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  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the 1990s the United States and its allies enjoyed a much sought-after period of prosperity and tranquility following the end of the Cold War. In hindsight, however, it is now apparent that Al Qaeda, a fiercely anti-American global terrorist network, was taking root in over sixty countries during this period, culminating in the devastating September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. The Bush administration, which had entered office determined to secure U.S. primacy amid the emergence of major power centers in Asia, such as China, soon found itself forced to confront a worldwide Islamist insurgency. This study analyzes the relevance of terrorist groups as substatal actors in international politics, their influence on deeper dynamics of the international system, and the challenges facing the United States posed by transnational terrorist organizations. It argues that international terrorism, although currently salient, does not necessarily replace or even alter the traditional concerns of international politics, but rather subsists among them. On balance, the United States has managed these interlocking challenges with partial success, and needs to pay greater attention to pursuing the legitimacy and protecting the economic foundations of its power. Failing to do so, or waging a poorly defined “war against all,” carries the risk of far-reaching economic and political reverberations that may, in the not-too-distant future, enervate the United States, undermine its legitimacy as the sole superpower, and gradually erode continued American dominance in the world order.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, New York, Washington, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Eva Bellin
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA) has languished in economic stagnation and lassitude. At a time when the logic of market-driven reform and exportoriented growth has become nearly canonical worldwide, the MENA region has proven steadfastly unenthusiastic about reform, shutting itself out of the benefits of economic globalization and falling behind most other regions in economic development. At the same time, the MENA region has distinguished itself by spurning another worldwide trend: democratization. As democracy has spread in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East has remained largely authoritarian, experiencing at most only mild liberalizing political reforms. This dual resistance to world trends is intriguing and resurrects the question of the relationship between political and economic reform. Is this dual resistance to reform coincidental? And what does this resistance say about whether and how Western policy makers and aid practitioners should try to link or sequence their efforts to promote political and economic reform in the region?
  • Topic: Globalization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North Africa
  • Author: Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: BETWEEN 2002 AND 2004, THE UNITED STATES ACCORDED new prominence to political and economic reform and democratization as policy goals in the Middle East. Continuing that trend and translating rhetoric into effective strategies both depend on whether reform and democratization become fully integrated into the U.S. policy agenda in the region. Can the United States promote change at the risk of instability in the region while it remains dependent on petroleum from Arab countries? Can it pursue Arab–Israeli peace and democratization at the same time? Can the United States still secure needed military and counterterrorism cooperation if it antagonizes friendly regimes by promoting democratization as well? Is it feasible for the United States to promote democratization effectively amid widespread grievances against the war in Iraq and serious questions about U.S. human rights practices there and in Afghanistan?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Graham E. Fuller
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: ARE ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY COMPATIBLE? And are Islamists willing to accept a democratic order and work within it? Debate has swirled around these two grand questions for decades and has produced a broad variety of responses, often quite polarized. Whatever we may think about Islamists, the topic matters vitally because in the Middle East today they have few serious ideological rivals in leading opposition movements against a failing status quo. These Islamist movements are characterized by rapid growth, evolution, change, and diversification. In the Arab world the only ideological competition comes from Arab nationalism, the left, and liberal democracy, in diminishing order of size and importance. More significantly, since the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001, and the declaration of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, Arab nationalists and the left increasingly share a common cause with the Islamists in the face of growing political confrontation with the United States. This rising hostility shows no abatement as yet and permits political Islam (Islamism) to gain ever greater ground.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: George Perkovich, Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews, Alexis Orton
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: If history is any guide, the war and subsequent occupation and reconstruction of Iraq will shape U.S. relations with the Arab world—and perhaps with the whole Muslim world—for decades, just as prior military occupations altered U.S. relations with Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. What happens in Iraq is also likely to profoundly affect whether and with what degree of effort and success states choose to work together to constrain the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The war and its aftermath will affect U.S. foreign relations, influence U.S. policies regarding future armed interventions, and alter the international struggle against terrorism. It is a massive understatement, then, to say that a great deal is at stake, on the ground in Iraq, around the world, and in the lessons for the future that will be drawn here at home.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush has suggested that other nations— Iran, North Korea, Syria—follow the example of Libya, which increased its own security by ending links with terrorist groups and surrendering weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. Some commentators are taking a second lesson from the Libya case: The United States will forgo its declared interest in democratization and reform if a country takes positive security-related steps and has enough petroleum to offer. The United States needs to correct this impression. It has the opportunity to do so through pursuing incremental political reform and human rights improvements in Libya even while relieving sanctions and developing relations. From pressing for repeal of limits on free expression to the prosecution of cases of torture, there are many ways Washington can use its leverage to urge long-term political change that will not come about through economic liberalization alone.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: THE CENTRAL DILEMMA OF DEMOCRATIC reform in Arab countries can be summed up fairly simply. Presidents and kings remain too powerful, untrammeled by the limits imposed by effective parliaments and independent judiciaries. Countervailing institutions remain weak, if they exist at all, not only because constitutions and laws deliberately keep them that way, but also because they are not backed by organized citizens demanding political rights, participation, and government accountability. This does not mean that there is no desire for democracy on the part of Arab publics. Recent opinion surveys suggest that in the abstract there is strong support for more open political systems, increased protection of human rights, and broader personal liberties. However, the existence of a general, diffuse sense that democracy is a good thing is quite different from the existence of organized constituencies that provide a counterweight to the authoritarianism of incumbent governments. The demand, or better the desire, for democracy is present in the Arab world today; what is lacking is a supply of broad-based political organizations pushing for democracy—political parties, social movements, labor unions, large civic organizations. Unless such constituencies develop, the future of democracy remains extremely uncertain. In many countries, governments anxious to burnish their modern image will continue to introduce modest reforms. Until the governments face stronger pressure from organized citizens, however, they will not take steps to truly curb the power of the executive by strengthening checks and balances and allowing unfettered political participation.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: DELIBERATION OF DEMOCRACY PROMOTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST intensified after the attacks of 9/11, and has been further energized by the transatlantic debates that were progeny of the Iraqi conflict. More intense debate over support for political change in the Middle East has forced the United States and Europe into a closer exploration of each other's actual and intended approaches to democracy promotion in the region. Debates have centered, in particular, on preparations for June's Group of Eight (G8) and EU–U.S. summits and the United States' proposed Greater Middle East Initiative. While many in the U.S. bemoan European irresolution, others acknowledge the need for American policy to understand and harness the EU's more pervasive presence in much of the Middle East. While Europeans express dismay at the Bush administration's heavy-handed instrumentalism, they have also been forced to engage with new U.S. initiatives that appear to heed the EU's own pleas for a focus on the root causes of instability. With the U.S. and EU eyeing each other over the parapets of their Iraqi-inspired wrangles, it is an opportune moment to delineate and critically assess how Europeans have developed their democracy promotion policies in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bush administration is preparing to launch a “Greater Middle East Initiative” at the G-8 summit meeting in June. The plan is to bring the United States, Europe, and the Middle East together around a set of commitments to help transform the region politically and economically. The time is indeed opportune for engagement on regional reform, but as planned, the initiative fails to establish a basis for genuine partnership and does little to address the real challenges of Arab democratization. The administration should rethink its approach and start a new process of genuine consultations to come to an agreement on how all three sides can work cooperatively to address the regional problems that threaten the security of Arab societies and the West.
  • Topic: Democratization, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq is obviously the overwhelming focus of the Bush administration's policy of attempting to transform the Middle East into a zone of liberal democracies. The United States is also trying to formulate a second, more gradual track of democracy promotion for the authoritarian and semiauthoritarian Arab states that make up the rest of the region. Strengthening civil society is often proposed as a key element of a U.S. strategy for this second track of Middle Eastern democracy promotion.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS MADE THE PROMOTION OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS and the empowerment of women a central element of its new campaign to modernize and democratize the Arab world. The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the major program through which the United States seeks to facilitate the transformation of the Arab world, makes women's rights one of its priorities. No official U.S. speech about reform in the Middle East fails to mention the cause of women's rights. And the issue of women is sure to be raised at meetings where Middle East affairs are discussed, regardless of the main purpose of the gathering.
  • Topic: Democratization, Gender Issues, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As part of the changed U.S. geostrategic outlook arising from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, the Bush administration is giving greatly heightened attention to the issue of promoting democracy in the Middle East. Although a policy of coercive regime change has been applied in Iraq, in most of the region the administration is pursuing a more gradualist model of political change that emphasizes diplomatic pressure and democracy-related aid.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: No American administration has talked more about democracy in the Middle East than the Bush administration. The president and his advisors have spoken optimistically about a post-Saddam democracy in Iraq, one that might eventually become a veritable light to other Arab nations. This grand vision assumes that sooner or later, advocates of democracy throughout the Middle East will demand the same freedoms and rights that Iraqis are now claiming. Yet, however inspiring this vision appears, the actual reform plan that the administration has thus far set out is unlikely to produce radical changes in the Arab world. Regardless of how dramatic the change in Baghdad is, when it comes to our friends in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Yemen, the administration's reform plan points to evolution rather than revolution.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since early last year, the Bush administration has paid unaccustomed attention to the issue of democracy in the Middle East. Following September 11, many U. S. officials have worried that the authoritarianism of most Arab regimes has bred frustration in their countries, and this frustration has in turn favored the growth of terrorist organizations. U.S. discussions about the need for democracy in the Middle East have triggered a strong negative reaction by Arab commentators and journalists, including in discussions of democracy in the Arab press. However, very little of this writing has dealt with the problem of democracy in the real sense—that is, with the issue of how Arab governments relate to their citizens now and how they should relate to their citizens in the future. Instead, Arab commentators have treated democracy as a foreign policy issue, asking why the United States is suddenly discussing democracy in the Arab world and what true intentions it is trying to hide behind the smoke screen of democracy talk. The debate in the Arab press reveals some of the obstacles that the United States faces as it attempts to define its new pro-democracy role in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: George Perkovich, Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: American televisions are filled with war rooms, countdowns, deadlines, and showdowns with Iraq. The almost minute by minute coverage distorts public understanding of how inspections work and creates a false sense of the inevitability of war. No decision has in fact been made. Within the administration some indeed intend the buildup as the prelude to war while for others it presents the credible threat of war that is necessary to compel Iraq's disarmament through inspections.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Judith Yaphe
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bush administration's plans for post-Saddam Iraq beyond the initial occupation remain uncertain. In developing those plans, the administration needs to take a hard look at the reality of the country. Iraq is not a political blank slate, to be transformed at American will into a democratic, secular, pluralist, and federal state. Instead, it is a difficult country with multiple social groups and power centers with conflicting agendas. Some of these, such as the intelligence and security services, will be replaced with new versions acceptable to the United States and the future government. The top echelons of the military, government ministries, and the Ba'th Party will be eliminated. Other power centers, however, will remain, adding to the problems of reconciling rival ethnic and religious factions as well as internally and externally based opposition elements.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Thomas Carothers, Amy Hawthorne, Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The increasingly popular idea in Washington that the United States, by toppling Saddam Hussein, can rapidly democratize Iraq and unleash a democratic tsunami in the Middle East is a dangerous fantasy. The U.S. record of building democracy after invading other countries is mixed at best and the Bush administration's commitment to a massive reconstruction effort in Iraq is doubtful. The repercussions of an intervention in Iraq will be as likely to complicate the spread of democracy in the Middle East as promote it. The United States has an important role to play in fostering democracy in the region, but the task will be slow and difficult given the unpromising terrain and lack of U.S. leverage over key governments.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Following the September 11 atrocities, a senior U.S. administration official declared that Iran and the United States “see the situation pretty much the same way,” and thus would probably “cooperate” in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda. This prediction soon became reality. Tehran not only contributed to the rout of the Taliban by supplying food and arms to the Northern Alliance, it also provided military advisers, some of whom probably passed their American counterparts along the road to Kabul.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran, Middle East