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Open Think Tank Articles

October 4, 2012 | The Bush Legacy in the Middle East

Aaron Thomas Walter: President Obama’s handling of the unfolding anti-America protests in the Middle East has been derided as weak. At the same time, the president was criticized for not standing up for that most sacred of ideals, free speech. These arguments miss the point of American foreign policy in the region.

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September 27, 2012 | What After the Arab Spring?

Vikas Kumar: Arab societies need their own local solutions in creating democratic societies. These solutions can take on a variety of forms. However, some reforms are more likely to bear fruit given the cultural context. Here are some ideas for laying the groundwork for democracy in the Arab world.

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August 6, 2012 | Why Eastern Islamic Societies Cannot be Role Models to the Arabs

Vikas Kumar: Moderate Eastern Muslim societies cannot serve as role models to the Arab world, given the ethno-linguistic rootedness and demographic diversity, as well as the cross-cutting ethnic affiliations of these societies. It is for this reason that the Arabs must rely on themselves for guidance.

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May 16, 2012 | The Dangers of "Stability": A Rebuttal to Atlantic Memo 39

Andrea Teti: Western governments need to recognize that authoritarian regimes are often fierce but not strong; that privatization is rarely the road to liberalization, much less democratization; and that Islamism was as wrong-footed by the uprisings as they were.

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May 14, 2012 | Responding to the Arab Spring: NATO and Its Partners

Editorial Team: The additional articles from the second category of “Your Ideas, Your NATO” have been merged into a single “Your Opinion” piece. A recurring theme was that NATO must build civil-military relations and an intercultural youth dialogue, as well as undertake good governance and rule of law initiatives in order to support the long-term transition process underway in partner countries.

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April 3, 2012 | Partners in Democracy, Partners in Security: NATO and the Arab Spring

Memo 39: New challenges require new partnerships. NATO must reach out to countries in North Africa by restructuring the Mediterranean Dialogue and partnering with other institutional actors to offer comprehensive assistance aimed at building democratic institutions.

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March 19, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Partnerships after the Arab Spring

Editorial Team: In the second theme week from our current policy workshop, we focus on NATO’s partnerships in North Africa and the Middle East. How can NATO best interact with the new governments forming in the wake of the Arab Spring and what should its role be in furthering security in the region? Read our young writers’ top ideas!

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March 18, 2012 | Youth Intercultural Diplomacy: A Promising Initiative for Change

Yasmin Jeanice Mattox: NATO should encourage new intercultural youth dialogues that focus on intercultural understanding and encourage transnational unity. By increasing intercultural appreciation, these dialogues could minimize and even disincentivize future military and diplomatic issues.

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March 18, 2012 | NATO's Future Role: Promoting Transatlantic Values

Karsten M. Jung: Sixty years after its foundation, the aspirations of the Arab Spring show that NATO’s values are as relevant as they have ever been. Events in the Middle East also indicate, however, that the Alliance’s role in their pursuit has to change from merely defending to actively promoting these values.

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March 18, 2012 | Rule of Law: Foundations for Governments New and Old

Robert James Hurd: As developing nations seek to improve their status at home and abroad, the focus must be on improve the Rule of Law, NATO ought to use its members’ expertise and experience to support efforts in developing nations to establish a Rule of Law in order to support long-term partnerships and stability.

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March 18, 2012 | How NATO Can Contribute to Regional Stabilization in the Middle East

Dmitriy Burov: The 2011 Arab spring engendered a hotbed of instability in the region. NATO, as an effective political organization, has huge potential for bringing peace and order to the Middle East and North Africa through initiating a number of the steps listed below.

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March 18, 2012 | Beyond Libya: The Arab Spring and NATO

Sarah Wagner: Although the Arab Spring seems to demand engagement by NATO, this should not occur unless NATO has sufficiently analyzed its involvement in Afghanistan, the demands and realities on the Arab ground, and its opportunities for support. Such an approach could result in more lasting support for NATO.

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March 7, 2012 | Janus-faced Turkey's Syria Challenge

Niklas Anzinger: Turkey’s success story of combining moderate Islam and democracy is being challenged by the ruling AK Party’s power grab. In this game, the struggle for power trumps ideology, but the religious resurgence remains an element of unpredictability in foreign policy. Regarding Syria, reality mugged the ill-guided Middle Eastern adventures of Turkey.

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February 23, 2012 | From Escalation to Engagement: How to Avoid War

Memo 37: The United States and Europe should strive to de-escalate the growing tensions between Iran and the West. The transatlantic partners could do this by reframing their Middle East policy, promoting a more coherent nuclear proliferation stance, and allowing Europe to act as a bridge between Iran and the US.

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February 10, 2012 | Rapprochement with Iran: Improbable Necessity?

Vince A.M. Klösters: Western rapprochement towards Iran is the only rational course of action serving long-term stability and peace in the Middle East. We can use models of past détente with China to plot a course towards a pragmatic and secure status quo in the region.

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February 9, 2012 | The Yemeni Question

Dave Roddenberry: As Yemen continues its downward trajectory, its strategic position means a multinational intervention must be considered. Though this would be a heavy undertaking, if Western nations learn from previous interventions and peace-keeping operations, they could turn Yemen from a liability into an ally.

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January 19, 2012 | A Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: With the war drums on Iran sounding and the Arab revolts following an arduous path, there still remains no sustainable perspective for a peaceful Middle East. The Conference for Security and Cooperation can bring the important civil society element to bear in a region where state-centric solutions have failed.

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September 16, 2011 | NATO Partnerships: Shaking Hands or Shaking the System

Vivien Pertusot: Are NATO’s partnerships simply a form of public diplomacy intended to improve the Alliance’s image, or are they projects with real strategic potential? NATO now faces three choices: continue with business as usual, allow the partnerships to die, or invigorate them with renewed commitment.

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September 7, 2011 | Turkey's De Facto Moral Compass

Marc William Zedler: The Arab Spring has left the Middle East with a power vacuum. Three regional players, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, will be the region’s deciders for the next decade. As a global middle power, Turkey should take a principled stance in a region that needs its leadership now more than ever.

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August 11, 2011 | Turkish Delight: A Chance to Realign With the West

James Brian Taylor: Turkey’s relations with the United States and Europe have been strained over the past two years, despite a rich history of cooperation. But the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East provides a golden opportunity for Turkey to realign itself with the US and Europe, beginning with a reconciliation with Israel.

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June 21, 2011 | NATO and the Arab Spring This Article contains Flash-Video

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: The international community has to ensure that the Arab Spring does not turn into a bleak winter. In Libya the question is not if Qadhafi goes, but when. NATO can help North Africa and the Middle East with its democratic transition - complementing support from other international actors, particularly the European Union and the United Nations.

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June 20, 2011 | Is Europe Shirking Responsibility for Libyan Refugees? This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: “Every day, millions of refugees face murder, rape and terror,” says the UNHCR. Today is World Refugee Day, aimed at increasing awareness about the forcibly displaced worldwide. To commemorate this occasion we are asking you to join the debate on the growing Mediterranean refugee crisis.

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May 31, 2011 | 'Arab Spring' and the 'Non-Integration' of the Maghreb

Daniel Novotny: The Maghreb region currently faces a distinctive combination of security threats – sociopolitical transformation sparked by the recent wave of pro-democratic movements that have spread across the entire North Africa and Middle East coupled with the ‘frozen’ border disputes and territorial conflicts which seriously undermine all efforts at regional integration.

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May 27, 2011 | The EU, the US and the Pursuit of the 'Good World'

Katja Kruse: EU and US arms export strategies leave them bound to regimes whose domestic practices and policies are questionable. This suggests that international norms such as democracy and human rights do not count as much as economic interests.

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April 25, 2011 | Women on Transatlantic Security

Editorial Team: Our Open Think Tank is devoted to promoting women voices in the transatlantic security debate. The op-ed competition in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and the 10th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 seeks to empower women in peace and security.

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April 13, 2011 | Arab Spring: The West's Chance for a Fresh Start

Memo 30: Focusing on societal engagement, economic reform, and military confidence building, we should break with our questionable past and respond to the Arab uprisings by taking bold action to improve our reputation.

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March 24, 2011 | The Disappearing State

Caroline Varin: The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have highlighted the power of the masses against regimes that have failed to deliver essential public services. Yet instead of looking on in the West, people there should look at how their state is also failing to provide with privatization.

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March 15, 2011 | Morocco is not Immune

Ghassan Dahhan: The idea that the Moroccan Kingdom is safe from the revolutionary wave that is currently sweeping across the Arab world rests on wrong premises and on a rather rosy depiction of the present situation. Instead, new dangers are looming over its horizon.

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January 1, 2011 | The Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and North Africa

Olivier Guitta: There is intense debate among political leaders and government officials in Washington and Brussels on how to handle the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). A strategy of engaging the MB has recently been gaining currency.

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February 18, 2010 | The Iran Nuclear Weapons Programme: Toward Renewed Diplomatic Engagement

Saeb Sal Kasm: Successful resolution of the Iranian nuclear dilemma requires creative and skillful diplomatic engagement. Otherwise, the parties risk further isolation, politically charged rhetoric, and eventually escalation toward military confrontation.

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January 27, 2010 | A Future Without Borders? This Article contains Flash-Video

Parag Khanna: Many people think the lines on the map no longer matter. However, by using maps of the past and present, we can understand the root causes of modern border conflicts worldwide. This oft overlooked explanation gives insight into a series of conflict zones, and can offer simple solutions towards their resolution.

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November 19, 2009 | Europe: Prevent Turkey Turning East

Ghassan Dahhan: Europe should be alerted by Turkey’s foreign policy shift and start treating Turkey as a respected ally, by offering Turkey real EU membership prospects. Turkey is of major strategic importance to Europe and it is up to the politicians of EU member states to alter public opinion.

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November 6, 2009 | The Changing Face of Diplomacy

Stefanie Jennifer Tetenburg: In the post 9/11 era hard power has been priortised over soft power to deal with the ‘new’ terrorist threat. In this dissertation I therefore investigate whether traditional diplomacy is still relevant. I argue that traditional diplomatic tools remain important, but need to be complemented by new diplomatic tools.

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June 4, 2009 | Is Apologizing a Sign of Weakness or Strength?

Editorial Team: In his Cairo speech, US President Obama attempted to heal US relations with the Muslim world. But there is increasing controversy surrounding his outreach-focused approach to foreign relations with some commentators claiming that apologizing for past wrongs is dangerous and weakens the US.

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March 24, 2009 | Stubborn Authoritarianism: Lessons for Central Asia

Rob Steer: There is an assumption that liberal democracy is the result of all political systems, despite detours they have taken along the way. However, the creation of regime types do not necessarily follow a simple trajectory

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March 16, 2009 | The Middle East Conflict after the Gaza War

Roland Popp: The strategic effects of the Gaza War have been remarkably small. Israel’s strategy of isolating Hamas continues to focus on short-term conflict management and fails to open up new prospects for resolving the Middle East conflict.

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October 17, 2008 | The United States: Heroes of the Retreat

Jan Ross: America’s superior power position has long begun to crumble. The faith of the American people in the US mission has been shaken by the politics of an unpopular president and threatening economic developments. The US does not only need “change” right now. America needs healing.

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June 30, 2008 | Switzerland's Controversial Middle East Policy

Daniel Möckli: Switzerland pursues an ambitious Middle East policy that differs from US and EU polices in major ways. This has given rise to controversies lately. There are good reasons for the Swiss to pursue a conflict resolution strategy based on mediation and dialog with Iran and militant Islamist organization

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April 24, 2008 | Networked Security Needed in the Transatlantic Context This Article contains Flash-Video

Jackson Janes: The common threats which Europe and the United States are facing call for immediate collaborative action. Given the interconnectedness of the world today, it is important to apply the lessons learned through transatlantic successes to other regions as well.

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March 11, 2008 | Iran Just Won't Stay Isolated

Charles Kupchan and Ray Takeyh: Rather than continuing to pursue strategies which isolate and attempt to contain Iran, the US needs to follow the lead of its Arab Allies, practice diplomacy, and encourage regional integration.

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February 25, 2008 | EU Expansion to Israel and Palestine

Leon Hadar: The EU should put its money where its mouth is and work towards inviting both Israel and Palestine to join the EU. With the election of a new US president, Europe could gain more control in the Middle East, but only if it simultaneously accepts more responsibility.

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February 22, 2008 | Transatlantic Security Agenda 2008

Benjamin Lucas Schoo: Vote now on what prominent security related issue the governments on both sides of the Atlantic should focus their attention on! We have identified 4 major tasks for 2008 and ask you to select which of these should be at the top of the transatlantic agenda. You can vote now on the right side.

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December 18, 2007 | Europe and Missile Defense: A Risky Nap

Alexander Bernhard Bitter: Missile defense for Europe is coterminous with NATO’s mission. The European policy of waiting for a new US administration is flawed, as the financial burden of the endeavor could shift heavily toward Europe.

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Global Must Read Articles

September 11, 2012 | Eleven Years Later and the US Hasn't Learned

The 9/11 attacks were motivated by an ugly side of nationalism that used religion as its rhetoric. ++ In the Arab Middle East, because of high uneducation, threats to national prestige are presented as threats to Islam to mobilize the masses. ++ The US has been blind to the nationalist factors behind terrorism, so it fought two costly wars that didn’t defeat its enemies. ++ Meanwhile, Americans

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April 5, 2012 | Canada Lost on Middle East Policy

Canada is not capitalizing on its economic chances in the Middle East. ++ This stems largely from political circumstances. ++ Under Harper, Canada tilts strongly in favor of Israel at the risk of sidelining itself in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ++ Harper himself has not visited the Middle East, instead sending others in his place. ++ Such actions have damaged Canada’s reputation in the

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February 2, 2012 | What if Assad Survives?

Bashar al-Assad is hanging onto power in Syria despite a gradually developing civil war. ++ The current turmoil is the most precarious moment in Syria’s post-independence history. ++  No matter how much condemnation and bloodshed, the Assad regime is likely to continue fighting, even alone if need be. ++ While his time might be numbered and everyone outside of Syria apparently foresees

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September 6, 2011 | Israel Should Apologize To Turkey

By refusing to apologize to Turkey for its disproportionate use of violence against the Gaza flotilla in May 2010, Israel is effectively isolating itself from the international community and its closest allies. ++ Israel’s defiant stance on the issue is a short term victory for the political far right, but it severely undermines the country’s long-term strategic goals in the region.

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August 22, 2011 | "What Will Free Libya Look Like?"

The conflict in Libya has reached “zero hour”. ++ As rebels infiltrate Tripoli and celebrate Gaddafi’s imminent surrender, the “forward-thinking” Transitional National Council makes plans for post-conflict stabilization. ++ The most important task for the TNC is to ensure that all regions of Libya are adequately represented in the new government, whose seat could be moved

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August 18, 2011 | US Must Nurture its Power, Not Squander It

The US is no longer the world’s sole superpower, but it can prevent its relative decline from becoming absolute. ++ Rather than insisting on American preeminence by “vainly” pouring billions into foreign wars, the US should negotiate boundaries on its use of force, establish norms in the global competition for resources, curb the international arms trade, and “focus increased

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July 11, 2011 | "Arab Youth Steps in Where Islamism Failed"

The Arab spring has slid into a long, hot summer. After toppling their autocratic regimes, Tunisia and Egypt have yet to show their movement toward democracy is sustainable, while the violent conflicts in Syria and Libya drag on. ++ Some fear Islamists could emerge triumphant from these messy conflicts. But a host of young, dynamic reform groups are also beginning to show a pulse. ++ These

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July 5, 2011 | The Economic Case for Supporting Israel

Tiny Israel has long depended on the United States for military aid and security. But Israel is also vital to the economic interests of the United States. ++ Despite being smaller than the state of New Jersey, Israel is a global leader in microchip design, military technology and water recycling, and many US companies depend on Israel for critical parts and services. ++ Now, in a time of acute

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January 31, 2011 | Arab States: A Quagmire of Tyranny

“Arabs are rebelling not just against decrepit autocrats but the foreign backers who kept them in power.” ++ Years of rule across the Arab world by faceless autocrats and ruthless generals, supported in many cases by the West, have caused entire populations to identify little with their own States. ++ The result has been a turning inwards toward narrow sectarian identities. ++ If it were not for

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November 30, 2010 | Wikileaks Shows Nothing New in the Middle East

These days, covert documents are not all that surprising and often state the obvious. ++ In this case, everyone in the Middle East wants to bomb Iran. ++ According to leaked US cables, it may seem strange that Arab leaders, incl. the king of Saudi Arabia and UAE leaders share the Israeli goal of bombing Tehran’s nuclear facilities. ++ But for that kind of understanding of the Middle East’s inner

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September 16, 2010 | Middle East Talks are Last Chance for US too

If the ongoing peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians fail, the repercussions for the region and US would be dire. ++ The US, as a mediator, has been unable so far to provide the “favorable environment” for the talks to succeed. ++ Furthermore, the current wave of increasing “Islamophobia” in the US, if not checked, is going to create umpteen problems. ++ In addition, the US needs to

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August 11, 2010 | Obama Fails to Meet Expectations Set in Cairo

President Obama’s Cairo speech was intended to set a new tone in Arab-American relations. ++ A year later, the disappointment in the Arab world is tremendous: a recent poll of six Arab countries shows that only 16 percent of the Arab population remains hopeful about US policy. ++ Additionally, 57 percent of respondents believe a nuclear Iran would be a positive development. ++ The US media shares

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February 23, 2010 | Middle East Quality of Life is Highest in the UAE

The UAE has the highest quality of life in the Middle East according to a 2009 index by the Economic Intelligence Unit. ++ “The UAE’s ranking was based on its impressive civic development and high GDP growth, as well healthcare services, life expectancy and security.” ++ The rising Middle East star has also placed highly in other indexes, including competitiveness, tourism, and international

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February 2, 2010 | Israel and Palestine Do Better on Their Own

Obama has inserted himself in the midst of a conflict even more difficult than the one between Republicans and Democrats, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ++ Despite Obama’s shift from an optimistic to a pessimistic outlook for the region, there has been progress made in the last year. ++ Violence in both territories has decreased, there have been no suicide attacks against Israel, and there

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November 2, 2009 | Obama Needs to Match His Words With Deeds

Although Obama has a great vision on the Arab-Isreali conflict, as his phenomenal speech in Cairo demonstrated, he has failed to translate his promises into “concrete accomplishments.” ++ Obama will have to be tougher, and put equal pressure on both sides in close cooperation with its European allies and Russia, if he wants to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East. ++ This approach could

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October 23, 2009 | EU: Don't Let Go Of Turkey

The growing opposition against the accession of Turkey to the EU is a dangerous development. ++ In recent months Turkey has been a very active player in the Middle East, signalling its fatigue with the EU and demonstrating its importance as a regional player. ++ A European Turkey would enable Europe to compete with regional powers and provide access to a region that is of crucial importance to

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October 15, 2009 | Iran May Have Passed the Peak of its Power

It seems, Iran has reached the limits of its power. ++ In order to regain control over key institutions following the election disturbances, Ali Khamenei has lost popular support and legitimacy. ++ “To save his regime he has sacrificed its founding ideals, and in the process he has transformed Iran into yet another typical military dictatorship with a theocratic veneer.” ++ Although, it is not

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September 14, 2009 | Land First, Then Peace

Obama’s speech in Cairo raised expectations in the Arab world. ++ In order to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East Israel must be willing to give back Arab territory. ++ Saudia Arabia, as the key actor in the region, will refuse to engage Israel as long as the country maintains its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights. ++ “Until Israel heeds President Obama’s call for

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July 28, 2009 | American Answer Needed to Mideast Problems

As both the Israeli and Palestinian parties have settled on a two-state solution, the US must now show them the way. ++ The rivals’ ability to negotiate bilaterally has reached its limit. ++ “An American proposal that offers clear parameters for all the issues at hand” could break the stalemate. ++ Negotiations must be accompanied by continued construction of a Palestinian state

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June 5, 2009 | Obama's Speech Courageous, but is it Legendary?

Obama has delivered a complaisant speech in the Middle East. ++ “No Western leader before him has been as empathetic and obliging” when addressing the Islamic population. ++The reciprocal dimension of his approach must not be underestimated, but the response of the Arab world remains to be seen. ++ Whether his speech could join predecessors like King, Reagan or Brandt and initiate a grand step in

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May 12, 2009 | US Middle East Policy Will Cause Rupture With Israel

US builds Middle East policy by distancing itself from Israel.++ Calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; demanding a freeze of settlements and pushing towards a two state solution despite Israeli opposition causes frosty relations between these allies.++ Simultaneously, the US is working towards a wider Arab Israeli peace that would include a 57-State-Deal with Israel,

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April 2, 2009 | Lack of Unity Lies Behind Palestine's Sufferings

If anyone thought that the Arab League Summit in Doha would end in success, their expectations were shattered. ++ The summit did little but reflect the vast disunity among Arab states and thus, condemn any possible development towards settling the Arab-Israeli conflict. ++ Issues like criticizing Saudi Arabia for allying with the US were emphasized and the fact that the Egyptian president was

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February 16, 2009 | The Cost of Change

A lot has happened recently, but the event which still steals the thunder is the election of President Obama and the new foreign policy he has designed for the US. ++ The Munich Security Conference offers confirmation; Biden came to Europe and promised that the US will “listen” and “engage” Europe and also attempt to improve relations with Russia. ++ But in promising a

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February 13, 2009 | Revolution in the Middle East In Process

When the Iranian Revolution exploded 30 years ago the world entered a state of shock. ++ Was it really that unpredictable? ++ Behind the superficial tranquility, popular discontent deriving from corruption and despotism of the Shah regime was prominent. ++ Yet, blinded by its self interest, the West failed to see it coming. ++ There is a terrifying parallel between pre-revolutionary Iran and

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February 10, 2009 | Israel Shows Suspicion of Obama

Israel is going to the polls today yet there is little feeling that the election will be a watershed on Israel’s Gaza policy. ++ The outcome of the election will most probably result in the formation of a right of center, status quo government. ++ If the new US president is more moderate in his Arab-Israeli policy he can show Israel its real options: “two states; one state without a

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February 5, 2009 | A Herculean Task: Middle East Policy for the New US President

There is much more to the Middle East than Iraq, and US foreign policy must quickly widen its foreign policy focus in the region. A successful Middle East policy strategy must simultaneously address Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as renew diplomacy throughout the region. The Obama administration is advised to act immediately, appointing special envoys and beginning a

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February 5, 2009 | Iraq; America's Unexpected Ally

The US finds itself involved in most of the regional conflicts in the M-E. ++ When the US looks for a friendly face in the region it is confronted with hostile regional states (Iran), strategic liabilities (Afghanistan), and allies which speak of preemptive responses (Israel). ++ Amidst the havoc, Iraq emerges as a new strategic asset. ++ The success of the latest election in terms of turnout,

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January 15, 2009 | China's Naval Expansion: Course to the Middle East?

As China’s South Fleet moves into the Gulf of Aden to fight Somali pirates, larger “strategic combat configurations” are at play: namely the Middle East. ++ A presence in Aden could secure China the Middle East access it desires. ++ While involvement in Africa is one of China’s strategic goals (the Horn receives 70% of China’s investment), Beijing may be trying “to match the flair the West once

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November 21, 2008 | Secretary of State: Job Description

Speculation is rife as to who will be the next Secretary of State. ++ Many have forgotten the more important question: What does America need from that post? ++ First, the “complete confidence of the president” is a prerequisite; second, they must be a dealmaker - diplomacy is a “political art;” third, they need to tackle all the issues of the Middle East as if they’re interrelated; last,

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October 15, 2008 | Europe on Deck In Palestine

Europe is showing willingness to take greater part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but willingness isn’t readiness. ++ The EU must first stop treating Israel with sensitivity, while simply treating Palestine like a poor country. ++ Israel shuns EU involvement, claiming Europe is soft on terror and rampant with anti-Semitism; thus, its role has always been defined by the US and Israel.

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August 27, 2008 | EU Must be Interim Supervisor for the Middle East

Before the new US administration is approved and in full operation, there will be a pause in early 2009 in US involvement in the Middle East. ++ Even though EU cannot complete the job for the US, it can act as a trustee to keep the peace processes alive. ++ EU should offer Javier Solana as an interim mediator for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. ++ As an active trustee, the EU could show its

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August 27, 2008 | Biden Would be Good News for the Middle East

After nearly eight years of Bush’s haphazard and ill-advised actions and his contempt for the Arab-Israeli peace process, for most Arabs change cannot come soon enough. ++ Senator Joe Biden is known for his foreign policy experience, his attentiveness to Middle-Eastern concerns, as well as his blunt criticism of Bush’s policies. ++ His no-nonsense style means, however, the region’s

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July 22, 2008 | US Jews' Views about the Middle East

J Street, which emerged as a counterweight to AIPAC, released a new poll indicating that US Jews’ views about the Middle East are considerably more dovish than frequently acknowledged. ++ Large majorities of US Jews favor diplomacy with Iran and support a two-state solution in Palestine. ++ Furthermore, 64 percent said they were in favor of the withdrawal of US military forces from Iraq, while

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July 18, 2008 | Peace in the Middle East Still Needs the Americans

President Sarkozy invited many political leaders of the Middle East to help establish the Union for the Mediterranean. ++ But even if the French president likes to pride himself as a peacemaker, the exchange of bodies and prisoners between Hezbollah and Israel makes clear how hopeless the region has become. ++ In the near future, Israel will have a new prime minister and the US a new president.

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July 17, 2008 | The Middle East Would be Better off With Obama

Dealing with the Middle East quagmire is going to be one of the greatest challenges for the next US president. ++ McCain may be an ill-suited candidate to tackle the situation: he seems to believe America always wins; since his worldview was shaped by the Vietnam war, he tends to see things in black and white. ++ Obama’s victory would be more welcome in the region: he is more willing to let

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July 14, 2008 | US Should Note Public Opinion in the Middle East

American policymakers in the Middle East know litte about the people there and their perception of the US. ++ A study entitled “Does the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Still Matter? Analysing Arab Public Perceptions” prooves that “the Arab-Israeli conflict remains a central issue for most Arabs.” ++ The Arab public judges the US according to its policies, not its values. ++ Washington policymakers

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July 4, 2008 | Iraqis are Thankful for American Military Presence

Despite the West’s fear and loathing of America’s perceived overdrawn and poorly executed military initiatives in Iraq, the nation’s expats across the Middle East are singing a different, more optimistic tune. ++ Artists and businessmen alike are looking forward to the day they can return to their homes in hopes of a peaceful era. ++ However, according to many of them, this is

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June 23, 2008 | India Foresees Collective Security in the Middle East

Coercive diplomacy is America’s only remaining option as its influence declines in the Middle East. ++ Especially in the case of an Obama presidency, this “changed constellation” in the region calls for India to readjust its strategy. ++ India needs to balance Israel and Syria, and constructively engage Iran. ++ Like China, India should acknowledge the region’s importance for its own energy

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June 19, 2008 | The Paradox of Middle East Moderates

The guiding idea that empowering moderates in the Middle East will squelch the appeal of radicals is faulty reasoning. ++ First of all, defining a “moderate” is impossible. ++ A social “moderate” in Egypt, for example, calls for less religion in society, but condones suicide bombings as a legitimate means of diplomacy. ++ Secondly, the record has shown that moderates do

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June 12, 2008 | Obama is the Middle East's Candidate of Choice

Perhaps by electing Obama as president, pro-American reformers in the Middle East will no longer feel so alienated. ++ According to expat experiences in Egypt, locals are hoping for an Obama victory because of his ethnicity and Muslim background. ++ Such a groundbreaking turnaround, only seven years after 9/11, would be unthinkable in those Mideastern countries whose futures are buried in the

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June 6, 2008 | US Should Acknowledge Al Qaeda as a Hybrid Threat

The question of whether al Qaeda is engaged in a “leaderless” Jihad or one that is “alive and well” - a fundamental issue when determining US counter-terrorism policy - provides for heated discussions in the US. ++ Al Qaeda is in fact both resilient and disorganized: it has reconstituted itself and spread geographically yet its lack of grassroots supporters and constructive ideology will

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May 21, 2008 | America's Paralysis in the Face of "Hezbullahization"

At the Knesset plenum, Bush’s declarations regarding America’s political and military commitment to Israel’s defense were most promising. ++ Yet the Hezbollah’s recent take over of Lebanon was met with absolute silence on behalf of the US and its Allies. ++ “America is tired, emasculated, and torn on the inside. It can only provide its protectorates in the Middle East with words.” ++ Since the US

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May 15, 2008 | Bush's Failed Policy in the Middle East

During his last Middle East Tour, President Bush will have to accept the failure of his policies in the region. ++ Since Bush undertook to revive peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians at Annapolis in late 2007, no progress has been made. ++ The American hope for a Palestinian-Israeli agreement before the end of the year seems illusory. ++ The positions of Israeli negotiators

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May 7, 2008 | Bleak Prospects for Peace in the Middle East

Decades of conflict have created economic, demographic, and political conditions that are compromising achieving peace in the Middle East. ++ Disincentives for the creation of two states are proving stronger than the rationale for peace. ++ Palestinians’ animosity toward Israel, their scarring experience of war and violence, the influence of Islamic groups, and the ever blurrier ethnic and

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April 30, 2008 | Israel: Peace at Home Vital for Regional Stability

Israel’s amazing development over the last 60 years into a regional leader necessitates ending the conflict at home. ++ A strategic alliance with moderate Sunni Arabs in the Middle East is contingent upon Israel’s ability to live peacefully alongside a Palestinian state. ++ At the same time, Palestine must accept and respect its Israeli neighbors. ++ Only in this manner will the

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March 17, 2008 | The 5th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

The Iraq war no longer raises much interest on behalf of the American and European people. ++ Raw US military presence compounded by a lack of regional policies and informed diplomacy with Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Israel has left the country in a stalemate. ++ The next American president will face two options: everlasting peacekeeping or a possible bloodbath at the time of withdrawal.

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March 11, 2008 | Creating the Conditions for Negotiations and Peace

Given the current logic of violent retaliation which dominates actions of the weak and divided political systems in Palestine and Israel, there is no foreseeable end to the conflict. ++ Yet if an end to the strangulation of Gaza, a cease-fire with Hamas, and security cooperation with Egypt and Abbas are achieved and followed by democratic elections, most Israelis will show moral commitment to

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March 10, 2008 | Al Qaeda Will Not Rule Iraq

It is a misunderstanding of Al Qaeda’s nature and aims that leads to the fear it could implement an Islamic state in Iraq if the US troops were to leave. ++ Al Qaeda is a non-territorial global entity that antagonizes the West, disrupts existing conflicts but cannot coordinate enough key local actors so as to rule a state. ++ In Iraq, it is the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who play the central role.

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November 28, 2007 | Forget Democratic Institutions. It's the Tribes, Stupid!

The kinship of tribes is key to building stability and establishing a balance of justice in areas like Iraq and Pakistan with both eroding and nascent political institutions.
The disorderly and anarchic conditions in these countries, says Robert D. Kaplan in The Atlantic, answer to the overlapping actions of multiple groups seeking to maximize their power. In these lawless places, it is not

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November 20, 2007 | Saudi Arabia: More Terror Sponsor Than Strategic Partner

Despite sporadic condemnation of terrorism by King Abdullah, Saudi Arabians make-up the bulk of the foreign fighters in Iraq and provide the lion’s share of terrorist finances, write Nick Fielding and Sarah Baxter for the Sunday Times.
The government is accused of failing to penalize promoters of Jihad, such as the country’s Chief Justice, and to reform an educational system imparting hatred

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November 9, 2007 | Turkish Invasion of Iraq Would Set a Dangerous Precedent

Ankara’s belligerence threatens Iraq’s fledgling democratic institutions, and encourages other neighbors such as Iran and Syria to settle disputes within Iraqi territory, writes Jamaa Alatwani for the Iraqi newspaper Kitabat.
Cataloged by the European Union and the United States as a terrorist organization, the PKK finds opposition but also support among Iraq’s Kurdish MPs, as some remain

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June 11, 2007 | Sarkozy and the Arab world: French policy at the crossroads?

New French president Nicolas Sarkozy could initiate a historic shift in French Middle East policy, says Pascal Boniface, director of the IRIS Institute for International and Strategic Relations.

For forty years, French policy has been viewed as pro-Arab, an approach which has been attributed to French commercial interests and a large Muslim population. According to Boniface, however,

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Magno  Karl
Magno Karl
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Should NATO intervene in Syria?



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