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  • 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