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  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Secretary of State Colin Powell and former President George Bush celebrate the tenth anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait, for many Gulf Arabs the occasion marks a decade since Saddam Husayn's tanks put the lie to the promises of security that local leaders had made to their people. After popular trust in these Gulf leaders was tarnished by their need to rely on U.S. and allied forces to expel the Iraqis (despite the billions of dollars of oil wealth these rulers had spent on high-tech weaponry over the years), Gulf monarchs started to concede to their peoples a greater say in political life.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 26, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell begins his tour of Iraq's Arab neighbors just as UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is scheduled to hold discussions with Iraqi foreign minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf in New York. Key themes in these meetings will be the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq; the future of UN sanctions; the need to prevent Iraqi adventurism, especially into the Arab–Israeli arena; and the larger U.S. goal of "regime change" in Iraq.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, New York, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are emerging as one of the first major foreign policy challenges of the Bush administration. Free of weapons monitors and with sanctions eroding, Iraq has resumed its aggressive policies. After the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada last September, it briefly moved elements of four to five divisions toward its border with Syria in a show of solidarity, and on several occasions since then, Saddam Husayn has threatened to destroy Israel. Then, earlier this month, his older son Uday reasserted Iraq's claim to Kuwait. With its conventional military capabilities hobbled by two bloody wars and more than a decade of sanctions, Iraq's retained WMD capabilities assume renewed salience.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait, Syria
  • Author: Alan Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This is the second of two PolicyWatch articles about Syria, marking the six months since Bashar al-Asad became president on July 17. This article examines the implications of Syria's foreign policy; the previous article (PolicyWatch #512, January 17) looked at the domestic political scene and economic reforms in Syria. For a region used to the late Hafiz al-Asad's stodgy predictability, his son Bashar's six-month-old presidency has displayed a surprisingly active foreign policy, including a willingness to break with the past. However, on issues of greatest importance to the United States — peace with Israel, control over Lebanon, and support for Palestinian terrorist groups — Bashar's regime is mainly a carbon copy of his father's.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker, Robert Satloff, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, President George W. Bush pointedly called upon Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence" and Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker testified that Arafat has "made no statements that would indicate that he is opposed to violence or that he even wants to see it stop." Yesterday, however, the State Department issued its semi-annual PLOCCA (PLO Commitments Compliance Act) report that appears to contradict these sentiments by specifically refraining from assigning the PLO, the Palestinian Authority (PA), or any senior Palestinian officials any responsibility for any violence or terrorism that occurred during the first seventy-five days of the al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Rovert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the Middle East, this week witnessed a series of events occurring at such breakneck speed that it is important not to lose the significance of each: On Thursday, President Bush issued an unprecedented statement calling on Chairman Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence," a statement that could lay down a marker by which the administration judges the efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and which could determine the direction of the U.S.–Palestinian relationship under the new administration. On Wednesday, Israel's national unity government launched retaliatory attacks against Arafat's personal guard, Force 17, underscoring Israel's intent to hold the chairman personally responsible for the terrorism emanating from within his close circle. On Monday and Tuesday, bombs went off inside the heart of Israel — responsibility for which was claimed by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, suggesting that Tehran is eager to tap pro-Hizballah sympathy and compete with the Tanzim and other Fatah elements for the pacesetter's role in the Palestinian uprising. Also on Tuesday, the PA chose an all-or-nothing option at the United Nations, demanding a Security Council vote on a resolution that the United States had no trouble vetoing — one calling for an international protection force for Palestinians — rather than pursuing diplomacy to bring to a vote a watered-down, but still problematic, resolution on which Washington was prepared to compromise. And on Sunday, Israel's Likud-led government issued a communique affirming its intent to seek the full implementation of signed agreements with the Palestinians, specifically citing its willingness to fulfill the requirement for a third "further redeployment" — territorial withdrawal in the West Bank — in the context of full compliance with the Wye River Memorandum. Each of these items alone has significant ramifications for the direction of Arab–Israeli relations, the Palestinian uprising, and U.S. policy toward the peace process. Taken together, they suggest a situation in great flux with emerging trends that are both ominous (e.g., Iran's deepening role) and positive (e.g., Bush's forthrightness on violence, Israel's balance of diplomacy and force).
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of State will shortly issue its semi-annual Palestine Liberation Organization Commitments Compliance Act (PLOCCA) report. This report, now several weeks overdue, details PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) compliance with their "peace process" commitments. And in April, the State Department will release its annual report about global terrorism. The release of these reports comes just weeks after Israeli chief of staff Shaul Mofaz described the PA as a "terrorist entity." The content of these reports will be the subject of close scrutiny. How the United States characterizes the PA with regard to terrorist activities is an important signal — both of how the Bush administration will contribute to the lowering of violence as the first step to the resumption of Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, and of what the direction of U.S.–Palestinian relations will be during the George W. Bush/Ariel Sharon era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the main purpose of Secretary of State Colin Powell's first foray into the Middle East was to discuss Iraq, he also visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority and injected a dose of what some would call "evenhandedness" — giving each both something to be pleased about and something to be unnerved about.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Five months after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, the U.S. government yesterday issued its first systematic assessment of the intifada-related actions of Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the year 2000. A close reading of the twenty-four page chapter on "the Occupied Territories (including areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority)" reveals numerous condemnations of the actions of Israeli and Palestinian security forces, in almost identical language, with the latter also criticized for its abuses against fellow Palestinians. However, the report also displays a disturbing trend toward selective and distorted reporting on key issues, with the effect of minimizing egregious Palestinian behavior and enhancing the image of Israeli culpability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli people spoke in the most dramatic and convincing fashion. Viewed in the U.S. context, Ariel Sharon won a larger share of the vote — 62.5 percent — than any presidential candidate in history. Essentially, Israel voted to express one word: "enough!" — enough violence, enough concessions, enough perception of weakness. They were particularly voting against Barak, both personally and against the policies that characterized his government (dating not only to Camp David but as far back as the earliest days of his cabinet). Certainly, much of yesterday's vote was against Barak more than it was a vote for Sharon; just as Barak's 1999 landslide was less a vote for him than it was a vote against Bibi Netanyahu; just as Netanyahu's 1996 squeaker was less a vote for him than it was a vote against Shimon Peres. Now it's Sharon's turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel