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  • Author: Raffaele Marchetti
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The articles of this core present a number of innovative studies on transnational networks. Mainstream transnational network research has suffered from a number of theoretical biases which have prevented comprehensive study of the wide range of transnational activism of civil society organisations (CSOs). These biases concern, in particular, the notion of the ' civilness ' of CSOs, their Western origin, their bourgeois nature, and their centre-left political orientation in terms of views on global politics.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Leigh
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy trade cannot overcome longstanding political conflicts. There are no 'peace pipelines' anywhere in the world. Rather peace is a condition for investment in pipelines and other forms of energy infrastructure. Where political breakthroughs have been achieved, however, energy trade can reinforce cooperation between states and contribute to regional stability. These considerations are particularly pertinent to the Cyprus settlement talks and Middle East Peace Process, against the background of energy discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Kayhan Barzegar
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The nuclear negotiations between Iran and EU3+3 have provided the grounds for establishing direct talks between Iran and the United States, subsequently creating a positive prospect for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff after a decade of negotiations. The effect of economic sanctions and political change in Iran have made it possible to bring an important foreign policy issue into domestic politics discourses. The fact that the nuclear negotiations put Iran in a position comparable to the other world powers strengthened a sense of movement towards a win-win situation among Iranian political forces. All of this created a relative political consensus among Iran's ruling elites regarding the need to initiate direct talks with the United States in order to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff. The nuclear programme is also linked with the regional equation, the result of which has been the emergence of a new kind pragmatism in the conduct of Iranian regional policy in hope of revising Iran's place in US Middle East policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Lorenzo Trombetta
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Seen through the eyes of Syrian activists and other observers based in the Middle East, EU policy towards Syria could in some ways appear inconsistent and ambiguous. In Brussels, EU representatives remind us that the Syrian crisis is the most difficult one the European Union has had to face so far, for the unprecedented scope of the humanitarian catastrophe, its geographic proximity to the Union's borders, and the difficulties in deciphering a fluid and multi-dimensional conflict. After more than three years since the eruption of violence, the EU is trying hard to play a pivotal role in the Syrian issue, despite the complexity of balancing its institutions, the different political sensibilities of its 28 member states, and the pressures exerted by influent external actors.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria, Brussels
  • Author: Andrea Dessì
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The political and strategic landscape of the Middle East and North African region has changed dramatically since late 2010 and the events now loosely defined as the 'Arab Spring'. The dust has yet to settle in many Arab capitals and 2013 is set to be another defining year for the greater Middle East as regional actors, particularly new Islamist-led governments, take on more direct roles in influencing political, military and social developments in the Arab world. Israel and the Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah are not immune to these developments and while progress towards peace has been all but non-existent, change in the region must not necessarily lead to more tensions and conflict. The EU and US should work to establish greater Arab ownership of the diplomatic process, convince Israel that its security is best served by assuming a proactive approach to its changing neighbourhood and strive to harness the new realities in the region to modify the incentive calculus of the major domestic players in the conflict.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North Africa
  • Author: Arturo Marzano
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel's international position has declined in recent years. Even if its relationship with the EU - and even more with the US - is solid, there have been frictions that are not likely to disappear in the years to come. Its relations with other states, from Middle Eastern countries to India and China, are either highly problematic or have not improved despite the Israeli government's efforts. It is Israel's policy in the Occupied Territories that is being increasingly criticised and this is creating a sort of 'vicious circle' in Israel: the critiques reinforce Israeli's 'bunker mentality', strengthening the ethno-nationalist character of Israeli politics and society and causing de-democratisation, and this, in turn, brings on more international isolation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The momentous changes in the Middle East and North Africa have brought the issue of human rights and democracy promotion back to the forefront of international politics. The new engagement in the region of both the US and the EU can be scrutinised along three dimensions: targets, instruments and content. In terms of target sectors, the US and EU are seeking to work more with civil society. As for instruments, they have mainly boosted democracy assistance and political conditionality, that is utilitarian, bilateral instruments of human rights and democracy promotion, rather than identitive, multilateral instruments. The content of human rights and democracy promotion has not been revised.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Liviu Horovitz, Roland Popp
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: A scheduled conference to promote a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has renewed hopes for nuclear disarmament in this unstable region, if only innovative diplomacy could take advantage of the current shifts. However, a realistic assessment suggests that optimism is unwarranted. Fundamental strategic considerations related to Iran's nuclear program, Israel's atomic options, and the region's ingrate security architecture remain nearly insurmountable hurdles. Therefore, policymakers should focus first on attaining a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The transatlantic tensions of the Bush years are behind us but the future of transatlantic relations remains uncertain at the closing of the Obama term. Policy alignment has been found on a host of issues but 'existential' questions have resurfaced, casting shadows on Western unity and relevance in the coming years. So far the crisis has failed to focus attention on the need for a common vision for the 21st century. Key strategic issues, from the future of the European order to transatlantic engagement in the Middle East, should figure prominently on the next transatlantic agenda, shifting the debate from the notion of a 'Pacific century' to how the West can address ongoing power transitions.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Christopher Hobbs, Matthew Moran
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The past year has seen a steady rise in tensions with regard to Iran's nuclear programme. Iran's economy is being crippled by far-ranging sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities looms large on the horizon. Yet the country's nuclear programme marches on, stoking fears that Iran may indeed be seeking to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. In this context, it is timely to consider how key regional players would respond to a nuclear-armed Iran. Many argue that an Iranian bomb would prompt a proliferation cascade in the Middle East. However, a closer examination of the drivers for key regional players shows that this is not necessarily the case. There is a range of non-proliferation tools that could be applied by the West and others to offset this risk.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East