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  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: IN EARLY 2017, Iraqi security forces (ISF) are likely to liberate Mosul from Islamic State control. But given the dramatic comebacks staged by the Islamic State and its predecessors in the city in 2004, 2007, and 2014, one can justifiably ask what will stop IS or a similar movement from lying low, regenerating, and wiping away the costly gains of the current war. This paper aims to fill an important gap in the literature on Mosul, the capital of Ninawa province, by looking closely at the underexplored issue of security arrangements for the city after its liberation, in particular how security forces should be structured and controlled to prevent an IS recurrence. Though “big picture” political deals over Mosul’s future may ultimately be decisive, the first priority of the Iraqi-international coalition is to secure Mosul. As John Paul Vann, a U.S. military advisor in Vietnam, noted decades ago: “Security may be ten percent of the problem, or it may be ninety percent, but whichever it is, it’s the first ten percent or the first ninety percent. Without security, nothing else we do will last.”
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, International Security, Reconstruction, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Tal Becker
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amid efforts to relaunch and sustain Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israel's claim for recognition as a Jewish state continues to generate controversy. While Israel's leaders have insisted that such recognition is fundamental to any peace agreement, Palestinian and other Arab leaders have responded to the claim with consistent and widespread antipathy. To begin to explore how this issue might be appropriately addressed in the context of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is necessary to place the claim for recognition in its historical, political, and strategic context. We must consider the nature and legitimacy of the interests at stake and examine the alternatives for addressing them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Ghaith al-Omari, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Palestinian decision to appeal to the UN is rooted in frustration with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government and the conviction that negotiations are futile at the moment. Furthermore, they believe that President Obama's efforts, while admirable, will not produce results. These beliefs -- combined with the sense of urgency imparted by the Arab Spring and the growing perception that the Palestinian leadership can no longer back down from the initiative -- makes it likely that they will head to the UN this month as planned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, United Nations
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 6 -- Christmas Eve according to the Eastern Orthodox calendar -- six Coptic Christians and a policeman were killed in a drive-by shooting while exiting church in Naga Hammadi, Upper Egypt. The attack, which came in retaliation to an alleged rape of a twelve-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian man, was the largest assault on Copts in Egypt since a January 2000 massacre left twenty dead in Sohag. The days since the shooting have been marked by violent clashes and the burning of Christian and Muslim property. These developments have unfolded against the background of increased political pressure on Islamists -- evoking the 1990s, when the killing of Copts by Islamist militants was a routine occurrence and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was banned from political participation. Thus, while Naga Hammadi might be an isolated incident, it could also presage the return of Egypt's Islamists to the bloody sectarian attacks of the 1990s.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell will return to the region next week in a bid to restart talks that have been stalled since the beginning of the Obama administration. In a television interview earlier this month, Mitchell declared that he would like to complete peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians within two years, if not sooner. Senior U.S. officials, including President Obama, have called for an unconditional return to the negotiating table. The official position of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is that talks cannot resume until Israel extends its settlement moratorium to east Jerusalem. He also wants the pre-1967 boundaries to serve as the baseline for negotiations. At the same time, he has made a statement indicating that he regrets how he reached his current position, hinting that the current impasse does not serve the Palestinian people's interests. Is there more convergence between the two sides than is readily apparent?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Robert Satloff, Jacob Walles
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The absence of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the past year is both surprising and troubling given the high priority President Obama assigned to resolving the conflict. The failure to resume talks stems largely from a lack of urgency on both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Arab Countries
  • Author: Stephen Tankel
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In his February 2 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair highlighted the growing danger posed by Pakistani militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Calling the group a "special case," he asserted that it is "becoming more of a direct threat and is placing Western targets in Europe in its sights." He also expressed concern that it could "actively embrace" a more anti-Western agenda. Given its global capabilities with regard to fundraising, logistics, support, and operations, LeT could pose a serious threat to U.S. interests. Consequently, weakening it should be a high priority for Washington.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji, David Cvach, Ali Alfoneh
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The means for assessing political fissures in Iran are by nature very limited and have become even more so since the June 12, 2009, election. Independent studies and data on the Iranian public, such as opinion polling, are sparse and not useful, and the Iranian press follows very strict red lines in discussing politics. Western diplomats in Iran are also restrained from understanding the political environment due to the oppressively formal nature of relations with Iranian officials, who rarely discuss sensitive issues with their Western counterparts. The latter are thus forced to gather information anecdotally, in private meetings with business leaders, cultural elites, and journalists -- hardly a sufficient sample of Iranian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February 11, the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is the most important official holiday in Iran. The public faces of the opposition Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi, have called for street demonstrations to mark the occasion. Meanwhile, government officials at every level have warned against such protests, threatening tough action against any participants. In this tense atmosphere, what are the prospects that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will agree to political compromise?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Loring White
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: What if Iran's hardline leadership emerges from the current confrontations at home strengthened and emboldened? If so, the nuclear issue will be back with a vengeance. And three recent war games focused on the Iranian nuclear weapons issue suggest that the prospects for halting the regime's progress toward nuclear weapons are not good.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Having raised Arab expectations months ago with the idea of a settlement freeze, the Obama administration now has the unpleasant task of coaxing Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas to tacitly accept an agreement on settlements that offers less than expected -- if more than was offered in the past. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the United States will succeed at arranging a trilateral summit involving President Barack Obama, President Abbas, and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN next week that would culminate in the announcement of a formal relaunching of peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With rumors in the air of a U.S.-brokered, mid-September meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, various regional actors are busy positioning themselves for the coming round of diplomacy. Analysis of these dynamics provides some useful perspective on the road ahead, beyond the usual focus on the minutiae of settlement construction, prisoner exchanges, or other immediate concerns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights, Ahmed Ali
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 17, Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a draft legislation that would require the ratification of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, also known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), in a national referendum coinciding with the national elections on January 16, 2010. Out of the 275 Iraqi parliamentarians, a simple majority is needed to authorize the draft law when the National Assembly reconvenes on September 8, 2009. If a referendum takes place, and the Iraqis reject the security agreement, U.S. forces would be required to leave Iraq by January 16, 2011, instead of December 31, 2011. The referendum could also change the nature of the upcoming national elections, focusing attention on nationalistic posturing at the expense of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship, and distracting Iraqi politicians and voters from the many serious issues facing the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At its recently concluded General Congress, Fatah established a new political program that will affect both its terms of reengagement with Israel and its relations with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Fatah's new constraints on negotiations with Israel, however, may harm Mahmoud Abbas -- PA president and the party's top leader -- who needs to respond positively to international peace initiatives that may conflict with the organization's new rules of engagement. Abbas might ignore these congressional decisions, believing its program is intended only for internal consumption to fend off the accusations of the party's hardline members. Fatah's renewed efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza could lead to an escalation with Hamas, since many observers doubt unity can be achieved peacefully.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Terrorism, Power Politics, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Stephanie Papa
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent interviews, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal has offered to cooperate with U.S. efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, indicated a willingness to implement an immediate and reciprocal ceasefire with Israel, and stated that the militant group would accept and respect a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. But the conciliatory tone of this hardline Hamas leader, who has personally been tied to acts of terrorism and is himself a U.S.-designated terrorist, is belied by the group's continued violent actions and radicalization on the ground, as well as the rise to prominence of violent extremist leaders within the group's local Shura (consultative) councils. Hamas's activities of late appear to be diametrically opposed to the compliance of Mashal's statements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Two and a half months after U.S. president Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu first hit an impasse over the settlement issue, the dispute has not only continued, it has also grown more complex. Saudi Arabia has now rebuffed requests from Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell to pursue confidence-building measures toward Israel, even in return for a moratorium on settlement construction. Although the Obama administration has not yet leveled any public criticism against Riyadh, it continues to be critical of Israeli settlements. To move diplomacy forward, Washington will have to engage in some creative policymaking.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Egypt has been scrambling to formulate a new policy toward the Gaza Strip this week after being challenged by Hamas, which opened more than eleven crossings along the Israeli-constructed wall that serves as the Egypt-Gaza border. Up to 750,000 Palestinians have flooded the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula since January 23, spending approximately $130 million in local markets, while tens of thousands of Egyptians took advantage of the lack of immigration, customs, and security controls to cross into Gaza. This massive movement of people caught many by surprise and may have serious ramifications for Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Andrew Exum, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 26, 2007, Jeffrey White, Andrew Exum, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. White is the Institute's Berrie defense fellow and coauthor, with Mr. Eisenstadt, of the Institute Policy Focus Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency . Mr. Exum, a Soref fellow at the Institute, served in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2004, with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Eisenstadt is director of the Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: David Satterfield
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 27, 2007, Ambassador David Satterfield addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Satterfield's public service career has included tours as ambassador to Lebanon as well as key Middle East affairs positions with both the State Department and the National Security Council. Formerly deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he now coordinates Iraq policy at the State Department, serving as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian political landscape has been rather bleak over the last several years. Between 2000-2004, the second intifada brought almost unremitting terror and violence. Despite Israel's pullout from Gaza in the summer of 2005, the parliamentary victory of the rejectionist Hamas party in January 2006 contributed to this downward trend.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As recently as December, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas refused to back a proposal for a unity government offered by Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member and head of the Independent Palestine list Mustafa Barghouti. That deal was based on the concept of a technocratic compromise under which Hamas officials would not have held the prime ministership or led any ministries. Yet under the terms of the February 8 Mecca accord, the current prime minister, Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh, will stay on as head of the next government, and the only portfolios Hamas members specifically will not hold are the finance, foreign affairs, and interior ministries, which will be headed by independents acceptable to both sides. The key question then is why Fatah settled for a unity agreement in February that provided it far less gains than previous unity proposals rejected by Abbas.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Gaza, Mecca
  • Author: Seth Wikas
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The first annual International Media Forum on the Golan Heights, held November 5-7, 2006, in the city of Quneitra on the Syria-Israel border, highlighted Syria's stated desire for the return of the entire Golan. The forum's backdrop was a litany of controversial statements made by Syrian president Bashar al-Asad about his next moves in relation to Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Barak Ben-Zur
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As part of the international effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel can become a sustainable ceasefire, much attention has been paid to blocking arms shipments to Hizballah, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1701. But another threat to peace in the region is Hizballah's potent terrorist wing. Arguably its most dangerous offensive weapon, Hizballah's terrorist wing was active throughout this recent conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 25, 2006, Jeffrey White, David Makovsky, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White is the Berrie Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute and the coauthor, with Michael Eisenstadt, of the Institute Policy Focus Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency. David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, is author of the Institute monograph Engagement through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking. He, like Jeffrey White, recently returned from a trip to Israel. Dennis Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Barak Ben-Zur
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this week, Israel began its long-anticipated ground offensive in Lebanon intended to degrade Hizballahs military apparatus, pacify Israels northern border with Lebanon, and lay the foundation for what is now frequently referred to as a sustainable ceasefire. Reaching a consensus on the precise meaning of the term sustainable will be a difficult prerequisite. But however such a ceasefire is defined beyond the presence of a robust international force, there is widespread agreement that it must include the participation of Syriaparticularly a commitment by Damascus to adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680. So far, Syria has given no indication that it will agree to such a course, and, given the events of the past several weeks, it is difficult to imagine the circumstances under which Syrian president Bashar al-Asad might change his mind. That said, Israels new ground offensive in Lebanon represents a significant change in the status quo, one that may force Syria to reconsider.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The critical question of whether or not the current conflict in Lebanon will escalate to a broader regional war is being answered in two overly simple ways. One such analysis is that this is a “meltdown” with escalating violence and mounting pressures for further escalation. A second, equally simplistic view is that since no one has an interest in escalating to a regional conflict it will not happen. Both of these views do not account for the complex set of dynamics and the real possibility that accident and error can intervene.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Hizballah has been deployed along the blue line, the internationally accepted border between Lebanon and Israel, since May 2000 when the Israeli army left southern Lebanon. Hizballah's fulltime strength is 500–600 well trained, combat experienced fighters, but in an emergency the organization can also call upon thousands of other fighters with elementary training. Training continues in the eastern Bekaa valley, although at a much reduced rate compared to the 1990s. At present, Hizballah uses Shebaa Farms to justify its military operations and continued weapons possession, a rationale based on the claim that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese territory occupied by Israel, even as the United Nations considers this territory to be Syrian.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's pursuit of a referendum on the Palestinian National Accord has been widely interpreted by commentators and reporters as a power play designed to circumvent the Hamas-led government and force it to implicitly accept Israel's existence. But while the process of conducting a referendum -- the legality of which remains questionable -- would shift power away from the government and the legislature, the actual text of the document, which a group of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails negotiated, more closely resembles the political program of Hamas than that of Abbas. Moreover, Hamas has recovered from its initial surprise at the referendum initiative and has mounted an effective response, first by challenging the legality of a referendum, then by dragging Abbas into negotiations over the substance of the Accord. Despite a possible compromise that may emerge in coming days and shift the composition of the government or modify the language of the Accord, Hamas has used the internal Palestinian debate over a referendum to secure its internal legitimacy and advance many of its governing priorities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi, Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas's surprise May 25 announcement that he would call for a national referendum should Palestinian factions fail to reach agreement during their national dialogue was wrongly interpreted as a peace plan by many in the press. The document Abbas threatened to put to a popular vote is intended to quell the daily gun battles, kidnappings, and assassination attempts among rival armed groups in Gaza. However, since each party will interpret the document to affirm its own interests, the vague language on relations with Israel could be interpreted either as advocating a one-state solution that would eliminate prospects for peace or as recognizing a two-state solution. Abbas and Fatah may view the “national accord,” negotiated earlier in May among prominent prisoners in Israeli jails, as a means of forcing Hamas into a corner on negotiating with Israel, but the text of the document much more closely resembles Hamas's own political program. (Read an English translation of the national accord in PDF format).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 7, Lebanese Druze leader and member of parliament Walid Jumblat told reporters in Cairo that Hizballah should disarm. These comments came just four days after Jumblat offered his assistance to the Syrian opposition in establishing "a democratic and free Syria." Jumblat has always been an enigmatic and unpredictable interlocutor, and his recent statements on Syria and Hizballah typify his disregard for the conventions of the Lebanese political establishment. While many Lebanese may quietly support Jumblat's truth telling, his statements are sure to increase his list of powerful enemies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: John Vines
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 13, 2006, Lt. Gen. John Vines addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Vines served until January 2006 as commander of the Multinational Corps–Iraq (MNC–I). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 24 attack by al-Qaeda on Saudi Arabia's giant oil processing facility at Abqaiq failed. At least two of the attackers were killed, along with two security guards. On February 27, Saudi authorities said they had killed another five terrorists linked to the Abqaiq attack in a clash in Riyadh, and they were interrogating a further suspect. The failure of the attack and the reported success of the subsequent counterterrorist operation give the impression of Saudi efficiency, but it should at least as much serve as a warning. The planned attack, targeting the world's largest oil exporter, should give impetus to President Bush's determination, declared in his January State of the Union address, to wean the United States off foreign oil.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 2, Iraq's Defense Ministry appealed to junior officers from Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to return to service. The decision to include these soldiers is part of an ongoing strategy to minimize support for terrorism by reintegrating Sunnis into the political fabric of the new Iraq. This latest effort comes as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group steps up targeting of Shiite civilians in an effort to spark retaliatory attacks against Sunnis. But as Zarqawi's attacks on Shiites exact growing toll among civilians, his tactics may be causing a divide within the ranks of the resistance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Though armed insurgencies can last for a decade or more, they also can have decisive periods in which their paths are set, even if those paths do not become apparent for some time. Iraq appears to be entering just such a period of decision.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Jack Keane, Francis West
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Daily images of carnage from Iraq and uncertainty over how to measure coalition progress continue to stoke debate in the United States. How does one assess the status of the insurgency? How are the efforts to recruit and train Iraq's security forces proceeding? What are America's options in Iraq?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Vietnam, Syria
  • Author: Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Empowering Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas and fellow moderates at this critical time may be in the interest of everyone who favors a return to peace negotiations, but Abbas himself faces immense challenges to his authority that make him unlikely to be able to implement significant changes in the four months left before Palestinian legislative elections in January. The weakened position Abbas inherited included limited control over security forces, paralyzing rivalries within the Fatah movement that limit any support for difficult decisions, and an increasingly assertive Hamas that constantly flaunts its ability to act independently. None of these sources of Abbas's weakness is likely to change significantly in the coming months. And, despite Abbas's intentions to establish law and order and begin economic revitalization in Gaza as articulated in a speech delivered on September 13, the chaos exhibited along the border at Rafah and in the old Israeli settlements immediately after the Israeli withdrawal demonstrates just how difficult his task will be.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 12, the last departing Israeli forces closed the gates of Gaza behind them, followed by a salvo of Palestinian rockets aimed at southern Israel. In the unsettled aftermath of the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, only one camp seems clearly to know where it is heading -- the militant Palestinian Islamist groups, led by Hamas. These groups now profess their intention to continue their violent campaign in and from the West Bank. Their strategy, using armed and political capabilities, poses a serious challenge to both Palestinian and Israeli leaderships and may undermine prospects of improved Israeli-Palestinian relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank settlements has left in its wake three important crises for the religious Zionist movement that spearheaded settlements in Israel. These crises involve the settlers' future relationships with the Israeli public, the Israeli state, and the political secular right. For settlers, these three relationships are now colored by a sense of betrayal, raising the question of whether disengagement will radicalize the ideological settlers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's July 22-24 visit to the Israeli-Palestinian scene came amid critical domestic challenges to the Palestinian leadership against the backdrop of imminent Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, scheduled to begin August 15. In an unprecedented step, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas recently demonstrated the will to enforce his policy of nonviolence on Hamas and curb the group's efforts to become an alternative armed authority. Given his precarious vacillation between appeasement and enforcement, the international community should encourage Abbas to continue down the latter path and provide him with practical support toward that end.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: I have spent the past month in Jerusalem, meeting with Israelis and Palestinians here, in Ramallah, and in Gaza City. In my years of dealing with both sides, I cannot recall a time when emotion in general, and frustration in particular, have so clearly shaped their outlook. Given the death of Yasser Arafat, the emergence of Mahmoud Abbas, and Ariel Sharon's decision to disengage from Gaza, this should be a time of hope and opportunity. Instead, there is less a sense of possibility than of foreboding. It may not yet be too late to use the withdrawal as a platform on which to build a different future. Yet, much of what could have been done to prepare the ground for disengagement has not been done—and that may explain the unease that pervades both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Dennis Lormel
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While individual terrorist attacks can be carried out at a relatively low cost, the need to recruit operatives and provide them with safe houses, training, and support requires significant funding. The United States has proven to be a good venue for fundraising by terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Hizballah. Although such activities could indicate the presence of operational sleeper cells, these organizations are unlikely to risk losing their funding sources by carrying out an attack on U.S. soil, at least under the current circumstances. After all, the revenue sources of certain terrorist organizations have become increasingly restricted following attacks in other parts of the world (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia), largely due to policy changes, more proactive law enforcement, and fear of prosecution on the part of front organizations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The State Department released the 2003 edition of Patterns of Global Terrorism last week in accordance with its congressional mandate to provide an accounting of international trends. With several spectacular terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq, and a series of counterterrorism victories, 2003 witnessed profound changes in the arena of international terrorism. Unfortunately, the structure and content of the latest Patterns are strikingly similar to those of years past, missing an important opportunity to help senior policymakers fight the war on terror by assessing important new trends.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 24, Greek and Turkish citizens of Cyprus voted on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan to resolve the long-standing dispute on the island. The elusive Cyprus issue once again evaded solution: although 65 percent of the Turkish Cypriots voted to accept the Annan plan, 76 percent of Greek Cypriots said no. The plan — born out of recent UN-sponsored negotiations between Turkey and Greece, as well as Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaderships — envisaged the unification of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey, and the internationally recognized Government of Cyprus (GOC) in the ethnically Greek south into a federal state ahead of the May 1 deadline when the GOC is scheduled to enter the European Union (EU) representing the whole island. Why was the Annan plan accepted by the Turkish Cypriots, yet rejected by the Greek Cypriots? What are the implications of the new situation for Turkey, the EU, and the United States?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In congressional hearings on Iraq last week, legislators repeatedly asked testifying administration officials whether the United States would negotiate a formal security agreement with the post-June 30 Iraqi interim government. The officials explained that following the planned transfer of sovereignty to Iraq, U.S. and coalition forces would operate in accordance with current arrangements or a new UN resolution, pending the conclusion of a formal agreement. This solution has some advantages as the eventual negotiation of a security agreement is liable to be a contentious affair. It also has drawbacks, as the continued presence of coalition forces will almost certainly cause political controversy in Iraq, leading to the imposition of constraints on the coalition's military freedom of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The intensification of Sunni-based resistance operations and the onset of Muqtada al-Sadr's Shi'i rebellion in early April confronted the coalition with a number of serious military and political challenges, few of which have been resolved. Coalition forces are facing new and increased operational demands, and among these demands is a substantially enlarged requirement for the coalition forces and reconstruction program to secure the main lines of communication (LOCs) connecting Baghdad to the outside world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, 2004, Jeffrey White, Michael Knights, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. A rapporteur's summary of the remarks made by Jeffrey White and Michael Knights was presented in PolicyWatch No. 861. The following is a summary of Michael Eisenstadt's remarks. Mr. Eisenstadt is a senior fellow at the Institute.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Michael Kights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, 2004, Jeffrey White, Michael Knights, and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Jeffrey White, an associate of the Institute, previously headed the Defense Intelligence Agency's Regional Military Assessments Group and that agency's Office for Middle East-Africa Regional Military Assessments. Michael Knights, the Institute's Mendelow defense fellow, wrote his doctoral dissertation at King's College, London, on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq during and since the 1991 Gulf War. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks. A summary of Michael Eisenstadt's remarks is presented in PolicyWatch No. 862.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 5, Iraqi gunmen attacking U.S. forces in Baghdad's predominantly Sunni al-Azamiya neighborhood were joined by members of radical Shi'i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, Jaysh al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army). Soon thereafter, posters of al-Sadr, along with graffiti praising the cleric's "valiant uprising" appeared in the Sunni-dominated city of Ramadi. On April 8, as violence raged in Fallujah, another Sunni city, announcements erupted from both Shi'i and Sunni mosques in the Baghdad area, calling on all Iraqis to donate blood, money, and medical supplies for "your brothers and sons in Fallujah." A donation tent in the Shi'i-dominated Kadhimiya neighborhood urged individuals to "prevent the killing of innocents in Fallujah by all means available." That night, thousands of Shi'i and Sunni demonstrators marched to Fallujah from Baghdad in a display of solidarity. On April 9, in the mixed town of Baquba, Shi'is and Sunnis joined forces to attack a U.S. military base, damaging both government and police buildings.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Madrid's determination to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, combined with the collapse of some multinational forces during recent fighting, poses serious questions about the contribution that such forces can make to security during the period leading up to the June 30 transfer of power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The challenge posed by Muqtada al-Sadr in the past several weeks remains unresolved, and its consequences are likely to be felt for some time to come. Al-Sadr's actions since March 28 present a complex challenge, one with both military and political implications. Eliminating al-Sadr and his organization as a political and military factor entails risk; but, if handled properly, the risks are worth taking.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Tomorrow's meeting in Washington, D.C., between President George W. Bush and visiting British prime minister Tony Blair was scheduled before the recent outbreaks of violence in Iraq and before Wednesday's announcement of U.S. support for Israel's plan to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. But both subjects will top the agenda of talks between the two leaders, and decisions emerging from the meeting could shape international affairs for years to come. Despite the fact that both men need each other's support at the moment, significant political and policy differences between the two persist.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Ryan Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The battle for Fallujah, in which U.S. forces have been fighting to break Sunni resistance elements in that city, has been one of the most sustained fights of the Iraq war and subsequent occupation. Significantly, Sunni insurgents are not only fighting in Fallujah, but also across the Sunni heartland. Militarily, the battle suggests that the resistance maintains substantial capabilities despite a year of counterinsurgency operations, and that more tough fights lie ahead. Politically, it points to expanded Sunni opposition to the occupation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Petraeus
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 7, 2004, Maj. Gen. David Petraeus addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously, he served as assistant chief of staff for operations in the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia, and as deputy commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force there. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Faced with both the Muqtada al-Sadr uprising and intense fighting in Ramadi and Fallujah, Washington announced that it will hold the number of U.S. forces in Iraq at the current level of 134,000 by delaying plans to withdraw some troops during the current rotation. The announcement is a recognition that Iraqi security forces are not yet able to handle civil emergencies and armed resistance on the scale being seen in central and southern Iraq. These forces have been sorely tested in recent incidents; the Iraqi Police Service (IPS) failed to warn about the attack on U.S. contractors in Fallujah, and it surrendered control of its police stations and vehicles to Sadr's Mahdi Army in cities from Baghdad to Basra. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), designed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to provide paramilitary support to IPS and coalition forces, underperformed in its first major deployment in the Fallujah fighting and failed to prevent the collapse of IPS forces in the face of Mahdi Army pressure in the south. These incidents should prompt new analysis of what can be done to support the continued development of Iraqi security forces, and a realistic reevaluation of expectations regarding the role of these forces before, during, and after the upcoming transition period. Most important, these fragile forces should not be prematurely exposed to serious fighting or other situations that are likely to strain their loyalties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past week, Muqtada al-Sadr, a leading radical Shi'i cleric in Iraq, has begun to launch direct, violent challenges to the coalition's authority. After a relatively quiet period of organization and preparation, Sadr and his faction have emerged as an even more dangerous factor in an already unstable security situation. His latest actions come at a difficult moment, as the coalition attempts to deal with an increasingly obdurate Sunni insurgency, a political challenge from Grand Ayatollah Ali Husayn al-Sistani (the most senior Iraqi Shi'i cleric), and a general rise in political tensions before the approaching June 30 transfer of power. Coalition leaders may in fact have decided to provoke Sadr into an open challenge now rather than waiting for him to take action later. Yet, Sadr was ready, willing, and able to exploit this opportunity, inciting violent protests across much of southern Iraq and in his Baghdad stronghold.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Yasemin Congar
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, 2004, Turks voted in nationwide municipal elections for the mayors of more than 3,000 cities and towns, as well as administrative council members for all eighty-one Turkish provinces. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won an overwhelming victory, increasing its national standing. With 41.8 percent of the vote -- almost 8 percent more than in the November 2002 general elections that catapulted the party to power -- the AKP emerged, by a wide margin, as the most popular party in Turkey. The opposition was weak; together, the three main opposition parties -- the social-democrat Republican Peoples Party (CHP), the nationalist/center-right True Path Party (DYP), and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) -- received fewer votes (38.6 percent) than the AKP alone (41.8 percent). What are the implications of Turkey's new political landscape for Turkish domestic and foreign policy?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Thirty months after the massive World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, al-Qaeda is a significantly different organization, thanks to the successful efforts of the U.S.-led war on terror. It would be wrong, however, to assume that the threat of "global jihad" posed by al-Qaeda has diminished just because the organization itself is weakened. More accurately, al-Qaeda has adjusted to the relentless assault on its leadership structure by devolving into a set of regional networks -- each with its own political agenda and operational schedule, as a whole lacking a distinct command center.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Yemeni media recently reported that thousands of Iraqis who fled Saddam Husayn's brutal regime and have lived in Yemen for more than a decade are now thinking about returning home. Many of these individuals are encouraged by signs of new infrastructure and a recovering economy in Iraq. If and when they return, they will see a number of stark similarities between their old homeland and Yemen, including primordial federalism, a "triangle" of terrorism, and questions of Sunni-Shi'i relations. Although Yemen is certainly not a model to which Iraq should aspire, San'a does have experience in dealing with challenges similar to those currently facing Iraq. Yemen's handling of these challenges provides reasons for cautious optimism about Iraq's future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 29, Arab heads of state will convene in Tunis for the sixteenth summit of the twenty-two-member Arab League. The two days of discussion and the summit's final communique will provide some indication of the seriousness with which Arab leaders intend to tackle the issue of internal reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, Turks will go to the polls in nationwide local elections to vote for mayors and more than 90,000 council seats in 3,184 towns and cities. The outcome of these elections will not change the composition of Turkey's current Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which came to power in a political landslide in November 2002, receiving 34 percent of the popular vote and two-thirds of the seats in the legislature. Nevertheless, according to surveys, AKP may win as much as 50 percent of the votes on March 28, securing the mayorships of most Turkish cities, including Istanbul and Ankara. Such a sweeping victory would be unusual in Turkey, where more than a dozen parties usually run in local elections and where a given party is deemed successful if it receives more than 20 percent of the vote. These developments raise two crucial questions: Why is AKP receiving such immense electoral support? And would an overwhelming victory in the upcoming elections politically embolden the party to revive its seemingly dormant Islamist roots?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 25, British prime minister Tony Blair will meet with Col. Muammar Qadhafi in Libya, marking an important moment in the process of bringing Libya back into the international community. The March 23 meeting between Qadhafi and U.S. assistant secretary of state William Burns suggests that the United States and Britain are moving in parallel. Although Burns reportedly handed Qadhafi a letter from President George W. Bush, so far there is no sign that the two leaders will meet anytime soon. Indeed, it also remains unclear what role Qadhafi will play in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Egyptian officials and businessmen are visiting Israel this week to discuss the creation of Egyptian-Israeli qualified industrial zones (QIZs), which would give them free trade access to U.S. markets. They seek to emulate Jordan's QIZs, the most successful example to date of U.S.-Arab free trade. Indeed, these zones have given Jordan -- a relatively poor and resource-scarce country -- its most substantial "peace dividend" from its 1994 treaty with Israel. Yet, the Jordan QIZ experiment is in danger of failure, a situation that has important implications for U.S. efforts to promote regional free trade.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A gathering of Arab civil society activists convened by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, last weekend provided a revealing glimpse into the two faces of reform in the Middle East today. In an opening address, Egypt's president for the past twenty-three years, Hosni Mubarak, presented the traditional case for stability as the touchstone of any reform, the argument dismissed by President George W. Bush as one of the great failed policies of the last six decades. Offering an alternative model of reform in the name of "democratic transformation" were the Alexandria conferees themselves, who issued a closing "declaration" that deserves careful scrutiny with regard to its articulation of operational objectives for reform -- for Arabs and by Arabs. That details of both models were disseminated in a special newsletter by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington this week suggests, at the very least, that the reform impulse has gained enough strength for the Egyptian government to give the conferees a respectful hearing, even if this vision -- radical in implications, moderate in ambitions -- collides head-on with the case that Egypt's veteran president presented to the delegates.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since March 8, 2004, Syria has witnessed an unprecedented series of riots by Kurds and protests by human rights activists and intellectuals. These developments set the stage for the Bush administration's imminent announcement about imposing sanctions in accordance with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 15, 2004, Michael Knights addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Knights, the Mendelow defense fellow at the Institute, is a frequent contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review and author of a forthcoming Institute monograph on Persian Gulf security. He has a doctorate from the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, where he wrote his dissertation on U.S. military operations in Iraq from Operation Desert Storm through Operation Iraqi Freedom. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, London, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: One year after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Iraqi security forces are beginning to take greater responsibility for the security of the country. Nevertheless, questions remain concerning the diffusion of military power within Iraq. The Iraqi Fundamental Law drafted earlier this month stated that militias will be considered illegal entities after the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) transfers power to local authorities on June 30, 2004. In practice, however, many militiamen will likely be absorbed into existing security organizations such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), where their loyalties will continue to be divided between their Baghdad paymasters and local or sectarian affiliations. The challenge for the CPA is to find practical ways of balancing these sometimes contending pressures on local militias in order to prevent them from diluting the CPA's -- and, eventually, the Iraqi central government's -- power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Three days after the terrorist bombings in Madrid, the pro-American, conservative Spanish government was defeated in general elections, to the surprise of many observers. Although officials have not yet confirmed that the al-Qaeda terrorist network was responsible for the attacks, the polling result was immediately interpreted as reflecting electorate anger at retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and the belief that his foreign policy had made Spain a target of foreign terrorists. An immediate pledge to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq by incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is a blow to the Bush administration's Iraq policy and represents, albeit unintentionally, a major political triumph for al-Qaeda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Iraqi Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) -- to be officially published tomorrow, when the mourning period for the victims of the March 3 Ashura bombings ends -- includes an extensive bill of rights. Yet, several of the Arab countries whose constitutions offer similar rights have a decidedly unsatisfactory record on human rights. Indeed, the region's poor track record with regard to actually implementing constitutional guarantees may make the TAL appear less impressive to Arabs than it does to Americans. At least as important as what the TAL says is whether the legislation will be respected in practice.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On the eve of the "Super Tuesday" Democratic primaries, voters are scrutinizing the positions of the two leading candidates, Senators John Edwards and John Kerry. The following quotes outline their views on Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shaul Bakhash, Haleh Esfandiari
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 17, 2004, Shaul Bakhash and Haleh Esfandiari addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Bakhash, who has worked for many years as a journalist in Iran, is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University and author of Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution (Millefleurs, 1991). Haleh Esfandiari, who recently returned from a trip to Iran, is consulting director of the Middle East Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Previously she served as deputy secretary-general of the Women's Organization of Iran. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Paula Dobriansky
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 12, 2004, Paula Dobriansky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. As the undersecretary of state for global affairs, Dr. Dobriansky is the senior State Department official responsible for a broad range of transnational issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, counternarcotics, law enforcement, refugees, humanitarian relief, and environmental and scientific matters. The following are excerpts from her remarks; the full text of her presentation can be found at www.washingtoninstitute.org/media/speakers/dobriansky021204.htm
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Bush administration has recently circulated to its G-8 partners the details of the Greater Middle East Partnership (GMEP) that Washington hopes will win endorsement at the group's May 2004 summit in Sea Island, Georgia. The GMEP is a core element of the administration's larger Greater Middle East Initiative, which has additional security and political components beyond those outlined in the GMEP. Last week, the English-language website of the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat published what it called the "U.S. working paper for G-8 sherpas" (the latter term referring to the government officials responsible for preparing the event). If this eight-page document is in fact authentic -- a claim that no administration official has disputed -- then the president's "forward strategy of freedom" is likely to remain illusory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries, Georgia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: To no one's surprise, the Iranian parliamentary elections resulted in a conservative sweep; the hardliners had rigged the rules so as to prevent a serious contest. As the hardliners consolidate their control, they may be interested in improving relations with the United States, though a major initiative would likely appear only after they retake the presidency at the end of Muhammad Khatami's term in May 2005. The most obvious bait for such engagement is Iran's nuclear program. On February 22, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Mohamed ElBaradei met with Iranian Supreme National Security Council head Hassan Rohani to discuss the IAEA report due out this week, which shows once again that Iran has made clandestine progress toward nuclear enrichment, further raising the stakes. Given the risks, would a U.S.-Iranian deal be appropriate?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Assaf Moghadam
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 5, 2004, a German court acquitted Abdelghani Mzoudi, a thirty-one-year-old native Moroccan, of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization (al-Qaeda). Mzoudi is suspected of having provided material and financial support to the Hamburg cell that helped organize and perpetrate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. According to the presiding judge, Mzoudi was acquitted for lack of evidence, not out of a belief in the defendant's innocence. The acquittal was the most recent example of a growing dilemma faced by the United States and other countries in their efforts to prosecute suspected terrorists: how to gain access to intelligence for criminal proceedings without compromising the sources of that information. Indeed, Mzoudi's acquittal comes at a time when, despite nearly three years of fighting the war on terror, German intelligence claims that the presence of militant Islamist groups on German soil has reached new heights. U.S. officials face similar circumstances.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Germany, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today's meeting between President George W. Bush and visiting Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali may be a low-profile event with a leader of a country in which the United States has only limited strategic interests. Yet, the repercussions of their luncheon tete-a-tete for the administration's larger objective of Arab political reform could be profound. Invitations to meet with the president in Washington are a rare privilege -- Ben Ali has not been there in fourteen years and is only the sixth Arab head of state that Bush has received there (joining the leaders of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Yemen). Given that there are no burning issues on the bilateral U.S.-Tunisian agenda, the principal question regarding this visit is whether Bush will use the occasion to press a visiting Arab leader on his ambitious plan for Arab political reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Algeria, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The violent incidents that have occurred in Iraq since the beginning of this month illustrate the diverse faces of Iraqi resistance. The terrorist-style attacks in Iskandariyah and Baghdad on February 10 and 11 drew much attention to the presumed links of terrorist organizations to anti-occupation incidents. Although resistance elements do indeed employ terrorist tactics, the broad scope of resistance activity faced by the coalition has been reflected in several recent incidents, including a failed ambush on February 7, a series of military-style attacks in Falluja on February 12 and 14, and day-to-day attacks involving a range of explosive devices. Indeed, resistance elements seem to have rebounded from their losses of November-December 2003.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The character of Iraqi politics has completely and irreversibly changed in recent months. The prevailing sense among Iraqis is that Saddam Husayn is not coming back; they are now focused on the question of what new power arrangements will emerge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Resistance activities in Iraq were at a high pitch in fall 2003. Attacks became better organized and more lethal, and several successful operations were mounted against the coalition. By the end of December, however, the hope was that the security situation was improving in the wake of several developments: the capture of Saddam Husayn; a series of U.S.-led offensive operations; an increased understanding of resistance forces; attrition within the resistance networks and their leadership; and the capture of significant amounts of money and arms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Barham Salih
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current situation in Iraq constitutes a unique moment in the history of the Islamic Middle East. For the first time, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, and Assyrians of the same nation have an opportunity to cooperatively evaluate the task of shaping their shared future. The challenge between now and June 30, 2004 -- when the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq is scheduled to hand over power to the local authorities -- is to articulate a transitional law through which a sovereign provisional government can be elected. Naturally, there is significant debate as to how this goal can be achieved. Although significant challenges lie ahead, the progress made following the liberation of Iraq has been incredible, particularly in light of the country's numerous complicating factors. Iraq's leaders now have the opportunity to build on this unique situation by creating a viable state.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: William Kristol, Stanley Greenberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Foreign policy questions will play a larger role in the 2004 presidential election than they have in any recent election. The Middle East in particular will play a central role in the foreign policy debate. President George W. Bush's foreign policy is closely intertwined with his domestic policy; in fact, the administration's domestic concerns often guide its foreign policy decisions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Raymond Tanter
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: According to the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002 (issued in April 2003), Tehran provides the Lebanon-based Hizballah with "funding, safe haven, training, and weapons." Such support (estimated at $80 million per year) has given Iran a terrorist proxy of global reach. For example, Hizballah suicide bombings against the U.S. Marine barracks and the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut (in October 1983 and September 1984, respectively) killed some 300 U.S. diplomats and soldiers. In addition, the twenty-two individuals on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists include three Hizballah operatives accused of the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered. The hijacking featured the infamous image of an American pilot peering out of the cockpit with a gun to his head. Moreover, according to a November 1, 1996, report by the Washington Post, Saudi intelligence concluded that a local group calling itself Hizballah was responsible for the June 1996 truck bombing of the Khobar Towers U.S. military housing complex on the kingdom's Persian Gulf coast. The Saudis also asserted that this local group was a wing of Lebanese Hizballah. More recently, Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah made the following remarks in a speech given one week before coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom (as broadcast on al-Manar, the organization's Beirut-based satellite television station): "In the past, when the Marines were in Beirut, we screamed, 'Death to America!' Today, when the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, 'Death to America!' was, is, and will stay our slogan."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Tehran, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recent media reports suggest that rogue Pakistani scientists have been peddling nuclear secrets across the Middle East for many years. The revelation offsets recent good news from the region -- Iran's acceptance of nuclear inspections and Libya's agreement to give up weapons of mass destruction. The spread of nuclear secrets in Pakistan is particularly worrisome for Washington; if Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf were killed or overthrown, the country's nuclear arsenal could be aimed at U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region or at Pakistan's longstanding rival, India.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, India, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul will make an official visit to Tehran on January 10. This visit comes on the heels of a January 6-8 trip to Turkey by Syrian president Bashar al-Asad -- the first ever by a Syrian head of state -- during which Asad was showered with praise by the Turkish media. Why is Ankara suddenly at ease with Damascus and Tehran, both of whom have given Turkey headaches by supporting the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and harboring Turkish Hizballah and other Islamist terror groups?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Dalia Dassa Kaye
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Syrian president Bashar al-Asad's January 6 interview with London's Daily Telegraph -- in which he indicated that Syria would not relinquish its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities until Israel did so also -- suggests that Syria is not likely to follow Libya's recent example of foregoing WMD in order to improve relations with the West. Still, Europe's newly aggressive approach to countering proliferation offers an opportunity for greater transatlantic coordination and the potential to reap concrete results.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 25, 2003, Union Transport Africaines (UTA) Flight 141 bound for Beirut crashed on take-off from Cotonou, Benin, in West Africa. According to accounts in the Arab press, a "foreign relations official of the African branch of the Lebanese Hizballah party and two of his aides" were among those killed. The Hizballah officials were reportedly carrying $2 million in contributions, raised from wealthy Lebanese nationals living in Africa, to the organization's headquarters in Beirut. In fact, Hizballah maintains a worldwide network engaged in financial, logistical, and operational terrorist activities, often in close cooperation with Iranian intelligence services. Hizballah operatives in Africa raise and launder significant sums of money, recruit local operatives, collect preoperational intelligence, and support the organization's terrorist activities against Israeli, U.S., and other Western interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Responding to Monday's assassination of Hamas founder Shaykh Ahmed Yassin, Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei stated, "Yassin is known for his moderation, and he was controlling the Hamas" from being more radical. Though frequently called the group's "moderate" leader, Yassin has been directly implicated in authorizing, directing, funding, and providing foot soldiers for Hamas terrorist operations. In August 2003 concrete evidence of such activity led the United States to list Yassin and five other Hamas leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. In so doing, the U.S. government froze the assets of these leaders and banned U.S. nationals from engaging in transactions with them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Jeff Cary
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Has the radical Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas adopted a new, more moderate view on peace with Israel? In recent months, elite news organizations -- from the Economist to National Public Radio -- have highlighted interviews by Hamas leaders such as founder Shaykh Ahmed Yassin suggesting a willingness on the part of the organization to negotiate a "long-term truce" with Israel. On December 1, 2003, Yassin declared that Hamas was "ready to reach or to go with this enemy [Israel] into a long-term . . . truce. But the enemy . . . must pull out from all the Palestinian territories and . . . remove all shapes and kinds of occupation."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Anna Robinowitz
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the two million Muslims participating in this year's Hajj in Mecca were a relatively small number of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. While the vast majority of these pilgrims devoted all of their time in Mecca to religious purposes, others participated in meetings with terrorist operatives as well. Indeed, Hamas, Hizballah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have all attempted to recruit future terrorists -- particularly from the coveted Israeli Arab pool -- during the Hajj and lesser pilgrimages to Mecca (or 'umrah). For example, over the past two-and-a-half years, Israeli security forces have arrested two Hizballah terrorists recruited during the Hajj and seven other terrorists recruited while making 'umrah. The fact that terrorist groups of any sort are operating at the Hajj has dangerous implications for the United States. Indeed, it would be naive to assume that al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations targeting U.S. interests are not using Mecca as a convenient and secure location for their own meetings, recruitment, and fundraising.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Mecca
  • Author: Matan Vilnai
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 11, 2004, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Matan Vilnai addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Vilnai is former deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). From 1989 to 1994, he served as head of the IDF Southern Command, with responsibility for deploying Israeli forces out of Gaza in accordance with the 1994 Gaza-Jericho accord. As a leading member of the Labor Party, he has also served as a senior cabinet minister and member of the Knesset since 1999. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 23, 2004, Shimon Peres addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Current chairman of Israel's Labor Party, Mr. Peres previously served as that country's prime minister, foreign minister, and defense minister, as well as in numerous other positions during a career that has spanned six decades. For his contributions to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, he received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize along with the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For much of the upcoming presidential election season, the United States will no doubt be preoccupied with domestic affairs on the one hand, and the postwar transition in Iraq on the other. Although Washington undoubtedly hopes for a quiet year in the Middle East, reality might bring less desirable results. In the Arab-Israeli arena, the most significant threat to regional stability (beyond Palestinian terrorism) is the Syria-Hizballah-Iran triangle. Hizballah and Syria appear to be reverting to their traditional pattern of ratcheting up terrorist activity whenever they feel they are being ignored. Unless an effort of some sort is made to halt such escalation, Israel's northern front will become the site of a broader conflict in which neither Israel nor the United States wants to become enmeshed at the moment.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Less than a year ago, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon rejected the idea of a unilateral pullback from Gaza, telling Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna that isolated settlements such as Netzarim were equal to Tel Aviv in his eyes. Last week, however, Sharon -- a leading architect of Israel's settlement movement -- declared his intention to authorize plans for a unilateral evacuation of at least seventeen of the twenty Israeli settlements in Gaza. Although some remain unsure whether the prime minister will follow through on this pledge, skepticism regarding Sharon's intentions should be balanced by other considerations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Jeff Cary
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 25, 2003, shortly after the initiation of the Quartet Roadmap to Israeli-Palestinian peace, President George W. Bush urged European Union (EU) leaders to take "swift, decisive action against [Palestinian] terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding and support." Much of the funding received by Hamas's military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is provided by donations to the organization's social and political activities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, Hizballah drastically escalated its activity along Israel's northern border, ending seven months of relative calm there. Yet, the assault on Israeli positions in the Shebaa Farms area and the cross-border shelling of northern Israeli towns pale in comparison to the potential danger posed by the terrorist cells and political opposition Hizballah is now operating -- with Iranian funding and oversight -- in the northern West Bank.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe, Jason O'Connor
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After months of restraint following the double shock of U.S. military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hizballah resumed action against Israel today, firing mortal shells and missiles at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) along the Israel-Lebanon border. Changes in the regional geopolitical environment and recent statements by the organization's leadership suggest that Hizballah may also be preparing to carry out new terror operations, while the killing of a senior Hizballah military official last weekend by a car bomb may have provided the pretext for today's attack. Washington needs to closely follow these developments and engage in preemptive diplomacy to prevent new deterioration in the Arab-Israeli conflict, at a time when there is reason for cautious optimism on the Israeli-Palestinian track.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dennis Ross, David Makovisky
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 2, 2003, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is the director of the Institute. He served as U.S. point person on the Middle East peace process under the first Bush administration and both Clinton administrations. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute and adjunct lecturer of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Many Israelis and Palestinians once again have a sense of hope, following President George W. Bush's meeting with Arab leaders at Sharm al-Shaykh and with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (known as Abu Mazen) in Aqaba. This new hope in both societies poses an existential threat to terrorist organizations operating in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Once Israel is no longer viewed as an enemy, there is no clear justification for the existence of such organizations. Hence, it should come as no surprise that these organizations are trying to escalate operations against Israel in an attempt to derail any peace initiatives. In the past, suicide operations undertaken by these organizations have been quite successful in achieving this objective; this should not be allowed to happen again.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shoshanah Haberman
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent days, both Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat and prime minister Mahmoud Abbas have said they expect an agreement on a Hamas ceasefire (or hudna) to be announced soon. According to Abbas, Hamas -- in Arabic, "the Islamic Resistance Movement" -- "will commit to halting terrorism, both within the green line and in the territories." As longtime Palestinian minister Saeb Erekat explained, Abbas needs a ceasefire agreement to jumpstart negotiations for Palestinian statehood. Abbas, said Erekat, "will insist on this declaration [of a ceasefire] because that's the key . . . for him to go out and tell the Palestinians, 'Look, we've got the Israeli government to recognize the Palestinian state, [so] we need two years in a peaceful, meaningful peace process.'"
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush will be holding three summits next week that will have a strong Middle East orientation. A G-8 summit will followed by a meeting with Arab leaders in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt, and a summit of Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Aqaba, Jordan, representing a new phase in the administration's approach to the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel's cautious approval of the Roadmap opens a new phase in Middle East peacemaking. Although media focus will now turn to the next episode of high-level engagement by President George W. Bush -- perhaps at a Jordan- or Egypt-hosted regional summit in early June -- the real test for Washington and its Quartet colleagues comes in the implementation of the first phase of Roadmap requirements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries