Revolution in the Middle East: Heritage Recommendations

Report Middle East

Revolution in the Middle East: Heritage Recommendations

March 15, 2011 4 min read Download Report
The Heritage Foundation

Turmoil is spreading across the Middle East, and the consequences of these dramatic changes will be far-reaching. The United States has considerable interests in the region, but the U.S. government needs to both exercise leadership now and develop a long-term plan for protecting the nation’s interests and supporting the cause of liberty. Heritage research provides a guide for action.

A No-Fly Zone over Libya? Take a Deep Breath First
March 11, 2011
Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D.

There is no doubt that the removal of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi and the emergence of a pro-Western regime would be good for America and the world. But frankly, the U.S. has no idea at this point that any action it takes will lead to that outcome. It is too early to jump to military conclusions while events on the ground are so uncertain and fluid. If, after the picture becomes clearer and specific actions—including military ones—will lead to that outcome, then the U.S. should consider them.

Time for a Long-Term Strategy for Libya
March 4, 2011
James Phillips and James Carafano, Ph.D.

The U.S. should avoid a direct military intervention on the ground in Libya that would vindicate Islamist propaganda claims that the U.S. is “at war with Islam” or bring other unintended consequences. On the other hand, U.S. military power can be the great enabler to help U.S. friends and allies achieve joint aspirations for a region that is free, prosperous, and at peace.

To employ U.S. military power in an effective manner that supports U.S. interests, the White House needs to craft a strategic plan that engages with the Libyan opposition, musters international support, and maintains a robust U.S. military.

Help Libyans Liberate Themselves from Qadhafi
February 25, 2011
James Phillips

The U.S. has a humanitarian interest in easing the suffering of Libyans and halting the regime’s criminal atrocities and a strategic interest in removing the anti-Western dictatorship that has unleashed terrorism at home and abroad. The Obama Administration, which has muted its voice and equivocated on Libya, should take stronger action to achieve these goals.

Refocus on Iran: More Sanctions Needed
February 14, 2011
James Phillips

Although the Obama Administration missed the opportunity to clearly state its support for Iran’s opposition after it was galvanized by the stolen election of June 2009, it should now give at least as much rhetorical support to Iran’s struggle for freedom as it did to Egypt’s. Tehran’s systematic repression of the political freedom and human rights of Iranian citizens deserves condemnation backed by international sanctions as much as Iran’s nuclear defiance and support for terrorism.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Lurks as a Long-Term Threat to Freedom
February 8, 2011
James Phillips

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood pursues a radical long-term Islamist agenda while masking its hostility to freedom and genuine democracy with self-serving tactical rhetorical moderation. The Obama Administration should patiently seek to advance freedom and stability in Egypt through a transition to a more representative government that gives the Muslim Brotherhood the smallest possible opportunity to hijack the reform process.

Five Steps to Meeting the Crisis in Egypt and the Middle East
February 3, 2011
James Phillips and James Carafano, Ph.D.

By exercising energetic leadership now and continuing to engage in the right way in the months ahead, the President can both protect U.S. interests and promote opportunities for liberty, security, and economic opportunity in the Middle East. These actions would be far more likely to make a positive contribution than trying to appear relevant to the struggle for power in Cairo.

Top Five Lessons from the Fight for Freedom in Egypt
February 1, 2011
James Carafano, Ph.D., Anthony Kim, Brett Schaefer, Helle Dale, James Phillips, and Mackenzie Eaglen

It is far too soon to tell whether the upheaval in Egypt will deliver the economic and political freedoms that the people demand. History is littered with radical transformations that have taken societies in radically different directions.

Yet even the early stages of the struggles in Egypt highlight foreign policy truisms that Congress and the Administration would do well to remember.

Bringing Freedom and Stability to Egypt
January 28, 2011
James Phillips

Egypt has long been a friend of the U.S., and America has long been a champion for the cause of liberty and economic freedoms in the Middle East. During these troubling and difficult times, the U.S. has a special obligation to assist the Egyptian people in their time of need. To do so, Washington should make future aid to whatever government emerges from this crisis contingent on that government’s respect for the freedom of Egypt’s long-suffering citizens.

Prudent Policy in a Volatile Region

As the people of the Middle East continue to fight for their freedom, the U.S. should protect its interests in the region and work to facilitate the shift to democracy. At the same time, though, it should resist pressure to “just do something” and should avoid hasty and ill-advised decisions. More so than in other parts of the world, the Middle East is particularly sensitive to bad policy decisions that could reverberate around the globe.


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