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  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A nuclear breakout by Iraq or Iran could have a number of direct and indirect effects on the region: First, a nuclear breakout by either will cause the United States to be much more careful in its dealings with that state, particularly when it comes to considering military action. America's military freedom-of-action will be greatly constrained. Second, an Iraqi breakout would almost certainly cause Iran to further accelerate its own nuclear efforts and might spur Tehran to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it increasingly sees as a liability. Third, the emergence of a nuclear Iraq and/or Iran could cause the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to seek an independent deterrent capability — including chemical weapons. (The large petrochemical industries of the Gulf could provide many of the precursor chemicals needed for such an effort.) Saudi Arabia might even seek to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As U.S. policymakers review options for national missile defense and ways to reshape the military to meet future threats, nuclear proliferation — particularly in the Middle East — looms large as one of the most critical future challenges facing the United States. In the coming years, it is conceivable, if not likely, that the United States will have to respond to a nuclear breakout by Iraq and/or Iran. Such a development could have a dramatic impact on the strategic environment of the Middle East by altering the regional balance of power and encouraging further proliferation in the region and beyond. A nuclear breakout by either of these countries would also undermine international proliferation norms, put U.S. forces in the region at risk, pose a direct threat to U.S. friends and allies, and greatly constrain America's military freedom of action in the region. The likelihood of such a development — or at least its potential impact — will, however, be influenced by steps the United States takes now to deal with such an eventuality. And Washington is more likely to successfully manage the consequences of a nuclear breakout by Iraq or Iran if its response is not improvised, but based on prior planning.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: August 5 is an auspicious day for Iran, as it marks the inauguration of Mohammed Khatami's second four-year term as president of that country. It is also the day that the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) would have expired, had its renewal not received an overwhelming vote last week by 96-2 in the Senate and 409-6 in the House. Khatami's cabinet choices, which he is expected to announce at his inaugural, will indicate much about where Iran is heading. Similarly, how the Bush administration administers a renewed ILSA will indicate much about the direction of U.S.-Iran policy.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 5, 2001, Michael Rubin, a Washington Institute visiting scholar who was in 2000/2001 a visiting professor at the three universities in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, addressed the Institute's Policy Forum luncheon. This event marked the publication of Dr. Rubin's new study, Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami's Iran (Policy Paper no. 56, The Washington Institute). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, Mohammed Khatami is sure to be re-elected president of Iran. But that is not likely to make much difference to Iranians, as Khatami has no coherent program for any of Iran's three pressing problems: economic revitalization, political liberalization, and reduction of security threats. Even though Khatami has shown disinterest in improving relations with the United States, Washington should try once again, while not expecting much-if any-response.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: American policymakers face a number of decision points concerning U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran in the coming weeks. The UN Security Council has to act by June 4 to renew the oil-for-food program, providing the United States with an opportunity to secure approval for the "re-energized" sanctions regime that Secretary of State Colin Powell floated in March. Iran's policy direction will become clearer after its June 8 presidential elections, and that could influence the U.S. decision whether to renew the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act that expires August 5. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are reportedly considering whether to indict senior Iranians for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Iran, Arab Countries
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In April, Brenda Shaffer, research director of Harvard University's Caspian Studies Program and visiting fellow at The Washington Institute in 2000, addressed The Washington Institute to mark the publication of her Policy Paper, Partners in Need: The Strategic Relationship of Russia and Iran. The following is a rapporteur's summary of her remarks. Russia and Iran see themselves as strategic partners, and therefore their relations are based on an overall security conception. It would be a misperception to assume that because Washington and Moscow share concerns about Islamist radicalism that Russia would necessarily decide to cooperate with the United States on Iran. It would also be a misperception to think that Russia wants to sell arms to Iran solely in order to make money and that the United States can induce Russia not to make these sales by offering a better economic deal.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's decision by Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to run for re-election was more important than the actual election on June 8, which he is sure to win. But neither matters nearly as much as the crucial question for Iran's future — namely, will hardliners let the formal government rule or will they continue their crackdown through the revolutionary institutions they control? The answer will be key for U.S. policy options towards Iran.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • 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