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  • Author: Jacob Høigilt
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Jubilant celebrations followed the announcement of Hosni Mubarak's resignation as president of Egypt. The army has taken control of government, promising fundamental judicial and political reforms, but considering that the army has been the guarantor of the Egyptian regime since 1952, the future is far from certain. In the current dramatic situation, the question arises: who are the actors that have succeeded in bringing down Mubarak's regime, what are their aims, and what support base do they have? This paper provides an overview and assessment of the four groups that have emerged as major political players, and the role they may play in Egypt's ongoing political transition: the many-stranded but disciplined youth movement, the Council of Wise Men (lajnat al-hukama'), the National Association for Change, and the Muslim Brothers. The paper also considers the independent Egyptian judges who occupy a crucial position in the current situation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Moaaz Elzoughby
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Egyptian protest movement eventually won a historic victory with the achievement of its main demand, the resignation of Hosni Mubarak from Egypt's presidency. But the seventeen tumultuous days from the start of the demonstrations on 25 January until the president's departure on 11 February were far from straightforward in their course. In this eyewitness report, a researcher who was present during the crucial days when Cairo's Tahrir Square became the centre of the revolt reveals how the social composition and the moods of the movement fluctuated throughout the protest. Nothing was predetermined; even the events that led to the occupation of the square itself had elements of contingency about them. The interplay between a minority of politicised participants and a much larger group of non-political young people from Cairo's neighbourhoods was at the heart of the shifts that took place, which were in turn influenced by the tactics of security forces and the character of official media coverage. These factors, critical to the evolution of the movement and the outcome of the protest, may continue to be important in shaping the aftermath of Egypt's revolt.
  • Topic: Democratization, Insurgency, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The recent democratic revolution in Tunisia swept away the authoritarian regime of President Zein el Abidin Ben Ali who had long held a tight grip on power in the country. He used the police to spread fear among the population, appointed loyalists to the head of the national union and ensured the ruling party was the only real player in the political system. His family were a hive of corruption. When the population revolted, it was therefore swift and decisive.
  • Topic: Democratization, Insurgency, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Tal Becker
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amid efforts to relaunch and sustain Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israel's claim for recognition as a Jewish state continues to generate controversy. While Israel's leaders have insisted that such recognition is fundamental to any peace agreement, Palestinian and other Arab leaders have responded to the claim with consistent and widespread antipathy. To begin to explore how this issue might be appropriately addressed in the context of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is necessary to place the claim for recognition in its historical, political, and strategic context. We must consider the nature and legitimacy of the interests at stake and examine the alternatives for addressing them.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Even before the popular wave from Tunisia and Egypt reached Yemen, President Saleh's regime faced daunting challenges. In the north, it is battling the Huthi rebellion, in the south, an ever-growing secessionist movement. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is showing mounting signs of activism. Sanaa's political class is locked in a two-year battle over electoral and constitutional reforms; behind the scenes, a fierce competition for post-Saleh spoils is underway. Economic conditions for average Yemenis are dire and worsening. Now this. There is fear the protest movement could push the country to the brink and unleash broad civil strife. But it also could, and should, be a wake-up call, a catalyst for swift, far-reaching reforms leading to genuine power-sharing and accountable, representative institutions. The opposition, reformist ruling party members and civil society activists will have to work boldly together to make it happen. The international community's role is to promote national dialogue, prioritise political and economic development aid and ensure security aid is not used to suppress opposition.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Sherry Ricchiardi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: After the ouster of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, Iraq's tightly controlled state-run media underwent a transformation on two fronts: one driven by the Americans who made establishing a free press a priority; the other by an Iraqi citizenry that for three decades had been cut off from the free marketplace of ideas under a tyrannical regime.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Dr. Christine Sylva Hamieh, Dr. Jinan Usta
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Violence Against Women (VAW) is a major public-health and social problem which jeopardises women's development and abuses many of their basic human rights. Recent interventions to combat the problem have focused on including men – not as holders or perpetuators of privileges, but rather as potential and actual contributors to gender equality. These initiatives to include men in programmes to end VAW have achieved some success so far. Several studies in the Arab world have highlighted the importance of addressing VAW. However, of all gender-related issues it still receives the least recognition and acknowledgement from Arab states and policy makers. Instead, the struggle continues to be led by women's organisations fighting to remove all forms of discrimination against women.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The recent Israel-Hamas escalation returns a spotlight to Gaza and the Islamist movement's relationship with more militant organisations. Gaza arouses multiple concerns: does Hamas seeks to impose religious law; has its purported Islamisation stimulated growth of Salafi-Jihadi groups; and will al-Qaeda offshoots find a foothold there? Hamas faces competition from more radical Islamist groups, though their numbers are few, organisation poor, achievements against Israel so far minor and chances of threatening Gaza's government slight. The significance of Gaza's Salafi-Jihadis is less military capability than constraints they impose on Hamas: they are an ideological challenge; they appeal to members of its military wing, a powerful constituency; through attacks within and from Gaza, they threaten security; by criticising Hamas for not fighting Israel or implementing Sharia, they exert pressure for more militancy and Islamisation. The policy of isolating Gaza and ignoring Hamas exacerbates this problem. As the international community seeks new ways to address political Islam in the Arab upheaval's wake, Gaza is not the worst place to start.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Manama's crackdown and Saudi Arabia's military intervention are dangerous moves that could stamp out hopes for peaceful transition in Bahrain and turn a mass movement for democratic reform into an armed conflict, while regionalising an internal political struggle. They could also exacerbate sectarian tensions not only in Bahrain or the Gulf but across the region. Along with other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia purportedly is responding to dual fears: that the takeover would be tantamount to an Iranian one. Both are largely unfounded. It also is concerned protests might inspire similar movements among its own Eastern Province Shiites, oblivious that its involvement is likelier to provoke than deter them. Bahrain's brutal crackdown and Saudi interference fan flames both want to extinguish. The most effective response to the radical regime change threat or greater Iranian influence is not violent suppression of peaceful protests but political reform. Time is running short and trends are in the wrong direction.
  • Topic: Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Bahrain, Manama
  • Author: Barbara Freyer Stowasser
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Time is essential to the very structure of Muslim communal life. Times of ritual and worship of Muslim obligation are regulated according to celestial events, both lunar and solar, meaning that they are always place-specific and are seasonally adjusted on a daily basis. The sun measures the day with its four daylight prayers and—by the length of its absence—also controls the fifth, the night prayer. The moon measures the months and so also the year with its seasons of ritual celebrations. The Islamic calendar is an essential but oft-forgotten institution that has held the Islamic world together over wide geographic distances and for well-nigh a millennium and a half. One of its greatest advantages may have been that it was so low maintenance. By adopting a strictly lunar calendaric system, the beginnings (and thereby the ends) of the twelve months of the year, and therefore the year as a whole, could be determined empirically, anywhere, by way of sighting of the new moon that signaled a new month's beginning.
  • Topic: Islam, Political Theory, Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: La Tunisie est le pays où tout a commencé. C'est égale- ment le pays où la transition démocratique présente au- jourd'hui les plus fortes chances de succès. Les raisons en sont multiples, mais la plus significative réside dans l'ac- tivisme politique et la mobilisation sociale qui ont marqué l'histoire contemporaine du pays et que des décennies de répression n'ont pu mettre à mal. Cette tradition aura for- tement aidé la nation pendant le soulèvement, lors duquel travailleurs, sans-emplois, avocats et membres de la classe moyenne conjuguèrent leurs forces en un vaste mouve- ment. Elle devra à nouveau être mise à contribution alors que la Tunisie affronte des défis majeurs : comment satisfaire à la fois l'envie d'un changement profond et l'impé- ratif de stabilité ; comment intégrer l'islamisme dans le nouveau cadre politique ; et comment remédier aux immenses problèmes socio-économiques qui furent à l'origine de la révolution politique mais qu'en elle-même cette révolution est incapable de résoudre.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Patricia Weiss Fagan
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Programs to return refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes after conflict, implemented by national authorities with international support, frequently leave far too many without viable futures. The measures are often inadequate for three reasons: a widely shared but flawed assumption that the need to create a future for returnees is satisfied by restoring them to their prior lives; a lack of long-term engagement by implementing authorities; and a focus on rural reintegration when many refugees and IDPs are returning to urban areas. These arguments are illustrated in four country cases—Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Burundi. In each case, the places that refugees and IDPs were forced to flee have been greatly reshaped. They often lack security and economic opportunities; governance is weak and services are inadequate. Returnees have made choices about their futures in large part on the basis of these factors. While reclaiming land or receiving compensation for losses is important, the challenge for many returnees is to settle where they can maintain sustainable livelihoods; find peaceful living conditions; have access to health care, education, and employment opportunities; and enjoy full rights of citizenship. This may mean a move from rural to urban areas and a change in the source of income generation that has to be accounted for in the design of reintegration programs. Returning refugees and IDPs should be assisted for a sufficient amount of time to determine which location and livelihood will suit them best. For international organizations, this may involve greater creativity and flexibility in supporting returnees in urban settings. To accommodate inflows of returnees and their general mobility, national and local governments should develop urban planning strategies to manage the growth of their cities, coupled with regional development plans in rural areas that may involve investment in commercial agriculture. Linking rural and urban areas by strengthening government institutions can also provide returnees with more livelihood options and promote development.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Refugee Issues, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Middle East, Balkans, Burundi
  • Author: Alexander Wilner
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the assistance of Adam Seitz of the Marine Corps University, the Burke Chair has compiled a series of chronological reports that focus on Iranian perceptions of national security and assess Iran‟s intentions concerning competition with the US.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Martin Harrow
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Video-recorded decapitations have an enormous impact, they are cheap and easy, and they allow the terrorists to exploit the potential of the Internet. With these advantages, the tactic would have been expected to quickly spread across the globe as a favored tactic. Yet, years after its invention in 2002, this has not happened. This paper using evolutionary theory finds that video-recorded decapitations have not caught on for locally specific reasons: in the West because the tactic is less accessible than one might expect; in Iraq because of the unwillingness to be associated with Zarqawi, and in the Afghan context, it has not spread because it is mainly relevant for mobilizing resources from abroad, which is not a priority for the Taliban. These are however situational variables, and just as suicide bombings took years to spread, there may be campaigns of video-recorded decapitations as conditions change.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Middle East, Taliban
  • Author: Marwan Muasher
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The protests that spread throughout the Middle East in the spring of 2011 are calling greater attention to reform in the region. King Abdullah II has attempted to launch a number of political reform initiatives in Jordan since coming to the throne in 1999. But all efforts to open up the political system have been thwarted by a resilient class of political elites and bureaucrats who feared that such efforts would move the country away from a decades-old rentier system to a merit-based one. This group accurately predicted that reform would chip away, even if gradually, at privileges it had acquired over a long period of time in return for its blind loyalty to the system. It thus stood firm not just against the reform efforts themselves, but also in opposition to the king's own policies.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: Five months after the Arab uprising started in Tunisia, it has become possible to glimpse the likely outcomes for the region. The first section of this report traces the main political scenarios.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Oman
  • Author: Yair Aharoni
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In the first four decades of its existence, Israel was not successful in attracting inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) despite attempts to do so. In the past two decades, Israel have become a haven for multinational enterprises (MNEs) that have taken advantage of its unique assets – among them a skilled, educated workforce and cutting-edge research-and-development (R) capabilities – by establishing production lines or R centers and acquiring dozens of successful start ups. Israel's IFDI stock sharply increased from US$ 4.5 billion in 1990 to US$ 71.3 billion in 2009. It is expected that IFDI will further accelerate following Israel's accession to the OECD in May 2010 and as more firms from emerging market economies, including China and India, will come to appreciate its characteristics as an ideal locational choice. Israel also weathered the global economic crisis well, even though IFDI declined sharply. Israel actively encourages IFDI, mainly in high technology areas. In 2010, the Government also created special incentives to attract research centers of financial institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, India, Israel
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Syrian uprising has defied conventional expectations and patterns established elsewhere in the region from the outset. It happened, first of all, and to many that in itself was surprising enough. The regime was not alone in believing in a form of Syrian exceptionalism that would shield it from serious popular unrest. Once the uprising began, it did not develop quickly, as in Egypt or Tunisia. Although it did not remain peaceful, it did not descend into a violent civil war, as in Libya, or sectarian affair, as in Bahrain. To this day, the outcome remains in doubt. Demonstrations have been growing in impressive fashion but have yet to attain critical mass. Regime support has been declining as the security services' brutality has intensified, but many constituents still prefer the status quo to an uncertain and potentially chaotic future. What is clear, however, is the degree to which a wide array of social groups, many once pillars of the regime, have turned against it and how relations between state and society have been forever altered.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Rouzbeh Parsi
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the past two years the Iranian domestic political scene has undergone a major upheaval where many established norms and institutional frame-works have been abandoned or seriously weakened. A new baseline and sense of normalcy has yet to be established.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Andre Le Sage
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United States faces an important strategic question in northwest Africa: what level of activity by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) would constitute a sufficient threat to U.S. national security interests to warrant a more aggressive political, intelligence, military, and law enforcement response? AQIM already poses the greatest immediate threat of transnational terrorism in the region, and its operational range and sophistication continue to expand. Since 2007, the group has professed its loyalty to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's senior leadership and claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks in the subregion. These attacks have included the use of suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices, kidnapping operations, and assassinations.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The two rising powers in the Middle East—Turkey and Iran—are neighbors to Iraq, its leading trading partners, and rapidly becoming the most influential external actors inside the country as the U.S. troop withdrawal proceeds. Although there is concern in Washington about bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Iran, their differing visions for the broader Middle East region are particularly evident in Iraq, where a renewal of the historical Ottoman-Persian rivalry in Mesopotamia is likely as the dominant American presence fades. Turkey aims for a robust Iraqi political process in which no single group dominates, sees a strong Iraq as contributing to both its own security and regional stability, and is actively investing in efforts to expand Iraqi oil and gas production to help meet its own energy needs and fulfill its goal of becoming the energy conduit from the Middle East to Europe. Iran prefers a passive neighbor with an explicitly sectarian political architecture that ensures friendly Shiite-led governments; sees a strong Iraq as an inherent obstacle to its own broader influence in the region and, in the nightmare scenario, once again possibly a direct conventional military threat; and looks askance at increased Iraqi hydrocarbon production as possible competition for its own oil exports. Baghdad meanwhile believes that it can become a leader in the Middle East but is still struggling to define an inclusive national identity and develop a foreign policy based on consensus. In its current fractured state, Iraq tends to invites external interference and is subsumed into the wider regional confrontation between the Sunni Arab defenders of the status quo and the “resistance axis” led by Shiite Iran. Turkey has an opening in Iraq because it is somewhat removed from this toxic Arab-Persian divide, welcomes a strong Iraq, and offers the Iraqi economy integration with international markets. Ankara could now allay Iraqi Shiite suspicions that it intends to act as a Sunni power in the country and not allow issues on which Turkish and Iraqi interests deviate to set the tone for their relationship. The U.S. conceptualization of an increased Turkish influence in Iraq as a balance to Iran's is limited and could undermine Turkey's core advantages by steering it towards a counterproductive sectarian approach. A more productive U.S. understanding is of Turkey as a regional power with the greatest alignment of interests in a strong, stable, and selfsufficient country that the Iraqis want and that the Obama administration has articulated as the goal of its Iraq policy. On the regional level, a strong and stable Iraq is a possible pivot for Turkish and Iranian ambitions, enabling Ankara and hindering Tehran. Washington may well have its differences with Turkey's new foreign policy of zero problems with its neighbors, but the Turkish blend of Islam, democracy, and soft power is a far more attractive regional template than the Iranian narrative of Islamic theocracy and hard power resistance. The United States should therefore continue to welcome increased Turkish-Iraqi economic, trade, and energy ties and where possible support their development as a key part of its post-2011 strategy for Iraq and the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Imperialism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Søren Jessen-Petersen
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With the end of the Cold War, internal conflicts targeting civilian populations proliferated. As international political institutions struggled to figure out how to deal with these conflicts, humanitarian action often became a substitute for decisive political action or, more worryingly, was subsumed under a political and military agenda. The increasing militarization and politicization of humanitarian efforts have led to growing ineffectiveness of humanitarian action on the ground and greater dangers for humanitarian workers. Without a vigorous restatement of the principles of humanitarianism, humanitarian action will remain in a state of crisis and continue to be a selective tool for the powerful and hence fail in its global mission of protecting and restoring the dignity of human life. There are six main causes of the humanitarian crisis, which first began to manifest itself in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo and later in Afghanistan and Iraq. These causes are principally structural and operational in nature. The new post–Cold War types of conflict have thrown humanitarian workers and organizations into the middle of conflicts, with a constant risk of being perceived as taking sides. Many humanitarian agencies and their donors too easily and uncritically accept the conditions for involvement set by the military in those increasingly frequent operations where security forces are part of the integrated response to a crisis. This problem is aggravated by the fact that key military forces often come from the countries that are also donors to the humanitarian organizations. As recent events in the Arab world demonstrate, there can be no stability if human security is not protected. The main protection responsibility is the legal protection of the displaced and refugees. Today, humanitarian staff is often obliged to provide physical protection and assistance in the midst of conflict zones. There are far too many humanitarian organizations present in new and major emergencies. For example, in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there were more than nine hundred international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground. Although there has been considerable improvement in the coordination among humanitarian agencies, a continued lack of coherence among political, security, development, humanitarian, and human rights agencies continues to pose serious problems. In too many operations, the presence of a noticeable number of humanitarian NGOs from the North and the West give weight to the perception in many countries in the South that humanitarian operations are an integral part of a political strategy to maintain and increase the power and dominance of the North and West. The challenges confronting humanitarian action have no easy answers. To begin to address the crisis, the international community should pay more attention to conflict prevention to minimize human costs and to mitigate the need for humanitarian action. Militaries should be trained in how to respect humanitarian principles in their operations, and humanitarian organizations should be proactive in maintaining impartiality and independence of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Cold War, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Middle East, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Desperate to survive at all costs, Syria's regime appears to be digging its grave. It did not have to be so. The protest movement is strong and getting stronger but yet to reach critical mass. Unlike toppled Arab leaders, President Bashar Assad enjoyed some genuine popularity. Many Syrians dread chaos and their nation's fragmentation. But whatever opportunity the regime once possessed is being jeopardised by its actions. Brutal repression has overshadowed belated, half-hearted reform suggestions; Bashar has squandered credibility; his regime has lost much of the legitimacy derived from its foreign policy. The international community, largely from fear of the alternative to the status quo, waits and watches, eschewing for now direct involvement. That is the right policy, as there is little to gain and much to lose from a more interventionist approach, but not necessarily for the right reasons. The Syrian people have proved remarkably resistant to sectarian or divisive tendencies, defying regime prophecies of confessional strife and Islamisation. That does not guarantee a stable, democratic future. But is a good start that deserves recognition and support.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro, Andrea Dessì
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Frustrated by years of inconclusive peace talks, the Palestinians are turning to the United Nations to gain recognition as an independent state. Their bid is opposed by Israel and the United States, with the latter threatening to block any bid for full UN membership in the UN Security Council. To bypass the US veto, the Palestinians plan to request recognition to the UN General Assembly, where they are sure to get the two-third majority of votes needed for the approval of the resolution. While legally non-binding, a favourable vote in the UNGA would be a political boost for the Palestinians' cause - or so they hope. Full EU backing would give critical political weight to the Palestinians' claim. EU states are deeply divided on the issue of Palestinian membership of the UN but instead of opposing the initiative altogether, the EU has been engaging the Palestinian leadership in the hope of modifying its stance. Should the EU fail to persuade the PA to give up on its request for full UN membership, it should abstain in bloc while tabling a concurring resolution that would spell out clearly the parameters for renewed peace talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, United Nations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Philippe Droz-Vincent
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Arab armies are closed and secretive actors. Yet they have been propelled to the fore in 2011, acting as midwifes and active participants in the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. Their posture vis-à-vis incumbent regimes is crucial in other Arab countries too - Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria - as the wave of popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes has spread. In view of this, there is an essential need to understand what kind of actors Arab armies are. The nature of armies in authoritarian settings shapes the pattern of resilience or of breakdown for regimes facing popular uprisings, and the prospect for various transition countries in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Massimiliano Fiore
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The latest IAEA Report suggests that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon capability. Preventing the Islamic Republic from becoming nuclear is the most important issue on Israel's agenda, and Jerusalem will do everything it can to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear capability. Considering the limited impact of international sanctions and covert operations, it is therefore possible that at some point in the next 12-15 months Israel's policy-makers and military officials will decide whether or not to act militarily to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Though the probability of successfully destroying all of Iran's nuclear targets is not very high, Israeli policy-makers and military officials would nevertheless still be extremely satisfied with delaying Iran's nuclear programme. But would it be worth all the trouble it would inevitably unleash? While Israeli fears are understandable, given the heavy costs and poor chances for success of the military option, containment still represents the most sensible policy for Israel.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Stefano Silvestri
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union urgently has to work out a new strategy towards the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It has to back the democratic transformations of Arab societies, but also assert the need for new cooperation in the field of security so that the inevitable changes do not produce new international crises and do not generate new threats. The EU can take advantage of a favourable situation which, however, may not last long. This is a crucial test for the Union's common foreign and security policy after Lisbon.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lisbon
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The revolts sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 have shaken long-held truths about the region. Most strikingly, the sustainability of these regimes has proved a chimera. The events in the region and the many truths they uncovered call for a serious rethink in Western policies towards the region. The aim of this paper is to explore what such a rethink might entail for the European Union. Reviewing the European Neighbourhood Policy by revamping the benefits on offer, reconsidering the effective use of conditionality, establishing adequate monitoring mechanisms and engaging with a plethora of partners both within and beyond the region is imperative. Such a review is contingent on the recognition of a reversed hierarchy of priorities, induced by the force of historical events unfolding in the region. To reverse policy priorities is no small feat, considering the entrenched logic that has sustained Euro-Med policies so far. Nonetheless, various dynamics press for a new way of thinking. The proposals contained in this study constitute concrete steps to rethink the EU's Mediterranean policies in line with the fundamental rights and principles which the Union seeks to advance in its external action.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Massimiliano Fiore
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Only a few weeks ago, no one could have believed that what the peoples of Tunisia and Egypt accomplished was possible: they defied their dictators and won, causing worldwide euphoria and celebration. Yet, while such activism has inspired fellow Arabs throughout the region, it has been met with fear and trepidation in Israel. Mubarak's downfall, combined with the growing unrest in the Middle East, makes it vital for Israel to recalibrate its strategies toward its neighbouring Arab states. Many political analysts believe that this is the ideal moment for Israel to push hard for resuming the stalled peace process with the Palestinians. Yet it is unrealistic to think that a comprehensive agreement can be reached at this time. While the Israeli-Palestinian peace track is very troubled, the Israeli-Syrian track seems more within reach, and in the vital interests of both countries.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Johnny West
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although Iraq's oil industry is 80 years old, it has an opportunity to introduce an oil dividend based on the expansion of production currently being undertaken. Even assuming a conservative price for crude, the resulting predicted rise in revenues will allow the government to allocate a significant dividend which halves poverty, helps diversify the economy by creating demand at all income levels for goods and services, and stimulates capital formation—all without cutting into the government's capital spending plans. A dividend, starting at $220 per capita in October 2012 and rising with expanded production, could also cement the affiliation of all citizens to Iraqi territorial integrity, act as a powerful disincentive to secession in oil-producing regions, and create popular pressure among all sections of the population to discourage acts by the ongoing insurgency which disrupt economic reconstruction. Logistically, dividends could be mapped onto the nationwide and universal rationing system, as the electoral roll has been, and combined with Iraq's ubiquitous mobile phone networks and new biometric ID cards. A partial dividend would create a strong domestic political constituency for transparency to reinforce international technical efforts to help the government manage oil revenues and create efficient management structures. It would also help Iraq develop an alternative economic model to a future, which the country's present trajectory now threatens, of a bloated state as the country's only significant employer, with all the attendant problems of patronage networks, politicization of the civil service, and outright corruption. Support for an oil dividend policy is growing among some politicians, notably those seeking votes among the Iraqi poor such as the Sadrists and Fadhila party. International support could help the government structure a dividend which functions well and in the public interest.
  • Topic: Development, Oil, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Haim Malka
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Profound demographic, social, and political transformations are reshaping the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Changes under way in both the United States and Israel have eroded traditional pillars of the relationship, brought new elements to the fore, and contributed to debates in each country about how to defend that country's interests in a rapidly changing strategic environment. Uncertainty is growing about how the United States and Israel can and should cooperate to secure their interests and confront common challenges in a region undergoing dramatic shifts. Even more profoundly, Americans and Israelis increasingly see each other's policy choices as undermining their interests. The trend deepens U.S. doubts of Israel's strategic value and reinforces Israeli fears about U.S. commitments and guarantees to its security.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Gabriel Koehler-Derrick (editor)
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Events in Yemen are moving at a rapid pace. Economic, environmental and political crises that have long limited Yemen's attempts at developing a strong centralized state now threaten to overwhelm the country. Protest movements similar to those that pushed out autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt have plunged Yemen into deeper instability, and multiple competing factions are currently fighting for control of the government. Reports of rising Islamist militancy and a stream of terror attacks by al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have raised fears that soon large parts of the country may be overrun by jihadists intent on striking the United State.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Elizabeth Sellwood
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Across the Middle East, the year 2011 already appears destined to be a period of upheaval. It is not yet clear how the dramatic events of January and February will influence the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but three factors suggest that this year will also be one of change for Palestinians and Israelis.
  • Topic: Regime Change, Territorial Disputes, Governance, Prisons/Penal Systems
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: All political forces in Egypt seem to agree: The country's premier religious institution, al-Azhar, must be made more independent from the regime. But that agreement is deeply misleading; it masks a struggle within al-Azhar and among leading political forces over its role in Egyptian society. Part mosque, part university, part center of religious research and knowledge, al-Azhar is perhaps the central—and certainly the most prestigious—element in the state-religion complex in Egypt.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Katherine Didow, Jinnyn Jacob
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In January 2011, protests started in Tunisia and Egypt, sparking a string of uprisings in the Muslim world, with consequences yet unknown. These monumental shifts caught many politicians, academics, journalists and pollsters by surprise. As world leaders scramble to formulate policy to confront these new realities, there is an urgent need for accurate and relevant public opinion data on the Muslim world.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In 2004, the U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi security forces faced a growing challenge from insurgents and militia groups as the country drifted toward civil war. In street battles with heavily armed insurgent and militia groups, Iraq's fledgling police units mutinied under fire and resigned en masse, pointing out shortfalls in the U.S. police training program. In response, the U.S. government transferred leadership of the U.S. police assistance program from the State Department to the Defense Department, which created heavy police tactical units capable of dealing with armed groups. At the same time, the Iraqi interior ministry independently organized police commando units composed of former Iraqi soldiers that successfully fought alongside U.S. military forces. In 2005, the installation of a new Iraqi government and the escalation of sectarian violence brought a change in the composition of the Iraqi police commando units. The new interior minister, a senior Shiite party official, enabled members of Shiite militia groups to take over the police commando units and engage in the kidnap, torture, and murder of Sunnis. To control police death squads, the U.S. military combined all of Iraq's heavy police and police commando units into a new entity, the Iraq National Police (INP). In October 2006, the U.S. military began a program to retrain police commando units that were engaged in sectarian violence. Over the following year, Iraq's new interior minister, Jawad al-Bolani, undertook a program to reform the INP, appointing a new commanding general, purging the officer corps, and inviting a training team from the Italian Carabinieri to provide advanced instruction for INP units. In 2007, INP units successfully partnered with U.S. combat brigade teams that were deployed to Baghdad as part of President Bush's surge of U.S. military force into Iraq. Over the next two years, the valor of Iraqi constabulary units and their acceptance in both Sunni and Shiite areas brought a new name, the Iraq Federal Police (IFP), and the deployment of an IFP unit to every province in the country. Lessons learned in the development of an indigenous police constabulary in Iraq should be applied to current and future stability operation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Law Enforcement, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Leila Stockmarr
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of new Islamist groups challenging Hamas from within is demarcating a new tendency towards inter-Islamist rivalry in Gaza. Based on original empirical data this report maps the Islamist milieu in Gaza. It offers a critical examination of how Hamas has governed Gaza since 2007 and why new Islamist groups in Gaza have emerged. The report argues that the phenomenon of new Islamists is diffuse and intangible. It does, however, relate to the question of the ideological price of governing in Palestine, and the repercussions of Hamas' rule and external policies upon the Islamist milieu in Gaza where, for the first time, an Islamist political body is in power. Two major aspects are motivating the emergence of new Islamist agendas: people's ideological grievances towards those in power and the instrumentalisation of ideology and religion in the midst of a power struggle between an increasingly authoritarian political body and its dissidents and challengers. In the face of governments which are failing to deliver, non-organised religious activity has become political power in Gaza.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Teresita Cruz-del Rosario, James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Shrines, squares and soccer stadiums have provided the settings for anti-government protests and people power in Southeast Asia and the Middle East in recent decades. At times used for mass detentions and torture of regime opponents by the security forces in the Middle East and North Africa, soccer stadiums became battlefields of resistance by soccer fans against autocratic rulers as the fans became politicized, clashing with security forces and increasingly using matches to shout anti-government slogans. The authors project those spaces as venues of political entitlement. They enabled protestors to overcome fear in confronting the regime in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Benghazi and elsewhere. They also generated a sense of entitlement and demands for far-reaching reforms in post-revolution Egypt and other North African and Middle Eastern countries.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Torture, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Mark Sedra
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The events of the Arab Spring are a unique and unprecedented opportunity for democratic political change for the Middle East and North Africa, but the political transitions in that region remain fragile. The United States and other external actors can help the new democratic regimes by supporting their efforts at security sector reform (SSR).
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The SIPRI Middle East Expert Group met four times over an 18-month period to consider how a regional security regime might be developed. The principal points of this report are:Further progress in the Middle East peace process would create a suitable political climate for consideration of a regional security regime.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Marwan Muasher
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Contrary to what ongoing protests across the Middle East and North Africa might imply, monarchs and ruling families in the Arab world still enjoy an extraordinary degree of legitimacy in the eyes of their people. Most citizens of Arab monarchies want to see changes within their ruling governments, not complete regime change. This in turn affords those rulers an opportunity to embark on a path of far-reaching political reform without losing their thrones—all the while gaining acclaim at home and abroad.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: With democratic change struggling to take root in the Arab world even after the fall of several autocratic regimes, the question naturally arises whether Turkey can serve as a model for those who hope to usher the region through the difficult transition to a more democratic order.
  • Topic: NATO, Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marwan Muasher, Muhammad Faour
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Any romantic notions in the West that the 2011 Arab uprisings could create instantaneous democracy in countries that have succeeded at toppling their leaders are already shattering. In the absence of strong political parties and viable civil society structures in most of the Arab world, these uprisings are proving to be only the first step in a process that will not follow a clear path and will take years to unfold. Much trial and error will take place and the region will experience multiple ups and downs before stable political and economic systems take hold.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Education, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: F. Gregory Gause III
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There is arguably no more unlikely U.S. ally than Saudi Arabia: monarchical, deeply conservative socially, promoter of an austere and intolerant version of Islam, birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Consequently, there is no U.S. ally less well understood. Many U.S. policymakers assume that the Saudi regime is fragile, despite its remarkable record of domestic stability in the turbulent Middle East. “It is an unstable country in an unstable region,” one congressional staffer said in July 2011. Yet it is the Arab country least affected in its domestic politics by the Arab upheavals of 2011. Many who think it is unstable domestically also paradoxically attribute enormous power to it, to the extent that they depict it as leading a “counterrevolution” against those upheavals throughout the region. 2 One wonders just how “counterrevolutionary” the Saudis are when they have supported the NATO campaign against Muammar al-Qaddafi, successfully negotiated the transfer of power from Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, and condemned the crackdown on protestors by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and how powerful they are when they could do little to help their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Karam Dana
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the Six-Day War and Occupation of 1967, economics, an area of study that affects social and political formulations and transformations, has entered the study of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a much larger extent: Palestinian workers in Israel, to an underdeveloped infrastructure in the Palestinian territories. More than four decades later, economic challenges continue to play a role in the affairs of the Palestinians: from affecting people's lives and their leadership on the one hand, and the relationship between the Palestinian and Israel on the other. Within Palestinian society itself, the dynamics of state-society relations have demonstrably been affected by economic transformations, but have yet to be fully studied in places of continuous occupation and conflict like the West bank and the Gaza Strip. This paper explores the challenges that have faced developmental attempts in Palestine since the occupation of 1967.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Bruce Jones, Camino Kavanagh
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As we began the process of drafting this review, citizens across the Middle East and North Africa took to the streets to demand an end to the abusive practices of the security services, more representative and responsive government institutions, the protection of their rights, greater access to economic opportunity, participation in decision-making, and access to justice. They began demanding, in short, the rule of law.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Democratization, International Cooperation, Post Colonialism, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: William Zartman, Laleh Khalili, Jillian Schwedler, Gamal Eid
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: In January and February 2011, populist uprisings toppled the authoritarian governments of Tunisia and Egypt, and similar revolts began to emerge in other Arab states, including Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen. An article in the 18 March 2011 issue of the Chronicle Review by Ursula Lindsey, "The Suddenly New Study of Egypt," addressed how these events had turned the study of persistent authoritarianism in the Arab world on its head. No longer, for example, could scholars point to how Egyptians and other Arabs tend to engage in one of two extremes: political apathy or political violence. Lindsey also suggested that scholars shift their focus away from the power of elites to the strength of ordinary people and grass-roots movements, or retool their scholarship to allow for, in the case of Egypt, more emphasis on groups other than the Muslim Brotherhood as significant sources of opposition.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Joshua Himes
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring has fomented increasing uncertainty in the Middle East, a circumstance in which Iran's regional intentions are of increasing concern. U.S. attempts to isolate the regime are driven by concerns over Iran's nuclear program, the enduring energy chokepoint at the Strait of Hormuz, and Iran's export of radical Shi'a militancy through proxy groups across the region, particularly as it affects Iraq, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.
  • Topic: Islam, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Joseph Holliday
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: This paper provides context for understanding the cycles of violence in Syria. The first section provides a brief historical overview of sectarianism in Syria in order to understand its role in the current conflict. The second section provides a framework for understanding the operations and strategy of the Assad regime. The paper then analyzes regime security operations in seven regions: Dera'a province; Damascus; Homs and Hama in central Syria; the coastal region; Idlib province; the Arab east; and the Kurdish northeast. The paper concludes with an examination of regional and international responses to the conflict.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: If the democratic transition in Egypt fails and the country adopts a repressive, authoritarian, or theocratic form of government, the consequences could be profound. Failure in Egypt could lead other countries in the region to turn away from the very idea of democratic reform. Of course, democracy in other countries will rise and fall due to local conditions. Nevertheless, if the transition in Egypt succeeds, and the country acquires a democratic, accountable, and efficient form of government, it is likely to become a powerful example and, ultimately, a stabilizing force in a turbulent region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Sally Khalifa Isaac
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: This paper was researched and written before the upheaval in the Arab world. It highlights many aspects of the limitations in NATO's relations with its Arab partners. It argues that the current settings governing NATO-Arab relations feature no concrete cooperation schemes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Celine Touboul
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: This research aims at examining whether NATO could be the provider of an international force to supervise the implementation of an Israeli-Syrian peace treaty. It proceeds by outlining the main characteristics of the peacekeeping mission needed for that task, based on the likely provisions of the future Israeli-Syrian peace treaty.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Ramzy Mardini
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: On October 21, 2011, President Barack Obama announced his decision to withdraw all of the remaining 39,000 U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year. The complete pullout of U.S. forces satisfies the final phase of the withdrawal timetable established by the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement signed in December 2008 by outgoing President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The decision comes after negotiating efforts failed to reach a new security arrangement with Iraq that would have allowed for a continued U.S. military presence beyond 2011. This document compiles and analyzes many of the reactions of Iraq's leaders to the cessation of negotiations and the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The military is the cradle of the state - simply because security precedes any social or economic development. In the 1990s, this consideration led to the advent of Security Sector Reform, essentially the consequence of the perception that building up strong and viable security institutions under civilian control is a precondition of state consolidation. The multiple defense reforms NATO assisted in many former Warsaw Pact member states, and the NATO Training Cooperation Initiative launched in 2006, are part of the consequent logic of military development aid, which is not entirely altruistic. Security is an intertwined construct, and the Alliance relies on stability and security in other states in order to ensure its own. In this context, NATO's Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) is just a logical step - although surprising to some, given that it was Iraq that caused the Alliance a "near-death experience." Four years later it was followed by a sister mission in Afghanistan, indicating a trend in security force assistance that is likely to grow.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a set of general and country-specific findings and recommendations to assist the Obama administration in its efforts to tackle escalating security challenges while sustaining diplomatic, institutional and economic support for democracy and human rights in the Greater Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As a rule, Iraq's post-Saddam elections have tended to magnify pre-existing negative trends. The parliamentary polls to be held on 7 March are no exception. The focus on electoral politics is good, no doubt, but the run-up has highlighted deep-seated problems that threaten the fragile recovery: recurring election-related violence; ethnic tensions over Kirkuk; the re-emergence of sectarianism; and blatant political manipulation of state institutions. The most egregious development was the decision to disqualify over 500 candidates, a dangerous, arbitrary step lacking due process, yet endorsed by the Shiite ruling parties. Under normal circumstances, that alone might have sufficed to discredit the elections. But these are not normal circumstances, and for the sake of Iraq's stability, the elections must go on. At a minimum, however, the international community should ramp up its electoral monitoring and define clear red lines that need to be respected if the results are to be considered legitimate. And it should press the next government to seriously tackle the issue – long-neglected yet never more critical – of national reconciliation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The article refutes the often-heard argument that Ankara's recent 'activism' in the Middle East indicates that Turkey is 'drifting away from the West'. Turkey's improving relations with its neighbors (not only in the Middle East), are mainly a result of the end of the Cold War and of domestic developments which have 'unlocked' Turkey, transforming it into a more open and democratic country with an even greater stake in EU membership. At the same time, the many international and domestic changes that have occurred since Turkey was granted candidate status call for a 're-foundation' of the Turkey-EU relationship. Lacking the latter, the future of Turkey-EU relations will indeed remain uncertain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Hegghammer
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: This paper traces and assesses al-Qa'ida''s efforts to launch an insurgency in Saudi Arabia from the mid-1990s until today. It examines the background of Usama bin Ladin's 1996 declaration of jihad, al-Qa'ida's activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1996 to 2002, and the causes and evolution of the campaign waged by the group “al-Qa'ida on the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP) from 2003 to 2006.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Lisa Wedeen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The issue of state fragility and the presence of radical religious movements in Yemen have occasioned misperceptions and confusions in recent debates about the country. This report argues that the language of “failed states” arises nearly exclusively in relation to countries deemed threatening to US security interests. Moreover, this language obscures rather than reveals how regime incentives to build state institutions can be incompatible with regime interests in survival. The result is that a seemingly neutral analytical category misrepresents local realities even while it is used as a warrant for policy initiatives that are likely to be counterproductive.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Ahmed Abdelkareem Saif
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Yemen's problems have frequently been ascribed to neocolonialism, regional politics and domestic power struggles. Though these factors are contributory, they are only the tip of the iceberg. The real problems are endemic and deeply rooted in the nature of society and the evolution of the state. Although modern political institutions exist in Yemen, such as a supreme court, parliament, political parties, trade unions and a free press, these institutions do not necessarily operate as might be expected. In fact, what exists in Yemen is merely a despotic authority, where decision-making usually takes place outside the formal institutions. The weakness of the state limits its capacity to penetrate society, creating a void that has been filled by intermediaries who benefit from the regime's durability. These intermediaries also play a crucial role in the survival of the regime by controlling the peripheries.
  • Topic: Islam, Post Colonialism, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Henry Siegman
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank seems to have finally locked in the permanence of Israel's colonial project. Israel has crossed the threshold from the Middle East's only democracy to the only “apartheid regime” in the Western world. But outside intervention may offer the last hope for a reversal of the settlement enterprise and the achievement of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Since the US is no longer the likely agent of that intervention, it is up to the Europeans and to the Palestinians themselves to fashion the path to self-determination in the occupied territories. Essential to the success of these efforts is setting aright the chronic imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians. If left to their own devices – including, as some have proposed, to reconcile their conflicting historical “narratives” – the further usurpation of Palestinian lands, and the disappearance of the two-state option, is all but ensured.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Deborah Horan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Media in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are freer than they were a decade ago, with a proliferation of satellite television news channels leading the way. Arab newscasts cover events in real time, sometimes scooping their Western competition with spot news coverage of regional conflicts. Talk shows regularly stir controversy by airing contentious views, breaking social taboos, and giving regional platforms to political opposition groups. Government-run media have been forced to compete or lose audiences. Yet most governments in the MENA region have managed to retain a tight grip on media, whether through the arbitrary application of restrictive and vague press laws, limits on media production, or a kinship, political, or business relationship with media owners. There are exceptions, and transnational news channels generally operate under fewer constraints than local broadcasts. But only three Arab countries, for instance, were ranked “partly free” for media by Freedom House in its 2009 Freedom of the Press index; the rest remained “not free.” Similarly, the International Research Exchanges Board (IREX), in its 2006/2007 Media Sustainability Index (MSI) for the Middle East and North Africa, found that media freedom in a majority of Arab countries had worsened or remained stagnant since a 2005 survey; only in five of the 18 countries surveyed had media freedoms slightly improved.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Islam, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The third annual survey of Israeli multinational enterprises (MNEs) is being released today. It was conducted by a joint team composed of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, and the Vale-Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), a joint undertaking of the Columbia Law School and The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. The survey is part of a long-term, multi-country study of the rapid global expansion of multinational enterprises (MNEs) from emerging markets. The results released today cover the year 2008.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey is launching initiative after ambitious initiative aimed at stabilising the Middle East. Building on the successes of its normalisation with Syria and Iraq, it is facilitating efforts to reduce conflicts, expanding visafree travel, ramping up trade, integrating infrastructure, forging strategic relationships and engaging in multilateral regional platforms. For some, this new activism is evidence that Turkey is turning from its traditional allies in Europe and the United States. In fact, its increased role in the Middle East is a complement to and even dependent on its ties to the West.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Paul Lettow
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The international nuclear nonproliferation regime—the principal objective of which is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons—is under severe strain. The North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs have exploited and underscored weaknesses in the regime that must be fixed if it is to serve its purpose. Those weaknesses are both structural—ambiguities and limitations in the current rules—and result from a failure to enforce the rules that exist.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea
  • Author: Thomas Richter
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that trade and capital account reforms within autocracies underlie the primacy of foreign currency procurement. A longitudinal comparison of four countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan) in the Middle East and North Africa region shows a historical sequencing of reforms. In the 1960s and 1970s, the foreign exchange scarcity was managed primarily by rising restrictions, accumulation of debt and a number of unilateral country-specific strategies, including broader economic openings (infitah) and isolated capital account liberalizations. However, IMF-friendly reforms (orthodox trade liberalization) only became a political option in the context of the extreme fiscal scarcity of the 1980s and 1990s, after the failure of these earlier policies and the drying up of alternative unconditional finance. Additionally, the time differences regarding when orthodox reforms are implemented within autocracies mainly relate to global and regional cycles of different external windfall gains. These findings complement recent debates about the rush to free trade in at least two regards. First, they point to distinct causal mechanisms depending on the type of political regime (for example, autocracy versus democracy), explaining the beginning of trade and capital account liberalizations among developing countries. Second, they reveal the conditional historical influence of neoliberal ideas among structurally similar autocracies.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To those familiar with the rhythms of Israeli-Palestinian negotiation, this has been a year of surprises. Palestinians, suffering most from the status quo, so most in need of a resolution, balk at resuming talks even as Israel expresses eagerness. In Obama, they have a president more willing to engage and to confront Israel, yet they have denied him the chance to advance talks. Seventeen years after Oslo, the best he can do is get the parties to talk indirectly – and even then, not without overcoming huge Palestinian reluctance. What is going on? The Palestinian approach may seem tactically suspect or politically self-defeating but is not without logic. It is rooted in almost two decades of unsuccessful U.S.-sponsored bilateral negotiations and manifested in embryonic effort s to change the balance of power with Israel. It is premature to speak of a new Palestinian strategy but not to respond and rectify past flaws. After an often perplexing, ineffective start, the U.S. seems poised for a more fundamental policy review involving the presentation of American ideas to resolve the conflict. Done right and at the right time, it would be welcome.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Muslim Brotherhood, the dynamic Islamist movement that has tried to navigate Egypt's semi-authoritarian system for over six decades, is facing a shrinking political space. For most of the past decade, the Brotherhood has expanded its political role, increasing from 17 to 88 members of Egypt's 620-member People's Assembly. Its success has brought increasing repression from the government. A range of measures have limited the Brotherhood's effective-ness in the People's Assembly, preventing it from forming a political party. This environment has led the movement to prioritize internal solidarity over parliamentary activities and refocus efforts on its traditional educational, religious, and social agenda. While the Brotherhood is unlikely to renounce politics altogether, the movement's center of gravity is shifting toward those who regard it as distracting, divisive, and even self-defeating.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Sarah Grebowski, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Recognition by Egypt's leading Jihadists that violence has failed to achieve political change and in fact has been counterproductive has led them to a remarkable change of course.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Stephen Day
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Three opposition groups within Yemen are undermining that country's stability. The newest, called the Southern Movement, has been less militant than al-Qaeda or the al-Huthi rebels on the northern border with Saudi Arabia. It began in 2007 and used peaceful means to seek redress of problems rooted in the troubled unification of North and South Yemen in 1990. The creation of the new state has meant problems for residents of the South: issues of national identity, economic grievances, and concerns over access to political power.
  • Topic: Political Violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Sarah Phillips
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: News that the failed Christmas Day attack on a U.S. passenger jet was tied to al-Qaeda elements in Yemen prompted questions of whether the fractious Arab state might give rise to a Taliban-style regime. For its part, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has stated its intent to achieve “our great Islamic project: establishing an Islamic Caliphate” but it is vulnerable to the threat that Yemen's tribes may ultimately find its presence a liability.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Taliban, Yemen, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The June 2009 swearing in as prime minister of Saad Hariri, leader of the Sunni Future Current movement, marks a turning point, the end of a period of exceptional domestic political turbulence and regional tensions that began with the 2005 murder of his father, Rafic; led to institutional paralysis; and culminated with the violent May 2008 showdown between government and opposition. It also presents the new leader with a host of novel challenges. The man who took the helm of a once deeply divided Sunni community must discard much of what enabled his rise, if he is to succeed now that he is in power. With Hizbollah, the principal Shiite movement, he must move away from the sectarianism that has become Lebanon's political stock-and-trade. The Future Current should initiate the process of becoming a more genuine, institutionalised party, breaking from the clientelism that will otherwise inhibit the prime minister's transition from community leader to statesman. And Hariri must continue to navigate the difficult normalisation with Syria, over coming deep mistrust among his constituency toward Damascus.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Irfan Shahid
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: The tragic events of Black September, 2001, the year that opened the twenty-first century and the third millennium, more popularly called 9/11, is now a landmark in American history that is deeply carved in the psyche of the American people and is annually perpetuated by commemorative anniversaries. It practically destroyed the bridges that had been constructed between America and the Arab-Muslim world. What had been America's main adversary in the Cold War, namely Communism, has now become the Arabs and the Islamic world, which, ironically, had been America's allies against Communism.
  • Topic: International Relations, Islam, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In October 2009, after intense diplomatic talks and the active involvement of key external actors, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian signed two protocols aimed at restoring bilateral relations. The agreements have however remained unratified due to political obstacles closely linked to historic disputes and the geopolitical constellation in the South Caucasus. As a result, even if rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan has the potential of producing far-reaching changes in the regional political equilibrium, the status quo remains the most likely scenario.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia, South Caucasus
  • Author: Judith S. Yaphe
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This collection of analyses on the unintended consequences of Iran's nuclear policy for its domestic and international relations is the first in a series of papers that will examine the impact of critical issues and developments on key countries in the Greater Middle East and on U.S. security interests. Succeeding papers will identify similar emerging issues in Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf region. For the most part, the papers will represent the independent research and opinions of academic scholars and regional experts prepared for and presented at the National Defense University.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Alistair Harris
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an offshoot of Osama Bin Laden's terrorist network and a group that has been operating in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, presents a growing regional and international security challenge. Analysis of AQAP confirms that it has been adept at aligning the grievances of Yemeni communities with its own narrative of what is wrong and who is responsible. But AQAP's limited membership shows this has not translated into widespread recruitment because of dissonance between the organization's recommended course of action—violent jihad—and traditional Yemeni methods of seeking redress. Failure to address such grievances, however, runs the risk of increasing receptivity to alternative frameworks that include the use of violence.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Arms transfer to the Middle East are not the sole cause of the regional problems. In fact the acquisition of arms has been the product of the unresolved political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as other conflicts in the region. Over the past five decades there have been a number of arms control proposals and attempts for the Middle east. One main weakness of these proposals was that they were not integrated into a political process. The continued Arab-Israeli conflict made it practically impossible to formulate and implement formal arms control agreements, resulting in a failure from the beginning. Therefore, in any move towards arms control and regional security in the region, the linkage between both conventional and non-conventional weapons and the ongoing peace process must be made. A peaceful solution to the Arab –Israeli conflict should proceed alongside any arms control negotiations, specially in the establishment of a Weapons of Mass destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the region. It is quite evident that peace cannot be achieved while still being threatened by a weapons of mass destruction capability of a neighboring country, nor can a WMDFZ be achieved without the context of a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. This has been recognized by the Obama administration as being a “vital national security interest of the United States”. The position of many countries in the region is that they find it difficult to enter serious arms control negotiations until some form of regional peace is fully established. This stems from their perception that nations in the region still consider military force as the only viable source to achieve their policy objectives. The danger from this underlying reasoning, if perceived as the only alternative to preserving a regional security balance, is that it could give rise to an uncontrollable arms race and to a parallel proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Any massive rearmament will surely create an unrestricted arms race in the Middle East which will automatically be accompanied by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The fear is that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could give rise to states announcing a so-called “in-kind” deterrence or “the right to retaliate in kind”. Unless controlled this arms race will give rise to another military conflict with catastrophic human and environmental consequences.
  • Topic: Security, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is far easier to talk about international cooperation in fighting terrorism than it is to achieve it. The world has made real progress in recent years – at both the formal and informal levels. At the same time, national differences still pose serious limits to what can be achieved and the threat is changing. Even if one only focuses on the “greater Middle East,” the threat now involves far more than terrorism per se and non-state actors. Cooperation in counter terrorism must deal with these changes and with the fact that there are no clear boundaries between terrorism and insurgency, and that terrorism is only a symptom of a far broader ideological struggle.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Robert E. Ebel
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “The policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge for American security interests in the Middle East, and possibly around the world….” So said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 24, 2007. What policies did Secretary Rice have in mind? The combination of terrorism, repression at home, and the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology. Opposition comes from former administration officials as well, who are equally convinced that Iran's desire for nuclear weapons is one of the most urgent issues facing the United States today. And in a report released by the U.S. Department of State on April 30, 2009, Iran was characterized as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism” in the world.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Aram Nerguizian
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf military balance is dominated by five major factors: The Southern Gulf states, Iran, Iraq, outside powers like the US, and non-state actors like the various elements of Al Qa'ida, the Mahdi militia, and various tribal forces. At present, the Southern Gulf states have large military resources but limited real-world effectivenerss and have made limited progress towards collective and integrated defense.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It may well be early 2011 before we know the actual results of the Iraqi election, and not because there were problems in the way the election was held, or in the counting of votes. Prime Minister Maliki is playing power politics with a relatively honest election, not protesting one with serious abuses. Elections, however, are ultimately about two things: Who gains power and who can govern.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Economics are as important to Iraq's stability and political accommodation as security and governance, and they are equally critical to creating a successful strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States. It is far from easy, however, to analyze many of the key factors and trends involved. Iraqi data are weak and sometimes absent. U.S. and Coalition forces generally failed to look in detail at many of Iraq's most serious economic problems, or they issued heavily politicized reports designed to show that Iraqi “reconstruction” had been far more successful than it really was.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Adam Mausner
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The security arena will face the most drastic changes in U.S.-Iraqi strategic relations over the next two years. Iraq must assume all responsibility for its internal and external security once the United States withdraws by December 31, 2011, unless it invokes the terms of the Strategic Agreement to seek additional US aid. Iraq must both deal with its own insurgents and with problems in its relations with neighboring countries like Iran, Syria, and the Gulf states. This makes the continued improvement of all elements of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) vital both to Iraq and to the stability of the region, during the period of US withdrawal in 2010-2011 and in the years that follow.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iran is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and ranks among the world's top three holders of both proven oil and natural gas reserves. Iran is OPEC's second-largest producer and exporter after Saudi Arabia, and is the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil globally after Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Norway. As of January 2009, Iran has an estimated 136.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, or roughly 10 percent of the world's total proven petroleum.
  • Topic: OPEC
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Norway, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Elena Derby
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Although Iraq has made political progress over the past few years it still falls far short of the level of political accommodation it needs to control its ethnic and sectarian divisions, ensure adequate representation for all ethno-religious groups, and create the conditions for effective governance. Despite the success of the national elections in March 2010, when over two thirds of the population defied threats of violence to cast their ballots—with a particularly strong turnout among Sunnis and Kurds—it is still unclear whether Iraq can form a stable ―national coalition government. If Iraq is successful, it will still take years for the new elected and appointed officials to develop the capacity they need to govern effectively.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Rouba Al-Fattal
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Fifteen years after its launch, the impact of the Barcelona Process on the Palestinian Territories is in need of a reassessment. Despite some initial improvements in the political and economic structures, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership alone has failed to anchor a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. In response, the European Neighbourhood Policy was launched to bring out a number of new foreign policy instruments, which induced substantial reforms. Yet the win by Hamas in the 2006 elections brought a halt to the EU's aid and diplomacy. This boycott proved detrimental, as it widened the rift between the main parties to the point of no reconciliation. Whether the Union for the Mediterranean proves any better than its predecessor policies in the region remains to be seen. This publication aims at providing a broad picture of the EU's policies towards the Palestinian Territories, in order to draw lessons from them and offer proposals for the way ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: A. Sarjoh Bah
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Darfur, an arid region in western Sudan, has become synonymous with genocide, though many have been reluctant to describe the situation there in such terms, not least the African Union (AU). As the conflict between Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) raged on for over two decades, long-standing tensions in Darfur were neglected. Meanwhile, negotiations led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) culminated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005, marking the end of Africa's longest running civil war; a conflict that had claimed the lives of approximately two million people and displaced millions more. However, the marginalisation of Darfur meant that the celebrations marking the end of the north-south conflict were short-lived, as news of mass murder involving government soldiers and their infamous militia allies, the Janjaweed, eclipsed the much celebrated deal. In Darfur, the Government and Janjaweed were pitted against the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the two groups that had taken up arms against the Islamist government in early 2003.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Climate change, economic development and population growth are changing perceptions of water and raising awareness of the growing stresses placed on the world's freshwater resources. The limited availability of water is particularly acute in regions such as the Middle East where demand already outweighs supply and neighboring states must share their main freshwater resources. Competition over dwindling and ill-managed water resources will likely increase, potentially threatening food security, health, economic development and peace in a region already struggling with ongoing conflict.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Natural Resources, Water
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Salem
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Good governance is key to improving peoples' lives; but the Arab world falls short on many governance indicators. Most Arab states remain highly authoritarian, although there is a growing dynamism in civil society and among opposition parties, both secular and Islamist. Problems in governance have impeded development in the Arab world and limited the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Paul Salem
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As a long-standing order breaks down, Turkey, Iran, and the Arab states of the Levant and the Gulf face both new competition and fresh opportunities for cooperation. The implosion of Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion removed an important buffer state, drawing Turkey, Iran, and the Arab states closer, creating friction between them, but also new common interests. The planned U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will force Iraq's neighbors to find new ways of managing those interests.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Paralysis by democracy : lack of national unity government Lack of government effectiveness and capacity at every level Remnants of insurgency and possible revival Sectarian and ethnic challenges Budget crisis, crippled economy, loss of foreign aid Halt in progress in developing Iraqi security forces Coming US withdrawal Uncertain neighbors
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Of all the explanations why calm has prevailed in the Israeli-Lebanese arena since the end of the 2006 war, the principal one also should be cause for greatest concern: fear among the parties that the next confrontation would be far more devastating and broader in scope. None of the most directly relevant actors – Israel, Hizbollah, Syria and Iran – relishes this prospect, so all, for now, are intent on keeping their powder dry. But the political roots of the crisis remain unaddressed, the underlying dynamics are still explosive, and miscalculations cannot be ruled out. The only truly effective approach is one that would seek to resume – and conclude – meaningful Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese peace talks. There is no other answer to the Hizbollah dilemma and, for now, few better ways to affect Tehran's calculations. Short of such an initiative, deeper political involvement by the international community is needed to enhance communications between the parties, defuse tensions and avoid costly missteps.
  • Topic: Islam, Armed Struggle, Hegemony, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Henry Siegman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Who could be against Palestinian security reform? In the past few years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) largely has restored order and a sense of personal safety in the West Bank, something unthinkable during the second intifada. Militias no longer roam streets, uniformed security forces are back, Palestinians mostly seem pleased; even Israel – with reason to be sceptical and despite recent attacks on West Bank settlers – is encouraged. Initial steps, long overdue, have been taken to reorganise an unwieldy security sector, where overlapping, unaccountable branches had become fiefdoms of powerful chiefs. West Bankers applaud the changes but are far less comfortable with their accompaniment: unparalleled security cooperation with Israel and crackdown on opposition groups – notably but not exclusively Hamas – affecting civil society broadly. Without serious progress toward ending the occupation and intra-Palestinian divisions, support for the security measures risks diminishing, PA legitimacy could further shrivel, and ordinary Palestinians' patience – without which none of this can be sustained – will wear thin.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Much is at stake in the never-ending negotiations to form Iraq's government, but perhaps nothing more important than the future of its security forces. In the seven years since the U.S.-led invasion, these have become more effective and professional and appear capable of taming what remains of the insurgency. But what they seem to possess in capacity they lack in cohesion. A symptom of Iraq's fractured polity and deep ethno-sectarian divides, the army and police remain overly fragmented, their loyalties uncertain, their capacity to withstand a prolonged and more intensive power struggle at the top unclear. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken worrying steps to assert authority over the security apparatus, notably by creating new bodies accountable to none but himself. A vital task confronting the nation's political leaders is to reach agreement on an accountable, non-political security apparatus subject to effective oversight. A priority for the new cabinet and parliament will be to implement the decision. And a core responsibility facing the international community is to use all its tools to encourage this to happen.
  • Topic: Security, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The standoff over Iran's nuclear programme, suspected of harbouring secret military ends, is widely considered a major flashpoint. A nuclear Iran – as the argument goes – would dramatically alter the regional balance in the Gulf, providing the Islamic Republic with a formidable deterrent against external aggression, while augmenting its ability to exert influence on its neighbours and eliminating the strategic advantage of its rival Israel, the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. An Iranian bomb could also trigger a regional nuclear arms race since such countries as Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, might feel compelled to emulate Iran. This would in turn result in the eventual collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Given the stakes, it comes as no surprise that curbing Iran's nuclear programme has rapidly become a foreign policy priority for western powers, Israel, and the majority of Arab states, which have a history of rivalry with and mistrust of Persian and Shia-dominated Iran.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Lars Erslev Andersen
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the July 2005 London terrorist attacks the focus of anti-terrorism efforts has moved towards radicalisation within European societies and away from the conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia. This report argues that this shift in focus is based on a misconstrual of al-Qaida as it mistakes effect for cause. Based on an examination of the communication strategy of al-Qaida and the political rhetoric of Salafism the need for an analysis of militant Salafism in its political and societal context is demonstrated. The radicalisation theory is criticised and it is argued that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the increased focus on efforts to counter radicalisation within European societies more or less have failed because al-Qaida has been able to exploit this strategy and reorganise itself around an operational centre in Pakistan. The report concludes that only politically viable solutions in South Asia and the Middle East can effectively suppress al-Qaida and militant Salafism.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Mass Media, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Europe, South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Justin Dargin
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions rates per capita in the world. This paper argues that in spite of the extremely high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rates, GCC members will benefit economically, environmentally and geopolitically by constructing a harmonized pan-GCC carbon trading platform that will allow them to make cost-efficient decisions about greenhouse gas abatement. A thorough analysis is undertaken to determine which GHG abatement mechanism would be the best suited for the GCC, with maximum cost and environmental benefits. Based on the unique characteristics of the GCC members, a pan-GCC cap-and-trade framework is suggested. Optimally, policy makers would institute it in a phased, voluntary introduction, to be gradually replaced by a mandatory scheme. If the GCC countries implement such a system, they would be able to rationalize their energy usage for domestic power production, and conserve their oil and gas production for future generations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: John M. Deutch
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The development of natural gas from shale is providing new possibilities for gas use in the United States and throughout the world. The largest conventional natural gas deposits are concentrated in the Middle East and Russia, but unconventional natural gas, including shale, is spread throughout the world, potentially permitting development in many different countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Nadim Shehadi
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: LEBANON'S RELATIONS WITH Palestinian refugees, one of the most sensitive issues in the country, was put at the forefront of parliamentary and public debates on June 15, 2010, when a series of legislative proposals were presented to re-examine the refugees' legal status and to resolve the issues surrounding their civil rights. It was the culmination of a national discussion that began in 2005, in which a new atmosphere advocating the examination of the refugee issues started to emerge.
  • Topic: War, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Lebanon