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  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 6, Britain went to the polls to elect a new government, producing no clear result but forcing the resignation of Labor Party leader Gordon Brown. Within hours of taking over as prime minister, Conservative Party leader David Cameron had created a new body, a British national security council, whose first meeting focused on "discuss[ing] the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and review[ing] the terrorist threat to the UK." Apart from Britain's economic problems, these issues and Middle East policy in general will likely dominate the new government's agenda -- and its relations with Washington.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Terrorism, International Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, United Kingdom, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Nearly three months have passed since Iran's bloody crackdown on the mass protests over the controversial June 12 presidential election. The Obama administration, however, has yet to determine a strategy to support the first serious challenge to the regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Last week's statement by Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- that he saw no proof the British or the West were behind the protests -- should encourage the United States to pursue a more assertive approach to support Iranians working for change. Nevertheless, the State Department's Iran Democracy Fund -- currently the only tool available for promoting democracy in Iran -- has been extremely cautious in its funding decisions since President Barack Obama's inauguration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Diplomacy, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran
  • Author: Myriam Benraad
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last month, Kamal Hassan, a Somali-American living in Minnesota, pled guilty to training and fighting with al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. In July, two other Somali-Americans in Minnesota pled guilty to similar charges, with the FBI continuing to investigate more than a dozen others who may have traveled from the United States to Somalia. The FBI also recently arrested seven individuals in North Carolina on terrorism-related charges, including one who had spent time in Afghan training camps. These and other recent events have raised new concerns in the United States about the threat of homegrown radicalization.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Washington, North Carolina
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Bush returns to the Middle East this week for the second time in 2008. Initially planned to mark Israel's sixtieth anniversary, his itinerary has expanded to include meetings with top officials from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and Saudi Arabia. Except for a trip to Riyadh, these meetings will be held at a World Economic Forum conference in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt. This lineup prompted National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to say the trip has "both symbolism and substance" and, considering the urgency of the issues, something of substance may actually emerge.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After a six-week delay following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis will go to the polls on February 18 to elect a new National Assembly. Pakistan and Afghanistan are "where many of our most important interests intersect," as Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 5. Accordingly, the election results could affect the position of a key U.S. ally in the war on terror -- the increasingly unpopular President Pervez Musharraf.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Saudi king Abdullah is in the United States this week to discuss issues of considerable interest to both countries. Tomorrow and Thursday, he is in New York City for an interfaith meeting he is sponsoring and which President Bush will be attending. On Friday and Saturday, the Saudi monarch will be at the White House, where he will be the sole Islamic or Arab representative at a summit of major economic powers discussing the world financial crisis. In a separate meeting with President Bush, he is expected to report on Saudi mediation efforts with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Despite some common interest in all these areas, perspectives differ significantly on issues such as radical Islam and the price of oil. The United States, particularly during a time of presidential transition, should be careful not to concede ground on continuing points of disagreement.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 3, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, putting at risk, despite claims to the contrary, the upcoming January elections. Musharraf justified his move by citing an increase in "the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks." The action was taken despite recent pleas from U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, as well as Admiral William Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, who visited Musharraf on November 2. Instead of political stability in Pakistan, U.S. policymakers are now confronted with a more difficult battle against al-Qaeda in neighboring Afghanistan, a perhaps less secure Pakistani nuclear weapons arsenal, and a postponed democratic revival of the world's second most populous Muslim state.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 29-30, just over a month after taking over from Tony Blair, new British prime minister Gordon Brown will meet with President Bush at Camp David. It will be the first opportunity for direct, substantive discussions between the two leaders and is widely expected to be a difficult summit. Brown is seen as wanting to establish a very different -- and cooler -- relationship with Bush. Although the effect of this public distancing on longstanding U.S.-British cooperation is uncertain at the moment, the change in substance and style will no doubt have implications for current policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the way the two leaders relate in the event of future crises.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Andrew Exum
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For the past five years, U.S. Army and Marine Corps officers have been operating in highly complex combat environments in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Uniformed decisionmakers realized early on that these wars required a wide array of skill sets and areas of expertise beyond those traditionally taught to junior officers. Army chief of staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker has stressed the need for a new kind of Army leader skilled in governance, statesmanship, and diplomacy and able to understand and work within different cultural contexts. The question, then, is to what extent the education given to future ground component officers at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis is working to produce such leaders. Specifically, to what extent are the traditional engineering-based curricula at the nations service academies producing leaders with the requisite language and cultural skills necessary to be effective officers on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  • Topic: Development, Education, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 29, Algerians will vote on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's proposed Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, a policy that would provide amnesty for most of the one-thousand Islamic terrorists the government believes are still hiding in Algeria and neighboring countries. Between three hundred and five hundred of the terrorists still at large belong to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). This cadre of Afghanistan-trained, al-Qaeda-linked militants was behind the September 24 ambush of a police patrol east of Algiers that killed eight people. These holdouts have shown no interest in a government amnesty, despite the Algerian population's clearly waning interest in Islamist-inspired political violence.
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, North Africa
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 20, the Saudi foreign ministry announced that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the long-serving Saudi ambassador to the United States, was stepping down, and that "the process of nominating" Prince Turki al-Faisal, the current Saudi ambassador in London, to replace him had begun. When the widely anticipated death of the recently hospitalized, eighty-four-year-old King Fahd occurs, both Prince Turki and Prince Bandar, as senior "next generation" princes, could be crucial players.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: David Keyes
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, al-Qaeda has responded by splintering into affiliate groups that work along the same lines as the parent group but have a wider degree or organizational latitude. One of the newest may be taking shape in Gaza. The Israeli Ministry of Defense recently reported that al-Qaeda members had crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip after Israel's withdrawal from the territory. If al-Qaeda gains a foothold in Gaza, it would be a most disturbing development not only for the Arab-Israeli peace process, but for America's counterterrorism efforts as well.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 11, retired Israeli maj. gen. Doron Almog declined to disembark from an arriving Israel El Al airliner at London's Heathrow airport and flew back to Israel, thereby avoiding British police waiting with a warrant for his arrest. The warrant, instigated in part by pro-Palestinian groups, alleged that Almog had committed war crimes while head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command operating in the Gaza Strip in 2002. The airport incident has serious implications, the full extent of which will only become clear in time, for visitors to Britain from Israel and possibly America (due to U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq). Israelis, Americans, and, indeed, British citizens could be vulnerable when visiting other countries as well. London's role in the Middle East peace process could also be constrained.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, America, Europe, Middle East, London, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush will enter his second term leading a country that is at war on five fronts at once. Four are clear: in Iraq and Afghanistan, against al-Qaeda and its global affiliates, and within the homeland. The fifth front, however, is the poor stepsister to the other four. It is being fought with an arsenal of outmoded and dysfunctional weaponry, a set of confused and self-defeating battlefield tactics, and no clear strategy for victory. Such is the status of the U.S. effort to fight the "battle of ideas" -- the ideological war to prevent Islamists and their sympathizers from capturing the social, cultural, economic, and political high ground in Muslim societies around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ramadan starts on October 15 or 16, depending on the sighting of the moon. Last year on the first day of Ramadan, five car bombs went off in Baghdad within an hour, including one in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offices. There is a disturbing prospect that the insurgents could try in Ramadan this year to mount a more significant offensive than any attacks to date. Such an offensive would underline the insurgents' claim to act in the cause of Islam; it could significantly complicate plans for elections in Iraq; and it might aim to influence the U.S. elections.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Christopher Kojm, C. Michael Hurley, Thomas Dowling
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 18, 2004, three staff members from the 9-11 Commission—Christopher Kojm, C. Michael Hurley, and Thomas Dowling—addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Kojm was the commission's deputy executive director. From 1998 until February 2003, he served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence policy and coordination in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Mr. Dowling was a professional staff member with the commission. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2002 after a thirty-year career in which he served in several Middle Eastern countries. In his last assignment, he was the deputy director and acting director of the Office of Near East and South Asian Analysis in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Mr. Hurley was senior counsel on the commission and head of its counterterrorism team. A career CIA officer, he served as National Security Council director for the Balkans from 1998 to 1999. He also led CIA and military Special Forces teams in Afghanistan in the months after the September 11 attacks. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Abdullah Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 14, 2003, Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Before serving as foreign minister, Dr. Abdullah was heavily involved in discussions on Afghanistan's future government. Previously, he was chief spokesman and deputy foreign minister of the Northern Alliance. Born to a Pashtun father and Tajik mother, he is also a trained medical doctor, serving at the Sayyed Jamaluddin-i-Afghani Eye Hospital for Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At least five terrorist suspects who entered the United States illegally from Canada during the Christmas holidays are now the subjects of an international manhunt. The suspects' international travel was apparently facilitated by Pakistani criminal elements engaged in the production of false documents, including forged visas and passports. The nexus between criminal and terrorist activity is not new. Indeed, international terrorism is facilitated and financed by an array of states, groups, fronts, individuals, businesses, banks, criminal enterprises, and nominally humanitarian organizations. Since the attacks of September 11, experts and decisionmakers have focused much attention on charitable and humanitarian organizations, as well as official and unofficial banking systems in the network of terrorist financing. The political economy of terrorism, however, relies just as heavily on legitimate businesses and, increasingly, criminal activity.
  • Topic: Security, Political Economy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Europe, Middle East, Taliban, Arab Countries, Syria, North America
  • Author: Hilmi Akin Zorlu
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The creation of ISAF was authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1386 in December 2001. The United Kingdom served as the first lead nation until Turkey took over command on June 20, 2002; the Turkish mandate was granted by Resolution 1413, which extended ISAF's authorization until December 20, 2002.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Thursday, October 24, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a new terrorist threat alert (this time warning of attacks on transportation systems), highlighting once more why attention has been focused on al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups since September 11, 2001. A year on, however, other Middle Eastern terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism still receive inconsistent attention despite a sharp rise in their activity. In fact, militant Islamist groups from al-Qaeda to Hamas interact and support one another in an international matrix of logistical, financial, and sometimes operational terrorist activity. Inattention to any one part of the web of militant Islamist terror undermines the effectiveness of measures taken against other parts of that web.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ahmed Rashid
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although al-Qaeda and the Taliban no longer pose a military or political threat in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda cells are regrouping. This threat requires the response of special forces, intelligence, and commandos in order to uncover the terrorist cells and prevent another September 11-style attack. But the main threat posed by terrorism in Central Asia today is the enormous domestic political crisis that has erupted throughout the region.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Growing U.S. military involvement in new locations such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines has raised concerns in the Pentagon about overstretching the military and has prompted a call to reassess the future of America's long-standing contribution to peacekeeping missions worldwide. One of the missions at risk of being curtailed is the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) — an independent, international peacekeeping and verification organization established by Egypt and Israel to monitor the security arrangements of their 1979 peace treaty. The idea of downsizing the 900-man U.S. contingent in the Sinai Peninsula has been raised several times by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "I do not believe that we still need our forces in the Sinai," he said in a recent public statement. But the timing of such a change — especially in light of the deterioration in Egyptian-Israeli relations since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada — is questionable. At a time when other voices are calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia, a withdrawal from Sinai — even if only a reduction — could symbolize to many a decreasing U.S. interest in the region. It could also deny the recently violent Egyptian-Israeli-Palestinian border area an important and necessary cooling-off mechanism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Middle East, Israel, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With attention focused on the bombings against Afghanistan, the most radical change in U.S. policy toward any other Muslim state since September 11 has been the accelerated rapprochement between the United States and Sudan, a country that hosted Osama bin Laden between 1991 and 1996. The quickly warming relations between Washington and Khartoum raise the question of "what price coalition?"
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ray Takeyh
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the United States pursues its military operations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference's (OIC) foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in the Qatari capital of Doha on Wednesday. Among the important issues that are likely to be mooted are the antiterrorism coalition and the scope of its activities; the future of Afghanistan; and a working definition of terrorism. The OIC has before it an important opportunity to ally the Muslim world with the prevailing international consensus against using religion as a rationale for mass violence.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Rubin, Michael Eisenstadt, David Isbey
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 21, Michael Rubin, a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 1997 and 2000; David Isbey, specialist correspondent for Jane's Intelligence Review and director of the Committee for a Free Afghanistan; and Michael Eisenstadt, senior fellow at The Washington Institute specializing in military affairs, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: British foreign secretary Jack Straw arrives in Tehran today to "build alliances with every country that we can." In fact, Iran is the acid test of U.S. resolve to fulfill the goal set by President George Bush in his speech to Congress, namely, "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." While Iran could be a useful ally vis-a-vis Afghanistan, there is no sign that Iran has any intention of stopping its support for terrorism. The objective of U.S. policy should be finding a way to take advantage of Iran's anti-Taliban sentiment while still pressing ahead with efforts to terminate Iran's own support for international terrorism.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is no longer the main issue on the Islamist agenda. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the development of national and Muslim-Christian disputes in various parts of Europe and central Asia assisted in the globalization of the Islamist struggle. In addition to the continuing troubles in Afghanistan and Kashmir, the 1990s have seen warfare in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and parts of Indonesia (most prominently East Timor). All this brought about a transfer of the main Islamist struggle from the Arab world to the margins of the Middle East. Afghanistan has become the meeting point between the Arab Islamists and their Asian colleagues in the developing globalization of the Islamic radical struggle.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Indonesia, Middle East, Arabia, Kosovo