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  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Danial Kaysi
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Within days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocratic country governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Charles Schmitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Yemeni economy is often portrayed as a dire picture of impending disaster, as the country runs out of oil and even more devastatingly of water. Yemen's economic problems are real, but they are not caused by an absolute, irreparable shortage of resources. Rather, it is Yemen's contentious politics and its lack of institutional development that constitute the main obstacle to surmounting present economic difficulties.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Development, Economics, Poverty, Natural Resources, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ursula Lindsey
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Underfunded, understaffed, and suffering from opaque governance and political repression, the public higher education system that Egypt's new civilian government inherited from the Mubarak era is deeply flawed. Yet change in this area has stopped far short of a revolution.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Education, Regime Change, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Lahcen Achy
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As Tunisia moves away from its former regime, policymakers need to seize this historic opportunity to pursue an innovative economic strategy to overcome four key challenges: high rates of youth unemployment, a large number of marginal jobs, increasing income inequality, and substantial regional disparities.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Industrial Policy, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Ibrahim Saif
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Egyptian economy is going through a critical period as the country transitions to democracy. While the shift from authoritarianism is certainly welcome, it has inevitably incited instability unknown to Egypt for the past thirty years. The implementation of economic reform amid this uncertainty is particularly challenging as political demands take precedence. The state attempted several times to revive the Egyptian economy since the Infitah, or “open door,” policy initiated by President Anwar Sadat in the mid-1970s. Successive, though unsuccessful, reform programs during the 1990s contributed to the pervasive poverty that served as a central driver of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and persists today. Past experiences can provide useful lessons for what to avoid in the future, even if they are unable to impart what exactly should be done.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Marwan Muasher, Muhammad Faour
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Any romantic notions in the West that the 2011 Arab uprisings could create instantaneous democracy in countries that have succeeded at toppling their leaders are already shattering. In the absence of strong political parties and viable civil society structures in most of the Arab world, these uprisings are proving to be only the first step in a process that will not follow a clear path and will take years to unfold. Much trial and error will take place and the region will experience multiple ups and downs before stable political and economic systems take hold.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Education, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Christopher Boucek
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Yemen faces a great and growing number of challenges that endanger its political future and threaten its neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula. War, terror- ism, a deepening secessionist movement, and interconnected economic and demographic trends have the potential to overwhelm the Yemeni government, jeopardizing domestic stability and security across the region. Yemen's oil—the source of over 75 percent of its income—is quickly running out, and the country has no apparent way to transition to a post-oil economy. The dire economic situation makes it increasingly difficult for the government to deliver the funds needed to hold the country together.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Development, Oil, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Incumbent regimes in the Arab world, monarchical and republican alike, have weathered the period of intense, worldwide political change that has followed the end of the Cold War without giving up much of their power. Though not completely untouched by events that have shaken the rest of the world, most Arab regimes have survived the wave of political transformation that has engulfed the rest of the world relatively intact. Many regimes have carried out reforms, but the reforms have been directed at modernizing the economy and addressing social issues rather than redistributing power in the political system. Indeed, most regimes that talk of political reform are in reality avoiding it. To be sure, there have been some political changes: For example, more political parties exist today in most Arab countries than fifteen years ago, and more countries hold elections of varying quality. Access to information and the quality of political debate have increased in many countries as well. Power, however, remains firmly where it was: in the hands of kings and presidents.
  • Topic: Cold War, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sufyan Alissa
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The issue of economic reform in the Arab world is surrounded by many key questions. How do we define meaningful economic reform and what does it entail? To what extent has such economic reform advanced in the region? What is needed to accelerate the process? Are ruling elites motivated to undertake real economic reform and are they capable of doing so? Are state institutions able to implement economic reform and handle its consequences? Is it possible to have economic transformation without political reform? Furthermore, in individual countries, what can we say about the timing of reform-has it been planned out and phased in or pushed through quickly in response to crises? Who have been the winners and losers? What has been the interplay between economic and political reform-have they proceeded independently or can we detect a direct connection? What has been the role of external rents-whether oil revenues, remittances, or bilateral aid-in the speed or slowness, the depth or shallowness, of the process?
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Julia Choucair
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanon is arguably the most democratic Arab state. Under parliamentary rule since becoming independent in 1943, it has regular elections, numerous political parties, and relatively free and lively news media. Lebanon also has one of the most complex political systems in the Middle East, based on the premise that a careful balance in all aspects of political life must be maintained among the seventeen recognized religious communities. While this confessional system has spared Lebanon the authoritarianism experienced by many Arab regimes in the twentieth century, paradoxically it has also prevented the transition to a truly democratic state. Nor has the confessional system eliminated the factional strife it was designed to avoid.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: IN PALESTINE, CITIZENS HAVE RIGHTS OF FREE SPEECH and free assembly. The most independent judiciary in the Arab world adjudicates their disputes. Palestinians select their leaders freely in competitive elections overseen by an independent electoral commission. A representative assembly monitors the executive, granting and withholding confidence from ministers and reviewing the state budget in detailed public discussions. Elected councils manage local governments that are fiscally autonomous of the center.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Marina S. Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This short paper launches the second set of studies in the Carnegie Papers Middle East Series. The first set, now also published as a book under the title Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, examined the most important issues concerning democracy promotion and democratic change in the Middle East. One of the conclusions that emerged from those studies is that the Middle East still offers a rather discouraging political picture. There are some liberalized autocracies but no democratic countries in the region. The link between economic and political reform remains weak. Democratic reformers have failed to build strong constituencies, and the organizations with strong constituencies are Islamist rather than democratic. The integration of Islamists in the reform process remains poor. And the United States, now championing democracy in the region, has little credibility in Arab eyes, and still has not consistently integrated democracy promotion in its policy toward the area. Yet, despite all these problems, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a ferment of reform in the Middle East. But how significant is it?
  • Topic: Development, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia