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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Featured Analysis

Their Time

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Diplomacy - not as some claim, journalism - is the second oldest profession. As such, a lot can go wrong. The upheaval in the Middle East, and the heightened drive for an Islamist Ascendency which it has propelled, require a reassessment of this art for the new century.

Introduction

World leaders at NATO Summit must ask, as The Caravan did: Can the Afghan war be won?

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Thursday, May 17, 2012

As world leaders gather in Chicago this weekend for the NATO Summit, one item will dominate the agenda: NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan

Introduction

Can the Afghan war be won?

by Fouad Ajamivia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

This is now America's longest war, yet it has been so sparsely debated of late.  Can this war be won?  Have there been gains worthy of the sacrifices in blood and treasure incurred by the United States and its allies?  Or is it time to acknowledge that this war cannot be brought to any meaningful conclusion let alone a victorious one?

Featured Analysis

Consolidating Gains and Hardening the Afghan State Against Organized Crime and Enemy Subversion

by H. R. McMastervia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

The mass murder attacks against our own nation on September 11, 2001 and subsequent attacks on other nations including the U.K., Spain, and India, demonstrate clearly the importance of denying transnational terrorist organizations access to the resources, freedom of movement, safe havens, and ideological space they need to plan, organize, and conduct these attacks.

Featured Analysis

The Other Side of the COIN

by Leon Wieseltiervia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

The origins of a war do not always illuminate its outcome.

Featured Analysis

Next Generation Afghanistan

by Clare Lockhartvia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

Afghanistan has been at war, in one form or another, for more than thirty years.

Featured Analysis

Needed: A Political Strategy after the Deal Collapses

by Colonel Joel Rayburnvia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

Observers rightly say that the Afghanistan campaign will not result in a sustainable outcome without a political strategy to accompany the military operations NATO is conducting.  In too many minds, however, formulating a political strategy has been equated to brokering a deal

Featured Analysis

The Great Retreat

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

As the 2014 promised departure from Afghanistan draws nearer, popular support for the war is dwindling, and not only in the United States.

Featured Analysis

To stay, to quit, or to soldier on in Afghanistan?

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

In a twist on the dilemma faced by Shakespeare’s Hamlet—“to be or not to be”—Americans now ask themselves the question in light of several recent setbacks in Afghanistan: to stay or to get out?  If the United States stays, can the war be won?  If it leaves, what will be the co

Featured Analysis

Under Eastern Eyes

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

When Alexander the Great led soldiers of the world’s sole superpower into Afghanistan he did not fulfill the requirements of today’s counterinsurgency doctrine.  He “cleared”, and he “built” – the cities today called Herat, Kandahar, and Bagram – but he didn’t “hold”.  He move

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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.