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  • Author: Raymond Tanter
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: According to the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002 (issued in April 2003), Tehran provides the Lebanon-based Hizballah with "funding, safe haven, training, and weapons." Such support (estimated at $80 million per year) has given Iran a terrorist proxy of global reach. For example, Hizballah suicide bombings against the U.S. Marine barracks and the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut (in October 1983 and September 1984, respectively) killed some 300 U.S. diplomats and soldiers. In addition, the twenty-two individuals on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists include three Hizballah operatives accused of the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered. The hijacking featured the infamous image of an American pilot peering out of the cockpit with a gun to his head. Moreover, according to a November 1, 1996, report by the Washington Post, Saudi intelligence concluded that a local group calling itself Hizballah was responsible for the June 1996 truck bombing of the Khobar Towers U.S. military housing complex on the kingdom's Persian Gulf coast. The Saudis also asserted that this local group was a wing of Lebanese Hizballah. More recently, Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah made the following remarks in a speech given one week before coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom (as broadcast on al-Manar, the organization's Beirut-based satellite television station): "In the past, when the Marines were in Beirut, we screamed, 'Death to America!' Today, when the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, 'Death to America!' was, is, and will stay our slogan."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Tehran, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recent media reports suggest that rogue Pakistani scientists have been peddling nuclear secrets across the Middle East for many years. The revelation offsets recent good news from the region -- Iran's acceptance of nuclear inspections and Libya's agreement to give up weapons of mass destruction. The spread of nuclear secrets in Pakistan is particularly worrisome for Washington; if Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf were killed or overthrown, the country's nuclear arsenal could be aimed at U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region or at Pakistan's longstanding rival, India.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, India, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul will make an official visit to Tehran on January 10. This visit comes on the heels of a January 6-8 trip to Turkey by Syrian president Bashar al-Asad -- the first ever by a Syrian head of state -- during which Asad was showered with praise by the Turkish media. Why is Ankara suddenly at ease with Damascus and Tehran, both of whom have given Turkey headaches by supporting the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and harboring Turkish Hizballah and other Islamist terror groups?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Syrian president Bashar al-Asad's January 6 interview with London's Daily Telegraph -- in which he indicated that Syria would not relinquish its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities until Israel did so also -- suggests that Syria is not likely to follow Libya's recent example of foregoing WMD in order to improve relations with the West. Still, Europe's newly aggressive approach to countering proliferation offers an opportunity for greater transatlantic coordination and the potential to reap concrete results.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 25, 2003, Union Transport Africaines (UTA) Flight 141 bound for Beirut crashed on take-off from Cotonou, Benin, in West Africa. According to accounts in the Arab press, a "foreign relations official of the African branch of the Lebanese Hizballah party and two of his aides" were among those killed. The Hizballah officials were reportedly carrying $2 million in contributions, raised from wealthy Lebanese nationals living in Africa, to the organization's headquarters in Beirut. In fact, Hizballah maintains a worldwide network engaged in financial, logistical, and operational terrorist activities, often in close cooperation with Iranian intelligence services. Hizballah operatives in Africa raise and launder significant sums of money, recruit local operatives, collect preoperational intelligence, and support the organization's terrorist activities against Israeli, U.S., and other Western interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matan Vilnai
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 11, 2004, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Matan Vilnai addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Vilnai is former deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). From 1989 to 1994, he served as head of the IDF Southern Command, with responsibility for deploying Israeli forces out of Gaza in accordance with the 1994 Gaza-Jericho accord. As a leading member of the Labor Party, he has also served as a senior cabinet minister and member of the Knesset since 1999. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 23, 2004, Shimon Peres addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Current chairman of Israel's Labor Party, Mr. Peres previously served as that country's prime minister, foreign minister, and defense minister, as well as in numerous other positions during a career that has spanned six decades. For his contributions to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, he received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize along with the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For much of the upcoming presidential election season, the United States will no doubt be preoccupied with domestic affairs on the one hand, and the postwar transition in Iraq on the other. Although Washington undoubtedly hopes for a quiet year in the Middle East, reality might bring less desirable results. In the Arab-Israeli arena, the most significant threat to regional stability (beyond Palestinian terrorism) is the Syria-Hizballah-Iran triangle. Hizballah and Syria appear to be reverting to their traditional pattern of ratcheting up terrorist activity whenever they feel they are being ignored. Unless an effort of some sort is made to halt such escalation, Israel's northern front will become the site of a broader conflict in which neither Israel nor the United States wants to become enmeshed at the moment.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Less than a year ago, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon rejected the idea of a unilateral pullback from Gaza, telling Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna that isolated settlements such as Netzarim were equal to Tel Aviv in his eyes. Last week, however, Sharon -- a leading architect of Israel's settlement movement -- declared his intention to authorize plans for a unilateral evacuation of at least seventeen of the twenty Israeli settlements in Gaza. Although some remain unsure whether the prime minister will follow through on this pledge, skepticism regarding Sharon's intentions should be balanced by other considerations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Jeff Cary
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 25, 2003, shortly after the initiation of the Quartet Roadmap to Israeli-Palestinian peace, President George W. Bush urged European Union (EU) leaders to take "swift, decisive action against [Palestinian] terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding and support." Much of the funding received by Hamas's military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is provided by donations to the organization's social and political activities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries