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  • Author: Qamar ul Huda
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent desecration of the Koran and Islamic writings caused violent unrest in Afghanistan and raises concerns about essential training in culture and religion for U.S. personnel. Basic knowledge of religious actors and their roles in peacebuilding and conflict management is still barely factored in by policymakers and advisers to U.S. government. There needs more effort by local, regional, and international religious leaders to promote nonviolent and tolerant reactions even in midst of incendiary events. An assessment is needed to evaluate whether efforts at promoting inter-cultural sensitivity are working or not, and identifying processes for mitigating tensions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Religion, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech and Secretary Clinton's 2012 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace persuasively argued for policies that promote international religious freedom (IRF), including links to national security, economic development, and democracy promotion, and as an antidote to religious extremism and terrorism. Unfortunately, current IRF policy--in place since 1998 and largely built around the threat of economic sanctions which no administration has been willing to use--is not up to the challenges or the opportunities that President Obama and Secretary Clinton so eloquently identified. To correct that, the White House needs to embrace a leadership role, building an infrastructure and providing the necessary resources for a reinvigorated policy of new tools and strategies to thrive. The need is pressing.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Economics, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Jasmine El-Gamal
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, Saudi Arabia is organizing a global interfaith conference in Madrid, with more than 200 Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist religious leaders from 54 countries expected to attend. The conference, in the words of its main organizer, the Mecca-based Muslim World League, will "focus on common human values." Many in the West, however, will likely judge the conference as a Saudi public relations effort to emphasize its leadership of the Islamic world, and to ward off criticism, especially from the United States, that Saudi Arabia bears continuing responsibility for political and financial backing of Sunni extremists across the Middle East.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Fatah-Hamas unity agreement reached in Mecca last week has powerful implications for all regional players. The most serious challenge it poses is to U.S. diplomacy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Mecca
  • Author: Paul Wee
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria currently faces a three-pronged crisis involving Muslim-Christian relations, the Niger Delta region, and presidential term limits. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) held a public workshop in March 2006 for the purpose of assessing the situation in Nigeria and considering ways in which the international community might respond.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Cecile Zwiebach
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While U.S. and coalition forces—and increasingly the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)—struggle to defeat the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, they are also dealing with a range of armed groups that complicate the security scenario. Militias and ad hoc units with different levels of government sanction are growing in strength, and the training of the ISF is progressing unevenly. While it is not possible to conduct a comprehensive survey of both independent groups and ISF units, a sampling of less publicized units illustrates how diffuse military power in Iraq has become.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Acting Lebanese interior minister Ahmad Fatfat arrived in Washington June 20 for his first official visit in his new capacity. The U.S. trip comes one month after a radical Sunni Islamist organization was legalized in Lebanon, and just weeks after thousands of Shiite Hizballah supporters rioted in Beirut after the broadcast on LBC television of a comedy skit satirizing Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. These developments highlight growing tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. Unchecked, this dynamic could lead to a resumption of the type of conflict that has long plagued Lebanon and threaten the gains of the Cedar Revolution.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Before any significant political reform can take place in the Arab world, the United States and Europe need to begin engaging moderate Islamists, an action less thorny than it might seem because Islamists have embraced democratic procedures and have shown a strong commitment to the rule of law. For a long time Arab regimes have frightened the United States and Europe into supporting regimes' repressive measures toward Islamist movements by invoking the nightmare of anti-Western fanatics taking power through the ballot box. However, today's moderate Islamists—while illiberal in many important respects—no longer match the nightmare. Excluding them from the political sphere weakens the chances of democratic reform and increases the likelihood that eventually they will resort to violence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Steven F. Hayward
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Growing evangelical interest in environmental issues has made news headlines in recent months. This Outlook reflects on the inherent difficulties of this dialogue and speculates on what environmentalists and evangelical Christians can learn from each other.
  • Topic: Environment, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the U.S. and British governments have offered gestures of mutual diplomatic support and apparent political agreement in the aftermath of the July 7 terrorist bombings in London, such efforts mask the wide differences between their approaches to the increasing threat of al-Qaeda terrorism. On July 15, President George W. Bush, speaking in North Carolina about the bombings, stated, “The killers . . . did not care about their religion. . . . These people will not be stopped by negotiations. . . . There is only one course of action. We will take the fight to the enemy, and we will stay in this fight until this enemy is defeated.” The next day, Prime Minister Tony Blair, stated, “The greatest danger is that we fail to face up to the nature of the threat we are dealing with. . . . [N]o sane person would negotiate. . . . It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion.” The similarity in language was probably intentional. Yet, Washington's apparent preference for military force contrasts with Blair's categorization of Britain's strategy: “In the end, it is the power of argument, debate, true religious faith, and true legitimate politics that will defeat this threat.”
  • Topic: Government, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Washington, London
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: I have spent the past month in Jerusalem, meeting with Israelis and Palestinians here, in Ramallah, and in Gaza City. In my years of dealing with both sides, I cannot recall a time when emotion in general, and frustration in particular, have so clearly shaped their outlook. Given the death of Yasser Arafat, the emergence of Mahmoud Abbas, and Ariel Sharon's decision to disengage from Gaza, this should be a time of hope and opportunity. Instead, there is less a sense of possibility than of foreboding. It may not yet be too late to use the withdrawal as a platform on which to build a different future. Yet, much of what could have been done to prepare the ground for disengagement has not been done—and that may explain the unease that pervades both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House Thursday with an unprecedented shower of diplomatic, political, and financial support. Most media attention has focused on two high-profile signs of U.S. backing of Abbas -- Bush's bold characterization of his guest as a "man of courage" and the dispatch of $50 million in direct assistance to the PA. As constructive as these messages were in bolstering the new Palestinian leader, little attention has been given to several other surprising messages Bush delivered -- both by omission and commission -- that could rebound against the administration's twin objectives of strengthening Palestinian democracy and advancing the vision of "two states living side by side in peace and security."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog, Dennis Rose
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, 2005, Dennis Ross, Michael Herzog, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, former U.S. Middle East peace envoy, and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004). Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Brig.-Gen. Herzog, a visiting military fellow at the Institute, was formerly the senior military aide to the defense minister and a peace negotiator. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks; David Makovsky's remarks served as the basis for PeaceWatch no. 498.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The March 8 mass rally in Beirut, organized by Hizballah to counter the popular Lebanese opposition movement, serves as a reminder that establishing genuine freedom and democracy in Lebanon will require more than a Syrian withdrawal. Whereas the opposition, backed by strong international and regional sentiment, focuses on rejecting Syria's occupation, Hizballah focuses on rejecting international interference in Lebanese affairs. Yet, if Iran and Hizballah are permitted to fill the void created by a Syrian departure, Lebanon will continue to be subjected to such foreign interference. Such a development would also increase the potential for escalation on the Lebanese-Israeli front, with possible regional spillover. Accordingly, while encouraging the ongoing historic events in Lebanon and pushing for an end to Syrian domination, the international community should not neglect two other key implications of UN Security Council Resolution 1559: ending the Iranian presence and disarming Hizballah.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Seeking to prevent terror propaganda and incitement to terror in America, the U.S. government added al-Manar (Arabic for "the beacon"), the official television mouthpiece of Hizballah, or the Lebanese Party of God, to the Terrorism Exclusion List (TEL). By designating the network as a terrorist organization the government will effectively take Hizballah television off the air in the United States by denying entry to its employees and to anyone who supports the network.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As European and Iranian officials began negotiations December 14 on whether to make permanent Iran's temporary suspension of uranium enrichment, eight former Western foreign ministers issued a joint statement calling on Washington to support the European efforts by engaging with Iran. There is a growing chorus claiming that Iran will keep its nuclear program suspended only if offered significant incentives by the United States, such as security guarantees, an end to hostility, or at least normal relations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The December 6 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which killed five non-American staff members, was a worrisome display of al-Qaeda's careful planning, detailed timing, and audaciousness. Worse still, the assault contradicts Riyadh's claims that it has contained the threat of terrorism. The incident, which comes at a time of persistent high oil prices, has only exacerbated concerns about some of the most senior members of the ruling al-Saud family with regard to their health and ability to govern.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Orhan Babaoglu
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 23, 2004, Gen. James Jones, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, praised Operation Active Endeavour (OAE) for its role on the war on terror. OAE is NATO's post-September 11 answer to the question of naval security in the Mediterranean Sea. With the threat of terrorism on the open waters gaining increasing attention, especially in the aftermath of the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen and the September 11 attacks, the Mediterranean basin (including the Black Sea) has become a new focal point for policymakers. The basin lies between three dangerous conflict areas -- the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Moreover, as a passageway between developed and underdeveloped nations, with access to three strategically important sea passages -- Gibraltar in the west, the Suez Canal in the south, and the Turkish Straits in the north -- the Mediterranean gives terrorists, human traffickers, and drug and arms smugglers easy access to the long and difficult to patrol coastlines of Europe. Is the West doing an adequate job of confronting the new threats in the Mediterranean? What role does the U.S.-Turkish alliance play in this enterprise?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East, Yemen, Arab Countries, Balkans
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After an extended absence from public view, Osama bin Laden reappeared in video excerpts aired on al-Jazeera several days before the November 2 election, issuing warnings to the U.S. public about al-Qaeda's intention to continue striking the United States. The incident raises new questions about the extent to which bin Laden is directing terrorist operatives and operations. In recent months, many experts have opined that he is no longer in complete control, and that the groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are operating more independently, with bin Laden's organization serving predominately as a source of inspiration.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Coalition and Iraqi government forces are moving to retake Falluja from insurgents who have held the city since April 2004. On the evening of November 8, U.S. troops with large-scale air support began to penetrate at several points, encountering some resistance. The coalition and the Iraqi government are gambling that they can break the insurgents hold on the city with acceptable losses and without a protracted battle. The insurgents are hoping to avoid annihilation, inflict embarrassing losses, create an image of wanton destruction by the coalition and government forces, and force an inconclusive end to the fighting. Indeed, Falluja has become a kind of "Stalingrad on the Euphrates" -- a city imbued with political, military, and symbolic consequence, and a battle whose outcome will have long-term implications.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The counterinsurgency in Iraq has entered a critical phase: the start of operations by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces to pacify insurgent-held areas, smoothing the way for January 2005 elections. In recent weeks, coalition and Iraqi forces have battled insurgents in Tal Afar, Samarra, Mahmudiya, and Latifiya, as well as Sadr City and Haifa Street in Baghdad. They now appear to be preparing to move against Falluja, which has been described by some U.S. officials as the "center of gravity" of the Sunni insurgency.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer, Gilles Kepel
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the Cold War, Washington reached out to some Islamists in order to counter the Soviet threat. Some claim that engaging so-called "moderate" Islamists would serve U.S. interests today. But in any U.S.-Islamist dialogue, the Islamists are certain to demand concessions from the United States, including visas, freedom to raise money for their organizations, U.S. support for their participation in the politics of their home countries, and a reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East, including support for Israel. In return, Islamists would propose to condemn terrorist attacks against the United States, and discourage new attacks on American soil.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Soviet Union, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, scheduled to begin in November, have been postponed until 2005. Given that these will be the first public political elections ever to take place in the kingdom, their introduction has been keenly watched, both domestically and from abroad. The latest delay, the second since the original announcement in 2003, indicates that the Saudi royal family is divided over the present usefulness of the sort of broadened political participation that the United States considers vital to combating the militant Islamism of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. No official reason was given for the change, which was reported on September 12 as being a rescheduling rather than a postponement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Rapidly growing Chinese oil demand was one of the key factors influencing discussions at this week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), convened in Vienna by ministers from OPEC member states. During the first eight months of 2004, Chinese oil imports surged by 40 percent compared with the same period in 2003, contributing to the rapid rise in oil prices during the summer. China, the world's most populous nation, knows its economic growth must be fueled by oil imports, with the Middle East serving as the principal source. Accordingly, Beijing has begun to make energy security a priority, mounting a campaign to build improved commercial and diplomatic relations with Middle Eastern states. These efforts will entail increased competition with U.S. influence in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dov Zakheim
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The subject of energy and oil dependence should be at the top of the U.S. national security agenda. There are several reasons for concern. First, the world demand for oil is growing rapidly. Chinese and Indian development alone will push oil consumption up in the near future. The middle class in India, for instance, although not yet reaching the American standard of living, is approximately the size of the population of the United States and will be in the market for cars in the next five to ten years.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Ali Koknar
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 1, 2004, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) -- an organization that appears on the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and whose attacks caused more than 30,000 deaths in Turkey during the 1980s and 1990s -- declared that it had rescinded its unilateral "ceasefire" of February 2000. This declaration was quickly followed by an escalation of violence in southeastern Turkey. This development poses a threat to Turkey's internal security and to the European Union reform process that began after Ankara apprehended PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in February 1999. Ocalan's capture led to a drop in PKK violence and a relaxation in the country's political environment, catalyzing reforms on the Kurdish issue that had previously been deemed impossible (see PolicyWatch no. 786).
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Muqtada al-Sadr represents a serious long-term political and military challenge to the coalition and the new Iraqi government. Open warfare between Sadr and the coalition first emerged on April 4, 2004, with "uprisings" by his militia, the so-called Mahdi Army, in Baghdad and across southern Iraq. Although Sadr has not achieved his objective of a broad-based Shi'i rebellion, coalition forces have not been able to bring him to justice or dissolve his militia. Both sides are now playing a high-stakes game. The coalition is betting that it can eliminate or reduce Sadr as a political force without causing a serious breach with the larger Shi'i community. Sadr is gambling that he can persist, even prosper, in the face of the coalition. Indeed, he has long-term political goals and is positioning himself for the upcoming elections. The prospects that the coalition can bring him under control at acceptable cost and risk remain uncertain.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Egemen Bagis
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For years, the Turkish Cypriots have been blamed for the Cyprus issue. Nevertheless, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally convinced UN secretary general Kofi Annan to open the fourth round of negotiations, and Rauf Denktas, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was much more productive in these talks than was the Greek Cypriot leader. The conclusions emerging from the Annan Plan negotiations were the best obtainable result, even though they did not address all Turkish priorities. According to the plan, the Greek and Turkish Cypriots each submitted the plan's proposals to a separate referendum. Yet, only the Turkish Cypriot leadership stood behind its word and asked for a "yes" vote. With this, the Turkish Cypriots sent the message that they were ready to integrate into the international community. Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriot leadership backed off of its support for the agreement, and the Greek Cypriots consequently rejected the plan in their referendum. The European Union (EU) had promised Greek Cypriot accession regardless of their referendum result, however, and on May 1, Greek Cyprus entered the EU while the Turkish side remains unfairly punished by international sanctions. The destiny of the Turkish Cypriots should not rest in the hands of the Greek Cypriots, and the world has begun to recognize this. Now, lifting the sanctions on the Turkish Cyprus is Turkey's priority.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Cyprus
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past week, oil prices have exceeded $40 per barrel for the first time since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and gasoline prices in parts of the United States are now more $2 per gallon. Contributing to this increase were heightened concerns about supply, particularly in the wake of a May 1 terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter. Two Americans and three other Westerners were killed in the attack, and the body of one of the victims was dragged through the streets behind the terrorists' vehicle. Following the incident, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia urged Americans to leave the kingdom.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 29, 2004, Khaled Abu Toameh addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Toameh, the West Bank correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and a special correspondent for U.S. News World Report, is the 2004 Ira and Betty Weiner visiting fellow at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Aaron David Miller, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A transfer of power within the Palestinian Authority, coupled with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, presents both challenges and opportunities for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The preconditions of past peace treaties between Israel and its Arab neighbors have demonstrated the necessity for calm on the ground and strong leaders who can force their constituents to accept peace. Unfortunately, the past four years of fighting, the lack of strong leadership, and the asymmetry of power between the Israelis and Palestinians all act as bulwarks against necessary change. The situation is complicated by the need to prevent Hamas and local warlords from expanding their power. Nevertheless, from the Israeli perspective, there are some opportunities for change. The disengagement plan proves that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon understands that Israel cannot sustain the settlements, while the continued construction of the West Bank fence presents opportunities for new negotiations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ten years on, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan has weathered a number of storms, including the passing away of King Hussein, four years of Israeli-Palestinian armed struggle, and war in Iraq. Despite considerable domestic anti-peace pressure on the Jordanian regime (nurtured by Islamist elements) and strained Israeli-Jordanian political relations, the two countries have developed impressive security and economic relations. The economic field in particular offers a ray of hope for the future, exemplifying how things could and should be done to enhance peace.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 4, 2004, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Peter Hansen unapologetically admitted to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that the UN employs members of Hamas. "Oh, I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll," Hansen stated, "and I don't see that as a crime." The fact that Palestinian terrorist groups have increasingly used civilian cover to facilitate their activities remains undisputed (notwithstanding the recent spat between Israel and the UN over drone reconnaissance pictures depicting what Israeli officials claimed were Hamas operatives transporting Qassam missiles in a UN ambulance, but which now appear to have been merely stretchers). In several documented cases, Palestinian terrorists have exploited employment with UN and other agencies to support their groups' activities.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 10, 2004, Madeleine Albright and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. As secretary of state, Albright was the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. Currently, she is chairman of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and founder and principal of the Albright Group. Ambassador Ross, counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute, is author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004). From 1989 to 2000, he served as the chief U.S. envoy to the Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, federal authorities in Chicago indicted three senior Hamas members—two of whom were arrested in the United States, while the third remains at large in Syria—on charges of racketeering and (in the case of one defendant) providing material support to terrorists. The indictment marks a watershed in the prosecution of terrorists raising funds and plotting attacks from the United States. It also raises reason for concern: might Hamas now target Western interests?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Chicago
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Wendy Sherman
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is absolutely determined to carry out disengagement despite the political problems within his own party. The demographic issue of ensuring a long-term Jewish democratic majority in Israel and the associated political pressure has fueled his determination to proceed with disengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Zalman Shoval
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 6, the Israeli government approved a plan for unilateral separation by a 14 to 7 vote. The plan includes complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (with the exception of the so-called "Philadelphi Corridor" on the Egypt-Gaza border) and from certain West Bank settlements. It is scheduled to be implemented beginning in March 2005 and should be completed by the end of that year.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A U.S. government team is in Ankara today for talks with members of the Turkish military and intelligence services regarding the future of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an organization on the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. On September 2, 2003, the PKK, whose past attacks have cost Turkey 35,000 lives, renounced a unilateral ceasefire it had declared in February 2000. This is a dangerous development for three reasons. First, PKK violence could throw Turkey back into the political maelstrom of the 1990s, and it is in Washington's best interests to help preserve democratic Turkey's stability. Second, if the PKK attacks Turkey from U.S.-controlled northern Iraq, where it has an estimated 4,000-5,000 terrorists, this could put Washington and Ankara at loggerheads. Third, Turkey considers joint action against the PKK a sine qua non for U.S.-Turkish cooperation in Iraq; it is unlikely that Ankara will send troops to Iraq unless the PKK issue is tackled. Given all of these reasons, the threat that the PKK poses to U.S. national interests is now at such a level that the organization is a legitimate target in the war on terror. Therefore, it is time to take action against the PKK.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Richard Speier
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon visits India on September 9-11, he is likely to explore the possible sale of Israeli Arrow antiballistic missiles to New Delhi. The United States, which has provided funds and technology for the Arrow since 1986, has a veto right over sales to third parties. U.S. approval of a sale to India would offer both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, India, Israel, New Delhi, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 8, 2003, the seventh European Union (EU) reform package went into effect in Turkey, significantly curbing the role of the military in politics. This legislation, passed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government on August 4, follows six previous packages adopted since February 2002. Collectively, these reform measures have vastly liberalized the country's political system, facilitating Kurdish broadcasting and education, abolishing the death penalty, and subjecting Turkish courts to the European Court of Human Rights. Turkey now has laws guaranteeing freedom of speech, and the military is no longer the kingmaker in Ankara. As a result, AKP -- a self-styled "conservative democratic" party with an identifiable "Islamist pedigree" -- anticipates that Turkey will pass muster when Brussels reviews its candidacy for EU membership in June 2004. Ankara hopes that the EU will establish an accession calendar, opening the way for Turkey's eventual entry into the union, perhaps within the next decade. These developments are crucial to Turkey's future. Which path will the country take now that the military is stripped of its role as a decisionmaking body? Will the EU open its doors to Turkey?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A surprising summit meeting yesterday in Ankara involving members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, the Turkish General Staff, the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization produced an agreement "in principle" to send Turkish "peacekeeping soldiers" to Iraq. From one perspective, if Turkish troops were deployed to Iraq, it could end the period of "strategic pause" between Washington and Ankara in place since March 1, when the Turkish parliament refused to open up a northern front for U.S. troops invading Iraq. There are still political obstacles to Turkish troop deployment -- such as a divided AKP and a fairly reluctant parliament. Moreover, Turkish law requires that parliament authorize sending troops abroad except in the case of international legislation (such as a UN resolution), or a call for help justifying such a deployment, and the Turkish parliament is in recess until October 1. But even before the AKP government determines its position on this issue, a major hurdle will have to be overcome: if American and Turkish troops are to work together in Iraq, they will first have to build mutual confidence, which -- once formidable -- seems to have quickly eroded over the past months. How can this be accomplished?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Yesterday's meeting in the White House between U.S. president George W. Bush and Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal reflects both Saudi official anger at the reports of the kingdom's apparent complicity in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and its continuing ability to gain short-notice access to the very top of the U.S. administration. But reports of the meeting suggest a new and public toughness by President Bush toward the Saudi leadership -- a significant break in the closeness between two political dynasties, the Bushes and the al-Saud.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Abdullah Gul
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 25, 2003, Turkish deputy prime minister and foreign minister Abdullah Gul addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Gul was Turkey's prime minister between November 2002 and March 2003, and he served as minister of state and government spokesman in the Welfare Party government of 1997. The following is a rapporteur's summary of Dr. Gul's remarks and the question-and-answer session that followed.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Executives at some leading U.S. financial, corporate, and journalistic institutions, such as JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, American Express Centurion Bank, Associated Press Television News (APTN), Telestar5, and Interland, should be aware that their organizations are unwitting accomplices in the terrorist activities of Hizballah, recently labeled "the A team" of terrorism by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The normally sleepy shaykhdom of Ras al-Khaimah, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was wracked by gunfire and street protests over the weekend after the aged and frail ruler, Shaykh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, switched the title of crown prince from one of his seven sons to another. Sword-waving supporters of the deposed son, Shaykh Khalid, forced members of the emiri guard to retreat behind the high walls of the ruler's palace. A semblance of order was restored only after Abu Dhabi, the lead emirate of the UAE, sent armored vehicles to Ras al-Khaimah. Shaykh Khalid still contests the change, but troops have prevented supporters from reaching his palace. Although he is an outspoken critic of the United States, his removal flies in the face of certain U.S. policy objectives.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At yesterday's Sharm al-Shaykh summit, President George W. Bush persisted in his post-September 11 campaign to transform the Middle Eastern landscape, an effort that includes not only promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace but transforming intra-Arab politics as well. A close reading of the carefully crafted statements by Bush and his Egyptian host, President Hosni Mubarak, offers a revealing look into where U.S. and Arab leaders agree, disagree, and choose to remain ambiguous on critical issues facing the region.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The end of Saddam Husayn's regime offers several key benefits with regard to U.S. interests. World oil supplies will increase as Iraq -- which has not been a major oil exporter since the beginning of the 1980-1988 war with Iran -- raises its oil production capacity to its full potential, which may amount to 5-6 million barrels per day. Cheap oil will boost the global economy, reduce Arab control of the oil market, and allow the United States to become less dependent on Saudi Arabia and better positioned to demand reforms from Middle Eastern regimes. In addition, postwar Iraq will no longer pose a weapons-of-mass-destruction threat to the region. The end of Saddam's regime will also reduce Russian and French influence in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Whatever the long-term prospects for a stable and democratic Iraq, the potential exists for the development of resistance to that goal. This potential is rooted in both historical factors (e.g., Iraq's political culture; Iraqi distrust of the United States; enduring images of colonialism) and immediate circumstances (e.g., the collapse of Saddam Husayn's regime and the attendant destruction of governing systems and infrastructure; the legacy of regime crimes). Indeed, the latter circumstances have created precursors for resistance to coalition forces, the transitional government, and the eventual Iraqi government.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- the oil producers' cartel of which Iraq is a founding member -- meets in Vienna to discuss production cuts intended to maintain the current, relatively high price of oil. The United States is not expected to send a representative for Iraq, although one or more among the plethora of political groups in the liberated country may send a would-be representative, unlikely to be seated. While ignoring the meeting, Washington still needs to make clear how it will reconstruct the Iraqi oil industry and utilize the nation's huge oil reserves, second in size only to those of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Vienna
  • Author: William Perry, Newt Gingrich, R. James Woolsey, Lawrence Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Robert Kerrey, Fred Thompson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush declared that Iraq would be disarmed -- peacefully if possible, through force if necessary. While resort to arms was surely not the preferred option, Saddam Husayn's determination to preserve his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ensured that the United States and its allies would be left with no choice but to act militarily. The path to war has not been precipitous. If the United States is now to avoid the age-old fear of winning the war but losing the peace, the administration's postwar priorities must reflect an understanding of the challenges it faces and the choices it must make.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia