Washington Institute for Near East Policy: Wikis

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The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Motto Insight and Analysis on U.S. Middle East Policy
Formation 1985
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Executive Director Robert Satloff
Website www.washingtoninstitute.org

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is a pro-Israel[1][2][3] think tank based in Washington, D.C., focused on United States foreign policy in the Middle East. It was established by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1985, but, in contrast to AIPAC's partisan image, the institute's mission statement states that it seeks "to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East."[4]

Contents

Background

Martin Indyk, an Australian-trained academic and former deputy director of research for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), helped found WINEP in 1985.[5] In 1982, following his position as Australian deputy director of current intelligence in the Middle East, Indyk started to set up a research department for AIPAC.[6] Because of AIPAC's partisan reputation, Indyk felt his research wasn't being taken seriously and so started WINEP to convey an image that was "friendly to Israel but doing credible research on the Middle East in a realistic and balanced way."[7][8] Indyk would go on to become an American citizen, U.S. diplomat and its Ambassador to Israel.[8]

The Washington Institute is registered as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and derives 87 percent of its operating revenues through direct public support.[9] As of 2005, its list of trustees included more than 600 names, including Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg, managing editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson, real estate developer A. Alfred Taubman, and philanthropist Edgar Bronfman.[9]

Policy orientation

WINEP is focused on influencing the media and U.S. executive branch; this is unlike AIPAC, which attempts to influence the U.S. Congress through campaign contributions.[10] Its activities include annual conferences, a Military Fellows Program that "brings together senior officers from the armed forces of the United States and key Middle Eastern allies", a Presidential Study Group it describes as a "bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission charged with drafting a blueprint for the next administration's Middle East policy", closed-door policy forums, and various publications and research programs.[11]

At the time it was founded, the institute focused research on Arab-Israeli relations, political and security issues, and overall U.S. Middle East policy.[12] In the 1990s, prompted by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Persian Gulf War, and changes in regional strategy, the institute expanded its research agenda to cover a larger array of Middle East topics, including a "special focus on Turkey and the rise of Islamic politics."[12]

According to its mission statement,

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy was established to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East. Under the guidance of a distinguished and bipartisan Board of Advisors, the Institute seeks to bring scholarship to bear on the making of U.S. policy in this vital region of the world. Drawing on the research of its scholars and the experience of policy practitioners, the Institute promotes an American engagement in the Middle East committed to strengthening alliances, nurturing friendships, and promoting security, peace, prosperity, and democracy for the people of the region.[4]

Former Vice President Al Gore called WINEP "Washington's most respected center for studies on the Middle East."[4]

However, John Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago political science professor, and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, describe it as "part of the core" of the Israel lobby in the United States.[13] Discussing the group in their book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer and Walt wrote that:

Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a “balanced and realistic” perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda. Its board of advisors includes prominent pro-Israel figures such as Edward Luttwak, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, James Woolsey and Mortimer Zuckerman, but includes no one who might be thought of as favouring the perspective of any other country or group in the “Near East”. Many of its personnel are genuine scholars or experienced former officials, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks.[13]

Criticism

In October 2003, the Zionist Organization of America criticized WINEP for "embracing" a delegation of representatives of "the Fatah terrorist movement".[14]

In a December 2003 interview on Al-Jazeera, Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor and director of Columbia University's Middle East Institute, sharply criticized WINEP, stating that it is "the fiercest of the enemies of the Arabs and the Muslims," and describing it as the "most important Zionist propaganda tool in the United States."[15] Martin Kramer, editor of the Middle East Quarterly and visiting fellow at WINEP, defended the group, saying that it is "run by Americans, and accepts funds only from American sources," and that it was "outrageous" for Khalidi to denounce Arabs that visited WINEP as "blundering dupes."[16 ]

Notable current and former scholars

Several current and former members of WINEP have served in senior positions in the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush,[17][18] Bill Clinton,[8] and George W. Bush,[8].

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Board of Advisors

As of November 4, 2009, the Washington Institute's Board of Advisors included:[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ Lockman, Zachary (2004). Contending visions of the Middle East: the history and politics of Orientalism. Cambridge University Press. p. 246. ISBN 9780521629379. "Describing itself as a "public educational foundation dedicated to scholarly research and informed debate on US interests in the Middle East," WINEP emerged as the leading pro-Israel think tank in Washington."  
  2. ^ Arnove, Anthony (2003). Iraq under siege: the deadly impact of sanctions and war (2nd ed.). Pluto Press. p. 111. ISBN 0745320333, ISBN 9780745320335. http://books.google.com/books?id=AlZbPNvaoHMC&pg=PA110.  
  3. ^ Mittleman, Alan; Licht, Robert; Sarna, Jonathan D. (2002). Jews and the American public square: debating religion and republic. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 164. ISBN 0742521249, ISBN 9780742521247. http://books.google.com/books?id=1suw77aSEJMC&pg=PA164.  
  4. ^ a b c "Our Mission". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. self-published. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC11.php?CID=67. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  5. ^ Sterns, Peter N. (2008). "American Israel Public Affairs Committee". Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World. 1. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 9780195176322. "AIPAC also has an active relationship with various elements of the executive branch of government. In this regard, in 1985 it set up the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israeli 'think tank,' that essentially served as a proxy.".  
  6. ^ Fayazmanesh, Sasan (2008). The United States and Iran: sanctions, wars and the policy of dual containment. Routledge. p. 62. ISBN 0415773962, ISBN 9780415773966. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZB9F74tiE-kC&pg=PA62.  
  7. ^ Ottoway, David B. (March 24, 1989). "Mideast Institute's Experts and Ideas Ascendant; Latecomer's Go-Slow, Small-Steps Approach Finds Favor With Bush Administration". The Washington Post.  
  8. ^ a b c d Fayazmanesh, Sasan (2008). The United States and Iran: sanctions, wars and the policy of dual containment. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 0415773962, ISBN 9780415773966. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZB9F74tiE-kC&pg=PA63.  
  9. ^ a b "A Guide to Think Tanks and Iran". U.S. News and World Report. September 19, 2007. http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/world/2007/09/19/a-guide-to-think-tanks-and-iran.html?PageNr=4. Retrieved 2009-10-29.  
  10. ^ Beinin, Joel (July 2003). "US: the pro-Sharon thinktank". Le Monde diplomatique. http://mondediplo.com/2003/07/06beinin. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  11. ^ "Our Programs". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. self-published. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC11.php?CID=22. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  12. ^ a b "Our History". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. self-published. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC11.php?CID=20. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  13. ^ a b Mearsheimer, John J.; Walt, Stephen M. (2007). The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. Macmillan. pp. 175-6. ISBN 9780374177720.  
  14. ^ "ZOA Criticizes Dennis Ross & Winep For Embracing Fatah Terrorist Delegation". Zionist Organization of America. October 27, 2003. http://www.zoa.org/sitedocuments/pressrelease_view.asp?pressreleaseID=615. Retrieved 2009-07-16.  
  15. ^ From Washington Al-Jazzera, December 11, 2003. (Arabic only)
  16. ^ Columbia’s Radical Caravan by Martin Kramer, New York Sun, January 6, 2004.
  17. ^ Ismael, Tareq Y.; Ismael, Jacqueline S. (1994). The Gulf War and the new world order: international relations of the Middle East. University Press of Florida. p. 333. ISBN 0813012643, ISBN 9780813012643. http://books.google.com/books?id=gjmc28G0AGIC&pg=PA333.  
  18. ^ The myth of the `Jewish lobby'. 20. Frontline. 2003-10-10. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2020/stories/20031010000906000.htm.  
  19. ^ "Board of Advisors". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. self-published. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC11.php?CID=133. Retrieved 2009-11-04.  

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