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  • Author: Deniz Çıtak
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: On January 20, 2018 at 17:00 local time, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) entered Afrin, a city in northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan named the military operation “Operation Olive Branch” (Zeytin Dalı Harekâtı) for the region’s many olive trees. According to Turkey, the operation does not violate international law because the operation was against the PYD and YPG as an act of self-defense, aiming to guarantee the security of Turkey’s borders. For Turkey, the links between the PKK and Syrian Kurdish groups classify Kurdish activity in northern Syria as a threat to Turkey’s domestic security.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Military Intervention, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Adham Sahloul
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The murder of Saudi Arabian columnist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2nd in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has been a clarion call for the Washington foreign policy community, one that is redefining the United States’ relations with the Saudi Kingdom and, by extension, US strategy in the Middle East. The Khashoggi affair will outlive President Donald Trump; the reputation of Saudi’s leadership is beyond repair, and with Global Magnitsky sanctions and the newly proposed bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, the US Congress appears ready to act where the executive has fallen short. The CIA has concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) ordered Khashoggi’s murder. Trump, who has threatened “severe consequences” for whomever is found responsible, seemed over the past month to be looking for a way out of naming, shaming, and punishing MbS himself. In his statement on November 20th, Trump confirmed many observers’ worst fears about this president’s worst instincts, saying that US security, economic, and political interests transcend this incident. For a sitting US president to balk at the notion of holding an ally accountable and making even a symbolic effort to address such a gruesome crime with clear chains of responsibility constitutes a new low in US foreign policy
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Crime, Human Rights, Politics, Trump, Journalism, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Mahdi Dakhlallah, Imad Salim, Tahseen al-Halabi, Bashar al-Assad
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the presidential campaign, Trump said he “[doesn’t] like Assad at all” and described the Syrian leader as “a bad guy.” But he compared Assad favorably to the alternatives. “Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump stated, whereas “we don’t even know who they [the rebels] are.” Trump even claimed Assad to be “much tougher and much smarter” than political rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Unsurprisingly, Assad and his admirers took heart in Trump’s surprise victory last November, with an adviser to the Syrian president saying the American people had “sent a great, a very important message to the world.” Yet Assad supporters – as well as the Syrian president himself – are taking a cautious approach to the new US administration, unsure of whether, and to what extent, Trump will overhaul American foreign policy. Here’s what columnists in pro-Assad media outlets think about Trump’s implications for Syria, followed by excerpts from two interviews with Assad about the new US president.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Elections, News Analysis, Trump, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew McIndoe
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: On 6 December the Trump administration made an unprecedented decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The announcement, which both recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and conveyed President Trump’s intention to relocate the United States’ embassy to the Holy City, is a move shrouded in obscure motivations. Was it a manifestation of the strongly pro-Israel orientation of the new government? Was it merely the fulfilment of a campaign promise, a sop to the president’s evangelical and pro-Israel support base? Or was it truly designed, as the President maintained, to reenergize a peace process that has been stuck in the mud for years?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, Trump, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Power – be it tangible, intangible, natural, military, or economic – shapes the capacities of the state and its role within the international system. The Middle East is no exception to this realist reading of international affairs. The Arab Spring, the Syrian conflict, the war in Yemen and the Iranian nuclear deal have all created a battleground, often quite literally, for state power interests to compete with one another. How are these power configurations linked to identity? The United States sees itself as a stronghold of liberal democracy, Japan as the quintessential trading nation, and Switzerland is comfortably ensconced in its 200-year-old neutralism. This “sense of self,” or who states are, shapes and defines what they do. Power and identity routinely mould and inform each other. For a country like the United Arab Emirates, described by many analysts as a middle, regional, or rising power, these questions hold particular relevance as the UAE reshapes its position in the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Soft Power, Identities, State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Gulf Nations