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  • 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: Karine Bennafla
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cultures Conflits
  • Institution: Cultures Conflits
  • Abstract: Cet article est consacré à l'étude d'un conflit local au Liban, un pays du Proche-Orient abritant officiellement dix-sept « communautés » confessionnelles. Cet enchevêtrement de frontières intérieures sur un territoire restreint alimente des troubles récurrents, comme en témoignent les affrontements intercommunautaires de mai 2007 ou la guerre civile qui a meurtri le pays durant quinze ans (1975-1990), transformée au fil du temps en guerre de clans et de factions. De nombreux écrits sont consacrés à ces déchirements libanais, surtout de la part d'historiens, de politologues ou de sociologues. Notre étude de cas revient sur ces tensions politico-confessionnelles libanaises non pas d'un point de vue sociologique mais géographique, en les abordant à une échelle micro et en privilégiant une entrée spatiale. Le conflit d'appropriation foncière qui secoue la bourgade d'Anjar (qui compte environ 5000 résidents) montre la transcription au sol des frictions communautaires et des stratégies identitaires avec, pour corollaires, l'élaboration d'une frontière – entendue comme limite politique transcrite dans l'espace – et un conflitde mémoire, celle du lieu disputé.
  • Topic: Sociology
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Andy Baker
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: "Why do they hate us?” This question1, on so many U.S. citizens' minds over the decade following the September 11, 2001, attacks, is often asked about Islamic extremists and even the broader Muslim world. Among the most common responses is that “they” resent U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. When the focus shifts to Latin America, U.S. foreign policy similarly appears to be the principal reason for anti-Americanism. This seems to make sense. One would be hard-pressed to find another world region with greater and more long-standing grievances about Washington's actions. The Monroe Doctrine, Dollar Diplomacy and Cold War Containment were euphemisms for imperial abuses committed against Latin America over the course of two centuries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Levi, Jason Bordoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The energy landscape in the Americas has shifted dramatically in just a few years. Only a decade ago, experts expected most of the world's new oil supplies to come from the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Now the odds are that most of the growth in global oil supplies will come from North America and Brazil. Just five years ago, conventional wisdom held that North America would become a big importer of natural gas—with some supplies coming from its neighbors to the south. Now, a boom in natural gas production raises the prospect that the U.S. will become a gas exporter. This is occurring at a time when developing countries in Asia are driving the growth in world oil demand. The collision of these trends is radically reshaping the global energy map—reducing oil imports to Europe and North America while increasing shipments from producers in the Middle East, Africa and Russia to the Pacific Rim.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Canada, Germany, North America
  • Author: Eric Farnsworth
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A revolution in supply, driven by technological change and beginning in the United States, is transforming the energy sector. A commodity whose scarcity defined geopolitics and economics from the beginning of the industrial age is now becoming a potentially abundant resource. This will not only reshape the global energy map and global politics, but also change U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. Unimpeded access to cost-effective energy supplies for itself and its primary allies has long been a U.S. strategic interest. Most observers know that Washington's foreign policy and defense priorities in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, including sea lane protection, are buttressed by energy security concerns. Many of these same observers do not appreciate that the Western Hemisphere is also a critical energy partner: peaceful, non-threatening and unthreatened. But all that is about to change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Nelly Lahoud, Muhammad al-`Ubaydi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: ON FEBRUARY 2, 2014, al-Qa`ida released a statement declaring that "it has no connection" with the "group" called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The statement further highlighted that al-Qa`ida was not responsible for founding the ISIL and was not privy to the deliberations that led to its establishment. That is why, the statement continued, "The ISIL is not a branch of al-Qa`ida, the latter is not bound by organizational ties to it and is not responsible for the ISIL's actions."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil War, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • 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: Richard Falk
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War marked the end of adversary patterns of alignment in the Middle East, and the ebbing dichotomy between the U.S. and USSR led to vast uncertainty. In response, then-President Turgut Özal stated, as early as 1991, that Turkey should seek an active foreign policy. It was not, until the AK Party came to power a decade later, however, that Ankara began to seriously question Turkey's acquiescence in Washington's strategic unipolarity. Ahmet Davutoglu's appointment as Foreign Minister emphasized Turkey's independence and activism, causing unease in Washington. Nevertheless, the U.S. has been generally flexible toward a more independent Turkish foreign policy, under the condition that it does not threaten vital U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, 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