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  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's economic crisis is naturally the leading issue in bilateral U.S.-Turkish relations, and it is almost certainly topping the agenda of today's meetings of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem with Vice President Richard Cheney and other senior officials. Of course, these meetings pose the difficult question of how much Washington should do, if anything, to bail out its strategically vital ally. But this is only one of several uncertainties characterizing U.S.-Turkish relations in the early days of the Bush administration. Because so much of Turkey's importance to the United States derives from its critical strategic location, bilateral relations are greatly affected by U.S. policies toward other states in Turkey's region. Of most concern to Turkey will be the evolution of Bush administration policy toward Iraq, Iran, and Russia, and also toward Europe's nascent bid to develop an autonomous security capacity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Washington, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, a simmering debate between the two major power centers in domestic Lebanese politics has spilled into public view. This debate pits newly installed Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who represents those who want Lebanon to take advantage of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon to focus on internal stability, economic reconstruction and securing foreign investment, against Hizballah leader Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, who — with the support of Syria and Iran — champions maintaining Lebanon's role on the front line of the ongoing revolutionary resistance against Israel. This tension was described in the Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar as the choice between "Hanoi" (Nasrallah) and "Hong Kong" (Hariri). As with most Middle East crises, the development of this delicate and flammable dispute carries both risks and opportunities for Lebanon and other players on the Middle East scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Political Economy, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Hong Kong
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iranian president Mohammed Khatami will conduct an official visit to Russia on March 11 through March 15. This constitutes the highest-level visit of an Iranian official to Russia since 1989. There could be an intensification of cooperation between Russia and Iran during Khatami's visit — including on arms sales. In addition to military issues, the delineation of borders along the Caspian Sea will be a focus of discussion. Following talks in Moscow, Khatami will visit St. Petersburg and Kazan, the capital of the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: January 17 marks the tenth anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East, when U.S.-led forces began the liberation of Kuwait. In that operation, the militaries of the Gulf monarchies played a minor role. At their meeting in Bahrain at the end of December, the leaders of these monarchies agreed to a joint defense agreement by which an attack on one would be considered an attack on all. While this agreement could enhance the defense capabilities of these states, they will still be unable to fend off attack by either of their large neighbors, Iraq or Iran. The monarchies will continue to rely on the United States as their ultimate security guarantor.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Ray Takeyh
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After much experimentation, the Clinton administration settled on a policy of incremental normalization with Iran, whereby the United States and Iran would gradually improve their relations through mutual concessions and confidence-building measures. As the Bush team assesses policy options towards Iran, it is important to note the meager results of the Clinton team's creative efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The last two days have witnessed "The International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada" in Tehran. The conference was a major step in Iran's drive to accelerate terrorist attacks on Israel. Delegates to the conference came from thirty-four countries, including Syrian vice president Muhammad Zahir Mosahareqa, Lebanese National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri, and representatives from many parliaments (e.g., Irish Senator Mick Lanigan). Palestinian participants included Palestinian Authority (PA) minister in charge of Jerusalem affairs Faisal Husseini and Palestinian National Council head Salim Za'noun (Abu Adib), one of the founding generation of Fatah and for many years the main link between Yasir Arafat and Islamic fundamentalist circles.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Arab leaders gather in Amman for the first regular Arab summit in a decade, non-Arab Iran is keenly watching to see whether Arab heads-of-state once again make grandiose promises to support the Palestinians. If Arab leaders fail to deliver on these promises, as has been the case with Arab financial commitments to the Palestinians, it would open the door for Tehran to build on Hizballah's success in Lebanon and to deepen its already worrisome role in the Israeli–Palestinian arena.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Robert O. Freedman
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main successor state, Russia, emerged in a greatly weakened geopolitical position. Complicating Russia's problems was a politically weak and often physically sick President Boris Yeltsin. Concerned about its "soft underbelly" in Transcaucasia and Central Asia, regions that were threatened by radical Islam, Moscow focused its Middle East efforts on Turkey and Iran, both of which had a considerable amount of influence in the two regions. Moscow sold nuclear reactors and sophisticated military equipment to Iran, as the two countries developed a tactical alliance. Russia had a more mixed relationship with Turkey, alternating between confrontation and cooperation. Russia also sought to get the sanctions lifted against Iraq, a development that would strengthen the greatly troubled Russian economy as well as help Russia politically. In the case of Israel, Moscow developed very close cultural, economic, and military ties, although there were a number of ups and downs in diplomatic relations. Under Putin, there was a more centralized control over Russian foreign policy as the new Russian leader sought to have a more assertive foreign policy for his country, and became much more active than Yeltsin had been in promoting Russian interests in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: President Mohammed Khatami was re-elected on June 8 by a huge margin. Khatami's supporters are already talking about a renewed campaign for reform under a reorganised cabinet and a reinvigorated Majlis. However, the obstacles to such a programme remain formidable. Khatami is likely to press a little more strongly for reform, especially in the economic field. However, doubts remains that he or his parliamentary colleagues have the means to use the renewed mandate provided by the election to press for radical change. Any change is therefore likely to modest and incremental, though, in the Iranian context, significant.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, four factors have combined to make the situation in the Middle East far more combustible than it is has been for a long time. These elements are: Iraq has managed to break out of the boundaries imposed by the UN sanctions regime and to evade weapons inspections. Saddam Husayn is now stronger than ever and ready to play a role in the region. He has signaled this intention by his deployment of troops on the western borders of Iraq just before the Arab summit in Egypt. Although he has since pulled them back, this maneuver was intended to send the message that Saddam Husayn is a force to be reckoned with from now on. Iran has enhanced its efforts to use a consortium of terrorist groups against the remnants of the peace process. Intelligence information shows that Iran has deployed long-range Katyusha missiles in Lebanon and that it is encouraging Hizballah activities against Israel. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has disappointed most analysts, who hoped that he would focus on addressing Syria's economy and other domestic concerns. Instead, his speeches both at the Arab summit in Egypt and at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar have been extremely bellicose. In addition, it is clear that the recent kidnappings by Hizballah and a Palestinian group's attempt to infiltrate Israel through Lebanon could not have taken place without at the least a green light from Damascus, even if Bashar himself did not authorize them specifically. Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat has evidently changed course from negotiation to confrontation. So far, the Palestinian cause has proven to be uniting force in the Arab world; under certain circumstances, it might also serve as a good pretext for resumption of full-scale hostilities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Egypt