Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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Founded, in 1985, by Martin Indyk while he was research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy differentiated itself from the AIPAC lobby as a think tank. Until the beginning of the George W. Bush Administration, WINEP was among the most influential policy organizations, described as #1 by figures as diverse as Charles Krauthammer and Al Gore. It describes its mission as "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."[1] It is a 501(c)(3) organization. It denies an official link with AIPAC, but there are overlaps of key people. [2]

Much of its current emphasis is on Iran policy. Criticizing the 2009 election, it published an article saying the Obama Administration may issue "crippling sanctions", emphasizing the sanctions need to be carefully considered. [3] This article uses classic economic warfare analysis to find a center of gravity for the Iranian economy: imported refined petroleum. Iran, while an oil producer, lacks refinery capacity; this is certainly a less hawkish position than other calls to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.

George H. W. Bush Administration

Its 1998 recommendations helped shaped the George H.W. Bush administration policy, with the guideline to "resist pressures for a procedural breakthrough until conditions have ripened." Writing for the Middle East Report, Stanford University professor Joel Beinin stated: "'Six members of the study group responsible for the report joined the first Bush administration, which adopted this stalemate recipe not to change until change was unavoidable. Hence the United States acceded to Israel's refusal to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization despite the PLO's recognition of Israel at the November 1988 session of the Palestine National Council'" (April 6, 2003).

Clinton Administration

A report recommending containment of both Iran and Iraq followed in 1992. Indyk joined the Clinton National Security Council Staff as senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs. [4]

George H.W. Bush Administration

While it was described as shifting to a more hawkish position with neoconservative influences in the G.W. Bush Administration, in 2005, it featured an op-ed recommending restarting the "road map", but contingent on a successful withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. [5]

References

  1. Our Mission, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  2. Mark Milstein (July 1991), Washington Institute for Near East Policy: An AIPAC "Image Problem", Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
  3. Michael Jacobson and Mark Dubowitz (August 13, 2009), "Smart Sanctions Can Work against Iran", Wall Street Journal
  4. "Washington Institute for Near East Policy", RightWeb
  5. David Makovsky (March 20, 2005), "New Hope for the Holy Land", San Diego Union-Tribune