[ORDER SOLUTION]  Significant Security Challenge 

For this assignment, you will write a short (800-1000) word essay to answer the following question: QUESTION: What is the most significant security challenge facing the contemporary MENA region and why? Defend your answer. Welcome to the Regional Studies: Middle East and North Africa course (sometimes called, “MENA”). In this course, you will delve into the historic, economic, and political trends of this region. The main time period you will cover begins at the end of World War I, so it is very much a course about the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Our main focus will be on the origins and developments of issues that are of particular concern to U.S. national security. Today, these issues include sectarian strife and the rise of social movements, including Islamism, as well as the politics and economics of natural resources. Throughout the course, you will inevitably examine hot button issues, and an effort has been made to give you various perspectives, including views that are critical of U.S. foreign policy. This is done so you can become more thoroughly acquainted with the subject matter, including the ways in which people of that region view their own political situation. We hope you find the course informative and engaging! The Regional Studies: MENA Design Team. *I have a zip files of course documents that I can upload. The required readings assigned have page numbers or chapters that are listed. Please let me know if you cannot unzip the file I’ve attached with the course materials for the required readings: Wright, “How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East” (2016). Read pages 1-6. This short piece articulates the widely held belief, particularly in the Middle East, that the borders drawn by European powers are to blame for many of the structural problems that have at times erupted in civil war.   Danforth, Stop Blaming Colonial Borders (2013) Danforth, “Stop Blaming Colonial Borders for the Middle East’s Problems” (2013). Read pages 1-3. In this piece, Nick Danforth challenges many of the widely held assumptions about the link between badly drawn borders and civil war in the Middle East. Points to Ponder: When analyzed alongside the previous article, which argument seems more convincing? What, if anything, is missing from either argument? Danforth ends the article with a statement about identity-based conflict. To what degree do you agree or disagree with him? Kao, Do Jordan Tribes (2015) Kao, “Do Jordan’s Tribes Challenge or Strengthen the State?” (2015). Read pages 1-4. The author explores the way in which the Jordanian state has incorporated tribes into the state, and how tribes can at times compete with state authority. Points to Ponder: After reading the article, what are your thoughts on the concept of tribal-based organization in an increasingly fractured Middle East? Will tribalism solve, or exacerbate conflicts in the current environment? Lynch, “The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East” (2012). Read chapter 1 and 7. Chapter 1 introduces the Arab Spring, while Chapter 7 focuses on the civil wars in Libya and Syria, which emerged out of the Arab Spring. Point to Ponder: While doing this reading, ask yourself why these protest movements spread so quickly, and whether and how the U.S. could have pursued different strategies. On the question of Libya and Syria, carefully evaluate what you would have suggested in regards to U.S. intervention in either of these two countries. Lynch, “The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East” (2012). Read chapter 1 and 7. Chapter 1 introduces the Arab Spring, while Chapter 7 focuses on the civil wars in Libya and Syria, which emerged out of the Arab Spring. Point to Ponder While doing this reading, ask yourself why these protest movements spread so quickly, and whether and how the U.S. could have pursued different strategies. On the question of Libya and Syria, carefully evaluate what you would have suggested in regards to U.S. intervention in either of these two countries. Esposito, “Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam” (2003). Read pages 83-112.   This reading by John Esposito offers a broad introduction into the kind of Islamic radicalism that eventually gave rise to global terror groups like al-Qaeda.   Points to Ponder   As you read this, ask yourself how these groups view the world differently from other political actors in the MENA region. Do these groups have grievances that states in the region can address? Or is this a case of fighting to the death? Think back to the Wiktorowicz reading from the previous lesson and ask yourself whether the Jordanian model of accommodation could ever be applied in Egypt or Algeria.   Wood, What ISIS Really Wants (2015)   Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants” (2015). Read pages 1-19.   This reading, and the Gonzalez article below, are part of the debate on the goals of the Islamic State: What is the group’s main goal, and what strategy has it employed in pursuit of such a goal?   Point to Ponder   While reading, carefully consider how the different interpretations of the Islamic State’s goals may lead to different policy prescriptions for American leaders.   Gonzalez, More Ethnic than Religious (2015)   Gonzalez, “More Ethnic than Religious: How the Islamic State Uses Religion to Attract Allies” (2015). Read pages 1-3.   As with the Wood reading above, this reading is part of the debate on the goals of the Islamic State: What is the group’s main goal, and what strategy has it employed in pursuit of such a goal?   Point to Ponder   While reading, carefully consider how the different interpretations of the Islamic State’s goals may lead to different policy prescriptions for American leaders.   Pollack, Why Obamas Middle East (2016)   Pollack, “Why Obama’s Middle East Policy is Failing” (2016). Read pages 1-3.   The next three readings  assess the Obama administration’s legacy in the Middle East, something that will be debated for years to come. Two of the readings, by Pollack and Walter and by Satloff, have more critical views of it, while Lynch offers more praise.   Points to Ponder   What is your personal reading of the Obama administration’s legacy in the region? What is the balance of accomplishments and failures; of opportunities taken and opportunities missed? How will we look back on the presidency, and how will our interpretation of its legacy help inform our future approaches to the region?   Satloff, Whats Really Wrong (2015)   Satloff, “What’s Really Wrong with the Iran Nuclear Deal” (2015). Read pages 1-3.   This reading also assesses the Obama administration’s legacy in the Middle East.   Points to Ponder   What is your personal reading of the Obama administration’s legacy in the region? What is the balance of accomplishments and failures; of opportunities taken and opportunities missed? How will we look back on the presidency, and how will our interpretation of its legacy help inform our future approaches to the region?   Lynch, Obama and the Middle East (2015).   Lynch, “Obama and the Middle East: Rightsizing the U.S. Role” (2015). Read pages 1-7.   A third reading assessing the Obama administration’s legacy in the Middle East.   Points to Ponder   What is your personal reading of the Obama administration’s legacy in the region? What is the balance of accomplishments and failures; of opportunities taken and opportunities missed? How will we look back on the presidency, and how will our interpretation of its legacy help inform our future approaches to the region?   Matthews, How Russia Became (2017).   Matthews, “How Russia Became the Middle East’s New Power Broker” (2017). Read pages 1-9.   This reading, and the reading below, both deal with the potential for other regional powers to enter the MENA region with greater assertiveness.   Points to Ponder   Should the United States step back from the region and allow others to play more active roles? If so, which powers should be more involved? Do Russia, the United States, and China share many interests in the region? Why or why not?   Ibrahim, Has China Joined Russia and Iran (2016).   Ibrahim, “Has China Joined Russia and Iran in Syria to Neutralize U.S. Influence in the Middle East?” (2016). Read all.   A second reading dealing with the potential for other regional powers to enter the MENA region with greater assertiveness.   Points to Ponder   Should the United States step back from the region and allow others to play more active roles? If so, which powers should be more involved? Do Russia, the United States, and China share many interests in the region? Why or why not?   Center for Middle East Public Policy.   RAND Corporation, “Center for Middle East Public Policy” (n.d.). Scan the topics.   The Rand Center for Middle East Public Policy website provides current research on the most critical political, social, and economic challenges currently facing the nations of the Middle East.   Point to Ponder Scan the various topics for insight on the latest issues affecting the region.

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