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  • 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: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush will enter his second term leading a country that is at war on five fronts at once. Four are clear: in Iraq and Afghanistan, against al-Qaeda and its global affiliates, and within the homeland. The fifth front, however, is the poor stepsister to the other four. It is being fought with an arsenal of outmoded and dysfunctional weaponry, a set of confused and self-defeating battlefield tactics, and no clear strategy for victory. Such is the status of the U.S. effort to fight the "battle of ideas" -- the ideological war to prevent Islamists and their sympathizers from capturing the social, cultural, economic, and political high ground in Muslim societies around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ramadan starts on October 15 or 16, depending on the sighting of the moon. Last year on the first day of Ramadan, five car bombs went off in Baghdad within an hour, including one in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offices. There is a disturbing prospect that the insurgents could try in Ramadan this year to mount a more significant offensive than any attacks to date. Such an offensive would underline the insurgents' claim to act in the cause of Islam; it could significantly complicate plans for elections in Iraq; and it might aim to influence the U.S. elections.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Surprise in war is inevitable. It is impossible to anticipate all enemy actions or the impact of the social and political forces unleashed by war. To succeed, one must be able to rapidly adjust one's plans when their underlying assumptions are proven wrong. In this regard, the U.S. performance in Iraq has been found wanting. The war brought surprises in four areas: The insurgency. The Sunni insurgency resulted from the way the war was fought by both sides: U.S. forces brought about the rapid collapse of the regime without instilling a sense of defeat among its members, while many members of the regime's security forces survived the war because, whenever possible, they relied on paramilitary forces drawn from the dregs of Iraqi society to do the fighting for them. Moreover, the U.S. failure to realize that the fall of Baghdad did not end the war enabled the resistance to organize itself and stay one step ahead of coalition forces. The United States must prevent further entrenchment of the resistance and stamp out the miniature "republics of fear" that have emerged in the Sunni Triangle and deterred many residents from embracing the Iraqi Interim Government. It must be remembered, however, that successful counterinsurgency campaigns often take years to bear results. The question is whether the U.S. presence will become politically untenable before Iraqi political and security structures are in place.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The 2004 Democratic Party platform, "Strong at Home, Respected in the World," which will be formally adopted today at the party's convention in Boston, reflects the prominence of foreign policy in this year's election. Indeed, nearly half the document is devoted to strengthening American security policy after September 11 and U.S. Middle East policy writ large, including terrorism, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), democracy promotion, Arab-Israeli peace, U.S. military readiness, homeland security, and energy independence. By comparison, only ten of the fifty pages in the 2000 platform were devoted to foreign policy, and the Middle East did not stand out as a region of particular concern.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dov Zakheim
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the United States had been engaged in a similar reconstruction effort in Iraq not more than twelve years before the recent war in that country, the Iraq of 2003 was fundamentally different from the Iraq of 1991, which meant that the reconstruction effort this time around would also be fundamentally different. First and foremost, the reconstruction effort of 1991 was directed more toward the rebuilding of Kuwait. Because Iraq had triggered the first conflict, the donor countries were inclined to allocate the majority of their funds to the aid effort in Kuwait. Second, both the political situations and the internal economies of the countries that contributed to reconstruction effort twelve years ago were vastly different. In addition, several other reconstruction efforts were -- and had been -- going on when plans for the current reconstruction of Iraq were being formulated. Those efforts were in the Balkans, East Timor, and U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. By mid-March of 2003, while both the Afghan project and the Iraq war were underway, plans were made to establish a coordination group to raise money for the reconstruction of Iraq. This group was called the senior Coalition Contribution Group (CCG).
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Benjamin Orbach
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Initial suspicions, select intelligence reports, and growing evidence have indicated that al-Qaeda played a role in Thursday's attacks on an Israeli-owned hotel and airliner in Mombasa, Kenya. If this evidence proves accurate, the attacks signal a shift in al-Qaeda's choice of targets and demonstrate a new danger to immediate U.S. interests in the Middle East. After almost a year of silence, Osama bin Laden (or someone speaking in his name) has resurfaced with a revised political agenda meant to mobilize the Arab and Muslim worlds against the United States. Through two recent communications – a November 12 statement and a less publicized "Letter to the American People" distributed on the internet and translated by the British Observer on November 24 – al-Qaeda has made the Palestinian issue the new focal point of its allegations against the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week's Jordanian government raid on the southern city of Maan was likely a tactic designed to insulate the kingdom from the possible repercussions of a U.S.-led war in Iraq. Indeed, the incident in Maan was a microcosm of larger Jordanian problems stemming from pro-Iraq, Palestinian, and Islamist opposition elements. Should war erupt, Jordan will almost certainly face challenges from these groups. It might also have to fend off a flood of Iraqi or Palestinian refugees, economic meltdown, or even military attack.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 3, the Turks will go to the polls to elect their new government. The elections could usher in a major realignment of the Turkish political landscape, perhaps bringing a party with Islamist pedigree – the Justice and Development Party (AKP) – to power. Should Washington worry about the foreign policy orientation of a new Turkish administration and its willingness to support a military campaign against Iraq?
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since September 2001, Yemen has worked hard to shed its image as a hotbed of Islamist terrorism. That image, however, was reinforced when London's al-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic daily reported that the Islamic Army of Aden (IAA, or Aden-Abyan Islamic Army), an al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility for an explosion that crippled a French tanker on October 6 in the Yemeni harbor of Mina' al-Dabba. Moreover, a recent letter allegedly written by Osama bin Laden praises the "bold heroic jihad operations . . . against the crusader's oil tanker." The attack, which killed one crewman, underscores Yemen's importance as an area of concern in the U.S. government's "war on terror."
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, London, Arab Countries