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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Issue 2026

The Pandemic and the Middle East
Introduction
Introduction

The Pandemic: Sovereignty And Globalization In Tension?

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The old cracker barrel wisdom inside the Beltway (if there had been a country store inside the Beltway) used to be “This is a Presidential Election Year, so don’t believe anything you hear.”  What we’ve been hearing recently are media spats about U.S-China immoral equivalency that could produce “a new Cold War.”  Don’t believe it.  Presidential year politics has Trump shaping his re-election around “I’m tough on China; Biden is soft”. 

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

Turkey's COVID-19 Response

by Soner Cagaptay, Deniz Yukselvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Ankara's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak has left Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan falling behind the wheel, also revealing competition among advisors inside his presidential palace (known as Saray in Turkish) in Ankara. Meanwhile, popular initiatives to battle the pandemic, launched by recently-elected opposition mayors of key cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, have allowed these politicians to emerge as problem-solvers in the country.

Featured Analysis

Iran’s COVID-19 Response And U.S. Policy

by Alma Keshavarzvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 4, 2020

The United States has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but so has the Middle East. While combating the virus at home is the priority, foreign policy is entwined with the overall strategy. The Pentagon and Department of State – and other agencies – are still hard at work keeping a watchful eye on the Middle East’s response to the virus and how adversaries could potentially take advantage of the pandemic.

Featured Analysis

The Corona Pandemic And The Middle East

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The public health crisis and challenge of COVID-19’s impact on most of the Middle East, as on other parts of the non-Western World, has been limited. While the extent of the pandemic in Iran and Turkey has been significant, the figures cited by and for most of the Arab World have been low, certainly low when compared to the early concern that high density (in countries like Egypt and in the Gaza Strip) and weak public health systems could lead to an exponential spread of the disease.

Featured Analysis

The Pandemic: A Global Review

by Walter Russell Mead via The Caravan
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is not, by the standards of the great plagues of the past, a particularly deadly disease. The plague that struck the Athens of Pericles seems to have had a much higher mortality rate, though its geographical reach was restricted. The epidemic that wrecked the Emperor Justinian’s drive to re-establish imperial authority in the west was similarly responsible for more death than the current outbreak – so far.

Featured Analysis

The Primacy Of Pragmatism

by Samuel Tadrosvia The Caravan
Thursday, June 11, 2020

“A plague has occurred that is unprecedented and the likes of which we have never heard of before … it has spread throughout the country, east and west, and we have seen wonders from it in its phases and conditions for it has annihilated most of the people in the country … and the markets were closed … and the call of prayers from mosques has been disrupted … and crops have been left unharvested and dried up on the face of the earth because there was no one to harvest it.”

Featured Analysis

Mackinder’s Return

by Matt Trevithick via The Caravan
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Halford Mackinder began his sketch on a spare map in 1904 by putting his pencil down on a point near the seas north of Russias St. Petersburg, by the Kanin Peninsula. From there, he laid down a southward graphite trail, bending west to incorporate Moscow, then heading south once more, threading between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea until he stopped barely above the Persian Gulf. 

Featured Analysis

Covid-19 And Middle Eastern Tyranny

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

In the democratic West, many expect there to be a post–Covid-19 reckoning. That politicians who did poorly in handling the pandemic will fall from office. There isn’t a clear understanding of what virological competence in a leader ought to look like (Angela Merkel appears, for now, to be the exemplar), but many executives in the more severely infected nations—for example, Donald Trump, Emanuel Macron, and Boris Johnson—aren’t role models and should be punished.

Featured Analysis

The Pandemic In The Middle East: Unexpected Results And Pending Shifts

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

As bad as the cumulative impact of COVID-19 in terms of loss of life has been, it has been less devastating than initially predicted. At least such are the results to date, in mid-May 2020.

E.g., 7 / 6 / 2020
E.g., 7 / 6 / 2020
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Issue 1818

Change in Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Issue 1817

Strategy in Syria: Beyond ISIS
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Issue 1716

Rolling Back Iran

Introduction

by Charles Hill Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article

Featured Analysis

by Reuel Marc Gerecht Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
by Samuel Tadros Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
by Karim Sadjadpour Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
by Sanam Vakil Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
by Tony Badran Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
by Fabrice Balanche Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
by Russell A. Berman Tuesday, December 12, 2017
article
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Issue 1715

Islamism in Maritime Southeast Asia

Introduction

by Charles Hill Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article

Featured Analysis

by Shaun Tan Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by Meredith L. Weiss Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by Patricia Sloane-White Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by Kelly A. Hammond Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by David S. Maxwell Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by Joseph Felter Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by Paul Wolfowitz Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article
by Russell A. Berman Wednesday, September 27, 2017
article

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Featured Analysis

Russia’s Return To The Middle East

by Jakub Grygielvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 12, 2019

The reinsertion of Russia into the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East is one of the big stories of the past decade. Although Russia’s recueillement after 1991 resulted in its effective disappearance from the Middle East, her presence in the region is of course not a new reality in history. Tsars and Soviet leaders pushed their military might and political influence into the region for the last three centuries, clashing with various great powers, from the Ottoman sultanate to the British empire and the United States. But the speed at which the current Russian advance has occurred is surprising and troubling. Moscow has inserted an enormous level of instability and unpredictability to the already murky local power dynamics.

Featured Analysis

The Middle East In An Era Of Great Power Competition

by A. Wess Mitchellvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 12, 2019

In 1920, a young Winston Churchill wrote a memorandum to the Cabinet outlining his concerns about British policy in the Middle East. Britain was, he wrote, “simultaneously out of sympathy with all the four powers exercising local influence.” The Arabs, erstwhile allies in the war, were already unhappy with the emerging postwar settlement. The defeated Turks, Britain’s traditional regional ally, were resentful and looking for new partners. The Russians, under new Bolshevik leadership, were skillfully courting Turkey and Persia. And the Greeks wanted greater British backing against Turkey.

Introduction

If We Leave

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Islamic political philosopher Alfarabi (872-950), one of the notable transmitters of ancient Greek classical texts from the Eastern Mediterranean through the Maghreb to Spain’s al-Andalus and on into Western Europe, produced in his major work the idea of “The Virtuous City,” an ideal form of governance I occasionally heard mentioned by my Arab colleagues when I served at the United Nations in the 1990’s. 

Featured Analysis

The Israeli–Palestinian Struggle, Continued.

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Whenever the Israeli–Palestinian question arises in Washington, an assumption inevitably precedes it:  the United States has an important and unique role to play in advancing peace between these two peoples.  Israelis and Palestinians might make progress alone (the 1993 Oslo Accords).  But the two can only go so far, so we are told, without American mediation, primarily because only Washington can push Jerusalem into taking risks— “land for peace” and military restraint toward the security deficiencies of the Palestinian Authority—that are the stepping stones to a two-state solution, the endgame for a peaceful settlement. 

Featured Analysis

Welcome to the End of the Process

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Speaking to reporters in August, President Trump said he would likely wait until after the Israeli elections in September to unveil his peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. Although this plan has been long in the making, with the exception of the proposal to allocate investment funds to the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, its details have remained unknown; and that’s a good thing. 

Featured Analysis

The Economics Of Calm

by Katherine Bauervia The Caravan
Thursday, September 26, 2019

In the absence of a horizon for a political settlement, economics and security will be the twin pillars of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. This is not an economic peace that holds out prosperity in lieu of Palestinian national aspirations but because it is in Israel’s security interest. As international donor assistance to the Palestinians has declined, Israel –and the defense establishment in particular- has more actively promoted economic and financial stability in the West Bank and Gaza.

Featured Analysis

How To Think About Israeli-Palestinian Peace

by Dennis Rossvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I have worked on trying to resolve or ameliorate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in formal and informal capacities since the 1980’s.  Through two intifadas (uprisings) and the Oslo process, I have seen the conflict in its human terms and the toll it takes.  There were certainly times in the 1990’s when it seemed to be possible to settle the conflict.  Even after the Second Intifada, which imposed such a terrible price on both Israelis and Palestinians, I believed that the gaps between the two sides were bridgeable.

Featured Analysis

Israel-Palestine Peace Is Possible

by Daniel Kurtzervia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Protracted conflicts are protracted for a reason. They involve deeply-held grievances; ethnic, religious or ideological animosities; territorial disputes; boundary issues; political power struggles; clashes over the distribution of wealth; and competing narratives; among other factors. Protracted conflicts are not static, but rather evolve over time. Conflict management and mitigation, a strategy for dealing with conflicts that appear impervious to resolution, miss the point; for these strategies often do not take into account evolving changes through which conflicts pass.

Featured Analysis

The Peace Fantasy

by Samuel Tadrosvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 19, 2019

In the introduction to his book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, the Middle East historian turned diplomat turned Israeli politician, Michael Oren, reflected on the chosen title. These three themes had guided the American adventure in the region power or “the pursuit of American interests,” faith or “the impact of religion in the shaping of American attitudes and policies,” and finally fantasy, “the idea of the Middle East has always enchanted Americans.” To be fair to America, it was hardly unique in its fantasies. In his magnum opus, The Chatham House Version, Elie Kedourie had aptly diagnosed the British fantasy “all those episodes show successive and cumulative manifestations of illusion, misjudgment, and failure.” Nowhere has this been truer than in the Holy Land.

Featured Analysis

The Meager Prospects Of Progress On The Palestinian Issue

by Itamar Rabinovichvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Three weeks before the Israeli parliamentary elections of September 17 the prospects of progress, or of ending the current stalemate in Israeli Palestinian relations, are dim. mIsrael is but one of the protagonists in this conflict, but the outcome of the September vote will have a crucial effect on the Palestinian issue: it will determine whether the Right will remain in power in Israel and will affect the Trump Administration's pursuit of "the deal of the century", the term used for its quest to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict.

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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.