The Caravan

The Caravan

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Issue 1922

Competition for influence in the Middle East
Introduction
Introduction

Center Of Gravity

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In Tolstoy’s massive novel War and Peace at the Battle of Borodino with Napoleon’s Grande Armée some eighty miles from Moscow, Carl von Clausewitz, then and now the foremost strategist of the study of war, suddenly canters onto the scene in a cameo appearance and is overheard to pronounce on the fighting: Der krieg muss im Raum verlegt werden. Der Ansicht kann ich nicht genug Preis geben.

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

The Dilemma Of An Imperfect Ally

by Elana DeLoziervia The Caravan
Thursday, June 20, 2019

After seven decades of selling weapons to our allies in the Gulf reassured by the fact that we sold more planes than there were trained pilots, we are finally confronted with a foreseeable, yet jarring dilemma: what happens when the Gulf states finally decide to use the weapons in pursuit of their own interests?

Featured Analysis

Playground for Powers

by Camille Pecastaingvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 20, 2019

In August 1920, in the Parisian suburb of Sèvres, envoys of the allied powers signed an eponymous treaty dividing into zones of influence the fallen Ottoman Empire and Islamic Caliphate. The regime of "mandates" it instituted was simultaneously the culmination of European imperialism in the Middle East, and its final undertaking. Mandates were not meant to last: it was a phase of foreign trusteeship, in anticipation of independence that, by the 1970s, would be the norm across the region.

Featured Analysis

Foreign Interference Everywhere

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

“Foreign interference” is a phrase often heard in the Middle East.   In the pre-modern era, Muslim dynasties continuously challenged each other.  The idea of “foreign” intrusion was, however, religiously defined:  there were Greek and Latin Christians in the west, Mongol Shamanists and Hindus to the east.  The recurring and intense wars between the Ottomans and the Safavids, where sultans and shahs attempted in their diplomatic correspondence to strip each other of legitimacy, were an intramural match, despite the Sunni–Shiite clash, where victory on the battlefield determined who owned what. 

Featured Analysis

Foreign Influence & The Middle East

by Hafed Al-Ghwellvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Today, America finds itself in roughly the same waters that drowned British ambitions in the Middle East between 1946–1969. In less than two decades, Washington has vacillated from direct intervention to calls to “share the region,” which have now been supplanted by the “America First” diplomacy of bold declarations that favor smaller, “face-saving” compromises. 

Featured Analysis

Reconfiguring Geopolitics In The Era Of The Surveillance State: The Uyghurs, The Chinese Party-State, And The Reshaping Of Middle East Politics

by Kelly A. Hammond via The Caravan
Thursday, June 27, 2019

We are living in the era of the surveillance state. People are starting to understand the political implications that the connections between technology and state power may have on individual privacy and civil rights. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology become available to states around the world, they are faced with making a choice whether to use them to monitor their own populations. While San Francisco just became the first city in the United States to ban the use of AI for policing, authoritarian states, like the United Arab Emirates, regularly consult and buy software from Chinese tech firms to control and monitor their own populations.

Featured Analysis

Strategic Geography Of The Middle East

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 27, 2019

With the end of the Cold War the United States lost a sound understanding of the strategic geography of the Middle East. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, US strategy focused, correctly, on historical power centers on the outer rim of the Levant and Mesopotamia. The land in between these power centers – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan – was the arena for proxy war and competition between great powers.

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The Arab Spring in Egypt
Featured Analysis

Egyptomania

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

To the American imagination over more than two centuries, some nations have seemed more “real” than others – and it is in fact true that a few states in today’s international world convey a seemingly eternal essence while most are ordinary modern creatures.

Featured Analysis

World Order After The Pax Americana - The Nemesis of the Welfare State

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Friday, April 19, 2013

In this time of generalized peace, there have been six military campaigns of rescue, waged by the United States.  All had taken place in an extended arc of Islamic geography – the first Gulf war of 1990-1991, the Bosnian campaign in 1995, the deliverance of Kosovo four years l

Featured Analysis

Rebuilding the Turkish Empire: Fantasy or Reality?

by Asli Aydintasbasvia The Caravan
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

“If you are no longer interested in having an empire, we’ll take it,” I said, speaking recently in Istanbul to a group of U.S. congressmen and women who expressed ample frustration and, in the case of Syria, a clear disinterest in the affairs of the Middle East.

Featured Analysis

Rescuing Rescue

by Leon Wieseltiervia The Caravan
Monday, April 15, 2013

“Pax Americana” always struck me as a somewhat misleading description of the postwar dispensation that the United States brought to the world, for two reasons. The first is its implied equivalence with earlier empires.

Featured Analysis

Here We Are on Syria and Iran

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Friday, April 12, 2013

The use of force as an instrument of foreign policy has been an important and salient issue in America's grappling with its role as the world's sole superpower for more than two decades now.

Featured Analysis

The Hour of Europe?

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

That the tide of American might is retreating from its outposts is unmistakable.  The US military presence in Western Europe, a legacy of the Second World War, melted away after the collapse of the Soviet empire.

Introduction

World Order after the Pax Americana

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Monday, April 8, 2013

In his epic offering to the glory of Rome, Virgil set the Romans different from the “others:”  Those others “could plead their cases better,” he wrote, “chart with their rods the stars, draw from the block of marble features thick with life.”  The Roman arts differed, the Roman had to put his “stamp on the works and ways of peace/to spare the defeated, break the proud in war.

Blue Globe showing US
Featured Analysis

Nixon Predicts

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Monday, April 8, 2013

“World order after Pax Americana?”  As Virgil would say, ‘Horresco referens:”  Telling it makes me shudder.

Featured Analysis

Obama Redux - Groundhog Day

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

President Obama, it would be sheer arrogance to offer some thoughts to you about an overall strategy for the Greater Middle East.

Featured Analysis

Getting Iran Right This Time Around

by Abbas Milanivia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dear President Obama: Congratulations on winning a second term. Iran, as you have often said, will present a major challenge to your foreign policy in the coming months.

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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.