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  • Author: Claude Bruderlein
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over the recent years, prompting record-high levels of international aid. In view of the complexity of the political and social environment in which these challenges arise and the historical scale of the population affected, innovative and creative programmatic responses are essential to address the short and middle-term needs of refugees and reducing instability in the Middle East region. Over 20 students from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard School of Public Health participated in "Assessment of the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan and Critical Review of the National and International Responses," a winter field study course in Jordan supported by the Middle East Initiative and led by Professor Claude Bruderlein. Read more about their learning experience below and in the attached report.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Nawaf Obaid
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This proposal for a Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine (SDD) hopes to initiate an essential internal reform effort that responds to the shifting demands of today and the potential threats of tomorrow. In the last decade, the world has watched as regime changes, revolutions, and sectarian strife transformed the Middle East into an unrecognizable political arena plagued by instability, inefficiency, and failing states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)—the Arab world's central power and last remaining major Arab heavyweight on the international scene—has emerged as the ipso facto leader responsible for regional stability and development.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David W. Lesch
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the final report of the Harvard-NUPI-Trinity Syria Research Project (HNT). The project is sponsored by Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (or NUPI, Oslo, Norway), and Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas, USA).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Insurgency, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Katherine Didow, Jinnyn Jacob
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In January 2011, protests started in Tunisia and Egypt, sparking a string of uprisings in the Muslim world, with consequences yet unknown. These monumental shifts caught many politicians, academics, journalists and pollsters by surprise. As world leaders scramble to formulate policy to confront these new realities, there is an urgent need for accurate and relevant public opinion data on the Muslim world.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Karam Dana
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the Six-Day War and Occupation of 1967, economics, an area of study that affects social and political formulations and transformations, has entered the study of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a much larger extent: Palestinian workers in Israel, to an underdeveloped infrastructure in the Palestinian territories. More than four decades later, economic challenges continue to play a role in the affairs of the Palestinians: from affecting people's lives and their leadership on the one hand, and the relationship between the Palestinian and Israel on the other. Within Palestinian society itself, the dynamics of state-society relations have demonstrably been affected by economic transformations, but have yet to be fully studied in places of continuous occupation and conflict like the West bank and the Gaza Strip. This paper explores the challenges that have faced developmental attempts in Palestine since the occupation of 1967.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Justin Dargin
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions rates per capita in the world. This paper argues that in spite of the extremely high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rates, GCC members will benefit economically, environmentally and geopolitically by constructing a harmonized pan-GCC carbon trading platform that will allow them to make cost-efficient decisions about greenhouse gas abatement. A thorough analysis is undertaken to determine which GHG abatement mechanism would be the best suited for the GCC, with maximum cost and environmental benefits. Based on the unique characteristics of the GCC members, a pan-GCC cap-and-trade framework is suggested. Optimally, policy makers would institute it in a phased, voluntary introduction, to be gradually replaced by a mandatory scheme. If the GCC countries implement such a system, they would be able to rationalize their energy usage for domestic power production, and conserve their oil and gas production for future generations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ayman Ismail
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the five year period from 2003 to 2008, private equity and venture capital investments have grown exponentially, both globally and in emerging markets, making private equity firms and funds increasingly important actors in emerging markets. In this paper, we examine the hypothesis that private equity firms in emerging markets are entrepreneurial-i.e., are more focused on creating new firms or growing and globalizing existing ones, based on a case study of Egypt.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • 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
  • Author: Justin Dargin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This article examines the legal and political impediments to the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) exploration and production contracts, which the central government in Baghdad has refused to recognize. The newly established Iraqi national constitution significantly opened as many petroleum-control questions as it resolved. Negotiated in 2005, the constitution not only separated branches of government, but established Federalism as its lodestar. When faced with unresolved issues over regional and national control over petroleum resources, however, International Oil Companies (IOCs) function in an ambiguous legal environment that fails to clearly distinguish between federal and regional powers.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Baghdad, Arabia
  • Author: Tarek Coury, Chetan Dave
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In a bid to reduce their dependency on oil and natural gas revenues, GCC governments have recently invested considerable resources to diversify their economies. This paper provides an empirical assessment of economic diversification in the GCC for the period 1980–2005. In particular we assess whether oil and natural gas revenues, government policies and foreign flows of labor have contributed to greater economic diversification, proxied by real growth in non-hydrocarbon GDP per worker. To our knowledge, this is the first paper that analyzes economic diversification in the Gulf using panel data techniques that explicitly treat the GCC as an economic block.
  • Topic: Markets, Oil, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Michael Robbins
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Islamist organizations are generally considered to be the strongest and most credible opposition to incumbent regimes throughout the Arab world. Fear of Islamic takeovers has led regimes and other outside powers to justify not holding free elections, citing examples that include the Algerian election of 1991, the Iranian Revolution, the AKP victory in Turkey and the perceived popularity of Islamist opposition groups throughout much of the Arab world (Brumberg 2002). Yet, other analysts have questioned the actual strength of Islamist movements within the Arab world, noting that although Islamists may be the main challenger, few have actually been successful in taking power (Roy 1994).
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Arabia, Algeria
  • Author: Stephen J. Ramos
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: To understand Dubai's modern history since its founding in 1833, one must go further back in time to explore the regional history that frames its foundation. European powers, beginning with the Venetians, and, then subsequently, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and finally the British, were interested in the Gulf region as a means to secure trade routes to and from the Indian Subcontinent and points eastward. This meant that from the fifteenth century through the late nineteenth century, if trade routes could move uninterrupted through the Gulf region, European powers were not involved in the societal affairs of settlements as a traditionally colonial ruling class, nor did European merchants bother to extensively explore trade within the region, believing that it required more effort than either the climate or the local economies were worth. The region's local tribes were divided among the maritime coastal groups and those that were nomadic and land-bound, and conflict among these groups occurred in parallel with the larger European conflicts also playing out in the region. The intersection of the two came with the increase in piracy, which, in very basic terms, represented a kind of cultural disagreement on trade customs. The Europeans felt that they were unjustly looted and local groups simply sought to protect themselves from foreign incursion while taking what they believed was their share. Historians still debate this issue today, but in relation to Dubai, the piracy of the times serves as an example of how looser understandings of the licit and illicit, particularly in terms of trade, could be capitalized upon as business venture. The smuggling of gold, weapons, and other goods throughout Dubai's history may have been seen as illicit from perspectives outside Dubai's ports, but the merchant-friendly environments of these ports and the adherence to local autonomy allowed them to trade freely.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: Europe, India, Arabia, Dubai
  • Author: Deborah West
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The function of narratives was discussed at great length. It was suggested that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, each side's narrative is rooted in fear and insecurity, albeit for different reasons. Each side fears destruction, and, in another sense, each side fears peace. If peace comes, each side will have to reorganize it- self. This process is difficult because it is psychologically easier to organize against a clearly defined opposing force than without one. In order to move be- yond the traditional opposition, each side must recognize and legitimize the other side's fears as well as its own.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia