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  • Author: Rachid Tlemçani
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Algerians no longer live in fear of being killed by radical Islamists at faux barrages (makeshift roadblocks) or of being “disappeared” by “ninjas” — hooded police - men who break down front doors and take occupants away, never to return. This is a remarkable achievement in a country that during the 1990s was synonymous with horrendous violence perpetrated both by Islamist radicals and by security forces. Algeria has regained stability, with radical Islamism no longer a fundamental threat to security across the country. The virtual quarantine in which the country was confined during the mid-1990s has been lifted. It is also increasingly opening up to foreign investment. Algerians have enjoyed a period of peace and relative prosperity, despite occasional flare-ups of violence. During the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who took office in 1999, Algeria has transitioned from civil war, state failure, and moral decay to stability.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Civil War, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: At a time when mainstream Islamist movements across the Arab world have chosen to participate in politics, questions have arisen over the nature of their participation and its repercussions on the political environment as well as on the movements themselves. In this regard, the Moroccan Party for Justice and Development (PJD) represents an interesting case. Contesting legislative elections since 1997, the PJD has gradually gained members in Morocco's parliament, winning 9 out of 325 seats in the 1997 elections, 42 in 2002, and 46 in 2007. It has become well entrenched in the Moroccan political process, and its recent electoral gains are not just a temporary breakthrough.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: Amel Boubekeur
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Despite the repression of radical Islamist movements since 1992 and the promulgation of a National Reconciliation law in 1999 aimed at encouraging the repentance of jihadi fighters, Algeria is still subject to regular terrorist attacks. Rather than follow the 1990s model of Islamist parties that believed in politics, expressed themselves within the system, discussed the concept of democracy, and had the goal of building an Islamic State, the radical anti-state rhetoric in Algeria today finds its expression in movements that do not believe in working within the political system. These movements are Salafist in nature and include Jihadi Salafism, personified by the recently formed al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), and Da'wa Salafism, inspired by Saudi Wahhabism. These apolitical or anti-political Salafi trends are the result of the marginaliza-tion of political Salafists, mainly during the 1990s. They reveal the failure of participationist strategies among the moderate Islamist parties and their difficulties in mobilizing their base, a growing depoliticization among the new young Islamist generation, and the urgent need to reinvent pluralistic politics in a post-conflict Algeria.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Government, Islam, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Sufism is a mystical form of Islam that has flourished in the Muslim world for centuries. Sufism has placed a distinctive stamp on the way the religion has been practiced in many Arab countries, in parts of Africa, in Turkey, and especially in Central Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Kuwait, Arabia
  • Author: Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The political opening that began in late 2004 in Egypt has been unlike any seen in the country in at least twenty years, perhaps in a half century. It has resulted so far in Egypt holding its first-ever presidential election as well as parliamentary elections that were significantly fairer and more transparent than in the past, although marred by violence. Political dissidents are making bolder demands, most of the taboos on criticizing the regime have been swept away, and there is now more opposition representation in Parliament than at any time since the 1952 Free Officers' coup. The Muslim Brotherhood, an illegal organization but also the only effective opposition party, made dramatic gains in the fall 2005 elections. Yet many observers inside and outside Egypt view the political reform steps made in 2004 and 2005 as no more than cosmetic measures taken to preserve rather than change an essentially authoritarian order. Has Egypt entered an era of irreversible momentum toward democratization, or is it merely undergoing a brief liberal episode that will not fundamentally change the way political power is exercised?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN in recent years about Islam and politics, Islam and democracy, and Islam's compatibility with the requirements of modernity. These debates cannot be settled conclusively by referring to the holy texts, because such texts lend themselves to conflicting interpretations. This paper, therefore, takes a different approach. Using Egypt as a case study, it focuses not on the relationship between Islam and politics in the abstract, but on the relationship between religious authority and political authority as it unfolds in practice. It outlines the motivations, interests, strategies, and agendas of the institutions that represent and speak for Islam and those that represent the state and act in its name. The interaction between them is a mix of complicity and rivalry that has profound effects on Egyptian society, the Egyptian state, and its relationship with the outside world.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt