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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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Barack Obama
Featured Analysis

Narrow Margins and Constrained Options

by Tammy Frisbyvia The Caravan
Monday, December 10, 2012

Mr. President:

Looking ahead to your second term, evaluations of your prospects for success in domestic policymaking usually fall between fair (but maybe including the achievement of landmark tax reform or comprehensive immigration reform) and non-existent.

Featured Analysis

The American Abdication

by Leon Wieseltiervia The Caravan
Friday, December 7, 2012

One of the most tiresome clichés about the Middle East is that it never changes. In the old days, this notion of stasis was called essentialism.

Featured Analysis

Obama’s Greater Middle East

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 6, 2012

It’s difficult to recommend a new approach to the Greater Middle East when the overarching philosophy of Barack Obama’s first term lingers on. In 2008 the Illinois senator sincerely believed that the United States was disliked in Muslim lands primarily because of George W.

Featured Analysis

Letter from Lebanon - Help Protect the Minorities

by Habib Malikvia The Caravan
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear President Obama,

Featured Analysis

Letter From Istanbul

by Asli Aydintasbasvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

As I write these lines overlooking the Bosphorus on a warm autumn day, a blast on a civilian bus shook the streets of Tel Aviv only a few minutes ago.

Featured Analysis

Legacies To Avoid In The Middle East

by Robert Satloffvia The Caravan
Monday, December 3, 2012

Congratulations on your election victory, Mr. President. Now you have four more years to achieve the lofty goals you have set for yourself.

Featured Analysis

World Order in the Age of Obama

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Friday, November 30, 2012

The mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler prophesied that “We shall not get through this time without difficulty, for all the factors are prepared” Kepler was predicting the Thirty Years’ War of 1618-1648, that would launch the modern international state system in which

Featured Analysis

Things To Do

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your reelection.

Featured Analysis

About that Flexibility, Mr. President

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In your well reported aside to Vladimir Putin, you promised him greater flexibility after the election. That moment has come.

Introduction

Obama's Second Term - Middle Eastern Memos

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Bedu have a fitting reminder: free advice is worth a camel, but no one takes it.  Here at the Caravan, we are optimists. We have come forth with free advice for a re-elected President Obama as to how to deal with the Greater Middle East.

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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.