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MARINA OTTAWAY, NAThAN J. BROWN, AMR hAMZAWY, KARIM SAdJAdpOuR, pAuL SALEM

the new middle east

The New Middle East

Marina Ottaway Nathan J. Brown Amr Hamzawy Karim Sadjadpour Paul Salem

© 2008 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the Carnegie Endowment. The Carnegie Endowment normally does not take institutional positions on public policy issues; the views represented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Endowment, its staff, or its trustees. For electronic copies of this report, visit www.CarnegieEndowment.org/pubs. Limited print copies are also available. To request a copy, send an e-mail to pubs@CarnegieEndowment.org.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202-483-7600 Fax: 202-483-1840 www.CarnegieEndowment.org

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Contents

Acknowledgments A Changed Region The Realities of the New Middle East The Iran–Iraq Cluster The Syria–Lebanon Cluster The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict The Problem of Nuclear Proliferation The Failure of the Freedom Agenda Sectarian Conflict Dealing With the New Middle East Dealing With Iran and the Nuclear Issue Finding a Way Forward for Iraq and a Way Out for the United States Israel and Palestine Balance of Power The Issue of Democracy Notes About the Authors Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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Acknowledgments

T

he authors would like to thank Jessica Mathews, George Perkovich, Michele Dunne, and Thomas Carothers for their comments and suggestions. Andrew Ng and Mohammed Herzallah helped with the research, and Mohammed further contributed by undertaking the thankless task of integrating all of the comments and edits into a coherent whole.

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A Changed Region

A

fter September 11, 2001, the Bush administration launched an ambitious policy to forge a new Middle East, with intervention in Iraq as the driver of the transformation. “The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution,” declared President Bush on November 7, 2003. In speech after speech, Bush administration officials made it abundantly clear that they would not pursue a policy directed at managing and containing existing crises, intending instead to leapfrog over them by creating a new region of democracy and peace in which old disputes would become irrelevant. The idea was summarized in a statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the war between Lebanon and Israel in the summer of 2006. Pushing Israel to accept a cease-fire, she argued, would not help, because it would simply re-establish the status quo ante, not help create a new Middle East. The new Middle East was to be a region of mostly democratic countries allied with the United States. Regimes that did not cooperate would be subjected to a combination of sanctions and support for democratic movements, such as the so-called Cedar Revolution of 2005 in Lebanon that forced Syrian troops out of the country. In extreme cases, they might be forced from power. The Middle East of 2008 is indeed a vastly different region from that of 2001, and the war in Iraq has been the most important driver of this transformation, although by no means the only one. The outcome, however, is not what the Bush administration envisaged. On the contrary, the situation has become worse in many countries. Despite the presence of over 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2007 and an improvement in the security situation, Iraq remains an unstable, violent, and deeply divided country, indeed a failed state. Progress is being undermined by the refusal of Iraqi political factions to engage in a serious process of reconciliation, as the Bush administration has repeatedly warned. Furthermore,...
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