Greater Middle East

Nationalism may bring Turkey back to its course

Nationalism, once again, will play the most crucial role in Turkish politics regarding the forthcoming presidential elections. While Erdogan and Russia seem to be investing in it, NATO's stance is on the contrary, which may result in losing Turkey forever. View

Trump and NATO: Opportunities and Dangers

The Atlantic world is not coming to an end. Not yet, at least. It is facing turbulence, which means serious risks. Change always brings both opportunity and risk. The best way to head off risk is, in most cases, to find and focus on opportunities. On the evidence thus far, the risks from Trump are less, not greater, than they have been from Obama and Bush II. The latter two were very different, but both were bad for the Atlantic Alliance. View

The EU Must Become a Crisis Management Leader

The EU's Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) has not risen to recent challenges, in Libya in particular. The EU should institutionalize a more responsive structure that will ensure rapid military response where and when necessary. Such a structure will also be depended upon for securing European borders while concurrently preventing EU member states from responding to crises as a European pillar of NATO. View

Enhancing NATO Cohesion: A Framework for 21st Century Solidarity

Memo 52: A diverse set of policies is needed to unify a diverse set of peoples against a diverse set of threats. NATO should reorganize itself, develop a shared clean-energy grid and strengthen links between different national publics. View

Redefining Relationships Inside and Outside the Alliance

Memo 51: In order to learn from past mistakes, NATO should seek to bring Russia into the fold of European security, refrain from humanitarian missions better conducted under UN auspices, sanction non-compliance to the 2% defense spending promise, and strengthen its democratic norms. View

Georgia and Russia: Smoldering Conflict at a Geopolitical Intersection

Georgia can be a strategic pillar of stability in an otherwise volatile region and we should consequently place it much higher on our political agenda. Georgians want nothing more than NATO membership and the West cannot deny the evident successes of democratization and economic reform. The internal logic of realist politics however demands other factors also be considered. Georgia joining NATO would further exacerbate the conflict with Russia. View

Future-Proofing NATO: A Forthcoming Decade of Change

Memo 50: NATO must adopt hybrid models of national defense, coordinate efforts on economic and electronic warfare, and secure its space-based infrastructure. The Alliance should also establish a partnership with China and strengthen its presence in the Arctic. View

NATO's Greatest Mistake was Libya: the Alliance Should Have Nothing to do with R2P

As a collective security organisation for its members NATO overreached its purview and the spirit of its treaty mandate by intervening in Libya. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle adopted by the UN in 2005 should not partner or utilize with NATO’s operational capability to be able to intervene in states outside of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO should stay clear of becoming an operational arm for liberal internationalism and re-consider its humanitarian role. View

Turkey: An Inconvenient Tie Between NATO and the EU

The admission of Turkey into NATO structures was not the mistake, it was the result of contemporary circumstances. The common failure of NATO (as well as of the EU) was the inability to keep Turkey in the discourse of democratization – which is a cornerstone of NATO’s internal integrity and solidarity. View

The Post-Cold War NATO: Decoupling Regime Change and Human Rights Promotion

NATO's biggest mistake in the past 25 years is that in its search for a post-Cold War raison d'être, it has taken on roles as both an instrument of regime change and of humanitarian intervention. Humanitarian work and the protection of human rights is a noble pursuit that NATO should continue to undertake; regime change and the imposition of democracy from above is not. View

Winning Asymmetrical Warfare with Economic Policies and Measures

When facing asymmetric warfare conventional military measures are often highly ineffective. Thus, incorporating well-thought-out market and economic policies and measures into NATO’s politico-military “toolbox” seems essential. Failing to do so, and failing to understand or comprehend market realities might even be directly harmful to NATO’s goals as demonstrated by the case of Afghan drug industry and by the counternarcotic eradication programs in this article. View

Lessons from Libya: Indecision, Air Power and the Light Footprint

The fall of Colonel Gadhafi’s regime in Libya, brought about in part by a sustained NATO air campaign, was lauded as a triumph by the international community. However, as with every intervention of this kind in recent memory, what replaces such violent rule is the crucial determinant of success. This is where NATO fell short in Libya. Its failure represents a threat not only to the stability of Libya as a nation, but also to the stability of North Africa and the Middle East. View

Shaping our NATO: Young Voices on the Warsaw Summit 2016

Our new policy workshop competition gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to reflect on the most pressing issues facing NATO today and to shape the future of the Alliance. Five winners will receive a trip to Berlin to present the collective ideas to decision-makers. View

Bibliography on NATO: Some Guidance for Getting Started

As a think-thank comprised mainly of Political Science students, we are keenly aware of the endless activities that foment procrastination when writing an article. In order to get the proverbial mental ball rolling for the "Shaping our NATO" competition, we have compiled some recent publications regarding NATO. These articles range from introductory texts to more area-focused and technical papers. View

The Sunni Genocide in Syria

The Sunni population in Syria is facing extermination. Obama’s policy of non-intervention has allowed Shia militias to proliferate and facilitated their expansion into previously Sunni controlled areas. The missed opportunity for democracy means that crucial safeguards against genocide have been dismantled. It is certain that the Sunni communities will suffer from the consequences stemming from domestic repression and global inaction. View

EU has to Prevent Cooperation between Boko Haram and IS

Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State increases the possibility of international joint attacks that could destabilize North Africa and the Sahel. This could dramatically worsen the already overwhelming immigration crisis for the EU. In order to counter these threats, the EU must form a coalition and prepare to intervene in Libya. This will help provide much needed stability in the region. They must act quickly to avoid catastrophic consequences. View

The Libyan Chaos: Options for the International Community

High expectations for a short-term solution in Libya are misconceived. Since the deposal of Gaddafi, the country has devolved into a diffused state of anarchy. International efforts to reconcile the Tripoli and Tobruk governments are now faltering. What is needed is more inclusive dialogue between the parties. This will empower actors in the country to find more resilient and sustainable solutions to the conflict. View

EUPOL Afghanistan: What can the EU learn?

EUPOL Afghanistan is amogst the most negatively rated police missions of the EU. While it has been successful in developing strategies for sustainable solutions to civil insecurity in Afghanistan, it has failed to have significant impact. The lack of a cohesive action plan, insufficient resources and inefficiency within the project have hindered its success. Now is the time for the EU to learn from its mistakes. This is crucial if it is to become a key player in international conflict management. View

What to do When the Syrian Ceasefire Fails

Russia and the West are not just seeking different outcomes, but different types of outcomes in Syria. While the Russian strategy is pragmatic and realistic, there are many pitfalls in the Western one. If the current truce collapses, as is likely, Western policymakers will be left with a few unpalatable options. The heroic diplomacy that led to the current ceasefire is laudable, but once the war resumes, a new approach will be needed. View

A Gleam of Hope for Syria after Munich

This year's Munich Security Conference confirmed that politicians from the "West" and from the "East" struggle to find a common vocabulary to address their worries and their demands. Yet it is time we start speaking the same language. Increased cooperation and communication with Russia will provide a pragmatic solution to the crisis in Syria. Only then shall we gain the space and maneuverability necessary to implement a peaceful program of reconciliation and reconstruction in the region. View

Ending the Inertia: Confronting the Middle-East Problem

Western governments are haunted by ghosts of the past. The memories of failed interventions in the Middle-Eastern remain etched into our collective consciousness. However, today, action is integral to securing stability. We must draw robust and credible red lines in the region, establish protected zones in Syria to mitigate the refugee crisis, and use available opportunities with more determination. The longer we avoid confronting conflicting interests of other powers, the greater the chance of failure. View

Why the West Must Champion Soft Power towards Iran

Concerned over Israel’s security, many skeptics and critics cast doubt on the Iranian nuclear deal and oppose it. However, the alternatives are few and far between. Bombing Iran or abandoning the deal will not bring security to Israel or solve its security concerns. Instead the West must champion the use soft power towards Iran. Where hostility and hateful rhetoric once dominated Iranian-Israeli relations, the US and Europe must now encourage diplomacy and communication. View

Political Risks Threaten the Global Economy

Political risks have increased in recent years, while policy makers, including central banks, have less power to mitigate those risks. Global stock prices, however, do not reflect these developments as the markets have been distracted by cheap and abundant liquidity. "Great Power Sclerosis" and the weakness of Pax Americana have created a vacuum in global governance. The bank Citi raises awareness about the "new convergence between geopolitical and vox populi risks". View

Nimr Al-Nimr: Victim of Saudi Anger over Iran's Nuclear Deal

The execution of Shiite cleric Nimr Al-Nimr is a symptom of growing Saudi anger over the Iran‘s nuclear deal. Saudi-Iranian tensions following the execution are not a result of Sunni-Shiite division but an indicator of the increasing Saudi-Iranian fight for dominance in the region. Both Saudis and Iranians use Sunni-Shiite factors as a tool. The US needs to make sure that its closest ally in the Gulf behaves responsibly. Otherwise, the situation may grow into a serious conflict. View

Labeling Israel: The Power of Grandstanding

The European Union is righteous but hypocritical to decide that goods produced in Israeli settlements occupied since 1967 no longer be labeled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel.” This will not help Palestinians, many of them work for settlement businesses. As the EU is negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, this signals that Europe sees trade as an avenue for meaningless political posturing. View

In Syria, Russia is Certainly not an Ally

It is almost a common refrain these days. With Russia’s intervention in Syria, is there not a chance to build a new coalition with the Kremlin against a common foe? Such arguments take attention away from an important reality. The Kremlin and the Islamic State share a vested interest in upending the existing international order. But the danger these actors pose vary and prudent foreign policy demands that we set the right priorities and do not fall for false choices. View

Russian Plane Downed in Turkey: What Should NATO Do?

As Turkey shoots down a Russian plane, NATO is indirectly involved as Turkey is an Alliance member. What could/should be role of NATO (if any) in the current situation when we should probably firstly find a way to deescalate the situation? Read a few comments from US experts weighing in on the issue. View

Four Words to Change the World

Gary Kasparov, former chess world champion and pro-democracy leader, gave this keynote at the Aspen Institute Germany’s Annual Gala Dinner in Berlin on October 14. He argued that Assad, Putin, and ISIS will not go away on their own, thus “we must fight and we must start now, because the price will only be higher tomorrow. The alternative is not to avoid conflict, because conflict is unavoidable. It is already here. This battle is for our values. This battle is for the modern world we have built on those values.” View

Diverging Policies on Iraq/Syria Threaten Peace and Stability

Europe is currently witnessing the highest number of refugees at its borders since the end of WWII. Lacking common borders, the US is widely untouched by this mass exodus from war-prone countries. However, since the US is vastly responsible for the chaos in the region and thus the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it bares most responsibility for the consequences. Its NATO allies of the EU should claim solidarity, but they must be a lot more committed to forging a common military-political strategy. View

Why the Syrian Refugee Crisis Requires a German-Polish Initiative

The refugee crisis is dividing Europe, and media coverage seems to be exacerbating this division. Sharing not only a border, but also historical experiences of displaced persons in wars previously, Germany and Poland should come together to offer a common solution for the crisis, thus demonstrating the strength, sustainability and, most importantly, the solidarity of the European Union. View

Western European Humanity or Eastern European Egoism

Mankind has an immense capability to create but it equally possesses a great capability to destroy. Looking how Europe deals with its latest crisis of a massive influx of migrants, intuition strikes one's mind that the European Union is going to face a number of challenges which might destroy the Union we once knew and believed in. The migrant crisis reveals the deep divisions in policies between various EU countries as well as their political cultures on which their respective decision making is based. View

Has Mama Merkel Met Her Maggie Moment?

In light of recent events, some Germans and Europeans are truly questioning Angela Merkel’s decisions. The migrants that are coming in crowds to Europe, however, have praised her actions. Yet Merkel’s actions are reminiscent, to some, of Margaret Thatcher and the actions that led to her dismissal from the position of Britain’s Prime Minister after eleven years in power. In Merkel’s case, only time will tell if she will meet the same fate as Thatcher did after particularly controversial actions. View

Is Turkey Going Rogue?

Turkey's geo-political maneuvers may urge reconsideration of its NATO membership. While the threat from Daesh grows, Ankara is more focused on the continuing fight with the Kurds. The Erdoğan government is undermining the core values of what NATO stands for, and its anti-Kurdish policy spells problems for its role in the region. NATO has to make a statement and also work behind the scenes to engage Erdoğan to prioritize the war against Daesh. View

Iran: An Enemy to Fear or a Powerful Ally to Acquire?

The Iran nuclear deal is portrayed as weak by many Republican presidential candidates, but in reality the deal allows for the US to gain a new ally in the fight against Daesh. As previous US involvements in the Middle East have shown, there needs to be regional cooperation in order to erect change. Iran has the incentive and the means to destroy Daesh in the region and by securing the nuclear deal, the US and others have given Iran the green light to proceed. View

Another Reset? The Iran Nuclear Deal and Its Consequences for NATO

The recent nuclear agreement with Iran has consequences not only for the Middle East, but also for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The deal changes the energy landscape and offers a chance to break free from the Russian near monopoly on natural gas supplies for this region, but Russian help in shepherding the agreement may prompt President Obama to cooperate with Moscow on other security issues. However, the price for such cooperation may require sacrificing interests of America’s regional allies. View

The Gulf's Cold War: The Return of Guerrilla Warfare?

Iran and Saudi Arabia’s competition for influence in the Middle East is shaping civil wars in the region. At the same time, radical Islamist ideology’s global character provides disparate insurgencies with access to transnational funding and recruitment networks. Both of these factors have the potential to increase the number of irregular civil conflicts and extend their duration in ways similar to the superpower competition of the Cold War. View

A Turning Point in the Turkey-EU Relationship

The people of Turkey have voted for change. On June 7, they ended an absolute majority power which had lasted for 13 years, and called for a new era of coalition governments in Turkish politics. This increase in democracy means that accession talks with the European Union can now be reinvigorated with Turkey, giving the EU a chance to grow not shrink, and helping the Turkish people solidify the power of their voices. View

How To Fix The Afghan Peace Talks

The Afghan government has been struggling for peace for a decade, but the current talks are doomed to fail again if the process is not amended. These changes need to happen at multiple levels in order for there to be a real chance for peace including negotiating with insurgents. All players must be willing to work with each other, not against, to see peace have a chance in Afghanistan. View

The Dismantling of Iraq

History shows that people fight the hardest for their own independence and Iraq should utilize this fact to their advantage. The fight against Daesh (IS) is only intensifying and as the Western Allies do not have a concrete strategy, it's time for Iraq to start trying unconventional stategies. The solution lies in dividing the country into three sovereign states so they can unite in the battle against Daesh and ultimately win while upholding their commitment to reform. View

Intervention in Syria & Iraq is Hopeless

As the Islamic State took the Syrian town of Palmyra, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Frederica Mogherini informed them that destroying Palmyra’s archaeological treasures would constitute a war crime. Mogherini’s words, however, are as irrelevant as they are true. The sad truth is that following an ineffective nine month military intervention by a US-led coalition in Syria and Iraq, her warning is representative of the powerlessness of the West in combatting the Islamic State. View

Counterinsurgency and Tribal Politics

Findings of this research are focused on NATO capabilities in the light of requirement and planning assumptions required to conduct missions tailored to certain operations within tribal society. The key aspects are related to the strategies of the International Organizations and its implementation while facing an unpredictable threat in hostile environment relevant to the hybrid wars and asymmetry. View

Possible Impacts of TTIP on Turkey

The impacts of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US are very crucial for their economies, but it is also obvious that TTIP will impact non-members as well. If Turkey is a part of TTIP, the relationship between Turkey and the EU would be more active. On the other hand, if Turkey is excluded from TTIP, there will be negative impacts for Turkey. In this article, the possible impacts of TTIP on the Turkish economy are examined. View

No Trust, No Deal: Underneath Obama's Threat to Veto New Sanctions for Iran

In President Obama’s State of the Union address on 22 January 2015 he repeated his threat to veto new sanctions for Iran if Congress impeded the chance of reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. However, despite any congressional legislation measures the deal with Iran will not be accomplished unless both countries start to invest in a trustful relationship. To build up trust Iran and the United States need to be reliable, honest and keep the promises they make to each other. View

A Momentous Opportunity to Embrace The Arab Peace Initiative

The Arab Peace Initiative (API) presents an unprecedented and vital opportunity to change the course of events in the Middle East by realizing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. At no time since the API was introduced in 2002 by Saudi Arabia has the development of events in the region converged to create a new environment, making the API more relevant than before; Israel must urgently adopt it as the basis for peace negotiations. View

What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel

Matti Friedman, reflecting on his years reporting from the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, discusses the increasingly subjective role reporters play in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, moving from observers to more active players in the region. Friedman also highlights his reasons why international NGOs and humanitarian groups are conspicuously absent from the debate. View

Afghanistan's Best Asset: Its Youthful Optimism

Afghanistan of 2001 is not comparable with the Afghanistan of 2015. With 352,000 strong Afghan National Security Forces, backed by the US and NATO, an increasingly vibrant civil society sector, and a large youth population, Afghans are hopeful that their country will never return to the dark era. For this to remain effective, Afghanistan and its partners must continue to broaden those achievements over the next decade, ushering in a new era of transformation. View

Germany: The Economic Perils of More Arms Exports

The consensus in Germany is wrong. Arms exports do not ensure employment and preserve technological capabilities. Fact is that in today's buyers market such exports lead to technology transfer, create tomorrow's competition and destroy the arms industry's own basis. Instead of promoting arms export, the EU governments should consolidate the European arms industry to reduce excess supply and increase joint military procurement and resource-pooling. View

The CIA Torture Report: Et tu, Europe?

The Senate's report has rightly caused outrage around the world. In the United States, the discussion of guilt and its consequences (or lack thereof) is impossible to avoid. Europe should also now look into the mirror and ask itself what portion of guilt it shares. There must be consequences for those who helped orchestrate the crimes against the very principles that Europe's post-WWII order was supposedly built upon. View

The Cost of Ignoring the Plight of Minorities in the Greater Middle East

While the concerted military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) dominates headlines, the international community faces a far greater policy challenge: if it continues to ignore the plight of minorities across the wider Middle East, it will provide ample breeding ground for other radical groups. If state cohesion is eroded through continuous marginalization, political instability, or the disintegration of the state entirely, can be hijacked by extremist groups for their own aims. View

Assessing the Islamic State WMD threat

Available information demonstrates that the Islamic State is seeking materials necessary for the production of weapons of mass destruction. In order to better assess the threat presented by such a search, it must be analyzed in terms not only of whether such materials have been successfully acquired, but also in terms of intention, financial capability, available expertise, and historical record. Taking these factors together, NATO countries should address this threat quickly. View