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  • Author: Michael Shank, Marwan Kabalan
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) apparently has a penchant for badness. For visiting Syria, the Speaker received a harsh reprimand by Vice President Dick Cheney who thought it “bad behavior.” Though the Speaker remained relatively un-phased by the scolding, Cheney made his point. The warning contained a deeper meaning—one that the Speaker understood immediately and that may explain why she passed on House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Lantos' (D-CA) recommendation to do the same with Iran. Take a closer look at Cheney's criticism and two questions arise. Does bad behavior connote an undermining of U.S. foreign policy, i.e. that U.S. officials should not engage in direct dialogue with adversaries? Or, does bad behavior suggest that the legislative branch should not, under any circumstances, challenge the executive branch? According to Cheney, it's the latter. In a radio appearance, the veep said, “The President is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House.” But before examining the schism widening between legislative and executive branches on foreign policy issues, the former point—i.e. should the U.S. dialogue with adversaries—needs attention.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Stephen Zunes
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Even as American officials reluctantly agreed last month to include Syrian representatives in multiparty talks on Iraqi security issues, the Bush administration continues to block Israel from resuming negotiations with Syria over its security concerns. In 2003, President Bashar al-Assad offered to resume peace talks with Israel where they had left off three years earlier, but Israel, backed by the Bush administration, refused. Assad eventually agreed to reenter peace negotiations without preconditions, but even these overtures were rejected.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Davvid Warszawski
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: On January 15, a Moroccan court gave editor Driss Ksikes and journalist Sanaa al-Adzi three-year suspended sentences for publishing jokes related to Islam. Here, Dawid Warszawski of Poland's leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza comments on the case.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Author: Stephen Zunes
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: President George Bush gave his 2007 State of the Union address on January 23. While the speech covered many domestic issues, Bush also laid out his foreign policy approach to Iraq, Iran, terrorism, and democracy promotion. Excerpts from the president's speech are in italics; my comments follow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jason Yossef Ben-Meir
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The new strategy of the United States in Iraq does not include an extensive overhaul of reconstruction efforts at this critical time. Very little money is now being appropriated for reconstruction. As the Iraq Study Group Report explains, of the $21 billion to date that has been appropriated for the “Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund” (IRRF), $16 billion has been spent and the remaining funds have been committed. The administration requested $750 million for 2007, and President Bush's new proposal is to add $1.2 billion to that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Neil J. Melvin
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Patani is a name often used to refer to a region in the far south of Thailand along the border with Malaysia. The name comes from the former sultanate of Patani, which was founded in 1390 and annexed by Siam (Thailand's historical name) in 1902. At the time of the annexation, Patani included the modern-day Thai provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala and parts of Songkhla along with neighbouring areas of Malaysia. The Malay spelling of Patani is used here to refer to the area currently affected by insurgency, whereas the Thai spelling, Pattani, is used to denote the province of that name.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Frida Kuhlau
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The urgency of fighting terrorism has been heightened by the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States and subsequent attacks around the world. The use of anthrax to attack targets in the USA in September–November 2001, reinforced the need to include various potential biological threats—such as the deliberate use of disease as a weapon—on the anti-terrorism agenda. This paper identifies the instruments available to the European Community and examines how they are employed as part of the wider effort to reduce the potential threat posed by biological agents. However, it is important to recognize that these instruments and their use are only one aspect of European Union (EU) activity towards that end and that Community actions are set within the wider EU context.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Zdzislaw Lachowski
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: On 16 August 2004 the President of the United States, George W. Bush, announced that some 60 000–70 000 US troops stationed in Asia and Europe would be returned to the USA over the coming decade. This realignment of forces signals a major change in US global and regional policies that will affect the structure of US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) base deployment (referred to as 'basing' or 'forward basing' by the military) throughout the world. In the 1990s Russia had begun pulling out of its cold war spheres of influence, but it either halted or began to reverse its base withdrawal process at almost the same time as Bush's plan was made known.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Neil J. Melvin
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The North Caucasus is a mountainous region in the south of the Russian Federation, bordered by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the west, Georgia and Azerbaijan to the south, and the Caspian Sea to the east. In this Policy Paper, as in much policy discussion about current developments in the region, the term 'North Caucasus' refers to eight republics of the Russian Federation—Adygeya, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia (Alania)—as well as the predominately ethnic Russian territories of Krasnodar krai and Stavropol krai.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Pan Guang, Mikhail Troitskiy, Pál Dunay, Alyson J. K. Bailes
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Established in 2001 with China, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as members, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has remained one of the world's least-known and least-analysed multilateral groups. It makes little effort itself for transparency and is only patchily institutionalized in any case. Such useful research materials as are available on it are often in Chinese or Russian. Outside its participant countries, the SCO has attracted mainly sceptical and negative comment: some questioning whether it has anything more than symbolic substance, others criticizing the lack of democratic credentials of its members and questioning the legitimacy of their various policies. These points have been made especially strongly by commentators in the United States following the inclusion of Iran—along with India, Pakistan and Mongolia—as an SCO observer state and hints that it may attain full membership.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Shanghai, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan