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  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's March 2010 elections delivered a surprising virtual tie in the ethnically mixed and strategically important province of Kirkuk, making it an opportune time for fresh thinking on how to address persistent disputes over its status.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Palestinian question is a central issue at the both state and society level in Turkey. Thousands of Turkish people protested the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza this month in different parts of Turkey. Turkish PM Erdogan responded to the Israeli action by labeling it an act of disrespect to Turkey and suspended Turkey's facilitating role for indirect talks between Israel and Syria. Erdogan also initiated an intensive diplomatic campaign at the regional and international levels, utilizing Turkey's seat in the United Nations Security Council. Turkey calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and urges a compromise between rival Palestinian groups. Finally, the war on Gaza will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the region as well as for Turkish-Israeli relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: J. Scott Carpenter, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 25, Iraqi Kurds go to the polls to vote in a joint parliamentary and presidential election. Although a heated competition in January produced massive change at the provincial level throughout the rest of Iraq, the electoral system produced by the incumbent Iraqi Kurdistan parliament prevents such sweeping changes in the north. Both the current coalition governing the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and the current KRG president, Masoud Barzani, will most likely be reelected. Despite the lack of change, the postelection period will create an opportunity for Baghdad, Washington, and the KRG to resolve outstanding issues that cause increased tension between Arabs and Kurds. Resolution can occur only if all parties take advantage of new political openings, however narrow.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Washington next week, the Obama administration will likely seek to reinvigorate that country's flagging reconciliation process as part of ongoing efforts to establish a stable political order in Iraq. Progress, however, continues to be hindered by ongoing violence, deep-seated suspicions, and partisan politics, raising questions about the ultimate prospects for national reconciliation.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Benjamin Freedman
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 8, the United Nations Security Council will host its first-ever thematic debate on drug trafficking as a threat to international security. This focus is notable. U.S. officials are increasingly concerned with the evolving threat of drug trafficking, especially as terrorist organizations stake a bigger claim in this illegal arena. In fact, on November 18, FBI director Robert Mueller met with senior Turkish officials to address U.S.-Turkish efforts targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel. A press release from the U.S. embassy in Ankara following the meeting stressed that U.S. officials "strongly support Turkey's efforts against the PKK terrorist organization" and highlighted the two countries' long history of working together in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Lebanon has badly lost its balance and is at risk of new collapse, moving ever closer to explosive Sunni-Shiite polarisation with a divided, debilitated Christian community in between. The fragile political and sectarian equilibrium established since the end of its bloody civil war in 1990 was never a panacea and came at heavy cost. It depended on Western and Israeli acquiescence in Syria's tutelage and a domestic system that hindered urgently needed internal reforms, and change was long overdue. But the upsetting of the old equilibrium, due in no small part to a tug-of-war by outsiders over its future, has been chaotic and deeply divisive, pitting one half of the country against the other. Both Lebanon's own politicians and outside players need to recognise the enormous risks of a zero-sum struggle and seek compromises before it is too late.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 17, a gunman chanting Islamist slogans attacked the Turkish Council of State (the Danistay, or high court for administrative affairs) in Ankara. The gunman killed one judge and wounded four others who were sitting in the Council's second chamber, which has recently upheld Turkey's ban on “turbans” in schools. In accordance with the European and Turkish notion of secularism (laïcité in French) as freedom from religious symbols in the public sphere, Turkey bans public officials and school students wearing turbans—a specific style of women's headcover that emerged in the mid 1980s and that the courts consider an Islamist political symbol. (Turbans are distinct from traditional headscarves, which are not banned.) Photographs of the judges had earlier been published in Islamist newspapers with headlines targeting them.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony Newkirk
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: This month, the Shurat HaDin Law Center is taking foreign tourists on an eight-day "exploration of Israel's struggle for survival and security" that includes briefings by intelligence officers and demonstrations by masked commandoes, as well as visits to military trials of Hamas members. Make no mistake, the region certainly is witnessing a struggle for survival and security that involves tremendous human suffering. However, this struggle is not exactly as the Shurat HaDin Law Center would like to imagine it because the primary victims are the inhabitants of the Occupied Territories, people for whom bare survival is now more important than security--to say nothing of statehood. The long ordeal of Gaza under Israeli occupation--which is still continuing, even though Israeli troops and settlers officially "withdrew" a year ago--exemplifies the Palestinian struggle for survival and security. Ever since the establishment of a Hamas-led government last spring, the United States and the European Union have been waging economic warfare against the Palestinian Authority. As Israel's summer "incursion" in the Palestinian Authority has plunged Gaza's population deeper into misery, the European Union now states that it will not restore aid until the Palestinian Authority "commits" to peaceful relations with Israel, renounces violence, and respects all agreements made between the PLO and Israel. On September 20, Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy Elliott Abrams said that U.S. direct aid will not resume until Hamas fulfills similar conditions as specified in the Palestinian anti-terrorism Act of 2006, the legal mainstay of the U.S. blockade. However, the record shows that Western powers are notorious for changing their definitions of specific peace terms, which always makes weak adversaries like the Palestinians appear to be intractable. A week before the beginning of Operation Summer Rains on June 28, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that from January to mid-June Israeli forces fired 8,380 artillery shells into the tiny Gaza Strip and armed Palestinian factions fired 896 home-made Qassam rockets into Israel.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 12, the last departing Israeli forces closed the gates of Gaza behind them, followed by a salvo of Palestinian rockets aimed at southern Israel. In the unsettled aftermath of the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, only one camp seems clearly to know where it is heading -- the militant Palestinian Islamist groups, led by Hamas. These groups now profess their intention to continue their violent campaign in and from the West Bank. Their strategy, using armed and political capabilities, poses a serious challenge to both Palestinian and Israeli leaderships and may undermine prospects of improved Israeli-Palestinian relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian officials have threatened an intensification of violence, should — as is expected — Ariel Sharon be elected prime minister of Israel tomorrow. The Palestinian leadership that "rewarded" Prime Minister Ehud Barak's diplomatic flexibility with the "al-Aqsa Intifada" thus seems poised to "punish" the Israeli public for electing Sharon with an escalation of the bloodletting. Its goal would be to force Israel to soften its negotiating position, and perhaps provoke a harsh response that would place world opinion — largely unsympathetic to Sharon to begin with — squarely on the Palestinian side.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Liat Radcliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following report analyzes political fatalities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that occurred during the government of Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak (July 7, 1999-March 7, 2001). This report is an update to The Washington Institute's Research Note #8: Trends in Israeli-Palestinian Political Fatalities, 1987-1999. Like the research note, its primary source for data is the Israeli human rights group Btselem, although other sources (including various media sources) were also used. Consistent with the previous study, no deaths that resulted from inter-Israeli or inter-Palestinian violence are included in this report; for example, the deaths of Israeli Arabs, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and accused Palestinian collaborators with Israel are excluded. A main conclusion from the data is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increasingly involves official security services, as distinct from civilians.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the recent intifada, certain Palestinian security forces have been intensively involved in violent attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets. Most prominently involved have been the personal security guards of Yasir Arafat, popularly known as Force-17 and officially called Amn al-Ri'asah(Presidential Security). On March 30, Israeli forces bombarded from the air two of the headquarters of this force in Ramallah and Gaza, in the first serious Israeli retaliation under the new Sharon government. Then in early April, Israeli forces arrested several members of this force inside Area A, the area that is under full control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker, Robert Satloff, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, President George W. Bush pointedly called upon Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence" and Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker testified that Arafat has "made no statements that would indicate that he is opposed to violence or that he even wants to see it stop." Yesterday, however, the State Department issued its semi-annual PLOCCA (PLO Commitments Compliance Act) report that appears to contradict these sentiments by specifically refraining from assigning the PLO, the Palestinian Authority (PA), or any senior Palestinian officials any responsibility for any violence or terrorism that occurred during the first seventy-five days of the al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Arab leaders gather in Amman for the first regular Arab summit in a decade, non-Arab Iran is keenly watching to see whether Arab heads-of-state once again make grandiose promises to support the Palestinians. If Arab leaders fail to deliver on these promises, as has been the case with Arab financial commitments to the Palestinians, it would open the door for Tehran to build on Hizballah's success in Lebanon and to deepen its already worrisome role in the Israeli–Palestinian arena.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Five months after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, the U.S. government yesterday issued its first systematic assessment of the intifada-related actions of Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the year 2000. A close reading of the twenty-four page chapter on "the Occupied Territories (including areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority)" reveals numerous condemnations of the actions of Israeli and Palestinian security forces, in almost identical language, with the latter also criticized for its abuses against fellow Palestinians. However, the report also displays a disturbing trend toward selective and distorted reporting on key issues, with the effect of minimizing egregious Palestinian behavior and enhancing the image of Israeli culpability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the White House has made no comment on the substance of President Bill Clinton's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) have published what they say are respectively the Israeli and Palestinian minutes of the president's December 23 oral presentation. What is striking is that the two accounts agree on every substantive point. These accounts provide a sound basis for knowing what in fact Clinton proposed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With President Clinton due to meet Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat today for a last-ditch diplomatic effort, attention is focused mainly on two aspects of the U.S. bridging proposals: the division of Jerusalem and the future status of Palestinian refugees. In contrast, little attention has so far been devoted to the security aspects of the U.S. proposals. While less emotive, security issues need to be central to U.S. concerns about the viability of any "final status" accord and its impact on U.S. interests and allies. It is difficult, however, to assess this aspect of the proposals because so many key security issues were evidently not raised by the President in his pre-Christmas oral presentation to the two sides. They may have been the subject of previous or subsequent discussions among the parties, but they were not on the President's core agenda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Senior Palestinian officials this week rejected US President Bill Clinton's peace proposals. All the Palestinian factions have now rejected the proposals designed to end the conflict with Israel. This is a sign of the overwhelming domestic pressure Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is under. However, his position remains one of conditional acceptance as he awaits further US interpretations and clarifications. Arafat's conditional acceptance of the US proposals is an attempt to improve his diplomatic position. He hopes to make use of the enhanced Arab engagement in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process to improve on the terms of a future peace agreement. This will be essential if he is to win domestic approval of any deal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel this week launched missile attacks against Palestinian security targets in Gaza in retaliation for the bombing of a school bus carrying settlers. Tel Aviv and Washington have blamed Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat for the current crisis, saying he could reduce the violence. In fact, the uprising is a spontaneous revolt against the terms of the Oslo peace process. Far from being undermined by the crisis, Arafat is using it to maximise his political and diplomatic position in the event that negotiations resume. The crisis marks a decisive shift in the Palestinians' conditions for peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza