a traditionally informal economy, illegal crime, and the international demand for a scarce resource (gold), while specific to Antioquia, is widely applicable to any number of countries and contexts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Colombia
  • Author: Jane Kinninmont
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Jane Kinninmont demolishes the theory of monarchical exceptionalism
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Kemal İnat
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Sakarya University, Institute of Social Sciences
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign policy toward the Middle East has confronted with more and novel security challenges in 2012. The problematic issues related to Arab revolutions of 2011 have already had negative repercussions for Ankara. As a result of diverging policy choices toward the Arab revolutions, these conflicting issues caused more strained relations between Turkey and its neighbors in the region. Regional actors divided over how to respond to political deadlocks in the Middle East. While Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have sided together, Iran, Syria and the central government of Iraq have made their policies jointly. This very division between the regional actors has increased the security risks within the Middle East. These two camps have particularly conflicting policy agendas and as a result, they have become part of a “proxy war” in Syria which constitutes the biggest security threat to the whole region. Despite the deteriorating situation in Syria and its own tense political environment domestically, Turkey, has continued to strengthen its economic relations with the Middle Eastern capitals except Damascus. It was partly a result of this policy that Turkey's export toward the Middle East increased significantly.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Damascus, Ankara
  • Author: C.A. Wolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Although Ayn Rand published her epic novel Atlas Shrugged fifty-four years ago, and although it has consistently sold hundreds of thousands of copies annually, Rand's magnum opus has spent decades mired in Hollywood “development hell.” Numerous producers, stars, screenwriters, and film production companies have endeavored but failed to execute a film version (see: “Atlas Shrugged's Long Journey to the Silver Screen,” p. 35). All the while, fans of the novel have anxiously waited for the day when they could watch the story come to life on the silver screen. That day is finally here. Atlas Shrugged: Part I, the first in a planned trilogy, should, for the most part, please the novel's patient fans. Fortuitously following a blueprint similar to one outlined by Rand in the 1970s (see “Adapting Atlas: Ayn Rand's own Approach,” p. 38), the film covers the first third of the story. Like the novel, the movie focuses on Dagny Taggart as she endeavors to save her struggling railroad from both intrusive government regulations and the mysterious John Galt, who is hastening the nation's collapse by causing the great entrepreneurs and thinkers of the country to disappear. She is aided in her efforts by Henry “Hank” Rearden, a steel magnate who is also being squeezed by government regulations and is anxious to put an end to John Galt's activities. Those familiar with the novel know generally what to expect: the disappearance of more and more industrialists and other great producers, the banning of Rearden Metal, the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule,” the initial run of the John Galt Line, and finally Wyatt's Torch and the collapse of Colorado.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Colorado
  • Author: Aqil Shah
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has a major stake in Pakistan's stability, given the country's central role in the U.S.-led effort to, in U.S. President Barack Obama's words, "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat" al Qaeda; its war-prone rivalry with India over Kashmir; and its nuclear arsenal. As a result, U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been dominated by concerns for its stability -- providing the reasoning for Washington's backing of the Pakistani military's frequent interventions in domestic politics -- at the expense of its democratic institutions. But as the recent eruption of protests in the Middle East against U.S.-backed tyrants has shown, authoritarian stability is not always a winning bet. Despite U.S. efforts to promote it, stability is hardly Pakistan's distinguishing feature. Indeed, many observers fear that Pakistan could become the world's first nuclear-armed failed state. Their worry is not without reason. More than 63 years after independence, Pakistan is faced with a crumbling economy and a pernicious Taliban insurgency radiating from its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the semiautonomous seven districts and six smaller regions along its border with Afghanistan. It is still struggling to meet its population's basic needs. More than half its population faces severe poverty, which fuels resentment against the government and feeds political instability. According to the World Bank, the Pakistani state's effectiveness has actually been in steady decline for the last two decades. In 2010, Foreign Policy even ranked Pakistan as number ten on its Failed States Index, placing it in the "critical" category with such other failed or failing states as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. The consequences of its failure would no doubt be catastrophic, if for no other reason than al Qaeda and its affiliates could possibly get control of the country's atomic weapons. The Pakistani Taliban's dramatic incursions into Pakistan's northwestern Buner District (just 65 miles from the capital) in 2009 raised the specter of such a takeover.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Michael L. Ross
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Summary: No state with serious oil wealth has ever transformed into a democracy. Oil lets dictators buy off citizens, keep their finances secret, and spend wildly on arms. To prevent the “resource curse” from dashing the hopes of the Arab Spring, Washington should push for more transparent oil markets -- and curb its own oil addiction. MICHAEL L. ROSS is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of the forthcoming book The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations. Even before this year's Arab uprisings, the Middle East was not an undifferentiated block of authoritarianism. The citizens of countries with little or no oil, such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, generally had more freedom than those of countries with lots of it, such as Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. And once the tumult started, the oil-rich regimes were more effective at fending off attempts to unseat them. Indeed, the Arab Spring has seriously threatened just one oil-funded ruler -- Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi -- and only because NATO's intervention prevented the rebels' certain defeat. Worldwide, democracy has made impressive strides over the last three decades: just 30 percent of the world's governments were democratic in 1980; about 60 percent are today. Yet almost all the democratic governments that emerged during that period were in countries with little or no oil; in fact, countries that produced less than $100 per capita of oil per year (about what Ukraine and Vietnam produce) were three times as likely to democratize as countries that produced more than that. No country with more than a fraction of the per capita oil wealth of Bahrain, Iraq, or Libya has ever successfully gone from dictatorship to democracy. Scholars have called this the oil curse, arguing that oil wealth leads to authoritarianism, economic instability, corruption, and violent conflict. Skeptics claim that the correlation between oil and repression is a coincidence. As Dick Cheney, then the CEO of Haliburton, remarked at a 1996 energy conference, "The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas reserves where there are democratic governments." But divine intervention did not cause repression in the Middle East: hydrocarbons did. There is no getting around the fact that countries in the region are less free because they produce and sell oil.
  • Topic: NATO, Government, Oil
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Ukraine, Middle East, Kuwait, Libya, Vietnam, California, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: William Sweeney
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Once the first protests erupted in Tunisia in December 2010, a wave of unrest quickly spread across the Middle East and North Africa as citizens expressed their discontent with the region's regimes. The Arab Spring was the result of mounting dissatisfaction with the status quo but also the result of blatant government corruption, brutal human rights violations, the economic downturn, low wages and rising unemployment rates. The socio-economic problems were truly the boiling point that pushed protesters, particularly youth, over the edge.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Jason Brownlee
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: The Egyptian – Israeli Peace Treaty of April 1979 capped four major wars and inaugurated a new U.S. – Egyptian relationship. Henceforth, U.S. presidents would regard the Egyptian – Israeli treaty as a cornerstone of American interests and values in the region. In 2003, President George W. Bush recognized Egypt as a trailblazer of peace and urged the country to “ show the way toward democracy in the Middle East. ” 1 The remark spoke to Washington ʼ s success reconciling historic adversaries and its ostensible hope for political reform in Cairo. Between the U.S. and Egyptian governments, though, peace and democracy had been at odds since the treaty ʼ s drafting. The autocratic prerogatives of President Anwar Sadat (r. 1970 – 1981) were a sine qua non of successful bargaining. Negotiators on all sides presupposed tight policing within Egypt. At this crossroads of diplomacy and domestic poli- tics, Sadat fused international peace and internal repression.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Mustafa Kibaroglu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Nonproliferation Review
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: US nuclear weapons have been an important part of Turkey's security strategy since their first deployment on Turkish soil in the early 1960s. Turkey's NATO membership and its close relationship with the United States have been perceived to be integral to maintaining its security. The release of the 2010 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), with its focus on disarmament and reduced reliance on nuclear weapons, has a number of potential consequences for Turkey. This article provides background on the history of Turkish-US nuclear weapons policy in light of issues ranging from Middle Eastern politics to the development of NATO's new Strategic Concept. It then describes how actors in the government, military, and academia in Turkey have reacted to the NPR, why they reacted as they did, and how the Obama administration's initiatives may be received in Turkey in the future. This article concludes that both military and civilian actors in Turkey have reacted favorably to the NPR and are pleased by its emphasis on nuclear nonproliferation and the maintenance of extended deterrence; however, there is less agreement in Turkey about the emphasis placed by the NPR on the danger of nuclear terrorism.
  • Topic: NATO, Development, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Crawford, Jami Miscik
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Governments across the Middle East and South Asia are increasingly losing power to substate actors that are inserting themselves at a mezzanine level of rule between the government and the people. Western policymakers must address the problem systematically, at both a political and a legal level, rather than continue to pursue reactive and disjointed measures on a case-by-case basis.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Jan Selby
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian- Israeli Water Conflict, by Mark Zeitoun. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2008. xvi + 164 pages. Appendices to p. 178. Notes to p. 190. Bibliography to p. 208. Index p. 214. $89.00 cloth.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Richard N. Haass, Martin Indyk
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To be successful in the Middle East, the Obama administration will need to move beyond Iraq, find ways to deal constructively with Iran, and forge a final-status Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Walter Russell Mead
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: If it hopes to bring peace to the Middle East, the Obama administration must put Palestinian politics and goals first.
  • Topic: Security, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David H. Shinn
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: After the september 11 attacks, the Bush administration's foreign policy toward Somalia focused primarily on counterterrorism. This focus was a result of Somalia's proximity to the Middle East, U.S. concern that al-Qa'ida might relocate to the country, a history of terrorist bombings targeting Western interests in nearby Kenya and Tanzania and early contact between al-Qa'ida and individuals in Somalia. Although ties exist between al-Qa'ida and Somalia's al-Shabab militant group, the overwhelming objective of U.S. policy in Somalia should not be confronting international terrorist activity. Instead, the United States should contribute to creating a moderate government of national unity in Somalia, which offers the best hope of minimizing Somali links to international terrorism. Long-term U.S. interests in the Horn of Africa will not be served by a policy that is consumed with military action to the detriment of supporting economic development and a broad based Somali government.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Tanzania, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section is intended to give readers an overview of President-elect Barack Obama's positions on the Middle East peace process as he begins his tenure. The baseline for gauging Obama's views may be his failed 2000 race for Congress. At that time he made statements viewed as pro-Palestinian because they urged the United States to take an "even-handed approach" toward Israeli-Palestinian peace-making. As an Illinois state senator, Obama had cultivated ties with Chicago's Arab American community, which was partly concentrated in his state senate district. He won a U.S. Senate seat in 2004 with significant support from Chicago's Lakeside liberals, who included leading Chicago Jewish Democrats. His position on the Arab-Israeli conflict remained an issue during the 2008 presidential race, however, and Obama made a point of laying out his positions at several points during the campaign, in contrast to his Republican challenger Sen. John McCain, who did not detail his positions.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia, Chicago
  • Author: Amitai Etzioni
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Old international institutions must be updated to tackle transnational challenges. The most promising model for doing so is the Proliferation Security Initiative, a recent cooperative effort to interdict weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, North Korea
  • Author: Amir M. Haji-Yousefi
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Prof. Bulent Aras
  • Abstract: After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, it became evident that Iraq's Shia majority would dominate the future government if a free election was going to be held. In 2004, Jordan's King Abdullah, anxiously warned of the prospect of a “Shia crescent” spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This idea was then picked up by others in the Arab world, especially Egypt's President Mubarak and some elements within the Saudi government, to reaffirm the Iranian ambitions and portray its threats with regard to the Middle East. This article seeks to unearth the main causes of promoting the idea of a revived Shiism by some Arab countries, and argue that it was basically proposed out of the fear that what the American occupation of Iraq unleashed in the region would drastically change the old Arab order in which Sunni governments were dominant. While Iran downplayed the idea and perceived it as a new American conspiracy, it was grabbed by the Bush administration to intensify its pressures on Iran. It also sought to rally support in the Arab world for US Middle East policy in general, and its failed policy toward Iraq in particular. Thus, to answer the above mentioned question, a close attention would be paid to both the Arab and Iranian agenda in the Middle East after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in order to establish which entities benefit most from the perception of a Shia crescent.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Michael T. Klare
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: PRESIDENT BARACK Obama has often stated that one of his highest priorities is to vanquish the "tyranny of oil" by developing alternative sources of energy and substantially reducing America's reliance on imported petroleum. But we will not be energy independent for the next thirty to forty years, even with a strong push to increase energy efficiency and spur the development of petroleum alternatives. During this time, America will remain dependent on oil derived from authoritarian regimes, weak states and nations in the midst of civil war.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: William Hale
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Barack Obama's inauguration as America's new president has been welcomed as opening a 'new era' in Turkey's relations with the United States. May 2009 also saw the appointment of a new foreign minister in Ankara, in the person of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu. This article examines how these new directions are playing out in the Middle East, one of the world's most turbulent regions which also has crucial economic and strategic importance for Turkey. It focuses on Turkey's relations with four regional states – Iraq, Israel/ Palestine, Syria and Iran. The article closes by assessing whether Turkey has been able to achieve the government's ambition of 'zero problems' with its neighbors, and the degree to which it has been able to develop a new role as conciliator and go-between in addressing the region's bitter conflicts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bronwyn Bruton
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Washington's repeated attempts to bring peace to Somalia with state-building initiatives have failed, even backfired. It should renounce political intervention and encourage local development without trying to improve governance.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Somalia
  • Author: Jacqueline Grapin
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Affairs
  • Institution: The European Institute
  • Abstract: We recently lost one of the most respected figures in Europe, just at a time when he would have been most needed. Bronislaw Geremek, who died in a car accident in Brussels in July, was a former Polish foreign minister and then a distinguished member of the European Parliament. Historically, he was a pivotal figure in the fight of the Solidarity movement to end Communist rule in Poland and one of the leading statesmen of the democratic era that followed. A professor of history who had become Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland before being elected to the European Parliament, at 76, Geremek was in full stride as a man who had distilled personal and political wisdom from his involvement in history both as an historian and as an actor in European developments. He was a friend of the United States and one of the most ardent supporters of the European Union, who was Chairman of the Jean Monnet Foundation in Lausanne. I remember meeting him by chance as we were both literally running down the street in the center of Warsaw on the 14th of July 1997, trying to reach in time the place where President Bill Clinton was going to address a huge crowd a few minutes later. All the buildings were decorated with American flags, and the crowds were full of excitement. It struck me that this high official - recognizable to everyone with his white beard - could walk freely in a public street, without a limousine or bodyguards: at every corner in the old city, people of all walks of life greeted him naturally. On his visits to The European Institute in Washington, he always conveyed his dedication to the goal of turning politics into a noble art. A difficult challenge, but perhaps not impossible. At this juncture, amid confusion about how to surmount the crisis for the EU caused by the negative vote of the Irish electorate on the Lisbon Treaty, it is worth remembering the advice given by Professor Geremek in an article that appeared in Le Monde almost simultaneously with his death.1 He stressed that every effort should be made to ensure that the treaty be ratified in all the other EU countries where it is signed. Don't ask the Irish people to vote on this again, Geremek said in substance, because the outcome of the Irish referendum should be respected and governments should not try to bypass the popular will. He recommended that the other 26 governments should do their best to ratify the treaty: whatever else, the result will be a text signed and ratified in a majority of the other 26 member states. In effect, a majority will have approved the Lisbon treaty, and that will add legitimacy for the European Council to proceed, together with the European Commission and the European Parliament, to implement some measures which do not require changes in the existing treaty. For instance, the Council can decide that the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (now Javier Solana) will from now on permanently chair the Council of Foreign Ministers and be responsible for a newly created European Foreign Service. Similarly, the European Council could decide that the President of the European Commission will chair the meetings of the European Council. While not fully representing the EU abroad, the President of the European Commission would represent the European institutions. The European Council could also propose that the European Parliament be recognized as having the right to propose legislative initiatives on the basis of public petitions (that garner, for example, one million signatures). The European Parliament could also be encouraged to take initiatives to reinforce its cooperation with the national parliaments in preparing European legislation. Increasing the rights of the European Parliament could be done by unanimous decisions of the European Council. Of course, there are changes that cannot be accomplished without a new treaty, particularly with regard to the voting system in the Council. Geremek was particularly firm that the principle of unanimity should be changed. It reminded him of a similar historical disposition in 18th-century Poland, the liberum veto that had led the country to political disaster. For the EU now to produce a new, more practical majoritysystem and to decide one or two questions that cannot be settled with the existing treaties, he suggested a new approach. Instead of bundling texts of existing treaties into a complex new proposal to be put to the public, two or three clear questions should be submitted to voters in all 27 EU member countries at the same time - for instance, on the election days for the European Parliament in June 2009. Such a process would be consistent with democratic principles. Moreover, at a moment when Russia's actions press the Old Europe and the New Europe to agree among themselves and with the United States, the West cannot afford to cling blindly to institutional arrangements that everyone knows are inadequate to the needs of the situation. Enlargement has not reduced the EU's ability to make decisions as much as many expected, but the rules of the treaty of Nice from 2001, which was supposed to be temporary and short-lived, must be improved. Both Europe and the United States feel the need for an efficient decision-making machinery in the EU at a juncture when both face the same challenges - defining relations with Russia, China, and the emerging economies; ensuring energy security; boosting economic growth; fighting terrorism and poverty; stabilizing the Middle East. It is tempting for sovereign European nations and for the powerful United States to let the role of the European institutions be minimized. But Europeans and Americans would be better served if they sought to share an ambitious vision of what the European Union should be able to provide - and how.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lisbon