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Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

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 AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

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 AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

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 AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

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.

IntroductionAnalysis and CommentaryNational Security

If We Leave

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Islamic political philosopher Alfarabi (872-950), one of the notable transmitters of ancient Greek classical texts from the Eastern Mediterranean through the Maghreb to Spain’s al-Andalus and on into Western Europe, produced in his major work the idea of “The Virtuous City,” an ideal form of governance I occasionally heard mentioned by my Arab colleagues when I served at the United Nations in the 1990’s. 

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

The Israeli–Palestinian Struggle, Continued.

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Whenever the Israeli–Palestinian question arises in Washington, an assumption inevitably precedes it:  the United States has an important and unique role to play in advancing peace between these two peoples.  Israelis and Palestinians might make progress alone (the 1993 Oslo Accords).  But the two can only go so far, so we are told, without American mediation, primarily because only Washington can push Jerusalem into taking risks— “land for peace” and military restraint toward the security deficiencies of the Palestinian Authority—that are the stepping stones to a two-state solution, the endgame for a peaceful settlement. 

Featured Analysis

Welcome to the End of the Process

by Tony Badranvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Speaking to reporters in August, President Trump said he would likely wait until after the Israeli elections in September to unveil his peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. Although this plan has been long in the making, with the exception of the proposal to allocate investment funds to the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, its details have remained unknown; and that’s a good thing. 

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

The Economics Of Calm

by Katherine Bauervia The Caravan
Thursday, September 26, 2019

In the absence of a horizon for a political settlement, economics and security will be the twin pillars of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. This is not an economic peace that holds out prosperity in lieu of Palestinian national aspirations but because it is in Israel’s security interest. As international donor assistance to the Palestinians has declined, Israel –and the defense establishment in particular- has more actively promoted economic and financial stability in the West Bank and Gaza.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

How To Think About Israeli-Palestinian Peace

by Dennis Rossvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I have worked on trying to resolve or ameliorate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in formal and informal capacities since the 1980’s.  Through two intifadas (uprisings) and the Oslo process, I have seen the conflict in its human terms and the toll it takes.  There were certainly times in the 1990’s when it seemed to be possible to settle the conflict.  Even after the Second Intifada, which imposed such a terrible price on both Israelis and Palestinians, I believed that the gaps between the two sides were bridgeable.

Featured AnalysisAnalysis and Commentary

Israel-Palestine Peace Is Possible

by Daniel Kurtzervia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Protracted conflicts are protracted for a reason. They involve deeply-held grievances; ethnic, religious or ideological animosities; territorial disputes; boundary issues; political power struggles; clashes over the distribution of wealth; and competing narratives; among other factors. Protracted conflicts are not static, but rather evolve over time. Conflict management and mitigation, a strategy for dealing with conflicts that appear impervious to resolution, miss the point; for these strategies often do not take into account evolving changes through which conflicts pass.

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

Chaired by Hoover fellow Russell Berman, 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.