Vol XXV No. 3 Autumn 2018
From Turkey to the Arabian Sea and from the Levant to China, the content of this issue of Middle East Policy ranges wide in space and time. Most of the topics are contemporary, though two of the book review essays are historical — filling in gaps that the news media have no interest in or know little about, like the history of U.S.
David Albright, Karen E. Young, Michael Eisenstadt, Norman T. Roule
The following is a transcript of the ninety-third in a series of Capitol Hill conferences convened by the Middle East Policy Council. The meeting was held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on July 20, 2018, with Richard J. Schmierer, chairman of the Council's board of directors, moderating, and Thomas R. Mattair, the Council's executive director, serving as discussant. The video can be accessed at www.mepc.org.
In the last few days of 2017, a crowd gathered in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, to protest growing inflation and the rising prices of food and fuel. The protest began with the shouting of "no to high prices!" but as the crowd grew larger and gathered steam the slogans became political, crossing all the red lines and attacking the supreme leader, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the ruling clergy and Iran's costly support of Palestine, Lebanon and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A specter haunts the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI): growing instability in civil-military relations. To be sure, the IRI is also possibly facing the threats of either a war with a coalition of foreign powers or a revolution by an increasingly disillusioned population.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran and Israel have seen each other as sworn enemies. Iranian leaders do not recognize the Jewish state and refer to it as the "Zionist regime," while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been the world's most outspoken critic of Tehran's policies, particularly the nuclear program. Over the last four decades, the two sides have been engaged in a "low-intensity conflict." Iran has been accused of sponsoring terrorist attacks against Jewish/Israeli targets around the world.
The onset of the so-called Arab Spring in late 2010 took governments around the world by surprise, and Turkey's Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AKP) government was no exception. Repositioning itself to meet new circumstances, it gradually turned its back on some of the defining principles of its previous policy. Opposed to outside military intervention anywhere in the Middle East, it came in behind the NATO attack on Libya. Committed to "soft power" and dialogue, it substituted engagement with Syria in favor of confrontation and "regime change."
Instability in the Middle East has always had important implications for energy flows. The advance of the Islamic State clearly showed that energy resources are an object of interest for various terrorist groups.1 This article focuses on energy infrastructure as an interest of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which can potentially endanger Turkey's position as a regional energy hub and might hamper European diversification efforts.
On June 4, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that the United States and Turkey had agreed upon a roadmap for the future of Manbij, a town in northern Syria.1 Currently held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed Syrian group that includes fighters from the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Manbij has been a sticking point in U.S.-Turkey relations since its capture from ISIS in late 2016.
The aim of this paper is to promote a better understanding of the complexity of decision making in the Gulf by acquiring a more insightful appreciation of how established and newly founded institutions contribute to the policy process.
Events in Saudi Arabia since the rise to power of Mohammed bin Salman represent, in effect, a revolution from above that is now beyond the point of return to the old stasis. Whether this abrupt change results in success or failure will have profound effects on the region and the wider world.
From the outbreak of the Afghanistan war in 2001 to the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops in 2014, China always kept a low profile, careful not to become involved or mediate in Afghanistan's domestic politics. This position seems to be changing; Afghanistan has been emerging as a strategic focal point in the regional ambit. Global and regional players (the United States, India, Russia, Iran and Pakistan) that have emerged as significant stakeholders are flocking to secure positions in the establishment of peace in the country.
To plumb the depths of human savagery is a formidable task, and not a pleasant one. The task is undertaken with rigorous argument and scrupulous scholarship in Norman Finkelstein's monumental "inquest into Gaza's martyrdom." And with undisguised passion.
In her 2017 work American Presidents and Jerusalem, Palestinian-American author Ghada Hashem Talhami presents a thorough, well-researched and well-documented account of the struggle over Jerusalem from the beginning of the Zionist movement in the late 1900s through the early part of the
Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has carried out more targeted assassinations — the killing of identified individuals, mostly civilians, in order to attain specific political objectives — than any other country in the Western world.
This is a collection of articles from the Russian press about the war in Syria dating from just prior to direct Russian military intervention there in September 2015 through May 2017.
"Political Islam" is a constantly changing force in global politics. It is the name frequently used to designate movements that explicitly call for application of Islamic principles in modern political life.