Looked at from a broader perspective, the Middle East region is faced with a myriad of challenges that not only complicates the search for policy solutions but in fact makes the resolution of the present and immediate challenges highly unlikely in the short term.
This analysis sheds light on the present situation in Syria and points out to the current conditions which characterize the Syrian conflict. With every passing day, more innocent lives are lost and more needless destruction is inflicted on the country's infrastructure. The paper discusses also the Munich Security Conference that held recently through which it appeared that the international community paralyzed about finding solution to the undergoing conflict. The paper emphasized on the regime gradual degradation as it is losing control over the country which will lead eventually to a final collapse. Moreover, The Assad regime has lost prestige, credibility, and legitimacy, besides losing power and control on the ground. Furthermore, the continuation of the present impasse for a prolonged period will not only be very costly for the Syrian people but also have devastating regional consequences where a widespread spillover cannot be ruled out.
The removal of the Kingdom’s Interior Minister after only five months in office is a point of concern for many observers of the Saudi political scene. The sudden move surprised many Saudis both at home and abroad who see it as part of a worrying phenomenon among the Kingdom’s top leadership during the past two years that has already claimed the positions of a number of senior members of the ruling house of al-Saud. Whatever the motivations or reasons and avoiding any speculation, the sudden dismissal of a senior Prince from the key post of Interior Minister cannot be justified by the usual official justifications of ill health, private circumstance, or by an expressed personal desire for retirement. None of these frequently used justifications apply to this case as there was no official explanation. The analysis looks at the recent leadership changes that have taken place at the Saudi Ministry of Interior and also addresses Saudi succession issues.
China’s high growth has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in its integration with the world economy through trade, investment and financial flows. There are three aspects to this integration: an increased presence of China in global markets, especially those of developed countries like the US; a sharp increase in China’s absorption of energy resources, mineral raw materials, intermediates and agricultural products from the world economy, especially from developing countries such as those in Africa; and a two-way flow of investment and capital into and out of China, with outward investment directed in substantial measure to developing countries. This process of integration implies that any slowdown of China’s scorching pace of economic growth would have significant implications for the global economy, with differential effects on different countries. Even though it would be premature to predict a slowdown in Chinese growth, this paper examines the factors that could potentially trigger such an outcome. Taking into account the implications of alternative routes through which such an outcome may materialize, it also assesses the effects that a slowing of growth could have on countries differentially placed with respect to their integration with China.
The United States and its Western allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 to deter the Soviet Union, which threatened to expand the communist sphere of influence from Eastern to Western Europe after the end of the Second World War in 1945. In 2002, during the Prague Summit, seven Baltic & East European states joined the Alliance and increased the member states to twenty-six.. After the events of September 11,2001, the Alliance established the NATO/Russia Council in mid 2002 to face the challenges posed by terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the Gulf Region, the Alliance is still negotiating with all the concerned parties to arrive at the best possible form of cooperation. Some of the GCC States have recently participated in the Broader Middle East Conference, held in Rome, March 2005.
This paper explores the issues that will surround the creation of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Gulf and the Middle East. It starts from the premise that such a Zone will not be created unless a regional cooperation and security system is also created within the region. The paper thus considers that issue as well, and the interplay between the two. The paper argues that WMD programs exist in several countries in the region to satisfy multiple security concerns. Any WMDFZ, and associated regional cooperation and security system will thus have to be capable of addressing this complex and multifaceted security situation. The paper then considers other regional WMDFZs, with a particular emphasis on situations where countries with WMD programs have renounced or reversed these programs, and considers what lessons might exist for the Middle East. Finally, the paper concludes with some suggestions and proposals as to how the process might begin of creating both a regional cooperation and security system and a WMDFZ in the Middle East.
The 2010 GCC currency union is fast approaching and far from being simply a symbol of GCC political union it will have serious economic repercussions for the region. The currency union has the potential to increase intra-GCC trade substantially, boost the region's financial markets and attract significant investment flows. However, establishing a successful currency union requires a number of necessary preparations that must be taken sooner rather than later. This paper discusses the preparations that must be made by the GCC states in order to make the smooth transition to currency union. It also examines the post-currency union policy choices that will have a significant bearing on the future prospects and strength of the single currency.
The Arab nation is one with a long history, its roots stretching back to the birth of human civilization. Over the centuries, it has offered a great and remarkable contribution to the advancement of the world’s knowledge and wisdom. In recent years however, Arabs and the Middle East have become more associated with bloody violence and political instability. The region continues to be a forum for such conflict, defying the boundless efforts to stabilize it. The deployment of international peace-keeping forces has been a frequent feature of such efforts in the region, providing protection and assistance for civilian populations. The aim of this paper is to generate a discourse (both internationally and within the Arab world) on finding an alternative to the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East. It discusses the possibility of establishing an Arab Peace Force, capable of shouldering the responsibility for peace-keeping efforts and contributing to peace and stability in this volatile region.
‘We need to act before the time is over ' a sentence that has been repeated over and over in Washington and Tel Aviv and in certain European capitals during the last few months. The reference was made to what was considered an urgent and pressing 'necessity' to halt any further progress in the development of the Iranian nuclear program that aimed to produce an atomic bomb, presumably with in a short period of time. This paper attempts to examine and predict the Gulf States' reactions towards two possible scenarios that could have a great impact on the regional security and stability: an external military action against Iran, or, Iran's possession of an atomic bomb.
This paper deals with what promises to become a unique case in contemporary world history: The legal process of a head of state, captured by an invading foreign force and declared as a POW. The possible legal, and perhaps some of the not so legal destinies of the deposed Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein are laid out in this paper under close scrutiny. The paper examines the reasons behind the judicial confusion surrounding his capture and discusses the legal and the practical options available to his prosecutors.
If the means of transporting oil across the world are the object of threats brandished by radical opposition movements, within both Leftist and Islamist circles, as a short-term tactic and a long-term strategy, the case of Iraq no doubt stands out saliently in this respect. As a matter of fact, oil holds a special standing within the bundle of economic resources of the country. That is probably why resistant guerrillas fighting the US-UK occupation of Iraq target oil pipelines. As the domestic political scene in Iraq grows ever more complicated, oil is expectedly going to become a point of contention among the country’s main political groups, namely the Kurds in the north, the Shi’a in the south and the Sunnis in the center. The geographical character of the country, too, renders the protection of pipelines an extremely difficult, if not impossible, task.
This paper sheds light on how militant groups in Iraq and some other Arab countries are increasingly resorting to political kidnapping as a weapon to embarrass local authorities, pressure foreign governments, exhort funds, and, last but not least, win cheap publicity.
The attacks perpetrated by the terrorists organizations in Saudi Arabia during the period of Rabee Al Awal and Ramadan 1424H (May to November 2003) targeted against various housing and residential complexes in Riyadh seem to have created a radical turning point either in the strategies and operational tactics of those gangs or in the interception techniques and measures adopted by the Saudi government in combating such a phenomenon. In addition, the attacks themselves have created disparate peculiarities in terms of the stances and attitudes espoused by the Saudi community largely towards the rapidly changing nature of such developments as witnessed recently. Apart from the Juhaiman Al Otaibi’s movement of 1979, which was characterized with confidential objectives and ends, Saudi Arabia sustained a series of terrorist attacks. The first incident which took place in Al Olya district in Riyadh in Jamada Al Thani 1416 H. (November 1995), was perpetrated by an outfit whose operations were carried out under local terrorist organizations called Al Mouthem and Al Hajri. Though the latter has had an inherent sort of dogmatic loyalty to the commander of Al Qaeda, however, no probative evidence had been adduced as to their involvement or connection with any widely established foreign organization. The second attack took place in Al Khobar in Shaaban 1416 H. (June 1996) which was committed, according to the U.S allegations, by the internal Shia religious groups who inspire, support and outsource from abroad to fulfill this mission. This incident was eventually followed by the operations of Rabee Al Awal 1424 H. (May 2003) and other subsequent attacks, which, in their entirety, marked a new and extremely serious era of terrorism in Saudi Arabia.
Almost all political analysts agree that the GCC States have been the most politically and economically affected by the policies adopted by the former regime of Saddam Hussein. Likewise, the GCC States are expected to bear the brunt of ongoing developments in post-Saddam Iraq and whatever ramifications they might yield in the future. In case current conditions in Iraq continue for a relatively longer time, security and stability across the Gulf region will no doubt be seriously threatened. In view of the fact that security and stability of the Gulf region are tightly associated with the future of the state and society in Iraq, particularly since regional as well as international developments related to the Iraqi file are growing increasingly more complicated, it is imperative that the GCC States take a collective and well-planned initiative in a bid to assume an effective role in shaping the future of Iraq, if at least economically. The GCC States need to embrace a sustainable economic strategy towards post-war Iraq by contributing to the reconstruction and development efforts being or to be deployed in the country. In this way, the GCC States would help build a stable Iraq on the one hand and secure economic benefits for their own countries on the other. In fact, the GCC States do possess special economic attributes that would make it relatively easy for them to contribute to the economic reconstruction of post-Saddam Iraq. However, the reality remains that such a goal calls for certain conditions, institutions and mechanisms to come into being. Bearing in mind that politics, security and economy are the three pillars of the one and the same triangle, as amply demonstrated by the Third Gulf War, this paper will set forth the major features and aspects of a feasible political and economic strategy the GCC States could enact vis-à-vis post-Saddam Iraq.
Saudi Arabia today stands at a critical crossroad. The political leadership in Riyadh is acutely aware that serious and sustainable reform is a societal 'must' and should be implemented sooner rather than later, so goes the central thesis of this paper prepared by the Gulf Research Center (GRC), out of the Center's deep conviction that reform must be anchored within a comprehensive and well-planned strategy. Starting off on a highly subtle note the paper begins by examining the concern of the Saudi authorities, eminently expressed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, in His 17 May 2003 address to the Saudi Consultative Council, and concretely reinforced by the move decided by Crown Prince Abdulla bin Abdulaziz to set up executive committees tasked with the mission to implement the reforms mentioned in the King’s speech. The six sections into which the paper is divided construct an intelligible and well-rounded agenda for reform through a rigorous deconstruction of the multiple determinants and factors that prompt reform, may hamper it or help it. Some of these determinants reside within Saudi Arabia itself, others in its proximate geographical neighborhood, while a few others flow from the wider international scene. The main argument that informs the paper branches off logically and smoothly into a focused discussion of the full gamut of sectorial reform as it runs through social, political, economic and educational fields. Every issue is systematically and comprehensively analyzed on its own, as the paper looks into its diverse constituent elements and examines the way the issue might prove to be a value-adding asset for reform or, conversely, a hindering liability. National challenges, such as terrorism, religious opposition, budget deficit, population growth, etc, are addressed at reasonable length. Regional and international challenges take up a good portion of the whole discussion. U.S. military presence in the Gulf, the need for the Gulf Cooperation Council to re-vamp its policies for better regional integration, are two of the main regional challenges the Kingdom has to wrestle with.