PA negotiators may want to reject demands that they recognize Israel as the Jewish State. But if they choose or are compelled to accept such a demand, I consider at Open Zion how they might address the impact it could have on Palestinian citizens of Israel.
With rumors swirling that US Secretary of State John Kerry is close to convening Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it seems like a good time to remind ourselves about the various aspects of a two-state solution. In short, what issues are likely settled and what issues are open to question? The list is admittedly not set in concrete, especially number two, but why not start somewhere:
1) The aim is two states, Israel and Palestine.
2) The June 4, 1967 lines are the starting point or basis (exact word matters) for the border between Israel-Palestine.
3) Land swaps (concept).
4) West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital.
5) No full implementation of the Palestinian right of return.
6) Isolated Israeli settlements in West Bank are withdrawn.
A) What happens to the holy sites in Jerusalem?
B) Is Palestine demilitarized, non-militarized etc? Pick a word.
C) Will Israel acknowledge Palestinian suffering (exact wording matters) in 1948?
D) Will Israel agree to the token admission of Palestinian refugees?
E) Do Palestinians concede the Ariel salient? Maale Adumim?
F) Will Palestinians accept the “Israel is the Jewish State” language?
G) Will Israel hold out for a Jordan Valley presence?
A lot of judgment calls. What would you add or change?
Over at The Monkey Cage, I wrote about the end of President Mohamed Morsi’s presidency. In the coming months, the most telling relationship will be between the regime (including both the new government and the military) and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Taylor Marvin and Barbara Walter at Political Violence @ a Glance have started an important conversation on the paucity of female bloggers in international affairs. IMHO, the issue of blogs is just one example of many arenas in which gender may be an issue. In the last three years, I’ve been involved in speaker series, dinners with speakers, committees, faculty presentations, research grants, and conferences & workshops, and in every one, the nature or composition of the invitees or participants is a question.
Four thoughts in the hopes of continuing the conversation:
1. Gender is one of MANY characteristics that people want to see represented. Others include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, level of seniority, academic/practitioner, nationality, type of academic institutional affiliation (R1 vs others; location inside US; US vs rest of world; north/south; public vs private), political views, discipline or field, and method. People will vary as to which ones are most important, and, obviously, every invitee is some combination.
2. Judging whether someone is paying attention to such issues solely based on outcome is limiting. You can ask people to speak, to serve, to blog etc. You can do your best to meet their needs and make the environment conducive. In short, to me the process matters too: was a serious, concerted effort made to get diverse and excellent participants? Across a range of situations, I followed (or, in some cases, observed others following) roughly the same process to try to get broad representation; if I look at the outcomes, it worked better in some cases than others.
3. If you want diverse bloggers, panels, speakers, members etc, you have to reach out and be pro-active about it. Who do you know that I don’t know? Who do YOU think would be good that is not in my network or on my radar? Who is up and coming? You have to be willing to take the time to gather prospective names, talk with people, and have some (or many!) people decline. That is time consuming and may conflict with other time pressures or resource demands.
And it is not just about having the knowledge of who does what. As one colleague pointed out to me, friendship matters when you are trying to get people to do things, especially if such things may be onerous and take them away from things they’d rather or must be doing. A cold call/email may be very different from a friend asking.
4. Marvin and Walter rightly point to a structural factor, the high percentage of tenured, male faculty in IR programs. But I want to kick the question backward: is that a reflection of IR students in top PhD programs? Maybe the assessment has to start even before the hiring and tenure processes with the PhD admission process.
Awareness about the people invited to do academic things, both pleasant and burdensome, is helpful. But awareness alone only goes so far.
Yesterday, on the 46th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, I published a brief reflection on the long-term consequences of the war. It appears over at The Monkey Cage.
Steven Cook and Michael Koplow suggest the United States government has held Turkey up as a democratic model even as, they write, “Turkey has essentially become a one-party state.” But prior to the recent protests, have U.S. public statements refrained from noting deficiencies in Turkish democracy? It depends where you look, the White House or the Department of State. U.S. rhetoric has not been uniform.
The White House has chosen to highlight military and economic cooperation, not political reform, in a way very consistent with Cook and Koplow’s piece. With nearby states in the Middle East like Egypt in the midst of political upheaval, Turkey served as convenient model of success. Turkey = Islam + democracy + US ally. What could be a better illustration for the president?
When Prime Minister Erdogan came to the White House on May 16, 2013, President Obama did not raise concerns about illiberal Turkish behavior in either the joint press conference or in an op-ed Obama published that day in the Turkish Daily Sabah. Obama focused on trade and investment, mutual security (NATO, terrorism), and Syria. Reporters did not ask either leader about the state of Turkish democracy.
Four years ago, when Obama traveled to Turkey in April 2009, his language was a little different; he did mention democracy. Obama highlighted a shared U.S.-Turkish commitment to “religious freedom, respectful of rule of law, respectful of freedom.” More importantly, in his speech to the Turkish parliament, Obama carefully asked for continued Turkish progress on reform: “These achievements have created new laws that must be implemented, and a momentum that should be sustained.” He went to great lengths not to single Turkey out, juxtaposing his comments (concerns?) on Turkish democracy with a reminder of how U.S. democracy too is a work in progress: “I say this as the President of a country that not very long ago made it hard for somebody who looks like me to vote, much less be President of the United States.” (The fact that he was speaking in the Turkish parliament might very well have shaped how such comments were delivered!)
They were not earth-shattering words, but he did explicitly mention the need for Turkey to do more work on the issue.
What about State? In late 2011, then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a different tack. In a speech in Washington, DC, hosted by the American-Turkish Council, Clinton focused mostly on economics and mutual security. But she also, gently I thought, raised substantive concerns about democratic reform:
The third point is that Turkey’s ability to realize its full potential depends upon its resolve to strengthen democracy at home and promote peace and stability in the neighborhood. The ongoing constitutional reform process is a valuable opportunity, and I’ve had very productive conversations with President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, and others about this process, about its inclusivity and transparency that results in a document that deepens respect for human rights for all Turkish citizens, including the right to speak and worship freely. All minority groups need to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed. I was particularly impressed by Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement during Ramadan that property would be returned to religious minority groups, and we also hope to see other positive steps, such as reopening of the Halki Seminary.
A vibrant economy depends upon the free exchange of ideas, the free flow of information, and the rule of law. Strengthening due process, cracking down on corruption, helps any country grow more rapidly, and also protecting a free and independent media, which plays a role that is very important.
She hits a lot of the key points: the constitution, a free media, rule of law, and human rights for all Turkish citizens. She did not juxtapose it with America’s own imperfections and continuing democracy implementation agenda. Fast forward 18 months and I can imagine those kinds of talking points were intentionally left out during Erdogan’s visit.
Department of State reports are even more at odds with Obama’s May 2013 comments. State’s Human Rights Report said many positive things about Turkey but also highlighted a number of shortcomings. The report’s executive summary listed the “most significant human rights problems during the year” including:
- “Deficiencies in effective access to justice”
- “Government interference with freedom of expression”
- “Inadequate protection of vulnerable populations”
The summary continued:
Other significant human rights problems during the year included: Security forces committed unlawful killings. Authorities obstructed demonstrations. Security forces allegedly used excessive force during sometimes violent protests related to the Kurdish issue, students’ rights, and labor and opposition activities. The government obstructed the activities of human rights organizations, particularly in the Southeast. Impunity remained a problem. The government investigated reports of abuse by security forces, but the number of arrests and prosecutions was low, and convictions remained rare, although the number increased from previous years.
As is typical with the State report, the full text of the Turkey section includes a variety of examples. Also typical of coverage of US allies, the criticism is usually embedded in positive statements. For example:
The constitution and law provide citizens with the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections based on universal suffrage. However, the government restricted the activities of some political parties and leaders.
That kind of good cop, bad cop statement is similar to comments by Daniel Fried, U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, on February 27, 2009 in advance of a Secretary Clinton trip to Turkey and elsewhere:
And Turkey itself has been going through a very important evolution at home, moving in a democratic direction, but also with a lot of strains as Turkey addresses issues of its democracy in its – under its secular – its secular system.
(Another annual State report worth considering is on International Religious Freedom. This from May 20, 2013: “Embassy and consulate representatives, as well as visiting U.S. officials, met frequently with government officials and representatives of religious groups to discuss religious freedom,…”)
And even outside the Obama administration, one can see that pros and cons writing. In 2012, the Council on Foreign Relations released a major report on U.S.-Turkish relations. It noted: “Over the course of the past decade, Turkey has simultaneously become more European, more Muslim, more democratic, and more modern.” The report also notes many concerns about the practice of Turkish politics (pp. 20-26). Overall, it takes a middle ground: “On balance, it is clear that though the AKP took dramatic steps in 2003 and 2004 to forge a more open, modern, and pluralist society, questions remain about Turkey’s democratic transition. In some areas, the AKP-led government has used the same nondemocratic tools as its predecessor, making it appear no more liberal than previous Turkish governments.”
What it looks like, then, is a clear difference in past reports and statements from State – which criticize Turkey on democracy issues – versus the White House line as exemplified by the Erdogan visit in May. So when Cook tweets “Nary a word of criticism. It’s always sunny in Istanbul,” perhaps he meant the White House only.
Three broader thoughts:
1. IR 101: Different U.S. agencies may have different perspectives and policies on the same issue.
2. Public statements alone are not policy (and may be at odds with actual policy). Do they have any effect? Why issue them at all? Who does consume such words?
3. If the White House is ignoring illiberalism in Turkey, it looks like Turkey fits as a classic US ally: strategic needs (Syria, Israel, Arab Spring writ large, economics, NATO) trump pressing an ally on liberal reform. So what we may be hearing with changes in Obama’s rhetoric from April 2009 to May 2013 is a changed region in which the White House is even more willing to underplay the question of political openness and reform In Turkey (which, of course, would be ironic because you underplay illiberalism so as to highlight Turkey as…a liberal democratic model).
Opposition wins: (or leaning opposition)
Assad wins: (or leaning Assad)
German intelligence today
Ahmed, anti-Assad activist
(Though I think the article is more back and forth than this list appears.)
Three questions in reaction to Shadi Hamid’s detailed analysis of Morsy and Egypt:
1. “The Brotherhood’s priorities, for now, are rather simple — to survive and get to the next elections.” Won’t that always be the Brotherhood’s priority? In fact, isn’t that the priority of every party in power everywhere?
2. Is Khairat al-Shater a “revolutionary” or “pragmatic”? What does it mean to call him both?
3. How much does it matter what is in the new Egyptian constitution? Would a constitution in Egypt that Islamists liked act as a real constraint on liberals? For the Brotherhood, would it (could it) function as a blueprint for the Islamization of the Egyptian state (and society writ large)?
Dan Byman and Natan Sachs offered many insights about Israel’s alleged attacks on Syria. Three follow-up questions/comments:
1. If Assad’s fortunes decline and he becomes desperate to attack Israel to divert attention from his problems and/or to try to unify Syrians, does it really matter whether Israel has attacked recently? Isn’t Israel already an all-purpose bogeyman given the last 65 years?
2. I think we should be more careful about the context in which we talk about quiet borders. Yes, Israel’s border with Hezbollah has been quiet since 2006 when compared with before. Yes, the Israel-Syria line in the Golan has been quiet. But in the last decade, Israel attacked an Islamic Jihad camp in Syria, bombed Syria’s nuclear facility, and hit weapons 3x (so far) during the civil war. The authors also note “the Assad regime tried to create a crisis by pushing Palestinian refugees living in Syria to return to Israel to divert attention from the crackdown.” Is that quiet?
Moreover, when one mode of attack gets quiet (e.g. fewer border skirmishes), others may heat up. Israel and Syria did not fight in the Golan in the 1980s but they both contributed to a violent mess in Lebanon next door. Hezbollah may not be launching missiles at Israel but it may have poked Israel via drones and allegedly organized an attack that killed Israelis in Bulgaria. Quiet in one aspect or area of the relationship may only be part of the full picture of relations.
3. The authors would like the United States, “to coordinate allied interventions so together they make it more likely that Bashar’s regime will fall and Syria will return to stability.” Does that have to be overt coordination or could it be done in private?
Marc Lynch’s thoughtful post on how Syria has affected the narrative of the Arab “Spring” had me thinking about what might have been in Syria. I hope scholars eventually will work to address these questions – well, the first four anyway:
1) Had the protests stayed largely peaceful in Syria, would Asad be gone by now?
2) Exactly how much did outside aid for armed rebels undermine non-violent mobilization?
3) Did the Libya model cause elements of the Syrian opposition to put too much emphasis on the idea of external intervention and (wrongly) set their strategy with the expectation that such military intervention would come?
4) If/when Asad falls and if he is replaced by a regime that is not ruling over a fragmented country, acting as a brutal dictatorship, or executing ethnic cleansing, will the Arab Spring narrative shift toward a “positive” direction again?
5) Can we say enough times that “These revolutions…will continue to unfold for many years to come”?