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  • Author: Nicolas Pelham
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The August 5th 2012 attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the nexus where Gaza, Egypt and Israel meet has spurred Egypt's greatest effort to reassert its authority over the Sinai since recovering the territory from Israel in 1982. Nevertheless, armed Bedouin groups backed by jihadi allies continue to confound their efforts. Only the integration of Sinai's Bedouin into Egypt's security, political and economic fabric will restore the buy-in of the indigenous population that is vital for both the success of the country's military campaign and the stabilisation of this strategic corridor linking Asia to Africa – and of post-revolutionary Egypt itself. The identities of the attackers have yet to be made public. Most were likely Sinai Bedouin, with perhaps some Palestinian support. But the fact that this attack is not an isolated incident and has been succeeded and preceded by many others suggests that North Sinai has become an environment for the killing of Egyptian soldiers and the destruction of Egyptian installations. This report examines the causes of the prevailing anti-government temperament in North Sinai, which is home to approximately 75% of Sinai's half a million people; tracks the development of quasi self-rule since the fall of Mubarak; and offers a few suggestions for the stabilisation of Sinai within a future regional economic and security framework.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Lisa Wedeen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The issue of state fragility and the presence of radical religious movements in Yemen have occasioned misperceptions and confusions in recent debates about the country. This report argues that the language of “failed states” arises nearly exclusively in relation to countries deemed threatening to US security interests. Moreover, this language obscures rather than reveals how regime incentives to build state institutions can be incompatible with regime interests in survival. The result is that a seemingly neutral analytical category misrepresents local realities even while it is used as a warrant for policy initiatives that are likely to be counterproductive.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Ahmed Abdelkareem Saif
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Yemen's problems have frequently been ascribed to neocolonialism, regional politics and domestic power struggles. Though these factors are contributory, they are only the tip of the iceberg. The real problems are endemic and deeply rooted in the nature of society and the evolution of the state. Although modern political institutions exist in Yemen, such as a supreme court, parliament, political parties, trade unions and a free press, these institutions do not necessarily operate as might be expected. In fact, what exists in Yemen is merely a despotic authority, where decision-making usually takes place outside the formal institutions. The weakness of the state limits its capacity to penetrate society, creating a void that has been filled by intermediaries who benefit from the regime's durability. These intermediaries also play a crucial role in the survival of the regime by controlling the peripheries.
  • Topic: Islam, Post Colonialism, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia