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  • Author: Abdullah Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 14, 2003, Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Before serving as foreign minister, Dr. Abdullah was heavily involved in discussions on Afghanistan's future government. Previously, he was chief spokesman and deputy foreign minister of the Northern Alliance. Born to a Pashtun father and Tajik mother, he is also a trained medical doctor, serving at the Sayyed Jamaluddin-i-Afghani Eye Hospital for Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Executives at some leading U.S. financial, corporate, and journalistic institutions, such as JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, American Express Centurion Bank, Associated Press Television News (APTN), Telestar5, and Interland, should be aware that their organizations are unwitting accomplices in the terrorist activities of Hizballah, recently labeled "the A team" of terrorism by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 9, 2003, Dennis Ross, The Washington Institute's director/Ziegler distinguished fellow, provided testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the "9-11 Commission"), an independent, bipartisan commission chartered to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The introduction from Ambassador Ross's remarks follows.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, the bitterness between Ankara and Washington over Turkey's failure to extend full support to the Iraq campaign culminated in a much-feared quagmire. On July 4, U.S. Army forces detained eleven Turkish special operations troops in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, possibly based on Iraqi Kurdish intelligence that they were planning to harm Kurdish officials in Kirkuk. Fortunately, no shots were fired and no one was hurt in the incident. Still, the fact remains that U.S. troops arrested soldiers from Turkey, a NATO ally viewed as one of America's staunchest friends until late 2002. Moreover, the Turks were allegedly conspiring against Kurds, America's best friends in Iraq. How to interpret this unpleasant episode? What can be done to prevent similar incidents in the future? Most important, can the United States and Turkey move forward in northern Iraq?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: According to a June 23, 2003, coalition administration announcement, recruitment for the new Iraqi army is to begin shortly. This is a potentially momentous step with major long-term implications for the future of the state. It will not be easy to create a new army to support a democratic Iraq, and certain difficulties will have to be addressed from the very beginning of the process. Success or failure in establishing the basis for an Iraqi military with strong values as well as capabilities will have a significant impact on the future stability of Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: July 9 is the fourth anniversary of the student-sparked mass protests that erupted in Iran in 1999. New protests this July could test Washington no less than Tehran. Will the U.S. government side openly and publicly with the freedom-minded students against not only the unelected hardliners, but also the ineffectual elected leadership of President Muhammad Khatami?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The normally sleepy shaykhdom of Ras al-Khaimah, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was wracked by gunfire and street protests over the weekend after the aged and frail ruler, Shaykh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, switched the title of crown prince from one of his seven sons to another. Sword-waving supporters of the deposed son, Shaykh Khalid, forced members of the emiri guard to retreat behind the high walls of the ruler's palace. A semblance of order was restored only after Abu Dhabi, the lead emirate of the UAE, sent armored vehicles to Ras al-Khaimah. Shaykh Khalid still contests the change, but troops have prevented supporters from reaching his palace. Although he is an outspoken critic of the United States, his removal flies in the face of certain U.S. policy objectives.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Doug Jehl, Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 2, 2003, Doug Jehl and Khaled Abu Toameh addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Jehl, currently with the New York Times' Washington bureau, served as the Times' Cairo bureau chief from 1995 to 2000 and, prior to that, as a White House correspondent for the paper. Mr. Abu Toameh is the West Bank and Gaza correspondent of the Jerusalem Post; previously, he served as a special correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, a senior writer for the Jerusalem Report, and a correspondent for Al Fajr. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: New York, Washington, Middle East, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, David Albright
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 4, 2003, David Albright and Michael Eisenstadt addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Albright is president of the Institute for Science and International Security and has also served as an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) weapons inspector in Iraq. Michael Eisenstadt is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute specializing in military and security affairs. His publications include Iranian Military Power: Capabilities and Intentions (The Washington Institute, 1996) and "Living with a Nuclear Iran?" (Survival, Autumn 1999).
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the early morning hours of June 11, according to Reuters, 3,000 demonstrators near Tehran University shouted, "Political prisoners must be freed!" This incident comes shortly after the issuance of two letters sharply attacking the present system -- one signed by more than one-third of the Majlis and one by 196 prominent clerics and intellectuals. Are these signs that the Islamic Republic is in trouble?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White, Michael Schmidmayr
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Almost from the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, coalition forces have faced "resistance" -- armed action against coalition forces, equipment, or facilities. Resistance is to be distinguished from violence by Iraqis against other Iraqis and from "opposition" -- that is, anticoalition statements, demonstrations, or the organization of political activity -- which appears to be more characteristic of the Shi'i.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At yesterday's Sharm al-Shaykh summit, President George W. Bush persisted in his post-September 11 campaign to transform the Middle Eastern landscape, an effort that includes not only promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace but transforming intra-Arab politics as well. A close reading of the carefully crafted statements by Bush and his Egyptian host, President Hosni Mubarak, offers a revealing look into where U.S. and Arab leaders agree, disagree, and choose to remain ambiguous on critical issues facing the region.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: William A. Samii, Nasser Hadian
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 21, 2003, A. William Samii and Nasser Hadian addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Samii is an analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, where he prepares the Iran Report. Dr. Hadian is a professor of political science at Tehran University and a visiting scholar at the Middle East Institute of Columbia University. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Colombia, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This PolicyWatch is the third in a three-part series. Part I, by Michael Eisenstadt, examined the political and military challenges of preventing an Iranian nuclear breakout; Part II, by Michael Knights, examined the operational challenges of preemptive action.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This PolicyWatch is the second in a three-part series. Part I (PolicyWatch No. 760, "The Challenges of U.S. Preventive Action," by Michael Eisenstadt) examined the political and military challenges of preventing an Iranian nuclear breakout; Part III, by Jeffrey White, will examine potential Iranian responses to preemption.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This PolicyWatch is the first in a three-part series. Future PolicyWatches by Michael Knights and Jeffrey White will examine the operational challenges of prevention, and potential Iranian responses.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The recent bombings in Riyadh and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's remarks condemning them have raised expectations that U.S.-Saudi counterterrorism cooperation will improve so that such tragedies can be averted in the future. What internal dynamic will guide the Saudis' handling of this crisis? What sort of counterterrorism cooperation are they likely to provide in the aftermath of the bombings?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Successfully shaping Iraqi public perceptions is vitally important, particularly since other well-known means of influencing the public -- creating stability and reestablishing water, power, and other public welfare services -- are taking longer than expected. Yet, the coalition has arguably been slower to shape the Iraqi media environment than either indigenous political actors or Iranian state-sponsored media networks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nazgol Ashouri
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The difficulties facing Iranians who want to express their opinions freely in print are legion. In an atmosphere where journalists and pollsters are often detained without trial, it is easy to assume that pollsters do not ask important questions and that respondents do not give serious answers. Yet, some very interesting polls are in fact conducted in Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Hazem Saghie
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 8, 2003, Hazem Saghie addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Saghie has been the editor of the weekly supplement of the London-based daily al-Hayat for the past fifteen years and served fourteen years in Beirut for the Lebanon daily al-Safir. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute and editor of The Predicament of the Individual in the Middle East (Saqi Books, 2000). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, London, Lebanon, Beirut, Czech Republic
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In almost all of his speeches, Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has spoken about the pride that his organization brought to Arabs by forcing Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in May 2000. Now, however, the coalition forces have trampled on this pride: the Iraqi regime collapsed, and Baghdad fell without offering much resistance. Speaking on April 24, Nasrallah warned that "the most dangerous challenge now facing Arabs is the sense of hopelessness and stupor that has followed in the wake of Iraqi occupation." Indeed, on a variety of fronts, Hizballah is suddenly facing a new regional landscape that is inimical to its interests.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Baghdad, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Avi Jorisch
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Secretary of State Colin Powell prepares to visit Syria and Lebanon on May 3, his agenda will most likely address the war on terrorism. The most active support for terrorism from both Damascus and Beirut is for Hizballah. To understand what the group's aims and ambitions are, few sources are better than al-Manar, Hizballah's Lebanese television station. The channel broadcasts messages calling for death to America and suicide bombings against American forces in Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Beirut
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Today, the State Department releases the 2002 edition of Patterns of Global Terrorism, its congressionally mandated annual accounting of international terrorism. The report chronicles a year marked by both devastating terrorist attacks and remarkable progress targeting al-Qaeda in the war on terror. However, against the backdrop of the increasingly successful international campaign to prevent such attacks by targeting terrorist groups, what stands out is the lack of a similar effort in 2002 to target state sponsors -- a problem that continues today.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The end of Saddam Husayn's regime offers several key benefits with regard to U.S. interests. World oil supplies will increase as Iraq -- which has not been a major oil exporter since the beginning of the 1980-1988 war with Iran -- raises its oil production capacity to its full potential, which may amount to 5-6 million barrels per day. Cheap oil will boost the global economy, reduce Arab control of the oil market, and allow the United States to become less dependent on Saudi Arabia and better positioned to demand reforms from Middle Eastern regimes. In addition, postwar Iraq will no longer pose a weapons-of-mass-destruction threat to the region. The end of Saddam's regime will also reduce Russian and French influence in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Whatever the long-term prospects for a stable and democratic Iraq, the potential exists for the development of resistance to that goal. This potential is rooted in both historical factors (e.g., Iraq's political culture; Iraqi distrust of the United States; enduring images of colonialism) and immediate circumstances (e.g., the collapse of Saddam Husayn's regime and the attendant destruction of governing systems and infrastructure; the legacy of regime crimes). Indeed, the latter circumstances have created precursors for resistance to coalition forces, the transitional government, and the eventual Iraqi government.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- the oil producers' cartel of which Iraq is a founding member -- meets in Vienna to discuss production cuts intended to maintain the current, relatively high price of oil. The United States is not expected to send a representative for Iraq, although one or more among the plethora of political groups in the liberated country may send a would-be representative, unlikely to be seated. While ignoring the meeting, Washington still needs to make clear how it will reconstruct the Iraqi oil industry and utilize the nation's huge oil reserves, second in size only to those of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Vienna
  • Author: William Perry, Newt Gingrich, R. James Woolsey, Lawrence Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Robert Kerrey, Fred Thompson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush declared that Iraq would be disarmed -- peacefully if possible, through force if necessary. While resort to arms was surely not the preferred option, Saddam Husayn's determination to preserve his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ensured that the United States and its allies would be left with no choice but to act militarily. The path to war has not been precipitous. If the United States is now to avoid the age-old fear of winning the war but losing the peace, the administration's postwar priorities must reflect an understanding of the challenges it faces and the choices it must make.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although military operations have passed the "tipping point" in Iraq, U.S. Central Command spokesmen continue to stress that their primary focus remains the completion of high-intensity operations against remaining pockets of resistance. Moreover, in contrast to previous statements that advocated allowing looting to burn itself out, recent statements suggest that the coalition will quickly reconstitute the Iraqi police force, actively preventing looting and imposing curfews on its own in the meantime. These are positive steps because accomplishing the mission -- that is, neutralizing or apprehending leadership elements, uncovering weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and facilitating the humanitarian and economic recovery of Iraq -- depends on closer engagement with the civilian population and robust policing activity. The coalition cannot afford to choose between fighting the high-intensity war or engaging in low-intensity civil affairs; both endeavors must be undertaken simultaneously, which will be a strain on both the limited numbers of coalition forces and relations with Iraqi civilians.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In light of the recent dramatic events in Baghdad, U.S. policymakers are eyeing the next phase of the war. U.S. forces will almost certainly encounter increased guerrilla fighting. Saddam Husayn's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, recently stated that more than 6,000 Arab volunteer fighters are now in Iraq. With increasing numbers of such volunteers vowing to fight, could Iraq become the epicenter for the next global jihad?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Graham E. Fuller, Daniel Pipes
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 3, 2003, Daniel Pipes and Graham Fuller addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and an adjunct scholar of the Institute. His most recent book is Militant Islam Reaches America (W.W. Norton, 2002). Mr. Fuller is former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council at the Central Intelligence Agency and senior political scientist at RAND. His latest book is The Future of Political Islam (Palgrave, 2003). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Avi Jorisch, Roger Cressey
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 4, 2003, Matthew Levitt, Roger Cressey, and Avi Jorisch addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Levitt is the Institute's senior fellow in terrorism studies and author of its 2002 monograph Targeting Terror: U.S. Policy toward Middle Eastern State Sponsors and Terrorist Organizations, Post-September 11. Mr. Cressey is president of Good Harbor Consulting and former director of transnational threats at the National Security Council. Mr. Jorisch is a Soref fellow at the Institute, where he is writing a monograph on Hizballah and its television station, al-Manar. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end" -- like Shakespeare's quintessential villain Richard III, Saddam Husayn is being toppled by a combination of forces he called into existence through his own evil actions. Unlike Richard, Saddam's final act will lack heroic qualities. Clearly, the regime's disintegration is accelerating; all that is left is for the final act to be played out.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ray Takeyh, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iran is facing its most acute crisis since the 1979 revolution. Over the past six years, political institutions have played a key role in opening the path to reform. Yet, the success of President Muhammad Khatami's efforts to involve the Iranian people in electoral processes and political institutions has led to a conservative backlash. A coalition of hardliners has been successfully implementing a strategy for retaining power, namely, fostering popular apathy by controlling public discourse, imprisoning reformers, and negating the deliberations of elected institutions. This strategy reached its apex during local and council elections in February in which only 30 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Arabia
  • Author: Hafez al-Mirazi, Jonathan Schanzer, Mouafac Harb
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: War remains a horrifying event and al-Jazeera will cover it realistically. Images carried by the network are graphic, but do not discriminate in showing American and Iraqi casualties. Similarly, al-Jazeera has covered both the unprecedented airpower brought to bear by the allied forces and the Iraqi government's own version of "shock and awe" in airing videotapes of American prisoners of war; failure to do so would challenge the station's credibility.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amidst the war in Iraq, the Lebanese group Hizballah has decided not to open up what could have been a "second front" by attacking Israel. This decision should not be mistaken for passivity, however. With the world paying scant attention, Hizballah is seeking to shape Arab public opinion against the United States. It is important to understand the underlying forces that drive Hizballah's campaign against the United States so as to better comprehend the organization's stakes in the Iraq war and its aftermath.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate in northern Iraq, was rocked by U.S. missile and air strikes over the weekend, concluding an eight-day campaign against the organization. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) stated that, with help from more than 100 U.S. Special Forces operatives, they have "completely overrun" Ansar's stronghold. The PUK reportedly killed twenty-four Ansar fighters on Monday alone. Yet, the group may not have been defeated completely. Although its enclave was literally flattened, Ansar al-Islam is threatening new attacks, and will likely live to fight another day.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the coalition prepares for the decisive phase of the war against Saddam Husayn's regime, it is crucial that combat operations set the conditions for achieving U.S. war aims and -- just as important -- winning the peace afterward. The principal war aims are: 1) eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD); 2) achieving regime change; and 3) setting the conditions for the emergence of a stable, broad-based post-Saddam government. Moreover, prospects for winning the peace will be greatly enhanced if the coalition moves quickly to improve postwar living conditions for the largest possible number of Iraqis; to establish a modicum of stability in the country; and to create conditions wherein coalition forces are viewed not as occupiers, but as partners for building a new Iraq. How should the coalition fight the war in order to achieve these objectives?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, speaking at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, after mentioning the war in Iraq, declared, "no challenge, no opportunity, is more important, more pressing, than the quest to put an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Such wording is similar to sentiments expressed in recent weeks by British prime minister Tony Blair. However, there are indications that Washington's view about Israeli-Palestinian issues sharply differs from that of London.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Israel, London, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Saudi Arabian, Turkish, and Jordanian host-nation restrictions limiting coalition ground and air operations, the United States has begun to develop a range of Iraqi airfields as forward operating bases for combat aircraft. This is ironic considering that successive U.S. governments spent billions of dollars to develop an unparalleled basing environment to support U.S. power projection in the Gulf. Recent decisions by Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- key U.S. allies -- have arguably prevented Washington from waging a shorter and less costly war in terms of both blood and treasure. Yet, the United States has benefited greatly from its policy of diversifying basing assets in the smaller Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, recognizing that Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman are dependable allies and that Iraq may one day replace Saudi Arabia as a key airbase provider.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Saddam Husayn's regime is under relentless attack, and its days are numbered. Exactly when or how the end will come is unclear but not in doubt. After a week of major combat, it is reasonable to assess the progress of this war: accomplishments by both sides, surprising -- and not so surprising -- elements, emerging patterns or trends, and battlefield implications.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With the northern front in Iraq being officially launched today, coalition forces may soon move toward the city of Kirkuk, which they began bombing on March 21. Kirkuk, claimed by Kurds as the prospective capital of a Kurdish region in postwar Iraq, is the bastion of the Turkmens, a Turkish-speaking community that shares close historical, social, and cultural ties with the Anatolian Turks in neighboring Turkey. Their fortunes will be closely scrutinized in Turkey during and after Operation Iraqi Freedom. If Turks feel that the Turkmen community is being discriminated against or threatened, they could force Ankara to take action, perhaps undermining what remains of U.S.-Turkish cooperation in Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ilter Turkmen, Emre Gonensay
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 17, 2003, Ambassador Ilter Turkmen and Emre Gonensay addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Turkmen has served as the Turkish minister of foreign affairs (1980-1983), as the undersecretary-general of the United Nations, and as the commissioner-general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Professor Gonensay served as the Turkish minister of foreign affairs in 1996.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past two days, U.S. forces have battled elements of the four Republican Guard (RG) divisions that form the outer ring of Baghdad's defenses, initiating what may be the decisive phase of the coalition's invasion of Iraq. The possibility of urban combat in Baghdad is a daunting one, entailing risks not only for coalition forces, but for the Iraqi regime as well. Although the battle for Baghdad is likely to be the decisive phase of the current campaign, it is unlikely to be the final stage of this conflict. Rather, it will mark the transition to a new phase of what is likely to become a protracted struggle, one that could last as long as U.S. troops remain in Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Mark Parris
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As demonstrated by President George W. Bush's request to Congress yesterday to provide Turkey with $1 billion in aid -- money that can be leveraged into $8 billion in loan guarantees -- Turkey will remain a key country for Washington. But the Iraq war is a watershed in U.S.-Turkish relations, and the partnership will inevitably involve a new agenda based on postwar realities.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Iraqi forces have been countering the U.S.-led Operation Iraqi Freedom with a form of "outside-in" strategy, defending their country from the periphery to the center. Although the coalition is winning every significant engagement and has penetrated to the heart of the country, Saddam Husayn's regime is not giving ground easily, and the costs of bringing it down will rise. The regime is demonstrating once again that it is a dynamic opponent, capable of understanding what it faces and coming up with surprises.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Coalition ground forces entered Iraq on the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in contrast to Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when the ground assault followed forty-three days of air strikes involving an average of 2,500 sorties per day. This difference was due in large part to the fact that much of the work of preparing the battlefield had been completed well before the current operation began. Specifically, coalition air forces have long engaged in large-scale activities in Iraq's no-fly and no-augmentation zones, flying as many as 1,000 sorties per day -- substantially more than the 700 sorties flown during the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: An apparently spontaneous protest stopped traffic in Cairo's Tahrir Square Thursday. Protesting the allied attack on Iraq, some of the participants turned violent, overturning police blockades. In Damascus, riot police fired tear gas on hundreds of protesters who threw rocks and tried to rush the U.S. embassy. Several smaller demonstrations were also reported in Lebanon, Jordan, and the Gaza Strip. Today, more protests occurred in Cairo, Jerusalem, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, and Manama. In Yemen, a shootout was reported between police and antiwar protesters marching on the U.S. embassy in Sanaa. These incidents support the idea of a dangerous "Arab street," reflecting a disaffected Arab public incensed at U.S. policy. What is the impact of Arab antiwar opinion on regional stability?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Judith Yaphe, Eric Mathewson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: It is day one of the Iraqi war. The Iraqi nation is in chaos. In the mosques, fatwas (religious decrees) are issued against the invading Westerners. The Kurds revolt. At home, antiwar protesters are demonstrating in the streets: is the objective of this war regional stability, political change, or oil?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There has been much speculation that under certain circumstances -- either just before a war or in the early stages of a coalition operation -- some elements of the Iraqi military would move against Saddam Husayn and his regime. A coup against Saddam would in fact be a highly complex event with uncertain benefits for the coalition. Whether or not such an action were to begin before or after the onset of war, specific requirements would have to be met and serious obstacles overcome in order to achieve a successful end result. The history of failed coups against Saddam suggests just how uncertain the prospects would be for such a result.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: According to a classified report drafted by the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) and leaked to the Los Angeles Times on March 14, overthrowing Saddam Husayn will not lead to a wave of successful democratic revolutions against Middle Eastern autocracies. Numerous press accounts describe the report -- titled "Iraq, the Middle East, and Change: No Dominoes" -- as "pouring scorn" on Bush administration policy. In fact, the INR report meshes with administration policy, which is to seek political liberalization of existing regimes first, avoiding the radicalism of "overnight democracy" schemes.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Knights
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Using new operational concepts in concert with rapidly maturing strike technologies, the U.S. military will attempt to seamlessly dovetail the destructive process of warfare with the reconstructive effort of nation building in any future air operations against Iraq. Lessons learned from air campaigns conducted in Iraq during the 1990s have laid the foundation for a more finessed approach to infrastructure targeting.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week the Bush administration decided to reject the recommendation of an independent federal agency to designate Saudi Arabia as a "country of particular concern" under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom had heard evidence that the Saudi religious police raided the homes of foreign workers who practiced Christianity and held them in squalid, overcrowded prisons. Washington's dilemma lies in dealing with such evidence without upsetting Riyadh at a time when the United States is trying to secure optimal Saudi cooperation on military action against Iraq. The administration's reluctance is at odds with President George W. Bush's National Security Strategy announced in September 2002, which defined "a single, sustainable model for national success [in the world]: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise." It also obscures an opportunity to bolster emerging trends in Saudi Arabia that hint at potential political change.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Norman Cigar
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During Operation Desert Storm, U.S. forces captured several million Iraqi military documents. Among these was one titled "The Operational Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction; Volume 2; Part 2; Foundations for the Use of Nuclear Weapons in War." The manual was published in July 1988 by the Ministry of Defense and bears the approving signature of then-chief of staff Lt. Gen. Nizar al-Khazraji. As such, it represents official Iraqi thinking on the topic, providing the most detailed description of how Baghdad might use nuclear weapons if it were to acquire them. The existence of the manual indicates that the Iraqi military was thinking ahead to a time when Iraq would have nuclear weapons, and that it was preparing to integrate such weapons into its arsenal and its overall military doctrine
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Gordon Rudd, Gerald Thompson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: It is unclear clear whether the Turkish parliament will re-vote or approve the deployment of U.S. troops in Turkey in preparation for an attack on Iraq. Turkish military cooperation -- or its absence -- may either facilitate or, respectively, complicate an American military operation. Even if the Turkish parliament were to approve the move, potential fault lines could challenge a Turkish-American partnership in the event of war. In this environment, Operations Provide Comfort (OPC) I and II of the early 1990s -- when Turkey, the United States, and other NATO allies collaborated closely in northern Iraq to establish a safe haven for Kurds -- may prove instructive.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ray Takeyh
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 28, 2003, elections were held across Iran for positions on city and village councils, local political bodies that were revived in 1999. Whereas the 1999 council elections resulted in impressive gains by reformers, last Friday's electoral results demonstrated the resurgence of the right wing. Capitalizing on low voter turnout and mass alienation from the political process, the conservatives swept elections in nearly all major Iranian cities. Indeed, the elections marked the lowest turnout in twenty-four years and the first time that the reform movement has been defeated at the polls since its emergence in the mid-1990s. Beyond the issue of largely symbolic local councils, the elections reflect the changing dynamics of Iran's political landscape.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: If the United States and the "coalition of the willing" go to war, the result will be a comprehensive defeat of the Iraqi regime and its military and security forces. What is not so clear is how smoothly the military campaign will proceed. Many commentators seem to assume that any serious problems would emerge only after the war was over. Yet, could the Iraqis mount enough defense to cause problems during the war itself? How might they defend themselves, and why might they have some success?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yitzhak Nakash
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The prospect of American military action in Iraq has raised concerns that dismantling the Ba'ath regime will weaken the state and spur the defection of its Shi'i majority under the influence of Iran. Yet, much of the pessimism surrounding this assessment obscures the historical role that the Shi'i community has played in supporting the Iraqi state, not to mention the vital interest it has in preserving the country's territorial integrity. If war in Iraq leads to a more representative government that is willing to address Shi'i political aspirations, the likely result would be stability and the establishment of a more moderate religious leadership quite different from that seen in Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ely Karmon
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 20, 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of eight leading members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The indictment provides a wealth of detail about the close connection between PIJ and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a dramatic session yesterday, the Turkish parliament convened to consider a motion sent by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which had requested that a large U.S. force be permitted to use Turkish soil as a staging ground for a possible campaign in Iraq. The legislature refused to authorize the motion, however, blocking the creation of a northern front in the looming war. Of the 533 deputies in session, 264 voted for the motion, 250 voted against it, and 19 abstained, bringing the motion only three votes shy of the majority required by the constitution. AKP assurances that only 30 to 40 of its delegates would object to the motion crashed to a halt over the course of the session, with 99 of the party's deputies voting nay. Although the democratic will of the Turkish parliament should be respected, the fact remains that the AKP government failed to pass its agenda through the legislature. Some analysts argue that this spells trouble for both Turkey and AKP, with others speculating that U.S.-Turkish relations are now at a historical threshold.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Mark Parris
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey's parliament will soon vote on whether to allow U.S. forces to use Turkish soil as a staging ground for a possible war with Iraq. Since Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz's trip to Ankara in early December 2002, Turkey and the United States have engaged in a protracted dialogue about Ankara's stance toward potential U.S. military action. Why has Turkey been hesitant to support Washington's plans, and how might such vacillation affect the U.S.-Turkish strategic alliance in the future?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey White
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As war with Iraq looms closer, postwar questions are receiving increasing attention. Senior defense officials have been addressing such issues frequently, and the White House held a press briefing yesterday on "Humanitarian Reconstruction" in Iraq. One of these issues concerns individuals who have been complicit in the crimes of Saddam Husayn's regime. According to the Washington Post, the United States intends to conduct a "de-Baathification" program in Iraq similar in some ways to the "de-Nazification" program conducted in Germany in the wake of World War II. Although the details of this program are still to be worked out, the Post indicated that complicity in "human rights and weapons abuses" would be key criteria in determining which Iraqi officials would be permitted to keep their jobs.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Germany
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, Syria has begun to alter its military tactics in Lebanon as a direct consequence of U.S. policy toward Iraq. Even without U.S. forces firing a shot against Saddam Husayn, leaders throughout the Middle East have already begun to position themselves for an eventual U.S.-led victory and the reverberations to follow.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Richard Speier
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A dispute is rapidly growing between UN inspectors and Baghdad concerning Iraq's stockpile of al-Samoud missiles. The UN is expected to order the destruction of these missiles today. According to Hans Blix, executive chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, the fact that these missiles are capable of attaining a range 22 percent greater than that allowed under UN restrictions is a "prima facie" case for their proscription. Yet, Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has said, "There is no serious violation," and it is unclear whether Baghdad would obey a destruction order. Understanding the significance of the al-Samoud requires a closer look at the missile's developmental history, technical capabilities, and strategic purpose.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Ladan Boroumand
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For many years, Western democracies have been pessimistic about the possibility of Iran becoming a secular democracy. Thus, Western policy toward Iran has long been characterized by a series of hesitant, inconsistent, and ad hoc decisions aimed at countering Iranian-sponsored terrorism, coupled with a relative lack of concern about the tyrannical nature of the Iranian regime. This unfounded pessimism is predicated on a profound misreading of the Islamic Republic as a traditional religious government rather than a revolutionary regime.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Osama el-Baz
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S.-Egyptian relations always have been a critical aspect of American involvement in the Middle East. Although Washington and Cairo have disagreed on certain issues, they have nevertheless maintained a significant partnership. As regional tensions mount amid the possibility of war with Iraq and continued violence on the Israeli-Palestinian front, it is important to take a fresh look at this partnership. Recently, the Egyptian government has conveyed its concerns to the United States on two major issues: the potential for war in Iraq and Washington's role in attaining Arab-Israeli peace.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Following Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 6 address to the United Nations Security Council, some questioned his description of the "sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network." In fact, the relationship between Baghdad and terrorism mirrors the way in which today's international terrorist groups function: not as tightly structured hierarchies, but rather as shadowy networks that, when necessary, strike ad hoc tactical alliances bridging religious and ideological schisms. Osama bin Laden's recent call on Muslims to come to Iraq's defense, even as he derided the "infidel" regime in Baghdad, is a case in point.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Bassem Awadallah
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jordan has always been regarded as a buffer state, wedged between turmoil to its east in Iraq and to its west in Israel and the West Bank. While those neighbors have faced turbulence in recent years, Jordan has enjoyed three years of substantial economic growth. Indeed, Jordan provides a positive example of what reform can accomplish in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Merissa Khurma
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Planning to target the English-speaking market for the first time in its history, the popular twenty-four-hour Arabic television news network al-Jazeera is working to launch a new English-language website sometime this spring. Upon its launch, the site will reach a new and diverse audience beyond the borders of the Arabic-speaking world. The Christian Science Monitor has even reported that this might be a first step toward the creation of an English-language television channel designed to broadcast controversial news programming in the United States "by satellite and cable."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the United States looks to disarm Iraq and to defuse or defer a nuclear crisis with North Korea, another nuclear crisis -- with Iran -- looms on the horizon. U.S. policymakers could face critical decisions this year regarding Iran's nuclear program as the Bushehr reactor approaches completion, as Iran's efforts to produce fissile material progress, and, most alarming, as North Korea appears poised to become a significant producer -- and perhaps supplier -- of fissile material.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Michael Eisenstadt, David Kay, Philip Gordon
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 27, Hans Blix, director of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), delivered a straightforward report to the Security Council regarding Iraqi compliance with arms resolutions. Twelve years after taking up the obligation to disarm under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 687, Baghdad still does not genuinely believe that it needs to disarm. Hence, asserting that inspections will work if given time is rather naive. Many in Europe have made this very argument, claiming that the Blix report is just the beginning of a long-term process. Yet, the mission of the inspectors under UNSCR 1441 (passed in November 2002) is to confirm that Iraq has made the decision to disarm and to verify that disarmament has in fact taken place; the Blix report shows that neither of these criteria has been met.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Shafeeq Ghabra
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Regime change in Baghdad could do more than make Iraq a positive force in the Middle East instead of a source of trouble; it could also give a strong boost to liberalizing trends throughout the Middle East. Therefore, a war to topple Saddam Husayn's regime would create both opportunities and dangers for the region.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 25, Secretary of State Colin Powell met Turkish prime minister Abdullah Gul and the chair of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), Tayyip Erdogan, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Powell's meeting -- which followed a January 19 visit to Turkey by General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a December 6 visit by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz -- was aimed at persuading Ankara to allow American troops entry into Turkey in order to prepare a northern front against Iraq. After nearly two months of negotiations, the Turkish government still appears undecided on this issue. Why are the Turks hesitant to cooperate with U.S. military plans, and how can Washington overcome Ankara's indecision? Recent developments in Turkey may help answer both of these questions.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Switzerland
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, the Saudi government published what it described as a "Charter to Reform the Arab Stand," a document intended for endorsement at the next summit of Arab leaders, due to be held in Bahrain in March. Addressed to Arab kings and presidents, the charter calls for more internal reforms and "categorically reject[s] any illegal external aggression against any Arab state."
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Reform
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain
  • Author: Max Abrahms
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, hundreds of U.S. soldiers will participate in Juniper Cobra, a joint exercise with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to test the interoperability of U.S. Patriot and Israeli Arrow antiballistic missile systems. Such bilateral cooperation, coupled with reports that the Bush administration is considering providing Israel an additional $4 billion in military assistance, suggests that Washington is relying mainly on carrots to discourage an Israeli military response in the event of an Iraqi attack. These moves may explain Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent declaration, "We never had such cooperation in everything as we have with the current administration." Yet, precisely what form would this "cooperation" take if Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against Israel or otherwise inflicted mass casualties? Would Washington attempt to shape Israel's retaliatory options as it did during Operation Desert Storm?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, E.J. Dionne, Fred Barnes
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Dilemmas for U.S. Middle East policy will arise in the immediate post-Saddam aftermath. Foremost will be America's preoccupation with stabilizing Iraq and transforming its new government into a democracy. Vague at present is whether U.S.-led forces will focus on existing institutions (e.g., the Iraqi military) or build new ones to achieve these goals. Such decisions will affect the degree and nature of Iraq's transformation, and the new regime's composition could be significantly different if the United States were to depend on a reformed Iraqi military to promote stability. Moreover, Iraqi transformation corresponds directly to a region-wide transformation, because increased efforts to transform Iraq with a broad-based, representative government will send signals of political reform to Iraq's neighbors. U.S. policy must stand ready to assist other Middle Eastern regimes in their transition to more responsible governments that offer their people hope and the prospect for change.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Kenneth Bell
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1996, an off-duty police officer working as a security guard at a cigarette wholesaler in North Carolina noticed young men entering the building with grocery bags full of cash. The men would queue up in the cashier's line with 299 cartons of cigarettes each, while one of them stood at the register and paid cash as the others came through. Next, they would load the cigarettes into minivans and head toward Michigan. At the time, it was against the law to transport more than 300 cartons of cigarettes into another state unless they were marked with the tax stamp of that state. Yet, the smugglers in question took advantage of the fact that neither North Carolina nor Michigan stamped cigarettes to show tax paid. Given the large disparity between North Carolina's cigarette tax (50 cents per carton) and Michigan's ($7.50 per carton), each minivan load had the potential to generate $13,000 worth of profit; indeed, at the height of the operation, three to four minivans were running to Michigan each week.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, North Carolina
  • Author: Jonathan Schanzer
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate active in Iraqi Kurdistan since September 2001, is a prototype of America's enemies in the "war on terror." The group serves as a testament to the global spread of al-Qaeda affiliates, achieved through exploitation of weak central authorities and a utilitarian willingness to work with seemingly differing ideologies for a common cause. Lengthy reports on Ansar have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and Kurdish leaders have given Washington a plethora of intelligence on the group. Nevertheless, Ansar has yet to appear on official U.S. terrorism lists. Meanwhile, political complexities would make military action against the group difficult, at best. Hence, this small force of 650 fighters is a textbook example of the ongoing challenges posed by the war on terror.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, New York, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 11, 2002, the Canadian government banned Hizballah, labeling it a terrorist organization. Strangely, some in Canada are having second thoughts about this measure, likely under the assumption that Hizballah is not a terrorist group but a social and political organization engaged in armed struggle against Israel. Yet, evidence of Hizballah's international activity as a terrorist group of global reach is overwhelming.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Canada, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At least five terrorist suspects who entered the United States illegally from Canada during the Christmas holidays are now the subjects of an international manhunt. The suspects' international travel was apparently facilitated by Pakistani criminal elements engaged in the production of false documents, including forged visas and passports. The nexus between criminal and terrorist activity is not new. Indeed, international terrorism is facilitated and financed by an array of states, groups, fronts, individuals, businesses, banks, criminal enterprises, and nominally humanitarian organizations. Since the attacks of September 11, experts and decisionmakers have focused much attention on charitable and humanitarian organizations, as well as official and unofficial banking systems in the network of terrorist financing. The political economy of terrorism, however, relies just as heavily on legitimate businesses and, increasingly, criminal activity.
  • Topic: Security, Political Economy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Europe, Middle East, Taliban, Arab Countries, Syria, North America
  • 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
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent talks in Damascus focused not only on Syrian sponsorship of Palestinian terrorist groups, but also on Syria's increasingly intimate ties with and support for Hizballah. Yet, Syrian support for terrorist groups of global reach does not end with Hizballah. Recently revealed intelligence on al-Qaeda activities in Europe exposed a significant al-Qaeda network in Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Syrian sponsorship of terrorism topped the agenda of Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent trip to Damascus, and his visit was quickly followed by conflicting reports regarding the status of various terrorist headquarters there. The coming weeks will determine whether the Damascus offices of Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and other terrorist groups have in fact been shut down, and, far more critically, whether their activities have been curtailed. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Syrian officials continue to describe the Damascus headquarters of these terrorist groups as "media offices." By harboring these groups, Syria is complicit in their terrorist activities, which include inciting, recruiting, training, coordinating, funding, and directing terrorists staging operations from Syria itself and from Syrian-controlled Lebanon.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With last week's formal unveiling of the Roadmap, the Arab-Israeli peace process has moved into a new phase that is its most internationalized in a quarter century. The establishment of the Roadmap's all-important "verification mechanism" -- the structure of which has largely been worked out among the Quartet's U.S., European Union (EU), Russian, and UN representatives -- will give tangible expression to this heightened level of internationalization.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Within hours of Mahmoud Abbas's (Abu Mazen) confirmation as the new Palestinian prime minister and the presentation of the Quartet's roadmap to peace, two suicide bombers struck a seaside bar next to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, killing three civilians and wounding sixty more. As is frequently the case, authorities investigating the attack are likely to find that the bombers were fed, housed, prepared, armed, and transported to their target by terrorists drawn from the social welfare "wing" of one terrorist group or another. The most critical test facing the nascent Palestinian government is the immediate task of weeding out the logistical support networks that facilitate such attacks under the cover of charitable or humanitarian activities.
  • 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: Addressing the Palestinian Legislative Council Tuesday, new Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Mahmoud Abbas outlined a bold program of domestic reform and commitment to diplomacy that balanced loyalty to Yasir Arafat with an evident desire for fundamental political change. The speech's most positive aspects were Abbas's affirmation of negotiations as the route to achieve Palestinian aspirations, his assertion of the primacy of the rule of law, and his promise that "the unauthorized possession of firearms . . . will be relentlessly addressed." He hinted at, but was not conclusive on, plans to have paramilitary groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades forcibly disarmed rather than just invited to reach "an internal understanding" on their opposition to a peace strategy. Abbas's ambiguity on whether attacks against Israeli targets inside the West Bank and Gaza constitute terrorism left a serious question mark. An important aspect of his address, overlooked by most observers, was his frequent reference to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), not the PA, as the institution to which he owed first allegiance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 28, 2003, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Ross is director and Ziegler distinguished fellow at the Institute and former U.S. special Middle East coordinator for the peace process. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute and author of Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the Oslo Accord.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented his new 68-member right-center government to the 120-member Knesset today. The government represents four parties with the following allocation of seats: Likud (40), Shinui (15), National Union (7), and National Religious Party (6). This marks the first Israeli government formed since 1974 that does not include any ultraorthodox participation. Below are the main areas that the government has made its policy guidelines.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As one clock ticks toward a decision on the use of force to disarm Iraq, a second clock clicks toward the formal launching of the "roadmap" for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking drafted by the Quartet (i.e., the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations). Barring some major external development — such as the death or exile of Yasir Arafat, a cataclysmic act of Palestinian terrorism, or an unexpected Israeli-Palestinian initiative — the roadmap process is likely to begin, as President George W. Bush might say, in a matter of weeks, not months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In a recorded statement released this week, Osama bin Laden called on Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks against Americans. Al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist organization to call for such attacks, however; just four days earlier, Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmed Yassin published an open letter calling on Muslims to "threaten Western interests and strike them everywhere" in the event of a "a crusaders' war" against Islam in Iraq. Indeed, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week that "the days when we made distinctions between terrorist groups are over." Moreover, in February 2002, Tenet told Congress that if Palestinian groups "feel that U.S. actions are threatening their existence, they may begin targeting Americans directly, as Hizballah's terrorist wing already does." In fact, several Palestinian groups are increasingly inclined to target American interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Elie Rekhess
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 29, 2003, David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute, an adjunct lecturer on Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, and a contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Elie Rekhess
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 24, 2002, Elie Rekhess and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Dr. Rekhess is a senior associate at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University and director of the center's research program on Arab politics in Israel. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Institute and contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this week, Israel's Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna announced that he would not look to resume a broad coalition government with the Likud Party following the country's upcoming January 28 election, a crucial decision that dropped Labor from 24 to 20 seats (according to today's Yediot Aharonot poll) and that may have sealed the election for Likud. Mitzna's decision halted Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's slide of the last several weeks in the wake of a vote-buying scandal that imperiled his electoral bloc's grip on a Knesset majority.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The slide in the polls of Ariel Sharon's Likud Party over the last six weeks has been rather dramatic, transforming the character of the campaign from an expected Sharon landslide into a closer contest. In Thursday's Yediot Ahronot-Dahaf poll, Likud dropped from 40 to 28 seats in the 120-member Knesset, while Amram Mitzna's Labor Party edged up to 24 seats from 22. Sharon's losses stem directly from the swirl of Likud election corruption allegations, beginning with low-level charges of vote buying — illegal activity that may have helped catapult Sharon's son Omri onto the parliamentary list. The latest charges, denied by Sharon, surround a $1.5 million loan that the prime minister borrowed from a South African businessman friend, Cyril Kern, to pay back illegal campaign contributions in 1999. Sharon still clings to the hope that his denials will halt his party's slide downward, while Mitzna is finding new hope in the prospect that a drop in support for Likud will lead voters to take a second look at his candidacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries