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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Issue 2027

Great Power Competition in the Middle East
Introduction
Introduction

The Middle East And The Major World Powers

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

At this disrupted time centered around the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all parts of the globe might there be a way to assess the relative standing of national regimes and the geographical regions as fields in which their interests may compete?

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

Russia And American Power In The Middle East

by Robert Servicevia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Nothing is stranger than the notion, widely held, that Russia is a newcomer to the Middle East. After extending its rule to what is now called southern Ukraine in the late eighteenth century its territories bordered on the vast Ottoman Empire.

Featured Analysis

Mr. Magoo In Turkey

by Michael Doranvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Even a kerfuffle can reveal a strategic blunder. In December 2019, the New York Times editorial board taped an interview with former Vice President Joe Biden. A segment dealing with US-Turkish relations did not make the final cut, but eight months later, on August 15, 2020, it surfaced on the internet and sparked outrage in Turkey.

Featured Analysis

Breaking The Cycle: The Need For A Sustainable, Long-Term Policy In The Middle East

by H. R. McMastervia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The inability of the United States, in cooperation with like-minded nations, to implement a consistent policy toward the greater Middle East and North Africa region (spanning Morocco in the west to Iran in the east and encompassing the northern countries of Syria and Iraq to the southern countries of Sudan and Yemen) has contributed to the extent of the region’s unravelling, diminishing American influence there.

Featured Analysis

Is China Pivoting To The Middle East?

by Paul Wolfowitzvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

From the beginning, the “Pivot to Asia,” announced with some fanfare in late 2011 by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, was more about politics than strategy. It provided the appearance of a strategic rationale for the American retreat from the Middle East with its “endless wars,” taking advantage of our new-found “energy independence” to focus instead on the Asia-Pacific with its growing importance for American economic and security interests.

Featured Analysis

Middle East Policy In An Age Of Constraint

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The American public has grown war weary, with no enthusiasm to return to a grand agenda for the Middle East. This reluctance is the major constraint on future policy, and it has multiple causes.

E.g., 10 / 21 / 2020
E.g., 10 / 21 / 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

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Featured Analysis

The Shia Vs. The “Shia Crescent”

by Hanin Ghaddarvia The Caravan
Thursday, March 5, 2020

On February 15, 2020, Hezbollah organized a ceremony to unveil a statue of Qassem Soleimani in the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras, roughly half a mile from the border with Israel. The statue shows Soleimani with his arm stretched out in front of him, pointing toward Israel. 

Featured Analysis

A Shia ‘Awakening’?

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, March 5, 2020

The proponents of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran have argued that the four-month-long anti-status quo protests that have wracked Iraq, Lebanon and Iran are transnational in character and seek to limit or end the influence of Iran’s current leadership both regionally and internally. 

Introduction

The Mind Is A Map-Maker

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A map of the Middle East after the World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate shows no state boundaries, only lines of control by European powers over the territories vacated by “The Sublime Porte” -- the Islamic hegemon in Istanbul.

The Caravan: The Syrian Crisis

via The Caravan
Friday, December 20, 2019

Issue 1924 of The Caravan is now available online. The journal is a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East.

Featured Analysis

The Syria Redeployment As Counter-Iran Strategy

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Thursday, December 19, 2019

President Trump’s withdrawal of US troops on the Syria-Turkey border met with a bipartisan rebuke. While rejection of the president’s decision was the consensus, the rationales for the rejection varied, reflecting multiple and often discordant objectives that the president’s critics have projected onto the US military mission in Syria.

Featured Analysis

Unknowable Syria?

by Nibras Kazimivia The Caravan
Thursday, December 19, 2019

I had to take a pause once news filtered out that the ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed in the small village of Barisha near the Syrian-Turkish border—of all places. Notwithstanding that that area of Idlib Province is currently controlled by his ideological rivals—fellow jihadists who would have gladly killed him off themselves—and has been so for a number of years, there were several other mitigating factors that would deem such a locale a forbidding refuge from a jihadist security mindset.

Featured Analysis

Our Confused Syria Debate

by Omar Hossinovia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The policy debate on Syria has unfortunately been reduced to a discussion of whether or not U.S. troops should remain in that country.  What is missing in the debate however is a fundamental reflection on why we should be in Syria at all.  Iran should be at the heart of that question.

Featured Analysis

The Syrian Front

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Discussing America’s stake in the Middle East has increasingly become a shell game where our “interests” can quickly disappear depending on the changing sentiments of the president. The trajectory for American foreign policy in the Middle East is clear:  down if not out.  And although Democrats can occasionally give the impression that they are in favor of a more vigorous presence, that is probably just an anti-Trumpian reflex:  if the president is in favor of abandoning the Kurds and leaving Syria, then Democrats are in favor of staying and reinforcing the alliance.  

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.

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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.