The Caravan

The Caravan

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Issue 1924

The Syrian Crisis
Introduction
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
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.

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.

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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.