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Crescent of Crisis

Crescent of Crisis: U.S.-European Strategy for the Greater Middle East

Ivo Daalder
Nicole Gnesotto
Philip Gordon
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 263
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  • Book Info
    Crescent of Crisis
    Book Description:

    The greater Middle East region is beset by a crescent of crises, stretching from Pakistan through Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Together, these five crises pose the most pressing security challenges faced by the United States and its European allies -ranging from terrorism and weapons proliferation to the rise of fundamentalism and the lack of democracy. Until now, Europe and the United States have approached these issues (indeed, the Middle East as a whole) in differing ways, with little effective coordination of policy. In fact, how best to deal with the greater Middle East has emerged as one of the most contentious issues in U.S.-European relations. The need for a common approach to the region is more evident than ever. This book brings together some of Europe and America's leading scholars and practitioners in an effort to develop a common approach to resolving the five major crises in the region. European and American authors provide succinct and fact-filled overviews of the different crises, describe U.S. and European perspectives on the way forward, and suggest ways in which the United States and Europe can better cooperate. In the conclusion, the editors synthesize the different suggestions into a roadmap for U.S.-European cooperation for addressing the challenges of the Greater Middle East in the years ahead. Contributors include Stephen Cohen (Brookings Institution), James Dobbins (RAND), Toby Dodge (University of London), Martin Indyk (Saban Center at Brookings), Kenneth Pollack (Saban Center at Brookings), Jean-Luc Racine (Center for the Study of India and South Asia), Barnett Rubin (New York University), Yezid Sayigh (University of Cambridge), and Bruno Tertrais (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique).

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-1687-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. America, Europe, and the Crescent of Crisis
    (pp. 1-4)
    Ivo Daalder, Nicole Gnesotto and Philip Gordon

    The broader Middle Eastern region has become the central focus of U.S.-European diplomatic relations. Talks between senior European policymakers and U.S. officials are now often dominated by issues that arise from the threats to peace and stability that emanate from this troubled region. The Middle East looms equally large in public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. Many Americans were furious with France and Germany when they refused to support the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Similarly, many Europeans have been very critical of what they perceive to be U.S. bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some Americans are as angry...

  4. IRAN

    • A Common Approach to Iran
      (pp. 7-24)
      Kenneth M. Pollack

      If Iraq was the last great security problem of the twentieth century, Iran appears likely to be the first of the twenty-first century. In Iraq the West confronted an old-fashioned totalitarian dictatorship that employed traditional methods of conventional aggression to threaten Western interests. As a result, whether one agrees with the American decision to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein or not—and whether one believes that the ultimate outcome will be better or worse than what preceded it—the problem of Iraq lent itself to an old-fashioned solution: invade and depose the tyrant. The problem of Iran is far...

    • The Iranian Nuclear Crisis
      (pp. 25-40)
      Bruno Tertrais

      The Iranian nuclear crisis began in earnest in the summer of 2002, when the main Iranian opposition group publicly revealed the existence of two sites under construction: an enrichment facility at Natanz, and a heavy-water production site as well as a reactor at Arak. Until then, international preoccupations about the Iranian program focused on Russian-Iranian cooperation and the Bushehr light-water nuclear reactor complex.¹

      The West is thus now in the third year of this crisis. One of the most vexing issues is that it is still not clear what the Iranians want. It is possible that the Iranian leadership, even...


    • U.S. Strategy for Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
      (pp. 43-54)
      Martin Indyk

      The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of Mahmoud Abbas, the formation of an Israeli coalition government committed to disengage from Gaza, and the sheer exhaustion of Israelis and Palestinians alike have combined to create a new sense of opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Moreover, President George W. Bush in his second term, no longer encumbered by his boycott of Arafat, has made a personal commitment to engage in an effort to seize this moment.

      Still, the road ahead to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be a difficult one.

      —The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians that has...

    • Putting the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Back on Track
      (pp. 55-74)
      Yezid Sayigh

      An opportunity, unexpected and ephemeral, is taking shape to establish a credible Palestinian state within the next few years that enjoys geographical continuity and equitable borders—including a viable capital in East Jerusalem—as well as meaningful sovereign control over its population, territory, natural resources, and, no less important, land, sea, and air borders with the outside world. Such a state would be stable, not least because it could afford politically and territorially to absorb returning Palestinian refugees and so would contribute materially to ensuring that Israel, too, enjoys a peaceful and secure existence.

      Under such conditions the Saudi initiative...


    • Different Roads to Damascus
      (pp. 77-93)
      Flynt Leverett

      Coordination between the United States and Europe over implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559—especially after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri in February 2005—appeared to many observers to exemplify the possibilities for restoring some measure of transatlantic cooperation regarding the Middle East. This coordination was critical to eliciting concerted international pressure on Syria, in the aftermath of the assassination, to withdraw its military and intelligence presence in Lebanon. Nevertheless, looking beyond the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, formally completed in April 2005, there is potential for divergence between American and European policies...

    • Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in Lebanon and Syria
      (pp. 94-110)
      Eva Goes and Reinoud Leenders

      Infuriated by decades of repression and encouraged by international pressures, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese protestors marched on March 14, 2005, in perhaps the biggest demonstration in Lebanon’s history. Loud calls for the withdrawal of Syrian troops and intelligence agents were accompanied by equally pressing demands for dismantling the state’s apparatus of repression and putting in its stead a solid democratic framework allowing for genuine public participation and political representation. The rapid events that have occurred since—the pullout of Syrian troops, elections in Lebanon, and increasing popular demands for political change in Syria—appear to underline that concerted action...

  7. IRAQ

    • Iraq: From Democratization to Governance
      (pp. 113-122)
      James Dobbins

      American policies on Iraq have undergone important modifications over the more than two years since the U.S. intervention there in March 2003. Slow to admit mistakes, the U.S. administration has been quicker to recognize and adjust for them.

      By the fall of 2003 the administration saw that it had hit the limits of unilateralism. American power alone was not going to get it where it wanted to go in Iraq or, for that matter, in Afghanistan. In the latter case, the United States began to press NATO to take over the international peacekeeping mission in Kabul, sought to extend that...

    • Trying to Reconstitute the Iraqi State: What Role for Europe?
      (pp. 123-142)
      Toby Dodge

      Iraq is a failed state, and chances are that it will remain so unless there is a radical change in policy toward state building and a marked increase in multilateral input.¹ Despite this fact, the Iraqi people and the world beyond have been told that one event after another signaled the beginning of the end of the violence that has come to dominate their lives. The toppling of Saddam’s statue in Firdous Square on April 9, 2003, the creation of the Iraqi Governing Council in July, the capture of Saddam in December 2003, and the handing over of sovereignty to...


    • Proposals for Improved Stability in Afghanistan
      (pp. 145-162)
      Barnett R. Rubin

      Since the overthrow of the Taliban by the U.S.-led coalition and the inauguration of the interim authority based on the UN-mediated Bonn Agreement of December 5, 2001, Afghanistan has progressed toward stability.¹ Not all trends are positive, however. In the first half of 2005, violence by Taliban, al Qaeda, and criminal elements increased, including kidnappings and bombings aimed at expatriates and attacks on Afghan police and coalition forces. Afghanistan has become more dependent on narcotics production and trafficking than any other country in the world, and initial counternarcotics efforts were misdirected and ineffective. Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most...

    • Afghanistan: Elements of a Transatlantic Nation-Building Strategy
      (pp. 163-182)
      Michael Schmunk

      It is nearly year five of the joint international stabilization and reconstruction effort at the Hindukush, which started in January 2002, after the U.S.-led military intervention Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Since then, the Afghan people and the international community have muddled through a painful nationbuilding process, characterized nevertheless more by progress than by failure and setback. Taking into account its very unfavorable situation to begin with—Afghanistan was left in shambles and ashes, both physically and economically, by more than twenty-three years of foreign occupation, war, civil war, and the Taliban reign of terror,...


    • Pakistan and the Crescent of Crisis
      (pp. 185-197)
      Stephen P. Cohen

      Situated at the intersection of many American and European concerns, Pakistan has been linked to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and Islamic extremism; it is politically unstable and economically problematic and has recently undergone a series of crises with India, some with nuclear overtones. Pakistan is also located at a geostrategic crossroads, bound to India by geography, culture, and chronic enmity; a selfproclaimed Islamic state, it has many ties to the Muslim and Arab worlds, long-standing ambitions in Afghanistan and West and Central Asia, and enduring military and strategic ties to China and North Korea.

      The Bush administration announced a comprehensive “South...

    • The Case of Pakistan: A Strategy for Europe
      (pp. 198-218)
      Jean-Luc Racine

      The European strategy on Pakistan, just as the American one, has been redefined since September 11, 2001, when it appeared that the military ruler of the country, General Pervez Musharraf, was reversing the established policy supporting the Taliban and was ready to join the announced “war against terror.” On the whole, Europe and the United States have not diverged significantly on the Pakistan issue, in its internal or external dimensions, during the dangerous developments of the 1990s, in time of high tension with India or, more recently, when a new and more moderate discourse was articulated in Islamabad. On India-Pakistan...

    • A Common U.S.-European Strategy on the Crescent of Crisis
      (pp. 219-242)
      Ivo Daalder, Nicole Gnesotto and Philip Gordon

      Can America and Europe forge a common strategy on the crescent of crisis? It would be easy to conclude that they cannot. As the debate over the Iraq war demonstrated, Americans and Europeans have significantly different views on the use of force, legitimacy, and the right way to solve problems in the Middle East. The American emphasis on the importance of a rapid transformation of the region as the key to security contrasts starkly with the European preference for more gradual change and an immediate focus on conflict resolution. It is easy to see how these differences might again play...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 243-246)
  11. Index
    (pp. 247-263)