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  • Author: Sherif Mohy El Deen
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: These two papers are the result of field investigations into the bloody events that have erupted in the region of Kerdasa on the outskirts of Cairo and in the Sinai peninsula in late 2013. The papers observe the mechanisms by which the Egyptian security forces are dealing with the protests of the citizens there, and shed light on their continuing activities and psychological repression more than two years after the outbreak of the revolution. This repression continues despite talk of the need to change the security institutions and the essential challenge of changing the relationship between the state and its citizens to allow for the construction of a democratic foundation.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ibrahim El-Houdaiby
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With the charges against former President Mubarak thrown out of court - the Egyptian judiciary is being both praised and condemned by its citizens. "The crisis in the Egyptian judiciary is not that it needs legal and administrative “independence” from the executive… It’s that it needs to reform as a top priority… and emphasise its role of enforcing the law… and not permit anyone to act outside the context of the law or to act in a political manner that does not conform to the law."
  • Topic: International Law
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Dina El Khawaga
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: On July 7, 2014, following the government’s announcement of its plan to reduce the fuel subsidy, President Abd al Fattah al Sisi stated that “Egypt is in a state of war, many are hostile to it within and outside the country who do not want this country to be saved.
  • Topic: War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Heba Abou Shnief
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: While the Arab awakening has impacted the political economies of Arab states differently, the message that state-business relations can no longer afford to rely on pre-existing models of business advocacy has reverberated across the region. Rent-seeking, cronyism, patronage, and state capture have long been―to varying degrees—all features of state-business relations in the Arab world. In post-uprising countries, the rise and fall of regimes, the adoption of new constitutions, the holding of theoretically more open legislative elections, the emergence new interest groups and a more scrutinizing public are all dynamics that are likely to influence the mechanics of policymaking, and with it, legacy systems of private sector advocacy. While it is still too early to ascertain with certainty precisely how older business advocacy models might evolve to adapt to new realities, or how soon such adaptations might occur, the dynamics have already changed—particularly with regards to ‘state capture’—where challenges to pre-existing networks have paralleled challenges to incumbent regimes. Combining a desk study with extensive field interviews with key persons from the business sector, government and civil society in both Egypt and Tunisia, the research makes a preliminary examination of the initial attempts at policy advocacy by business interest groups during the transitions. In doing so, a deeper understanding of how those dynamics seem to have changed thus far, as well as an initial assessment of whether or not state capture has, perhaps, come to an end in any of the countries studied is made. Finally, a brief set of policy recommendations are presented on ways and means of improving advocacy processes so that national business interests might be better reflected in the economic policymaking calculus.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • 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: Paul Fishstein
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)
  • Abstract: AREU conducted field research in Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand and Nangarhar Provinces during the three agricultural years from 2010-11 to 2012-13, to explore the dynamics of opium poppy cultivation: the history of government policies and programmes and the ways in which these policies and programmes affected the ability of rural households to maintain their livelihoods.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, Rural
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • 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: Rahim Azami, Massouda Kohistani, Lena Ganesh
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)
  • Abstract: In the recent socio-economic culture of Afghanistan, as in most countries since the industrial revolution’s introduction of the artificial division between production and reproduction, women’s participation in the labour economy, whether productive or reproductive, has been invisible and unaccounted for in much policy-making, planning and budgeting. In parallel, socio-cultural practices specific to Afghanistan—often an uncertain mix between the Shari’āh and the customary laws followed by different ethnicities and tribes—have adversely affected the living conditions of women and girls. As a consequence, women’s practical and strategic needs have not been addressed by consecutive regimes. In parallel, the discourse of women’s human rights has not permeated much of the more recent rhetoric around “gender empowerment” to materially and politically improve the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Economic Policy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • 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
  • Author: Douglas Saltmarshe, Abhilash Medhi
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)
  • Abstract: This report finds that insufficient attention has been given to local governance in Afghanistan, despite the fact that most Afghan citizens encounter the state in provinces and districts. This neglect is inhibiting the significant efforts made in Kabul from having much impact on the ground. The research was undertaken over a 14 month period finishing in December 2010. It took place in 47 districts of Samangan, Jawzjan, Sar-i-Pul, Laghman, Wardak and Day Kundi Provinces, with additional time spent in two districts of Helmand. Key findings are presented under the following themes: Local Government Administration, Security and Justice, Service Delivery, and Representation.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan