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The Captured Baʿthist State Records from the 2003 Iraq War: Repatriation and Retribution?

by Bruce P. Montgomery, Michael P. Brillvia The Caravan Notebook
Thursday, June 16, 2022

This article explores the interconnecting social and political events, motivations, and consequences surrounding the US restitution to Iraq of three major caches of records seized from Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1991 and 2003 wars. Emphasis is given to the Pentagon’s covert return of the trove of sensitive records and archives captured in the 2003 war to prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian-driven regime in May 2013.

Caravan Notebook Podcast

Al-Qaeda’s Afflictions

interview with Cole Bunzel, Nelly Lahoudvia The Caravan Notebook
Monday, June 13, 2022

Caravan analyzes al-Qaeda's motives and operations based on the Bin Laden papers.

Caravan Notebook Podcast

The Saudi Climbdown And The Iranian Shakedown

interview with Cole Bunzel, Joel D. Rayburnvia The Caravan Notebook
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A discussion with Joel Rayburn.

Can The Intelligence Community Tell What’s Brewing In Afghanistan?

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan Notebook
Thursday, May 5, 2022

Although the age of mass-casualty Islamic terrorism may be ending, American intelligence ought to assume worst-case scenarios. Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the two most likely locales for Al-Qa’ida—still the only organization to have organized a mass-casualty attack from Western-based cells—to organize new assaults against the United States. Is the CIA capable of designing and running operations in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan that could detect and thwart new conspiracies?

Lebanon’s Elections: “We Need A New System, Not New People.”

by Paul Woodvia The Caravan Notebook
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A new parliament and president will not change Lebanon’s “culture of impunity”

When Indonesia Meets The Middle East: Thoughts On Center-Periphery Relations

by Giora Elirazvia The Caravan Notebook
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Though often considered peripheral to the Islamic world, the huge Muslim population of Indonesia has for centuries been affiliated with the Sunni Middle East. Wide concern over rising extremism originating in the Middle East can be noticed in democratic Indonesia, which has encouraged democratic transition in the Arab world and launched initiatives to promote moderate voices of Islam globally. In this way Indonesia challenges the centuries-old “order” of center-periphery relations.

Joel Rayburn: Is The Russian Military A Paper Tiger?

interview with Joel D. Rayburnvia The New Yorker
Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Joel Rayburn discusses what he learned about the Russian military from his involvement in Syria's policy, the biggest mistakes the Russians have made in Ukraine, and whether the failures stem from poor decision-making or corruption.

The Syria-Ukraine Nexus

interview with Cole Bunzel, Anna Borshchevskayavia The Caravan Notebook
Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Conversation with Anna Borshchevskaya.

US-Iran Competition In Iraq

by Alma Keshavarzvia The Caravan Notebook
Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Iraqi politician Muqtada al-Sadr’s prominence will soon take shape following cabinet formations. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Shia militia groups continue to challenge remaining US forces in Iraq. Since the targeted killing of Iranian Quds force commander Qassim Soleimani, these militia groups have evolved. Rising independence from Iranian control and competition among themselves are unintended consequences. US-Iran competition in Iraq is now more complex given Sadr’s unpredictability and an uncertain Iraqi future.

France, Nuclear Iran, And The United States

by Isabelle Lasserrevia The Caravan Notebook
Monday, March 14, 2022

France has often approached Iranian nuclear negotiations more forcefully than has the United States. In 2013, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius clashed forcefully with the Obama administration. Since 2018, France has tried to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action after President Trump’s withdrawal. The Biden administration agrees with France on the contents of an agreement but differs on the timing—with the French fearing that time is running out.

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About the Working Group

The Caravan Notebook is a platform for essays and podcasts that offer commentary on a variety of subjects, ranging from current events to cultural trends, and including topics that are too local or too specific from the larger questions addressed quarterly in The Caravan

We will draw on the membership of Hoover's Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on the Middle East and the Islamic World, and on colleagues elsewhere who work that same political and cultural landscape. Hoover senior fellow Russell Berman directs the project from which this effort originates.