September 2, 2014

ASSESSING THE SURGE IN IRAQ

This article discusses the 2006/2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq. It examines to what extent the shift in strategy was responsible for the dramatic drop in violence as well as the implications for U.S. strategy in future conflicts. This article can be found in PDF version here.   INTRODUCTION   Adopted at the end of 2006--by far Iraq’s bloodiest year--the troop “surge” marked a major shift in the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq strategy. Indeed, the Iraq Body Count … [Read more...]

NAVIGATING THE NEW MIDDLE EAST? THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS LOST AT SEA AND ON THE ROCKS

barry-rubin

This article surveys all aspects of U.S. Middle East policy under the Obama administration, critiques this strategy and premises, and suggests what U.S. policy should be. A previous version of this article was published in The Journal of International Security Affairs (Fall/Winter 2011).   The Obama administration has comprehensively lost its way on Middle East policy to an extent that poses tremendous dangers to the United States, Western interests, and the region as a whole. The … [Read more...]

COMPARATIVE COUNTERINSURGENCY IN YEMEN

The government of Yemen is engaged in three counter-insurgency campaigns. Southern secessionists, northern rebels, and al-Qa’ida are each challenging the state. The calls for independence, revolt, or jihad arose as the state came to exist as the equivalent of a privatized mafia, but only al-Qa’ida in Yemen (AQIY) presents a transnational threat. The lethal jihadi attack on Fort Hood in November 2009 and the December 2009 attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit were linked to … [Read more...]

SYMBOLIC VICTIMS IN A SOCIALLY REGRESSING EGYPT: THE DECLINING SITUATION OF THE COPTS

  A CHRISTMAS “GIFT”[1] On January 6, 2010, at 11:30 p.m., gunshots were heard in Nag Hammadi, Egypt (a town situated 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, north of Luxor). The shooting was aimed at a group of Copts leaving church following the midnight Christmas Mass (which the Coptic Church celebrated on January 7, 2010, in accordance with the old Julian and Coptic calendars). Seven people were murdered, including a Muslim who happened to be in the vicinity. In addition, nine Copts … [Read more...]

THE CROSSROADS OF MUSLIM BROTHERS IN JORDAN

Manifestations of Islamic activism are abundant in Jordan. The country’s Islamist movement has played a key role in political life almost since independence. As traditional allies of the monarchy, the Muslim Brothers have participated in politics when the regime has engaged in political openness. However, their moderation in domestic politics has been accompanied by a growing radicalization on foreign policy issues as a result of their refusal to accept the Israel-Jordan peace treaty and … [Read more...]

THE MIDDLE EAST: WELL-INTENTIONED CONCILIATORY POLICY MEETS REVOLUTIONARY ISLAMIST THREAT

barry-rubin

The problem at present is not just that the Middle East may be heading for disaster and the Western strategic situation could be moving toward collapse, but that such an unfavorable outcome is made more likely by the fact that Western governments don't seem to comprehend this situation and are following policies that make it worse. There are five main critical developments which threaten the region's already fragile stability. First, and most basic, is the rise of revolutionary Islamist … [Read more...]

TERRORISM WITHIN THE UNITED STATES: THE MIDDLE EAST CONNECTION

  A great deal of study and analysis goes into the effect of U.S. foreign policy on the Middle East, but the issues and conflicts in the region also have an effect within the United States, which acts as an extension of those matters. With the dramatic developments of September 11, 2001, revolutionary movements and terrorism struck America directly. This article explores recent developments in that interaction by analyzing terrorist plans or attacks originating in the Middle East but being … [Read more...]

To Perpetuate Their Dictatorships, Arab Rulers Resort to the Islamic Creed

  KORANIC INSPIRATION FOR THE MODERATE, ISLAMIST, AND JIHADIST The Koran often provides Muslims with contradictory inspirations on subjects of political or social relevance. On Muslim relations with Christians and Jews, for example, a moderate Muslim would focus on peaceful and tolerant verses such as 29:46: “Do not argue with the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] unless in a fair way.” Similar injunctions are found in, among others, 2:62, 2:136, 2:256, and the second … [Read more...]

Goldstone’s Gaza Report: Part Two: A Miscarriage of Human Rights

[CLICK HERE TO READ PART I] PART II: WHY? GENEALOGY OF THE “GOLDSTONE REPORT”    In order to understand how the Goldstone Report, with all its pervasive flaws, came into existence, one must first appreciate the culture from which it arose. The pattern is largely as follows: Palestinians create alleged facts or information--often through the formal reports, and finally it makes up most of the Goldstone report, without any real critical evaluation taking place at any … [Read more...]

Goldstone’s Gaza Report: Part One: A Failure of Intelligence

  [CLICK HERE TO READ PART II] INTRODUCTION[1]   In response to the Israeli attack on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (December 27-January 18, 2009), several major NGOs and public figures called for an investigation. On April 3, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed a “Fact-Finding Mission.” The mission was made up of four members, including Hina Jilani, Desmond Travers, Christine Chinkin, and at its head, Richard Goldstone, former member of the South … [Read more...]