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Middle East

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  • Issue Brief posted November 22, 2014 by James Phillips Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: U.S. Must Avoid a Rush to Failure

    The November 24 deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran is fast approaching, with no sign that a deal that would advance U.S. national security interests can be reached by that date. After almost a year of negotiations, Iran has won international acceptance of its once-covert uranium enrichment facilities and obtained substantial sanctions relief in exchange for…

  • Special Report posted November 17, 2014 by Lisa Curtis, Charlotte Florance, Walter Lohman, James Phillips Pursuing a Freedom Agenda Amidst Rising Global Islamism

    Contributors Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. Charlotte Florance is a Research Associate for Economic Freedom in Africa and the Middle East in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National…

  • Issue Brief posted October 6, 2014 by James Phillips The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security

    The air strikes against Islamist terrorist groups in Syria that the U.S. launched on September 22 included strikes against a group that few Americans had heard about before: the Khorasan group. Although sometimes mistakenly characterized as a new terrorist group, Khorasan is a new tentacle of an old organization—the al-Qaeda high-command or core group. The rise of the…

  • Commentary posted September 17, 2014 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. Isolating the Islamic State

    It’s good to see President Obama move beyond the “we don’t have a strategy yet” phase in the fight against the Islamic State. On the plus side, he seems to have a good grasp of just how serious a threat the Islamic State poses to the United States and much of the free world. The fact that an attack on the U.S. homeland won’t occur tomorrow is no excuse for inaction…

  • Commentary posted September 16, 2014 by Peter Brookes President Obama too fond of fairy tales

    President Obama would rather have been anywhere else on Earth but at that White House podium Wednesday night unveiling a new counterterror strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria. Why? The speech — given in the shadow of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — cut sharply counter to the “wishful-thinking” narrative…

  • Commentary posted September 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's ISIS strategy: Why Bush's 2007 warning on Iraq matters

    Replaying the video of President Bush's 2007 warning against a premature withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq is all the rage. In the last 24 hours, millions of Americans have “gone to the tape."  But, unlike a referee’s decision in an NFL game, President Obama’s blown call on this question can't be reversed. There are no do-overs in war.   Still, Mr. Bush’s comments are…

  • Commentary posted September 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why Obama's ISIS Speech Is No Strategy: 5 Concerns Going Forward

    If making a speech served as strategy, then FDR would have checked that block by declaring Pearl Harbor a day of infamy. But not so. Long before the Japanese bombers and Zeros hit Pearl, Roosevelt’s team had put in months of hard thinking, planning and decision-making to prepare for the nightmare scenario of a two-front conflict with Germany and Japan. And after the…

  • Commentary posted September 10, 2014 by James Phillips The message ISIS wants to send to America, the world

    The grisly propaganda videos released by Islamist terrorists of the executions of innocent American hostages are coldly calculated to intimidate the terrorist group’s enemies, inspire its followers and incite further attacks against the United States and our allies. The Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS) considers the videos a…

  • Commentary posted September 9, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why Obama Needs a Strategy for Saving Jordan

    President Obama’s recent press conference sparked a firestorm of concern over the state of his strategy for dealing with ISIS. But ISIS isn’t the only Middle East challenge deserving some well-thought-out “strategery.” The administration also needs to craft a solid, sustainable plan for supporting the people of Jordan. On the surface, the fate of Jordan may not appear to…

  • Commentary posted September 8, 2014 by Peter Brookes Wolves at NATO’s door

    Today’s NATO Summit in Wales, where the leaders of 28 European and North American countries, including the United States, will meet to address pressing security challenges, is arguably the most important in a generation. Why? The wolves are at the door. The NATO allies must find a way to deal successfully with both Russia’s muscle-flexing in Eastern Europe and the…

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  • Backgrounder posted December 20, 2012 by James Phillips The Arab Spring Descends into Islamist Winter: Implications for U.S. Policy

    Abstract: In 2011 and 2012, a wave of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East shook the region’s autocratic regimes, prompting euphoric reactions in the West about an “Arab Spring” and a supposed new age of democracy. While the overthrow of authoritarian regimes can give democracy a chance to bloom, it has also created opportunities for a wide spectrum of…

  • Backgrounder posted July 13, 1977 by Samuel T. Conflict in the Horn of Africa

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 24 July 13, 1977 CONFLICT IN THE HORN OF AFRICA The Horn of Africa comprises those nations on the north eastern coast of the African continent that border the R ed Sea and its outlet into the Gulf of Aden (and, thence, to the Indian Ocean The most important nations here are Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and most recently, the…

  • WebMemo posted March 15, 2011 by The Heritage Foundation Revolution in the Middle East: Heritage Recommendations

    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…

  • Backgrounder posted January 9, 1980 by James Phillips The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

    (Archived document, may contain errors) THE SOVIET INVAS./ON OF AFGHANISTAN INTRODUCTION On December 27, 1979, under cover cf an ongoing Soviet military buildup, heavily-armed elements of a Soviet airborne brigade were airlifted into Kabul, Afghanistan, to violently overthrow the regime of President Hafizollah Amin. Within hours after the beginning of…

  • WebMemo posted April 18, 2003 by Baker Spring Operation Iraqi Freedom: Military Objectives Met

    The falling statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad is an evocative image.  It signals that the U.S.-led military action against the Hussein regime has been a success.  This signal of success is backed by tangible evidence of a successful military operation in more substantive terms.  This evidence is found in a review of the mission objectives for Operation Iraqi…

  • Backgrounder posted December 13, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer What Palestinian Membership Means for UNESCO and the Rest of the United Nations

    Abstract: In September 2011, the Palestinian Authority requested membership for “Palestine” in the United Nations—violating its commitment under the 1993 Oslo Accords to seek statehood through negotiations with Israel. Prospective U.N. member states must first receive a recommendation from the Security Council. The Obama Administration has vowed to veto, if necessary,…

  • Special Report posted August 24, 2011 by The Heritage Foundation Counterterrorism Task Force A Counterterrorism Strategy for the "Next Wave"

    Abstract: In June 2011, President Barack Obama released a new National Strategy for Counterterrorism. This document profoundly misreads the nature of the global transnational threat. Following this strategy for a few years will result in a resurgent threat as dangerous as that shortly after 9/11. Dealing with the “next wave” of transnational terrorism will require a…

  • Executive Memorandum posted August 30, 1990 by Jay P.; Johns Bush To Gorbachev: Choose Between Saddam and the West

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 00/90 BUSH TO GORBACHEV: CHOOSE B TWEEN SADDAM AND THE WEST Unlike most international conflicts the United States has faced since World War II, Saddam Hussein' s invasion of Kuwait is not mainly an East-West confrontation. Moscow and Washington are not squared off eyebau-to-eyeball as they were in the 1973…

  • Backgrounder posted February 8, 1991 by Baker Spring Congress Bickered Over Weapons Now Proving Themselves in the Gulf

    INTRODUCTION The early days of the war against Iraq confirm that high- technology weapons are America's trump card against Saddam Hussein. America's top-of-the-line warplanes and missiles have destroyed much of Iraq's air, industrial, nuclear, and chemical military power, and they have given allied forces air supremacy over the 700-strong Iraqi air force. Now…

  • Backgrounder posted June 25, 1993 by Thomas P. Beyond Dependence and Poverty: Rethinking U.S. Aid to Africa

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 947 June25'1993 INTRODUCTION The Clinton Administr ation wants to use American foreign aid to spur economic growth in Africa. Yet the over $1 billion of aid which Africa receives each year has not done much to ad vance the continent's long-term economic development. The average African has received four t i mes as…

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  • Issue Brief posted November 22, 2014 by James Phillips Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: U.S. Must Avoid a Rush to Failure

    The November 24 deadline for a nuclear agreement with Iran is fast approaching, with no sign that a deal that would advance U.S. national security interests can be reached by that date. After almost a year of negotiations, Iran has won international acceptance of its once-covert uranium enrichment facilities and obtained substantial sanctions relief in exchange for…

  • Special Report posted November 17, 2014 by Lisa Curtis, Charlotte Florance, Walter Lohman, James Phillips Pursuing a Freedom Agenda Amidst Rising Global Islamism

    Contributors Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. Charlotte Florance is a Research Associate for Economic Freedom in Africa and the Middle East in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National…

  • Issue Brief posted October 6, 2014 by James Phillips The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security

    The air strikes against Islamist terrorist groups in Syria that the U.S. launched on September 22 included strikes against a group that few Americans had heard about before: the Khorasan group. Although sometimes mistakenly characterized as a new terrorist group, Khorasan is a new tentacle of an old organization—the al-Qaeda high-command or core group. The rise of the…

  • Issue Brief posted June 3, 2014 by James Phillips To Defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Stronger Counterterrorism Cooperation Needed

    Iraq faces major political, national security, and economic challenges that should be addressed by the new government that emerges from the April 30 elections. Last year, more than 7,800 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces were killed in political violence and terrorist attacks, making it Iraq’s deadliest year since 2008. The Islamic State of Iraq and…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James Phillips Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response

    President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…

  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014 by James Phillips Obama’s Saudi Summit: Focus on Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Terrorism

    President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday amid mounting reports of acute Saudi disillusionment with Obama’s foreign policy. The Saudis, like other Middle Eastern allies including Israel, are concerned that Obama cannot be trusted to safeguard their national interests in the face of Iran’s military buildup, the political turbulence of the…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Anthony B. Kim, Charlotte Florance, James Phillips U.S. Should Support Tunisia’s Democratic Progress with Concrete Action

    On January 26, three years after the beginning of Tunisians’ uprising for greater freedom, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly peacefully and decisively ratified a model constitution that lays the foundation for a functioning democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Tunisia’s remarkable political turnaround, epitomized by the near unanimous ratification of the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 14, 2014 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James Phillips Top Five Foreign Policy Priorities for 2014

    The United States faces mounting challenges abroad in 2014. With weak leadership from the White House over the past five years, the U.S. has been confronted and all too often sidelined by America’s adversaries and strategic competitors. The Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” strategy has been a spectacular failure that has led to confusion among traditional U.S.…

  • Issue Brief posted November 5, 2013 by James Phillips Greater Iraqi–American Cooperation Needed on Counterterrorism, Syria, and Iran

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to Washington last week in search of greater U.S. security assistance in battling the al-Qaeda-led insurgency that increasingly threatens Iraq's internal security as well as regional stability in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The United States shares Maliki's goal of defeating al-Qaeda's franchise in Iraq, which has expanded into…

  • Issue Brief posted October 18, 2013 by James Phillips U.S. Should Maximize Pressure on Iran at Nuclear Talks

    The Geneva talks have once again raised hopes for a breakthrough in the long-stalled nuclear negotiations with Iran. Western diplomats have expressed “cautious optimism” about the prospects for success after two days of talks. But Iran has not budged from its defiance of key elements of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions; it has merely adopted a softer and more…

Find more work on Middle East
Find more work on Middle East