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  • Author: Murhaf Jouejati
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Under the Assad regime, Syria acquired a well-deserved reputation as a repressive mukhabarat state dominated by vast, overlapping internal security agencies that operated with near impunity, reporting directly to the president. Having presided over so much destruction and division, however, it is likely that the Assad regime will eventually be replaced by a government with a better claim to legitimacy. Security sector reform will be a key challenge for establishing the legitimacy of any post-Assad political order, but what would such a system look like and how could it be constructed?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Michael Driessen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Much of the recent literature on the evolution of political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa has debated the extent to which Islamist political parties have become “secularized” in their political goals and rhetoric. In these studies, a comparison between the political secularization of Islamism and Christian Democracy is often alluded to, but rarely explored in depth. The two political religious movements share much in common with regards to their historical encounter with political liberalism and their intuitions about an ideal religious society. An uncritical comparison, however, obscures significant differences in the relationship of either movement to democratic institutions, traditional sources of religious authority, and the religious citizens of their nations. This paper qualifies the historical, institutional, and theological similarities of political Islam and political Catholicism. In doing so, it emphasizes the importance of the legacies of Catholic Christendom and Muslim Dar al-Islam as transnational, pre-Westphalian religious political orders and the idea of religious authority found in either. After articulating these bases of comparison, the paper considers how these religious legacies remain present in the transition to Christian or Muslim Democracies by exploring the rhetoric of Catholic civilization or Muslim civilization found in Pope Pius XII and Rachid Ghannouchi’s discourses on democracy.
  • Topic: Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mari Luomi
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Growth in Qatar in the past decade has been tremendous: the total population has increased by one million and the economy has grown four-fold, leading to the skyrocketing of energy and water demand and greenhouse gas emissions.2 This research paper argues that a crucial question in need of answering is: how important is the environment for Qatar? Fast growth in population and natural resource consumption, together with a pronounced emphasis on economic growth, have had devastating impacts on the country’s environmental and sustainability performance. Recently ranked as the country with the world’s highest ecological footprint,3 Qatar urgently needs to balance its natural resource use with the local environmental and ecosystem limits so as to ensure prosperity for its people and the environment far into the future. The same question applies to Qatar’s neighboring monarchies, which share very similar economic and demographic dynamics as well as similar political and climatic conditions.
  • Topic: Environment, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Qatar