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Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

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. 

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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 AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

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.

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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.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Kazakhstan Is Moving Away From China

by Gordon G. Changvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chinese leaders think they can imprison hundreds of thousands of Muslim citizens, attempt to eradicate their religion and culture, and maintain good relations with Central Asian countries and other Muslim-majority societies. The test of this breathtaking proposition is Kazakhstan.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Xinjiang: Bridge Or Barrier To Xi Jinping’s Belt And Road Initiative?

by Dru C. Gladneyvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Why is China taking desperate actions toward the Uyghur and the spread of radical Islam in the vast western region known as Xinjiang?  Experts find little evidence directly linking jihadist-inspired radicalism to specific terrorist attacks and acts of violence in the region, which have been growing over the last decade.  Beginning in early 2017, China began establishing innumerable “re-education centers,” sweeping up nearly 1 million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, by some estimates, almost 1/10th of their population. 


Are We Witnessing 'Peak China'?

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Is there anything more to be said about China? If the twentieth century was "The American Century," then this twenty-first century, by general acclamation, has been assigned to The People's Republic of China. What more needs to be said?

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Turning A Blind Eye: Why Are Muslim Governments Around The World Keeping Silent About China’s Human Rights Violations Against The Uyghurs?

by Kelly A. Hammond via The Caravan
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Since 2009, the Chinese Party-state has increasingly suppressed the Uyghur community in its northwest province of Xinjiang. However, in the last year, three new concurrent trends have emerged: the situation for Uyghurs both in Xinjiang and for the Uyghurs living abroad has gotten much worse; academics and journalists have been working extremely hard to document and expose the human rights violations against the Uyghurs; and, the international community has finally started to take notice of the abuses inflicted on a Muslim minority population by the Chinese Party-state in a remote region of the People’s Republic of China. 

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From the Iranian Corridor to the Shia Crescent

by Fabrice Balanchevia Hoover Institution Press
Friday, August 17, 2018

Tehran’s long-term strategy to fortify the Iranian Corridor as a Shiite Crescent requires demographic reengineering. Iran and its allies must be able to rely on a loyal population because of the solidarity it provides at the sectarian level.The attempt to reduce the Sunni numerical advantage is real, but it has had limited results. Even, if viewing the Levant as largely Sunni dominated is a mistake, it seems difficult for Iran to reverse the demographic balance. In contrast, the strategy of promoting internal division among the Sunni promises to be more effective.

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Iran On The Brink: Challenges And Opportunities For Washington

by Sanam Vakilvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

In this essay, Sanam Vakil assesses the four interconnected economic, regional, domestic, and nuclear deal challenges besetting Iran. These challenges have emerged due to renewed US pressure against Iran but also stem from Iran’s endemic factional tensions between pragmatists and conservatives and their ideological differences on how to best protect the Islamic Republic. Vakil also argues that the gravity of these challenges offers a unique opportunity to the Trump administration to move beyond its traditional containment policy toward a meaningful grand strategy to reduce US-Iranian tensions. 


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The Middle East and the Islamic World Working Group highlights the importance of studying both a region and a culture, while also addressing challenges outside the Middle East itself.

Chaired by Hoover fellows Russell Berman and Charles Hill, the group draws on a wide network of scholars and practitioners, from within the United States and abroad, to support changes that enhance economic and political freedom, and foster personal liberty and rule of law—developments that are critical to the very order of the international system.

Visit The Caravan, a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the greater Middle East.