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  • Author: Haya Al Noaimi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The Great Game in West Asia examines the strategic competition between Iran and Turkey for power and influence in the South Caucasus. These neighboring Middle East powers have vied for supremacy and influence throughout the region and especially in their immediate vicinity, while contending with ethnic heterogeneity both within their own territories and across their borders. Turkey has long conceived of itself as not just a bridge between Asia and Europe but in more substantive terms as a central player in regional and global affairs. If somewhat more modest in its public statements, Iran’s parallel ambitions for strategic centrality and influence have only been masked by its own inarticulate foreign policy agendas and the repeated missteps of its revolutionary leaders. But both have sought to deepen their regional influence and power, and in the South Caucasus each has achieved a modicum of success. In fact, as the contributions to this volume demonstrate, as much of the world’s attention has been diverted to conflicts and flashpoints near and far, a new great game has been unravelling between Iran and Turkey in the South Caucasus
  • Topic: International Relations, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: West Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratization but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Law, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: During the second half of the twentieth century, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was hit by a demographic wave that saw its youth population grow at an unprecedented rate. This youth bulge spurred national and international debate regarding the challenges and opportunities that the youth cohort brings to the region. The potential that young people have—either as agents of positive change or instability—was illustrated during the Arab uprisings. In the wake of the unrest, there is a need to expand our collective understanding of the lives of young people in the MENA region, and to examine factors that affect their normative transitions to adulthood. The narrative around Middle Eastern youth often centers on their social, political, and economic exclusion and marginalization. Living through decades of authoritarian rule and political instability, youth in the Middle East have struggled to fulfill their aspirations related to citizenship, livelihood, and social and political participation. Given the continued jobs crisis in the Middle East, where youth generally experience high rates of unemployment and where labor market activity, particularly among young women, remains strikingly low, understanding the economic exclusion of youth and the various means by which to redress it remain significant.
  • Topic: Education, Youth Culture, Entrepreneurship, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: The historic events of the Arab uprisings have been accompanied by profound changes in the role of traditional and new media across the Middle East. Early on in the revolts, printed and electronic media played critical roles in disseminating information, and conveying compelling sentiments, within and across national boundaries in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. As the uprisings grew in both intensity and scale, new media in the form of Twitter, Facebook, and the Blogosphere joined satellite television in helping facilitate popular mobilization aimed at overthrowing authoritarian establishments. Today, satellite television and the internet have become consequential in countries where popular uprisings are being cast in a sectarian light by some national and international actors, most notably in Bahrain and Syria.
  • Topic: International Organization, Social Movement, Popular Revolt, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Glittering skylines, high urbanization rates, and massive development projects in the Gulf have increasingly attracted the attention of urban development scholars and practitioners. Within the GCC, an average of 88 percent of the total population lives in cities, while on average only 56 percent of Yemen, Iraq, and Iran’s populations lives in urbanized spaces. The tempo and spatial ethos of urbanization in the Gulf differ markedly from patterns of traditional urbanism in other developing countries. Within a matter of decades, Gulf port cities have rapidly evolved from regional centers of cultural and economic exchange to globalizing cities deeply embedded within the global economy. Explicitly evident features of Gulf cities such as international hotel chains, shopping centers, and entertainment complexes have classified these cities as centers of consumption. Other urban trends, such as exhibition and conference centers, media and knowledge cities, and branch campuses of Western universities have integrated Gulf cities within numerous global networks. From the advent of oil discovery until the present day, forces of economic globalization and migration, national conceptualizations of citizenship, and various political and economic structures have collectively underpinned the politics of urban planning and development. While oil urbanization and modernization direct much of the scholarship on Gulf cities, understanding the evolution of the urban landscape against a social and cultural backdrop is limited within the academic literature. For instance, within the states of the GCC, the citizen-state-expatriates nexus has largely geared the vision and planning of urban real-estate mega-projects. These projects reflect the increasing role of expatriates as consumers and users of urban space, rather than as mere sources of manpower utilized to build the city. Other state initiatives, such as the construction of cultural heritage mega-projects in various Gulf cities, reveal the state’s attempts to reclaim parts of the city for its local citizens in the midst of a growing expatriate urban population.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Migration, Urbanization, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Increasingly, over the past few decades, the cross-border mobility of people and international migration has become a central and dynamic hallmark of human existence. While migration is by no means a recent phenomenon, present-day migratory experiences are increasingly informed by national and international policy settings, and by the needs of the global labor market. In contemporary times, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have emerged as the third largest hub of international labor migration. In recent years, migration to the GCC has attracted increasing journalistic attention, and a growing body of scholarship from academics. What has gone almost completely unnoticed, however, is the regional, intra-Arab aspect of the phenomenon. Migration into the Gulf region from other Arab countries by far outdates more recent, and comparatively more temporary, migratory patterns from South Asia and Western Europe. Not only are Arab migratory patterns into the GCC comparatively and qualitatively different from other similar patterns, the historical setting within which they have unfolded, the processes through which they have taken place, and their economic, sociological, and political consequences have all been different. This book examines the dynamics involved in the emergence of Arab migrant communities in the Gulf region, focusing specifically on how they came about, their overall sociological compositions and economic profiles, and the causes, processes, and consequences of their interactions with, and integration within, the host countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Migration
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: During the second half of the twentieth century, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was hit by a demographic wave that saw its youth population grow at an unprecedented rate. This youth bulge spurred national and international debate regarding the challenges and opportunities that the youth cohort brings to the region. The potential that young people have—either as agents of positive change or instability—was illustrated during the Arab uprisings. In the wake of the unrest, there is a need to expand our collective understanding of the lives of young people in the MENA region, and to examine factors that affect their normative transitions to adulthood. The narrative around Middle Eastern youth often centers on their social, political, and economic exclusion and marginalization. Living through decades of authoritarian rule and political instability, youth in the Middle East have struggled to fulfill their aspirations related to citizenship, livelihood, and social and political participation. Given the continued jobs crisis in the Middle East, where youth generally experience high rates of unemployment and where labor market activity, particularly among young women, remains strikingly low, understanding the economic exclusion of youth and the various means by which to redress it remain significant.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Youth Culture, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: A growing body of literature within the social science disciplines has developed over the last few decades around the concept of “state failure.” Initially, the scholarship focused on the poor economic performance of certain states, highlighting their weaknesses in delivering efficient economic growth and fostering development. An emerging developmental discourse, fuelled by the enthusiasm of international organizations that embraced the notion of inherent but potentially “fixable” weaknesses, added weight to this body of scholarship. Aid and assistance programs were implemented on the basis of this idea of state weakness, and on the assumption that these internal “weaknesses” could somehow be mitigated through externally-supported and specifically targeted development initiatives. Bilateral and multilateral efforts were devoted to turning these weak states around, supposedly from the brink of failure, into healthy, viable entities
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Fragile States
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Middle East experts, scholars, and laymen were equally caught off guard by the startling political upheaval that rippled through the Arab world like a contagious disease in early 2011. While the situation is still in flux and one cannot draw conclusions as to what will ultimately emerge, the unexpected nature of these Arab uprisings has certainly provoked debate around some of the existing assumptions about the domestic politics of the region. Over the years, a robust body of scholarship has developed focusing on the durability of authoritarian rule in the Middle East, and the remarkable resilience of the regimes in power. Much of this analysis has been based on the rigorous study of the patterns of socio-political behavior in the Middle East, both at the regional level of analysis as well as that of individual states, and, in particular, on the carefully crafted “ruling bargains” between regimes and their citizens.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East