Middle East Articles

Much has been written and argued about what Israel can do to effectively address Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel views as a credible existential threat. Most Israelis believe that Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons and remain skeptical about the prospect of a diplomatic solution to neutralize the Iranian threat. There is hardly any public discussion in Israel concerning the acceptance of a nuclear Iran, and the question of the nation’s course of action is willingly left to the defense cabinet and a small group within the intelligence establishment.

By Alon Ben-Meir  |  May 1, 2010

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia culminated in the March 2010 signing of the Riyadh Declaration, through which he and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud agreed to a far-reaching expansion of bilateral relations. Building on the Delhi Declaration of 2006, Singh’s visit resulted in agreements promising increased security cooperation, joint research and development initiatives, and reciprocal extradition policies.

By Aaron Mattis  |  May 1, 2010

On November 25, 2009, Dubai shocked the world by requesting a moratorium on debt repayment. Foreign banks had previously pumped significant amounts of money into Dubai, knowing that they would suffer huge losses if the emirate defaulted on its debt. Thus, Dubai’s request prompted financial markets worldwide to plummet immediately. Revelations that Nakheel, a subsidiary of the state-run Dubai World, had suffered losses of US$3.64 billion since June 2009 caused further financial turbulence, especially in Dubai’s stock market.

By Aditya Balasubramanian  |  February 1, 2010

The current debate over troop increases in Afghanistan based on the recent strategic assessment from McChrystal misunderstands the national security threat of bin Laden and Al Qaeda. This counterinsurgency strategy presupposes that the Afghan population needs to be protected, that the United States should prop up the Karzai regime, and that the insurgency is a direct threat to American interests; however, each of these assumptions are false.

By Tyler Moselle  |  January 6, 2010

At the heart of the alliance is article five of the North Atlantic Treaty: if one NATO member is attacked, all will respond. Now, as US President Obama reminded us in Strasbourg, NATO “remains the strongest alliance that the world has ever known.” NATO’s summit, however, revealed the weakness of that alliance. Contrary to the spirit of the NATO treaty, some countries are doing much more in Afghanistan than others. The discrepancy is so great that it is almost misleading to call it a NATO mission. Countries cannot share the benefits of collective security without sharing its burdens too.

By Azeem Ibrahim  |  October 26, 2009

William Rosenau (“Counterinsurgency: Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Spring 2009) raises several important points. It is difficult not to agree with most of them. But in regard to his “more fundamental” criticism, this is not the case.

By Jochen Hippler  |  October 26, 2009

In 1951, a post-World War II United Nations bent on protecting human rights adopted a landmark document known as the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The Convention first defined the refugee as an individual who, ‘owing to a well-founded fear of persecution…is outside of his or her country of nationality.” The world has changed since 1951, to such an extent that the original framework--even the original definitions--applicaple to refugee protection demand reevaluation.

By Natasa Kovacevic, Owen Barron  |  October 26, 2009

Historical parallels capture the collective imagination, and for good reason. They offer an intelligible way to understand present events and avoid past mistakes. The Vietnam War, for instance, continues to inform American decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan; it warns us of the perils of lengthy occupations, of public sensitivity to mounting casualties, and of the importance of exit strategies. But there is always the hidden danger of taking such parallels at face value. This is happening now, with the widespread comparison of the current economic crisis to the Great Depression.

By Gustavo de las Casas  |  July 10, 2009

In December 2008, as televisions worldwide lit up with footage from the Israeli assault on Gaza, protestors next door in Amman, Jordan shouted their support for Hamas, their opposition to Fatah, and their frustration with conciliatory Arab regimes. The sentiments were not new, but the fact that demonstrations were permitted at all in a country as controlling of public opinion as Jordan indicates the state’s shifting attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By Owen Barron  |  July 6, 2009

Once upon a time most social scientists assumed that the global march of political and economic modernization would relegate religion to a purely spiritual domain. Few, therefore, contemplated religion’s ability to influence the ways in which societies evolve. The advent of theocrats in Iran, the mujahideen in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and Islamists in the skies of New York changed everything. Today social scientists, as well as almost everyone else, have opinions about how religion—in the forms of both spiritual faith and organized religion—shapes domestic and international politics.

By Seth Kaplan  |  July 6, 2009