We know that there’s war, and that there’s peace—but not that there’s something in between. Yet, the terrorists of the Paris attacks have added a new category to our notion of violence. A commentary by the political scientist Herfried Münkler.
Those convinced that Israel should not have been created in the first place, or that it no longer has the right to exist, are entitled to their opinion. But they have obligations, too. They must come clean about seeking a post-Israel endgame. An essay by Prof. Dan Rabinowitz
Never before has the US-Israel relationship been as fraught as it is today. The Profound differences in strategic outlook vis-à-vis Iran, the Palestinian issue, and the toxic interpersonal relations between the US President and the Israeli Prime Minister all contribute to a tense political atmosphere. Will the bilateral relationship recover?
Support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel is growing, generating great angst amongst Israel supporters – including pro-peace progressives – in the United States and elsewhere in the world. How can pro-peace progressives respond to the BDS movement?
The relationship between the Israeli and American public appears strong. But the romantic vision of Israel is descending from its perch above US politics, and Americans increasingly examine Israel through the prism of their broader political views.
The battle over the Iran deal has shattered AIPAC’s myth of invincibility, as well as the notion that supporting Israel requires the American-Jewish community to unquestioningly support the Israeli government. The way is now open to a more nuanced concept of what support of Israel can and should entail.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict arena is once again beset with violence. The parties have retrenched to recriminations and hardline positions, and once again the US faces the question of how to get things back on track. Is US engagement really worthwhile?
Canada’s Conservative government often boasts having one of the strictest national control regimes for military exports in the world. A recent major arms deal with Saudi Arabia - the biggest in Canada's history- tells a different story. If a country like Saudi Arabia is classified as a suitable recipient for arms exports, what country, if any, would be classified as unsuitable?
Triggered by Russia’s push to turn the military tide in Syria in Assad’s favor, Washington D.C. is currently seeing renewed debates about the need to revise the administration’s Syria policy. Prominent voices, such as former White House Coordinator for the Middle East Phil Gordon, have advocated for striving for a negotiated interim solution in Syria that defers the question of Assad’s fate. Bente Scheller, hbs office director in Lebanon, addresses some of the underlying myths and arguments shaping the current debate.
Canada’s national interest is often said to center around one single objective, namely a close but independent relationship with the United States. In the 90s and early 2000s, Canada's Liberal government begged to differ. During its international heyday, Canada became the patron of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Whatever happened to Canada's commitment to the R2P under Harper's Conservative government?
Turkey is currently undergoing a period of domestic turmoil while facing various external challenges along its borders. We spoke with Kristian Brakel, office director of hbs Turkey, about the recently announced snap elections, chances for reviving the peace process with the Kurdish PKK, and U.S.-Turkish cooperation in fighting the Islamic State (IS).
In the aftermath of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed upon between the P5+1 and Iran on July 14, 2015, a heated debate has erupted in the United States over the pros and cons of the nuclear agreement. Republican-held Congress is set to vote on the deal after returning from recess in September. In order to shed some light on the political battle under way between the opponents and the proponents of the deal, we have spoken to Barbara Slavin, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center in Washington D.C.
Last week, negotiators attempted a final push for a nuclear agreement with Iran. While points of disagreement remained, both sides haven’t walked away from the negotiations. But what happens once both sides agree to a deal? Insight from our partners at The Strategist.
Violent conflicts and security crises around the world have many different causes and effects. The vast majority of them, however, are in one way or another related to energy policy. Yet making this link apparent to policy makers has been challenging. Experts from the foreign policy, security and energy communities have been reluctant to fully grasp the security implications of promising green energy technology and market developments.
While the air force of the U.S.-led coalition played a large role in defeating ISIS in Kobani, it didn’t react to ISIS’s latest attack on rebel-held areas. Many rebel leaders complained publically about the lack of U.S. interest in helping them defeat ISIS in Syria, although it is now apparent that the U.S. administration knows of the cooperation between Assad and ISIS. An analysis by Haid Haid, program manager of our Hbs office in Beirut.
A no-fly zone is no solution for the conflict in Syria, but it would help save the lives of hundreds of people every month - and less people would be forced to seek refuge somewhere else. An analysis by Bente Scheller, director of our hbs office in Lebanon.
A new study released by the Pew Research Center finds that many European publics are highly conflicted over whether to defend a NATO ally against a potential future attack by Russia. In order to gain insight into the way the study was perceived in Washington’s policy circles, we interviewed Julianne Smith, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
Under Germany’s presidency, the G7 convened for the second summit in a row in the absence of Vladimir Putin. His continued suspension led to a vocal reprise of the German public debate on whether excluding Russia from the G7 was justified or counterproductive. As long as Putin does not change course in Ukraine, the G7 are well advised to stick to their suspension of Russia from their ranks.
The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation of North America are pleased to announce the release of a new publication, The Federal Budget and Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016: Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. support for democracy, governance, and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa is needed now more than ever.
The war in Syria has now lasted for more than four years and there is still no end in sight. However, a surge of rebel gains over the course of the last weeks show that Assad’s position is in peril. Is the timing ripe to launch a new, sincere attempt to empower the moderate opposition?
The five-yearly Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is taking place from April 27 to May 22, 2015. In order to increase pressure for nuclear disarmament and to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, nuclear weapons need to be banned under international law.
While an accord between the P5+1 and Iran would first and foremost stop Iran's nuclear program from expanding, it offers the prospect of paving the way for Tehran’s more constructive engagement with regional and international stakeholders. Regional actors should recognize that a deal would give the international community the greatest chance of affecting Iranian foreign-policy decisions in the future.
If domestic politics kills the Iran nuclear program deal, it will be in Washington, not Tehran. The three months between the announcement of the agreement and when the final deal will be made public are a crucial phase that could make or break its success.
At the beginning of March, international experts discussed at the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Berlin Europe’s response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. They all agreed on Europe lacking a long-term strategy.
The world seems to be out of joint. Bloody, intractable wars are being waged in the heart of Africa and the Middle East. Democracy and human rights are challenged all over the world by old and new forms of authoritarian rule. Climate change advances, unhindered by the international community’s cumbersome efforts to stop its progress. Within this mayhem, what are the international norms, political actors and concrete initiatives breathing life into a Green vision for peace, social justice and environmental stability?
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America and its partners organized two panel discussions on strengthening accountability for gender-based crimes in armed conflicts. On this occasion, several international experts and activists discussed the current situation in Colombia, continued barriers to justice and cautious hopes for a more peaceful future.
With Minsk II threatened by its collapse only days after the agreement was reached, stern warnings have been voiced on both sides of the Atlantic on the looming possibility of a transatlantic rift in case the U.S. would decide to arm the Ukrainian government with defensive military equipment. But where do the German and U.S. public stand on this issue?
The recent Charlie Hebdo attacks have raised the level of alert about the security threat foreign fighters might pose to their home countries upon their return from Syria and Iraq. Rudine Emrich, trainee at the Heinrich Boell Foundation, assesses Western governments’ policy responses to violent extremism thus far and highlights what risks and opportunities different policy approaches might harbor.
While foreign policy remains a controversial subject for the German Greens, much has changed since the stormy days when then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stirred the party toward supporting the NATO intervention against Serbia. The changing Green foreign policy debate over the past decade has been closely embedded in the evolution of a broader post-WWII pacifist discourse in Germany. Spelling out the practical meaning of Germany’s growing responsibility in a conflict-ridden world will be a gradual process dependent on a mosaic of debates in the Bundestag, public events, the media, classrooms and market places. The Greens, for their part, have embarked on the journey.
While the whole world has been watching the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, Iran has quietly expanded its de facto influence in the region. Tehran can now claim considerable influence over four capitals in the Middle East, ranging from Baghdad, to Damascus, to Beirut and Sana’a. The breakdown of the old regional order, however, cannot be managed by any one state alone. The only way to put out the fire in the Middle East is to increase regional cooperation.
ISIS has plenty of funding, but it does not live on material sources only: one of their most powerful weapons is to commit the most monstrous atrocities - and make sure everybody sees them. Unable so far to stop them, Arab activists at least try and mock them, and the French foreign minister tries to ban them rhetorically where they want to be least: in the letter soup. Instead of their self-chosen name "Islamic State" he from now on want to refer to them only by the acronym Daesh which they hate and try to ban by all means.
The development of women’s representation in the political and security sector over the last decade can be seen in analogy to the developments of their general opportunities. Heinrich Böll Foundation trainee Timea Kasa gives an overview of women’s development in Afghanistan from the US-invasion in 2001 until today and highlights the current state of women’s rights in the country.
With no end to the bloodshed in Syria in sight, the number of registered Syrian refugees is estimated to surpass 3 million in September 2014. To highlight the challenges Syrian women are facing in exile, the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America will screen the award-winning documentary Not Who We Are in Washington DC, New York City and Boston in cooperation with several partner organizations. Filmmaker Carol Mansour and co-producer Muna Khalidi will join us for the screenings and subsequent panel discussions.
The past four years have swept away the old pillars of U.S. policy toward the Eastern Mediterranean. For the United States and Turkey, the rapidly changing political situation in Syria and Iraq underpins the need for new partners with whom to work toward regional stability and the provision of basic governance. This reality necessitates a re-evaluation of U.S. policy toward Kurdish political groups and a reinvigoration of Turkey’s peace process with its own Kurdish minority.
It seems like a nightmare: The center of the crisis-ridden Middle East is seeing the formation of an Islamic entity that dilutes national borders and could potentially embroil the region in a war between radical militias. However, the West does not fear reorganization as much as it fears the impending disintegration.
With ISIS’ capture of Mosul, a nightmare seems to be becoming a reality: the development of a caliphate state in the heart of the Middle East. Should ISIS be allowed to become much more powerful in Syria, Assad can benefit from the West’s distorted perception of extremism.
The Iran Advisory Group convened its 10th meeting on May 30, 2014 in Beirut, Lebanon. The seminar shed some light on the impact the domestic dynamics under President Rouhani have on Iran’s regional policy agenda.
This paper, by Foreign & Security Policy trainee Fabian Staudenmeyer, identifies US and Russian primary interests regarding the Syrian crisis, and aims to analyze to what extent they have been advanced respectively in the UNSC.
Examining the trajectory of U.S. assistance to the Middle East and North Africa, there is little evidence to suggest that support for democracy, governance, and human rights is now any higher of a priority for the U.S. government than it had been before the uprisings of 2011.
The Ukrainian government should promote an inclusive, participatory and transparent constitutional process. Such a process could help de-escalate the current conflict and build confidence in the central government and its willingness to integrate all constituencies into Ukraine’s political system.
Until now, transitional justice has, in many places, failed to address gender dimensions but increasingly so the issues of inequality, hierarchies and violence patterns. This study details these problems and presents the resulting challenges facing politicians and society.
Afghan women have brought together a very personal account of achievements they have made over the last decade and they have lined out their interest in how the transformation decade beyond 2014 should look like for Afghan women.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seeing escalating public criticism from Iran's conservative factions, once seemingly stifled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Will Rouhani's presidency follow in the footsteps of the Mohammad Khatami era? HBS and the Stimson Center hosted a panel discussion on the shifting internal political dynamics in Iran.
HBS Berlin held an international expert conference on the “Future of Arms Control,” jointly organized with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Studies (IFSH).
Perspectives is a publication series of the Africa offices of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. With this series, we intend to let experts from Africa express their views about current political issues in their region. Perspectives focuses on Southern- , East- and West Africa where the foundation has established offices.
The Stimson Center and the Heinrich Boll Foundation North America held a discussion on positive social and political changes in Iran, the role of Iranian youth in changing the political culture and the implications of a Rouhani presidency on the future of US-Iran relations. Watch the recorded event here
United States has decided to host a nuclear security summit in 2016, which would be the fourth such meeting to strengthen and deepen the "existing nuclear security architecture" before the summit process ends. Although a July 2013 ministerial-level conference on the topic played an important role in strengthening and institutionalizing nuclear security, the White House does not deem progress in this area to be sufficient for the summit process to end.
This report, authored by POMED's Executive Director Stephen McInerey and Advocacy Director Cole Bockenfeld, offers a detailed look at U.S. funding and assistance for democracy and governance in the Middle East, the congressional appropriations process, and implications for U.S. policy in the Middle East during a turbulent time.
Unmanned weapons systems are already changing the nature of warfare. At its 14th Annual Foreign Policy Conference, the Heinrich Böll Foundation sought to address the challenges posed to peace-oriented security policy by these new technologies.Read the Conference Report and related publications here.
Bashar al-Assad’s regime depends on an extensive propaganda machine for its political survival. This has had a tremendous impact on the Syrian conflict, dividing the international community and helping to discredit the opposition. Despite there being hardly a place in Syria in which the regime rules unchallenged, Damascus has largely won the power of information: the ability to define facts in this war.
As a follow-up to the closed workshop "The responsibility to protect in Syria - What can the European Union do?" organized by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union and Dutch peace organization IKV Pax Christi on 5th of December 2012, this joint policy paper focuses on what could be done by the EU in Syria.
Afghanistan represents a very particular case of military intervention-cum-state-building-cum-democratization. Afghan women parliamentarians and civil society actors have positioned themselves against a complete withdrawal of the international community by 2014.
Growing evidence of links between climate change, migration, and conflict raise plenty of reasons for concern and it’s time to start thinking about new answers to these multifaceted crisis scenarios. - New report on Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in South Asia!
The Heinrich Böll Foundation will close its office in Ethiopia at the end of 2012. The current political and legal situation in the country is such that the Foundation is unable to carry out its work in a politically sustainable and practicable manner. We can no longer fulfil our mission of working with local partners to support democracy, gender justice and sustainable development.
In the midst of bombastic rhetoric exchanged among Iran, Israel, and Western states over the nuclear issue, Iranian public opinion is seldom heard on topics such as the nuclear program, international sanctions, and a potential military strike. Where do the Iranian people stand? Watch the discussion of Iranian Public Opinion hosted by HBF and the Stimson Center.
Hardly a year has passed since Sudan split in two. For much of the time, both sides have been embroiled in conflict. The authors lay out new approaches to a new region, providing guidance to understand the complex political realities of the two Sudans, and point out areas where constructive international engagement is possible.
This fifth annual report offers a detailed look at the U.S. administration's approach to funding and providing assistance to support democracy and governance in the Middle East and North Africa. As some countries in the region embark on political transitions and others continue to protest authoritarian rule, it is important to examine changes in U.S. funding for the Middle East and the impact on Washington’s relations with the region.
From mid-2010 to mid-2011 a working group of Israeli and Palestinian security experts developed concrete proposals and practical steps for international security guarantees in the case of a two state solution between Israel and Palestine. This work was undertaken at the invitation of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. The group presents their recommendations at several events in Berlin, Brussels and Washington, DC.
It is almost a year ago that Syrian citizens, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, courageously took to the streets in protest against the decades-long denial of their basic rights by the Assad regime.
The discovery of 72 killed migrants in the northern state of Tamaulipas in August 2011 was a tragic event that accelerated and enhanced public awareness for the problem of severe human rights violations toward migrants in Mexico. Since then, new cases are continually coming out in the open. The majority of the migrants killed in Mexico are never identified and remain nameless.
The Pashtuns are the ethnic majority in the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the Pakistani government is not caring about their issues. In the war on terror they often feel like cannon fodder.
During the Arab uprisings, an unprecedented number of women took to the streets, paving the way for a more important role in politics. However, in the transitional period that follows, they now have to fight against their exclusion from the political arena.
Eleven years ago, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 (October 31, 2000). This groundbreaking resolution sent a significant message to many countries, including Israel. Anat Thon Ashkenazi of the NGO Itach-Maaki Women Lawyers for Social Justice describes the efforts of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Israel to date.
The importance of Pakistan for the West’s continuation of their unfortunate involvement in Afghanistan is now generally understood. Far less clear, probably for most of the actors involved, is what Pakistan wants in Afghanistan at all.
German involvement in Afghanistan did not begin with the attacks of September 11. German humanitarian and development aid existed before the German military intervention – and it will (and must) still be there after the military mission is over.
The self-immolation of young and jobless Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, being deprived of his vegetable stand and humiliated by the authorities, triggered popular movements and historic events in the Arab World completely unexpected in their magnitude.
This report offers a detailed look at the U.S. funding and assistance for democracy and governance in the Middle East, the Congressional appropriations process, and implications for U.S. policy in the Middle East during this turbulent time.
After ten years of international involvement in Afghanistan, a second conference will take plan in Bonn this December 2011 to discuss the country’s future. Since 2002, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has actively supported the development of civil society in Afghanistan and has promoted exchanges between the German and Afghan public. The following dossier provides a venue for comments, analysis and debate ahead of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.
It is young people at the heart of the Arab revolt who are rebelling not for jihad but for freedom and democracy. Nevertheless, bin Laden's death opens up huge opportunities worldwide. President Barack Obama needs to follow up on the promise he made in Cairo, two years ago, when he pledged to build bridges to the Muslim world.
Should Arab countries with less advanced technological capacities invest in nuclear power that proved uncontrollable in Fukushima, Japan? Activists and policy-makers from the Arab World and Europe critically discuss these and other questions in this report.
The people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and also in other countries such as Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria are revolting against encrusted structures. Which direction the movement will take is still open, but one thing has become clear during the last few weeks: Neither the EU nor the EU Member States can claim that the current transition process in Tunisia or Egypt is a direct result of the European democratization policy.
On the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of the International Women's Day and to celebrate women empowerment, the Heinrich Böll Foundation publishes a dossier with articles and contributions from all over the world.
Atlantic-community.org in cooperation with the Gunda Werner Institute and others is launching a new op-ed competition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 and to contribute to the implementation of its goal of empowering women in peace and security.
The European Union ushers in the new year amid the ruins of its foreign policy with regard to Eastern Europe. If the EU wants to be a strategic actor in Eastern Europe, it will have to offer credible accession perspectives to all countries wishing to be a part of democratic Europe.
As more time passes since the disputed June 2009 election in Iran that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power, the Iranian regime’s campaign of repression against its own citizens deepens. Now more than ever, the segment of the Iranian population seeking positive change feels depleted and disillusioned. This report focuses on the desires of Iranians who are directly involved in the opposition movement or who support the movement regarding the steps governments should take to pressure Iran on its human rights violations.
How to restore the credibility of a country whose foundations and self-understanding are based on the universality of freedom and human rights, but that has violated precisely those rights by practicing torture in Guantánamo and other prisons around the world? Thomas C. Hilde outlines several post-Guantánamo detainee policy proposals – and their difficulties – that address these distinctive sets of issues.
On the occasion of the anniversary of U.S. President Obama’s Cairo Speech and the upcoming elections in Egypt, the North America and Arab Middle East offices of the Heinrich Boell Stiftung invited a delegation of human right activists from the Middle East.
By Amal Basha, Michael Posner, Michele Dunne, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Bahey El Din Hassan
Israel’s raid on a flotilla of humanitarian aid has refocused global attention on Gaza’s isolation. In a new Q&A, Taghreed El-Khodary, visiting scholar on hiatus from reporting in the Gaza Strip for the New York Times, details what’s happening on the ground in Gaza and how the incident will shape politics in the area. El-Khodary says that Israel’s action helps Hamas and the group is now operating from a position of greater strength.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) has become a centerpiece of the administration's efforts to engage civil society and support democracy in the region. Following a 30% increase in funding in FY10, the new budget requests an additional 32% increase up to $86 million.
The geographic and social fragmentation of the Palestinian people is essentially a result of the conflict in the Middle East. This topic represents the main focus of our two-day conference with international experts in March 2010. Our dossier provides further information about the conference and the invited experts.
As we are approaching the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, hopes for a positive outcome are high. While the Obama Administration’s actions do support this prospect, there is a possibility that bilaterally concluded nuclear deals set the treaty in danger.
In the post-London scenario, caution becomes even more necessary; if the international community wants to try the dialogue option, it shall have to lower the temperature by scaling down combat operations.
Nine years after 9/11 and all the blood and treasure expended on efforts in the region, President Barack Obama told People magazine on January 11 that 'the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains the epicenter of al’ Qaeda, their leadership and their extremist allies.
December 28, 2009This publication is designed to provide a differentiated view of Pakistan’s complex political processes and social challenges to a broad international audience. Authors from a variety of disciplines present their analyses of Pakistan’s deficits and shortcomings, as well as their ideas and visions for a more democratic and peaceful future.
The risk of nuclear anarchy is no longer a distant horror scenario; it has entered the realms of possibility. Heinrich Böll Foundation held its tenth Annual Foreign Policy Conference on September 10 and 11.
In May, President Obama submitted to Congress the full details of his first budget request, for Fiscal Year 2010.This report offers an in-depth analysis of Obama’s attempts to support democracy, governance, and human rights in the Broader Middle East and North Africa.
The talk series The (Un)Making of Failing States: Profits, Risks, and Measures of Failure, organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America in Fall/Winter 2008/09, tried to explore state failure phenomenon via three dialogues.
President Obama has approached the European Union to become more active in Iraq, and the EU itself has expressed interested to re-engage. But what can, and what should, Europe do? And how shall this be articulated with the American effort?
Roundtable Discussion. With approximately two billion people living on the verge of institutional collapse in fragile states, state failures are a daily tragedy that affect their inhabitants and put in question the stability of the state system. Strengthening weak states and preventing state failure are urgent tasks for the 21st century.
Roudtable Discussion: With approximately two billion people living on the verge of institutional collapse in fragile states, state failures are a daily tragedy that affect their inhabitants and put in question the stability of the state system. Strengthening weak states and preventing state failure are urgent tasks for the 21st century.
As experts and practitioners from Europe, the United States, and the Middle East are brought together, this event will examine the humanitarian and security implications of Iraq’s displacement crisis, and also share and identify possible strategies and policy options to respond to the crisis.