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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Issue 2026

The Pandemic and the Middle East
Introduction
Introduction

The Pandemic: Sovereignty And Globalization In Tension?

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The old cracker barrel wisdom inside the Beltway (if there had been a country store inside the Beltway) used to be “This is a Presidential Election Year, so don’t believe anything you hear.”  What we’ve been hearing recently are media spats about U.S-China immoral equivalency that could produce “a new Cold War.”  Don’t believe it.  Presidential year politics has Trump shaping his re-election around “I’m tough on China; Biden is soft”. 

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

Turkey's COVID-19 Response

by Soner Cagaptay, Deniz Yukselvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Ankara's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak has left Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan falling behind the wheel, also revealing competition among advisors inside his presidential palace (known as Saray in Turkish) in Ankara. Meanwhile, popular initiatives to battle the pandemic, launched by recently-elected opposition mayors of key cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, have allowed these politicians to emerge as problem-solvers in the country.

Featured Analysis

Iran’s COVID-19 Response And U.S. Policy

by Alma Keshavarzvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 4, 2020

The United States has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but so has the Middle East. While combating the virus at home is the priority, foreign policy is entwined with the overall strategy. The Pentagon and Department of State – and other agencies – are still hard at work keeping a watchful eye on the Middle East’s response to the virus and how adversaries could potentially take advantage of the pandemic.

Featured Analysis

The Corona Pandemic And The Middle East

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The public health crisis and challenge of COVID-19’s impact on most of the Middle East, as on other parts of the non-Western World, has been limited. While the extent of the pandemic in Iran and Turkey has been significant, the figures cited by and for most of the Arab World have been low, certainly low when compared to the early concern that high density (in countries like Egypt and in the Gaza Strip) and weak public health systems could lead to an exponential spread of the disease.

Featured Analysis

The Pandemic: A Global Review

by Walter Russell Mead via The Caravan
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is not, by the standards of the great plagues of the past, a particularly deadly disease. The plague that struck the Athens of Pericles seems to have had a much higher mortality rate, though its geographical reach was restricted. The epidemic that wrecked the Emperor Justinian’s drive to re-establish imperial authority in the west was similarly responsible for more death than the current outbreak – so far.

Featured Analysis

The Primacy Of Pragmatism

by Samuel Tadrosvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 11, 2020

“A plague has occurred that is unprecedented and the likes of which we have never heard of before … it has spread throughout the country, east and west, and we have seen wonders from it in its phases and conditions for it has annihilated most of the people in the country … and the markets were closed … and the call of prayers from mosques has been disrupted … and crops have been left unharvested and dried up on the face of the earth because there was no one to harvest it.”

Featured Analysis

Mackinder’s Return

by Matt Trevithick via The Caravan
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Halford Mackinder began his sketch on a spare map in 1904 by putting his pencil down on a point near the seas north of Russias St. Petersburg, by the Kanin Peninsula. From there, he laid down a southward graphite trail, bending west to incorporate Moscow, then heading south once more, threading between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea until he stopped barely above the Persian Gulf. 

Featured Analysis

Covid-19 And Middle Eastern Tyranny

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

In the democratic West, many expect there to be a post–Covid-19 reckoning. That politicians who did poorly in handling the pandemic will fall from office. There isn’t a clear understanding of what virological competence in a leader ought to look like (Angela Merkel appears, for now, to be the exemplar), but many executives in the more severely infected nations—for example, Donald Trump, Emanuel Macron, and Boris Johnson—aren’t role models and should be punished.

Featured Analysis

The Pandemic In The Middle East: Unexpected Results And Pending Shifts

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

As bad as the cumulative impact of COVID-19 in terms of loss of life has been, it has been less devastating than initially predicted. At least such are the results to date, in mid-May 2020.

E.g., 7 / 6 / 2020
E.g., 7 / 6 / 2020
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Issue 1922

Competition for influence in the Middle East

Introduction

by Charles Hill Tuesday, June 18, 2019
article

Featured Analysis

by Elana DeLozier Thursday, June 20, 2019
article
by Camille Pecastaing Thursday, June 20, 2019
article
by Reuel Marc Gerecht Tuesday, June 25, 2019
article
by Hafed Al-Ghwell Tuesday, June 25, 2019
article
by Kelly A. Hammond Thursday, June 27, 2019
article
by Tony Badran Thursday, June 27, 2019
article
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Issue 1921

Toward a Middle East Strategy

Introduction

by Charles Hill Tuesday, March 19, 2019
article

Featured Analysis

by Hal Brands Thursday, March 21, 2019
article
by Henri J. Barkey Thursday, March 21, 2019
article
by Dennis Ross Tuesday, March 26, 2019
article
by Samuel Helfont Tuesday, March 26, 2019
article
by Sanam Vakil Thursday, March 28, 2019
article
by Samuel Tadros Thursday, March 28, 2019
article
by Eric Edelman Tuesday, April 2, 2019
article
by Tony Badran Tuesday, April 2, 2019
article
by Afshin Molavi Thursday, April 4, 2019
article
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Issue 1820

Political Theology in the Greater Middle East

Introduction

by Charles Hill Thursday, November 29, 2018
article

Featured Analysis

by Samuel Helfont Tuesday, December 4, 2018
article
by Sanam Vakil Tuesday, December 4, 2018
article
by Henri J. Barkey Thursday, December 6, 2018
article
by Itamar Rabinovich Thursday, December 6, 2018
article
by Habib Malik Tuesday, December 11, 2018
article
by Aishwary Kumar Tuesday, December 11, 2018
article
by Asli Aydintasbas Thursday, December 13, 2018
article
by Afshin Molavi Thursday, December 13, 2018
article
by Samuel Tadros Tuesday, December 18, 2018
article
by Russell A. Berman Tuesday, December 18, 2018
article

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Featured Analysis

Crisis Of The Iranian Order

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The “transnational”: this is how Qassem Soleimani, the former head of Iran’s Qods Force, who was killed in a January U.S. missile strike in Baghdad, is described in Hezbollah-run schools in Lebanon. 

Featured Analysis

The Islamic Republic Soldiering On

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A look back at the past few months of tumultuous domestic events in Iran and around the Middle East might lend favour to the view that Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic is destabilising and weakening Iran alongside its grip on its regional networks.

Featured Analysis

The Shia Vs. The “Shia Crescent”

by Hanin Ghaddarvia The Caravan
Thursday, March 5, 2020

On February 15, 2020, Hezbollah organized a ceremony to unveil a statue of Qassem Soleimani in the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras, roughly half a mile from the border with Israel. The statue shows Soleimani with his arm stretched out in front of him, pointing toward Israel. 

Featured Analysis

A Shia ‘Awakening’?

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, March 5, 2020

The proponents of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran have argued that the four-month-long anti-status quo protests that have wracked Iraq, Lebanon and Iran are transnational in character and seek to limit or end the influence of Iran’s current leadership both regionally and internally. 

Introduction

The Mind Is A Map-Maker

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A map of the Middle East after the World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate shows no state boundaries, only lines of control by European powers over the territories vacated by “The Sublime Porte” -- the Islamic hegemon in Istanbul.

The Caravan: The Syrian Crisis

via The Caravan
Friday, December 20, 2019

Issue 1924 of The Caravan is now available online. The journal is a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East.

Featured Analysis

The Syria Redeployment As Counter-Iran Strategy

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 19, 2019

President Trump’s withdrawal of US troops on the Syria-Turkey border met with a bipartisan rebuke. While rejection of the president’s decision was the consensus, the rationales for the rejection varied, reflecting multiple and often discordant objectives that the president’s critics have projected onto the US military mission in Syria.

Featured Analysis

Unknowable Syria?

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, December 19, 2019

I had to take a pause once news filtered out that the ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed in the small village of Barisha near the Syrian-Turkish border—of all places. Notwithstanding that that area of Idlib Province is currently controlled by his ideological rivals—fellow jihadists who would have gladly killed him off themselves—and has been so for a number of years, there were several other mitigating factors that would deem such a locale a forbidding refuge from a jihadist security mindset.

Featured Analysis

Our Confused Syria Debate

by Omar Hossinovia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The policy debate on Syria has unfortunately been reduced to a discussion of whether or not U.S. troops should remain in that country.  What is missing in the debate however is a fundamental reflection on why we should be in Syria at all.  Iran should be at the heart of that question.

Featured Analysis

The Syrian Front

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Discussing America’s stake in the Middle East has increasingly become a shell game where our “interests” can quickly disappear depending on the changing sentiments of the president. The trajectory for American foreign policy in the Middle East is clear:  down if not out.  And although Democrats can occasionally give the impression that they are in favor of a more vigorous presence, that is probably just an anti-Trumpian reflex:  if the president is in favor of abandoning the Kurds and leaving Syria, then Democrats are in favor of staying and reinforcing the alliance.  

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The Caravan is envisaged as a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East. It will be a free and candid exchange of opinions. We shall not lack for topics of debate, for that arc of geography has contentions aplenty. It is our intention to come back with urgent topics that engage us. Caravans are full of life and animated companionship. Hence the name we chose for this endeavor.

We will draw on the membership of Hoover's Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order, and on colleagues elsewhere who work that same political and cultural landscape. Russell Berman and Charlie Hill cochair the project from which this effort originates.