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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Issue 1820

Political Theology in the Greater Middle East
Introduction
Introduction

Navigating The Realm Of Political Theology In The Greater Middle East

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Thursday, November 29, 2018

The modern world—or the era we blithely have been calling “modern”—has defined itself against religion. The Treaty of Westphalia, which inaugurated today’s international state system, pushed religion to diplomacy’s margins to avoid, it was hoped, further wars of religion as had propelled the Thirty Years’ War from 1618-1648.

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

The Legacy Of Saddam’s Islam

by Samuel Helfontvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Anyone examining Islam in Saddam’s Iraq (1979-2003) and the legacy of that period today is quickly confronted with a tangled web of problematic definitions and eclectic ideologies. Untangling this web is essential for identifying what really drives Iraqi politics, and doing so provides one with some hope that sectarian differences can still be overcome.  Paradoxically, it also does not augur well for the chances for stability in the country anytime soon. 

Featured Analysis

Contradictions Of The Faith

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

On February 11, 2019 Iran will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Iranian revolution and the creation of Iran’s Islamic government guided by a clerical leader known as the vali-e-faqih.  This anniversary is important for numerous reasons including that the Islamic Republic, having survived many political storms, has outlasted the expectations of many. Under renewed political and economic pressure from US sanctions and Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear agreement, this anniversary has added symbolism for Tehran. 

Featured Analysis

Restoring Religion’s Role In Foreign And Domestic Policy In Erdogan’s Turkey

by Henri J. Barkeyvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 6, 2018

“Turkey is the only country that can lead the Muslim World,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently claimed. This simple sentence contains not only the ambitions and contradictions of Turkey’s current Islamist leadership but also the distance it has traveled back to its foundational stance. Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party, AKP, emerged from the bosom of the hardline Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan and his Muslim Brotherhood inspired movement and political party of the 1970s. 

Featured Analysis

Religion And Politics In Israel

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 6, 2018

A complex relationship between religion and politics is inherent in Israel’s character as a Jewish state. The term Jewish denotes both a religion and an ethnicity, and, for the past seventy years, Israel’s leaders have had to deal with a host of issues regarding religion’s role in the life and politics of the Jewish state.

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Featured Analysis

The Turkish Option

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

The cruel violence that the Assad regime is directing against the Syrian population has elicited words of condemnation across the world. Fleeing the wrath of the Syrian military, refugees have poured over the borders into Jordan, Lebanon and, especially, Turkey.

Featured Analysis

Western Inaction, Lebensraum For Jihad

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

At this point, almost a year into the Syrian revolt, we know this much: President Barack Obama is unwilling to tip the scales, with American heft, against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Featured Analysis

Syria and Iran: Kindred Souls?

by Abbas Milanivia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stakes in Syria are high.

Featured Analysis

"Blowback" - Iraq Comes To Syria

by Colonel Joel Rayburnvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

“Blowback” is the decades-old term coined by CIA officers to describe what happens when a covert operation produces forces that return to harm those who set it in motion.  The textbook example of “blowback” in living memory has been U.S.

Featured Analysis

Saudi Arabia Ponders Its Syrian Conundrum

by Joshua Teitelbaumvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Arab awakenings and assertive international role of Russia and China at the expense of the United States have created a new strategic situation for the rulers of Riyadh.

Featured Analysis

Taking Damascus, One, Two, Three

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Although Bashar al-Assad could still kill off the revolt against his tyranny, it seems increasingly unlikely. The rebellion today is far larger—geographically and numerically—than the rebellion of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in Hama in 1982.

Featured Analysis

But Really—Is America Ready To See Assad Gone?

by Asli Aydintasbasvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not in a million years would I ever imagine using that headline, “Turks are from Mars, Americans are from Venus” – but that was precisely the title of my column last week [in Milliyet] on Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Featured Analysis

Let Arab Wealth Carry Its Own Burden

by Camille Pecastaingvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

History is not such a great mystery that its equations are beyond human reach. With regime change, what matters are the mathematics of pain and the mathematics of bullets. Pain is alleviated by cash, hope, and desperation. Bullets only come with cash.

Featured Analysis

The Rescue

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

In the matter of Syria, the moral simplicity and clarity have been overwhelmed by overthinking the strategic complications – always the companion and the alibi for passivity.  The Assad tyranny is living on borrowed time, the very laws of gravity conspire against it.  It may c

Featured Analysis

Syria: Policy Challenges and Policy Options

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Thursday, February 23, 2012

The unfolding Syrian crisis presents the U.S with a manifold policy dilemma.  Several issues and challenges are at stake:

1) The current impasse is likely to continue for some time and with it the unacceptable massive killing of civilians.

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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.