The two major American political parties differ on most things, but they generally agree on foreign policy. In particular, they bow to Israel's right wing as a major driver of U.S. actions in the Middle East. At the moment, this applies primarily to the Iran issue.
Daniel C. Kurtzer, Matthew Duss, Natan B. Sachs, Yousef Munayyer
OMAR KADER, Chairman of the Board, Middle East Policy Council
There have been six Nobel peace prizes given for the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 1950, Ralph Bunche got it for negotiating the armistice. In 1978, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin received it for negotiating Camp David. In 1994, Arafat, Rabin and Peres got it for negotiating the Oslo accords. Then Carter got a Nobel Prize in 2002 for a variety of reasons, including the work that he did on the Arab-Israeli peace talks.
Over the past decade, formerly close U.S.-Saudi relations have been under immense political pressure, in private and increasingly in the public media, as the two governments have dealt with the consequences of the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 Iraq War and the Arab Spring. However, there are significant U.S. interests at stake in the Middle East that require Washington to maintain at least a working relationship with Riyadh:
In Washington, the road from legislative intent to policy implementation is paved with politics. As a result, where that road leads often has little to do with where it was meant to go. Take the Export Administration Act, for example. One of its provisions requires the secretary of state to maintain a list of countries that are state sponsors of terrorism so that sanctions can be applied to them.
Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
Will Rogers once observed that "when you get into trouble 5,000 miles from home, you've got to have been looking for it." It's a good deal more than 5,000 miles to Baghdad or Damascus from here. And, boy, have we gotten into trouble! We are trying to cope with the cumulative consequences of multiple failures. Just about every American project in the Middle East has now come a cropper. There is a new military campaign-morale patch commemorating this. It is available through Amazon.com for $7.45. The patch bears an escutcheon with a logo that, in the interest of decorum, I will not read out.
Ahmed S. Hashim
The dramatic victories in summer 2014 of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) over rival groups fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad — and over the government of Iraq and Kurdish forces — culminated in the declaration of a caliphate, or the Islamic State. The international community became alarmed, and the lightning ISIS advance in Iraq was blunted in mid-August by U.S. air power. Air strikes were ramped up in September and October in both Iraq and Syria by the United States and an ad hoc coalition of Middle Eastern and European states.
Amal A. Kandeel
Since the 1980s, after two decades of low and stable international food prices, the world's agricultural commodities markets began to experience the effects of a number of structural factors that had been silently increasing the prices of basic food commodities. By the second half of 2008, when the world's economy was hit by an unanticipated financial meltdown, the global food-price crisis had already set in. The latter's impacts and long-term effects were much more universal and pervasive than those of the former.
Iran is alone in the world. Its acute strategic loneliness is primarily the result of structural factors inherent in its place in the regional and international systems and is largely independent of the actions of whoever governs the country. Its international posture does not render cooperation with other states impossible, nor does it predetermine a condition of permanent conflict with its neighbors. Strategic loneliness, however, explains why Iran has very limited common interests with its neighbors and why cooperation is difficult and costly to achieve.
Matteo Legrenzi and Fred H. Lawson
Iranian foreign policy in the 25 years after the 1978-79 revolution centered on the cultivation of strategic alignments with a wide range of radical states and revolutionary movements throughout the Middle East. Relations with this heterogeneous collection of regional partners, particularly those with Syria and the Lebanese Shii organization Party of God (Hezbollah), left the Islamic Republic vulnerable to periodic threats of entrapment and abandonment by its allies. This in turn had a direct impact on Iran's relations with regional adversaries.1
Bulent Aras and Emirhan Yorulmazlar
When the political landscape in the Middle East appeared on the brink of transformation back in early 2011, Turkey and Iran, for different reasons, were delighted. Each envisioned an extension of its national sphere of influence. Both Ankara and Tehran declared themselves the standard bearers for "democratic" rule and civilian empowerment. For Ankara, this regional transformation was, in the words of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a "normalization" process — a quest for good governance and integration into the international community.
Iran and Turkey, the two non-Arab Middle Eastern states, are among the largest and most populous in the region. The former occupies a strategic location on the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz; while the latter controls the Straits — the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles — that link the Black and Aegean Seas. The two nations descend from the most ancient civilizations in the world and have strong national identities. Both are predominantly Muslim.
After the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on October 6, 1981, investigators determined that the attack had been carried out by Islamic militants who had infiltrated Egypt's armed forces. They arranged to participate in the annual military parade that commemorated the start of the 1973 war against Israel. Knowing that Sadat would be in a prominent position on the reviewing stand, soldiers armed with rifles and grenades emerged from a stopped truck and opened fire. Sadat was dead before reaching a hospital. Shortly afterward, political and intelligence analysts at the U.S.
In August 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Camp David in order to negotiate a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.
Liberation theology has finally reached the Middle East. Palestinian Christians, as well as some mainstream churches in the United States, have now embraced this call for justice and activism, given its name by the Peruvian Catholic priest Gustavo Gutierrez.
Miriam Cooke begins with a contrast between the "bleak and colorless" Dubai of her first visit in 1973 and a metropolis of "fantasy architecture" that she encountered in 2008.
Algerian human-rights attorney Karima Bennoune has written a much-needed book on a tricky subject — defending secularism against political Islam, in spite of efforts by neoconservatives in the West to appropriate or co-opt that struggle.
In the wake of massive demonstrations in 2010 that led to the so-called Arab Spring, scholars from a variety of disciplines have sought to explain the phenomenon of authoritarianism in the Middle East.
In the aftermath of the Arab Awakening of 2011-12, the relatively stable Gulf Arab principalities have attracted much attention among policy makers and scholars.