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  • 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: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Ambition is high. Just a few years ago, the claim that the Gulf represented an important financial centre, let alone an aspiring Global Financial Centre (GFC), would have been seen as optimistic. However, it should be recalled that in the late 1990s, and even up until 2003, few analysts expected oil prices to move above the $20–30 range–yet by early 2008 oil was trading well above $100 and rising. The GCC economies have approximately tripled in size in just five years and their combined GDP will be well above $1 trillion in 2008, while their external financial wealth in the form of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and foreign exchange reserves alone is more than double this figure. These trends are not, of course, uncorrelated. Nevertheless, it is easy to see the region's comparative advantage from the swing in oil prices, whereas the scope for developing a significant advantage in global finance remains tentative. To develop and mature the Global Financial Centre concept will require considerable effort and nurturing, chiefly by GCC governments, banks and fund managers but including cooperative ventures with leading GFCs and financial services companies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: John V Mitchell, Paul Stevens
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Since 2003, countries whose economies depend on the export of oil and gas have enjoyed a surge of revenue driven by rising oil prices and, in some countries, rising export volumes. The press has captured petroleum-fuelled prosperity in images of futuristic construction plans and the rocketing assets of sovereign wealth funds. However, this obscures important differences among oil and gas exporters in terms of reserves size and social development challenges. Based on a major study of twelve hydrocarbon-exporting countries, this report shows that the boom does not guarantee economic sustainability for these countries, most of which face hard policy choices over domestic consumption, development spending and rates of economic growth. The report estimates the timeframes these countries have in which to make the necessary changes and examine their prospects for success given the existing human, institutional and technical capacity, competitive advantages, infrastructure and access to capital.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Richard Dalton(ed.)
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The dispute over Iran's nuclear programme is deadlocked. Five years of negotiations, proposals, UN resolutions and sanctions have failed to achieve a breakthrough. As diplomacy struggles and Iran continues to advance its nuclear capabilities, the issue becomes ever more grave and pressing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Oil, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Middle East is bedevilled by crises. The war between Hizbullah and Israel, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the instability in Iraq and the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme create a climate of deep unease. Iran is involved in all these crises, to a greater or lesser degree, and its regional role is significant and growing.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Kirsty Hughes
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Security of natural gas supplies has resurfaced on the European energy agenda because of concerns about an anticipated rapid increase in dependence on imports from non-European suppliers–from one-third to two-thirds of demand–over the next 20 years. On a national basis, European import dependence is already an established fact: nine out of 33 European countries are more than 95% dependent on imports; only five are self-sufficient or net exporters.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jacqueline Karas, Tatiana Bosteels
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: OPEC countries tend to be highly reliant on revenues from the export of fossil fuels and they have consistently argued, throughout the climate negotiations, that measures taken by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have a major impact on their economies. They have advocated financial compensation to offset any adverse impacts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani, Felix Neugart
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Iraq crisis has been a disaster for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union (EU). Member countries are very visibly split in their position towards the war against the regime in Baghdad. EU institutions have been unable to agree on more than the unconditional implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions leaving the door open for widely diverging interpretations. The challenge of the Iraq crisis does not bode well for the future of a cohesive European Foreign Policy, and the CFSP requires a fresh approach.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Arabia, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The third consultation in the 'Living with the Megapower: Implications of the war on terrorism' series explored the role of religion and ideology in the causes behind the events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent reaction to these events. The importance of public opinion and the impact of the media were also examined in the day-long session. Were old theses like Samuel P Huntington's 'clash of civilizations' now more relevant or do we need new concepts and approaches to better understand the growing importance of religion and ideology in the language, culture and politics of the current 'war on terrorism'?
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East