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  • Author: Marc Valeri
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The sultan of Oman traveled to Germany to receive medical care in July 2014. His prolonged stay since then has revived concerns across Omani society about the future of the country without the “father of the nation.” A taped, four-minute television address in early November by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said—who looked emaciated and expressed regret that he was unable to return home for National Day celebrations later in the month—failed to silence rumors of cancer that have been circulating in the Gulf since he left the country. The anxiety about the health of the seventy-four-year-old ruler, who has no designated heir, came as the supposed “sleepy sultanate,” long thought to be a model of stability, was affected by the winds of protest blowing across the region. In 2011 and 2012, the sultanate of Oman experienced its widest popular protests since the 1970s and the end of the Dhofar war, in which the southern region rose up against Qaboos's father, who then ruled the country.
  • Topic: Islam, Oil, Governance, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Germany
  • Author: Frederic M. Wehrey, Ariel I. Ahram
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the eruption of the Arab Spring in 2011, centralized military power has broken down in North Africa, the Levant, and Yemen, and several weak Arab states have turned to local militias to help defend regimes. While these pro-government militias can play important security roles, they have limited military capacity and reliability. Transitioning militia fighters into national guard forces with formal ties to the national command structure can overcome some of these limitations, but the shift must be accompanied by a wider commitment to security sector reform and political power sharing.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Nilüfer Karacasulu, Irem Aşkar Karakır
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses EU-Turkey relations with a specific reference to regional developments in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. In the last decade, the Turkish government has tried to intensify Turkey's influence in the region. However, increasing activism in Turkey's foreign policy toward the region was not accompanied by a parallel commitment in its relations with the EU. In the meantime, the EU was caught unprepared by the Arab Spring in the middle of the Euro-zone crisis, and now its strategic interests are being threatened by regional instability. Both sides have been faced with the task of adapting their policies to the political transitions in the region. After an analysis of their contemporary regional policies, this article argues that even though their strategies are not totally in line with each other, Turkey follows the same objectives that the EU neighborhood policy has pursued towards the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Hafez Ghanem
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Morocco has so far been a success story in the Arab world. It has followed a gradual approach to political reforms and democratization, which led to the adoption of a new constitution and the holding of free parliamentary elections in 2011. At the same time, economic growth averaged 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, reached 5.0 percent in 2011, 2.7 percent in 2012, and 4.4 percent in 2013. That is, Morocco has avoided the political upheavals and economic meltdowns that plagued other Arab Countries in Transition (ACTs). Maintaining this record of success will require continued political and economic reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: Jonathan Rynhold
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 23, Jonathan Rynhold and Elliott Abrams addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Rynhold is a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), director of the Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People, and author of the just-released book The Arab-Israel Conflict in American Political Culture (Cambridge University Press). Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The coalition effort to rebuild and retrain the Iraqi security forces (ISF) will have better odds of success if American advisors urge their counterparts to incorporate lessons from other Arab armies that have experienced defeat, learned from their failures, and eventually prevailed against their enemies. These armies -- Egypt in the 1973 war with Israel, Iraq in the latter phases of its 1980-1988 war with Iran, and even hybrid actors such as the "Islamic State"/ISIS -- succeeded by developing workarounds for persistent shortcomings exhibited by conventional Arab armies, and by adapting foreign concepts and practices to their specific needs.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Arabia
  • Author: Andrew Thompson, Shreen Abou El-Naga
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In the final episode of Inside the Issues Season Four, Shreen Abou el-Naga joins host Andrew Thompson for a discussion on Egypt three years after Tahrir square. Has Egypt's revolution stalled? What role are the new intellectuals playing in shaping the country's future? Has the human rights situation, specifically for h, shifted? Tune in to access the full discussion and learn more about life in Egypt today.In the final episode of Inside the Issues Season Four, Shreen Abou el-Naga joins host Andrew Thompson for a discussion on Egypt three years after Tahrir square. Has Egypt's revolution stalled? What role are the new intellectuals playing in shaping the country's future? Has the human rights situation, specifically for women, shifted? Tune in to access the full discussion and learn more about life in Egypt today.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law, Political Activism, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Muhammed Kürsad Özekin, Hasan Hüseyin Akkaş
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Center for International Conflict Resolution at Yalova University
  • Abstract: This article pursues two main objectives. First, mainly drawing on empirical evidences rather than journalistic impressions and reports on the Arap Spring, it aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the sets of socio-economic and socio-political factors that have been deeply rooted in the region for more than half a century and which have driven (and continue to drive) a wave of uprisings across the region commonly labelled as the 'Arab Spring'. Thus, this study expects to present a slightly different reading of the Arap Spring by placing the issue into the socio-economic and socio-political context of the recent past. Secondly, by considering a range of factors such as the responses of the regimes, the role of security forces, the ethnic and sectarian makeup of the societies and the politico-institutional feature of states, it explains how the unfolding of events has differed from country to country and why some uprisings have succeeded in toppling regimes and others have not.
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: King Salman has confirmed his reputation as a religious conservative through the reappointment of traditionalist clerics However he has also made some effort to streamline the Saudi government Recent changes have given considerable power to two men from the next generation: King Salman's son and his nephew The result may be good for hard security measures, but less certain for the soft measures necessary for Saudi Arabia to weather the storm.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State's murder of Jordanian hostage Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh was both a message to the group's fighters that it can counter the coalition's relentless airstrikes as well as an offensive move designed to provoke a high-profile overreaction The air campaign against the Islamic State has been relentless while at the same time has receded from the headlines-a double blow to the group in that it suffers the losses but doesn't benefit from the attendant spectacle The drawn-out 'negotiations' over this past month-while the hostage was already dead-were likely intended to sow division and tension in Jordan, and draw attention to the issue as long as possible before the gruesome finale While Jordan is understandably enraged and will have to strike back, the most effective response might be an escalation that continues to kill the group's fighters away from the headlines.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Like a page out of the 2004 extremist manifesto "Management of Savagery," the Islamic State has tried to goad the international community into near-sighted reactions without long-term approaches by highlighting the barbarity of its executions of hostages This tactic has thus far failed to ignite the overreaction (outside of press reporting) of Western powers, leaving the group without an important recruitment and incitement tool The Islamic State needs consistent replenishment of fear to overcome its inherently terrible local governance, and so it depends on shocking savagery to serve as both its recruitment magnet and opposition suppression As the group encounters less and less Westerners, given the danger of their presence in the region, it will find increasingly fewer ways to incite the 'us-versus-them' battle it needs to survive.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: While the threat of an immediate escalation between Israel and Hizballah appears to have subsided after deadly tit-for-tat attacks, the trend lines suggest greater conflict ahead In an important and ominous speech on January 30, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah created, in effect, one long front against Israel that now includes Syria and the Golan Heights as well as Lebanon, increasing the potential for conflict with Israel Iran is no longer moving in the shadows but rather is openly coordinating strategy with its proxy Hizballah as the two seek to strengthen and expand 'the resistance' against Israel All parties involved have specific reasons to avoid a near-term conflict-the upcoming Israeli elections, ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations, Hizballah's commitments in Syria-but shifting regional power dynamics will only increase the likelihood of serious fighting between them.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have more in common than sets them apart, as both groups embrace 'bin Ladinism' even as their leaderships differ on tactics and priorities As the fortunes of the two groups wax and wane, their shared characteristics are likely to become more pronounced and their rivalries less so For the moment, the competition between them weakens their appeal and blunts their impact; any trend towards reconciliation or partnership could magnify the threat they pose across the Arab world.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Shibley Telhami
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The Arab-Israeli peace process is a broad subject; therefore, this paper will briefly touch on some of the major peace agreements and negotiations that have taken place. It should be noted that as of today—and based on public opinion polls that I have conducted—most Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs outside of the Palestinian territories believe that peace will never happen. This has resulted in a real problem, where people in the region no longer take the term “peace process” seriously. In order to understand how we got to this point, we need to look back at the history of the peace process on both the Israeli-Palestinian front and also on the Arab-Israeli front.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Anouar Boukhars
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Tunisia is struggling with insecurity, social tensions, and ideological divisions three years after President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted during a popular uprising. But the country is making progress on the path to democracy. Islamist and secular politicians have struck a potentially landmark agreement that could get Tunisia's democratic transition back on track. To solidify gains and ensure that a successful Tunisian experiment reverberates across the Arab world, socioeconomic struggles that fuel protests and radicalism must be confronted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Politics in the Middle East are increasingly polarized and fragmented. The Arab Spring's citizen-led spirit of reform is still alive, but societies are increasingly torn apart by bitter tensions between Sunni and Shia, secular liberals and Islamists, and governments and civil society. As polarization has deepened, the concern with engaging in dialogue to bridge differences has intensified. The relationship between these mediation efforts and support for systemic reform will be a pivotal factor in the Middle East's future political trajectory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Raphaël Lefèvre
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Syria's civil war is having a dramatic impact on its neighbors, particularly Lebanon. The spillover is glaring in the northern city of Tripoli, where street violence is rising, sectarianism is at unprecedented levels, and Sunni extremism is flourishing. This instability threatens to spread to other areas of the country. Yet, Lebanon's problems have as much to do with domestic dynamics as with the unrest in Syria. Lebanese policymakers must address a number of issues that have long been ignored.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Lina Khatib
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Long a minor regional actor in the shadow of Saudi Arabia, Qatar wants to increase its influence. But Doha's expansionist foreign policy has been plagued by miscalculations, domestic challenges, and international pressure—all issues connected to Doha's relationship with Riyadh. As a result of these setbacks, Qatar's regional role has diminished, and for the foreseeable future, its external influence is likely to remain under the direction of Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Ashraf El-Sherif
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The current turmoil in Egypt—including social strife, polarization, and violence—has cast shadows on the potential for Islamist integration as well as the regime's ability to achieve political stability. Shifting external and internal dynamics of Islamist organizations indicate five possible scenarios for the future of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its path will have far-reaching implications for political Islam and democratization in Egypt.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: More than three years after the fall of strongman Muammar Qaddafi, Libya is in the midst of a bitter civil war rooted in a balance of weakness between the country's political factions and armed groups. With a domestic landscape torn apart by competing claims to power and with interference from regional actors serving to entrench divides, restoring stability in Libya and building a unified security structure will be difficult if not impossible without broad-based political reconciliation.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Governance
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the Arab Spring, Qatar moved away from its traditional foreign policy role as diplomatic mediator to embrace change in the Middle East and North Africa and support transitioning states. Regional actors viewed Qatar's approach as overreaching, and skepticism of Doha's policy motivations increased. Qatar's new leadership, which came to power in June 2013, is adapting by reverting to a more pragmatic foreign policy and addressing the fallout from its support for Islamist movements in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Valerie Morkevicius
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring has generated a variety of responses from the West. While broad political support was voiced for uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, the responses to protests in Bahrain and Morocco were muted. The swift decision to intervene in Libya stands in marked contrast to the ongoing hand-wringing on Syria. While political realists might see these contradictions as evidence that geopolitical concerns determine foreign policy, from an ethical point of view these responses also reveal a fundamental tension in Western thinking about rebellion. On one hand, rebellion is viewed with a distrustful eye—as a disruptive, chaotic force that threatens to destroy the day-to-day order on which civilization is built. On the other, rebellion is perceived more optimistically—as a regenerative, creative force that can leave a better civilization in its wake. These two radically disparate ways of thinking about rebellion have deep philosophical and theological roots. The pessimistic view has historically dominated just war thought, as James Turner Johnson's contribution to this roundtable illustrates; whereas the perspective of Enlightenment liberalism offers a more optimistic judgment, as found, for example, in the works of Locke and Rousseau.
  • Political Geography: Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Haifaa al-Mansour
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: World Policy Journal
  • Institution: World Policy Institute
  • Abstract: RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Developing Wadjda, the first full-length feature film ever shot entirely inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and directed by a woman, posed some wholly unique challenges that come with making a film in a country where cinema is illegal, public displays of art are vilified, women are marginalized, gender segregation is strictly enforced, and tribal and fundamentalist groups stand resolutely against anything they feel threatens their values.
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As events in late December 2013 and early 2014 have made brutally clear, Iraq is a nation in crisis bordering on civil war. It is burdened by a long history of war, internal power struggles, and failed governance. Is also a nation whose failed leadership is now creating a steady increase in the sectarian divisions between Shi'ite and Sunni, and the ethnic divisions between Arab and Kurd.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Mohsen Milani
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When the Arab Spring reached the Mediterranean shores of Syria in early 2011, there was an ephemeral exuberance that Bashar Assad's dictatorship would be replaced with a democratic order. Today, Syria has descended into an existential civil war among religious sects and ethnic communities. The country has transformed into a battleground for a proxy war among regional and global powers that pursue irreconcilable objectives. Balkanization of Syria appears underway as the government, the Kurds, and the opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime control different swaths of the country, while the civil war has ominously metastasized to Syria's neighbors. Alarmingly, a large number of foreign born jihadists and terrorists with possible links to al Qaeda have also flooded the country to foment mischief. Amidst all the destruction, the complex civil war has reached a stubborn stalemate with no breakthrough in sight.
  • Topic: Civil War
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Seth Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: That the Arab Spring caught the world off guard is hardly surprising. Interpreting overt stability as a reflection of fundamental strength or resiliency has often set the international community up for surprise. Few forecast the dissolution of the Soviet Union, for example; far too few in Washington anticipated what would follow the invasion of Iraq. These are reminders that apparent stability can be little more than an illusion.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the years since the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Southern Gulf states and the US have developed a de facto strategic partnership based on a common need to deter and defend against any threat from Iran, deal with regional instability in countries like Iraq and Yemen, counter the threat of terrorism and extremism, and deal with the other threats to the flow of Gulf petroleum exports.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, North America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: I have been asked to help set the stage for this conference by looking at the broader issues that can address the issue of A World with No Axis? International Shifts and their Impact on the Gulf. I have spent enough time in the Gulf over the years to know how often people have strong opinions, interesting conspiracy theories, and a tendency to ignore hard numbers and facts. We all suffer from the same problems, but today I'm going to focus as much on f act s and numbers as possible. I'm only going to select only a portion of the key trends and numbers involved in my oral remarks , but I will leave the conference with a much longer paper that lists a fuller range of such data. This paper that will also be on the CSIS web site, along with a series of very detailed papers on the military balance in the Gulf. If you want to provide me with your card, I'll also make sure the papers involved are sent to your directly.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Qatar
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II, Omar Mohamed
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula are critical to US strategic interests and collectively represent the single most important theater in the US - Iranian strategic competition. The proximity of the Arab Gulf states to Iran; the region's geostrategic value to the stability of the global economy; the shifting military balance; and the social, demographic, and economic tensions that threaten to create political upheavals in several key states make it a potential flash -point for tensions between Washington and Tehra.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Washington, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper provides an updated analysis of the military balance in the Gulf region focusing on US power projection capability and the relative size and capability of GCC and Iranian military forces. It shows that Iran is anything but a regional superpower if GCC states provide the cooperation and interoperability between their forces.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Iran, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is no one way to measure the level of security and stability in given countries, the conditions of life, or the rising threat posed by internal; and domestic terrorism. This analysis provides a wide range of metrics from reporting by the World Bank, UN, and US government. It focuses on trends and it will be immediately clear to the reader that it does not always reflect the shattering impact of the violence and upheavals that have taken place in some countries since 2011.
  • Topic: Religion, Terrorism, International Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Claude Bruderlein
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over the recent years, prompting record-high levels of international aid. In view of the complexity of the political and social environment in which these challenges arise and the historical scale of the population affected, innovative and creative programmatic responses are essential to address the short and middle-term needs of refugees and reducing instability in the Middle East region. Over 20 students from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard School of Public Health participated in "Assessment of the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan and Critical Review of the National and International Responses," a winter field study course in Jordan supported by the Middle East Initiative and led by Professor Claude Bruderlein. Read more about their learning experience below and in the attached report.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Nawaf Obaid
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This proposal for a Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine (SDD) hopes to initiate an essential internal reform effort that responds to the shifting demands of today and the potential threats of tomorrow. In the last decade, the world has watched as regime changes, revolutions, and sectarian strife transformed the Middle East into an unrecognizable political arena plagued by instability, inefficiency, and failing states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)—the Arab world's central power and last remaining major Arab heavyweight on the international scene—has emerged as the ipso facto leader responsible for regional stability and development.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Esmira Jafarova
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This article intends to highlight the dynamics within the UN Security Council 1 (UNSC) with regard to the events in the Syrian Arab Republic that have unfolded in the wake of the so-called "Arab Spring" and perturbed the entire region of the Middle East. What had begun as peaceful demonstrations against the incumbent leadership of the country very quickly transformed into the violent conflict that has raged for about three years. As a primary world body fulfilling the watchdog functions over the protection of international peace and security, the UNSC was overwhelmed by the highly dynamic nature of the situation on the ground, and was embroiled in intensive deliberations on the ways to solve the Syrian crisis.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Ruben Tuitel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The Sinai Peninsula has been a center of conflict for many years, starting with the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. After Israel and Egypt signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, it became a peaceful region, strongly controlled by the military during Hosni Mubarak's rule in Cairo. Now, after several years of non-violence, the Sinai Peninsula is once again the center of a complicated conflict. Heavy protests across Egypt in 2011 forced Hosni Mubarak to step down from the presidency, creating a security vacuum in the Sinai that allowed radical Islamists to almost freely operate in the region. During the months that followed, insurgent groups grew in number, recruiting frustrated Bedouin who have been neglected by the Egyptian government for years.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Arabia, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Steven A. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Egypt is experiencing a deep economic crisis. The country's foreign currency r e serves are less than half of what they were before the January 2011 uprising, threatening Egypt's ability to pay for food and fuel. Egypt's budget deficit is 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its overall debt, which is the result of accumulated deficits, is more than the country's economic output. In this difficult economic climate, roughly 4 5 percent of Egyptians live on less than two dollars per day. Inflation, which reached as high as 12.97 percent after the July 2013 military coup, is currently at 11.4 percent. Tourism revenue—traditionally a primary source of foreign currency along with Suez Canal tolls and remittances from Egyptians working abroad—is less than half of what it was in the last full year before the uprising. Foreign direct investment has dried up outside the energy sector. Unemployment remains high at 13.4 percent. Among the unemployed, 71 percent are between fifteen and twenty-nine years old. This economic weakness makes it politically difficult to address the problems that contribute to a potential solvency crisis because the necessary reforms will impose hardship on a population that is already experiencing economic pain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Lebanese Shiite armed movement Hizbollah has gone all-in for Syrian President Bashar Assad. It has shown it will back his regime by any means necessary, despite doubts about its capacity to win a decisive victory and regardless of the risks to the movement's own moral standing and cross-sectarian appeal. As it is drawn ever-deeper into its neighbour's civil war that seems poised to endure for years, it finds itself increasingly distracted from its original anti-Israel focus and risking a profound reshaping of its identity.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Governance
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As Aleppo goes, so goes Syria's rebellion. The city is crucial to the mainstream opposition's military viability as well as its morale, thus to halting the advance of the Islamic State (IS). After an alliance of armed rebel factions seized its eastern half in July 2012, Aleppo for a time symbolised the opposition's optimism and momentum; in the following months, it exposed the rebels' limits, as their progress slowed, and they struggled to win over the local population. Today, locked in a two-front war against the regime and IS, their position is more precarious than at any time since the fighting began. Urgent action is required to prevent the mainstream opposition's defeat: either for Iran and Russia to press the regime for de-escalation, to showcase their willingness to confront IS instead of exploiting its presence to further strengthen Damascus; or, more realistically, for the U.S., Europe and regional allies to qualitatively and quantitatively improve support to local, non-jihadi rebel factions in Aleppo. Any eventual possibility of a negotiated resolution of the war depends on one course or the other being followed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Palestinian refugee question, like the refugees themselves, has been politically marginalised and demoted on the diplomatic agenda. Yet, whenever the diplomatic process comes out of its current hiatus, the Palestinian leadership will be able to negotiate and sell a deal only if it wins the support or at least acquiescence of refugees – because if it does not, it will not bring along the rest of the Palestinian population. Refugees currently feel alienated from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which they regard with suspicion; doubt the intentions of Palestinian negotiators, whom they do not believe represent their interests; and, as one of the more impoverished Palestinian groups, resent the class structure that the PA and its economic policies have produced. As a result of their isolation, refugees in the West Bank and Gaza are making demands for services and representation that are reinforcing emerging divisions within Palestinian society and politics. There arguably are ways to address refugee needs, both diplomatic and practical, that are not mutually exclusive with core Israeli interests. This report examines what could be done on the Palestinian side to mitigate the risk that the Palestinian refugee question derails a future negotiation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Refugee Issues, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Depuis le soulèvement populaire de décembre-janvier 2010-2011, la Tunisie surmonte avec succès ses crises politiques, mais le pays semble moins disposé à absorber le choc d'attaques jihadistes plus importantes. Malgré le dialogue national qui a fortement réduit les tensions et a fait débuter l'année 2014 sur une touche optimiste, l'inquiétude grandit de nouveau. Cette appréhension peut s'expliquer par la montée des violences à la frontière algérienne, le chaos libyen et l'avancée de l'islamisme radical au Moyen-Orient, mais également par le discours antiterroriste ambiant. Caisse de résonnance des conflits qui agitent la région, le pays a besoin d'aborder la question terroriste de manière sereine et dépolitisée, malgré les enjeuxinternationaux. La lutte contre le terrorisme et la lutte contre le crime organisé sont indissociables. Le gouvernement gagnerait ainsi à accompagner ses mesures sécuritaires par des mesures économiques et sociales destinées à ramener les populations frontalières dans le giron de l'Etat.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le duel qui oppose le président sortant Moncef Marzouki à l'ancien chef de gouvernement Béji Caïd Essebsi dans le cadre du second tour de la présidentielle, prévu le 21 décembre 2014, révèle les lignes de fracture de la société tunisienne que les élites politiques croyaient avoir résorbées grâce à leur sens du consensus et du compromis. La cartographie électorale des législatives et du premier tour montre une Tunisie divisée entre un Nord en grande partie pro-Essebsi et son parti Nida Tounes, et un Sud majoritairement pro-Marzouki et favorable au parti islamiste An-Nahda. Afin d'éviter que les craintes réciproques finissent par conduire à des violences, le vainqueur de ce premier scrutin présidentiel libre et concurrentiel devra d'abord reconnaitre les inquiétudes de l'électorat du vaincu. Pouvoir exécutif et législatif devront s'engager de concert à traiter la question du déséquilibre régional et prévenir les risques de blocage institutionnel ou de répression des oppositions.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Mark Perry
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Fire is both the symbol of revolution and its most potent weapon. Much like the American Revolution and other key historic events, the Arab Spring began with fire when Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight to protest his treatment by police. Ever since the Arab Spring's onset, experts have debated about its eventual conclusion and concentrated on major forces, including the army and the clergy. The future of the revolutions, however, rests with the masses in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria. The uprisings marked deep and irreversible changes in the Arab world and will inevitably entail future repercussions. For onlookers, the best policy is not to interfere, but to let the fire burn.
  • Topic: Islam, History
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Berdal Aral
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper examines the position of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during the Arab revolutions of 2010-2013. In the early 1990s, the UNSC devised the doctrine of 'humanitarian intervention' which was premised on the view that systematic and comprehensive human rights violations within a state could pose a “threat to international peace and security.” Nevertheless, the Security Council consistently failed to act during the course of Arab uprisings due to a number of structural and procedural problems, including the primacy of national interests, permanent members' disagreement about the meaning of 'collective security,' and the isolated nature of decision-making whereby the substance of major resolutions is negotiated behind closed doors.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Sajjad H. Rizvi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Story of Islamic Philosophy You cannot judge a book by its cover – or even its title. Now and then, a work comes along that forces us to take notice of what the author means by giving his work a particular title. Certainly, those who pick up The Story of Islamic Philosophy might expect a conventional history of the philosophical endeavour in the world of Islam, starting with the translation movement and the appropriation of Aristotelianism and ending with the 'eclipse' of 'rational discourse' in medieval mysticism and obscurantism. The study of philosophy in Islam is rather polarised: the traditional academic field of 'Arabic philosophy' starts with the Graeco-Arabica and is very much in the mould of understanding what the Arabs owed to the Greeks and then what the Latins owed the Arabs. This book is a story of Aristotle arabus and then latinus, and hence it is not surprising that the story culminates with the ultimate Aristotelian, Averroes. Many Arab intellectuals, such as the late Muḥammad ʿĀbid al-Jābirī, have been sympathetic to such readings and wished to revive a sort of Averroist Aristotelianism in the name of reason and enlightenment. In particular, they wished to save the Arab-Islamic heritage from its 'perversion' by the Persians, starting with Avicenna and Ghazālī who initiated the shift from reason and discourse to mystagogy and 'unreason.' The models for this tradition of philosophy are the Metaphysics and the Organon of Aristotle. However, the Greek heritage was always much more than Aristotle – Plato and the thoroughly neoplatonised Aristotle were critical. If anything, a serious historical engagement with the course of philosophy in the late antiquity period, on the cusp of the emergence of Islam, demonstrates that philosophy was much more than abstract reasoning, discourse and a linearity of proof.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Malik Mufti
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the first years of its tenure in office, as the AK Party focused on consolidating its position domestically, Turkey's reengagement with the Arab world after decades of alienation took a largely unproblematic form. Inevitably, however, as Turkish activism deepened, conflicts of interest emerged both with other aspirants to regional influence such as Iran and Israel, and then - especially after the outbreak of the 2011 uprisings - with many Arab regimes as well. The future character of Turkey's engagement with its Arab neighbors will depend on its ability to combine an adherence to a conception of community based on Islam rather than ethnic nationalism, with a commitment to democratization both at home and regionally.
  • Topic: Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Murat Yeşi̇ltaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the critiques directed at Turkish foreign policy during the AK Party administration. There are three basic critiques leveled at the foreign policy that has been followed by the AK Party: Islamist ideology, geopolitical codes, and lack of capacity in foreign policy. These criticisms will be examined through a multi-layered approach, whereby they will be contextualized in terms of global fragmentation (macro level), regional disorder and fragmentation (meso level), and restoration in domestic politics and the opponents within Turkey towards these policies (micro level). A look at the challenges that Turkish foreign policy faces today and the search for a new foreign policy model will follow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Phinnemore, Erhan İçener
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the reasons for frustration and pessimism about Turkey-EU relations. It focuses on the impact of the crisis in Europe, the 2014 EP elections and selection of Jean- Claude Juncker for the Commission President post on Turkey\'s EU accession process. Finally, the paper tries to answer how the currentpessimism over Turkey-EU relations can be overcome.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Arabia
  • Author: Andrew A. Szarejko
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Some 15 to 20 years from today, it will be illuminating to examine how academic and policy circles read the period from early 2013 to late 2014 in Turkey. There are many competing narratives about the future of the country. One pessimistic reading that is currently popular with many American observers of Turkey goes as follows: the so-called "Turkish model" was all the rage just a couple years ago. Turkey was prospering and democratizing under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which was hailed for its successful fusion of Islamic values and democratic governance.
  • Topic: Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Suna Gülfer Ihlamur-öner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The EU has been involved in democracy promotion in the Mediterranean for many years. However, it is facing criticism from its members and partners for prioritizing security and stability over democracy. Particularly following the Arab uprisings, the effectiveness of the EU's efforts have increasingly been called into question and demands for a new approach towards democratization in the Mediterranean are growing. Ann-Kristin Jonasson's book, The EU's Democracy Promotion and the Mediterranean Neighbors: Orientation, Ownership and Dialogue in Jordan and Turkey, systematically evaluates the EU's democratization efforts by focusing on democracy promotion in two Mediterranean countries, Jordan and Turkey, and effectively addresses the major pitfalls in the EU's strategy. Therefore, it is a timely contribution as the Arab revolutions have forced us to reconsider the prospects for democratization in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Arabia, Jordan