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  • Author: Bassma Kodmani, Hana Jaber
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Before 2011, the Syrian diaspora worldwide was estimated at 18 million people who migrated over more than a century and have mostly contributed actively to their host communities. This old diaspora has now increased with the wave of Syrian refugees who fled - and continue to flee - Syria because of the ongoing conflict. Over the past seven years, seven million Syrians - not all registered refugees – have fled the country out of a total population of 24 million before the conflict. The Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) conducted a research project between Spring 2017 and 2018 to study Syrian diaspora around the world after the 2011 uprising, map its features and explore the interactions of Syrian migrant communities with the conflict in Syria. To draw a map of these interactions, ARI commissioned a group of researchers to prepare studies on Syrian diaspora in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Regarding the Middle East, researchers conducted studies on the presence of Syrians in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt as well as Gulf States, with Qatar and the UAE as case example. Furthermore, ARI prepared three papers on the experiences of other diaspora groups in the region, namely the Armenian, the Palestinian, and Lebanese, with a view to comparing them with the Syrian case and draw lessons from them. Finally, ARI shared a questionnaire with the researchers to use with Syrian personalities (academics, businesspeople, engineers, etc.) so as to explore the motives that could encourage or deter them from contributing to channel the potential of the Syrian diaspora to help in the recovery of the Syrian society in Syria and abroad. Researchers also focused on the living conditions of Syrian communities, new and old, in diaspora countries. The ensuing report draws a new globalized network of relationships characterized by the following:
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Refugees, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Syria, North America
  • Author: Taher labadi
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Displacement, dispersal, denial of nationhood, and global power shifts define the existence of the Palestinian diaspora, hindering their ability to connect to each other and to their homeland. This paper outlines diaspora-homeland relationships that, it argues, are shaped by both settler-colonial policies and globalization. “Diasporization” also impacts power dynamics among Palestinians, reflected in the shifting centre of gravity of Palestinian politics toward the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the growing marginalization of the Palestinian diaspora – especially those residing in neighbouring Arab countries. This paper also addresses the emergence of Palestinian diaspora elites who have been involved in inward-bound dynamics within the state-building process. Of particular note are increasing attempts to mobilize Palestinian “expatriates,” intending to strengthen their involvement in both economic development and state-building processes.
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Colonialism, State Building, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nora Ragab, Amer Katbeh
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This research was commissioned by Danish Refugee Council’s (DRC) Diaspora Programme as part of a project with the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP) joint initiative of DRC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). This study seeks to explore Syrian diaspora mobilisation in six European host countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The report focuses on the organisational framework, transnational links and practices of Syrian diaspora groups, by taking into account both internal dynamics and potential lines of conflict as well as the contextual factors in the country of origin and destination. The mapping and study seek to provide a basis for further engagement with the most relevant group of Syrians (associations and individuals) across Europe for consultations on future solution scenarios for Syrian refugees, as well as to enable DRC’s Diaspora Programme to develop activities specifically targeting the Syrian diaspora looking towards the reconstruction and development of Syria.
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Refugee Issues, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, France, Germany, Denmark, Syria, Switzerland, Sweden
  • Author: Kheder Zakaria
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The paper begins with a review of the stages of Syrian emigration to the Arab oil-producing countries, before and after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, as well as the trends of Syrian emigration to the Gulf states, and size of Syrian immigrant communities in each. Despite the lack of sources on the number of Syrians in these countries, and the lack of accuracy of the sources that are available, the paper estimates the number of Syrians in these countries at fewer than 600,000 immigrants in 2011. The figure rose to between one million and 1.5 million across years of conflict. About 14% of these work in the top professions, and 11% as specialists and technicians. The study also examines the characteristics of the Syrian emigration to the Gulf states (the temporary nature of the immigration, the difficulty of organization, and having to work in other areas of specialties than their own, etc.). The study concludes with the presentation of the most important results of a questionnaire in which seven Syrian elites took part.
  • Topic: Refugee Issues, Immigration, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria, OAPEC
  • Author: Maher Al Junaidy
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the situation of Syrians in the UAE, and their readiness to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria. It has two parts: The first part begins with a look at the history of the Syrian community in the UAE, and then examines the influx of “new Syrians” into the UAE after 2011. It also sheds a light on Syrian groups and organizations assembled by Syrians in the UAE before and after the 2011 Revolution in response to political change in Syria. Finally, it examines the cracks within the Syrian community and its organizations. It concludes by examining the volume of Syrian capital in the UAE, and the economic sectors in which it is located. The second part is based on a survey, conducted by the researcher on a selected sample of Syrian economic, academic, and professional elites residing in the UAE, that conveys their views on the issue of reconstruction in Syria.
  • Topic: Reconstruction, Arab Spring, Revolution, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Damascus, UAE
  • Author: Hana Jaber
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the dynamics generated, since 2011, by the influx of 673000 people who have fled the repression of the Syrian regime, and the deterioration of living and security conditions in Syria. By focusing on the new representation of Syrians in Jordan as situation deteriorated into a civil war, the study targets three main topics: 1) the rooted presence of Damascene presence in Transjordan, and its historical role in the Jordanian administration, polity, and economy; 2) the emergence of “Syrian refugees” as a new social category, stigmatized by public policies and discourses, that plays an significant role in the political and social equations of host countries; 3) the vital input of Syrian investors, skilled and/ or qualified people, and manpower, in transforming Syrian tragedy into dynamic opportunities that impacts positively both host and newcomer societies, these opportunities being meant to play an key role when the conflict in Syria will come to an end.
  • Topic: Civil War, Refugee Issues, Immigration, Repression
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan, Damascus
  • Author: Sasha Al-Alou
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper describes Syrian emigration to Turkey since 2011, and the forms of organization in which Syrian refugees have engaged. It provides figures on the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey inside and outside the camps and the places of their distribution in Turkey, by province. The paper also studies this distribution according to three factors: the nature of asylum (individual/group), the ethnic factors for the groupings, and investment associations. It examines the fissures in the relations between the Syrians in Turkey (based on the region, class, or profession within the Syrian institutions). In addition, it addresses forms of solidarity within Syrian communities in Turkey and inside Syria. These forms of solidarity are classified into three categories: economic, relief, and cultural and political. The paper concludes that the Syrian elite, with its various specializations, was not immune from the situation in Syria; rather the elite also continues to provide support within Syria, and looks forward to the post-conflict phase, in which it can participate in all aspects of reconstruction.
  • Topic: Civil War, Immigration, Refugees, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Damascus
  • Author: Rayan Majed
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper is an attempt to monitor the situation of the Syrian diaspora in Lebanon from 2011 until today, without claiming full coverage of all aspects of the subject. It focuses on four diaspora categories as well as the reflection of the Lebanese-Syrian historical relationship and the internal political situation in Lebanon on the Syrian diaspora there. The paper relies on reports from international and human rights organizations and articles on Syrian asylum in Lebanon, and on interviews with Syrian residents living in Lebanon from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Topic: Civil War, Regional Cooperation, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Beirut, Damascus
  • Author: Basma Alloush
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian American diaspora has been actively engaged in the Syrian uprising through the provision of humanitarian assistance and the entry into political advocacy work. Yet, the Syrian diaspora in the U.S. does not represent a homogenous population group nor a unified political position. On the contrary, assessing the dynamics of the diaspora since 2011 reveals important transformations within diasporic groupings, with the 2011 uprising acting as a catalyst for the emergence of new fractures. Through a mixture of desk research and interviews with key members of the Syrian American diaspora, this paper investigates the evolution of the community and discusses the potential role of the diaspora in a post-conflict Syria. By assessing current and evolving trends within the diaspora from 2011, it is possible to shape future reconstruction plans to effectively include the Syrian American diaspora.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria, North America, Damascus
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Scholars and policymakers have increasingly recognized that Islamist movements and actors vary widely – from domestically oriented, quietist movements engaging in democratic systems to revolutionary, armed movements aiming to upend the nation-state system. Yet little has been done to understand how the nature of individual movements, and their success, often differs substantially at the subnational level. Some communities are much more likely to support different Islamist actors than others, and even the same movement may have very different strategies in some localities than others. Many questions remain regarding if and how Islamist movements and actors look or act differently in rural areas and secondary cities as they do in the capitals. To what extent do the strategies and performance of Islamists vary subnationally? And what explains this variation?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Long repressed, banned, and exiled, many Islamist movements and parties across the Middle East and North Africa witnessed a moment of electoral success after the 2011 uprisings. Since then, their fates have varied widely. Some have made significant compromises to stay in power, others have ostensibly separated their religious and political efforts, while others have been repressed more brutally than before or have fragmented beyond recognition. What accounts for these actors’ different adaptation strategies and divergent outcomes? Earlier this year, the Project on Middle East Political Science brought together a dozen top scholars for our 4th Annual workshop on Islamist politics to address these questions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Engaging and influencing public policy debates on areas of their expertise is a core part of the mission of academics. The last decade has in many ways been the golden age of academic policy engagement. Social media, the proliferation of online publishing platforms, and a generational change in disciplinary norms and practices has unleashed an impressive wave of writing by academics aimed at an informed public sphere. The Project on Middle East Political Science has worked to promote such public and policy engagement, with hundreds of academics each year contributing their expertise on the Middle East on publishing platforms such as The Middle East Channel and The Monkey Cage and through direct policymaker engagement.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: In years past, Islamist televangelists like Amr Khaled, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Tareq Suwaidan seemed like the future of Arab media. Advancing a form of “soft Islam” focused on personal betterment and religiosity, these preachers were seen by some as a potential counterweight to extremist voices and by others as a sinister leading edge of radicalization. The contretemps between Amr Khaled and Yusuf al-Qaradawi over the Danish Cartoons Crisis of 2006 inspired numerous academic articles
  • Topic: International Affairs, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ofra Bengio
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Kurds challenge the self-perceptions of the nation-states in which they reside: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq; and they have played a crucial role in combatting Islamic State. This study analyzes the rivalry and interdependence among the four parts of Kurdistan as well as the dynamics of their relations with regional countries and the international community. With the entire region in a state of flux, will the Kurds fulfill their dream for a state or autonomous existence of their own?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Self Determination, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Gil Feiler, Hayim Zeev
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Under the leadership of Sheikh Hamad al-Thani (1995-2013), Qatar established itself as a regional mini superpower. It launched and subsidized the global media giant Al Jazeera, poured billions into its unrivalled liquefied natural gas infrastructure, made a successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and diversified its economy through international acquisitions by its Qatari Investment Authority. This newfound wealth emboldened the emirate to attempt to broaden its diplomatic profile and extend its influence. And it is in this sphere that its maverick foreign policy, which at times spanned the world’s most fraught ideological lines, has led to increased tensions with its immediate neighbors and some unequivocal diplomatic disasters.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ahmed Abd Rabou
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This book focuses on Civil-Military Relations (CMR) in Egypt, a country that witnessed uprisings calling for democratic change in January 2011, which led to the ousting of Hosni Mubarak from the Presidency, the suspension of the constitution, and the dissolution of the parliament as well as the ruling of the National Democratic Party (NDP). Ironically, revolutionary forces in Egypt were dependent on the Egyptian military in taking these steps, with the military ultimately taking power some 30 months later.
  • Topic: Civil Society
  • Political Geography: Middle East