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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Issue 2029

U.S. Policy in the Middle East: Advice to the New Administration
Introduction
Introduction

Missed By The Middle East

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

In a classic American short story (by William Saroyan) an old man and a boy are sitting on the porch hearing the whistle of a long-range freight train passing through their little town.  “There goes another one we missed,” the old man says.

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

Does The US Need A Lebanon Policy?

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The season of offering advice to the next administration is upon us once more. When it comes to American policy toward Lebanon, the purveyors of advice are faced with two key questions.

Featured Analysis

America Is Obstructing Turkey’s Geostrategic Destiny

by Michael Doranvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

In America today, populists on both sides of the political aisle demand that allies should carry more of the burden, especially the military burden, of upholding the international order. Meanwhile, the fear of a rising China cuts against the grain of this thinking. Chinese leader Xi Jin Ping’s more aggressive foreign policy has generated an equally strong impulse to marshal resources and organize allies to contain China. In an effort to reconcile the contradictory impulses, many analysts and political leaders have fastened onto the idea of retreating from the Middle East. 

Featured Analysis

U.S. Middle East Policy In The Next Four Years

by Eric Edelmanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden and his administration will inherit a very full agenda of problems on January 20, 2021 both foreign and domestic. 

Featured Analysis

The Biden Administration Can And Should Rectify America’s Failures In Syria

by Mohammed Alaa Ghanemvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

It has been almost a decade since the Syrian people rose up against the Assad regime, demanding their freedom. While the world was hesitant to support the protestors, malign powers gladly stepped in to help Assad, creating an unmitigated disaster that has devastated Syria and sent shockwaves around the world.

Featured Analysis

Managing The Relationship Between The U.S. And Saudi Arabia

by Bernard Haykelvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The new Biden administration will encounter a Middle East that is very different from the one President Trump inherited from President Obama in 2017, and nowhere is the change more obvious than in Saudi Arabia.  The kingdom is undergoing a dramatic process of transformation that includes the unprecedented consolidation of power in the hands of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), the adoption of policies of social liberalization focused primarily on youth and women, and the implementation of a plan for economic diversification to lessen dependence on oil revenue.

Featured Analysis

Erdogan Will Play Biden, But Stick To Putin

by Soner Cagaptayvia The Caravan
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

A key foreign policy challenge for President-elect Joe Biden is going to be getting along with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and managing Washington’s ties with Ankara. To this end, Biden needs to understand the dynamics and fears that inform the decisions of Erdogan, Turkey’s powerful president, including the latter’s view of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Featured Analysis

Putting Human Rights Into Negotiations With Iran

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

During the presidential campaign, candidate Biden never spared his words criticizing the Trump administration's Iran policy, in particular the decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This so-called "Iran Deal" was the signature foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama administration, which his successor revoked in May 2018. In its place, the U.S. has been pursuing a "maximum pressure campaign"--if not always consistently--through sanctions, with the goal of forcing Iran back to the negotiating table.

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Featured Analysis

Contradictions Of The Faith

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

On February 11, 2019 Iran will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Iranian revolution and the creation of Iran’s Islamic government guided by a clerical leader known as the vali-e-faqih.  This anniversary is important for numerous reasons including that the Islamic Republic, having survived many political storms, has outlasted the expectations of many. Under renewed political and economic pressure from US sanctions and Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear agreement, this anniversary has added symbolism for Tehran. 

Featured Analysis

The Legacy Of Saddam’s Islam

by Samuel Helfontvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Anyone examining Islam in Saddam’s Iraq (1979-2003) and the legacy of that period today is quickly confronted with a tangled web of problematic definitions and eclectic ideologies. Untangling this web is essential for identifying what really drives Iraqi politics, and doing so provides one with some hope that sectarian differences can still be overcome.  Paradoxically, it also does not augur well for the chances for stability in the country anytime soon. 

Introduction

Navigating The Realm Of Political Theology In The Greater Middle East

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Thursday, November 29, 2018

The modern world—or the era we blithely have been calling “modern”—has defined itself against religion. The Treaty of Westphalia, which inaugurated today’s international state system, pushed religion to diplomacy’s margins to avoid, it was hoped, further wars of religion as had propelled the Thirty Years’ War from 1618-1648.

Featured Analysis

On China’s Western Front

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Problems in China’s restive northwest province of Xinjiang have long been simmering, but recent developments point to growing troubles, as news reports and statements by international organizations have significantly raised public attention.  Beijing is engaged in programmatic efforts to suppress the ethnic identity of the Uighur people, a population of 11 million, while combatting their aspirations for political autonomy or even independence.

Featured Analysis

The Long Encounter: China And Islam’s Irreconcilable Tensions

by Michael R. Auslinvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

China’s relationship with Islam goes back to the 7th century, when Arab merchants and envoys traveled to Canton (Guangzhou) to discuss trade ties with the Tang dynasty. Building mosques and madrassas, hosting preachers, and creating largely homogenous enclaves within China, Muslim communities persisted throughout repeated disintegration and reformation of Chinese dynasties. 

Featured Analysis

China's Final Solution In Xinjiang

by Miles Maochun Yuvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Since its founding in 1949, the Chinese communist government in Beijing has long considered a northwestern region on its vast political map a primary troubled spot for the regime and has systematically implemented various measures to seek total control of this important territory. Of the four non-China Proper areas, the other three, i.e. Manchuria, Mongolia and Tibet have longer, and more complicated historical connections with China.

Featured Analysis

China & Middle East: Regional Rebalancing

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Middle East, a region once embroiled in the Cold War struggle of east and west, is now bearing witness to new geopolitical shifts.   The emergence of Beijing on the Middle Eastern landscape where it is quenching its thirst for energy resources and forging regional relationships through its One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) with countries as diverse as Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) comes at the expense of Washington’s longstanding primacy.  Many American strategists find China’s encroachment to be a troubling threat to U.S. national interests. 

Featured Analysis

Planning For Apocalypse: Environmental Change, Islamism, And China

by Sulmaan Wasif Khanvia The Caravan
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Will a new wave of Islamist violence threaten China’s national interests over the coming decades? Good planning does not dismiss worst-case scenarios as unlikely; it asks, instead, how such a scenario might come to pass, thereby illuminating ways to avoid it. A combination of environmental stress and China’s deepening footprint abroad might well produce Islamist terrorism directed at Chinese across the world and at home. Avoiding this requires a strengthened commitment to environmental protection and to policies that mitigate Muslim discontent.

Featured Analysis

The Chinese Approach To Uyghur Separatism(*)

by Jacques Neriahvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Around 22 million Muslims live in China (PRC) today. The Hui, the majority Muslim group in China, are fully integrated into all echelons of Chinese society, and are allowed to practice their religion with almost no interference from the authorities. The dominant minority group, the Uyghurs (roughly 10 million people), are a Sunni Turkish-related population who speak a Turkish dialect and live in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. Other Muslim minority groups are Kazakhs, Dongxiangs, Salar, Tatars, Bonans, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Utsul, Kyrgyz, and Tibetans.

Featured Analysis

Enter The Dragon: China’s Belt And Road Rising In The Middle East

by Afshin Molavivia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cairenes are not modest about their beloved city. It is Umm al-Dunya, they say, the mother of the world. They also call it simply Masr, the Arabic term for Egypt, suggesting, of course, that there is really nothing worth noting in the vast country beyond their grand city on the Nile.

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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 the Middle East and the Islamic World, 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.