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  • Author: Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: This working paper considers relations between the region and the European Union, something on which the ArabTrans survey was specifically designed to offer information. We supplement the ArabTrans survey by drawing on data from Waves II (2010/11) and III (2013) of the Arab Barometer and from the Gallup World Poll for 2011 and 2014. The Report considers what impact the policies pursued by the EU and its member countries have had on the lives of people living in four countries in the region - Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia - and how they view the EU and its involvement with their countries. It considers ordinary people’s attitudes to the EU and its policies but also discusses what ordinary people want and the extent to which EU policies address these concerns.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Under certain conditions, such as security crises, an integrated external EU counter-terrorism policy can emerge without leading to the supra-nationalisation of policy-making. This paper analyses the role of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy with the objective of assessing the influence that such figure can have on the governance of EU counter-terrorism policies. It does so by assessing the EU’s response to three security crises, namely: the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005); the Arab Spring and the following destabilisation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and the emergence and spread of Da’esh.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-53-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Cornelius Adebahr
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After years of tension, sanctions, and deadlocked negotiations, Hassan Rouhani, Iran's relatively moderate new president, has provided an opening for improved relations between the Islamic Republic and the West. While Rouhani has not ushered in a new Iran, Tehran has adopted a more conciliatory tone on its nuclear program since he took office. This shift is more than just talk, but the West will have to carefully calibrate its response to determine whether Rouhani's changed rhetoric signals the beginning of a new direction for Iran.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert D. Lamb, Sadika Hameed, Kathryn Mixon
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has a number of interests and values at stake in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, or "South Asia" for the purposes of this analysis. But it also has a broader set of such concerns at stake regionally (in the greater Middle East, Eurasia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia)—and, of course, globally as well. Any long- term policy or strategy frame- work for South Asia needs to be built around the global and regional concerns that are most likely to persist across multiple changes in U.S. political leadership regardless of political party.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Middle East, India
  • Author: Danielle Pletka, Frederick W. Kagan, J. Matthew McInnis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: A review of the soft-power strategies of both the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Middle East and Afghanistan makes clear a disturbing fact: Tehran has a coherent, if sometimes ineffective strategy to advance its aims in the Middle East and around the world. The United States does not. This project began with two tour d'horizon reviews of Iranian activities throughout areas Iran has, by its actions, defined as its sphere of influence. From the Persian Gulf through the Levant and into neighboring Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic has consistently invested in soft- and hard-power activities designed not only to extend its own influence but also to limit both American and hostile Arab aims. And while the latter part of the Ahmadinejad administration saw waning rewards for Tehran's efforts-a result more of the growing Sunni-Shia divide in the Middle East than of changes in strategy-the continued existence of a coherent Iranian strategy to dominate or destabilize the region should not be ignored. This report, the culmination of a process of both examining Iranian actions and surveying American policy, policy responses, and soft-power strategies in the region, focuses on the US side of the equation. Despite the Obama administration's commitment to replace hard power with smart power, what the United States pursues in the Middle East is a set of incoherent, ineffective, and increasingly irrelevant policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Richard Outzen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Dating from Bashar al-Asad's first suppression of mass demonstrations in April 2011, the war in Syria is now 3 years old, has killed more than 130,000 Syrians, and displaced nine million Syrians, two million as refugees into neighboring countries. Foreign intervention has increasingly shaped the course of the fighting and will continue to have substantial regional consequences. The complexity of this bitter, nominally internal struggle has dampened American enthusiasm for joining the fray or even paying much attention to Syria, notwithstanding the chemical weapon attacks on Gouta, east of Damascus, last August, which captured the attention of the American people, media, and policy community. With an international taboo broken and a Presidential redline crossed, public debate spiked in August-September 2013 over U.S. interests in Syria and the limits on what we will do to secure them. Debate did not result in a consensus for action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the financial crisis recedes and the European Union (EU) regains a measure of internal stability, pressure in Europe\'s neighborhood is on the rise. The Ukraine crisis and turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa have elevated foreign policy to the top of the EU\'s agenda. Whether the EU can make its external action more effective will depend in large part on institutional decisions made in 2014—the selection of a new leadership team and the reorganization of the European Commission.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amid the swirl of Middle East chaos, Israelis are enjoying relative calm and real prosperity. External events -- from the counterrevolution in Egypt and the deepening sectarian war in Syria to the spread of Iranian influence across the region -- should provoke deep concern, but the political class is consumed with the politics and diplomacy of negotiations with the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: James F. Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Ukraine situation will affect Washington's Middle Eastern priorities, but not to such a degree that it will stymie a strong U.S. response to Russian actions, since America has the power to act in the region without Moscow if necessary. Ukraine could well make it necessary.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East
  • Author: David Pollock, James F. Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Washington must urgently reestablish the credibility of its military threat, along with other steps, to guard against noncompliance from Tehran.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Vish Sakthivel
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary Kerry's visit comes amid Morocco's efforts to expand its regional influence and an upcoming vote in Algeria. Next week, Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Rabat and Algiers to reconvene the Strategic Dialogues that were postponed in November when he had to travel to Geneva for urgent Iran negotiations. While the broader themes to be discussed remain the same, certain developments in the two countries' diplomatic positioning will likewise inform the talks.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Morocco
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A closer look at Palestinian views on prisoner releases, the Jewish state question, economic needs, and other issues suggests diplomatic openings are far from exhausted. As the United States works to salvage the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Palestinian public in the West Bank and Gaza is more prepared to accept various diplomatic compromises than official positions or elite attitudes would suggest. A number of new polls by different Palestinian pollsters, and in-depth discussions with Palestinian scholars and others in late March, indicate that Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has greater latitude to make a deal than is often supposed. The polls cited here are from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) and Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), both based in Ramallah, and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), based in Bethlehem.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current impasse in Israeli-Palestinian talks is buffeted by a series of profound global and regional challenges, including Ukraine, Iran, and Syria, among others. In the immediate arena, while Israel and the Palestinian Authority may have dysfunctional political and diplomatic relations, they also have reasonably effective security cooperation and economic coordination. Therefore, a principal challenge for U.S. policy and for local leaders is to find ways to preserve, even enhance, the latter even as disagreement over the former worsens.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Ukraine, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria, North America
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Washington has rightfully avoided backing a candidate in next week's elections, but it should still use counterterrorism assistance and other levers to push Baghdad on pluralism and KRG oil revenue sharing during the presumably lengthy transition period. On April 30, the Iraqi public will vote in national parliamentary elections, establishing the next four-year term of the 328-seat Council of Representatives. Thereafter, an equally consequential bargaining process will commence, taking the formation of the next government out of the public's hands and cloistering it behind closed doors. The United States has repeatedly prodded Baghdad to ensure that the vote is held on time, in all districts, and in a free and fair manner. Washington's role in the government formation process could be equally constructive, but it presents a far trickier challenge. Indeed, how the U.S. government acts during the postelection process could set the tone for bilateral relations throughout the next government's term.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Ehud Yaari, Neri Zilber
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even as the deal offers short-term political benefits for both sides, it fails to resolve key issues separating them. The April 23 Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement announced in the Gaza Strip is the latest in a long line of attempts to bridge the intra-Palestinian divide. The timing of the agreement amid U.S.-brokered peace talks, as well as both parties' internal weaknesses, points to more serious intent than past efforts. However, the deal fails to address the most sensitive issues separating the two sides and likely can be explained by the political boost it offers to both leaderships. The only certainty is that the reconciliation deal severely complicates efforts to extend Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations past their April 29 deadline.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Washington should look for small changes in Kuwait and Qatar's political and security calculus that could provide opportunities to support counter-terrorist financing measures there. On April 30, the U.S. State Department noted that private donations from Persian Gulf countries were "a major source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups, particularly...in Syria," calling the problem one of the most important counterterrorism issues during the previous calendar year. Groups such as al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), previously known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, are believed to be frequent recipients of some of the hundreds of millions of dollars that wealthy citizens and others in the Gulf peninsula have been donating during the Syrian conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Kuwait, Arabia, Syria, Qatar
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As narratives about the root causes of the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations take shape, U.S. leaders have a major decision to make about whether to disengage from diplomacy or deepen involvement in less high-profile ways.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Lina Khatib
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Long a minor regional actor in the shadow of Saudi Arabia, Qatar wants to increase its influence. But Doha's expansionist foreign policy has been plagued by miscalculations, domestic challenges, and international pressure—all issues connected to Doha's relationship with Riyadh. As a result of these setbacks, Qatar's regional role has diminished, and for the foreseeable future, its external influence is likely to remain under the direction of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Mohammed El-Katiri
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: For the United States, the Arabian Gulf region remains one of the most geostrategically important locations in the world. Home to over half of the world's oil reserves and nearly a third of its natural gas, the Gulf states continue to supply world markets with an important share of their energy supplies. Continuing to be one of the world's largest regional suppliers of energy and holding much of the world's spare capacity in crude oil production makes the region central to the stability of the global oil market.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Until a few years ago, the relationship between Washington, DC, and Ankara, Turkey, was perennially troubled and occasionally terrible. Turks strongly opposed the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq and have subsequently complained that the Pentagon was allowing Iraqi Kurds too much autonomy, leading to deteriorating security along the Iraq-Turkey border. Disagreements over how to respond to Iran's nuclear program, U.S. suspicions regarding Turkey's outreach efforts to Iran and Syria, and differences over Armenia, Palestinians, and the Black Sea further strained ties and contributed to further anti Americanism in Turkey. Now Turkey is seen as responding to its local challenges by moving closer to the West, leading to the advent of a “Golden Era” in Turkish U.S. relations. Barack Obama has called the U.S.-Turkish relationship a “model partnership” and Turkey “a critical ally.” Explanations abound as to why U.S.-Turkey ties have improved during the last few years. The U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq removed a source of tension and gave Turkey a greater incentive to cooperate with Washington to influence developments in Iraq. Furthermore, the Arab Awakening led both countries to partner in support of the positive agenda of promoting democracy and security in the Middle East. Americans and Turks both want to see democratic secular governments in the region rather than religiously sanctioned authoritarian ones. Setbacks in Turkey's reconciliation efforts with Syria, Iran, and other countries led Ankara to realize that having good relations with the United States helps it achieve core goals in the Middle East and beyond. Even though Turkey's role as a provider of security and stability in the region is weakened as a result of the recent developments in Syria and the ensuing negative consequences in its relations to other countries, Turkey has the capacity to recover and resume its position. Partnering with the United States is not always ideal, but recent setbacks have persuaded Turkey's leaders that they need to backstop their new economic strength and cultural attractiveness with the kind of hard power that is most readily available to the United States. For a partnership between Turkey and the United States to endure, however, Turkey must adopt more of a collective transatlantic perspective, crack down harder on terrorist activities, and resolve a domestic democratic deficit. At the same time, Europeans should show more flexibility meeting Turkey's security concerns regarding the European Union, while the United States should adopt a more proactive policy toward resolving potential sources of tensions between Ankara and Washington that could significantly worsen at any time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the Arab Spring, Qatar moved away from its traditional foreign policy role as diplomatic mediator to embrace change in the Middle East and North Africa and support transitioning states. Regional actors viewed Qatar's approach as overreaching, and skepticism of Doha's policy motivations increased. Qatar's new leadership, which came to power in June 2013, is adapting by reverting to a more pragmatic foreign policy and addressing the fallout from its support for Islamist movements in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: US “independence” from energy imports has been a key source of political dispute ever since the October War in 1973 and the Arab oil embargo that followed. Much of this debate has ignored or misstated the nature of the data available on what the US options are, as well as the uncertainties involved in making any long range projections.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Qatar, a tiny energy-rich state in terms of territory and population, has exploded on to the world map as a major rival to the region's behemoth, Saudi Arabia. By projecting itself through an activist foreign policy, an acclaimed and at times controversial global broadcaster, an airline that has turned it into a transportation hub and a host of mega sporting events, Qatar has sought to develop the soft power needed to compensate for its inability to ensure its security, safety and defence militarily. In doing so, it has demonstrated that size no longer necessarily is the determining factor for a state's ability to enhance its influence and power. Its challenge to Saudi Arabia is magnified by the fact that it alongside the kingdom is the world's only state that adheres to Wahhabism, an austere interpretation in Islam. Qatari conservatism is however everything but a mirror image of Saudi Arabia's stark way of life with its powerful, conservative clergy, absolute gender segregation; total ban on alcohol and houses of worship for adherents of other religions, and refusal to accommodate alternative lifestyles or religious practices. Qatar's alternative adaptation of Wahhabism coupled with its lack of an indigenous clergy and long-standing relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the region's only organised opposition force, complicate its relationship with Saudi Arabia and elevate it to a potentially serious threat.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Alexey Malashenko
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia has spent over a decade trying to recapture the influence the Soviet Union once enjoyed in the Middle East, but President Vladimir Putin's attempts to position Moscow as a key regional player have come up short. With revolutions across the Arab world overturning old orders and ushering in Islamist governments, Russia's chances for strengthening its position in the region look increasingly slim. The Kremlin must change course and ensure that its approach to the Middle East and Islamists reflects post–Arab Spring realities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Post Colonialism, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Soviet Union, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Far too much of the analysis of Iran's search for nuclear weapons treats it in terms of arms control or focuses on the potential threat to Israel. In reality, Iran's mix of asymmetric warfare, conventional warfare, and conventionally armed missile forces have critical weaknesses that make Iran anything but the hegemon of the Gulf. Iran's public focus on Israel also disguises the reality that its primary strategic focus is to deter and intimidate its Gulf neighbors and the United States – not Israel. It has made major progress in creating naval forces for asymmetric warfare and developing naval missiles, but it has very limited air-sea and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (IS) capabilities. It lacks modern conventional land, air, air defense and sea power, has fallen far behind the Arab Gulf states in modern aircraft and ships, and its land forces are filled with obsolete and mediocre weapons that lack maneuver capability and sustainability outside Iran. Iran needs nuclear weapons to offset these facts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: More than a decade into the “war on terrorism,” much of the political debate in the US is still fixated on the legacy of 9/11. US politics has a partisan fixation on Benghazi, the Boston Marathon bombing, intelligence intercepts, and Guantanamo. Far too much US attention still focuses on “terrorism” at a time the US faces a much broader range of threats from the instability in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Islamic world. Moreover, much of the US debate ignores the fact that the US has not actually fought a “war on terrorism” over the last decade, and the US failures in using military force and civil aid in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US has not fought wars as such, but rather became involved in exercises in armed nation building where stability operations escalated into national building as a result of US occupation and where the failures in stability operations and nation building led to insurgencies that forced the US into major counterinsurgency campaigns that had little to do with counterterrorism. An analysis of the trends in the Iraq and Afghan conflicts shows that the US has not been fighting a war on terrorism since Bin Laden and Al Qaida Central were driven into Pakistan in December 2001. The US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and then made stability operations and armed nation building its key goals. It was US mishandling of these exercises in armed nation building that led to major counterinsurgency campaigns although – at least in the case of Afghanistan --the US continued to label its military operations as a struggle against “terrorism.” By 2013, the US had committed well over $1.4 trillion to these exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, the US made massive increases in its domestic spending on homeland defense that it rationalized as part of the fight against terrorism but often had little or nothing to do with any aspect of counterterrorism. At the same time, the US failed to develop consistent or useful unclassified statistics on the patterns in terrorism and its counterterrorism activities. The US government has never provided a meaningful break out of federal activities and spending at home or abroad which actually focus on terrorism, or any unclassified measures of effectiveness. The OMB has lumped a wide range of activities that have no relation to terrorism it its reporting on the President's budget request – activities whose total cost now approach $60 billion a year. The Department of Defense has never provided a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or a break out of the small portion of total overseas contingency operations (OCO) spending actually spent on counterterrorism versus counter insurgency. The State Department and US intelligence community provide no meaningful unclassified data on the cost of their counterterrorism effort and it is unclear that they have developed any metrics at any level that show the cost-benefits of their activities. The annual US State Department country reports on terrorism come as close to an unclassified report on the status of terrorism as the US government provides. While many portions are useful, the designation of terrorist movements is often political and shows the US designation of terrorist movements conflates terrorism and insurgency. The closest the US has come to developing any metrics on terrorism has been to develop an unclassified database in the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) that never distinguished terrorism from insurgency. This database formed the core of the statistical annex to State Department reporting, but has since been withdrawn without explanation. As this analysis shows in detail, it now has been replaced by a contractor effort that makes all of the previous mistakes made by the NCTC. The end result is a set of official reporting and statistics in the annex to the State Department report where “terrorism” remains remained poorly defined, badly structured, ignored in parts of the world, and conflates terrorism with counterinsurgency, instability, and civil war. A review of the Afghan, Iraq conflicts, and other recent conflicts in the MENA region shows just how serious these problems are in distorting the true nature of the wars the US is fighting and the threats it faces. The same is true of the unclassified reporting the US government provides on terrorism. A detailed review of the most recent State Department report on terrorism provides important insights into key terrorist movements, but the narratives generally ignore their ties to insurgent movements, their statistical data include some major insurgent movements and exclude others, and many of the data seem to include violence that is not truly terroristic in character.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II, Omar Mohamed
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Yemen is the most troubled state in the Arabian Peninsula. It remains in a low - level state of civil war, and is deeply divided on a sectarian, tribal, and regional level. A largely Shi'ite Houthi rebellion still affects much of the northwest border area and has serious influence in the capital of Sana and along parts of the Red Sea coast. Al Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) poses a threat in central Yemen, along with other elements of violent Sunni extremism, there are serious tensions between the northern and southern parts of Yemen, and power struggles continue between key elements of the military ruling elite in the capital and outside it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: While some observers, referring to recent developments in the Middle East, are questioning whether Turkey's “zero problems with neighbours” doctrine is still in effect, Turkey's relations with the Balkans are enjoying their golden age. Since the mid-2000s, bilateral relations with all governments in the region have been in good terms, social and economic relations have intensi­fied and Turkey's public image has become increasingly positive.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: John W. Parker, Michael Kofman
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's institution of a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans, an appalling response by the Duma to U.S. sanctions against officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case,1 was a clear indicator that bilateral relations will assume a lower priority in the next 4 years for both capitals. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the measure despite open misgivings by some of his own key aides and against the opposition of most of Russia's civil society. The Russian Internet response was scathing, producing an instant winner for best sick joke of 2012: “An educated American family has decided to adopt a developmentally disabled Duma deputy.”.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has long emphasized the desirability of working with allies and partners to meet pressing security challenges. Indeed, many of our most vexing security challenges-such as terrorism, threats to freedom of the seas and air, and cyber threats-are best met with multilateral action. At a time when the United States and many of its allies and partners are reluctant to increase defense and security investments, working together is of increasing importance. This is perhaps most evident in the Middle East and Asia, where real and potential threats to U.S. and partner security are high and our interests great.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No single aspect of US and Iranian military competition is potentially more dangerous than the missile and nuclear dimensions, and the possibility Iran will deploy long-range, nuclear-armed missiles.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and Europe have yet to show the requisite political will or to develop sustainable strategies to help Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen in their democratic transitions more than two years after a wave of popular revolutions toppled decades-old autocracies. To be sure, deepening political, economic, and security challenges in these countries from June 2012 to August 2013, the period analyzed in this report, complicated efforts to provide support. Yet the United States and the European Union (EU) missed important opportunities to capitalize on openings where they existed or to send consistent and sustained diplomatic messages where needed. Faced with the vast amounts of cash the Gulf countries could provide rapidly to the transition countries, especially to Egypt, some in Washington and Brussels wondered if the United States and the EU even had much to offer. In the past year, fatigue and frustration more than energy and hope have characterized US and European engagement with these countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: James Chen
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: During the 9th century, Arab traders regularly plied lucrative maritime routes that connected the Persian Gulf to southern China by way of the Indian Ocean. This commercial activity, which mostly involved jade, silk, and other luxury goods, went on for centuries and became part of what is now known as the Silk Road. In some ways, the world is now witnessing a restoration of that ancient trading relationship between two civilizations—except that oil and consumer goods have replaced jade and silk.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ebru Oğurlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, the Eastern Mediterranean has been increasingly fraught with growing competition between regional players, most notably Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel, signalling an apparent return of power politics in regional relations. Of all actors involved, Turkey stands out for being both an ever more influential power and a source of serious concern to other countries in the region due to its greater assertiveness and perceived hegemonic ambitions. Against the backdrop of recent regional developments and their international implications, including the dispute over drilling rights off Cyprus' coasts, Turkey's image as a constructive and dialogue-oriented country, a critical achievement pursued by a generation of Turkish politicians, diplomats and officials, risks being replaced by one of an antagonistic/assertive power. Facing the first serious challenge to its claim to embody a benign model as a secular Muslim democracy and a responsible international actor, Turkey should not indulge in emotional reactions. It should opt instead for a more moderate and balanced approach based on the assumption that only cooperation and constructive dialogue, even with rival countries, can help it realize its ambition of being the regional pivot.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Asia, Colombia, Cyprus
  • Author: Lars Erslev Andersen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The global balance of power is changing, and the role of the US as the only superpower is being challenged by emerging new powers and a still more powerful China. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Persian Gulf. This Working Paper by DIIS researcher Lars Erslev Andersen argues that if we are fully to understand the developments in the Persian Gulf we need to analyze the Persian Gulf as a regional security complex in its own right. The argument is developed empirically with reference to the case of Bahrain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Alexander Wilner
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The most threatening form of US and Iranian competition takes place in the military and security arena. The areas where this competition now gets primary attention are the nuclear and missile arena, and Iranian threats to “close the Gulf.” US and Iranian tensions over Iran's nuclear program have grown steadily over the years. They now threaten to reach the crisis point as Iran produces highly enriched uranium and develops all of the technology necessary to produce nuclear weapons, and as US, European, and UN sanctions become steadily stronger.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, United Nations
  • Author: André Bank, Roy Karadag
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In 2006/2007 Turkey became a regional power in the Middle East, a status it has continued to maintain in the context of the Arab Spring. To understand why Turkey only became a regional power under the Muslim AKP government and why this happened at the specific point in time that it did, the paper highlights the self-reinforcing dynamics between Turkey's domestic political-economic transformation in the first decade of this century and the advantageous regional developments in the Middle East at the same time. It concludes that this specific linkage – the “Ankara Moment” – and its regional resonance in the neighboring Middle East carries more transformative potential than the “Washington Consensus” or the “Beijing Consensus” so prominently discussed in current Global South politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Camilla Committeri
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis is dividing the international community like no other Arab uprising has done so far. While the United States and the European Union stand squarely against the Syrian regime, Russia remains a staunch defender of state sovereignty and the Al-Assad regime. There are three main factors that explain this position: Moscow's historical relations with Damascus; Russia's traditional opposition to US presence in the Middle East; and the surge in domestic opposition in Russia itself. This last factor, and the recent evolution of Russian domestic politics, is crucial to grasp Moscow's foreign policy towards Syria and the Middle East, a s well as towards the United States and Europe.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil War, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Moscow, Syria
  • Author: Frank Lin
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The 2012 American presidential election features two candidates, incumbent President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, with contrasting foreign policy visions for the United States, particularly with regards to the Middle East. How could these differences between the two candidates affect bilateral relations between the United States and Turkey, which—aside from Israel—is generally seen by the United States as its most stalwart ally in the Middle East? This paper will examine the recent history of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States, from the George W. Bush administration to the Obama administration, as well as current issues surrounding relations between the two countries. It will also explore how the predicted policies of each candidate could impact the future course of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Silvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China's assertiveness is growing. While in the past China's foreign policy kept a low profile in international affairs, global developments, prime amongst which in the Middle East, highlight China's growing influence in world politics and its ensuing role in shaping global norms. Within the liberal peace discourse, China's reinterpretation of international norms can be seen as the result of a mixture of prior local norms - sovereignty and non-interference - and changes within the international environment - namely conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. Particularly, in terms of intervention and peace-building practices, China insists that a number of preconditions - which are encapsulated in the notion of Responsible Protection (RP) - have to be met in order to consider intervention in sovereign states. This paper argues that in order to achieve a full picture of Chinese foreign policy and its normative underpinnings, it is necessary to explore the debate within non-state actors beyond the government apparatus, such as think tanks and research institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Emerging Markets, International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Libya, North Africa, Syria
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: In 2012 Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran's oil and gas industry, aimed at putting economic pressure on it to change its nuclear policy, have reached an unprecedented level. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, Iran has been in a state of hostility with the US, and has had cool relations, at best, with most European states. Sanctions against official Iranian financial institutions, individuals associated with the Islamic Republic and organisations suspected of being involved in nuclear proliferation activities have been mounting for some time. However, it is only recently that Iran's oil and gas sector has been specifically targeted by both the US and the EU in such a co-ordinated manner. Importantly, this marks the first time since the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the EU member states have collectively put in place sanctions on the export of Iranian crude oil—until now an action that, with a few exceptions, had only been taken by the US. The stakes have therefore been raised in Iran's confrontation with Western powers over the nuclear issue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Islam, Oil, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Riyadh Declaration, which was issued at the end of the GCC meeting in December 2011, calls for efforts to explore creating a “single unity” that could deal with the many challenges facing the Arab Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Bulent Aliriza, Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The partnership between the United States and Turkey, which traces its origins to the Cold War, has gone through constant adjustment since the beginning of the post–Cold War era.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mustafa Kutlay, Osman Bahadir Dinçer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study is to assess Turkey's capacity as a regional power in the Middle East. Within this context, emphasis has been placed on the structural components of Turkey's growing regional influence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Political Economy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Joseph Holliday
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The rebels will have to rely on external lines of supply to replenish their arms and ammunition if they are to continue eroding the regime's control. The emergence of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist cells working against the regime poses risks to the United States and a challenge to those calling for material support of the armed opposition. As the militias continue to face overwhelming regime firepower the likelihood of their radicalization may increase. Moreover, the indigenous rebels may turn to al-Qaeda for high-end weaponry and spectacular tactics as the regime's escalation leaves the rebels with no proportionate response, as occurred in Iraq in 2005-2006. Developing relations with armed opposition leaders and recognizing specific rebel organizations may help to deter this dangerous trend. It is imperative that the United States distinguish between the expatriate political opposition and the armed opposition against the Assad regime on the ground in Syria. American objectives in Syria are to hasten the fall of the Assad regime; to contain the regional spillover generated by the ongoing conflict; and to gain influence over the state and armed forces that emerge in Assad's wake. Therefore, the United States must consider developing relations with critical elements of Syria's armed opposition movement in order to achieve shared objectives, and to manage the consequences should the Assad regime fall or the conflict protract.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, United States, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Germany, Syria
  • Author: Elizabeth O'Bagy
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Policymakers must identify and understand Syria's political opposition, both in exile and on the ground, in order to develop a clear vision of their aims and a better strategy for support. Any successful U.S. policy in Syria should focus on constructing a viable alternative to Assad's government. This report provides detailed information on the diverse groupings of the Syrian political opposition in order to inform the international community's response to the conflict. It distinguishes between the expatriate political opposition and the grassroots protest movement operating on the ground in Syria. Policymakers must come to the understanding that they may not get the chance to sit across the table from a single opposition party, but rather will have to work directly with the nascent political-military structures that have formed at a local level. The key to creating an effective national opposition lies in connecting the established national coalitions with the grassroots political movement. The most well-known and widely recognized established political opposition coalition is the Syrian National Council (SNC ). The SNC is based in Istanbul and functions as a loosely-aligned umbrella organization comprised of seven different blocs: the Muslim Brotherhood, the Damascus Declaration, the National Bloc, the Local Coordination Committee (as representatives of the grassroots movement), the Kurdish Bloc, the Assyrian Bloc, and Independents. The SNC has not meaningfully engaged with local opposition forces, and is losing credibility and influence within Syria as the conflict grows more militarized. The other significant established political opposition coalition is the National Coordination Committee (NCC ). The NCC is based in Damascus and favors a negotiated political settlement and dialogue with the regime. This stance has made the NCC less popular amongst the grassroots opposition movement. The grassroots movement functions at a local and regional level through coordination between the local coordinating committees and revolutionary councils. This movement has become tactically adept, better organized, and more cohesive, developing nascent political structures. The local coordinating committees, called the tansiqiyyat, form the base unit of organization. As the movement has grown, urban centers have developed oversight councils called the revolutionary councils to manage the committees within specific districts. The revolutionary councils are the main organizational structure for the grassroots political opposition. They manage the activities of the tansiqiyyat, organize protests, and coordinate with the armed opposition. The Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) is the largest grassroots coalition. It represents roughly seventy percent of the revolutionary councils and the majority of the local coordinating committees. armed opposition cooperates with the grassroots political opposition and a number of insurgent groups have shown a willingness to work under the guidance of the revolutionary councils. The lack of secure communications equipment has hindered the grassroots opposition's ability to coordinate above the local level because the government retains the overwhelming capacity to monitor, track and suppress greater organization at a national level. The established political coalitions such as the SNC have articulated a national vision for a post-Assad future and have received nominal support from the international community, yet they lack strong networks and popular legitimacy inside Syria. On the other hand, the grassroots political opposition has gained the support of the people, but it lacks a national vision and united front as the basis for international support. The United States must consider adopting a bottom-up strategy that provides better support to the grassroots movement operating within Syria. This entails developing better relations with critical elements of the grassroots movement and working with key individuals who have deep networks of supporters within Syria but also maintain ties to the SNC or the NCC . A bottom-up strategy would provide an avenue for U.S. support that incorporates both national and local opposition groups and encourages the emergence of a legitimate national political leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Armed Struggle, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Rosa Balfour, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The 2011 wave of uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa has prompted policymakers to rethink their approach and bring outdated policies up to speed with a rapidly changing region. To respond to short-term, immediate needs, the United States and EU have made pledges of financial assistance and political support for the Arab countries in transition to stem economic collapse, capitalize on democratic openings and opportunities for growth, and provide incentives to guard against backsliding on reforms.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Ramzy Mardini
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani will be visiting the White House on April 4 and meeting with President Barack Obama. Discussions are likely to involve Kurdish concerns about Iraq's prime minister, but may largely focus on defining what Vice President Joseph Biden termed as a "special relationship" between the U.S. and Kurds during his visit to Arbil last December. Relations between the governments of the United States and Kurdish Region have grown and deepened considerably since the 2003 U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq. The Kurds continued to be staunch proponents of the American presence and ongoing engagement in Iraq.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Stephen Wicken
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Opponents of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have been pushing for his removal from power for much of his second term in office. In recent months, Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani and leaders from the Iraqiyya list have turned to an effort to withdraw confidence in Maliki as prime minister. Iraq's Shi'ite parties, though concerned about Maliki's accumulation of power, have largely abstained from the no-confidence push. Yet the anti-Maliki effort gained new life in mid-April when the powerful Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr intensified his opposition to Maliki and voiced his intention to remove the premier. Sadr's push for a no-confidence vote is an important inflection not only in his own posture towards Maliki, but also in the ongoing political crisis in Iraq. It has prompted a backlash from Iran, which has supported Maliki by seeking to restrain Sadr and to prevent a vote of no confidence. This backgrounder explores the possible calculus and responses of Sadr, Iran, and Maliki as Iraq's governmental stalemate continues to drag on.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Regional Cooperation, Governance, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Jean-loup Samaan
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Eight years after NATO initiated its engagement with Gulf countries through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), the results have been modest, not to say disappointing. True, some recent achievements are worth mentioning: the participation in 2011 of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in Operation Unified Protector in Libya, or the appointment, the same year, of the first UAE Ambassador to NATO, which represented an unprecedented and innovative way to strengthen the partnership.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arabia, United Arab Emirates
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: In its brutal crackdown on civilians, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria has committed mass atrocities. These crimes are not only a human rights catastrophe but also, as the Obama Administration says, a threat to U.S. national security. Yet American diplomatic efforts have failed to curb the violence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Human Rights, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The two rising powers in the Middle East—Turkey and Iran—are neighbors to Iraq, its leading trading partners, and rapidly becoming the most influential external actors inside the country as the U.S. troop withdrawal proceeds. Although there is concern in Washington about bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Iran, their differing visions for the broader Middle East region are particularly evident in Iraq, where a renewal of the historical Ottoman-Persian rivalry in Mesopotamia is likely as the dominant American presence fades. Turkey aims for a robust Iraqi political process in which no single group dominates, sees a strong Iraq as contributing to both its own security and regional stability, and is actively investing in efforts to expand Iraqi oil and gas production to help meet its own energy needs and fulfill its goal of becoming the energy conduit from the Middle East to Europe. Iran prefers a passive neighbor with an explicitly sectarian political architecture that ensures friendly Shiite-led governments; sees a strong Iraq as an inherent obstacle to its own broader influence in the region and, in the nightmare scenario, once again possibly a direct conventional military threat; and looks askance at increased Iraqi hydrocarbon production as possible competition for its own oil exports. Baghdad meanwhile believes that it can become a leader in the Middle East but is still struggling to define an inclusive national identity and develop a foreign policy based on consensus. In its current fractured state, Iraq tends to invites external interference and is subsumed into the wider regional confrontation between the Sunni Arab defenders of the status quo and the “resistance axis” led by Shiite Iran. Turkey has an opening in Iraq because it is somewhat removed from this toxic Arab-Persian divide, welcomes a strong Iraq, and offers the Iraqi economy integration with international markets. Ankara could now allay Iraqi Shiite suspicions that it intends to act as a Sunni power in the country and not allow issues on which Turkish and Iraqi interests deviate to set the tone for their relationship. The U.S. conceptualization of an increased Turkish influence in Iraq as a balance to Iran's is limited and could undermine Turkey's core advantages by steering it towards a counterproductive sectarian approach. A more productive U.S. understanding is of Turkey as a regional power with the greatest alignment of interests in a strong, stable, and selfsufficient country that the Iraqis want and that the Obama administration has articulated as the goal of its Iraq policy. On the regional level, a strong and stable Iraq is a possible pivot for Turkish and Iranian ambitions, enabling Ankara and hindering Tehran. Washington may well have its differences with Turkey's new foreign policy of zero problems with its neighbors, but the Turkish blend of Islam, democracy, and soft power is a far more attractive regional template than the Iranian narrative of Islamic theocracy and hard power resistance. The United States should therefore continue to welcome increased Turkish-Iraqi economic, trade, and energy ties and where possible support their development as a key part of its post-2011 strategy for Iraq and the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Imperialism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Massimiliano Fiore
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The latest IAEA Report suggests that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon capability. Preventing the Islamic Republic from becoming nuclear is the most important issue on Israel's agenda, and Jerusalem will do everything it can to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear capability. Considering the limited impact of international sanctions and covert operations, it is therefore possible that at some point in the next 12-15 months Israel's policy-makers and military officials will decide whether or not to act militarily to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Though the probability of successfully destroying all of Iran's nuclear targets is not very high, Israeli policy-makers and military officials would nevertheless still be extremely satisfied with delaying Iran's nuclear programme. But would it be worth all the trouble it would inevitably unleash? While Israeli fears are understandable, given the heavy costs and poor chances for success of the military option, containment still represents the most sensible policy for Israel.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The revolts sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 have shaken long-held truths about the region. Most strikingly, the sustainability of these regimes has proved a chimera. The events in the region and the many truths they uncovered call for a serious rethink in Western policies towards the region. The aim of this paper is to explore what such a rethink might entail for the European Union. Reviewing the European Neighbourhood Policy by revamping the benefits on offer, reconsidering the effective use of conditionality, establishing adequate monitoring mechanisms and engaging with a plethora of partners both within and beyond the region is imperative. Such a review is contingent on the recognition of a reversed hierarchy of priorities, induced by the force of historical events unfolding in the region. To reverse policy priorities is no small feat, considering the entrenched logic that has sustained Euro-Med policies so far. Nonetheless, various dynamics press for a new way of thinking. The proposals contained in this study constitute concrete steps to rethink the EU's Mediterranean policies in line with the fundamental rights and principles which the Union seeks to advance in its external action.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Haim Malka
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Profound demographic, social, and political transformations are reshaping the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Changes under way in both the United States and Israel have eroded traditional pillars of the relationship, brought new elements to the fore, and contributed to debates in each country about how to defend that country's interests in a rapidly changing strategic environment. Uncertainty is growing about how the United States and Israel can and should cooperate to secure their interests and confront common challenges in a region undergoing dramatic shifts. Even more profoundly, Americans and Israelis increasingly see each other's policy choices as undermining their interests. The trend deepens U.S. doubts of Israel's strategic value and reinforces Israeli fears about U.S. commitments and guarantees to its security.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: F. Gregory Gause III
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There is arguably no more unlikely U.S. ally than Saudi Arabia: monarchical, deeply conservative socially, promoter of an austere and intolerant version of Islam, birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Consequently, there is no U.S. ally less well understood. Many U.S. policymakers assume that the Saudi regime is fragile, despite its remarkable record of domestic stability in the turbulent Middle East. “It is an unstable country in an unstable region,” one congressional staffer said in July 2011. Yet it is the Arab country least affected in its domestic politics by the Arab upheavals of 2011. Many who think it is unstable domestically also paradoxically attribute enormous power to it, to the extent that they depict it as leading a “counterrevolution” against those upheavals throughout the region. 2 One wonders just how “counterrevolutionary” the Saudis are when they have supported the NATO campaign against Muammar al-Qaddafi, successfully negotiated the transfer of power from Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, and condemned the crackdown on protestors by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and how powerful they are when they could do little to help their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: If the democratic transition in Egypt fails and the country adopts a repressive, authoritarian, or theocratic form of government, the consequences could be profound. Failure in Egypt could lead other countries in the region to turn away from the very idea of democratic reform. Of course, democracy in other countries will rise and fall due to local conditions. Nevertheless, if the transition in Egypt succeeds, and the country acquires a democratic, accountable, and efficient form of government, it is likely to become a powerful example and, ultimately, a stabilizing force in a turbulent region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Sally Khalifa Isaac
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: This paper was researched and written before the upheaval in the Arab world. It highlights many aspects of the limitations in NATO's relations with its Arab partners. It argues that the current settings governing NATO-Arab relations feature no concrete cooperation schemes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Celine Touboul
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: This research aims at examining whether NATO could be the provider of an international force to supervise the implementation of an Israeli-Syrian peace treaty. It proceeds by outlining the main characteristics of the peacekeeping mission needed for that task, based on the likely provisions of the future Israeli-Syrian peace treaty.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Ramzy Mardini
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: On October 21, 2011, President Barack Obama announced his decision to withdraw all of the remaining 39,000 U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year. The complete pullout of U.S. forces satisfies the final phase of the withdrawal timetable established by the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement signed in December 2008 by outgoing President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The decision comes after negotiating efforts failed to reach a new security arrangement with Iraq that would have allowed for a continued U.S. military presence beyond 2011. This document compiles and analyzes many of the reactions of Iraq's leaders to the cessation of negotiations and the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The article refutes the often-heard argument that Ankara's recent 'activism' in the Middle East indicates that Turkey is 'drifting away from the West'. Turkey's improving relations with its neighbors (not only in the Middle East), are mainly a result of the end of the Cold War and of domestic developments which have 'unlocked' Turkey, transforming it into a more open and democratic country with an even greater stake in EU membership. At the same time, the many international and domestic changes that have occurred since Turkey was granted candidate status call for a 're-foundation' of the Turkey-EU relationship. Lacking the latter, the future of Turkey-EU relations will indeed remain uncertain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey is launching initiative after ambitious initiative aimed at stabilising the Middle East. Building on the successes of its normalisation with Syria and Iraq, it is facilitating efforts to reduce conflicts, expanding visafree travel, ramping up trade, integrating infrastructure, forging strategic relationships and engaging in multilateral regional platforms. For some, this new activism is evidence that Turkey is turning from its traditional allies in Europe and the United States. In fact, its increased role in the Middle East is a complement to and even dependent on its ties to the West.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Rouba Al-Fattal
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Fifteen years after its launch, the impact of the Barcelona Process on the Palestinian Territories is in need of a reassessment. Despite some initial improvements in the political and economic structures, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership alone has failed to anchor a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. In response, the European Neighbourhood Policy was launched to bring out a number of new foreign policy instruments, which induced substantial reforms. Yet the win by Hamas in the 2006 elections brought a halt to the EU's aid and diplomacy. This boycott proved detrimental, as it widened the rift between the main parties to the point of no reconciliation. Whether the Union for the Mediterranean proves any better than its predecessor policies in the region remains to be seen. This publication aims at providing a broad picture of the EU's policies towards the Palestinian Territories, in order to draw lessons from them and offer proposals for the way ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jean-Paul Marthoz
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This paper is based on interviews with diplomats, experts and political analysts and provides an overview of Turkey's foreign policy, particularly in relation to peacebuilding. In the past year, Turkey has moved to the centre stage on the international scene. After making the headlines with its joint mediation initiative with Brazil on Iran's nuclear issue, in May Ankara clashed with Israel over the storming of the Gaza-bound “humanitarian flotilla”. Suddenly all eyes were on a country situated in this most turbulent and strategic region of the world – a country that had appeared at least until recently to be a reliable and predictable ally of the West, and of Israel. However, the country's actions and reactions should not have come as a surprise. Over the past ten years Turkey has been busy developing a very active foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East and Central Asia. It has reached out to countries traditionally considered as adversaries, such as Russia, Iran and Syria. Ankara has also not been afraid to express its differences and diverge from the West on certain issues, from Cyprus to Armenia to Palestine.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, Armenia, Syria, Cyprus
  • Author: Benjamin Miller, Moran Mandalbaum
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following the post - 2003 US intervention in Iraq, and with a potential US use of force against Iran, one key analytical question stands out, which has major policy implications: Does military defeat by the great powers have stabilizing or de - stabilizing effects on the aggressive behavior of revisionist states? Somewhat similarly to the pre - 2003 Iraq invasion debate, the great powers have a number of options for dealing with the potential Iranian nuclear threat: diplomatic engagement, deterrence, or resort to military power -- either to bring about a regime change, or to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities. Taking into account the possibility of resorting to force against Iran, an intriguing question emerges: what does IR theory lead us to expect -- and what does the historical record show -- with regard to the effects of military defeats on the war - propensity of revisionist states? In other words, why do some militarily defeated states become war - like, while others peaceful?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Germany
  • Author: Jelle Puelings
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: During the last five years, and more specifically since the US invasion of Irak, different Sunni policy makers and religious actors have ventilated their concern for what they see as the rise of Shiite Islam. Although the condemnation of Shiism by more rigorous currents such as Wahhabism is hardly new, recently different governments in the Middle East have taken concrete measures against Shiite actors. The same 'Cold War scenario' the region witnessed immediately after the Iranian Revolution seems to appear again, making Arab Sunni voices reverberate up to Western policy makers, who start to worry themselves about the role of Iran and its allies. In this paper we will try to give an evaluation of this alleged shift in the Sunni-Shi`a power balance, and point out the possible consequences for Belgium and the EU emanating from this controversy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, Belgium
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This report is one in a series commissioned by The Century Foundation to explore issues of interest to American policymakers regarding Russia, aimed at identifying a framework for U.S.-Russian relations and policy options for a new administration and Congress that could help right the two countries' troubled relationship at a crucial juncture. The papers in the series explore significant aspects of U.S.-Russian relations, outlining a broad range of reasons why Russia matters for American foreign policy and framing bilateral and multilateral approaches to Russia for U.S. consideration. A high-level working group, co-chaired by Gary Hart, former U.S. senator from Colorado, and Jack F. Matlock, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, has provided direction to the project and offered recommendations for action that the United States might take.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Bryan Groves
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Military Academy, Department of Social Science
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush relinquishes the reigns as Commander-in-Chief to President Barak Obama, it is fitting to reflect on how the country will remember President Bush in years to come. Whether or not one agrees with his decision to commit U.S. forces to military action against Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq, it is clear that Bush's legacy will largly be determined by how Iraq turns out--whether as a stable, free, and peace-loving democracy or something short of that. There is certainly plenty of room for continued improvement in the conditions on the ground and ample time for the political, security, and economic situation to yet deteriorate. Yet, since "The Surge" and the change in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, developments in Iraq have taken a fundamentally and undeniably positive turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Candidate Obama pledged that his Middle East policy would include re-engagement with Syria; President Obama will find that the past is not easily overcome. The reasons behind his vow remain pertinent. Syria holds important cards in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, is Iran's most important Arab ally and has substantial influence over Hamas and Hizbollah. There are indications of potential common ground on which to build, from resuming Israeli-Syrian negotiations, to consolidating progress in Iraq to blunting the rise of jihadi militancy and sectarianism. But significant obstacles to healthy, mutually beneficial relations remain, along with a legacy of estrangement and distrust. They dictate the need for a prudent approach that seeks first to rebuild ties and restore confidence. It will be critical to reassure Damascus that the U.S. is interested in improving relations and resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, not in regime change. It is also equally critical not to compromise on core principles such as Lebanon's sovereignty or the integrity of the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Robin Niblett
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: During his inaugural address on 20 January 2009, Barack Obama declared to 'all other peoples and governments, who are watching today, know that we are ready to lead once more'. In the following four weeks to the publication of this report, President Obama has set the United States on a course that is meeting widespread approval around the world. He has ordered the closure as soon as possible of the Guantánamo Bay detention facilities and of other secret facilities outside the United States that had so undermined America's international credibility with its allies and confirmed the anti-US narrative of its opponents. He has appointed special envoys for Middle East Peace and to implement an integrated strategy for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has offered to 'seek a new way forward' with the Muslim world as well as to 'extend a hand' to authoritarian governments if they are willing 'to unclench [their] fist'. His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said that America will be more effective if it can 'build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries'. Both have recognized the virtues of pragmatism over ideology and the reality of interdependence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The top concern for both Riyadh and Damascus remains blowback from Iraq: the ascendance of ethnic and sectarian identity and the spread of Islamist militancy. The need to contain this threat is the dominant force that shapes their relations with Iraq. Both Syria and Saudi Arabia have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq's emerging political order is inclusive of Sunni Arab Iraqis, who have not yet been fully incorporated into Iraqi institutions. Syria and Saudi Arabia do not look at Iraq in isolation, nor do they assign it top priority among their foreign policy concerns. For them, Iraq is merely one element in a comprehensive view encompassing other regional players (including the U.S. and Iran) and other regional crises, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lingering resentment and bitterness toward Washington is now mixed with intense curiosity and modest optimism about President Barack Obama. Saudis still bristle when recalling how the Bush Administration sidelined Riyadh on Iraqi matters; as do Syrians, who believe the previous administration was intent on isolating and undermining Damascus. Iraq remains very much isolated in its neighborhood. Recent Progress on regional cooperation notwithstanding, these two neighbors are still focused more on containment than engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Matthew J. Sheiffer
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Military Academy, Department of Social Science
  • Abstract: It is become common to argue that a special relationship exists between the United States and Israel and that this relationship explains unconditional American support for Israeli policies. These arguments generally focus on the period after the 1967 war. This makes examination of the period immediately before this time especially useful for understanding the nature of American relations with Israel. If this period marks the beginning of a special relationship, then there should be initial indicators of that relationship and its impact on the policy making process. In 1967, American policy was initially designed to accomplish the relatively modest goal of preventing an Israeli preemptive attack while building support for a multilateral plan to reopen the Gulf of Aqaba. Yet, the United States ultimately failed to achieve either objective. Given the potential danger of war to American interests, a strategic analysis of this case might predict active and vigorous efforts, using all aspects of American power, to prevent conflict. The puzzle is why this did not occur. By examining a purely systemic explanation for American actions in 1967, this paper will explore the complexities and tensions in the United States-Israel relationship in 1967 and investigate the nature through which domestic politics and decision making factors influence American foreign policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Pessimism about the progress of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds has risen sharply in recent years. Negative developments in a variety of countries, such as military coups, failed elections, and the emergence of antidemocratic populist leaders, have caused some observers to argue that democracy is in retreat and authoritarianism on the march. A broad look at the state of democracy around the world reveals however that although the condition of democracy is certainly troubled in many places, when viewed relative to where it was at the start of this decade, democracy has not lost ground in the world overall. The former Soviet Union is the one region where democracy has clearly slipped backward in this decade, primarily as a result of Russia's authoritarian slide. The Middle East has also been a source of significant disappointment on democracy but mostly in comparison with unrealistic expectations that were raised by the Bush administration. In most of the rest of the world good news with respect to democratization is found in roughly equal proportion to bad news and considerable continuity has prevailed as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Muriel Asseburg
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Middle East peace conferences in Madrid (1991) and Washington (1991–1993), Europeans have gradually stepped up their political involvement in the Middle East. While Europeans have had strong trade and cultural relations with their neighboring region for decades, they have, in parallel with the Middle East peace process and the development of European Union (EU) foreign policy instruments, moved to assert their political interests more forcefully. These policies have largely been motivated by geographic proximity and geopolitical considerations—chiefly, the fear of security threats emanating from Europe's neighborhood (a spillover of conflict in the form of terrorism, organized crime, migration, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction), Israel's security, and access to energy resources. The implicit assumption has been that these different European interests can best be reconciled in an environment where there is peace between Israel and its neighbors (and therefore no contradiction between good relations between the EU and Israel and good relations between the EU and the wider, resource-rich region) and where the people of the Mediterranean and the Middle East find decent living conditions in their countries. As a consequence, Europeans have first focused their efforts on the realization of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian confl ict, which they consider to be the core of the region's instability. They have, second, aimed at supporting comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbors. And they have, third, sought to provide an environment conducive to peace in the region as well as to deflect what were (and still are) perceived as security risks emanating from the region.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg, Eriks Berzins
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On February 23, 2009, the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), together with the United Nations Association-USA and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, held a roundtable discussion among top Middle East experts and former United States Government officials. Held at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the meeting's purpose was to discuss prospects for creating a diplomatic framework through which the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran can address issues of common concern in the Middle East and South Asia, and in so doing, advance an engagement dynamic that might eventually open the doors for rapprochement between the two countries.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Rami G. Khouri
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: With its army and its diplomatic posture, the American administration is now deeply part of the Middle East. Many of the problems of the region have been clearly aggravated, and in some cases sparked, by American policy, though many of them are a joint venture between Arabs and is, between Tirrks and Iranians, and between Europeans of different nationalities. But because the United States is such a decisive player in the Middle East, it has inordinate power to affect things in the region for good or for bad.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Elizabeth F. Thompson
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Foreign affairs experts routinely use historical analogy to develop and justify policy. However, as professional historians have long noted, attractive analogies often lead to bad policies. Officials regularly choose analogies that neglect or distort the historical case they aim to illuminate. Nonetheless, history can be used effectively in international relations. To do so, practitioners must first recognize the difference between historical analogy and precedent. Historical precedent, drawn from the past of the region in question, is a safer guide to policy than historical analogy, which is based on comparisons to events in other regions. Because historical precedent is a self-limiting form of analogy restricted to a certain place, people, and time, it provides a better indication of how a certain society understands and responds to a given situation. The recent U.S. intervention in Iraq highlights the misuses of history: American leaders employed analogies to World War II to justify the invasion and to predict success in establishing a democratic regime after. These analogies proved to be a poor guide to nation building in the short term. In the long term, they have deeply aggravated U.S. relations with Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world. A more effective use of history would have been to refer to the precedent of World War I, a crucial moment when American policy could have supported indigenous Arab constitutional democracy—but, fatefully, did not. For the new administration, the Arabs' experience of “justice interrupted” after World War I can still be a useful touchstone for promoting democracy in the region. This precedent alerts us that foreign intervention can spark a deep-seated and negative political reaction in the postcolonial Arab world and that reform in Arab politics must begin with respect for national sovereignty. It also reminds us that constitutionalism and the desire to participate in the community of international law are enduring values in Arab politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Martin Beck
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The present article aims to analyze the effects of high oil prices since 2003 on Iran. The theoretical basis of the analysis is the rentier state approach, the basic element of which is that rents are at the free disposal of the rentier. Empirically, the paper examines the issue areas of foreign policy, domestic policy and economic policy. After proving that the oil price—despite fluctuations—has constantly been at a high level in the first decade of the twenty‐first century, the discussion demonstrates that Iran has used the increased rent in‐come to support a populist policy. In terms of economic policy, the regime has pursued a redistributive strategy. The country's foreign policy, particularly the ostentatiously pursued atomic program, has been very expensive since it provoked sanctions whose costs were initially balanced only by high rent income. Yet, in his first term, Ahmadinejad failed to prepare Iran for the situation that has occurred as a result of the global financial crisis: the redistributive policy of the regime has meant that an oil price below US$70 or US$75 now constitutes a severe challenge for the Iranian state budget.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Markets, Oil, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As they emerge from conflict, states can rarely commence the arduous task of reconstruction and consolidate their governments until they undertake extensive restructuring of their security forces. Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen are all fractured, quasi-democratic states with divided societies, and deep disagreement over what constitutes the national interest. Successful reform in each will require security institutions that answer to democratically-elected civilian leaders, but the U.S. and European approach has thus far focused largely on providing military training and equipment, targeted toward counterterrorist capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Gregory Orfalea
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Barack Obama said in the first presidential primary in Iowa in March 2007: "I'm not running to conform to Washington's conventional thinking-I'm running to challenge it...We've had enough of politicians who put power over principle" Such strong words are downright revolutionary considering how business is normally conducted in this country concerning the Israel-Palestine dispute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Edward Burke, Ana Echagüe, Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: European foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a highly fragmented construction. Since the mid-1990s the EU's policies with Maghreb and Mashreq countries have been pursued under the rubric of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP), the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and now the Mediterranean Union. This plethora of highly institutionalised initiatives has been developed with negligible linkage to policy in the rest of the Middle East. Relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council remain low key and strikingly disconnected from the EMP. Contrary to its rhetorical emphasis on supporting regional integration around the world, the EU has failed to build its strategy towards Iran and Iraq into a regional security framework. Even more reproachable, given its credibility and influence in the economic sphere has been the EU's inability to foster regional economic integration between the Mediterranean and the Gulf.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Henri J. Barkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The consequences of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq will doubtless be debated for years to come. One result, however, is already clear: the long suppressed nationalist aspirations of the Kurdish people now dispersed across four states—Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria—have been aroused, perhaps irrevocably, by the war. Already in Iraq, Kurdish regions, which have benefited from Saddam Hussein's overthrow, have consolidated themselves into a federal region. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is a reality and a force for further Kurdish empowerment as it seeks to incorporate other Kurdish-majority areas and the oil-rich Kirkuk province in particular into its domain. The KRG's existence and demands have already alarmed all of Iraq's neighbors and the Baghdad government. The issues are far from being settled. If ignored or badly handled, Kurdish aspirations have the potential to cause considerable instability and violence in Iraq and beyond at a particularly delicate time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nationalism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's “responsible redeployment” from Iraq is made even more urgent by the requirements resulting from worsening conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For redeployment to occur on scale and on schedule, the United States seeks an end-state in Iraq that is stable and at peace with its neighbors. Simmering sectarian violence is inevitable, but it will not break Iraq. However, ethnic conflict between Arabs and Kurds could escalate into a major conflagration with regional implications.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian, Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Punctuated by conflict in Iraq, an ascendant ran, and continued instability in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, rising volatility in the Middle East threatens U.S. interests in the region. Meanwhile, sectarianism, al-Qaeda–inspired terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) all serve as troubling overlays to this complex mix. Mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has yet to develop a comprehensive strategic framework that addresses these interrelated challenges. Instead, U.S. policy has been largely crisis-driven, attempting to put out fires by confronting issues on an ad hoc basis rather than seeking to respond to the underlying forces and tensions that catalyze conflict and instability in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Harvey Sapolsky, Christopher Preble
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Foreign policy experts and policy analysts are misreading the lessons of Iraq. The emerging conventional wisdom holds that success could have been achieved in Iraq with more troops, more cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and better counterinsurgency doctrine. To analysts who share these views, Iraq is not an example of what not to do but of how not to do it. Their policy proposals aim to reform the national security bureaucracy so that we will get it right the next time.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iran has been a significant player in the Middle East, influencing and being influenced by its neighbors since long before the advent of the petrodollar or the Islamic revolution of 1979. But in the past five years, Iran's regional power has expanded considerably. Benefit - ing from Bush administration policies—especially the toppling of Saddam Hussein—as well as record oil prices, Iran has deepened its relationships with militant factions in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine and accelerated a nuclear program that could give it the ability to make atomic weapons within the next few years. President Bush, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and other administration officials have repeatedly labeled Iran a major, if not the major, threat to U.S. interests and U.S. allies in the Middle East. Yet Iran's reach remains constrained by an open-ended U.S. military presence in the region, domestic weakness, and historic divisions between Arabs and Persians, Sunnis and Shiites, and among Shiites. Though happy to take advantage of power vacuums, Iran neither wants nor is able to recreate the Persian Empire, nor is it about to become a second Soviet Union. As Mohammad Atrianfar, a veteran publisher of Iranian reformist newspapers, said in a March interview in Tehran, “We are not going to stretch our legs beyond the capacity of our carpets.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Section 1207 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of FY 2006 and FY 2007 authorized the Defense Department (DOD) to provide up to $200 million over two years in funds, services, and defense articles to the State Department (DOS) for security, reconstruction, and stabilization. The DOD transferred over $99 million in Section 1207 assistance to the DOS to fund projects in Haiti ($20m), Somalia ($25m), Nepal ($10m), Colombia ($4m), trans- Sahara Africa ($15m), Yemen ($8.8m), and Southeast Asia ($16.9m). Congress's intent in authorizing this program was to jump start the new State Department Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. It was also to promote a “whole of government” approach to security-assistance programs. After two years' experience, publication of principles and guidelines for 1207 project applications should solve problems resulting from a lack of awareness of the program and confusion over leadership and application procedures. Adding USAID to the decision-making Technical Advisory Committee should remove the largest source of interagency tension that has troubled the program. Greater clarity is needed concerning the relative weight of the program's priorities, which include security, counterterrorism, stabilization, and reconstruction and avoiding the need to deploy U.S. military forces. There is a need for the DOD and DOS to provide additional resources to embassies that are expected to complete a relatively complicated application form. There is also a need for the DOD to streamline the provision of funds so the money arrives in real time before circumstances change and projects cannot be implemented. Ultimately, the DOS and DOD need to honor the intent of Congress and request that Congress appropriate funds directly to the DOS for these projects.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Central America
  • Author: Richard Dalton(ed.)
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The dispute over Iran's nuclear programme is deadlocked. Five years of negotiations, proposals, UN resolutions and sanctions have failed to achieve a breakthrough. As diplomacy struggles and Iran continues to advance its nuclear capabilities, the issue becomes ever more grave and pressing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Mark G. Czelusta
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Donald Rumsfeld's vision of a transformed United States military has been discussed by many and understood by few. It is no surprise that this lack of understanding has resulted in both significant simplifications and sweeping generalizations, to include the Reuters headline noted above. Even the term, “Rumsfeld's Transformation,” accounts for neither the historical influences that led to his vision, nor the multiple components of this transformational effort.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Jean du Preez (ed)
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: With the support of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Aff airs, the Monterey Nonproliferation Strategy Group (MNSG) has focused its work over the past two years on specifi c issues that have a direct bearing on the strength and vitality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). To date, the strategy group's agenda has included ways and means to eliminate the threat of fi ssile material; renewed commitments and new approaches to verifi cation of and compliance with the nuclear nonproliferation regime; practical and achievable nuclear arms reduction and disarmament; the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East; and nuclear challenges and policy options for the next U.S. administration.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Danielle Pletka, Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberly Kagan
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The conflict between Iran and the United States began in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution and the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran. Born partly of ideological differences and partly of real and perceived differing national interests, it has continued, alternately hot and cold, for almost three decades and seems unlikely to end soon. Like most previous conflicts, its conclusion cannot be foreseen. Many such struggles, like the Anglo-German tensions between 1871 and 1945 and the centuries-long tensions between Britain and France, lead to full-scale war. Others, like the Anglo-Russian or Russian-Ottoman tensions throughout the nineteenth century, lead to more limited conflict. And some, like the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, are resolved without direct armed confrontation. One key to resolving any such conflict is understanding both the nature of the enemy and the scope of the conflict—insights that have eluded most Americans and, indeed, many Iranians. This report addresses this lack of understanding and argues that while neither Americans nor Iranians desire full-scale military confrontation, Iranian activism and American passivity are contributing to a drift toward war.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, Iran, Middle East, France, Germany, Syria
  • 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: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Manouchehr Mottaki is the Foreign Minister of Iran. In this interview with Nermeen Shaikh, he argues that the US must propose a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, while maintaining that an immediate withdrawal might "create problems". Foreign Minister Mottaki rules out the possibility of any kind of military confrontation between Iran and the US, saying the latter cannot afford to undertake another conflict in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Leslie Gelb is currently President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was previously a correspondent and editor at the New York Times. In this extensive interview with Nermeen Shaikh at Asia Society, covering Iraq, Iran, the rise of China, and the new constraints on US power, Dr Gelb explains why he was initially in favor of a three-state partition of Iraq, and his advocacy now of a decentralized, federal state structure. He elaborates on his subsequent work with Senator Joe Biden on a plan for Iraq. In responding to a question about Russia, Dr Gelb says that the proposed US missile defense system is "nonsense", and on the issue of Iran's nuclear program, Dr Gelb insists that talks are essential and that the military option cannot be ruled out.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq, New York, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Latin America
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Ambassador Sadegh Kharazi has served twice as Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister. He was Iran's ambassador to the UN from 1989 to 1995, and to France from 2002 to 2005. Ambassador Kharazi has also worked as senior assistant to Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, as well as to President Mohammad Khatami, who served from 1997-2005 as Iran's reformist leader (his successor is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). In addition Ambassador Kharazi has served as chairman of the OIC Summit in Iran.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Ariel Cohen is Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security at the Sarah and Douglas Allison Center of the Davis Institute for International Studies at the Heritage Foundation. He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, and the Association for the Study of Nationalities. Dr Cohen spoke to Nermeen Shaikh on April 22nd in Almaty, Kazakhstan, at the Eurasian Media Forum. In the interview, Dr Cohen speaks about the war in Iraq, the privatization of oil and gas development, Eurasian regional politics, and the role of the US in the area.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Central Asia, Eurasia, Middle East, Kazakhstan, London
  • Author: Michael Greenstone
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: There is a paucity of facts about the effects of the recent military “Surge” on conditions in Iraq and whether it is paving the way for a stable Iraq. Selective, anecdotal and incomplete analyses abound. Policy makers and defense planners must decide which measures of success or failure are most important, but until now few, if any, systematic analyses were available on which to base those decisions. This paper applies modern statistical techniques to a new da ta file derived from more than a dozen of the most reliable and widely-cited sources to assess the Surge's impact on three key dimensions: the functioning of the Iraqi state (including civilian casualties); military casualties; and financial markets' assessment of Iraq's future. The new and unusually rigorous findings presented here should help inform current evaluations of the Surge and provide a basis for better decision making about future strategy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The pro-reform AK Party's resounding victory in the July 2007 parliamentary elections gives both it and the European Union (EU) a chance to relaunch Turkey's accession process, which has floundered since 2005 due to Europe's enlargement fatigue and a neo-nationalist backlash in the country. That process, pursued with real application, has the capacity to help both sides. Popular opinion may show fatigue but leaders and diplomats need to keep avenues open for when political confidence returns, as past experience with the enlargement process suggests it can.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Rend Al-Rahim Francke
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: People who live in the red zone have mixed experiences of the security situation. Residents of some “hot” neighborhoods of Baghdad say that the presence of Americans has a deterrent effect on militias, gangs and snipers—and thus gives comfort to citizens- - whereas Iraqi forces, including the police, army units, or pesh merga sent down from Kurdistan, do little to confront trouble-makers. For example, some neighborhoods within the larger Amiriya district have benefited from U.S. intervention, while others, such as Furat and Jihad, are still in conflict because U.S. forces have not intervened and Iraqi police and army do a poor job of stopping violence and intimidation. The higher U.S. profile is also credited for a decline in the number of suicide bombings and a decrease in mass sectarian killings and kidnappings in the city. Another factor contributing to a sense of greater safety in Baghdad is the success of U.S.-Iraqi force in the area south of Baghdad (the so-called Triangle of Death), where Sunni tribes have recently cooperated with U.S. forces. Residents of some neighborhoods said that for the first time in over a year they have been able to shop in their area in relative peace and stay out after dark.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East, Baghdad