Islamism and the International Order Working Group

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EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Featured

The Sorrows Of Egypt Revisited

by Samuel Tadrosvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Does Egypt still have a place in the US grand strategy? For many pundits in Washington the answer is a resounding no. From every corner of the US foreign policy community frustration abounds with Egypt. If, however, the United States is ever capable of understanding its troublesome ally and salvaging what remains of the US–Egyptian alliance, it must tread carefully, following Fouad Ajami’s steps, and approach the Egypt of reality, and not that of imagination. It must take a voyage to “a jaded country,” as Ajami called it, and visit the land of sorrows.

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Featured

Russia And The World of Islam: Within And Without

by Robert Servicevia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Of all the world's great powers, Russia has the longest and most tangled experience of Islam at home and abroad. Muslims have led or taken part in revolts.  Chechnya is only the latest such rebellion against Russian rule. Tsars, commissars, and now presidents have had to contend with internal difficulties that are aggravated by external Islamic interference. They have also intervened actively in Muslim countries in the "near abroad" and in the Middle East. This makes for danger in world politics.

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Countering Islamism In The Middle East

by Dennis Rossvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Countering Islamism requires several elements. First is defining the term and understanding that Islam is one of the world’s great faiths and that Islamism is not a religion but an ideology of power and control.  Second is recognizing that radical Islamists seek to use that ideology to gain control for a violent, exclusionary, and expansionary agenda.  Third is realizing that radical Islamists are both Sunni and Shia.  The Sunnis, in the case of the Islamic State, must be defeated and the idea must be discredited—and only other Sunnis can do that.

International SecurityBlank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Assad's Lethal Peace Deals

by Mohammed Alaa Ghanemvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ceasefires are often assumed to be a means to peace; but in Syria, the Assad regime has transformed them into a powerful weapon against civilians. This essay describes how Assad's forces have strategically deployed ceasefires to achieve two goals: (1) the starvation and displacement of urban areas, and (2) the massing of otherwise overstretched forces. Through a series of case studies, this essay also charts the evolution of Assad's ceasefires strategy, from the “local ceasefires” that took hold early in the conflict to the current “de-escalation zones.” The essay also highlights impacts on Iranian regional expansion and long-term population displacement and demographic re-engineering. 

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Strategy, Grand Strategy, And The Enduring War On Terror

by Hal Brandsvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The United States has now been fighting a global war on terror (GWOT) for nearly two decades, but the threat posed by extremist groups remains. This essay seeks to reconcile the strategic requirement of prosecuting an aggressive campaign against the most dangerous extremist groups with the grand strategic constraints that the United States currently faces. 

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The United States In Northeastern Syria

by Fabrice Balanchevia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The presence of the United States in northeastern Syria after the defeat of the Islamic State is justified in the context of the confrontation with Iran and Russia in the Middle East. However, by relying primarily on the YPG (People's Protection Units), an outshoot of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), Washington creates an existential threat to Ankara and pushes Turkey into the arms of enemies of the United States. The inversion of local power to the benefit of the Kurds and the disastrous economic situation strikes the Arab populations, who are turning to Damascus. That calls into question all the calculations made by strategists who are not interested in the deep reality of the territory that must support their actions.

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)Featured

The Question Of American Strategy In The Indo-Pacific

by Michael R. Auslinvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

For much of its history, America had little formal strategy for the Pacific. Only with the rise of China and the vital economic role of Asia can one envision a US grand strategy with the Indo-Pacific region at its core. Yet just when Asia has become central to US global strategy, Washington’s influence and power in the region have been significantly challenged. US policy makers must formulate an effective and comprehensive strategy toward Asia that preserves stability and protects American and allied interests while managing a growing strategic competition between Washington and Beijing and the threat of a nuclear-capable North Korea. 

Featured AnalysisFeatured

Saudi Arabia Or Iran In US Strategy

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Effective US policy toward Saudi Arabia requires familiarity with the intricacies of its history and society, of course. The legacies of the foundation of the state, the traditional collaboration of political and religious leadership and the burdensome privileges of the extended royal family still weigh on the Saudi present, even as new circumstances develop, especially the ambitions of the young generation, eager for the reforms promised by the bold leadership of the Crown Prince.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Saudi Arabia At A Crossroads

by Elham Maneavia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia, a kingdom grounded in a dynastic religious alliance, stands at a crossroads. Some observers and journalists, both Western and Arab, eyeing the new assertive leadership of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (henceforth MbS) and his promised economic and social reforms, have rushed to declare him a ‘reformer’.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Saudi Reform: Essential But Perilous

by Ali Shihabivia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a perilous, but essential transformation. Those wishing to safeguard one of the last bastions of Middle East stability should support Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) dramatic socioeconomic reforms and also appreciate the challenges, resistance, and limitations amid which he is forced to operate. As rapid reform risks destabilizing the kingdom’s broad and deeply divided political base, rule by consensus will not work. Only a strong hand can balance Saudi Arabia’s competing constituencies.

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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.