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  • 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: 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: 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: 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