The Caravan

The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Issue 1716

Rolling Back Iran
Introduction
Introduction

Rolling Back Iran

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The matter of the Middle East is now critical to the fate of modern world order. The end of the Cold War, now a quarter-century in the past, increasingly looks like the turning-point from which began a downward spiral toward the global disarray and dangers which swirl through this still-new twenty-first century. For a short time the international relations sector buzzed with the possibility of “A New World Order” which President George H. W. Bush tried to describe without success. 

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

Countering Iran While Retreating

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Time has almost run out for the United States to deny the Islamic Republic hegemony in the northern Middle East. The clerical regime has the high ground and the Americans are, at best, slowing Iranian advances. The approximately two thousand troops Washington has reportedly deployed to Syria, mostly in the north and the southeast, have prevented the Tehran–Moscow–Damascus axis from dominating all of the strategic locations in the country. But if President Trump really did tell Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he will cut military aid to the Syrian Kurds, the most reliable of America’s disparate anti-Islamic State “partners on the ground,” and he meant it, it’s a decent guess America’s military presence will diminish.

Featured Analysis

Countering Iran Requires A Political Strategy

by Samuel Tadrosvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It was not supposed to end this way. As protests erupted across the Arabic-speaking world, Iran seemed to be on the losing side. True, Iran’s leader, Ali Khamenei, had immediately called the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia “an Islamic liberation movement” and hailed them as “reverberations of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.” But as the protests spread from capital to capital and reached Damascus, not a few observers were confident that Iran would emerge weaker in the regional power game.

Featured Analysis

Cold War Lessons For Iran Strategy

by Karim Sadjadpourvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

“Strategy,” wrote Lawrence Freedman in his book of the same name, “suggests an ability to address causes rather than symptoms, to see woods rather than trees.” While Iran’s expanding influence in the Middle East is primarily the symptom of an underlying cause—the power vacuums created by the 2003 Iraq War and the 2011 Arab uprisings—there is now a symbiotic relationship between Iranian ambition and Arab disorder. The latter accentuates the former, and the former accentuates the latter. 

Featured Analysis

Repackaging Trump’s Iran Strategy

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Trump administration has articulated a much-needed strategy designed to pressure and contain the Islamic Republic of Iran’s malign regional influence, which spreads throughout Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. While reducing Iran’s imprint and leverage throughout the Middle East is indeed imperative for regional stability, the Trump administration’s methods and means will not prove successful because its strategy is zero sum against Tehran and a perpetuation of the traditional American approach to dealing with the Islamic Republic.

Featured Analysis

The Limits Of The Indirect Approach

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In October 2017, the Trump administration rolled out its long-anticipated policy to counter Iranian expansionism in the region. The policy pays significant attention to Hezbollah, Iran’s principal instrument of regional power projection. After eight years of American courtship of Iran, which drastically elevated its regional position, pushing back against Tehran and its proxies was always going to be a formidable challenge.

Featured Analysis

Iran Thrives In The Levant On Weakened States Threatened By Sunni Radicalism

by Fabrice Balanche via The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The announced defeat of the Syrian rebellion and the Islamic State is favoring the extension of Iranian influence in the Levant. The Iranian corridor between Beirut and Tehran via Baghdad and Damascus is now a reality. Territorial continuity was achieved symbolically at the end of May 2017, when Iranian-funded Shia militias joined on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border north of al-Tanf. In Iraq, Iranian allies Syria and Lebanon dominate; people support them out of fear, default, or sympathy. If the West wants to fight against the Islamic Republic's influence in the Levant, it must understand the root causes pushing more and more Lebanese Christians, Iraqi Shiites, and Syrian Sunni Arabs into the Iranian camp.

Featured Analysis

Rolling Back Iran: The Global Context

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A question mark is hanging over American grand strategy. The triumphal optimism that marked the end of the Cold War has given way to profound anxiety about the future of the international order. American supremacy has frayed and ominous challenges have emerged. We have entered difficult times. How did we lose our advantage? Can we reclaim it?

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E.g., 2 / 17 / 2018
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Issue 1204

A Memo to the President: How to Deal with the Greater Middle East

Introduction

by Fouad Ajami Tuesday, November 27, 2012
article

Featured Analysis

by Russell A. Berman Wednesday, November 28, 2012
article
by Itamar Rabinovich Thursday, November 29, 2012
article
by Charles Hill Friday, November 30, 2012
article
by Robert Satloff Monday, December 3, 2012
article
by Asli Aydintasbas Tuesday, December 4, 2012
article
by Habib Malik Wednesday, December 5, 2012
article
by Reuel Marc Gerecht Thursday, December 6, 2012
article
by Leon Wieseltier Friday, December 7, 2012
article
by Tammy Frisby Monday, December 10, 2012
article
by Abbas Milani Tuesday, December 11, 2012
article
by Fouad Ajami Wednesday, December 12, 2012
article
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Issue 1203

The Islamist Ascendency to Power

Introduction

by Fouad Ajami Thursday, August 16, 2012
article

Featured Analysis

by Bruce Riedel Wednesday, August 8, 2012
article
by Leon Wieseltier Thursday, August 9, 2012
article
by Robert Satloff Friday, August 10, 2012
article
by Reuel Marc Gerecht Saturday, August 11, 2012
article
by Itamar Rabinovich Monday, August 13, 2012
article
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
article
by Marius Deeb Wednesday, August 15, 2012
article
by Russell A. Berman Sunday, August 12, 2012
article
by Charles Hill Tuesday, August 7, 2012
article
by Fouad Ajami Thursday, August 16, 2012
article
Monday, April 16, 2012

Issue 1202

America's options in Afghanistan

Introduction

by Fouad Ajami Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Fouad Ajami Thursday, May 17, 2012
article

Featured Analysis

by Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Leon Wieseltier Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Clare Lockhart Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Colonel Joel Rayburn Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Thomas H. Henriksen Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Russell A. Berman Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Charles Hill Monday, April 16, 2012
article
by Fouad Ajami Monday, April 16, 2012
article
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Issue 1201

The Ordeal of Syria

Introduction

by Fouad Ajami Thursday, February 23, 2012
article

Featured Analysis

by Charles Hill Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Habib Malik Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Russell A. Berman Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Nibras Kazimi Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Abbas Milani Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Colonel Joel Rayburn Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Joshua Teitelbaum Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Reuel Marc Gerecht Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Asli Aydintasbas Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Camille Pecastaing Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Fouad Ajami Thursday, February 23, 2012
article
by Itamar Rabinovich Thursday, February 23, 2012
article

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Featured Analysis

U.S.-Egypt Strategic Relations, From Obama To Trump: What Went Wrong And What Might Be Possible

by Robert Satloffvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It all started so well. On a trip designed to symbolize a “new beginning” in America’s relations with “the Muslim world” after the terrorism-focused anxiety of the George W. Bush years, President Barack Obama scheduled visits in June 2009 to Cairo and Riyadh, capitals of America’s two leading Arab allies. And to underscore the message, the White House pointedly excluded a stop in America’s lone democratic ally in the region, Israel, which the previous president had visited (twice!) the previous year. 

Introduction

Egypt's Role in the Greater Middle East

via The Caravan
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Egypt has always found itself in the crosshairs of history, balancing precariously between its glorious past as the arbiter of all things Arab and its own increasingly unwieldy and imploding societal demands.  It struggles to stay afloat, to find its way out of an impossible demographic dilemma and the contending forces of authoritarianism and the specter of militant Islam.  As Fouad Ajami wrote more than twenty years ago “A fissure has opened, right in the heart of Egypt’s traditionally stoic and reliable middle class.  

Featured Analysis

Strategy And Assets In The Middle East

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Monday, September 26, 2016

The goal of this Caravan has been to provide an account of the strategic underpinning of the challenges the US faces and which the next administration—whoever occupies the White House—will have to address. Five distinguished experts have explained how the historical preeminence of American military power in the region cannot be taken for granted. It can be maintained only through a clear strategic vision and the political will to act on it. 

Navy boat patrolling in the Gulf of Aqaba
Featured Analysis

Eastern Mediterranean: Do Not Write Off States Just Yet

by Ehud Eiran, Aviad Rubinvia The Caravan
Friday, September 23, 2016

Do not write off states as power brokers in the Eastern Mediterranean maritime arena just yet. It is easy to do so. Great powers (past, present and aspiring) as well as non-state actors seem to have eroded the centrality of regional state actors in shaping the region’s maritime security environment in the last few years. 

Featured Analysis

Simplifying U.S. Strategy Amidst The Middle East’s Maelstrom

by Benjamin Runklevia The Caravan
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Anybody who follows foreign affairs and social media has likely seen some version of a chart entitled “A Guide to the Middle East Relationships.” The graphic shows a hopelessly tangled web of arrows illustrating the often contradictory strategic associations in the region, i.e. the United States and Iran support opposing sides in the Syrian civil war while fighting on the same side in Iraq against the Islamic State (ISIS); Turkey opposes Bashar Assad’s regime yet attacks the Kurdish militias fighting his army; Saudi Arabia and Qatar both support Syria’s Sunni rebels yet hold diametrically opposing views on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, et cetera.  

Featured Analysis

Airpower In The Middle East—A Contemporary Assessment

by David A. Deptula, Lt Gen USAF (Ret)via The Caravan
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Since the introduction of airpower as a military force just over 100 years ago, it has played a key role in shaping the geopolitical posture of the Middle East. The first example is the success of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in exerting strategic control by the use of aircraft over regions of British interest in Mesopotamia in the 1920s. A handful of RAF squadrons and a small force of troops successfully subdued rebellious tribes in Iraq.

Introduction

The Middle East: The Strategic Landscape For The Next Administration

by Russell A. Bermanvia Caravan
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This Caravan provides a compelling map of the significant challenges the US faces in the region as well as the opportunities to pursue a strategy to reestablish and maintain preeminence. Whatever the outcome of this extraordinary presidential election may be, the next administration will face significant challenges, especially in the Middle East.

Featured Analysis

Sea Change In The Middle East

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

America’s view of the Middle East today is shaped by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise and reach of ISIS, a grinding conflict in Syria, the region as a source of wider ranging terrorism and staggering outflows of refugees that is changing the political calculus in Europe. As our strategic role in the Middle East began with a meeting on the water so, too, are consequential changes there taking place at sea – the domain in which the U.S. has enjoyed unfettered access and dominance for over seventy years.   

Featured Analysis

The Perils Of “Perfecting”

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

“A Spectre is Haunting Europe” – again. Now, as in Marx’s proclamation, an idea generated in Europe has had consequences elsewhere that threaten modern civilization. Modernity’s world-spanning influence has been accurately and derogatorily labeled “Eurocentric.”

Featured Analysis

Solidarity, Liberal Democracy, And Eastern Europe Today

by Piotr H. Kosicki via The Caravan
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In September 2015, eminent Princeton historian Jan T. Gross penned an essay entitled “Eastern Europe’s Crisis of Shame.” He wrote, “As thousands of refugees pour into Europe to escape the horrors of war, with many dying along the way, a different sort of tragedy has played out in many of the European Union’s newest member states.

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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.