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  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Mohammed Herzallah
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Many Arab countries traditionally aligned with the United States are showing increasing reluctance to follow Washington's lead in addressing regional problems. This tendency toward an independent foreign policy is particularly evident among the Gulf countries. Even states that host major U.S. military facilities on their soil, such as Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, consider U.S. policy in the region counterproductive and are forging a new diplomacy. Gulf countries have refused to enter into an anti-Iranian alliance with the United States, and have chosen instead to pursue close diplomatic contacts with Tehran, although they fear its growing influence. They are trying to bring about reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine, while the United States is seeking to isolate Hamas. They have helped negotiate a compromise solution in Lebanon, while the United States has encouraged the government to take a hardline position. Yet, the new diplomacy of the Arab countries is not directed against the United States, although it contradicts U.S. policie.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Kuwait, Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy, Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In the late summer 2007, amid great anticipation from Egypt's ruling elite and opposition movements, the Muslim Brotherhood distributed the first draft of a party platform to a group of intellectuals and analysts. The platform was not to serve as a document for an existing political party or even one about to be founded: the Brotherhood remains without legal recognition in Egypt and Egypt's rulers and the laws they have enacted make the prospect of legal recognition for a Brotherhood-founded party seem distant. But the Brotherhood's leadership clearly wished to signal what sort of party they would found if allowed to do so.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Omayma Abdel-Latif
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Sunni Islamist movements are gradually emerging as a significant part of Lebanon's power scene. The Lebanese army's three-month military campaign against one such movement, Fateh al-Islam, in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in North Lebanon, which ended in early September, triggered a fierce debate about these groups and their political and social agendas. Until recently, Islamist arguments did not resonate with the majority of Lebanon's Sunni Muslims. However, turbulent events and an incoming tide of public opinion following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the assassination of former prime minister Rafi q al-Hariri in February 2005, a rising tide of sectarianism across the region, and the Israeli war against Hizbollah and Lebanon in July 2006 have all given Islamists a framework for advancing their agenda among Lebanon's Sunna. They are no longer an irrelevant political force.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Christopher Boucek
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of a wave of deadly terrorist attacks that began in 2003, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched a wide-ranging counterterrorism campaign. Central to Saudi counterterrorism efforts has been the use of unconventional “soft” measures designed to combat the intellectual and ideological justifications for violent extremism. The primary objective of this strategy is to engage and combat an ideology that the Saudi government asserts is based on corrupted and deviant interpretations of Islam. The impetus for this soft approach came in large part from the recognition that violent extremism cannot be combated through tradition security measures alone. This Saudi strategy is composed of three interconnected programs aimed at prevention, rehabilitation, and post- release care (PRAC).
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ömer Taspinar
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In what represents a remarkable departure from its policy of non-involvement, Turkey is once again becoming an important player in the Middle East. In recent years, Ankara has shown a growing willingness to mediate in the Arab– Israeli conflict; attended Arab League conferences; contributed to UN forces in Lebanon and NATO forces in Afghanistan; assumed a leadership position in the Organization of Islamic Conference and established closer ties with Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Islam, Nationalism, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Omayma Abdel-Latif
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt released its first political party platform draft. Among the heavily criticized clauses was one that denied women (and Copts) the right to be head of state. “Duties and responsibilities assumed by the head of state, such as army commanding, are in contradiction with the socially acceptable roles for women,” the draft stated. In previous Brotherhood documents there was no specific mention of the position of head of state; rather, they declared that women were allowed to occupy all posts except for al-imama alkubra, the position of caliph, which is the equivalent of a head of state in modern times. Many were surprised that despite several progressive moves the Brotherhood had made in previous years to empower women, it ruled out women's right to the country's top position.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Islamist parties and movements in Arab countries that have strategically chosen to participate in the legal political process, acknowledging the legitimacy of the existing constitutional framework, have gained great political importance. Their participation raises two major questions: are they truly committed to democracy? And will participation have a positive, moderating influence on their positions, pushing them to focus on public policy platforms rather than ideological debates?
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Paul Salem, Amr Hamzawy, Nathan J. Brown, Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After September 11, 2001, the Bush administration launched an ambitious policy to forge a new Middle East, with intervention in Iraq as the driver of the transformation. "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution," declared President Bush on November 7, 2003. In speech after speech, Bush administration officials made it abundantly clear that they would not pursue a policy directed at managing and containing existing crises, intending instead to leapfrog over them by creating a new region of democracy and peace in which old disputes would become irrelevant. The idea was summarized in a statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the war between Lebanon and Israel in the summer of 2006. Pushing Israel to accept a cease- fire, she argued, would not help, because it would simply re-establish the status quo ante, not help create a new Middle East. The new Middle East was to be a region of mostly democratic countries allied with the United States. Regimes that did not cooperate would be subjected to a combination of sanctions and support for democratic movements, such as the so-called Cedar Revolution of 2005 in that forced Syrian troops out of the country. In extreme cases, they might be forced from power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: There is perhaps no leader in the world more important to current world affairs but less known and understood than Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. Neither a dictator nor a democrat—but with traits of both—Khamenei is the single most powerful individual in a highly factionalized, autocratic regime. Though he does not make national decisions on his own, neither can any major decisions be taken without his consent. He has ruled the country by consensus rather than decree, with his own survival and that of the theocratic system as his top priorities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Incumbent regimes in the Arab world, monarchical and republican alike, have weathered the period of intense, worldwide political change that has followed the end of the Cold War without giving up much of their power. Though not completely untouched by events that have shaken the rest of the world, most Arab regimes have survived the wave of political transformation that has engulfed the rest of the world relatively intact. Many regimes have carried out reforms, but the reforms have been directed at modernizing the economy and addressing social issues rather than redistributing power in the political system. Indeed, most regimes that talk of political reform are in reality avoiding it. To be sure, there have been some political changes: For example, more political parties exist today in most Arab countries than fifteen years ago, and more countries hold elections of varying quality. Access to information and the quality of political debate have increased in many countries as well. Power, however, remains firmly where it was: in the hands of kings and presidents.
  • Topic: Cold War, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In the late summer 2007, amid great anticipation from Egypt's ruling elite and opposition movements, the Muslim Brotherhood distributed the first draft of a party platform to a group of intellectuals and analysts. The platform was not to serve as a document for an existing political party or even one about to be founded: the Brotherhood remains without legal recognition in Egypt and Egypt's rulers and the laws they have enacted make the prospect of legal recognition for a Brotherhood-founded party seem distant. But the Brotherhood's leadership clearly wished to signal what sort of party they would found if allowed to do so.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Sufyan Alissa
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since 1989, Jordan has passed through several phases of economic reform aimed at stabilizing the economy and managing the transition from a state-dominated model to one that is private export led. Initiated under severe economic crisis conditions, the reform process in Jordan has been slow, selective, and uncoordinated. Thus far Jordan has succeeded in stabilizing its economy and engaging in a process of trade and financial liberalization and privatization, but it has failed to find long-lasting solutions to major social and economic challenges facing the country.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Martha Ottaway, Omayma Abdel-Latif
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Women are beginning to play a bigger role in shaping the politics of Islamist political movements in the Middle East. Mounting evidence suggests that women activists have made important inroads in Islamist movements by creating strong women's branches and pushing for broader political participation and representation in the upper echelons of the entire movements. Although women in these movements deny that they are embracing a Western-style feminist agenda and remain instead quite concerned with the preservation of Islamist values, most display dissatisfaction at being relegated to the women's branches of their respective movements. They want to be seen as potential leaders, not just as dedicated organizational foot soldiers, and in many countries they are pushing the leadership of their movements for change. To some extent the women's demand for greater recognition of the importance of their role in the service of the Islamist cause is also translating into activism in the cause of women's rights and equality more generally, just as it has with women activists in other political movements elsewhere in the world.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Islam, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Salem
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Kuwait has a long history of consultative government, constitutionalism, and participatory politics unique among the monarchies of the Gulf region. The ruling Al Sabah family's place in the political system was established by agreement—not force—among the leading families of the trading city of Kuwait in the mid-eighteenth century; administration by consultation continued until the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, while the country was a British protectorate, authoritarian tendencies within the ruling family were countered by a strong constitutional movement that started in the 1920s, bore fruit in parliamentary elections in 1938, and resulted in a fairly democratic constitution when the country became independent in 1961. Since then, Kuwait has had 11 parliamentary elections, and the National Assembly has continued to play a very powerful role in the state.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Muhammad-Sodiq Muhammad-Yusuf (also known as Mamamsodiq Mamayusupov), the former mufti of the Muslim Spiritual Administration of Central Asia, Uzbekistan's first mufti after independence, and the most prominent theologian in the country, is a figure worthy of attention by anyone interested in the political role that Islam might play in Uzbekistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Middle East, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Never has the cause of political reform in the Arab world received as strong verbal support— on both the international and domestic political levels—as it did in Palestine between 2002 and 2006. And while much of the Palestinian reform agenda remained unrealized, Palestinian governance changed in fundamental ways during the reform wave. But international backers of reform in particular had a remarkably short-term focus, a highly personalized view of the process, and a very instrumental view of reform, leading them to turn harshly against the achievements of the Palestinian reform movement when it brought unexpected results. What can this combination of success and disillusioned failure teach us about the cause of Arab political reform?
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Sarah Phillips
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Republic of Yemen was created in 1990 through the unification of the northern and southern states, the Yemeni regime has very consciously framed its policies in the language of democracy, while simultaneously muzzling initiatives that might help facilitate democratic consolidation. There has been a marked increase in the level of popular political activity, but the country's power structures have proven resilient to political reform.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Kuwait's Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), founded in 1991, is a relatively new political actor in Kuwait. Yet by the standards of regional Islamist movements, it is one of the most experienced in parliamentary and electoral politics. The ICM can claim some real electoral and programmatic successes, but any move beyond marginal or incremental achievements rests largely on its ability to build on the success of an ad hoc and diverse coalition of Islamist, liberal, and populist political forces. In short, if the ICM navigates difficult waters, it may be able to achieve many of its goals while demonstrating the broader potential of an Islamist electoral movement as part of a coalition pressing for liberalizing political reform. Kuwaiti political history suggests strong reasons for skepticism-the opposition has never been able to maintain a united front for long, and the Kuwaiti government has tools at its disposal to disperse, placate, and even exclude dissenters. But the opportunities beckoning the movement and other opposition political forces are stronger than they have ever been.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Julia Choucair
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since independence in 1947, Jordan has shown a remarkable ability to survive as a political entity. Surrounded by regional conflict and starved of resources, it has endured a massive influx of Palestinian refugees and numerous coup attempts. For decades, the Hashemite monarchy has overcome these political and economic storms by weakening institutionalized opposition to its rule and relying on the distribution of benefits and privileges to create a cohesive support base and a security establishment loyal to the existing political order. The regime has been able to sustain this situation by capitalizing on Jordan's geographic centrality. Benefiting from Jordan's image as an oasis of stability in a deeply troubled region, the monarchy has been able to secure a flow of external assistance that has helped counteract the lack of natural resources and maintain domestic political stability. But the balance has always been precarious. The contemporary process of political reform in Jordan must be understood in this context.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy, Dina Bishara
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The 2006 Lebanon war has had a profound effect on Islamist movements that have chosen to compete as legal parties in the political systems of their countries, testing their relationship with the ruling regimes as well as their respect for pluralism and tolerance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Recent election results in several Arab countries have transformed formerly theoretical questions into pressing policy concerns: Can Islamist political parties operate within the boundaries of a democratic system? Will participation breed moderation? Strong showings by Hizbollah in Lebanon and by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have made these questions seem less speculative. And the victory of Hamas in the first election it contested has made the questions impossible to avoid.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Jordan, Mumbai
  • Author: Frédéric Grare
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Taliban insurgents and their Al Qaeda allies, once thought defeated in Afghanistan, are regaining strength. Regrouped and reorganized, better equipped and financed, and more sophisticated tactically, they are threatening both the reconstruction process and the U.S.-led coalition forces on the ground. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, sixty-six U.S. troops were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2005, more than in the previous four years combined.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The issue of political reform in Syria straddles the line between reform of political institutions and removal from power of a particular regime and entails both domestic and external actors. The regime of Bashar al-Asad is under pressure from Syrian citizens who want a different political system and different leadership. He is also under pressure from the United States, which wants Syria to change its regional policy: stop intruding in Lebanese affairs, reduce support of Palestinian groups, and make a bigger effort to prevent infiltration of radical Islamists into Iraq. As a result, it is impossible to separate completely a domestic process of political reform from the external pressures. The two are entangled to a much greater extent than in any other country in the region except Iraq, and the analysis that follows reflects this entanglement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Recent years have witnessed unprecedented political dynamism in Saudi Arabia. Since 2002, the government has pursued various reform policies. Its most relevant measures have included reforming the Shura Council, holding municipal elections, legalizing civil society actors, implementing educational reform plans, and institutionalizing national dialogue conferences. Although these measures appear less significant when compared with political developments in other Arab countries, such as Lebanon and Egypt, they constitute elements of a meaningful opening in Saudi authoritarian politics.</p
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy, Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In today's Arab world, Islamists have assumed the role once played by national liberation movements and leftist parties. They are the mass movements of the twenty-first century. They are well embedded in the social fabric, understand the importance of good organization, and are thus able to mobilize considerable constituencies. Their ideology prescribes a simple solution to the persistent crises of contemporary Arab societies—a return to the fundamentals, or true spirit, of Islam. Indeed, “Islam is the solution” has been the longtime slogan of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Like all successful movements, Islamists have been able to distill a long, complex philosophical tradition into simple slogans that have quickly supplanted the Pan-Arabism and socialism that dominated the region until the 1970s. As a result, in most countries Islamists represent the only viable opposition forces to existing undemocratic regimes.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Frédéric Grare
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Thirty years after a bloody conflict that official sources estimate caused more than five thousand deaths among the rebels and almost three thousand among the Pakistan Army, Baluchistan seems to be heading toward another armed insurrection. During the summer of 2004, there were numerous attacks against the army and the paramilitary forces as well as repeated sabotage of oil pipelines. Since the rape of a female doctor by a group of soldiers on January 2, 2005, in the hospital in Sui, the principal gas-producing center in Baluchistan, assaults have multiplied, culminating in a pitched battle between the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary unit, and the local Bugtis, one of the largest Baluch tribes. According to the Pakistani daily, The Nation, approximately 1,568 “terrorist” attacks occurred through April 3, 2005. These attacks have not been confined only to tribal areas but have targeted Pakistani armed forces and Chinese nationals working on major regional projects all over the province.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Middle East
  • Author: Julia Choucair
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanon is arguably the most democratic Arab state. Under parliamentary rule since becoming independent in 1943, it has regular elections, numerous political parties, and relatively free and lively news media. Lebanon also has one of the most complex political systems in the Middle East, based on the premise that a careful balance in all aspects of political life must be maintained among the seventeen recognized religious communities. While this confessional system has spared Lebanon the authoritarianism experienced by many Arab regimes in the twentieth century, paradoxically it has also prevented the transition to a truly democratic state. Nor has the confessional system eliminated the factional strife it was designed to avoid.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • 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: Development, Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • 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: Development, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the 1990s the United States and its allies enjoyed a much sought-after period of prosperity and tranquility following the end of the Cold War. In hindsight, however, it is now apparent that Al Qaeda, a fiercely anti-American global terrorist network, was taking root in over sixty countries during this period, culminating in the devastating September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. The Bush administration, which had entered office determined to secure U.S. primacy amid the emergence of major power centers in Asia, such as China, soon found itself forced to confront a worldwide Islamist insurgency. This study analyzes the relevance of terrorist groups as substatal actors in international politics, their influence on deeper dynamics of the international system, and the challenges facing the United States posed by transnational terrorist organizations. It argues that international terrorism, although currently salient, does not necessarily replace or even alter the traditional concerns of international politics, but rather subsists among them. On balance, the United States has managed these interlocking challenges with partial success, and needs to pay greater attention to pursuing the legitimacy and protecting the economic foundations of its power. Failing to do so, or waging a poorly defined “war against all,” carries the risk of far-reaching economic and political reverberations that may, in the not-too-distant future, enervate the United States, undermine its legitimacy as the sole superpower, and gradually erode continued American dominance in the world order.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, New York, Washington, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Eva Bellin
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA) has languished in economic stagnation and lassitude. At a time when the logic of market-driven reform and exportoriented growth has become nearly canonical worldwide, the MENA region has proven steadfastly unenthusiastic about reform, shutting itself out of the benefits of economic globalization and falling behind most other regions in economic development. At the same time, the MENA region has distinguished itself by spurning another worldwide trend: democratization. As democracy has spread in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East has remained largely authoritarian, experiencing at most only mild liberalizing political reforms. This dual resistance to world trends is intriguing and resurrects the question of the relationship between political and economic reform. Is this dual resistance to reform coincidental? And what does this resistance say about whether and how Western policy makers and aid practitioners should try to link or sequence their efforts to promote political and economic reform in the region?
  • Topic: Globalization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North Africa
  • Author: Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: BETWEEN 2002 AND 2004, THE UNITED STATES ACCORDED new prominence to political and economic reform and democratization as policy goals in the Middle East. Continuing that trend and translating rhetoric into effective strategies both depend on whether reform and democratization become fully integrated into the U.S. policy agenda in the region. Can the United States promote change at the risk of instability in the region while it remains dependent on petroleum from Arab countries? Can it pursue Arab–Israeli peace and democratization at the same time? Can the United States still secure needed military and counterterrorism cooperation if it antagonizes friendly regimes by promoting democratization as well? Is it feasible for the United States to promote democratization effectively amid widespread grievances against the war in Iraq and serious questions about U.S. human rights practices there and in Afghanistan?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Graham E. Fuller
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: ARE ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY COMPATIBLE? And are Islamists willing to accept a democratic order and work within it? Debate has swirled around these two grand questions for decades and has produced a broad variety of responses, often quite polarized. Whatever we may think about Islamists, the topic matters vitally because in the Middle East today they have few serious ideological rivals in leading opposition movements against a failing status quo. These Islamist movements are characterized by rapid growth, evolution, change, and diversification. In the Arab world the only ideological competition comes from Arab nationalism, the left, and liberal democracy, in diminishing order of size and importance. More significantly, since the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001, and the declaration of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, Arab nationalists and the left increasingly share a common cause with the Islamists in the face of growing political confrontation with the United States. This rising hostility shows no abatement as yet and permits political Islam (Islamism) to gain ever greater ground.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: George Perkovich, Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews, Alexis Orton
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: If history is any guide, the war and subsequent occupation and reconstruction of Iraq will shape U.S. relations with the Arab world—and perhaps with the whole Muslim world—for decades, just as prior military occupations altered U.S. relations with Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. What happens in Iraq is also likely to profoundly affect whether and with what degree of effort and success states choose to work together to constrain the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The war and its aftermath will affect U.S. foreign relations, influence U.S. policies regarding future armed interventions, and alter the international struggle against terrorism. It is a massive understatement, then, to say that a great deal is at stake, on the ground in Iraq, around the world, and in the lessons for the future that will be drawn here at home.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As part of the changed U.S. geostrategic outlook arising from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, the Bush administration is giving greatly heightened attention to the issue of promoting democracy in the Middle East. Although a policy of coercive regime change has been applied in Iraq, in most of the region the administration is pursuing a more gradualist model of political change that emphasizes diplomatic pressure and democracy-related aid.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: No American administration has talked more about democracy in the Middle East than the Bush administration. The president and his advisors have spoken optimistically about a post-Saddam democracy in Iraq, one that might eventually become a veritable light to other Arab nations. This grand vision assumes that sooner or later, advocates of democracy throughout the Middle East will demand the same freedoms and rights that Iraqis are now claiming. Yet, however inspiring this vision appears, the actual reform plan that the administration has thus far set out is unlikely to produce radical changes in the Arab world. Regardless of how dramatic the change in Baghdad is, when it comes to our friends in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Yemen, the administration's reform plan points to evolution rather than revolution.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since early last year, the Bush administration has paid unaccustomed attention to the issue of democracy in the Middle East. Following September 11, many U. S. officials have worried that the authoritarianism of most Arab regimes has bred frustration in their countries, and this frustration has in turn favored the growth of terrorist organizations. U.S. discussions about the need for democracy in the Middle East have triggered a strong negative reaction by Arab commentators and journalists, including in discussions of democracy in the Arab press. However, very little of this writing has dealt with the problem of democracy in the real sense—that is, with the issue of how Arab governments relate to their citizens now and how they should relate to their citizens in the future. Instead, Arab commentators have treated democracy as a foreign policy issue, asking why the United States is suddenly discussing democracy in the Arab world and what true intentions it is trying to hide behind the smoke screen of democracy talk. The debate in the Arab press reveals some of the obstacles that the United States faces as it attempts to define its new pro-democracy role in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: George Perkovich, Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: American televisions are filled with war rooms, countdowns, deadlines, and showdowns with Iraq. The almost minute by minute coverage distorts public understanding of how inspections work and creates a false sense of the inevitability of war. No decision has in fact been made. Within the administration some indeed intend the buildup as the prelude to war while for others it presents the credible threat of war that is necessary to compel Iraq's disarmament through inspections.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East