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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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Introduction

Talking to Islamists in Power

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Arab autocrats have been toppled, the Islamists have stepped forth.  Islamists have come to various degrees of power in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt.  Some prophesy an outcome in Syria destined to favor the Muslim Brotherhood if and when the Assad dictatorship is overthrown.

Featured Analysis

Patience

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Thursday, August 16, 2012

These Islamists favored by the ballot box are not the Islamists of yore, hunted down by the mukhabarat (secret police).  This is not the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1940s and 50s – conspirators pledged to the destruction of the ru

Featured Analysis

Nothing to Talk About

by Marius Deebvia The Caravan
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

THE ISLAMISTS WHO CAME TO POWER NOT THROUGH THE BALLOT BOX

Featured Analysis

Turkey's Offer

via The Caravan
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

If the fight for Syria is the dominant issue in Turkish foreign policy, an observer can be forgiven the conclusion that Arakan is the second.

Featured Analysis

Talking to Islamists - Israel's Choices

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Monday, August 13, 2012

The policy debate on the proper response to the challenges presented by the recent surge in Islamist power and influence in the Middle East is also a matter of geography.

Featured Analysis

Promoting Democracy, Promoting Change: European Lessons

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lessons from Europe can shed light on the challenge of Islamism in power. The experience of two world wars seemed to prove that Germans could never accept democracy. Yet Germany became an exemplary liberal democracy and the anchor for European stability.

Featured Analysis

Engaging Fundamentalists

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Given the growing strength and electoral triumphs of fundamentalists in the Middle East, many in Washington fear that the administration just can’t handle Islamists.

Featured Analysis

The Challenge of the “New Islamists:” How to Deal with Islamists Empowered through the Ballot Box

by Robert Satloffvia The Caravan
Friday, August 10, 2012

For more than two hundred years, the United States has talked with Islamists in power. What separates that historical experience with today’s challenge is that U.S.

Featured Analysis

Turbulence

by Leon Wieseltiervia The Caravan
Thursday, August 9, 2012

These are the most vexing questions of this historical moment, and I deny that anybody has the answers to them yet. Looking backward, I think that two observations can be made with some confidence.

Featured Analysis

Talking Terror with Islamists

by Bruce Riedelvia The Caravan
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

As America begins to talk to the new Islamist governments in Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab countries it will need to have two dialogues.

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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.