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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Issue 2130

Human Rights in the Middle East and American Foreign Policy
Introduction
Introduction

The West And The World

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The idea of “Human Rights” is modern.  Humanity’s history only recently has recognized the need for such a category, and a concomitant need to explain what the category covers and where it comes from.

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

Don’t Let Iran’s Human Rights Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of A Nuclear Deal

by Wang Xiyuevia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Islamic Republic of Iran remains one of the world’s worst human right abusers: it has the highest executions per capita; it constantly crushes peaceful assembly and freedom of expression; and it harshly persecutes human rights defenders and civil society activists.

Featured Analysis

Without Human Rights, Any Biden Deal With Iran Will Be Ephemeral

by Masih Alinejad, Kambiz Forooharvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

It has been a tough few months for human rights in Iran. Wrestler Navid Afkari and laborer Mostafa Salehi were executed in quick succession for participating in public protests against the Islamic Republic.

Featured Analysis

Partner Or Pariah? Saudi Arabia, The Biden Administration, And Human Rights

by Cole Bunzelvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Biden administration has set for itself an ambitious human rights agenda. “When I am president, human rights will be at the core of U.S. foreign policy,” then candidate Joe Biden told the New York Times in February 2020, citing “China’s deepening authoritarianism” and “the unconscionable detention of over a million Uighurs in western China.”

Featured Analysis

Human Rights & Diplomacy: “Give Us Something To Aspire To!”

by Eric K. Lundbergvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The gap between aspiration and achievement in human rights promotion is a long-standing feature of U.S. foreign policy. We Foreign Service Officers learn early that, however genuine our intentions, there are natural limits to what is achievable.

Featured Analysis

Beyond Persecution: Why The Biden Administration Should Support An Agreement Between KNC And PYD

by Eva Savelsbergvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

In April 2020, the US Department of State decided to support the opening of a dialogue between the Kurdish National Council (KNC), an umbrella organization of Syrian-Kurdish political parties close to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani, and the Democratic Unity Party (PYD), the Syrian branch of the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party).

Featured Analysis

Egypt's Reckoning

by Samuel Tadrosvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

As a young man, Egypt’s legendary playwright, Tawfiq Al Hakim had worked as an assistant to the Attorney General in the Egyptian countryside. There he would witness firsthand the dismal state of the country’s fellahin and the grave injustices Egypt’s rural population lived under. The experience would leave a profound impact on the young author and would shape his views of Egypt’s ills and the necessity for social change that became evident in his literary works. 

Featured Analysis

Saudi Human Rights

by Karen Elliott Housevia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

If the Biden Administration lives up to its campaign promises and early governing pronouncements, human rights will play a larger role in its foreign policy than in that of the Trump Administration.  This isn’t necessarily good news.

Featured Analysis

Promoting Human Rights Abroad, Defending Them At Home

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

An American foreign policy that includes the promotion of human rights as one of its missions can draw on a tradition rooted in the Declaration of Independence. The assertion of universal equality and the designation of unalienable rights, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," have shaped American political culture. That the reality of American life has never fully realized these ideals and at times failed them egregiously, notably in the institution of slavery, does not negate the validity of the ideals themselves.

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Featured Analysis

Kazakhstan Is Moving Away From China

by Gordon G. Changvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chinese leaders think they can imprison hundreds of thousands of Muslim citizens, attempt to eradicate their religion and culture, and maintain good relations with Central Asian countries and other Muslim-majority societies. The test of this breathtaking proposition is Kazakhstan.

Featured Analysis

Xinjiang: Bridge Or Barrier To Xi Jinping’s Belt And Road Initiative?

by Dru C. Gladneyvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Why is China taking desperate actions toward the Uyghur and the spread of radical Islam in the vast western region known as Xinjiang?  Experts find little evidence directly linking jihadist-inspired radicalism to specific terrorist attacks and acts of violence in the region, which have been growing over the last decade.  Beginning in early 2017, China began establishing innumerable “re-education centers,” sweeping up nearly 1 million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, by some estimates, almost 1/10th of their population. 

Introduction

Are We Witnessing 'Peak China'?

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Is there anything more to be said about China? If the twentieth century was "The American Century," then this twenty-first century, by general acclamation, has been assigned to The People's Republic of China. What more needs to be said?

Featured Analysis

Turning A Blind Eye: Why Are Muslim Governments Around The World Keeping Silent About China’s Human Rights Violations Against The Uyghurs?

by Kelly A. Hammond via The Caravan
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Since 2009, the Chinese Party-state has increasingly suppressed the Uyghur community in its northwest province of Xinjiang. However, in the last year, three new concurrent trends have emerged: the situation for Uyghurs both in Xinjiang and for the Uyghurs living abroad has gotten much worse; academics and journalists have been working extremely hard to document and expose the human rights violations against the Uyghurs; and, the international community has finally started to take notice of the abuses inflicted on a Muslim minority population by the Chinese Party-state in a remote region of the People’s Republic of China. 

Featured Analysis

Saudi Arabia Or Iran In US Strategy

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Effective US policy toward Saudi Arabia requires familiarity with the intricacies of its history and society, of course. The legacies of the foundation of the state, the traditional collaboration of political and religious leadership and the burdensome privileges of the extended royal family still weigh on the Saudi present, even as new circumstances develop, especially the ambitions of the young generation, eager for the reforms promised by the bold leadership of the Crown Prince.

Featured Analysis

Saudi Arabia At A Crossroads

by Elham Maneavia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia, a kingdom grounded in a dynastic religious alliance, stands at a crossroads. Some observers and journalists, both Western and Arab, eyeing the new assertive leadership of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (henceforth MbS) and his promised economic and social reforms, have rushed to declare him a ‘reformer’.

Featured Analysis

Saudi Reform: Essential But Perilous

by Ali Shihabivia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a perilous, but essential transformation. Those wishing to safeguard one of the last bastions of Middle East stability should support Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) dramatic socioeconomic reforms and also appreciate the challenges, resistance, and limitations amid which he is forced to operate. As rapid reform risks destabilizing the kingdom’s broad and deeply divided political base, rule by consensus will not work. Only a strong hand can balance Saudi Arabia’s competing constituencies.

Featured Analysis

Saudi Arabia, The United States And The Anti-Iran Front In The Middle East

by F. Gregory Gause, IIIvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Though he fancies unpredictability a useful negotiating tool, President Trump has been remarkably consistent about the Middle East. He campaigned against the Iran nuclear deal and in May 2018 withdrew the United States from it. He promised, as most presidential candidates have done, to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Unlike any other successful candidate, he actually did it, also in May 2018.

Featured Analysis

Saudi Arabia And The Electric Car Revolution

by Afshin Molavivia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

“Everyone has a plan,” the great American boxer Mike Tyson once quipped, “that is, until you get punched in the face.” Saudi Arabia, as the world knows by now, has a plan. In fact, the Saudi Vision 2030, unveiled in dramatic fashion in April 2016 with a roll-out similar to the launch of a new iPhone, has become one of the most well-known national transformation plans in the world. It has become almost a by-word for the changes dawning in the Kingdom, and the calling card for the reformist credentials of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Featured Analysis

Social Reform In The Kingdom: Between “Westernizers” And “Guardians Of Virtue”

by Cole Bunzelvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

“These astonishing things that have been happening in the Land of the Two Holy Places … if King Abd al-Aziz were to come out of his grave and witness them, he would not believe that this is his kingdom that he worked so hard to establish and unite.” So lamented Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbad, an outspoken Wahhabi cleric, in a late 2017 assessment of the social reforms being implemented in Saudi Arabia. The king in question was the founder of the modern realm, Abd al-Aziz ibn Sa‘ud (d. 1953), who is also the father of the present king, Salman, and grandfather of the new crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman (MbS).

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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 the Middle East and the Islamic World, 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.