Search

You searched for: Content Type Working Paper Remove constraint Content Type: Working Paper Political Geography Middle East Remove constraint Political Geography: Middle East
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Marie-Louise Koch Wegter, Karina Pultz
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In 2003, the Danish government launched the Partnership for Dialogue and Reform (PDR) with the dual objective of 1) establishing a basis for improved dialogue, understanding and cooperation between Denmark and the Arab region; and 2) supporting existing local reform processes in the Middle East and North Africa. With the first objective, which is the focus of this study, PDR was intended to demonstrate the trivialization of Huntington's thesis of a clash of civilizations that Al Qaeda, only few years before, had brought back to the limelight of international politics and endeavoured to prove. PDR was to show populations in Europe and the Arab world that there was indeed a strong, shared agenda between the so-called West and the mother-region of the Islamic world and that mutual misconceptions and prejudice could be overcome through the joined pursuit of this agenda of progress.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, Denmark, North Africa
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides high-resolution estimates of the global potential and cost of utility-scale photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies and uses a spatially explicit model to identify deployment patterns that minimize the cost of greenhouse gas abatement. A global simulation is run with the goal of providing 2,000 TWh of solar power (-7% of total consumption) in 2030, taking into account least-cost siting of facilities and transmission lines and the effect of diurnal variation on project profitability and required subsidies. The American southwest, Tibetan Plateau, Sahel, and Middle East are identified as major supply areas. Solar power consumption concentrates in the United States over the next decade, diversifying to Europe and India by the early 2020's, and focusing in China in the second half of the decade—often relying upon long-distance, highvoltage transmission lines. Cost estimates suggest deployment on this scale is likely to be competitive with other prominent abatement options in the energy sector. Further development of spatially explicit energy models could help guide infrastructure planning and financing strategies both nationally and globally, elucidating a range of important questions related to renewable energy policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Globalization, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Sahel
  • Author: Juliane Brach
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Innovation is widely recognized as a key driver of sustainable economic development. Governments, international organizations, donors and investors are increasingly interested in evaluating the technological capabilities and innovative capacities in developing countries, but often lack appropriate approaches for such measurement. This paper focuses on innovation and technological progress in the MENA region and discusses the challenges of understanding, expanding and fostering innovative potential in Egypt.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Daniel C. Kurtzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Lebanon has been a flashpoint for Arab-Israeli violence and military confrontations since the mid1970s. Its political system is weak and outside parties continue to vie for political advantage as part of a larger regional conflict. In particular, Syria and Iran provide support for the militant Islamist group Hezbollah as a strategic asset to pressure Israel. Hezbollah now controls most of southern Lebanon, while its political wing has developed a strong presence in the Lebanese parliament. In July and August 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought what became known as the “Second Lebanon War,” which killed and displaced many thousand s of people and destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure. Since then Hezbollah has steadily rearmed in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which requires, inter alia, “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state” and “no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government.” Hezbollah's arsenal is more potent in quantity and quality today than it was in 2006. Although the border area between Israel and Lebanon is quieter than at any time in the previous decade, speculation that a third Lebanon war will occur in the next twelve to eighteen months has been steadily rising. Israel could decide the security threat posed by Hezbollah has reached intolerable levels and take preemptive military action. Hezbollah, while outwardly showing no interest in confronting Israel at this time, may for various reasons choose or be pressured by Iran to flex its new military capabilities. As happened in 2006, even small-scale military engagements with limited objectives can escalate into a major conflict. Whatever the precipitating reasons, a new conflict over Lebanon would have significant implications for U.S. policy and interests in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, United Nations, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Bernard Gwertzman (interviewer)
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine months of political wrangling, Iraq's parliament confirmed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new coalition government December 21. Though the government is "a good basis for setting out," says Iraq expert Joost Hiltermann, there's much uncertainty about how cohesive it will be and whether the inclusive government formed can govern. Hiltermann says there are questions about who will head the three major security ministries, whether a new National Council for Strategic Policy--designed as a "real check" against Maliki's power--will be approved by parliament, and whether Ayad Allawi, who headed the Iraqiya bloc that won the most seats in the election, will want to head that council. The United States pushed a power-sharing agreement "that went beyond the sharing of ministerial positions," says Hiltermann, but it remains to be seen whether various factions, including the prime minister and his allies, will allow that to happen.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Carolin Goerzig
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the clear necessity of an inclusive approach that involves all relevant actors, the Middle East Quartet (comprising the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia) has made political and financial cooperation with the Palestinian Authority dependent on the recognition of the three Quartet principles — the recognition of Israel, the renunciation of violence and adherence to previous diplomatic agreements — in exchange for the recognition of a Palestinian government. But instead of compelling Hamas to consider compliance, the Quartet principles have in fact led the group to become more entrenched in its defiant stance. There is a fundamental problem with the three Quartet conditions. While decision-makers proclaim that the three principles come as a package and are inseparable, it is precisely the fact that they are so interlocked and that Hamas is required to comply with them simultaneously that makes compliance problematic. This is the case because the three principles are mutually constraining to such an extent that complying with one principle effectively prevents Hamas from complying with another. Originally, the three Quartet principles were intended as a basis or a framework for a potential peace process. They define the conditions a negotiating partner has to fulfil in order to take part in Middle East peace talks. In reality, however, they have acted as an impediment. This paper seeks to find a way of overcoming the constraints that the EU has imposed upon itself by insisting on simultaneous adherence to the three Quartet principles. It looks at what room for manoeuvre there remains for the EU within the framework of the Quartet conditions and at how they can be modified in such a way that they facilitate rather than obstruct compliance.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Politics, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: on June 20, 2010, following concerted international pressure, the Government of Israel announced a set of measures to 'ease' its illegal blockade of the Gaza strip. This included: publishing a list of items not permitted into Gaza and allowing all other items to enter; expanding and accelerating the inflow of construction materials for international projects; expanding operations at the crossings and opening more crossings as more processing capacity becomes necessary and security conditions allow; streamlining entry/exit permits for medical and humanitarian reasons and for aid workers; Facilitating the movement of people in additional ways as conditions and security allow.
  • Topic: Government, Imperialism, Terrorism, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Ola Ataya
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Violence against women (VAW) hinders the realization of a wide range of development goals, from the elimination of poverty to the fulfillment of human rights. In Arab countries, many forms of VAW exist and are perpetuated by the deep-rooted sociocultural factors.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Yossi Alpher
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Israel's approach to Turkey and Iran must be understood against the backdrop of its “periphery doctrine” of forming alliances with non-Arab and non-Muslim regional actors and its search for a Middle Eastern identity. The “periphery strategy” it pursued in the 1950s led to alliances with, among others, Turkey and Iran, who were viewed as natural allies against the hostile and powerful Arab “centre” spearheaded by Nasserism. In Israel's eyes, “periphery” peoples also seemed to have broadly accepted the legitimacy of having a Jewish state in the heart of the Middle East.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Jean-Paul Marthoz
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This paper is based on interviews with diplomats, experts and political analysts and provides an overview of Turkey's foreign policy, particularly in relation to peacebuilding. In the past year, Turkey has moved to the centre stage on the international scene. After making the headlines with its joint mediation initiative with Brazil on Iran's nuclear issue, in May Ankara clashed with Israel over the storming of the Gaza-bound “humanitarian flotilla”. Suddenly all eyes were on a country situated in this most turbulent and strategic region of the world – a country that had appeared at least until recently to be a reliable and predictable ally of the West, and of Israel. However, the country's actions and reactions should not have come as a surprise. Over the past ten years Turkey has been busy developing a very active foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East and Central Asia. It has reached out to countries traditionally considered as adversaries, such as Russia, Iran and Syria. Ankara has also not been afraid to express its differences and diverge from the West on certain issues, from Cyprus to Armenia to Palestine.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, Armenia, Syria, Cyprus
  • Author: Lahcen Achy
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Morocco has made remarkable progress reducing poverty over the last decade. Today, less than 9 percent of its population is considered poor, compared with 162 percent a decade ago—a notable achievement for a country of 32 million people that lacks significant natural resources. This trend deserves closer examination to understand the reasons for the drop in poverty and identify policy lessons for other countries both in and outside the region.
  • Topic: Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Jeannie Sowers
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The impacts of human-induced climate change are often considered a future prospect, yet in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), indications of a changing climate are clearly evident. Most of the predicted outcomes associated with international climate models are already occurring in the region, compounding existing problems of water scarcity, water pollution, desertification, salinization, and sea-level rise. Since most of the MENA region is arid and hyperarid, small changes in water availability and arable land have significant consequences for human security. Thus, “if mitigation is about energy, adaptation is about water” (Clausen and Berg 2010). Particularly through effects on the variability and quality of scarce and degraded water resources, human-induced climate change exacerbates already existing problems affecting urban and rural development, human health, and economic productivity in MENA.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Young people in Iran have emerged as important players on the country's political scene but remain marginal on its economic scene. They were a vital part of President Khatami's political base and contributed to his landslide victories at the polls, in 1997 and 2001. In June 2009 they again played a key role, this time in challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial reelection, which led to massive anti-government protests in the nation's largest cities. A year later the political crisis appears to have subsided, but the economic crisis that has engulfed the country since early 2008 has deepened, and with it the crisis facing Iran's youth. Youth unemployment is at record high levels and, for the majority of youth, marriage and family formation are increasingly becoming challenges to overcome rather than celebrations of reaching adulthood.
  • Topic: Islam, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: A.J. Racy
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Throughout history, the emotional power of music has concerned philosophers, scientists, educators, moralists, and musicians. Growing up in a small rural village in southern Lebanon, I observed such power first hand. When the mijwiz (a double-pipe reed instrument) was played, traditionally using the technique of circular breathing, I saw the local listeners succumb to the instrument's magic spell. Its irresistible Dionysian ethos seemed to compel them to sing and dance. Some villagers maintained that the mijwiz enabled the shepherds, who often played it, to entrance their goats and make them stand still and listen. As an ethnomusicologist who specializes in music of the Middle East, especially of the Arab world, I have come across other similarly compelling cases of musical transformation. When singers chanted their poetry at medieval Abbasid courts in Baghdad, the listeners, including the caliphs themselves, displayed a variety of strong reactions, including moving their feet, dancing, sobbing, weeping, and tearing their garments—or in some cases listening to the performers attentively and bestowing upon them lavish compliments. Meanwhile, medieval Arabic treatises, which in the ancient Greek tradition often treated music as a science, left us ample writings about music's extraordinary cosmological associations and therapeutic effects. And for the Sufi mystics, music and dance became an integral path to transcendence, or the attainment of spiritual ecstasy.
  • Topic: Islam, Arts, Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Yemen's Committee for Religious Dialogue was established in September 2002. It was an innovative and timely step undertaken by the Yemeni Government towards terrorist rehabilitation. This report seeks to document the lessons learnt from the ICPVTR delegation's visit to Yemen from 17 to 21 July 2010. The visit sought to get an in-depth understanding of the rehabilitation efforts by the Religious Dialogue Committee that was founded by the Minister of Endowment and Guidance of Yemen, Judge Hamoud Al-Hitar. In addition, the visit also aimed at understanding the role of other Yemeni agencies in their efforts to combating terrorism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin Miller, Moran Mandalbaum
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following the post - 2003 US intervention in Iraq, and with a potential US use of force against Iran, one key analytical question stands out, which has major policy implications: Does military defeat by the great powers have stabilizing or de - stabilizing effects on the aggressive behavior of revisionist states? Somewhat similarly to the pre - 2003 Iraq invasion debate, the great powers have a number of options for dealing with the potential Iranian nuclear threat: diplomatic engagement, deterrence, or resort to military power -- either to bring about a regime change, or to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities. Taking into account the possibility of resorting to force against Iran, an intriguing question emerges: what does IR theory lead us to expect -- and what does the historical record show -- with regard to the effects of military defeats on the war - propensity of revisionist states? In other words, why do some militarily defeated states become war - like, while others peaceful?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Germany
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Prematurely and exaggeratedly highlighted by the regime, belatedly and reluctantly acknowledged by the opposition, the presence of a powerful Salafi strand among Syria's rebels has become irrefutable. That is worrisome, but forms only part of a complex picture. To begin, not all Salafis are alike; the concept covers a gamut ranging from mainstream to extreme. Secondly, present-day Syria offers Salafis hospitable terrain – violence and sectarianism; disenchantment with the West, secular leaders and pragmatic Islamic figures; as well as access to Gulf Arab funding and jihadi military knowhow – but also adverse conditions, including a moderate Islamic tradition, pluralistic confessional make-up, and widespread fear of the kind of sectarian civil war that engulfed two neighbours. Thirdly, failure of the armed push this past summer caused a backlash against Salafi groups that grabbed headlines during the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Jelle Puelings
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: During the last five years, and more specifically since the US invasion of Irak, different Sunni policy makers and religious actors have ventilated their concern for what they see as the rise of Shiite Islam. Although the condemnation of Shiism by more rigorous currents such as Wahhabism is hardly new, recently different governments in the Middle East have taken concrete measures against Shiite actors. The same 'Cold War scenario' the region witnessed immediately after the Iranian Revolution seems to appear again, making Arab Sunni voices reverberate up to Western policy makers, who start to worry themselves about the role of Iran and its allies. In this paper we will try to give an evaluation of this alleged shift in the Sunni-Shi`a power balance, and point out the possible consequences for Belgium and the EU emanating from this controversy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, Belgium
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This report is one in a series commissioned by The Century Foundation to explore issues of interest to American policymakers regarding Russia, aimed at identifying a framework for U.S.-Russian relations and policy options for a new administration and Congress that could help right the two countries' troubled relationship at a crucial juncture. The papers in the series explore significant aspects of U.S.-Russian relations, outlining a broad range of reasons why Russia matters for American foreign policy and framing bilateral and multilateral approaches to Russia for U.S. consideration. A high-level working group, co-chaired by Gary Hart, former U.S. senator from Colorado, and Jack F. Matlock, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, has provided direction to the project and offered recommendations for action that the United States might take.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, James Danly
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Seven of the eight names of the Accountability and Justice Commission's additional candidates for disqualification, based upon the de-Baathification law, were released today by Haider al-Mullah, spokesman for the Iraqi List. These individuals join Ibrahim al-Mutlak, who was among the 52 candidates named prior to the election, but whose disqualification at the time was denied by IHEC for having been named too late in the election process.On April 26, 2010, the three-judge election panel nullified their candidacies in response to an appeal submitted by the State of Law List, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
  • Topic: Democratization, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Marisa Cochrane Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: This backgrounder provides an update on the political landscape in Iraq on the eve of parliamentary elections. The paper begins with a brief overview of the electoral process. The second part of the backgrounder documents the Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurdish political landscapes. This paper concludes with some considerations on the post-election period of government formation.
  • Topic: Islam, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: James Danly
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: This backgrounder is an update to the ISW publication dated January 14, 2010 and entitled "Sunni Politicians Barred from Candidacy." The political landscape in Iraq has changed dramatically. Multiple government entities and politicians have weighed-in on the issue of the candidate ban, various politicians have claimed un due foreign involvement by different governments and, as the elections draw near, Iraq's already tense politics have become even more divisive. The candidates' ban has sparked widespread claims of legal and constitutional illegitimacy, threats of election boycotts and a nationwide rise in vehement anti-Ba'athism. This political environment threatens the legitimacy of Iraq's second national elections since the fall of the Ba'athist regime in 2003. The following paper briefly details and analyzes the events that have unfolded since the publication of the original.
  • Topic: Democratization, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In 2000, President Clinton suggested the presence of an international force to oversee security following an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. This could be a NATO force, according to Thomas Friedman. His idea was revived in 2008 by President Obama's National Security Advisor James Jones. The suggestion of a NATO presence in the Middle East sparked a debate that up to now has revolved around a multitude of aspects: the pros and cons, the timing, the actors of such a NATO involvement, the possible preconditions and consequences, and has also triggered a debate in Germany on whether the conduct of patrols in the civility of Israel would be reconcilable with Germany's past.
  • Topic: NATO, International Cooperation, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Germany
  • Author: Bryan Groves
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Military Academy, Department of Social Science
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush relinquishes the reigns as Commander-in-Chief to President Barak Obama, it is fitting to reflect on how the country will remember President Bush in years to come. Whether or not one agrees with his decision to commit U.S. forces to military action against Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq, it is clear that Bush's legacy will largly be determined by how Iraq turns out--whether as a stable, free, and peace-loving democracy or something short of that. There is certainly plenty of room for continued improvement in the conditions on the ground and ample time for the political, security, and economic situation to yet deteriorate. Yet, since "The Surge" and the change in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, developments in Iraq have taken a fundamentally and undeniably positive turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Bryan Groves
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Military Academy, Department of Social Science
  • Abstract: The lead up to the Iraq War and its conduct has highlighted significant differences in traditional perspectives, capabilities, and methods. While terrorism has been America's central fixation since 9/11, Europe still sees terrorism as one of several important threats today, with proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed states, regional conflicts, and organized crime among other top tier threats. The U.S. possesses a comparative advantage in intelligence gathering and kinetic strike cabability. This military strength has enabled the U.S. to favor it as its top tool in waging its global war on terrorism (GWOT). On the other hand, Europe's tendency toward employment of troops for nation-building and peacekeeping missions is in line with its strengths and its preferences. Europe countries also favour an extensive consensus building period of diplomatic maneuvering to establish a widely accepted multilateral response to threats, America under the current administration, however, has insisted on remaining.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 31 January, Iraqis will head to the polls in fourteen of eighteen governorates to elect new provincial councils. The stakes are considerable. Whereas the January 2005 elections helped put Iraq on the path to all-out civil war, these polls could represent another, far more peaceful turning point. They will serve several important objectives: refreshing local governance; testing the strength of various parties; and serving as a bellwether for nationwide political trends. In several governorates, new parties or parties that failed to run four years ago may oust, or at least reduce the dominance of, a handful of dominant parties whose rule has been marred by pervasive mismanagement and corruption. This in itself would be a positive change with far-reaching consequences as the nation braces for parliamentary elections later in 2009.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Candidate Obama pledged that his Middle East policy would include re-engagement with Syria; President Obama will find that the past is not easily overcome. The reasons behind his vow remain pertinent. Syria holds important cards in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, is Iran's most important Arab ally and has substantial influence over Hamas and Hizbollah. There are indications of potential common ground on which to build, from resuming Israeli-Syrian negotiations, to consolidating progress in Iraq to blunting the rise of jihadi militancy and sectarianism. But significant obstacles to healthy, mutually beneficial relations remain, along with a legacy of estrangement and distrust. They dictate the need for a prudent approach that seeks first to rebuild ties and restore confidence. It will be critical to reassure Damascus that the U.S. is interested in improving relations and resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, not in regime change. It is also equally critical not to compromise on core principles such as Lebanon's sovereignty or the integrity of the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The vast Palestinian refugee population is routinely forgotten and ignored in much of the Middle East. Not so in Lebanon. Unlike in other host countries, the refugee question remains at the heart of politics, a recurrent source of passionate debate and occasional trigger of violence. The Palestinian presence was a catalyst of the 1975-1990 civil war, Israel's 1982 invasion and Syrian efforts to bring the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to heel. Virtually nothing has been done since to genuinely address the problem. Marginalised, deprived of basic political and economic rights, trapped in the camps, bereft of realistic prospects, heavily armed and standing atop multiple fault lines–inter-Lebanese, inter-Palestinian and inter-Arab–the refugee population constitutes a time bomb. Until the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved, a comprehensive approach is required that clarifies the Palestinians' status, formally excludes their permanent settlement in Lebanon, significantly improves their living conditions and, through better Lebanese-Palestinian and inter-Palestinian coordination, enhances camp management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Sovereignty, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Daniel B. Prieto
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Political leaders, lawyers, and scholars have long grappled with questions of how to protect fundamental freedoms in times of national crisis. Supreme Court chief justice William Rehnquist observed that “the government's authority to engage in conduct that infringes civil liberty is greatest in time of declared war.” This observation is highly relevant in today's national security context. In an environment shaped by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, securing the U.S. homeland from fur the attacks and confronting terrorist networks abroad are central priorities of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Yet the transformation of the U.S. security apparatus after 9/11 and a range of new national security programs have generated widespread concern over the protection of international human rights, democratic norms, and a number of rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that form, collectively, the civil liberties of the American people.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Terrorism, Torture
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Robin Niblett
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: During his inaugural address on 20 January 2009, Barack Obama declared to 'all other peoples and governments, who are watching today, know that we are ready to lead once more'. In the following four weeks to the publication of this report, President Obama has set the United States on a course that is meeting widespread approval around the world. He has ordered the closure as soon as possible of the Guantánamo Bay detention facilities and of other secret facilities outside the United States that had so undermined America's international credibility with its allies and confirmed the anti-US narrative of its opponents. He has appointed special envoys for Middle East Peace and to implement an integrated strategy for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has offered to 'seek a new way forward' with the Muslim world as well as to 'extend a hand' to authoritarian governments if they are willing 'to unclench [their] fist'. His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said that America will be more effective if it can 'build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries'. Both have recognized the virtues of pragmatism over ideology and the reality of interdependence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The top concern for both Riyadh and Damascus remains blowback from Iraq: the ascendance of ethnic and sectarian identity and the spread of Islamist militancy. The need to contain this threat is the dominant force that shapes their relations with Iraq. Both Syria and Saudi Arabia have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq's emerging political order is inclusive of Sunni Arab Iraqis, who have not yet been fully incorporated into Iraqi institutions. Syria and Saudi Arabia do not look at Iraq in isolation, nor do they assign it top priority among their foreign policy concerns. For them, Iraq is merely one element in a comprehensive view encompassing other regional players (including the U.S. and Iran) and other regional crises, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lingering resentment and bitterness toward Washington is now mixed with intense curiosity and modest optimism about President Barack Obama. Saudis still bristle when recalling how the Bush Administration sidelined Riyadh on Iraqi matters; as do Syrians, who believe the previous administration was intent on isolating and undermining Damascus. Iraq remains very much isolated in its neighborhood. Recent Progress on regional cooperation notwithstanding, these two neighbors are still focused more on containment than engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Matthew J. Sheiffer
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Military Academy, Department of Social Science
  • Abstract: It is become common to argue that a special relationship exists between the United States and Israel and that this relationship explains unconditional American support for Israeli policies. These arguments generally focus on the period after the 1967 war. This makes examination of the period immediately before this time especially useful for understanding the nature of American relations with Israel. If this period marks the beginning of a special relationship, then there should be initial indicators of that relationship and its impact on the policy making process. In 1967, American policy was initially designed to accomplish the relatively modest goal of preventing an Israeli preemptive attack while building support for a multilateral plan to reopen the Gulf of Aqaba. Yet, the United States ultimately failed to achieve either objective. Given the potential danger of war to American interests, a strategic analysis of this case might predict active and vigorous efforts, using all aspects of American power, to prevent conflict. The puzzle is why this did not occur. By examining a purely systemic explanation for American actions in 1967, this paper will explore the complexities and tensions in the United States-Israel relationship in 1967 and investigate the nature through which domestic politics and decision making factors influence American foreign policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Annette Büchs
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper seeks an explanation for the resilience of the Syrian authoritarian regime under Hafez and Bashar Al-Asad. It will be argued that this resilience is to a relevant extent caused by the fact that the regime's “material” as well as “ideational” forms of power share a common element, if not an underlying principle. This generates their compatibility and congruency and thus produces a convergence of forces which manifests in the regime's ability to exceed the mere sum of its individual forms of power. It will be demonstrated that this common principle can be conceptualized as a “tacit pact” between unequal parties, with the weaker party under constant threat of exclusion and/or coercion in the event of noncompliance. It will be argued that inherent in the pact is a high level of ambiguity; this, paradoxically, renders it more effective but at the same time also more instable as a tool of domination.
  • Topic: Government, Post Colonialism, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Howard Adelman
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights Human Welfare (University of Denver)
  • Abstract: “I am sure they (the IDF soldiers) committed this crime.” I read these words just after I had finished the first draft of this paper on 1 February 2009. Oakland Ross, the Toronto Star journalist, was quoting Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish who had trained at the Soroka hospital in Beersheba and the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv. The interview was held at the latter Israeli hospital where another daughter was being treated for her injuries after the IDF opened the Ezer crossing to Gaza in a rare exception and allowed a Palestinian ambulance to meet up with an Israeli ambulance so the injured child could be transferred by IDF helicopter to the hospital. Dr. Abu al-Aish, a gynaecologist at Gaza's main Shifa Hospital, was a peace activist; his children attended peace camps with Israeli children. During the war, he had been heard frequently on Israel's Channel 10 TV station reporting in fluent Hebrew by cell phone via his friend, the Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar, to Israelis on the health problems resulting from the war that he had been witnessing in Gaza from his top floor apartment of a five-storey apartment building on Salahadin Street at the corner of Zino Rd. in Jebaliya just north of Gaza City. On Friday, 16 January 2009 less than 36 hours before the ceasefire went into effect in Gaza on Sunday, 18 January 2009, he was on the air when two shells from an Israeli tank parked a block away ploughed through his apartment and killed three of his daughters. 22-year-old Bisan, 15-year-old Mayer, 14-year old Ayan, and his 14-year-old niece, Nour Abu al- Aish.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Pessimism about the progress of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds has risen sharply in recent years. Negative developments in a variety of countries, such as military coups, failed elections, and the emergence of antidemocratic populist leaders, have caused some observers to argue that democracy is in retreat and authoritarianism on the march. A broad look at the state of democracy around the world reveals however that although the condition of democracy is certainly troubled in many places, when viewed relative to where it was at the start of this decade, democracy has not lost ground in the world overall. The former Soviet Union is the one region where democracy has clearly slipped backward in this decade, primarily as a result of Russia's authoritarian slide. The Middle East has also been a source of significant disappointment on democracy but mostly in comparison with unrealistic expectations that were raised by the Bush administration. In most of the rest of the world good news with respect to democratization is found in roughly equal proportion to bad news and considerable continuity has prevailed as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Muriel Asseburg
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Middle East peace conferences in Madrid (1991) and Washington (1991–1993), Europeans have gradually stepped up their political involvement in the Middle East. While Europeans have had strong trade and cultural relations with their neighboring region for decades, they have, in parallel with the Middle East peace process and the development of European Union (EU) foreign policy instruments, moved to assert their political interests more forcefully. These policies have largely been motivated by geographic proximity and geopolitical considerations—chiefly, the fear of security threats emanating from Europe's neighborhood (a spillover of conflict in the form of terrorism, organized crime, migration, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction), Israel's security, and access to energy resources. The implicit assumption has been that these different European interests can best be reconciled in an environment where there is peace between Israel and its neighbors (and therefore no contradiction between good relations between the EU and Israel and good relations between the EU and the wider, resource-rich region) and where the people of the Mediterranean and the Middle East find decent living conditions in their countries. As a consequence, Europeans have first focused their efforts on the realization of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian confl ict, which they consider to be the core of the region's instability. They have, second, aimed at supporting comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbors. And they have, third, sought to provide an environment conducive to peace in the region as well as to deflect what were (and still are) perceived as security risks emanating from the region.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ibrahim Saif
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The recent oil boom (2002 to mid-2008) generated a large volume of revenues for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia (SA). Estimated at an annual average of U.S. $327 billion over the period 2002– 2006, the revenues more than doubled their average as compared with the preceding five years. The abundant revenues were instrumental in boosting economic growth; and macroeconomic indicators such as growth and investment in the GCC were also robust over the period 2002–2007. On the other hand, other indicators pertinent to the labor market, the structure of the economy, and governance were less positive.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Organization, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman
  • Author: Brian Fishman
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI) is a shadow of its former self, primarily because broad sectors of Iraq's Sunni population rejected it after more than three years of active and tacit cooperation. Anger over AQI's brutal radicalism infused the Sunni backlash against jihadists, but AQI also made two fundamental strategic overreaches that exacerbated its alienation from Sunnis in Iraq. First, it incited a sectarian backlash from Iraqi Shi'a without the means to defend Iraq's Sunnis from the onslaught it provoked. Second, AQI created a formal political entity, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), to dominate Iraq after a U.S. withdrawal without adequate support from Iraq's Sunni population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Heinrich Boell Stiftung, Daniel Korski
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Relations between the European Union (EU) and Iraq have normalized over the last couple of years. But despite committing more than € 900 million to reconstruction efforts since 2003 and having set up a European Commission office in Baghdad in 2005, the European bloc will need to step up its engagement if the country is to manage forthcoming challenges, such as integrating the “Sons of Iraq” into the Iraqi security forces, holding provincial elections, and maintaining security while President Obama leads a drawdown of US combat forces.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Israel-Hamas war has ended but none of the factors that triggered it have been addressed. Three months after unilateral ceasefires, Gaza's crossings are largely shut; reconstruction and rehabilitation have yet to begin; rockets periodically are fired into Israel; weapons smuggling persists; Corporal Shalit remains captive; and Palestinians are deeply divided. It is not as if the war changed nothing. Many hundreds lost their lives, tens of thousands their livelihood and a new political landscape has emerged. But the war changed nothing for the better. The status quo is unsustainable, and Gaza once again is an explosion waiting to happen. Genuine Palestinian reconciliation and a fully satisfactory arrangement in Gaza may not be on the cards, but lesser steps may be feasible to lessen the risk of escalation, address Gaza's most pressing needs and achieve some inter-Palestinian understanding. That would take far greater flexibility from local actors – and far greater political courage from outside ones.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Away from media headlines, a war has been raging on and off in Yemen's northern governorate of Saada since 2004, flaring up in adjacent regions and, in 2008, reaching the outskirts of the capital, Sanaa. The conflict, which has brought about extensive destruction, pits a rebel group, known generically as the Huthis, against government forces. Today's truce is fragile and risks being short-lived. A breakdown would threaten Yemen's stability, already under severe duress due to the global economic meltdown, depleting national resources, renewed tensions between the country's northern elites and populations in the south and the threat from violent groups with varied links to al-Qaeda. Nor would the impact necessarily be contained within national borders. The country should use its traditional instruments-social and religious tolerance, cooptation of adversaries-to forge a more inclusive compact that reduces sectarian stigmatisation and absorbs the Huthis. International actors-principally Gulf States and the West-should use their leverage and the promise of reconstruction assistance to press both government and rebels to compromise.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ali Tekin, Paul A. Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This article analyzes the role of Turkey in the European Union's energy security and its implications for the Turkish accession process. The EU is increasingly interested in diversifying its imports of energy, as well as the transit routes for these imported supplies. Extant and future projects to secure energy supplies from Russia, the Caspian and the Middle East indicate quite persuasively that Turkey has become more crucial to the attainment of the EU external energy policy objectives. However, Turkey may have reached the limits of its willingness to cooperate on energy security without more decisive EU reciprocation of Turkey's own EU membership efforts. In the short run, Turkey is not essential to the EU, but in the longer run, as European energy needs become more pressing, the EU may have to give more serious consideration to Turkey's accession.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The plight of women in Iraq today has gone largely ignored, both within Iraqi society and by the international community. For more than five years, headlines have been dominated by political and social turmoil, the chaos of conflict and widespread violence. This has overshadowed the abysmal state of the civilian population's day-to-day lives, a result of that very turmoil and violence.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: From a strategic perspective, Syria has gained some advantages and some disadvantages since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. President Bashar al - Asad, considered a callow leader five years ago, faced a testing period in 2003–06 and did more than merely survive. He withstood a threat of imminent regime change at the hands of the United States, and weathered heavy international fallout from the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and the summer war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, which Syria has long supported. Bashar has emerged a cagey geopolitical operator, able to manage a delicate strategic balance, and Syria is now stronger than it has been at any time in recent history. Yet Syria faces a number of internal challenges due to Iraq's instability. Primary among these is coping socially, economically, and politically with a huge influx of Iraqi refugees, and mitigating the effect that sectarian (Shia-Sunni) and ethnic (Arab-Kurd) conflict in Iraq has on the fragile status quo in Syria.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Regional Cooperation, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Brumberg, Eriks Berzins
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On February 23, 2009, the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), together with the United Nations Association-USA and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, held a roundtable discussion among top Middle East experts and former United States Government officials. Held at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the meeting's purpose was to discuss prospects for creating a diplomatic framework through which the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran can address issues of common concern in the Middle East and South Asia, and in so doing, advance an engagement dynamic that might eventually open the doors for rapprochement between the two countries.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Richard N. Haass
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Asserting that the Iranian theocracy has become a "thugocracy," CFR President Richard N. Haass says the Iranian regime will likely prevail because of its use of force against the population. This makes the urgency of negotiating an end to the country's nuclear program more pronounced, and possibly more difficult, Haass says. "The Iranian challenge still exists, and may actually be somewhat worse," he says. "I'm talking about the nuclear program, their influence in Afghanistan and Iraq, their support of Hezbollah and Hamas. None of that has changed." Haass says the Obama administration "still ultimately has to try to deal with [Iran]" but adds: "It has become extraordinarily difficult to talk to this regime, and Iran has become in absolute and relative terms far more capable."
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Hassan Mneimneh
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: September 11, 2001, marked the coming to the fore of the “jihadist international,” a loosely connected movement of militant and terrorist groups worldwide with a common ideology and increasingly shared tactics and methods. While such groups still have limited recruitment potential eight years on, they have inflicted substantial physical damage and have forced free societies to take costly precautionary measures. Perhaps most alarming, the global jihadist movement has continued simultaneously to feed off of and perpetuate the growing radicalization that Muslim culture has endured over the last few decades.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As sectarian violence in Iraq has ebbed over the past year, a new and potentially just as destructive political conflict has arisen between the federal government and the Kurdistan regional government in Erbil. This conflict has manifested itself in oratory, backroom negotiations and military manoeuvres in disputed territories, raising tensions and setting off alarm bells in Washington just as the Obama administration is taking its first steps to pull back U.S. forces. A lasting solution can only be political – involving a grand bargain on how to divide or share power, resources and territory – but in the interim both sides should take urgent steps to improve communications and security cooperation, run joint military checkpoints and patrols in disputed territories and refrain from unilateral steps along the new, de facto dividing line, the so-called trigger line.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Rune Friberg Lyme
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Managing external communication has proven an increasingly significant concern to Lebanese Hizb'allah. This report argues that the organisation has developed a highly sophisticated communication strategy that enables it to address a variety of target groups efficiently with differentiated aspects of its particular ideologically informed message, using the particular media platform best suited for this purpose. In doing so, the communication serves two main objectives: first, to disseminate aspects of the organisation's religiously informed world-view, ideology, values, motives and moral codes; and secondly, to conduct psychological warfare against its enemies.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Daniel Corstange
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Who supports illiterate voting rights? In the diverse societies of the developing world, suffrage restrictions on illiterate people can have both class and ethnic ramifications because illiteracy correlates with poverty and often with ethnic group membership. I demonstrate how examining the overlap of ethnic population distributions helps to identify individuals for whom satisfying material interests comes at the expense of identity interests and vice-versa. The salience of ethnicity in public discourse requires people to articulate identity demands that may be inconsistent with their material interests, opening up the possibility that what they say and what they think will diverge systematically. Empirically, I use an augmented list experiment in Lebanon to distinguish between superficial and sincere support for illiterate voting rights. I show that a direct question yields a sectarian answer in which Shiites are more supportive of those rights than are Sunnis or Christians, whereas an unobtrusive question produces an answer about material deprivation in which poor people are more supportive of illiterate voting than rich people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Benjamin Netanyahu is in a bind. Israel is facing arguably unprecedented pressure to halt all settlement activity, led by a new and surprisingly determined U.S. administration. But the prime minister also heads a distinctly right-wing coalition and faces intense domestic pressure from settlers and their allies. However important, what will emerge from current discussions between Washington and Jerusalem will only be step one in a long process designed to achieve a settlement freeze, settlement evacuation and a genuine peace agreement with the Palestinians. Understanding how Israel might deal with these challenges requires understanding a key yet often ignored constituency - its growing and increasingly powerful religious right.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Eugene B. Rumer, Angela E. Stent
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: At the end of the Bush administration, relations between the United States and Russia had reached their lowest point since the Cold War. The promise of a new direction in U.S.-Russian relations since President Barak Obama's London meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev has led to expectations on both sides of the Atlantic that bilateral ties will improve substantially. Such a change would be highly desirable, for it would enhance the odds of success for many U.S. initiatives from the Middle East and Southwest Asia to the Far East and the Pacific. But that improvement will not come easily or quickly. It took years to reach the current nadir in the relationship between Washington and Moscow, and there are still questions remaining on their diverging values and competing interests that have to be resolved.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Ibrahim Muhawi
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explores three contexts of language in Mahmoud Darwish's poetry. The first is Darwish's performative use of language. The second deals with reading Darwish as a resistance poet. The third is Darwish's death, which I interpret as part of his language. This last point is speculative but of considerable interest in view of the role he assumed as the poetic voice of Palestine.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Politics, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Rami G. Khouri
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: With its army and its diplomatic posture, the American administration is now deeply part of the Middle East. Many of the problems of the region have been clearly aggravated, and in some cases sparked, by American policy, though many of them are a joint venture between Arabs and is, between Tirrks and Iranians, and between Europeans of different nationalities. But because the United States is such a decisive player in the Middle East, it has inordinate power to affect things in the region for good or for bad.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen—I'm very happy to be here. It is a great pleasure to be speaking to this distinguished audience. On a personal note I must say I spent two wonderful years at the Institute. I have high esteem for the work done at the Institute. This is, I think, a fountain of knowledge, a powerhouse of policy ideas. The Institute, I think, has an impact and makes a difference.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Keith Dayton
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following is a transcript of a keynote address delivered by Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton to The Washington Institute's 2009 Soref Symposium on May 7, 2009. General Dayton currently serves as U.S. security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a post he has held since 2005. He recently accepted appointment for another two-year term.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Debt, Peace Studies, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Three decades of efforts to reunify Cyprus are about to end, leaving a stark choice ahead between a hostile, de facto partition of the island and a collaborative federation between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities living in two constituent states. Most actors agree that the window of opportunity for this bicommunal, bizonal settlement will close by April 2010, the date of the next Turkish Cypriot elections, when the pro-settlement leader risks losing his office to a more hardline candidate. If no accord is reached by then, it will be the fourth major set of UN-facilitated peace talks to fail, and there is a widespread feeling that if the current like-minded, pro-solution Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders cannot compromise on a federal solution, nobody can. To avoid the heavy costs this would entail for all concerned, the two leaders should stand shoulder to shoulder to overcome domestic cynicism and complete the talks, Turkey and Greece must break taboos preventing full communication with both sides on the island, and European Union (EU) states must rapidly engage in support of the process to avoid the potential for future instability if they complacently accept continuation of the dispute. A real chance still exists in 2009-2010 to end.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Paul Scham, Osama Abu-Irshaid
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Although peaceful coexistence between Israel and Hamas is clearly not possible under the formulations that comprise Hamas's 1988 charter, Hamas has, in practice, moved well beyond its charter. Indeed, Hamas has been carefully and consciously adjusting its political program for years and has sent repeated signals that it may be ready to begin a process of coexisting with Israel. As evidenced by numerous statements, Hamas is not hostile to Jews because of religion. Rather, Hamas's view toward Israel is based on a fundamental belief that Israel has occupied land that is inherently Palestinian and Islamic. For Hamas, “recognition” of Israel would represent a negation of the rightness of its own cause and would be indefensible under Islam. It considers unacceptable for itself the actions of those Muslim countries that have recognized Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, and those that have indicated their willingness to do so, such as Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab League, because they have provided no theological justification for their policies toward Israel. Although Hamas, as an Islamic organization, will not transgress shari'a, which it understands as forbidding recognition, it has formulated mechanisms that allow it to deal with the reality of Israel as a fait accompli. These mechanisms include the religious concepts of tahadiya and hudna and Hamas's own concept of “Palestinian legitimacy.” Tahadiya refers to a short-term calming period between conflicting parties during which differences are not put aside. A tahadiya stopped most violence between Hamas and Israel from June to December 2008. Hudna is a truce for a specific period, which is based on the practice of the Prophet Mohammad and on subsequent events in Muslim history. Hamas has indicated on a number of occasions its willingness to accede to a hudna with Israel, assuming basic Palestinian rights as set forth in the Arab Peace Initiative (API) are agreed to first. Palestinian legitimacy is a term employed by Hamas to describe its willingness to consider accepting a binding peace treaty, such as the proposal set forth in the API, so long as the treaty is first ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Although Hamas would not directly participate in peace negotiations with Israel, Hamas has indicated that it would be willing to be part of a Palestinian coalition government with Fatah under which Fatah would negotiate the actual treaty. Although a peace process under such circumstances might, for Israelis and Westerners, seem involved, arcane, and of dubious utility, it is necessary to consider the possibility of such a process because there is no realistic scenario under which Hamas will disappear. Understanding the Islamic bases of Hamas's policies and worldview will be essential for the success of any process in which it is engaged.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Elizabeth F. Thompson
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Foreign affairs experts routinely use historical analogy to develop and justify policy. However, as professional historians have long noted, attractive analogies often lead to bad policies. Officials regularly choose analogies that neglect or distort the historical case they aim to illuminate. Nonetheless, history can be used effectively in international relations. To do so, practitioners must first recognize the difference between historical analogy and precedent. Historical precedent, drawn from the past of the region in question, is a safer guide to policy than historical analogy, which is based on comparisons to events in other regions. Because historical precedent is a self-limiting form of analogy restricted to a certain place, people, and time, it provides a better indication of how a certain society understands and responds to a given situation. The recent U.S. intervention in Iraq highlights the misuses of history: American leaders employed analogies to World War II to justify the invasion and to predict success in establishing a democratic regime after. These analogies proved to be a poor guide to nation building in the short term. In the long term, they have deeply aggravated U.S. relations with Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world. A more effective use of history would have been to refer to the precedent of World War I, a crucial moment when American policy could have supported indigenous Arab constitutional democracy—but, fatefully, did not. For the new administration, the Arabs' experience of “justice interrupted” after World War I can still be a useful touchstone for promoting democracy in the region. This precedent alerts us that foreign intervention can spark a deep-seated and negative political reaction in the postcolonial Arab world and that reform in Arab politics must begin with respect for national sovereignty. It also reminds us that constitutionalism and the desire to participate in the community of international law are enduring values in Arab politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Waldner
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict, post-totalitarian societies like Iraq possess many economic, political, social, and cultural characteristics that are not conducive to democratic governance. A central pillar of democracy promotion is that judicious institutional engineering—crafting new institutions and other elements outlining the democratic rules of the game—can overcome these obstacles and engender stable democracies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Regime Change, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Deborah Isser, Peter Van der Auweraert
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq has experienced several waves of mass displacement over the last forty years that have left complex land and property crises in their wake. As security has improved and some of the nearly five million displaced Iraqis have begun to come home, resolution of these issues are at the fore of sustainable return.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Frederic C. Hof
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Syrian-Israeli “proximity” peace talks orchestrated by Turkey in 2008 revived a long-dormant track of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Although the talks were sus¬pended because of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, Israeli-Syrian peace might well facilitate a Palestinian state at peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Smock, Qamar-ul Huda
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Muslims in general and Muslim leaders particularly have often been severely criticized for not more energetically condemning the violent acts of Muslim extremists. Violent extremists are on one edge of the Muslim community. They are counter-balanced by a growing movement of Muslim peacemakers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Juliane Brach, Markus Loewe
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The international financial crisis has hit the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), like other developing regions, unexpectedly, during a long phase of above-average growth. In contrast to other parts of the world, however, most MENA developing countries will able to get off lightly if the crisis does not last for too long. In Turkey and Israel, the region's more industrialized countries, different initial conditions apply and the situation is not comparable to the Arab MENA countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Martin Beck
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The present article aims to analyze the effects of high oil prices since 2003 on Iran. The theoretical basis of the analysis is the rentier state approach, the basic element of which is that rents are at the free disposal of the rentier. Empirically, the paper examines the issue areas of foreign policy, domestic policy and economic policy. After proving that the oil price—despite fluctuations—has constantly been at a high level in the first decade of the twenty‐first century, the discussion demonstrates that Iran has used the increased rent in‐come to support a populist policy. In terms of economic policy, the regime has pursued a redistributive strategy. The country's foreign policy, particularly the ostentatiously pursued atomic program, has been very expensive since it provoked sanctions whose costs were initially balanced only by high rent income. Yet, in his first term, Ahmadinejad failed to prepare Iran for the situation that has occurred as a result of the global financial crisis: the redistributive policy of the regime has meant that an oil price below US$70 or US$75 now constitutes a severe challenge for the Iranian state budget.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Markets, Oil, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As they emerge from conflict, states can rarely commence the arduous task of reconstruction and consolidate their governments until they undertake extensive restructuring of their security forces. Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen are all fractured, quasi-democratic states with divided societies, and deep disagreement over what constitutes the national interest. Successful reform in each will require security institutions that answer to democratically-elected civilian leaders, but the U.S. and European approach has thus far focused largely on providing military training and equipment, targeted toward counterterrorist capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Syrian track has been an important component of the Arab-Israeli peace talks due to its integral role in reaching comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The latest round of indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria was initiated under the sponsorship of Turkey on May 21, 2008, and by the end of 2008 both sides were ready to start the direct talks. However, in protest of Israeli aerial and ground offensive in Gaza in December 2008, Syria halted the indirect talks with Israel. Several factors, including the lack of American endorsement; Olmert's weak prospect in Israel due to the ongoing corruption investigation; approaching early elections, and the rise of rightist parties in Israel, topped by the Israeli offensive in Gaza, rendered the conciliation efforts futile.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Why should anyone care about Fatah's fate? The 50-yearold movement, once the beating heart of Palestinian nationalism, is past its prime, its capacity to mobilise withered. Racked by internal divisions, it lost the latest and only truly competitive election in Palestinian Authority (PA) history. It promised to fight for liberation, achieve independence by negotiation and effectively manage daily lives through the PA yet achieved none of this. Those yearning for resistance can turn to Hamas or Islamic Jihad; the address for diplomacy is the PLO; governance depends on Prime Minister Fayyad in the West Bank, the Islamists in Gaza. President Abbas' threat not to run in upcoming presidential elections is the latest sign of a movement and project adrift. Yet Fatah's difficulties do not make it expendable; they make it an organisation in urgent need of redress. A strong national movement is needed whether negotiations succeed and an agreement must be promoted, or they fail and an alternative project must be devised. Fatah's August General Conference – its first in twenty years – was a first step. Now comes the hard part: to define the movement's agenda, how it plans to carry it out, and with whom.
  • Topic: Politics, Post Colonialism, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Miriam Shabafrouz
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The Iranian revolution still appears to be a puzzle for theoretical approaches linking political instability and/or violent conflict to the resource wealth of a country. It therefore works well as a case study for the purposes of this paper: to show the necessity of a broader approach to the resource‐violence link and to highlight the “context approach.” The focus is on the violence that accompanied the events preceding the revolution, and also on the fact that this violence was mainly exercised by the rulers and—excluding the activities of militant groups—only very randomly by the masses. Many relevant contextual conditions had an impact on the downfall of the shah's regime: demographic (population growth, urbanization) and cultural factors (religious tradition, national identity); the vivid memory of several historical events; the personal preferences of central actors—mainly both the shahs—which in combination brought the country to an impasse; and the religious opposition to the regime. But upon closer examination, it becomes clear that many of those factors were influenced by resource‐specific conditions such as the amount and the use of oil income, sudden oil‐price drops, and external interference aimed mainly at the domination of the oil sector. It was the specific interplay of these and other contextual conditions—as much resource‐specific as general, and both within the country and on an international scale—that finally brought about the downfall of the regime.
  • Topic: Oil
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Rashid Khalidi
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A leading expert on Palestinian affairs, Rashid Khalidi, says it is crucial for the Palestinian rivals, Hamas, in Gaza, and Fatah, in the West Bank, to reconcile and create a unified negotiating position with Israel. "This is not something that's impossible," he says. "Fatah and Hamas have agreed three times in the past, only to have those agreements collapse." Khalidi also urges the Obama administration to change its policy of isolating Hamas, which he says is counterproductive to the Mideast peace mission it has vowed to pursue. Khalidi says, despite his frustration, he has not given up on Obama's peace efforts. "I don't think that the moment has entirely passed when something can be done," he says. "I do not believe that it is too late to bring about a two-state solution."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Stefano Silvestri, Michele Nones
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italy is a medium-sized power that is heavily exposed to security risks from both the Mediterranean basin/Middle East and the Balkans. Making its territory particularly permeable to them is the deeply rooted presence of criminal organisations.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Balkans, Italy
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Syria typically, and at times justifiably, brings to mind stagnation and immobility. Yet, over recent years, change has been afoot. In 2008, it agreed to Turkish-mediated talks with Israel. It built ties with the Iraqi government after long depicting it as the offspring of an illegitimate occupation. It began to normalise relations with Lebanon, after years of resisting its claim to sovereignty. It accelerated economic reforms. These steps fall short of being revolutionary; some were imposed rather than chosen and reflected opportunism rather than forward thinking. Still, by Syrian standards, they are quite remarkable, especially in contrast to recent fervent militancy.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Maryland
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Like Islamist parties across the Arab world, Yemen's Islamist Congregation for Reform (Islah) has a religious ideology and platform. Islah participates in legal politics in hopes of accomplishing constitutional and socioeconomic reforms, and over time it has committed itself to upholding democratic procedures internally as well as externally.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Ibrahim Muhawi
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explores three contexts of language in Mahmoud Darwish's poetry. The first is Darwish's performative use of language. The second deals with reading Darwish as a resistance poet. The third is Darwish's death, which I interpret as part of his language. This last point is speculative but of considerable interest in view of the role he assumed as the poetic voiceo f Palestine.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Armed Struggle, Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Marwa Farag
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper presents an overview of health spending and health outcomes in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region over the time period 1995-2006, using cross-country and over-time comparisons. Overall, the region experienced improvements in health outcomes measured in terms of reductions in infant, under-5 child mortality and maternal mortality. However, there are notable exceptions to this trend of declining mortality in countries such as Afghanistan. In addition to providing an overview of changes in health outcomes and health spending over the 12-year period, the paper examines the following two issues: 1) The responsiveness of health care spending to changes in a country's income, and 2) The impact of spending on health care services on health outcomes. The methodological approach adopted in this paper is multivariate regression analysis. I employ random effects models with year dummies, which are appropriate for panel data analysis. I also use double-log formulas for econometric necessity and ease of interpreting the results. The findings indicate that a 1 percent increase in GDP per capita is associated with 0.89 percent increase in health spending in the region and that income growth does not explain all the variation in health spending, indicating that other factors, such as the organization of the health care system, influence health care spending levels. This is an important finding because it suggests that on the one hand cost-containment and on the other mobilizing more funds for the health care sector are possible with appropriate interventions. The findings on the importance of spending on health care for achieving better health outcomes demonstrate that investing in health care matters; a 1 percent increase in health spending is associated with 0.11 percent reduction in infant mortality and 0.14 percent reduction in under-5 child mortality. These results are likely to be underestimating the effect of health spending because of the inclusion of a country's income in the models. Gender parity in secondary school education also had a significant impact on reducing infant and child mortality. Government effectiveness had a strong and significant effect on reducing maternal mortality. The results contradict the notion that increases in income through better nutrition and living conditions alone are responsible for improvements in health outcomes. The results of this analysis clearly indicate that investing in health care also matters.
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Bryan Early
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The path to acquiring a peaceful civilian nuclear program is fraught with challenges for countries in the Middle East. Given Israel's proactive policies in preventing the proliferation of its neighbors and nuclear supplier states' consternation about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region, Arab states face a number of unique obstacles in acquiring foreign nuclear assistance. Yet as the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) recent success in courting the assistance of a number of nuclear supplier states demonstrates, these obstacles are not insurmountable. This piece explores the UAE's strategies in obtaining foreign nuclear assistance to uncover the generalizable insights that may be of use to other Middle Eastern countries seeking to develop peaceful nuclear programs.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: A year after Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead military offensive on Gaza, on 27 December 2008, little of the extensive damage it caused to homes, civilian infrastructure, public services, farms and businesses has been repaired. As thousands of families still come to terms with loss or injury of their loved ones, they are being prevented from rebuilding their shattered society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, War, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Thomas W. O'Donnell
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the U.S.-Iran nuclear crisis, U.S. motivations stem from its role as protector of today's market-centered, global oil system, herein "The One Global Barrel." This market itself is the principal basis of global energy security today, unlike the political-economics of the old neo-colonial system. But, most light-oil reserves are in P ersian Gulf states— Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Iran and Iraq. U.S. Grand Strategy prevents any from projecting power affecting another's production and undermining the open market. Hence, Iraq was driven from Kuwait, placed under sanctions and the Ba'athists overthrown. Iran alone now projects power independently. Its nuclear program is a gambit for a Grand Bargain to lift oil sanctions without surrendering Regional power status, or to accomplish this asfait accompli. A future national-democratic Iran could find U.S. limits on sovereign power equally obnoxious. These underlying oil-market interests must be publically recognized to advance negotiation of the present crisis.
  • Topic: Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Gregory Orfalea
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Barack Obama said in the first presidential primary in Iowa in March 2007: "I'm not running to conform to Washington's conventional thinking-I'm running to challenge it...We've had enough of politicians who put power over principle" Such strong words are downright revolutionary considering how business is normally conducted in this country concerning the Israel-Palestine dispute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Christian Koch
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Within the framework of the al-Jisr Project on EU-GCC Public Diplomacy and Outreach Activities and with the support of the European Commission, the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Gulf Research Center organized a two-day workshop focusing on how the Mediterranean region can become a field of cooperation between the EU and GCC countries. The event brought together 30 policy officials and specialists to deliberate on questions such as: should the Mediterranean become a dimension in the EU-GCC political dialogue; where are the potential synergies when it comes to the role of energy; what ways and means of financial and economic cooperation present themselves to promote investment and development; and where do political and strategic interests between the EU and the GCC converge or diverge in the Mediterranean. A final roundtable served as a wrap-up for discussion with a focus on policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Oil, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Edward Burke, Ana Echagüe, Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: European foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a highly fragmented construction. Since the mid-1990s the EU's policies with Maghreb and Mashreq countries have been pursued under the rubric of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP), the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and now the Mediterranean Union. This plethora of highly institutionalised initiatives has been developed with negligible linkage to policy in the rest of the Middle East. Relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council remain low key and strikingly disconnected from the EMP. Contrary to its rhetorical emphasis on supporting regional integration around the world, the EU has failed to build its strategy towards Iran and Iraq into a regional security framework. Even more reproachable, given its credibility and influence in the economic sphere has been the EU's inability to foster regional economic integration between the Mediterranean and the Gulf.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Bénédict de Saint-Laurent
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Basic questions posed in this study were whether the trend of Gulf involvement in the Mediterranean economies was sustainable, what the specifics of those investments are, and could a triangular cooperation be envisaged? What is clear is that Gulf investors have become major players in the Mediterranean with an investment volume of more than 70 billion Euro in nearly 700 projects since January 2003. The Gulf now seems to have joined Europe as a sustainable second investment pillar. The complementarities between needs and resources of Europe, GCC and Med countries call for the implementation of an integrated co-operation model, similar to the Japan-China-ASEAN triangle.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Naji Abi-Aad
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Mediterranean is expected to play an increasingly important role in global energy flows which might result in a greater European dependence on North African supplies and less on the Gulf. At the same time, potential synergies are said to exist in such fields as the development of renewable energy sources, and investment required to meet domestic electricity demand. As far as oil and refined products are concerned, the volume and direction of oil flows to and through the Mediterranean will be important, especially as an expected rise in transport in the near future contains serious security implications. As a result, an increased focus on the development of a pipeline network between the Mediterranean and Europe might open possibilities for Gulf involvement. The same could apply for the supply of natural gas to Europe. In the field of power generation, the improved ability to transmit electricity over longer distances opens the door for establishing a continuum of interconnection from the Gulf to Europe through the Mediterranean and the ability to serve markets along those connections. Finally, the rapidly rising awareness of the need for renewable energy sources suggests an additional field of cooperation.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Roberto Aliboni
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: While sharing a number of interests in the Mediterranean and Middle East region, the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council have pursued different patterns of strategic concerns and relations. Nevertheless, a potential for developing common EUGCC perspectives exists, as the Mediterranean and Middle East region are both part of the EU and the GCC neighbourhood and are a common location for investment. Diplomatic convergence on a number of issues could contribute to improving security and political cooperation as well, despite the fact that this is stymied by divergent views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Successive Israeli governments have held that a nuclear weapons capability in the region, other than Israel's own, would pose an intolerable threat to Israel's survival as a state and society. Iran's nuclear program—widely regarded as an effort to obtain a nuclear weapon, or put Tehran a “turn of a screw” away from it—has triggered serious concern in Israel. Within the coming year, the Israeli government could decide, much as it did twenty-eight years ago with respect to Iraq and two years ago with respect to Syria, to attack Iran's nuclear installations in order to delay its acquisition of a weapons capability.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Syria
  • Author: Vera van Hüllen
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: Focusing on the Euro-Mediterranean relations since the early 1990s, this paper investigates in how far the EU has been able to shape its relations with third countries according to its democracy promotion policy. The paper traces the evolution of the EU's provisions for democracy promotion and compares the implementation of political dialogue and democracy assistance with seven (semi-)authoritarian regimes (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia) since the early 1990s. A clear regional trend to more intensive cooperation lends credibility to the claim that the EU possesses a certain agenda setting power in international relations. A systematic comparison across countries and over time explores the explanatory power of interdependence, political liberalisation, and statehood for the remaining country variation. The paper finds that the degree of political liberalisation in target countries is the most important scope condition for cooperation in the field of democracy promotion and points to the need of further investigating (domestic) factors to account for the EU's differential 'normative power' in international relations.
  • Topic: Democratization, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Henri J. Barkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The consequences of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq will doubtless be debated for years to come. One result, however, is already clear: the long suppressed nationalist aspirations of the Kurdish people now dispersed across four states—Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria—have been aroused, perhaps irrevocably, by the war. Already in Iraq, Kurdish regions, which have benefited from Saddam Hussein's overthrow, have consolidated themselves into a federal region. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is a reality and a force for further Kurdish empowerment as it seeks to incorporate other Kurdish-majority areas and the oil-rich Kirkuk province in particular into its domain. The KRG's existence and demands have already alarmed all of Iraq's neighbors and the Baghdad government. The issues are far from being settled. If ignored or badly handled, Kurdish aspirations have the potential to cause considerable instability and violence in Iraq and beyond at a particularly delicate time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Nationalism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Sharon Squassoni
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After several decades of disappointing growth, nuclear energy seems poised for a comeback. Talk of a "nuclear renaissance" includes perhaps a doubling or tripling of nuclear capacity by 2050, spreading nuclear power to new markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and developing new kinds of reactors and fuel-reprocessing techniques. But the reality of nuclear energy's future is more complicated. Without major changes in government policies and aggressive financial support, nuclear power is actually likely to account for a declining percentage of global electricity generation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's “responsible redeployment” from Iraq is made even more urgent by the requirements resulting from worsening conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For redeployment to occur on scale and on schedule, the United States seeks an end-state in Iraq that is stable and at peace with its neighbors. Simmering sectarian violence is inevitable, but it will not break Iraq. However, ethnic conflict between Arabs and Kurds could escalate into a major conflagration with regional implications.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Marisa Cochrane Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Multi-National Force-Iraq has identified various Shia extremist groups operating in Iraq, often using the label Special Groups or Secret Cells. MNF-I named Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH, or the Leage of the Righteous) as an active group on August 19, 2008 and released information that AAH is "affiliated" with Special Groups.This paper evaluates how the two groups, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Special Groups are affiliated by testing four hypotheses about the relationship between the Special Groups network, led at one time by Qais Khazali, and Asaib Ahl al Haq (League of the Righteous).
  • Topic: Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ellinor Zeino-Mahmalat
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The remarkable stability of the cooperation among the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has generally been explained by these members' mutual dependency on high and stable oil revenues. Since the OPEC countries, however, face the double security dilemma of both domestic and external security threats, they are not simply eager to secure (absolute) oil revenues for the sake of domestic stability; they are also sensitive to the (relative) oil revenues of their competing or even conflicting partners. The existing approaches of rational egoism and defensive positionalism have proven to be rather inadequate in explaining this kind of gain-seeking behavior. This paper therefore develops the new theoretical approach of “gain-seeking mentalities,” with the objective of tracing variations in OPEC members' gain-seeking behaviors. Using this approach, the empirical assessment of Iran and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War and Iraq during the Gulf War of 1990/91 shows the extent to which Iran and Iraq altered their gain-seeking behavior as a result of a changing constellation of threats.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Intelligence, Oil
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Yusuf Sevki Hakyemez
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This policy brief aims to discuss the limits of the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The political party bans consitute one of the most important problems threatening the freedom of political parties in Turkey. The restrictions on the political parties come to the fore in two different forms: dissolution after the military coups and closure by means of legislation. In the current context of the case opened against the AK Party, it may be possible and advisable to apply an amendment, bringing Turkish jurisprudence in such matters in line with the standards of the European community.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Against the odds, the U.S. military surge contributed to a significant reduction in violence. Its achievements should not be understated. But in the absence of the fundamental political changes in Iraq the surge was meant to facilitate, its successes will remain insufficient, fragile and reversible. The ever-more relative lull is an opportunity for the U.S. to focus on two missing ingredients: pressuring the Iraqi government to take long overdue steps toward political compromise and altering the regional climate so that Iraq's neighbours use their leverage to encourage that compromise and make it stick. As shown in these two companion reports, this entails ceasing to provide the Iraqi government with unconditional military support; reaching out to what remains of the insurgency; using its leverage to encourage free and fair provincial elections and progress toward a broad national dialogue and compact; and engaging in real diplomacy with all Iraq's neighbours, Iran and Syria included.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Against the odds, the U.S. military surge contributed to a significant reduction in violence. Its achievements should not be understated. But in the absence of the fundamental political changes in Iraq the surge was meant to facilitate, its successes will remain insufficient, fragile and reversible. The ever-more relative lull is an opportunity for the U.S. to focus on two missing ingredients: pressuring the Iraqi government to take long overdue steps toward political compromise and altering the regional climate so that Iraq's neighbours use their leverage to encourage that compromise and make it stick. As shown in these two companion reports, this entails ceasing to provide the Iraqi government with unconditional military support; reaching out to what remains of the insurgency; using its leverage to encourage free and fair provincial elections and progress toward a broad national dialogue and compact; and engaging in real diplomacy with all Iraq's neighbours, Iran and Syria included.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Mari Luomi
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding of the new geopolitical situation currently unfolding in Middle Eastern politics that has emerged since the onset of the United States-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The paper focuses on the notions of the Sunni-Shia divide and the Rise of the Shia.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Society of Muslim Brothers' success in the November-December 2005 elections for the People's Assembly sent shockwaves through Egypt's political system. In response, the regime cracked down on the movement, harassed other potential rivals and reversed its fledging reform process. This is dangerously short-sighted. There is reason to be concerned about the Muslim Brothers' political program, and they owe the people genuine clarifications about several of its aspects. But the ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP) refusal to loosen its grip risks exacerbating tensions at a time of both political uncertainty surrounding the presidential succession and serious socio-economic unrest. Though this likely will be a prolonged, gradual process, the regime should take preliminary steps to normalise the Muslim Brothers' participation in political life.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Mona Yacoubian, Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Punctuated by conflict in Iraq, an ascendant ran, and continued instability in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, rising volatility in the Middle East threatens U.S. interests in the region. Meanwhile, sectarianism, al-Qaeda–inspired terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) all serve as troubling overlays to this complex mix. Mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has yet to develop a comprehensive strategic framework that addresses these interrelated challenges. Instead, U.S. policy has been largely crisis-driven, attempting to put out fires by confronting issues on an ad hoc basis rather than seeking to respond to the underlying forces and tensions that catalyze conflict and instability in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman, Harvey Sapolsky, Christopher Preble
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Foreign policy experts and policy analysts are misreading the lessons of Iraq. The emerging conventional wisdom holds that success could have been achieved in Iraq with more troops, more cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and better counterinsurgency doctrine. To analysts who share these views, Iraq is not an example of what not to do but of how not to do it. Their policy proposals aim to reform the national security bureaucracy so that we will get it right the next time.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Benjamin E. Hippen
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Kidney transplantation in the United States is burdened by a terrible policy failure. The cost of this failure will be paid in the currency of years of human lives unnecessarily lost, as well as a massive increase in federal expenditures over the next decade and beyond. The number of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the United States has grown, but the supply of kidneys—for the preferred treatment for ESRD, kidney transplantation— has not kept pace with the demand. Unfortunately, the issue is not simply one of supply and demand: in the United States the supply of kidneys for transplantation is kept artificially low by a prohibition on the sale of human organs.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Riad al Khouri
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The political situation in much of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is subject to persistent tension due to the Arab–Israeli conflict, the war in Iraq and its spillovers to other countries, and sporadic upsurges of terrorism. In addition, some countries face serious domestic political tensions, a lack of political openness, and the increasing popularity of Islamist opposition groups. Economically, fast demographic and labor force expansion has led to high un- employment and slow growth in per capita incomes. Unsustainable management of the environment and natural resources further threatens prospects for long-term economic growth. In this context, increased economic cooperation between the MENA countries, on the one hand, and the United States and the European Union (EU), on the other, aims not only at promoting growth and development but also at fostering more stable political environments.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, North Africa