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  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Late on December 11, Crown Prince Sultan arrived home to Saudi Arabia after a year's absence that included medical treatment in the United States and a nine-month convalescence at his palace in Morocco. Although described as "enjoying full health" and looking animated, Sultan is believed to still be unwell. In Sultan's absence, King Abdullah named interior minister Prince Nayef to the vacant post of second deputy prime minister, a position construed as crown-prince-in-waiting. Apart from marking a fresh twist in a drawn-out succession process, Sultan's return has implications for Saudi domestic and foreign policy -- particularly, on the eve of a Gulf summit, the continuing tension on the border with Yemen and a potentially nuclear Iran.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 14, Lebanese president Michel Sulaiman is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. It is widely anticipated that during his visit, Sulaiman will request administration support for an increase in U.S. military assistance. Despite concerns that U.S. materiel will leak to Hizballah, Washington will likely agree to augment this funding, given the Lebanese Armed Force's excellent security record with equipment of U.S. origin. The question of U.S. military funding for Lebanon highlights recent developments in Lebanese politics that point to the resurgence of Hizballah -- and its Syrian and Iranian backers -- in Beirut. Although the pro-West March 14 coalition scored an impressive electoral victory in June, six months later, the government that has emerged constitutes a setback for Washington and its Lebanese allies. The scope of the setback -- for both the coalition and the United States -- was recently summarized by Syrian Ambassador to the United States Imad Mustafa, who said, "We love it!... It is exactly the sort of government we think should rule Lebanon."
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Dana Moss, Ronald Bruce St. John
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In December 2003, Libya agreed to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, a key precondition for resumed relations with the United States. This decision set the stage for a new U.S.-Libyan rapport, and despite Libya's failure to adequately meet several other conditions, the United States considered the agreement a success.
  • Topic: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Late on November 25, just before the start of the Islamic Eid festival and, coincidentally, Thanksgiving in the United States, Dubai's flagship investment company Dubai World announced that it would be requesting a six-month delay on paying its debts. Within hours, Dubai's reputation was being rewritten, and its ambition to be a financial center, building on its historic reputation as a focal point for regional trade, was being recast. Uncertainty continued on November 30, when the Dubai government said that it would not guarantee Dubai World's debt. In any event, the larger story has been the nervousness of world financial markets, which are now also evincing worry about the debt of countries like Greece or Ireland. Within the Middle East, the focus is on the extent of support that Dubai will receive from Abu Dhabi, the neighboring -- and richer -- member sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whether other city-states like Bahrain and Qatar are also at risk, and whether Dubai's links with Iran will change as a result of its financial situation.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi
  • Author: Mari Luomi
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's interests vis-à-vis international climate policy are fundamentally tied to its ownership of the world's largest proven oil reserves and its political economy, which depends on oil revenues for stability and survival. The 'discrimination' against carbon dioxide and fossil fuels is a recurring theme that reflects the country's disapproval of any constraints on global oil consumption. The Saudi position has evolved around four pillars: preserving oil revenues, receiving compensation for the adverse impacts of climate change mitigation, avoiding commitments, and acquiring technology and capacity for adaptation. Saudi Arabia's influence in the negotiations stems from a long-term strategy of obstructionism, the ultimate aim of which is to prevent an agreement from emerging. The country's status as a developing country is increasingly contested due to its high GDP per capita, while its calls for compensation for losses in oil revenue are strongly criticised, but Saudi Arabia still faces major development challenges, economic diversification being the most pressing. Although Saudi Arabia's position towards adaptation requires adjusting, there are clear points of dialogue with the West, including technology transfer and capacity building.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jim Rollo
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The EU and the GCC have seemed close to an agreement on a region-to-region Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – possibly the first in the world between customs unions – for the last two years. The EU seems keener on an agreement than the GCC. An FTA is an element in the EU's Global Europe trade policy strategy and is explicitly linked to energy security concerns. The EU is the GCC's main supplier of goods and services, and since the completion of the GCC Customs Union tariffs are low and the economic effects of an FTA are likely to be small, on goods at least. There may be economic barriers to the final signing of an FTA on both sides: resistance by GCC states to services and investment liberalization; and resistance in the EU over access for GCC refinery products and chemicals. Commentary from the Gulf itself suggests that the EU practice of including clauses on human rights and labour market and environmental regulation may be at the heart of the slow progress from the GCC side.
  • Topic: Environment, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This weekend, the much-anticipated annual Arab Summit will convene in Damascus. The run-up to the twentieth summit -- the first ever held in Damascus -- has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Syria's role in undermining Lebanon's presidential elections. And Damascus has exacerbated regional concerns by inviting Iran to attend the summit. As a result of these developments, several Arab states have downgraded their planned level of representation at the meeting, dashing for now Syria's hopes of improving its tarnished image in the Arab world. Given these tensions, it is likely that this summit -- like so many of its predecessors -- will fail to make good on its ambitious agenda.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past week, Beirut has been rocked by violence yet again. On January 25, a Lebanese Internal Security Forces officer working with the UN investigation into Rafiq Hariri's assassination was killed by a car bomb. And on January 27, seven Shiite antigovernment demonstrators were killed by the Lebanese army. These incidents come only two months after pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud vacated his office, leaving a power vacuum in his wake. Despite vigorous Arab League mediation efforts, the prospects for electing a replacement appear bleak. And with no end in sight, Lebanon's security situation is likely to deteriorate further.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Nazar Janabi
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Away from the headlines, Sunnis and Shiites are testing the waters of reconciliation in the Iraqi parliament with an agreement that may come at the expense of country's Kurdish population. The Kurdish political reaction to such an agreement could potentially exacerbate anti-Kurdish sentiment among many Arab parliamentarians, costing the Kurds some of the hard-earned political ground they have gained thus far.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Most of President Bush's eight-day trip to the Middle East was spent in the Persian Gulf, visiting Kuwait, Bahrain, the two leading sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. As long-term allies of the United States, these Gulf Arab states still look to Washington as their ultimate security guarantor in what remains a dangerous region. In return for security, the United States asks for a reasonable world price for oil, support for its efforts to secure peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and cooperation in countering the threat of a potentially nuclear-armed Iran. The success of the trip may be judged by future progress on these policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Rodger Shanahan
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The government's decision to withdraw Australian combat elements from southern Iraq by the middle of 2008 has the potential to consign the Arabian Gulf region 1 to the periphery of Australian policy interests. There is a consequent temptation to focus our security policy on Australia's immediate region, or within West Asia only on Afghanistan where our combat forces will likely be operating for some time to come. To do so, however, flies in the face of our substantial, diverse and growing economic interests in the Gulf (including an upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) free trade agreement), our interests in counterterrorism and counter-proliferation, and our record of regularly deploying Australian Defence Force (ADF) elements into the region over the last 20 years. These factors, along with the government's recognition that '...the challenges (that) Australia faces will require us to be more internationally active, not less' 2 mean that, in an uncertain world where our strategic horizon extends beyond Southeast Asia, it is prudent to maintain and consider enhancing the diplomatic and security connections we have built up in the Gulf, albeit in a piecemeal fashion, over nearly two decades.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Arabia, Australia, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: David Schenker, Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, Jordan's minister of information publicly confirmed that senior Jordanian officials have been meeting with Hamas in an effort to "solve pending security issues." These talks represent a significant shift for Amman, since relations between Jordan and the Palestinian group had been frozen for two years, following the arrest of three Hamas members in the kingdom on terrorism and weapons charges. Although the decision to renew contacts with Hamas suggests that Amman remains concerned with Hamas-related activities in the kingdom, the timing also highlights domestic and regional pressures on King Abdullah and the Jordanian government.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Jordan
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last month, Tehran announced it was building maritime offices on the Persian Gulf island of Abu Musa, reigniting the long-standing territorial dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Since 1970, the disagreement over the island and the neighboring Greater and Lesser Tunbs has been mired in legal uncertainty and historical claims and counterclaims, hindering diplomatic relations between Iran and the Gulf Arab states. The recent diplomatic intensity surrounding the issue, however, including the UAE's August 21 formal protest to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, is a significant break from the past, and may be a forerunner to a future escalation. Considering the importance of the islands -- all three are strategically located near the Strait of Hormuz, where 20 percent of the world's oil passes daily -- the dispute's outcome is deeply tied to the interests of the United States and the international community.
  • Topic: Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia, Island, United Arab Emirates, Persia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today, oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meet in Vienna to discuss a possible production cut. Originally planned for November, the meeting was brought forward because of falling oil prices. With the perilous state of world financial markets, seldom has an OPEC meeting been so critical for both itself and the world. Although hard hit by falling revenues, oil market conditions give Saudi Arabia the opportunity to show strong leadership, most likely by limiting any production cut. But the oil-consuming nations would prefer no cut at all, so any reduction would discomfit relations between Washington and Riyadh. The kingdom was unhelpful as prices rose above $100 per barrel months ago, and both presidential candidates have called for independence from foreign -- implying Saudi -- oil.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The current reconciliation process between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) is a continuation of their struggle through other means. The goals pursued by the two movements are domestic and regional legitimacy, together with consolidation of territorial control – not national unity. This is understandable. At this stage, both parties see greater cost than reward in a compromise that would entail loss of Gaza for one and an uncomfortable partnership coupled with an Islamist foothold in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for the other. Regionally, Syria – still under pressure from Washington and others in the Arab world – has little incentive today to press Hamas to compromise, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia are tilting more pointedly toward Fatah. It will take significant shifts in domestic, regional and international attitudes for this to change. Palestine's political-territorial division, now over a year old, is set to endure.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The following U.S. interests underlie any U.S. consideration of policy toward Iraq and should guide the Obama administration: Restore U.S. credibility, prestige and capacity to act worldwide. Improve regional stability. Limit and redirect Iranian influence. Maintain an independent Iraq as a single state. Prevent Iraq from becoming a haven or platform for international terrorists. These interests cannot be fully achieved without continued U.S. engagement, even as the level of American forces needed to maintain security declines. Iraq is important to the U.S. Ignoring or hastily abandoning Iraq could risk a collapse with catastrophic humanitarian and political consequences that the new Administration would not be able to ignore.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After several political and military setbacks, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have waged an effective campaign against Hamas's political, economic, and military position in the West Bank. And as long as Israeli security forces remain in the West Bank, a Hamas seizure of power there is effectively impossible. Although this is an important positive development, Hamas is an adaptive opponent that should not be counted out in the long-term power struggle in the Palestinian territories.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Makovsky, Michael Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 17, a donor conference will convene in Paris with the goal of bolstering Palestinian governance in the West Bank -- the first such meeting since the 2006 Stockholm conference. Current Middle East envoy Tony Blair has expressed optimism that the international community will support President Mahmoud Abbas and technocratic prime minister Salam Fayad. A sum of $5.6 billion is needed for the 2008-2010 period, and with the price of oil close to $100 per barrel, that target could be reached easily with contributions from the Gulf. But how much are the Gulf Arab states actually prepared to contribute to an issue that would seem to rank as one of their great political priorities?
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 3-4, Arab leaders representing Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman met in the Qatari capital, Doha, for their annual Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) summit, which for the first time was attended by an Iranian president. In November, the UAE set a precedent by impounding an Iranian-bound shipment of undisclosed material banned by UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 because of its potential use for nuclear weapons or missile programs. All of this came against the background of the new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, which assessed that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter, Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow, around 400,000 Omani men and women are expected to vote in elections for eighty-five seats on the nation\'s Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Council. Among the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf region, Oman -- a key U.S. ally and exporter of oil and gas, strategically positioned opposite Iran -- is often considered to be the most politically progressive, perhaps even evolving slowly toward a constitutional monarchy. But the country remains dominated by its ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and for now, the council is limited to advice on public services and infrastructure.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Oman
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Bush's July 16 address on the Middle East peace process was a mix of the old and the new, offering neither an unequivocal reaffirmation of past approaches nor a thoroughly novel direction for Arab-Israeli diplomacy in the wake of Hamas's coup in Gaza.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Hamas's success caps a forty-year evolution of the Palestinian role in the larger Arab-Israeli conflict. In 1967, Israel's military victories rocked the armies and regimes of neighboring Arab states, energizing the previously marginal Palestinian nationalist movement and, especially, Fatah. That term, "Fatah," is a reverse Arabic acronym for "Harakat Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini," the Palestinian National Liberation Movement.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy, Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Even as the United States is preoccupied with how to stabilize and withdraw from Iraq, it risks missing another important opportunity to promote democracy in the Middle East. Among Arab countries Egypt is uniquely positioned to make a transition from authoritarian rule to a more liberal system and eventually to democracy. A looming presidential succession in Egypt makes such changes more feasible. But after several years of modest reforms, the Egyptian government is now backtracking and enshrining illiberal measures in its revised constitution. The United States faces a critical decision about whether to pursue reform seriously with Egypt or to abandon the project of promoting Arab democracy, at least for now.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 1-5, the seventeen Arab members of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) met in Jordan to discuss terrorism financing and money laundering in the region. Although the task force's record to date shows some promise, the organization can do far more to address these critical issues.
  • Topic: Economics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, the Arab League will convene the annual summit of its twenty-two member states in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Despite a record of disunity and inconclusiveness, this annual meeting of Arab leaders remains the subject of intense interest in the region. Rising Sunni-Shiite tensions, talk of a peace opening with Israel, and developments in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Lebanon have generated more attention for this year's summit than usual.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Riyadh
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a Hamas-Fatah national unity government by an 83–3 margin. This culminated a process that began in early February with the Mecca accord facilitated by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Many governments have withheld comment since that accord. One reason for their relative silence is reluctance to criticize a project associated with King Abdullah, who is emerging as a leading force in the Arab world and a linchpin of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran. Another is bated hope that the new government guidelines will be a marked improvement over those of the current Hamas government. Since Hamas's victory in January 2006 parliamentary elections, the focus has been on three principles proposed by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the UN): (1) recognition of Israel, (2) disavowal of violence, and (3) adherence to past written commitments.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Seth Wikas
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the coming weeks, Syria will participate in two important regional conferences. On March 10, it will join Iraq's other neighbors and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Baghdad. On March 28-29, it will participate in the Arab League summit in Riyadh. Syria's detractors continue to criticize Damascus for failing to seal the border with Iraq and for meddling in Lebanese internal affairs in violation of UN Security Resolution 1701. Of equal importance is the downturn in Syria's relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Last week's Saudi-Iranian summit has Damascus worried about its role in Lebanon and the possibility of an international tribunal on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, a crime for which Syria is widely believed to be responsible. Will the upcoming conferences give Syria a chance to improve its regional standing, or will its isolation continue?
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 20, the Lebanese cabinet—with a Hizballah-led opposition boycott—extended the term of the UN commission investigating the February 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. While the commission's work can now continue for as long as one more year, any future decision about organizing an international tribunal to try those indicted for the murder remains hostage to a vote—requiring the opposition's assent—in the paralyzed Lebanese parliament. Meanwhile, Hizballah continues to press its demand for increased political power within a “national unity” government, threatening civil disobedience should its demands not be met.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • 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: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 25, 2006, Jeffrey White, David Makovsky, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White is the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute and the coauthor, with Michael Eisenstadt, of the Institute Policy Focus Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. He, like Jeffrey White, recently returned from a trip to Israel. Dennis Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Seth Wikas
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 15, Syrian president Bashar al-Asad gave a significant policy speech to the Syrian Journalists Union in which he expressed his support for Hizballah. More importantly, the address sought to redefine Syria's position in the Arab world. Building on Washington's talk of the birth of a new Middle East, Asad described his own vision for a new Middle East, one with an empowered Arab resistance, a weakened Israel, and a renewed regional unity against Western interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Robert O. Collins
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 20, 2006, the Arab League committee on Sudan backed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir's refusal of a UN peacekeeping force in the war-wracked Darfur region. At the UN Security Council, the only open critic of the proposal to send such a force is Qatar, the only Arab member of the Council. Within the week, President Bush responded by sending Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Fraser to Khartoum as his special envoy carrying a personal letter to al-Bashir urging him to permit the presence of a robust UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. This decision by the Arab League has been a discouraging development, given that in June, Arab League secretary-general Amr Musa had urged Sudan to accept UN peacekeepers to replace the fragile 7,000-person African Union (AU) African Mission in the Sudan (AMIS). The Arab League's position represents a stark about-face. In the past, the Arab League had supported Sudan's refusal to agree to a UN peacekeeping force. The change of heart exposed the ambiguities that have long characterized relations between Sudan and the Arab League—particularly Sudan's neighbors Libya, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Libya, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 25, 2006, Robert Satloff and David Pollock addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Satloff is the executive director of The Washington Institute and the author most recently of the Institute monograph Assessing What Arabs Do, Not What They Say: A New Approach to Understanding Arab Anti-Americanism. Dr. David Pollock, formerly head of Near East research in the U.S. Information Agency, currently works in the Office of the Undersecretary of Global Affairs at the Department of State. His remarks were off the record. The following is a rapporteur's summary of Dr. Satloff's remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker, Dennis Ross, Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 19, 2006, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, David Schenker, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Institute, is the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff. Mr. Schenker, a senior fellow in Arab politics at the Institute, served until 2005 as Levant country director of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier today, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashal held a press conference in Damascus broadcast live on al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and Syrian state television. During the broadcast, Mashal described kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit as a “prisoner of war,” said that prisoner exchange was the only solution to the crisis, and appeared to recommend direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The press conference was significant, not only for its content, but because it was held in a Damascus hotel: typically in the past, when Syria-based terrorist organizations took responsibility for operations, they did so from Beirut. The high profile Mashal statement from Damascus suggests that the Asad regime has changed its rules of engagement from tacit to explicit support for Hamas. The shift highlights Syria's emboldened foreign policy a year and a half after the assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The ongoing debate over whether or not Iraq is on the verge or in the midst of a civil war is a distraction from the main challenge the United States now faces in Iraq: how to reduce or contain sectarian (and ethnic) violence that could derail the political process and drag Iraq's neighbors into the conflict. That said, the recent increase in sectarian violence following the attack on Samarra's Askariyya Shrine does not necessarily alter the fundamental character of the conflict: attacks on Shiites have long been an important element of Sunni Arab insurgent operations, although Shiites have only recently begun striking back in a sustained way. The violence does, however, have the potential to spiral out of control should another insurgent attack damage an important Shiite shrine or result in very large loss of life.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Patrick Clawson, Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 3, 2006, Marc Otte, Patrick Clawson, and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Otte is the European Union's special representative for the Middle East peace process. Dr. Clawson, The Washington Institute's deputy director for research, is author with Zoe Danon Gedal of the Institute monograph Dollars and Diplomacy: The Impact of U.S. Economic Initiatives on Arab-Israeli Negotiations. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 24 attack by al-Qaeda on Saudi Arabia's giant oil processing facility at Abqaiq failed. At least two of the attackers were killed, along with two security guards. On February 27, Saudi authorities said they had killed another five terrorists linked to the Abqaiq attack in a clash in Riyadh, and they were interrogating a further suspect. The failure of the attack and the reported success of the subsequent counterterrorist operation give the impression of Saudi efficiency, but it should at least as much serve as a warning. The planned attack, targeting the world's largest oil exporter, should give impetus to President Bush's determination, declared in his January State of the Union address, to wean the United States off foreign oil.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Stephen Zunes
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The election of a Democratic majority in the House and Senate is unlikely to result in any serious challenge to the Bush administration's support for Israeli attacks against the civilian populations of its Arab neighbors and the Israeli government's ongoing violations of international humanitarian law.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Humanitarian Aid, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Asher Kaufman
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
  • Abstract: The recent war between Israel and Hezbollah brought to the forefront of regional and international attention the volatile boundaries between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Indeed, the UN Security Council's August 11th Resolution, which facilitated the end of hostilities, dedicated much of its text to issues related to Lebanese sovereignty and its shared boundaries with Syria and Israel. In particular, the resolution stipulated the need to address the border dispute over the Shebaa farms.
  • Topic: Armed Struggle, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Mary Ellen O'Connell
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
  • Abstract: When Israel reacted with military force to the Hamas and Hezbollah raids of June and July, world leaders recognized Israel's right to respond, but some charged it was using disproportionate force. International law supports both points. States may take defensive measures, but every use of force must be proportionate to the harm inflicted. These rules are found in the law regulating resort to force (jus ad bellum) and the law regulating the conduct of force (jus in bello). The most important rule in either category may w ell be the principle of proportionality. Respect for proportionality in the use of force can help foster stable, long-term peace.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The approval of the Iraqi constitution in the October 15 referendum does not put Iraq on the path to stability and democracy but pushes it toward division into largely autonomous regions. And this new momentum is probably irreversible. Whether it will lead to a catastrophic descent into greater violence or even ethnic cleansing, or to a managed transformation into a loose federation of regions enjoying extreme autonomy, depends on whether it becomes possible for Sunni Arabs to form their own region, as Kurds already have and Shias are bound to do once the constitution is in effect. The central thrust of U.S. policy in Iraq must now be to help Sunnis organize an autonomous region and to convince Shias and Kurds that it is in their interest to make this possible. Paradoxically, announcing now a timetable for the inevitable withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq could give Washington additional leverage in influencing all sides to accept the necessary compromises.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • 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: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: IN PALESTINE, CITIZENS HAVE RIGHTS OF FREE SPEECH and free assembly. The most independent judiciary in the Arab world adjudicates their disputes. Palestinians select their leaders freely in competitive elections overseen by an independent electoral commission. A representative assembly monitors the executive, granting and withholding confidence from ministers and reviewing the state budget in detailed public discussions. Elected councils manage local governments that are fiscally autonomous of the center.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This short paper launches the second set of studies in the Carnegie Papers Middle East Series. The first set, now also published as a book under the title Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, examined the most important issues concerning democracy promotion and democratic change in the Middle East. One of the conclusions that emerged from those studies is that the Middle East still offers a rather discouraging political picture. There are some liberalized autocracies but no democratic countries in the region. The link between economic and political reform remains weak. Democratic reformers have failed to build strong constituencies, and the organizations with strong constituencies are Islamist rather than democratic. The integration of Islamists in the reform process remains poor. And the United States, now championing democracy in the region, has little credibility in Arab eyes, and still has not consistently integrated democracy promotion in its policy toward the area. Yet, despite all these problems, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a ferment of reform in the Middle East. But how significant is it?
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Iraqi election demonstrated for the first time in Arab history that national sovereignty can be achieved without tyranny. The pictures of courageous Iraqi voters and of the images to follow of the incipient democratic government of Iraq can inspire popular desire to open up regimes throughout the Arab world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Kurt Shillinger
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Whether our current war is “on terrorism” or “against violent extremism,” it is unquestionably global. While centered in the greater Middle East, the fighting occurs from North America to Southeast Asia. One of the key theaters in this struggle is Africa—not just the Arab lands of North Africa, but much of the rest of the continent. No U.S. strategy for this war that fails to reckon with Africa's role can be truly successful. The Bush administration and its allies are coming to realize this but have yet to address the full implications of the problem.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, North America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the last several months, the question of whether women in Saudi Arabia should be allowed to drive has become a lively topic of debate within the kingdom. Support for the issue has come from the newly enthroned King Abdullah; the most prominent opponent is the long-serving interior minister, Prince Nayef. The men are viewed as political rivals frequently at odds over a range of policies. Increasingly, women driving seems a metaphor for the series of security, economic, and educational challenges facing the kingdom—and therefore a tempting policy opportunity for the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, Government, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 20, 2005, Kuwait's first female cabinet minister, Massouma al-Mubarak, was sworn in, taking responsibility for the planning portfolio. Six months earlier, a woman was appointed minister of economy and planning in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Women have assumed ministerial posts in Bahrain and Oman as well. And in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, women now have the right to vote. Indeed, women's political rights, previously nonexistent in the conservative Arab Gulf states, have undergone extraordinary growth in recent years. Yet, how much progress has there really been, given that women's representation in this region is still poor even compared with the rest of the Arab world? In particular, can the United States, which actively encourages enhanced rights for women, do anything about Saudi Arabia's anomalous lack of such progress?
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire announced on February 8 in Sharm al-Sheikh created a window of opportunity that will slam shut quickly if terrorists resume attacks against Israel. After four-and-half years of incessant terrorist activity, Israeli tolerance for negotiating peace in the face of ongoing attacks is nil. The entire project, therefore, is premised on the assumption that the ceasefire will hold. But will it? Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have so far dismissed it, and previously negotiated ceasefires have all failed. Moreover, Iran and Hizballah are more proactively involved in recruiting, training, and financing Palestinian suicide bombers than ever before.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: If new Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is to succeed, he must deal with the issue of violence. Over the past year, positive changes have emerged in all areas of Palestinian public opinion except one: the role of violence. In the eyes of the public, violence pays. Three-fourths of Palestinians perceive the disengagement as a victory for violence. To be sure, more than two-thirds of Palestinians believe that Abbas should negotiate with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Yet, the public views Israel's unilateral moves as a threat, not an asset. They see only settlements, closures, checkpoints, and humiliation. These perceptions are responsible for their anger. Abbas must help remove dynamics that encourage the public to believe in the utility of violence; otherwise, the issue will continue to impede his ability to govern effectively.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The newly announced ceasefire provides an opportunity for progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations, especially with the newly elected Palestinian leadership and the new Israeli coalition government. The time has come for both Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) to roll up their sleeves and, with international support, get down to the formidable tasks facing them in the coming months: stabilization of the security situation, Palestinian institution-building, Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank, and Israeli-Palestinian reengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky, Kenneth Stein
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is widely expected to win the presidential elections scheduled for January 9. The media has focused on statements he has made on the campaign trail; below is a survey of his statements on a variety of policy issues over the past several years.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Daniel Ellsberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: I'm often asked whether there aren't big differences between the Iraq War and Vietnam. And I'm always quick to say, of course, there are differences. In Iraq, it's a dry heat. And the language that none of our troops or diplomats speak is Arabic rather than Vietnamese.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Vietnam, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: THE CENTRAL DILEMMA OF DEMOCRATIC reform in Arab countries can be summed up fairly simply. Presidents and kings remain too powerful, untrammeled by the limits imposed by effective parliaments and independent judiciaries. Countervailing institutions remain weak, if they exist at all, not only because constitutions and laws deliberately keep them that way, but also because they are not backed by organized citizens demanding political rights, participation, and government accountability. This does not mean that there is no desire for democracy on the part of Arab publics. Recent opinion surveys suggest that in the abstract there is strong support for more open political systems, increased protection of human rights, and broader personal liberties. However, the existence of a general, diffuse sense that democracy is a good thing is quite different from the existence of organized constituencies that provide a counterweight to the authoritarianism of incumbent governments. The demand, or better the desire, for democracy is present in the Arab world today; what is lacking is a supply of broad-based political organizations pushing for democracy—political parties, social movements, labor unions, large civic organizations. Unless such constituencies develop, the future of democracy remains extremely uncertain. In many countries, governments anxious to burnish their modern image will continue to introduce modest reforms. Until the governments face stronger pressure from organized citizens, however, they will not take steps to truly curb the power of the executive by strengthening checks and balances and allowing unfettered political participation.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bush administration is preparing to launch a “Greater Middle East Initiative” at the G-8 summit meeting in June. The plan is to bring the United States, Europe, and the Middle East together around a set of commitments to help transform the region politically and economically. The time is indeed opportune for engagement on regional reform, but as planned, the initiative fails to establish a basis for genuine partnership and does little to address the real challenges of Arab democratization. The administration should rethink its approach and start a new process of genuine consultations to come to an agreement on how all three sides can work cooperatively to address the regional problems that threaten the security of Arab societies and the West.
  • Topic: Democratization, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq is obviously the overwhelming focus of the Bush administration's policy of attempting to transform the Middle East into a zone of liberal democracies. The United States is also trying to formulate a second, more gradual track of democracy promotion for the authoritarian and semiauthoritarian Arab states that make up the rest of the region. Strengthening civil society is often proposed as a key element of a U.S. strategy for this second track of Middle Eastern democracy promotion.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS MADE THE PROMOTION OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS and the empowerment of women a central element of its new campaign to modernize and democratize the Arab world. The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the major program through which the United States seeks to facilitate the transformation of the Arab world, makes women's rights one of its priorities. No official U.S. speech about reform in the Middle East fails to mention the cause of women's rights. And the issue of women is sure to be raised at meetings where Middle East affairs are discussed, regardless of the main purpose of the gathering.
  • Topic: Democratization, Gender Issues, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marcus Noland, Howard Pack
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Middle East is a demographic time bomb. According to the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) Arab Human Development Report 2002, the population of the Arab region is expected to increase by around 25 percent between 2000 and 2010 and by 50 to 60 percent by 2020—or by perhaps 150 million people, a figure equivalent to more than two Egypts. Even under the UNDP's more conservative scenario, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates will be the only Arab countries in 2020 with median ages above 30.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Loretta Bondi
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: We discuss initiatives that the League of Arab States and US allies and partners have put on the table to foster reform, change, and security in the Middle East. These initiatives have met both support and skepticism before and after they were formally launched at the summit of the League (Tunis, May 2004), and during the summits of the G8, US/EU, and NATO taking place the following month. We assess these developments with the League of Arab States Secretary General Amre Moussa, and Marina Ottaway, Senior Associate and Co-Director of the Rule of Law and Democracy Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The CTR conducted these two interviews separately by telephone from The Hague, and in Washington, DC, in July 2004.
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Irshad Manji
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 7, 2004, Irshad Manji addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ms. Manji is host of the Canadian public television program Big Ideas and author of the bestselling book The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in her Faith (2004). She is currently launching "Operation Ijtihad," an initiative to revive Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. The following is a rapporteur's summary of her remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent years, especially since September 11, 2001, several Middle Eastern terrorist groups have shown growing interest in waging mega-terror -- attacks that would kill hundreds, even thousands, of innocent victims, cause mass disruption, and profoundly affect the psychology of the targeted society. While not the first incidents of mega-terror, the September 11 attacks were the most successful. As such, they have been a source of inspiration for these groups, showing that it is possible to inflict mass casualties through the imaginative employment of means available to most terrorist organizations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • 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: Eyal Zisser
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the face of international criticism, Syria strong-armed Lebanon into accepting a constitutional amendment last week that would extend the term of the sitting Lebanese president, Emile Lahoud. Yet, far from being a sign of Damascus's strength against foreign intrusion, this episode should be viewed as further confirmation of the immature leadership of Syrian president Bashar al-Asad.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 2004 Republican Party platform, "A Safer World and a More Hopeful America," devotes a third of its ninety pages to foreign policy under the heading "Winning the War on Terror." The platform represents a comprehensive summary of the Bush administration's accomplishments and details the philosophy and principles behind the party's foreign policy. Explaining why "the American people are safer" now than they were three years ago, the platform points to gains in combating terrorists and tyrants, curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), promoting democracy, improving homeland security, and strengthening relationships with key allies via counterterrorism efforts. According to the platform, the administration's approach is "marked by a determination to challenge new threats, not ignore them, or simply wait for future tragedy -- and by a renewed commitment to building a hopeful future in hopeless places, instead of allowing troubled regions to remain in despair and explode in violence."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Anna Solomon-Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Muqtada al-Sadr has placed the Interim Iraqi Government in a difficult position, forcing it to demonstrate both strength and skill. His challenge exploits the political and military seams between the interim government and the coalition, and within the Iraqi political system. He has also exploited popular hostility toward the coalition and, in some quarters, the suspect legitimacy of the interim government.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Anna Solomon-Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The fractious and dangerous Iraqi Shi'i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is once again attempting to foment a rebellion. In scenes virtually identical to those of his April-May 2004 uprising, his militia is in the streets, Shi'is are demonstrating en masse, and he is alternately talking peace and vowing to fight to the death. Iraq has changed since the April rebellion, however, with al-Sadr now pitted against the coalition as well as the new Interim Iraqi Government and its expanding security forces.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Yonatan Levy
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 9-11 Commission has received much media attention for its findings on the al-Qaeda threat. The commission's documents detail information on Middle Eastern states and terrorist groups. Below is a summary of some of the report's findings on the roles key regional actors played in the growth, setbacks, and evolution of al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Morocco is a nation of nearly 30 million people, part Arab, part Berber, and overwhelmingly Muslim, yet distant enough from Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian arena so that those issues, while relevant, are not all-consuming. Hence, it provides an excellent vantage point from which to assess the ideological battle between radical Islamists, on the one hand, and non- and anti-Islamists on the other.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Jonathan Schanzer, Thomas Lippman
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 21, 2004, Jonathan Schanzer, Thomas Lippman, and Simon Henderson addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Schanzer is a Soref fellow at the Institute and author of the monograph Al-Qaeda's Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups and the Next Generation of Terror. Mr. Lippman is an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, specializing in U.S. foreign policy and Middle Eastern affairs. Simon Henderson, a London-based associate of The Washington Institute, currently heads Saudi Strategies, a group that advises governments and corporations on regional developments. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • 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: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 22, 2004, Philip Gordon, Simon Serfaty, and Soner Cagaptay addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Gordon is a senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He has also served as director for European affairs on the National Security Council. Dr. Serfaty is the director of the Europe Program and the Zbigniew Brzezinski chair in global security and geostrategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is also a senior professor of U.S. foreign policy at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Cagaptay is coordinator of The Washington Institute's Turkish Research Program. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, 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: During late May and early June 2004, Muqtada al-Sadr's revolt was challenged by continuing coalition military action and mounting Shi'i political and religious pressure. His militia was increasingly on the defensive, clinging tightly to defensive positions near key holy sites and disappearing from the streets whenever coalition military operations became too overwhelming. In response, Sadr initiated a combination of political and militant actions designed to deflect political pressure, expand his influence, and impede coalition military progress against his forces.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: 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: Dennis Lormel
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While individual terrorist attacks can be carried out at a relatively low cost, the need to recruit operatives and provide them with safe houses, training, and support requires significant funding. The United States has proven to be a good venue for fundraising by terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Hizballah. Although such activities could indicate the presence of operational sleeper cells, these organizations are unlikely to risk losing their funding sources by carrying out an attack on U.S. soil, at least under the current circumstances. After all, the revenue sources of certain terrorist organizations have become increasingly restricted following attacks in other parts of the world (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia), largely due to policy changes, more proactive law enforcement, and fear of prosecution on the part of front organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, 2004, Jeffrey White, Michael Knights, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. A rapporteur's summary of the remarks made by Jeffrey White and Michael Knights was presented in PolicyWatch No. 861. The following is a summary of Michael Eisenstadt's remarks. Mr. Eisenstadt is a senior fellow at the Institute.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Michael Kights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, 2004, Jeffrey White, Michael Knights, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White, an associate of the Institute, previously headed the Defense Intelligence Agency's Regional Military Assessments Group and that agency's Office for Middle East-Africa Regional Military Assessments. Michael Knights, the Institute's Mendelow defense fellow, wrote his doctoral dissertation at King's College, London, on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq during and since the 1991 Gulf War. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks. A summary of Michael Eisenstadt's remarks is presented in PolicyWatch No. 862.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 5, Iraqi gunmen attacking U.S. forces in Baghdad's predominantly Sunni al-Azamiya neighborhood were joined by members of radical Shi'i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, Jaysh al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army). Soon thereafter, posters of al-Sadr, along with graffiti praising the cleric's "valiant uprising" appeared in the Sunni-dominated city of Ramadi. On April 8, as violence raged in Fallujah, another Sunni city, announcements erupted from both Shi'i and Sunni mosques in the Baghdad area, calling on all Iraqis to donate blood, money, and medical supplies for "your brothers and sons in Fallujah." A donation tent in the Shi'i-dominated Kadhimiya neighborhood urged individuals to "prevent the killing of innocents in Fallujah by all means available." That night, thousands of Shi'i and Sunni demonstrators marched to Fallujah from Baghdad in a display of solidarity. On April 9, in the mixed town of Baquba, Shi'is and Sunnis joined forces to attack a U.S. military base, damaging both government and police buildings.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Faced with both the Muqtada al-Sadr uprising and intense fighting in Ramadi and Fallujah, Washington announced that it will hold the number of U.S. forces in Iraq at the current level of 134,000 by delaying plans to withdraw some troops during the current rotation. The announcement is a recognition that Iraqi security forces are not yet able to handle civil emergencies and armed resistance on the scale being seen in central and southern Iraq. These forces have been sorely tested in recent incidents; the Iraqi Police Service (IPS) failed to warn about the attack on U.S. contractors in Fallujah, and it surrendered control of its police stations and vehicles to Sadr's Mahdi Army in cities from Baghdad to Basra. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), designed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to provide paramilitary support to IPS and coalition forces, underperformed in its first major deployment in the Fallujah fighting and failed to prevent the collapse of IPS forces in the face of Mahdi Army pressure in the south. These incidents should prompt new analysis of what can be done to support the continued development of Iraqi security forces, and a realistic reevaluation of expectations regarding the role of these forces before, during, and after the upcoming transition period. Most important, these fragile forces should not be prematurely exposed to serious fighting or other situations that are likely to strain their loyalties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Thirty months after the massive World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, al-Qaeda is a significantly different organization, thanks to the successful efforts of the U.S.-led war on terror. It would be wrong, however, to assume that the threat of "global jihad" posed by al-Qaeda has diminished just because the organization itself is weakened. More accurately, al-Qaeda has adjusted to the relentless assault on its leadership structure by devolving into a set of regional networks -- each with its own political agenda and operational schedule, as a whole lacking a distinct command center.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Yemeni media recently reported that thousands of Iraqis who fled Saddam Husayn's brutal regime and have lived in Yemen for more than a decade are now thinking about returning home. Many of these individuals are encouraged by signs of new infrastructure and a recovering economy in Iraq. If and when they return, they will see a number of stark similarities between their old homeland and Yemen, including primordial federalism, a "triangle" of terrorism, and questions of Sunni-Shi'i relations. Although Yemen is certainly not a model to which Iraq should aspire, San'a does have experience in dealing with challenges similar to those currently facing Iraq. Yemen's handling of these challenges provides reasons for cautious optimism about Iraq's future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 29, Arab heads of state will convene in Tunis for the sixteenth summit of the twenty-two-member Arab League. The two days of discussion and the summit's final communique will provide some indication of the seriousness with which Arab leaders intend to tackle the issue of internal reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, Turks will go to the polls in nationwide local elections to vote for mayors and more than 90,000 council seats in 3,184 towns and cities. The outcome of these elections will not change the composition of Turkey's current Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which came to power in a political landslide in November 2002, receiving 34 percent of the popular vote and two-thirds of the seats in the legislature. Nevertheless, according to surveys, AKP may win as much as 50 percent of the votes on March 28, securing the mayorships of most Turkish cities, including Istanbul and Ankara. Such a sweeping victory would be unusual in Turkey, where more than a dozen parties usually run in local elections and where a given party is deemed successful if it receives more than 20 percent of the vote. These developments raise two crucial questions: Why is AKP receiving such immense electoral support? And would an overwhelming victory in the upcoming elections politically embolden the party to revive its seemingly dormant Islamist roots?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 25, British prime minister Tony Blair will meet with Col. Muammar Qadhafi in Libya, marking an important moment in the process of bringing Libya back into the international community. The March 23 meeting between Qadhafi and U.S. assistant secretary of state William Burns suggests that the United States and Britain are moving in parallel. Although Burns reportedly handed Qadhafi a letter from President George W. Bush, so far there is no sign that the two leaders will meet anytime soon. Indeed, it also remains unclear what role Qadhafi will play in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A gathering of Arab civil society activists convened by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, last weekend provided a revealing glimpse into the two faces of reform in the Middle East today. In an opening address, Egypt's president for the past twenty-three years, Hosni Mubarak, presented the traditional case for stability as the touchstone of any reform, the argument dismissed by President George W. Bush as one of the great failed policies of the last six decades. Offering an alternative model of reform in the name of "democratic transformation" were the Alexandria conferees themselves, who issued a closing "declaration" that deserves careful scrutiny with regard to its articulation of operational objectives for reform -- for Arabs and by Arabs. That details of both models were disseminated in a special newsletter by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington this week suggests, at the very least, that the reform impulse has gained enough strength for the Egyptian government to give the conferees a respectful hearing, even if this vision -- radical in implications, moderate in ambitions -- collides head-on with the case that Egypt's veteran president presented to the delegates.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In late October 2004, the Israeli parliament will debate Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for "disengagement" from Gaza and the northern West Bank. This plan was born of Israel's experience over the course of the four-year-old Palestinian intifada. Understanding the rationale for disengagement requires a review of the lessons that Israel has learned from this conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • 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: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Palestinian intifada against Israel, this week entering its fifth year, has wreaked havoc on both Israelis and Palestinians. In Palestinian quarters, it has provoked considerable soul-searching about the wisdom of resorting to terrorism as a tool in the confrontation with Israel. Yasser Arafat remains the Palestinians' paramount political leader, though his standing is diminished at home and abroad. Israel managed to considerably reduce the level and volume of terror against it, but also decided to disengage from Gaza.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • 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: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Despite being rebuffed again by the Likud Party two weeks ago, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has been undeterred in pursuing disengagement. In publicly broadcast remarks, he informed his fractious parliamentary faction that he was planning to accelerate the timing of his plan for withdrawal from Gaza and four West Bank settlements by holding a cabinet vote not in March 2005, as had been expected, but on October 24 of this year. The actual removal of settlements would follow once the measure passed the Knesset. Having just returned from Israel and the West Bank, I came away with a distinct set of impressions regarding Sharon's motivations, the political levers he believes he has at his disposal in dealing with opponents inside and outside Likud, and the coalition configurations that he is weighing as he pursues his strategy to make disengagement a reality.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • 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: Matthew Levitt, Julie Sawyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1995, Jewish extremist Yigal Amir caught Israeli society off guard when he assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an effort to derail the Labor government's pursuit of a peace accord with the Palestinian Authority (PA). Today, Israeli society is coming to terms with a similarly acute Jewish extremist threat to the life of a prime minister; this time, however, the target is the Likud Party's hawkish Ariel Sharon. Although the prospect of right-wing Jewish elements targeting a right-wing politician may surprise some, Jewish extremist violence has actually been on the rise over the past several years.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (a.k.a. Abu Ala) rescinding his recent resignation without gaining any meaningful control over disparate security forces, PA Chairman Yasir Arafat can claim to have won the latest round in the power struggle taking place inside the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat's success is partly attributable to his ability to use a variety of methods to outmaneuver his opponents, as he has done in the past. In addition to intimidating foes and mollifying allies, Arafat has skillfully used his iconic status as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism to retain unquestioned political preeminence. Yet, the more Palestinians are able to distinguish between Arafat the symbol and Arafat the leader, the harder it will be for him to divert criticism.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: One of the most serious implications of four years of incessant violence and terrorism is the fragmentation of Palestinian society. Notwithstanding the debate over the impact of the Israeli presence in the territories, Palestinian quality of life cannot improve without radical reform in the structure of the Palestinian Authority (PA), its leadership, and its methods of governance. Indeed, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei cited chaos as the reason for his recent resignation (which he subsequently rescinded). Similarly, on July 21, PA minister in charge of municipal governance Saeb Erekat, stated, "If we can't restore public order and law . . . this will bring the greatest damage to the Palestinian people and their cause. . . . It's the whole social fabric that is collapsing now." According to a June 2004 poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre, 88.6 percent of Palestinians believe that their government is corrupt, with most respondents stating that this corruption is widespread.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat is facing a serious challenge to his authority, perhaps the most serious since he arrived in the territories from Tunis a decade ago this month. Yesterday, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) voted by a 43-4 margin to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (a.k.a. Abu Ala), who earlier this week warned he would quit due to the lack of reform in the PA and the lack of authority granted him to halt chaos in the West Bank and Gaza. In doing so, the PLC called for the formation of a new reform-oriented government, a move that could actually serve to strengthen Qurei's position in a power struggle with Arafat. The resignation marks the second time in ten months that a Palestinian prime minister has resigned due to complaints about lack of authority.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • 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: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The International Court of Justice is expected to rule this Friday, July 9, on the legality of Israel's security fence. The Palestinians strongly oppose the security fence, claiming that the fence negatively affects them. Israel is now seeking to address their concerns through a variety of means relating to the route of the fence and to the creation of a humanitarian office to minimize the impact of the fence on the Palestinians. At the same time, it is indisputable that the fence is succeeding in its main objective of minimizing the risk of infiltration to Israel by suicide bombers in the northern West Bank. The entire fence is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Hizballah realized that it had to change direction somewhat, primarily because it had lost its avowed justification (and any hint of international legitimacy) for carrying out attacks from Lebanon. Accordingly, Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, the group's secretary-general, instantly changed his rhetoric, focusing less on Lebanon and more on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. In one speech, for example, he told Palestinians that it took Hizballah eighteen years to force Israel out of Lebanon, and that they could accomplish the same feat in even less time through armed struggle and suicide bombings.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • 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: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 6, 2004, the Israeli cabinet authorized (by a 14-7 margin) preparations for a possible Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The authorization called for a final decision to be made about the Gaza settlements by March 2005. In the meantime, Israeli national security advisor Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland is heading a ministerial panel to discuss different aspects of withdrawal. The cabinet vote has triggered changes in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government. On the eve of the vote, Sharon fired two ministers from the National Union Party (NU) for opposing the plan. That move led the staunchly pro-settler NU to withdraw entirely from Sharon's government, decreasing his coalition's 68-seat Knesset majority by 7 seats. Following the cabinet vote, a minister and a deputy minister from the pro-settler National Religious Party (NRP) resigned, and both have stated that they would individually leave Sharon's coalition as well. If they do so, Sharon would for the first time preside over a minority coalition of 59 in the 120-member Knesset.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Gaza