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  • Author: Assaf Orion
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Serious change is required to avoid decisions that accommodate Hezbollah’s ends, ways, and means, and a vital first step is to look at current policy mechanics with a clear eye. With this month marking the thirteenth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and the end of the 2006 Lebanon war, the council will soon hold its yearly debates about renewing the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. Contrasting the Secretary General’s latest report on 1701 with thirteen years of lessons learned reveals a clear pattern: the victory of consciously false hopes over hard experience, particularly when viewed from Israel’s perspective. Breaking this pattern will require substantial changes to the force’s size, mission, and conduct.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, United Nations, Governance, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Green
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recent U.S. attention in Yemen has focused largely on the war against the Iranian-backed Houthis, but another threat endures: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. U.S. efforts to confront AQAP have historically relied on counterterrorism approaches such as air and drone strikes, direct-action raids, and partnerships with indigenous and coalition security forces. But the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda has shown impressive resiliency by adopting a "hearts and minds" and local governing strategy to secure support, making it difficult to defeat. Its continuing strength requires a rethinking of the U.S. approach, one that confronts the terrorist group’s political strategy as much as its military strategy. In this Policy Focus, Daniel Green, a former defense fellow at The Washington Institute, draws on extensive research and interviews with Yemeni officials and civil society leaders to propose a new framework for defeating AQAP. His recommendations call for a U.S. strategy that extends beyond using strictly counterterrorism approaches and encompasses governance reform, capacity building, and enlisting locals in their own defense. Only through the active participation of communities in their security and governing can AQAP truly be defeated.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Governance, Reform, Al Qaeda, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Markus Loewe, Bernhard Trautner, Tina Zintl
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The social contract is a key concept in social science literature focusing on state–society relations. It refers to the “entirety of explicit or implicit agreements between all relevant societal groups and the sovereign (i.e. the government or any other actor in power), defining their rights and obligations towards each other” (Loewe & Zintl, forthcoming). The analysis of social contracts helps the understanding of: (i) why some societal groups are socially, politically or economically better off than others, (ii) why some revolt and demand a new social contract and, thus, (iii) why a country descends into violent conflict. In addition, the concept shows how foreign interventions and international co-operation may affect state–society relations by strengthening the position of the state or of specific societal groups. It illustrates that state fragility, displacement and migration can arise from social contracts becoming less inclusive. Nevertheless, the term “social contract” has so far been neither well defined nor operationalised – to the detriment of both research and of bi- and multilateral co-operation. Such a structured analytical approach to state–society relations is badly needed both in research and in politics, in particular but not exclusively for the analysis of MENA countries. This briefing paper sets the frame, suggesting a close analysis of (i) the scope of social contracts, (ii) their substance and (iii) their temporal dimension. After independence, MENA governments established a specific kind of social contract with citizens, mainly based on the redistribution of rents from natural resources, development aid and other forms of transfers. They provided subsidised food and energy, free public education and government jobs to citizens in compensation for the tacit recognition of political regimes’ legitimacy despite a lack of political participation. But with growing populations and declining state revenues, some governments lost their ability to fulfil their duties and focused spending on strategically important social groups, increasingly tying resource provision to political acquiescence. The uprisings that took place in many Arab countries in 2011 can be seen as an expression of deep dissatisfaction with social contracts that no longer provided either political participation or substantial social benefits (at least for large parts of the population). After the uprisings, MENA countries developed in different directions. While Tunisia is a fair way towards more inclusive development and political participation, Morocco and Jordan are trying to restore some parts of the former social contract, providing for paternalistic distribution without substantial participation. In Egypt’s emerging social contract, the government promises little more than individual and collective security, and that only under the condition of full political acquiescence. Libya, Yemen and Syria have fallen into civil wars with no countrywide new contract in sight, and Iraq has been struggling for one since 2003. In addition, flight and migration also affect the social contracts of neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. All MENA countries are designing, or will need to design, new social contracts in order to reduce the current instability and enable physical reconstruction. This briefing paper informs on the status of conceptual considerations of social contract renegotiation in MENA countries and its meaning for international co-operation with them.
  • Topic: Government, Governance, Legitimacy, Institutions, Services, Social Contract
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Efe Baysal
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Let us face it: we are in the midst of a catastrophe, a state of calamity unprecedented in human history. We are living in those scenarios that once depicted a terrible future due to “global warming”. Extreme weather events, not-so-natural disasters have become the new norm. Given the fact that more than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas, it is fair to say that these new climate norms pose an especially dire threat to cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Economy, Crisis Management, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Sezai Ozan Zeybek
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: I aim to open to discussion one of the critical barriers to potentially transformative environmental policies. In response to challenging problems there are moves being carried out to save the day, to make it seem like the issue is already solved. These moves end up postponing the real solutions. This is a trap that not only municipalities, public institutions and companies, but even civil society falls into.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Governance, Democracy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Emrah Irzık
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Founded on a rationale that is different than access to income and the benefits of social security systems such as pensions and health insurance which are earned in exchange for work, the importance of social assistances today is increasing both in the quantitative and in the qualitative senses. To what extent however is the present social assistances regime in Turkey that is fragmented, insufficient and based on debatable principles, able to respond to the changing face of poverty?
  • Topic: Poverty, Governance, Social Policy, Universal Basic Income
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Akif Burak Atlar
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The resurfacing of ‘populist’ legal arrangements such as raises for civil servants and pensioners, minimum wage policies, paid military service and debt restructuring that carry along vote potential are a strange tradition of our country’s politics. Zoning Peace is a legal arrangement that was part of the omnibus bill passed in the run up to the 24 June elections. As the 2018 version of zoning amnesties which have been recurring throughout Turkey’s urban history and creating spatial and legal chaos by redefining zoning rights, it has taken its place in the urban planning dictionary. What will then be the practical outcome of this new edition zoning amnesty?
  • Topic: Governance, Legislation, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Tuna Kuyucu
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Large scale urban renewal projects, or ‘urban regeneration’ projects as commonly known in Turkey, are one of the most important political tools for the transition of cities from industry into service-heavy economic structures. Since 1970s regeneration projects have triggered substantial changes in urban economic geographies and caused extensive demographic shifts in the idle industrial, coastal and low socioeconomic residential areas of cities in late-capitalist countries. Yet, in Turkey they have started being implemented much later, with the first comprehensive regeneration policy devised in 2005 when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. Until 2000’s there existed significant financial and legal barriers to urban renewal. Struggling with budget deficits and high interest rates throughout the 90s, the state was not financially capable of urban renewal, which requires significant resources. On the other hand, Turkey’s local governance policies and financing did not allow municipalities to implement such projects by themselves. Finally, private sector actors (real estate investment trusts, major contractors, finance companies) lacked either any interest or the resources for urban renewal projects in the pre-2002 period characterised by high interest rates and inflation. When all these factors combined, despite serious need for regeneration and renewal in Turkey’s cities, unfortunately regeneration projects almost never came to life.
  • Topic: History, Governance, Legislation, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Emre Koyuncu
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: We are getting in the mood of the March 2019 local elections just as the general election has ended, and it looks as if the boat will be pushed out once again. Really, we do have a budget, right? At present, it remains an uncertainty how the central budget, our shared pool of resources, will be managed. Yet, we shall see how changes in the relations between the actors responsible for the tools, if not in the tools themselves, are reflected in practice. Hoping that they are at least transparent, we will examine budget transparency for democratic governance mainly through the lens of local government.
  • Topic: Governance, Budget, Elections, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bürge Elvan Erginli
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This policy brief is published in the framework of “Inclusive Local Governance for Sustainable City” project under the umbrella project “Supporting Sustainable Cities” of TESEV funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty. Actors of various sizes all participate in local programmes, plans and actions on the path towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals. International and regional cooperation are necessary for attaining these goals, for which central government may prove more crucial in its effects, while the inclusion of local actors is imperative for following both a more efficient path and achieving democratic participation. It is thus timely to highlight the importance of local participation in identifying and implementing the 11th Sustainable Development Goal, Sustainable City and Human Settlements. This goal, in which the issues of the right to the city under inclusion(1) the creation of accessible and safe urban spaces for all, and the active and direct participation of civil society come to the forefront, necessitates the active participation of metropolitan municipalities of local governments, as well as district municipalities which are in most contact on many issues with the city’s residents.
  • Topic: Education, Governance, Children, Inequality, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East