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  • Author: Michael Mylrea
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: al Nakhlah
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: In an attempt to revive peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas at his residence in Jerusalem. Once again, Palestinian and Israeli leaders appear to be at an important crossroads. Is peace on the horizon? Or will violence erupt? Tough questions loom ominously. The complex environment of Middle East diplomacy is like walking a tightrope, where each negotiation rests on a delicate balance between peace and war. As Israel's former Ambassador to the United States and Chief Negotiator to Syria, Itamar Rabinovich has walked this tightrope, negotiating through some of Israel's most challenging times. Former Ambassador Rabinovich sat down with al Nakhlah to shed light on his diplomatic experience, offering important lessons from the past and his unique perspective on the future challenges and opportunities in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: John J. Le Beau
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Insurgency and counterinsurgency as types of warfare are currently subject to considerable attention due to the nature of the high-profile struggles underway in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is prudent to note that neither insurgency nor the strategy and tactics required to combat it represent new phenomena. A large body of experience and literature from the twentieth century and earlier exists that addresses both sides of the insurgent struggle. Some characteristics of insurgencies are largely immutable, since insurgency is ultimately a form of warfare that is adopted when a combatant has limited resources and limited choices for how to fight against a more powerful adversary. Today as in the past, these characteristics include employment of small-unit attacks, ambushes, assassinations, propaganda activity, and the development of covert infrastructure. Nevertheless, the primary insurgencies active in the twenty-first century are marked by important differences from earlier struggles, particularly in the areas of motivation and inspiration. Rather than being quintessentially political and interested in local or national grievances, many contemporary insurgencies are at their core linked to a particular interpretation of Islam. Thus, these insurgencies represent a war of religion, not of politics, economics, or ethnicity. Islamist insurgencies are likely to be uncompromising and averse to negotiation, absolutist and pan-national in their goals, and willing to justify the mass slaughter of non-combatants who do not share their religious vision.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ron Matthews, Curie Maharani
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Life was straightforward during the Cold War. There were the big guys in the bi-polar strategic stand-off—the United States and the Soviet Union—and there were the little guys: the Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia; Chile in Latin America; Spain in Southern Europe; Sweden in Scandinavia; Israel in the Middle East; and Singapore in the Far East. All these countries, big or small, capitalist or communist, possessed comprehensive and diversified defense industrial bases. However, times have changed, and in some senses they have changed dramatically. More than anything else, economics does not favor small countries. Previously, Cold War doctrine was premised on mass formations of artillery, main battle groups of tanks and combat aircraft located on the Central European front. In the twenty-first century, these formations have disappeared. Militaries have been transformed by the need to respond to new, emerging, asymmetrical threats arising anywhere across the globe, a shift that is captured under the umbrella term of the “Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA). Contemporary doctrine focuses on high-intensity warfare, characterized by sophisticated defense systems, such as telemetry and cruise missiles, fiber optic technologies, sensors, modern telecommunication systems, “stealth” coatings of modern weapon platforms, light-weight composite materials, and the miniaturization of technologies in, for instance, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Poland, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Latin America, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, Chile, Scandinavia
  • Author: Gül M. Kurtoglu-Eskisar
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Romanian Journal of Political Science
  • Institution: Romanian Academic Society
  • Abstract: Almost a decade before the end of the 20th century, most parts of Eastern Europe were still under the communist rule and, with a few exceptions, the Middle East was checker squared with varying degrees of authoritarianism. Almost a decade into the 21st century and many East European countries are now regarded as democracies. The Middle East, however, continues to be dominated by authoritarian regimes. This study outlines some of the factors that can help to explain this contrasting outcome in a comparative framework.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Graham Fuller’s latest book on Turkey provides a critical account of Turkey’s foreign policy in the post September 11 period and an insightful analysis of its structural features and domestic linkages. In fact, the challenges that Turkey faces in the post-Cold War era has been a focus of academic and strategic thinking in a series of recent studies.1The magnitude and the content of these studies reveal Turkey’s increasing role and significance in the post-Cold War era, not only in the regional context but also from the perspective of U.S. foreign policy priorities. All of these studies have concentrated on resolving the puzzle of Turkey’s new foreign policy identity and defining its new role in regional and global terms. Some accentuate the traditional Western orientation inherent in the logic of Turkey’s Kemalist Republic, while others try to establish a link between Turkey’s search for a new strategic role and the country’s post-1980 transformation. The latter point to the ways in which Turkey has initiated a new form of political pluralism, prioritizing identity issues in domestic and foreign pol-icy considerations. In both perspectives the changing nature and form of Turkey-U.S. relations occupy a crucial part of the analysis. The resolution of this puzzle becomes even more urgent in the post-September 11 era when U.S. security concerns require more assertive policies, particularly in the Middle East. Some go so far as to argue that there is an urgent need to redefine Turkey-U.S. relations if Turkey is to be relevant in the 21st century.2However, there is also a growing acknowledgement that Turkey has been slipping from the U.S. orbit and following a relatively independent foreign policy. F. S. Larrabee, for example, states that “in the future, Turkey is likely to be an increasingly less-predictable and more difficult ally.... [and] the United States will need to get used to dealing with a more in-dependent-minded and assertive Turkey–one whose interests do not always coincide with U.S. interests, especially in the Middle East.”
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel C. Kurtzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Stopping three decades of unnecessary bungling.There is a feature of my seminars on U.S. Middle East policy at Princeton that I call "déjà vu all over again" -- with apologies to Yogi Berra. I ask students to assess the bungled efforts and missed opportunities of generations of U.S. diplomats and seek in them lessons for the future. They examine the hubris that drove the U.S. government to engineer the 1953 overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddeq's democratically elected government in Iran. This traumatic episode was conveniently forgotten by 1979, when National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski encouraged Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi to use force against the opposition, ignoring the warnings of U.S. diplomats on the ground in Iran that the shah's reign was doomed. Similarly, the United States forgot the lesson of the limited and United Nations-approved 1991 war in response to Iraq's aggression in Kuwait when it launched an ideologically inspired invasion of Iraq in 2003. Likewise, in 2006, Washington seemed to have forgotten the fiasco that followed Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Rather than learn from the past, Washington backed Israel's ill-advised attempt to deliver a knockout blow against another Lebanese foe, this time Hezbollah. My students and I conclude -- only half-jokingly -- that U.S. policymakers ought to take the class before taking office.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Michael Oren
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: Supporters of Israel are intensely interested in which of the two presidential candidates, John McCain or Barack Obama, is “best” for the Jewish state. Of course, “best” is a subjective concept, colored by whether one regards settlements as beneficial or disastrous for Israel, for example, or the creation of a Palestinian state as essential or deadly. The word also assumes a substantial degree of familiarity with the candidates' positions on issues that impact Israel either directly or collaterally. Attaining such clarity from politicians is difficult even in normal times. But during an election year, it is especially daunting. Speeches by presidential hopefuls geared to special constituencies, statements from commentators and aides, misquotes and gaffes—together these can cloud the contenders' platforms, particularly on matters as complex and controversial as the Middle East. Moreover, more than a little disinformation on Obama and McCain has been disseminated by opponents and interested parties, further obscuring their true views.
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Robert G. Rabil
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, Hezbollah has undergone a major metamorphosis. From its origins as a radical sectarian militia in the 1980s, it has migrated into Lebanon's political mainstream. In the process, Hezbollah has acquired the institutional trappings of a state and the capabilities of an army.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Ilan Berman
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: When he takes office on January 20th, 2009, the next President of the United States will have to contend with a range of pressing issues, from a global economic slowdown to soaring energy prices and a domestic housing market in crisis. On the foreign policy front, however, none will be as urgent as dealing with the persistent nuclear ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. How the United States responds to Iran's atomic drive will, to a large extent, dictate the shape of American strategy toward the greater Middle East for the foreseeable future.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Juan Jose Escobar Stemmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Athena Intelligence Journal
  • Institution: Athena Intelligence
  • Abstract: Manifestations of Islamic activism are abundant in Jordan. Traditional allies of the monarchy, the Muslim Brotherhood has participated in politics when the regime has opted for political openness. However, their moderation in domestic politics has been accompanied by a growing radicalisation with respect to foreign policy issues. In addition, Jordan has been a leading centre for Salafi intellectual output for decades. The emergence of a Jihadi current in the 1990s led to the creation of the first armed groups and Jihadi ideas have found favour with certain sectors of society in the country. Military intervention in Iraq and, in particular, the figure of Abu Musaf Al Zarqawi have resulted in Jordan becoming a favourite Al Qaeda target.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan