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  • Author: Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In the 11 months since President Barack Obama committed the United States to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), the group has expanded its international reach, metastasized to form offshoots across multiple regions, and increased its perceived momentum. Although U.S. government officials cite a reduction in the overall size of the group’s sanctuary in Iraq and Syria and the killing of thousands of ISIS fighters, the fall of Ramadi and much of Anbar province to the Islamic State served as a wakeup call that current efforts to counter ISIS are not adequate to the task.2 Meanwhile, the threat posed by the terrorist group to Americans at home and abroad appears to be growing as ISIS-inspired individuals conduct attacks targeting Westerners around the globe, including here in the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Tiziana Trotta
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The United Nations Peace Conference on Syria is due to take place on 22nd January in Geneva. The Syrian Government and opposition will meet for the first time since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011. Nevertheless, there are very few prospects of finding a satisfactory solution to end the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Islam, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: George Joffé
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The election of a new national assembly in Libya is good news in several respects after a decidedly difficult transition from the elation that accompanied the collapse of the Gaddafi regime last October to the realities of reconstructing the Libyan state. Perphaps the first piece of good news is the simple fact that it actually took place and did so in a relatively peaceful atmosphere. Secondly, the electoral process has been judged by outside observers to have been free and fair. And, finally, the outcome seems to have been a victory for moderation, rather than an outright win for Libya's Islamist movements - unlike the situation elsewhere.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Islam, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, at the close of the 1991 Gulf War, the imposition of a UN-mandated no-fly zone contributed to the formation of a safe haven for Iraqi Kurds, resulting in the liberation of nearly three million people from Baathist dictatorship a full decade before the rest of Iraq. In 1992, new UN-mandated no-fly and no-drive zones were established in southern Iraq and the Balkans to contain rogue regimes and protect civilians from government repression. Given the current developments in Libya, it is natural to consider employing such options once again. Yet history shows that exclusion zones are particularly tricky operations. If not configured properly, they can be worse than useless, signaling fecklessness instead of resolve while providing little real protective value to civilians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Insurgency, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Libya, Arabia, Arab Countries, United Nations, Balkans, North Africa
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The uprising in Libya has evolved into a significant military struggle. The Qadhafi regime and, to a lesser extent, its opponents are employing substantial levels of violence, including the use of heavy weapons. Thousands have been killed and wounded.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Following this weekend's widespread disturbances in Libya, Muammar Qadhafi could lose power within hours or days as his military units and security services crumble in the face of popular discontent. Alternatively, he could decide -- in the ominous words of his son Saif al-Islam -- to "fight to the last bullet," which suggests even more horrific levels of violence and anarchy. In a rambling television broadcast today, February 22, the colonel pledged to "die as a martyr."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Will the next Middle East conflagration involve Israelis and Palestinians? After the serious escalation of the past week in which eight Gazans, including children, were killed in a single day, and the 23 March 2011 bombing in Jerusalem, that took the life of one and wounded dozens, there is real reason to worry. The sharp deterioration on this front is not directly related, nor is it in any way similar to the events that have engulfed the Middle East and North Africa. But the overall context of instability and uncertainty undoubtedly has made a volatile situation even more so. Israelis' anxiety is rising and with it the fear that outside parties might seek to provoke hostilities to divert attention from domestic problems and shift the focus back to Israel. Hamas has been emboldened by regional events and is therefore less likely to back down from a challenge. The combination, as recent days have shown, has proven combustible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Emile Hokayem
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The unrest in Syria offers the Gulf States an opportunity to weaken or even dislodge an Assad regime aligned with Iran, but their ability to project power or shape events in Syria is limited. Dislike of the Assad regime doesn't necessarily align Gulf interests and long-term vision for Syria. Moreover, cooperation on diplomacy and strategy is lacking. Sectarianism, most evidenced in media commentary and clerical statements, is already a major feature of Gulf discourse on Syria. Parts of the Syrian opposition have approached and have been courted by Gulf governments. Still, a degree of unease and mistrust continues to define their relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis may or may not have entered its final phase, but it undoubtedly has entered its most dangerous one to date. The current stage is defined by an explosive mix of heightened strategic stakes tying into a regional and wider international competition on the one hand and emotionally charged attitudes, communal polarisation and political wishful thinking on the other. As dynamics in both Syria and the broader international arena turn squarely against the regime, reactions are ranging from hysterical defiance on the part of its supporters, optimism among protesters that a bloody stalemate finally might end and fears of sectarian retribution or even civil war shared by many, through to triumphalism among those who view the crisis as an historic opportunity to decisively tilt the regional balance of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky, Robert Satloff, Jacob Walles
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The absence of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the past year is both surprising and troubling given the high priority President Obama assigned to resolving the conflict. The failure to resume talks stems largely from a lack of urgency on both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Arab Countries
  • Author: Abbas Shiblak
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The quest of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is not only a legal and moral right but has become a major part of Palestinian identity and symbolizes Palestinian historical narratives. It has been an effective instrument of mobilization that became the political priority of various resistance groups which later formed the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO embarked on a line of negotiation which sought to reconcile rightist and realist approaches. They sought acknowledgment by Israel of its responsibility for the refugee issue and acceptance in principle of their right of return while showing flexibility and readiness to discuss various formulations of return. At the core of the inter-Palestinian debate is the dynamic between the two objectives of achieving statehood and the resolution of the refugee issue. State-building came to be seen not only as a means of reconstructing Palestinian identity but also as a catalyst to resolution of the refugee issue. A peace agreement should widen the options for the refugees and address all aspects of the refugee issue including the rights of repatriation to Israel, return to a Palestinian state, compensation, and equality and full citizenship rights in countries where refugees choose to remain. A comprehensive peace agreement must include the regional aspects of the refugee issue and all regional actors. There is an urgent need to review the current format of negotiations and bring about more balanced and effective international political engagement in the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Political Economy, Post Colonialism, Poverty, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Sara Hamood
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In June 2009 the blockade on the Gaza Strip enters its third year. The intense closure policy, coupled with the government of Israel's recent military operation 'Cast Lead', has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of one and a half million Gazans, pushing them further into poverty and aid dependency. Parties to the conflict and the international community have, to varying degrees, prioritised their own political objectives over people's rights and needs, leaving Gazans sitting on the ruins of their homes. By attempting to isolate Hamas, the government of Israel and key international donor governments and institutions have in fact isolated the people of Gaza, thereby reducing chances of securing a peaceful, just and durable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Having raised Arab expectations months ago with the idea of a settlement freeze, the Obama administration now has the unpleasant task of coaxing Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas to tacitly accept an agreement on settlements that offers less than expected -- if more than was offered in the past. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the United States will succeed at arranging a trilateral summit involving President Barack Obama, President Abbas, and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN next week that would culminate in the announcement of a formal relaunching of peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With rumors in the air of a U.S.-brokered, mid-September meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, various regional actors are busy positioning themselves for the coming round of diplomacy. Analysis of these dynamics provides some useful perspective on the road ahead, beyond the usual focus on the minutiae of settlement construction, prisoner exchanges, or other immediate concerns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 17, Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a draft legislation that would require the ratification of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, also known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), in a national referendum coinciding with the national elections on January 16, 2010. Out of the 275 Iraqi parliamentarians, a simple majority is needed to authorize the draft law when the National Assembly reconvenes on September 8, 2009. If a referendum takes place, and the Iraqis reject the security agreement, U.S. forces would be required to leave Iraq by January 16, 2011, instead of December 31, 2011. The referendum could also change the nature of the upcoming national elections, focusing attention on nationalistic posturing at the expense of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship, and distracting Iraqi politicians and voters from the many serious issues facing the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Paul Salem
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Peace between Syria and Israel is a real possibility—it was almost achieved twice before in 1995–1996 and 1999–2000. Both sides have indicated their interest through indirect talks hosted by Turkey. Syrian–Israeli peace would have positive effects on U.S. interests in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Iraq, and other tracks of the Arab–Israeli peace process. The downsides of U.S. mediation are limited. The two sides cannot and will not reach a peace treaty without U.S. leadership. The Obama administration should develop an integrated policy including pressure, incentives, and robust diplomacy to make this possibility a reality. The pressure would be to keep Syria out of Lebanon and Iraq. This would mean continued support for UN Security Council resolutions on Lebanon and the International Hariri Tribunal, as well as continued U.S. sanctions as long as Syria violates its neighbors' sovereignty. The incentives should include the return of the Golan Heights, ending Syria's political isolation, U.S. help in securing World Trade Organization accession, and encouraging foreign direct investment.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The process that will be launched shortly at Annapolis may not quite be do-or-die for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process but at the very least it is do-or-barely-survive. Positively, a U.S. administration that neglected Middle East peacemaking since taking office appears committed to an intensive effort: it has persuaded both sides to agree to negotiate final status issues – no mean feat after years of diplomatic paralysis and violent conflict. But pitfalls are equally impressive. The meeting, like the process it aims to spawn, occurs in a highly politicised context, with sharp divisions in the Palestinian and Israeli camps. These will make it hard to reach agreement and to sell it to both constituencies and, for the foreseeable future, virtually impossible to implement. Moreover, failure of the negotiations could discredit both leaderships, while further undermining faith in diplomacy and the twostate solution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Madrid's determination to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, combined with the collapse of some multinational forces during recent fighting, poses serious questions about the contribution that such forces can make to security during the period leading up to the June 30 transfer of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The challenge posed by Muqtada al-Sadr in the past several weeks remains unresolved, and its consequences are likely to be felt for some time to come. Al-Sadr's actions since March 28 present a complex challenge, one with both military and political implications. Eliminating al-Sadr and his organization as a political and military factor entails risk; but, if handled properly, the risks are worth taking.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow's meeting in Washington, D.C., between President George W. Bush and visiting British prime minister Tony Blair was scheduled before the recent outbreaks of violence in Iraq and before Wednesday's announcement of U.S. support for Israel's plan to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. But both subjects will top the agenda of talks between the two leaders, and decisions emerging from the meeting could shape international affairs for years to come. Despite the fact that both men need each other's support at the moment, significant political and policy differences between the two persist.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The battle for Fallujah, in which U.S. forces have been fighting to break Sunni resistance elements in that city, has been one of the most sustained fights of the Iraq war and subsequent occupation. Significantly, Sunni insurgents are not only fighting in Fallujah, but also across the Sunni heartland. Militarily, the battle suggests that the resistance maintains substantial capabilities despite a year of counterinsurgency operations, and that more tough fights lie ahead. Politically, it points to expanded Sunni opposition to the occupation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Petraeus
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, 2004, Maj. Gen. David Petraeus addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously, he served as assistant chief of staff for operations in the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia, and as deputy commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force there. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Egyptian officials and businessmen are visiting Israel this week to discuss the creation of Egyptian-Israeli qualified industrial zones (QIZs), which would give them free trade access to U.S. markets. They seek to emulate Jordan's QIZs, the most successful example to date of U.S.-Arab free trade. Indeed, these zones have given Jordan -- a relatively poor and resource-scarce country -- its most substantial "peace dividend" from its 1994 treaty with Israel. Yet, the Jordan QIZ experiment is in danger of failure, a situation that has important implications for U.S. efforts to promote regional free trade.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since March 8, 2004, Syria has witnessed an unprecedented series of riots by Kurds and protests by human rights activists and intellectuals. These developments set the stage for the Bush administration's imminent announcement about imposing sanctions in accordance with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 15, 2004, Michael Knights addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Knights, the Mendelow defense fellow at the Institute, is a frequent contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review and author of a forthcoming Institute monograph on Persian Gulf security. He has a doctorate from the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, where he wrote his dissertation on U.S. military operations in Iraq from Operation Desert Storm through Operation Iraqi Freedom. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, London, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: One year after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Iraqi security forces are beginning to take greater responsibility for the security of the country. Nevertheless, questions remain concerning the diffusion of military power within Iraq. The Iraqi Fundamental Law drafted earlier this month stated that militias will be considered illegal entities after the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) transfers power to local authorities on June 30, 2004. In practice, however, many militiamen will likely be absorbed into existing security organizations such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), where their loyalties will continue to be divided between their Baghdad paymasters and local or sectarian affiliations. The challenge for the CPA is to find practical ways of balancing these sometimes contending pressures on local militias in order to prevent them from diluting the CPA's -- and, eventually, the Iraqi central government's -- power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Three days after the terrorist bombings in Madrid, the pro-American, conservative Spanish government was defeated in general elections, to the surprise of many observers. Although officials have not yet confirmed that the al-Qaeda terrorist network was responsible for the attacks, the polling result was immediately interpreted as reflecting electorate anger at retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and the belief that his foreign policy had made Spain a target of foreign terrorists. An immediate pledge to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq by incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is a blow to the Bush administration's Iraq policy and represents, albeit unintentionally, a major political triumph for al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Iraqi Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) -- to be officially published tomorrow, when the mourning period for the victims of the March 3 Ashura bombings ends -- includes an extensive bill of rights. Yet, several of the Arab countries whose constitutions offer similar rights have a decidedly unsatisfactory record on human rights. Indeed, the region's poor track record with regard to actually implementing constitutional guarantees may make the TAL appear less impressive to Arabs than it does to Americans. At least as important as what the TAL says is whether the legislation will be respected in practice.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the eve of the "Super Tuesday" Democratic primaries, voters are scrutinizing the positions of the two leading candidates, Senators John Edwards and John Kerry. The following quotes outline their views on Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shaul Bakhash, Haleh Esfandiari
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 17, 2004, Shaul Bakhash and Haleh Esfandiari addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Bakhash, who has worked for many years as a journalist in Iran, is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University and author of Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution (Millefleurs, 1991). Haleh Esfandiari, who recently returned from a trip to Iran, is consulting director of the Middle East Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Previously she served as deputy secretary-general of the Women's Organization of Iran. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Paula Dobriansky
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 12, 2004, Paula Dobriansky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. As the undersecretary of state for global affairs, Dr. Dobriansky is the senior State Department official responsible for a broad range of transnational issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, counternarcotics, law enforcement, refugees, humanitarian relief, and environmental and scientific matters. The following are excerpts from her remarks; the full text of her presentation can be found at www.washingtoninstitute.org/media/speakers/dobriansky021204.htm
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Bush administration has recently circulated to its G-8 partners the details of the Greater Middle East Partnership (GMEP) that Washington hopes will win endorsement at the group's May 2004 summit in Sea Island, Georgia. The GMEP is a core element of the administration's larger Greater Middle East Initiative, which has additional security and political components beyond those outlined in the GMEP. Last week, the English-language website of the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat published what it called the "U.S. working paper for G-8 sherpas" (the latter term referring to the government officials responsible for preparing the event). If this eight-page document is in fact authentic -- a claim that no administration official has disputed -- then the president's "forward strategy of freedom" is likely to remain illusory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries, Georgia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: To no one's surprise, the Iranian parliamentary elections resulted in a conservative sweep; the hardliners had rigged the rules so as to prevent a serious contest. As the hardliners consolidate their control, they may be interested in improving relations with the United States, though a major initiative would likely appear only after they retake the presidency at the end of Muhammad Khatami's term in May 2005. The most obvious bait for such engagement is Iran's nuclear program. On February 22, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Mohamed ElBaradei met with Iranian Supreme National Security Council head Hassan Rohani to discuss the IAEA report due out this week, which shows once again that Iran has made clandestine progress toward nuclear enrichment, further raising the stakes. Given the risks, would a U.S.-Iranian deal be appropriate?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Assaf Moghadam
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 5, 2004, a German court acquitted Abdelghani Mzoudi, a thirty-one-year-old native Moroccan, of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization (al-Qaeda). Mzoudi is suspected of having provided material and financial support to the Hamburg cell that helped organize and perpetrate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. According to the presiding judge, Mzoudi was acquitted for lack of evidence, not out of a belief in the defendant's innocence. The acquittal was the most recent example of a growing dilemma faced by the United States and other countries in their efforts to prosecute suspected terrorists: how to gain access to intelligence for criminal proceedings without compromising the sources of that information. Indeed, Mzoudi's acquittal comes at a time when, despite nearly three years of fighting the war on terror, German intelligence claims that the presence of militant Islamist groups on German soil has reached new heights. U.S. officials face similar circumstances.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Germany, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's meeting between President George W. Bush and visiting Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali may be a low-profile event with a leader of a country in which the United States has only limited strategic interests. Yet, the repercussions of their luncheon tete-a-tete for the administration's larger objective of Arab political reform could be profound. Invitations to meet with the president in Washington are a rare privilege -- Ben Ali has not been there in fourteen years and is only the sixth Arab head of state that Bush has received there (joining the leaders of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Yemen). Given that there are no burning issues on the bilateral U.S.-Tunisian agenda, the principal question regarding this visit is whether Bush will use the occasion to press a visiting Arab leader on his ambitious plan for Arab political reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Algeria, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The violent incidents that have occurred in Iraq since the beginning of this month illustrate the diverse faces of Iraqi resistance. The terrorist-style attacks in Iskandariyah and Baghdad on February 10 and 11 drew much attention to the presumed links of terrorist organizations to anti-occupation incidents. Although resistance elements do indeed employ terrorist tactics, the broad scope of resistance activity faced by the coalition has been reflected in several recent incidents, including a failed ambush on February 7, a series of military-style attacks in Falluja on February 12 and 14, and day-to-day attacks involving a range of explosive devices. Indeed, resistance elements seem to have rebounded from their losses of November-December 2003.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The character of Iraqi politics has completely and irreversibly changed in recent months. The prevailing sense among Iraqis is that Saddam Husayn is not coming back; they are now focused on the question of what new power arrangements will emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Resistance activities in Iraq were at a high pitch in fall 2003. Attacks became better organized and more lethal, and several successful operations were mounted against the coalition. By the end of December, however, the hope was that the security situation was improving in the wake of several developments: the capture of Saddam Husayn; a series of U.S.-led offensive operations; an increased understanding of resistance forces; attrition within the resistance networks and their leadership; and the capture of significant amounts of money and arms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Barham Salih
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current situation in Iraq constitutes a unique moment in the history of the Islamic Middle East. For the first time, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, and Assyrians of the same nation have an opportunity to cooperatively evaluate the task of shaping their shared future. The challenge between now and June 30, 2004 -- when the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is scheduled to hand over power to the local authorities -- is to articulate a transitional law through which a sovereign provisional government can be elected. Naturally, there is significant debate as to how this goal can be achieved. Although significant challenges lie ahead, the progress made following the liberation of Iraq has been incredible, particularly in light of the country's numerous complicating factors. Iraq's leaders now have the opportunity to build on this unique situation by creating a viable state.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: William Kristol, Stanley Greenberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Foreign policy questions will play a larger role in the 2004 presidential election than they have in any recent election. The Middle East in particular will play a central role in the foreign policy debate. President George W. Bush's foreign policy is closely intertwined with his domestic policy; in fact, the administration's domestic concerns often guide its foreign policy decisions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • 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
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, Hizballah drastically escalated its activity along Israel's northern border, ending seven months of relative calm there. Yet, the assault on Israeli positions in the Shebaa Farms area and the cross-border shelling of northern Israeli towns pale in comparison to the potential danger posed by the terrorist cells and political opposition Hizballah is now operating -- with Iranian funding and oversight -- in the northern West Bank.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe, Jason O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After months of restraint following the double shock of U.S. military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hizballah resumed action against Israel today, firing mortal shells and missiles at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) along the Israel-Lebanon border. Changes in the regional geopolitical environment and recent statements by the organization's leadership suggest that Hizballah may also be preparing to carry out new terror operations, while the killing of a senior Hizballah military official last weekend by a car bomb may have provided the pretext for today's attack. Washington needs to closely follow these developments and engage in preemptive diplomacy to prevent new deterioration in the Arab-Israeli conflict, at a time when there is reason for cautious optimism on the Israeli-Palestinian track.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dennis Ross, David Makovisky
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 2, 2003, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is the director of the Institute. He served as U.S. point person on the Middle East peace process under the first Bush administration and both Clinton administrations. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute and adjunct lecturer of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Many Israelis and Palestinians once again have a sense of hope, following President George W. Bush's meeting with Arab leaders at Sharm al-Shaykh and with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (known as Abu Mazen) in Aqaba. This new hope in both societies poses an existential threat to terrorist organizations operating in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Once Israel is no longer viewed as an enemy, there is no clear justification for the existence of such organizations. Hence, it should come as no surprise that these organizations are trying to escalate operations against Israel in an attempt to derail any peace initiatives. In the past, suicide operations undertaken by these organizations have been quite successful in achieving this objective; this should not be allowed to happen again.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shoshanah Haberman
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent days, both Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat and prime minister Mahmoud Abbas have said they expect an agreement on a Hamas ceasefire (or hudna) to be announced soon. According to Abbas, Hamas -- in Arabic, "the Islamic Resistance Movement" -- "will commit to halting terrorism, both within the green line and in the territories." As longtime Palestinian minister Saeb Erekat explained, Abbas needs a ceasefire agreement to jumpstart negotiations for Palestinian statehood. Abbas, said Erekat, "will insist on this declaration [of a ceasefire] because that's the key . . . for him to go out and tell the Palestinians, 'Look, we've got the Israeli government to recognize the Palestinian state, [so] we need two years in a peaceful, meaningful peace process.'"
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush will be holding three summits next week that will have a strong Middle East orientation. A G-8 summit will followed by a meeting with Arab leaders in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt, and a summit of Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Aqaba, Jordan, representing a new phase in the administration's approach to the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel's cautious approval of the Roadmap opens a new phase in Middle East peacemaking. Although media focus will now turn to the next episode of high-level engagement by President George W. Bush -- perhaps at a Jordan- or Egypt-hosted regional summit in early June -- the real test for Washington and its Quartet colleagues comes in the implementation of the first phase of Roadmap requirements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent talks in Damascus focused not only on Syrian sponsorship of Palestinian terrorist groups, but also on Syria's increasingly intimate ties with and support for Hizballah. Yet, Syrian support for terrorist groups of global reach does not end with Hizballah. Recently revealed intelligence on al-Qaeda activities in Europe exposed a significant al-Qaeda network in Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Syrian sponsorship of terrorism topped the agenda of Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent trip to Damascus, and his visit was quickly followed by conflicting reports regarding the status of various terrorist headquarters there. The coming weeks will determine whether the Damascus offices of Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and other terrorist groups have in fact been shut down, and, far more critically, whether their activities have been curtailed. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Syrian officials continue to describe the Damascus headquarters of these terrorist groups as "media offices." By harboring these groups, Syria is complicit in their terrorist activities, which include inciting, recruiting, training, coordinating, funding, and directing terrorists staging operations from Syria itself and from Syrian-controlled Lebanon.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With last week's formal unveiling of the Roadmap, the Arab-Israeli peace process has moved into a new phase that is its most internationalized in a quarter century. The establishment of the Roadmap's all-important "verification mechanism" -- the structure of which has largely been worked out among the Quartet's U.S., European Union (EU), Russian, and UN representatives -- will give tangible expression to this heightened level of internationalization.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Within hours of Mahmoud Abbas's (Abu Mazen) confirmation as the new Palestinian prime minister and the presentation of the Quartet's roadmap to peace, two suicide bombers struck a seaside bar next to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, killing three civilians and wounding sixty more. As is frequently the case, authorities investigating the attack are likely to find that the bombers were fed, housed, prepared, armed, and transported to their target by terrorists drawn from the social welfare "wing" of one terrorist group or another. The most critical test facing the nascent Palestinian government is the immediate task of weeding out the logistical support networks that facilitate such attacks under the cover of charitable or humanitarian activities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Addressing the Palestinian Legislative Council Tuesday, new Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Mahmoud Abbas outlined a bold program of domestic reform and commitment to diplomacy that balanced loyalty to Yasir Arafat with an evident desire for fundamental political change. The speech's most positive aspects were Abbas's affirmation of negotiations as the route to achieve Palestinian aspirations, his assertion of the primacy of the rule of law, and his promise that "the unauthorized possession of firearms . . . will be relentlessly addressed." He hinted at, but was not conclusive on, plans to have paramilitary groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades forcibly disarmed rather than just invited to reach "an internal understanding" on their opposition to a peace strategy. Abbas's ambiguity on whether attacks against Israeli targets inside the West Bank and Gaza constitute terrorism left a serious question mark. An important aspect of his address, overlooked by most observers, was his frequent reference to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), not the PA, as the institution to which he owed first allegiance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 28, 2003, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is director and Ziegler distinguished fellow at the Institute and former U.S. special Middle East coordinator for the peace process. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute and author of Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the Oslo Accord.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented his new 68-member right-center government to the 120-member Knesset today. The government represents four parties with the following allocation of seats: Likud (40), Shinui (15), National Union (7), and National Religious Party (6). This marks the first Israeli government formed since 1974 that does not include any ultraorthodox participation. Below are the main areas that the government has made its policy guidelines.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As one clock ticks toward a decision on the use of force to disarm Iraq, a second clock clicks toward the formal launching of the "roadmap" for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking drafted by the Quartet (i.e., the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations). Barring some major external development — such as the death or exile of Yasir Arafat, a cataclysmic act of Palestinian terrorism, or an unexpected Israeli-Palestinian initiative — the roadmap process is likely to begin, as President George W. Bush might say, in a matter of weeks, not months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a recorded statement released this week, Osama bin Laden called on Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks against Americans. Al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist organization to call for such attacks, however; just four days earlier, Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmed Yassin published an open letter calling on Muslims to "threaten Western interests and strike them everywhere" in the event of a "a crusaders' war" against Islam in Iraq. Indeed, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week that "the days when we made distinctions between terrorist groups are over." Moreover, in February 2002, Tenet told Congress that if Palestinian groups "feel that U.S. actions are threatening their existence, they may begin targeting Americans directly, as Hizballah's terrorist wing already does." In fact, several Palestinian groups are increasingly inclined to target American interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Elie Rekhess
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 29, 2003, David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute, an adjunct lecturer on Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, and a contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Elie Rekhess
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 24, 2002, Elie Rekhess and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Rekhess is a senior associate at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University and director of the center's research program on Arab politics in Israel. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute and contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this week, Israel's Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna announced that he would not look to resume a broad coalition government with the Likud Party following the country's upcoming January 28 election, a crucial decision that dropped Labor from 24 to 20 seats (according to today's Yediot Aharonot poll) and that may have sealed the election for Likud. Mitzna's decision halted Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's slide of the last several weeks in the wake of a vote-buying scandal that imperiled his electoral bloc's grip on a Knesset majority.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The slide in the polls of Ariel Sharon's Likud Party over the last six weeks has been rather dramatic, transforming the character of the campaign from an expected Sharon landslide into a closer contest. In Thursday's Yediot Ahronot-Dahaf poll, Likud dropped from 40 to 28 seats in the 120-member Knesset, while Amram Mitzna's Labor Party edged up to 24 seats from 22. Sharon's losses stem directly from the swirl of Likud election corruption allegations, beginning with low-level charges of vote buying — illegal activity that may have helped catapult Sharon's son Omri onto the parliamentary list. The latest charges, denied by Sharon, surround a $1.5 million loan that the prime minister borrowed from a South African businessman friend, Cyril Kern, to pay back illegal campaign contributions in 1999. Sharon still clings to the hope that his denials will halt his party's slide downward, while Mitzna is finding new hope in the prospect that a drop in support for Likud will lead voters to take a second look at his candidacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 20, 2002, the Quartet convened at the White House to discuss the Middle East when President George W. Bush met with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, and three ministerial representatives of the European Union (Stig Moeller, Javier Solana, and Chris Patten). The purpose of this meeting was to secure the president's blessing for the Quartet's "roadmap" to Israeli-Palestinian peace, developed in order to fulfill the vision laid out in Bush's June 24, 2002, speech on the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yaakov Amidror
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 26, 2002, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Amidror has served thirty-six years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as head of the National Defense College, head of the research and assessment division of military intelligence, and military secretary to the minister of defense. Currently, he is a visiting military scholar at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last Friday, while official Washington was still enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday break, the White House stealthily issued Presidential Determination 2003-04, whose first paragraph instructs the State Department to sanction the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for noncompliance with obligations stemming from the Oslo Accords. This was ostensibly in response to evidence of official PA complicity in acts of violence and terrorism that had become too compelling to ignore. Yet, the very next paragraph orders that the specific sanction applied — downgrading the status of the PLO office in Washington — be waived, citing U.S. national security interests. The end result of this diplomatic two-step is a change in declarative U.S. policy (i.e., for the first time, a formal statement of PA noncompliance), but no change in effective policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Thursday, an estimated 300,000 members of Israel's Likud Party will head to the polls and decide whether they want Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as their party leader. This contest has special importance because current polls show that the Likud winner is likely to emerge victorious in the January 28, 2003, national elections as well. According to a November 22 Yediot Ahronot poll, Likud is outpacing Labor by a sizable 38- to 21-seat projected margin in the 120-seat Knesset.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, approximately 100,000 members of the Israeli Labor Party will vote for their new leader. The winner will serve as the party's standard-bearer for the national elections on January 28, 2003. Barring an unforeseen turnaround, the winner of tomorrow's contest will be Haifa mayor Amram Mitzna. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer — Mitzna's main rival and, until his recent resignation from the Sharon government, Israel's defense minister — is reduced to hoping that he can deprive Mitzna of the required 40 percent needed in a three-person race and force a December 3 runoff. Even under that scenario, however, Mitzna is expected to win. His popularity has grown over the past week as key supporters of the race's third candidate, veteran politico Haim Ramon, have defected to his side in the hopes of blocking Ben-Eliezer's reelection. Polls of Labor members currently show Mitzna ahead of Ben-Eliezer by a 43 percent to 26 percent margin, with Ramon trailing both at 12 percent.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel is reconfiguring its government and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has established a new cabinet this week. The Israeli-Palestinian violence of the last two years is unlikely to be transformed into a peace process as a result of this week's developments. This is due to a variety of factors ranging from the fact that PA chairman Yasir Arafat beat back efforts by reformers made over the summer and pointedly dropped his security chief who professed a commitment to reform. On the Israeli track, the new Israeli government's room to maneuver will be constrained by the lack of change on the Palestinian side, as well as a set of domestic and foreign considerations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During his visit to Washington last week, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was reportedly handed a forty-three-point document titled "Elements of a Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." This document, the product of intensive consultation between the four members of the Middle East peace process Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations), offers the most ambitious and detailed plan yet to restart Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking after more than two years of terror and violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovksy
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, October 16, President George W. Bush hosts Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Although the two have met frequently in the year and a half since they assumed office, this session is likely to be different from previous encounters. Undoubtedly, they will discuss the situation with the Palestinians; this will be their first meeting since Bush's June 24, 2002, speech calling for a new Palestinian leadership capable of establishing a peaceful and democratic Palestine alongside Israel, perhaps as soon as 2005. The main focus of this White House discussion, however, will likely be the impact that a U.S. attack on Iraq would have on the U.S.-Israel relationship.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shaul Mofaz
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In September 2002, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Shaul Mofaz, the most recent chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), addressed The Washington Institute's special policy forum. General Mofaz is a visiting military scholar at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Danny Ayalon
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 6, 2002, Danny Ayalon addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Ayalon is Israel's recently appointed ambassador to Washington, D.C. Before assuming this post, he served as foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and as deputy foreign policy advisor to Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 17, 2002, Khalil Shikaki and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Shikaki is an associate professor of political science at Bir Zeit University, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, a contributing editor for U.S. News and World Report, and an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: According to the September 17, 2002, issue of Ha'aretz, a delegation of American water experts toured the Wazzani River in southern Lebanon on September 16 to review Lebanese government projects aimed at directing water to nearby villages. Ever since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000, relations between Israel and Lebanon have been tense, a result of the Lebanese government's tolerance of Hizballah attacks on Israeli targets along the border.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Prior to September 2000, the track record of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist attacks featured more failed and small-scale operations than successful or substantial ones; at the time, Hamas overshadowed PIJ in terms of terrorist activity. Yet, PIJ's profile has changed since then. In August 2001, Israel listed three PIJ members among its seven most-wanted terrorists, compared to one member each from Hamas, Force 17, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In October 2001, PIJ secretary general Ramadan Abdullah Shallah asserted, "With the grace of God and the blessing of the blood martyrs, the Islamic Jihad movement is in the best condition it has ever been in," highlighting "its jihadist effectiveness and qualitative operations." PIJ solidified its reputation in the annals of the current Palestinian intifada with the April 2002 standoff in Jenin. Thaabat Mardawi, a senior PIJ commander in Jenin arrested in the course of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, proudly described the PIJ-led battle against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to a CNN interviewer: "It was like hunting . . . like being given a prize. I couldn't believe it when I saw the soldiers. The Israelis knew that any soldier who went into the camp like that was going to get killed. I've been waiting for a moment like that for years." PIJ's moment has indeed come; by all accounts, the group will remain a dominant and destructive factor for the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, amid a deep economic recession, the national unity government of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon narrowly adopted a 2003 austerity budget. Given the likelihood of new elections within a year, the time and attention of Israeli policymakers will likely be devoted to political maneuvering on serious domestic problems, in addition to the main issue: ongoing Palestinian-Israeli violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ziad Abu Amr
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2002, Ziad Abu Amr addressed a special Washington Institute seminar on reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). Mr. Abu Amr is chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The following are excerpts from his presentation, as transcribed by the Institute. Citing a recent speech given by Yasir Arafat to the PLC on the importance of reform, Abu Amr said, "For the first time, he acknowledged that there were mistakes, but he takes responsibility, something I personally did not like because this meant from the very start, suppressing the process of accountability and actual reform. The idea of the president was, 'Okay, there were mistakes. We close the files. We start afresh.' That was not acceptable."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Hassan Abu-Libdeh
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2002, Hassan Abu Libdeh addressed a special Washington Institute seminar on reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). Dr. Abu Libdeh is director of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and a professor at Bir Zeit University. The following are excerpts from his presentation, as transcribed by the Institute. "The PA was born out of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was known for a long time as an aging, ineffective, corrupt, and poorly managed institution . . ."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2002, Khalil Shikaki addressed a special Washington Institute seminar on reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). Dr. Shikaki is an associate professor of political science at Bir Zeit University and director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. The following are excerpts from his presentation, as transcribed by the Institute. "Initially, Palestinian interest [in reform] was basically an effort to address the issue of waste. . . . One year into the establishment of the Palestinian Authority [PA], the Palestinian comptroller issued a report which shocked everybody because the report basically said we have been wasting something like $250 million. . . . Waste, corruption, violation of human rights in Palestinian jails, security forces essentially ignoring any law and order, were all factors that became of serious interest in the early two or three years of the Palestinian Authority. . . . The reason for all of this is the fact that the Palestinians so far have failed to build strong institutions, structurally speaking. . . ."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matan Vilnai
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 17, 2002, Minister Matan Vilnai addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Vilnai is Israel's minister of science, culture, and sport; a member of Israel's inner security cabinet; a Labor member of Knesset; chairman of the ministerial committee for Israeli Arab affairs; and a reserve major-general (he served as head of Israel's Southern Command from 1989 to 1994 when Israeli forces redeployed out of Gaza). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. A few weeks ago, the Israeli government decided to establish a security fence between Israel and the West Bank in order to stem the tide of Palestinian suicide attacks. This fence has the support of the majority of Israelis for whom daily life has become a harrowing experience and for whom a fence brings some hope of security. This fence should not be seen as a substitute for diplomacy, but rather as a temporary security measure. The fence will not become the permanent border between Israel and the Palestinians. A permanent border can only attain legitimacy if it receives the support of both parties through negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush was offering his vision for a post-Yasir Arafat Palestinian state two weeks ago, the Palestinian leader's cabinet was itself unveiling a "100-day plan" for reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). This plan was clearly designed to both respond to popular demands to fix the PA's broken or stillborn institutions as well as steer the reform process down a nonthreatening, Arafat-controlled course. While it offers promising elements of change, the plan is only likely to strengthen the unacceptable status quo.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Oren
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 29, 2002, Dr. Michael Oren, senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center and head of its Middle East history project, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. He is the author of the new book, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush today tore up a generation of conventional wisdom by offering a bold, new approach that conditioned U.S. support for eventual Palestinian statehood on a new political leadership; a "working democracy"; and far-reaching security, judicial, constitutional, and economic reform. At the same time, he seemed to ask nothing of Israel to which even the current Israeli government has not, in theory at least, already agreed. Having articulated this strategy, the White House will now surely face sustained pressure from Arab and European partners — and perhaps even from some within the administration — to balance the equation by early certification of Palestinian reform and/or accelerated demands on Israel for a redeployment of troops and a freeze on settlements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shaul Mofaz
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The IDF began planning for the contingency of carrying out extensive military operations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip long before the deployment of Operation Defensive Shield in late March 2002. As early as 1998, during a period when hopes abounded for peace with both the Syrians and the Palestinians, the IDF's general staff faced the challenge of preparing for the failure of negotiations and the possibility of violence. Israeli intelligence reports anticipated the hostilities that eventually materialized in September 2000, following the unsuccessful talks at Camp David. A number of short-term and structural reforms within the IDF began in early 2000, aimed at improving readiness and maximizing efficiency. The optimistic tone of the times, however, had led to budget cuts for the military; eventually, the government was forced to allocate an additional $150 million in order to prepare soldiers for the anticipated violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The fracas over Secretary of State Colin Powell's interview with the London Arabic daily al-Hayat yesterday — the contents of which White House spokesman Ari Fleisher has pointedly refused to endorse — reflects a growing pattern of White House-State Department division on key Middle East issues, a damaging dynamic that will only be exorcised through clarity and resolution from the Oval Office.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, London, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With this week's dispatch to the Middle East of Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns, the Bush administration has put its toe into the water of Palestinian reform. Success in this vital effort will require avoiding the trap of sham reform (such as a disproportionate focus on elections that might only confirm the worst excesses of Palestinian misrule) or effectively endorsing any particular Palestinian leader or would-be leader (thereby repeating the mistakes of the last decade). Instead, Washington should focus on the larger objectives at hand. At the core, there are two: 1) fostering the development of Palestinian national institutions based on democracy, transparency, accountability, fiscal propriety, and the rule of law; and 2) advancing the prospect for lasting peace and security between Israel and the Palestinian Authority ([PA] and its eventual successor, the State of Palestine). These two objectives may be complementary, though not necessarily so; in fact, in certain circumstances, they may be contradictory. Indeed, in approaching the Palestinian reform process, U.S. officials should not only highlight the importance of structural change but also keep in mind the pitfalls of promoting (or acquiescing in) certain kinds of "reform" that may inhibit, handicap, or prevent real peacemaking from taking hold. A review of two key documents — #151; the Basic Law governing the PA until the conclusion of the current "transitional period" and the PLO-endorsed draft constitution for the future State of Palestine — #151; reveals several areas where U.S. officials need to take particular notice as they discuss various reform ideas with Palestinian leaders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The State Department recently submitted its semiannual Palestine Liberation Organization Commitments Compliance Act (PLOCCA) report to Congress, assessing PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) compliance with commitments made under the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords during the period June 15, 2001-December 15, 2001. The report acknowledges some PA shortcomings over the reporting period, but glosses over many gross violations of PA-PLO peace commitments throughout this period. In drawing its conclusions, the report did not take into account evidence of PA support for and involvement in terrorism laid out in approximately 500,000 documents Israel seized from PA offices in the course of Operation Defensive Shield. But there is good reason to expect that the U.S. government will find much of value in the seized Israeli documents. Ambassador Francis X. Taylor, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, recently commented, "We don't have any question about the authenticity of the documents provided by the Israeli Government." Therefore, it is instructive to see where the documents shed light on issues discussed in the PLOCCA report. Once the material seized by Israel has been reviewed by the U.S. intelligence community — #151; a process that, presumably, will be completed shortly — #151; it would be appropriate to issue an updated version of the PLOCCA report, incorporating the additional information about PLO-PA activities during the June 15-December 15 period.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Speaking to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Ramallah yesterday, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat offered a new political agenda to guide the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the aftermath of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield and U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to win his release from Israeli encirclement. The main headings of that agenda are armed struggle, guided reform, and preparation for elections. No mention was made of the prospects for renewed negotiations or the proposed regional peace conference.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, during the visit of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, President George W. Bush announced the need to "immediately begin to help rebuild a security force in Palestine that will fight terror, that will bring some stability to the region." He also stated that Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet will be returning to the region "to help design the construction of a security force, a unified security force, that will be transparent, held accountable." Immediately after Bush's announcement, Sharon declared that he viewed security reform — #151; that is, purging the Palestinian Security Services (PSS) of corruption and terrorism — #151; as a precondition for a meaningful peace process, while, for his part, Bush did not create linkage between the two. Whatever differences exist in terms of linkage between reform and diplomacy, the administration's initiative is positive and necessary. The task at hand, however, is monumental, and solutions will take time, effort, and diplomatic skill. Quick fixes imposed from outside are unlikely to succeed unless they are accompanied by a fundamental change in the Palestinian leadership's approach to terrorism, counterterrorism, and peacemaking, and also by effective treatment of the deeply rooted social and institutional ailments within the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Natan Sachs
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Likud Central Committee meets on Sunday to discuss a resolution opposing Palestinian statehood. Such a resolution could be seen as an important declarative step, despite its lack of legal significance (Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has publicly endorsed the idea of Palestinian statehood — albeit in vague terms). Although a vote on the topic may not occur, the fact that such a resolution is even being tabled casts a spotlight both on the party that is consistently leading Israeli polls and on the efforts of former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to unseat his rival, Sharon. The next national elections are currently scheduled for November 2003, but, as is often the case in Israeli politics, they could very well be held sooner. Interestingly, the current frontrunner is neither Sharon nor a member of Labor, the main opposing party, but rather a member of the prime minister's own party, the Likud. Two significant developments in the political landscape have contributed to this trend: first, in March 2001 the Knesset repealed the system of direct prime-ministerial elections and reinstated most of the elements of the old system, hoping to aid the larger parties (Likud and Labor) at the expense of smaller ones; second, since the outbreak of the current wave of Palestinian violence in September 2000, the voting preferences of the Israeli electorate have shifted dramatically to the right.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Natan Sachs, Nitsan Alon
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, former president Bill Clinton joined others in advocating a U.S.-led international force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Several frameworks for such an intervention have been proposed, ranging from monitoring missions to full-fledged international trusteeship over the territories. Underlying these ideas is a lack of confidence in both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, along with a perception that the latter are unable or unwilling to stop terror. Although the appeal of external intervention may be strong, an analysis of the relevant security repercussions suggests that such intervention would not only be hazardous, but would also likely do more harm than good in the fight against terrorism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Ehud Waldoks
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The State Department's annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report, which is scheduled for release in late May, is set to be a much longer and detailed document than before. Among the many issues the report will have to address is the resurrection of secular Palestinian terrorist groups, some of which have not been listed on U.S. government terrorist lists in the past. The steady escalation of terrorist tactics and operations over the past year and a half is due as much to these groups as it is to Palestinian Islamist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that have dominated the Palestinian terrorism scene over the last decade. Palestinian nationalist terrorism currently has two components: 1) dormant secular groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) — referred to collectively as "the fronts" — that have been revitalized after several years of inactivity; and 2) newly active nationalist, non-Islamist militias connected to the Palestinian Authority (PA), such as the Fatah Tanzim.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries