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  • Author: Abdullah Al-Arian
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Prof. Abdullah Al-Arian discusses how Islamist movements have historically viewed diplomacy as important to their activist missions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Diplomacy, Politics, History, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Gabriel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Established in January 2019, the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) is the most significant multinational organization in a geopolitical space often associated with conflict and competition. Currently comprised of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Greece, Italy and the Palestinian Authority, the forum’s purpose to advance opportunities for energy development and cooperation between Eastern Mediterranean states in order to maximize the commercial potential of the region’s hydrocarbon reserves. This paper analyzes the diplomatic processes that resulted in the EMGF’s formation, the current challenges the forum faces, and Israel’s capacity to shape this nascent body’s future. If the forum hopes to grow in the postcoronavirus era, then it must commit to seeking pathways towards economic cooperation, enhancing its scope to include renewable energy, while also prioritizing conflict resolution and the establishment of a new maritime order.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Gas, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This article reviews the changed attitudes of Arab states (especially the “core” states of the Middle East) toward the Jews from the turn of the millennium to the present. It places these changes in a broad diplomatic context, which also relates to improved ties between Israel and Middle Eastern states and these states’ strengthening alliance with the US. The article presents the difficulties of Arab regimes and societies in differentiating between Jews and Israel, briefly describes widespread manifestations of anti-Semitism in the second half of the 20th century in Arab culture and media, and reviews the changing geopolitics and awareness in Arab states that have affected the development of interfaith discourse between Jews and Muslims. The article argues that a significant turnaround has occurred over the past two decades in the attitude of Arab regimes toward the Jews by virtue of the geopolitical changes in the Middle East and a desire to project enlightenment and modernity to the West. The resulting increased Jewish-Muslim dialogue could imbue future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with an added dimension and contribute to their success.
  • Topic: Demographics, Religion, Ethnicity, Judaism, History
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Valeria Talbot, Ugo Tramballi, Paola Magri, Zhao Jianming, Kabir Taneja, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Jeongmin Seo, Naser Al-Tamimi, Nael Shama, Sara Bazoobandi, Anshel Pfeffer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea. Not only oil but also trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism is the name of the business with the MENA region. Beyond energy and economic interests, questions arise about the potential geopolitical dimension of these evolving ties. What are the strategic implications of the projection of Asian countries in an unstable, fragmented and volatile region? How do they interact with each other and with other international players? Last but not least, will the Covid-19 pandemic be a game changer in (re)shaping relations in the future?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics, Business , Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, India, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Annalisa Perteghella, Nadereh Chamlou, Gawdat Bahgat, Abbas Kadhim, Hafsa Halawa, Yahia Mohamed, Lemine Mestek, Emadeddin Badi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time, as many countries in the MENA region remain engulfed in vicious internal conflicts or must cope with structural socio-economic distress and popular dissent. In many respects, such a context and many of its problems resemble those that formed the backdrop for the Arab Spring in 2011. Exactly like what happens with humans, who are hit the hardest when presenting pre-existing conditions, MENA states have been impacted because of their own pre-existing conditions. In this sense, the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare all the vulnerabilities and deficiencies of these states’ structures, and has aggravated pre-existing political, social, and economic shortcomings. How has the pandemic impacted state structures? What is its effect on organized protests and spontaneous popular movements? What are the possible long-term consequences?
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Arab Spring, Conflict, Protests, COVID-19, Elites
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Algeria, North Africa, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Mehari Taddele Maru
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Very few consider that despite the possibility of conflict or cooperation, such changes in the exploitation of the Nile River resources are due to changing relations and the need to address long-standing unfair and hegemonic approaches to trans-boundary resource sharing.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Regional Cooperation, Natural Resources, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt
  • Author: Brandon Friedman, Joshua Krasna, Uzi Rabi, Michael Milshtein, Arik Rudnitzky, Liora Hendelman-Baavur, Joel D. Parker, Cohen Yanarocak, Hay Eytan, Michael Barak, Adam Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: This collection of essays, published by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in collaboration with the Moshe Dayan Center (MDC), focuses on how states and societies absorbed the coronavirus shock as the first wave spread through the Middle East, from February through April 2020. It offers a critical examination of how several different Middle East countries have coped with the crisis. This publication is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, but rather representative and preliminary. Each of these essays draw on some combination of official government data, traditional local and international media, as well as social media, to provide a provisional picture of the interplay between state and society in the initial response to the crisis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health Care Policy, Economy, Crisis Management, Sunni, Jihad, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Egyptian military accounts for far less of the national economy than is commonly believed, but its takeover in 2013 and the subsequent rise of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have transformed its role in both scope and scale and turned it into an autonomous actor that can reshape markets and influence government policy setting and investment strategies. The military delivers massive infrastructure projects, produces consumer goods ranging from food to household appliances, manufactures industrial chemicals and transport equipment, and imports basic commodities for civilian markets. It has expanded into new sectors as diverse as gold prospecting, steel production, and managing religious endowments and pilgrimage. In parallel, thousands of retired senior officers benefit from the military’s powerful political influence to occupy senior positions throughout the state’s civilian apparatus and public sector companies, complementing the formal military economy while benefiting themselves. The military boasts of superior managerial skills and technological advances and claims to act as a developmental spearhead, but its role comes at a high cost. It has replicated the rentierism of Egypt’s political economy, benefiting like its civilian counterparts (in both the public and private business sectors) from an environment in which legal permissibility, bureaucratic complexity, and discretionary powers allow considerable space for predation and corruption. At best, the military makes good engineers, but bad economists: the massive surge of megaprojects in public infrastructure and housing it has managed since 2013 is generating significant amounts of dead capital and stranded assets, diverting investment and resources from other economic sectors. The military economy’s entrenchment is detrimental to Egypt’s democratic politics, however flawed. The military economy must be reversed in most sectors, rationalized in select remaining ones, and brought under unambiguous civilian control if Egypt is to resolve the chronic structural problems that impede its social and economic development, inhibit productivity and investment, subvert market dynamics, and distort private sector growth. Nor can any Egyptian government exercise efficient economic management until informal officer networks in the civilian bureaucracy, public sector companies, and local government are disabled. Rosy assessments of Egypt’s macroeconomic indicators issued by Egyptian officials and their counterparts in Western governments and international financial institutions disregard fundamental problems of low productivity and innovation, limited value added, and insufficient investment in most economic sectors. These officials may be hoping Sisi can somehow build a successful development dictatorship, which would explain why they gloss over the social consequences of his administration’s economic approach and its fierce repression of political and social freedoms and egregious human rights violations. A corollary is the faith that the military is as good an economic actor and manager as it claims to be, and that it will withdraw from the economy as the latter grows. Yet current trends suggest Sisi will remain hostage to key partners in the governing coalition, including the military leading its involvement in the economy to accelerate.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Economy, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Diogo Bercito
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: MAAS alum Samer Judeh built Jordan’s first windfarm and catalyzed the country’s renewable energy industry.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Sara Nowacka
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The population of Egypt, the EU’s second-most populous neighbour after Russia, will soon exceed 100 million. The fast pace of the population growth together with the country’s inefficient economy could spur new crises caused by rising unemployment and difficult access to drinking water and food resources, and by politics. The Egyptian government, in cooperation with the EU, U.S., and UN, launched programmes aimed at reducing the fertility rate. Limiting the pace of Egypt’s population growth should weaken factors inciting further destabilisation of the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Topic: Demographics, Natural Resources, Unemployment, Population Growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The significance of the Eastern Mediterranean for Israel has increased in the last decade, an outcome of interlocking factors associated with the civil war in Syria, the deterioration of relations with Turkey, and discoveries of new gas fields. The effectiveness of Israeli policy, especially in energy issues, depends on strengthening relations with the states of the region, such as Egypt or Cyprus. Hence, regional cooperation will deepen, which may have a positive impact on Israel-EU relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate interfaith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield at the heart of which was Al-Azhar, one of the world’s oldest and foremost seats of Islamic learning. The pope’s visit took on added significance with Al-Azhar standing accused of promoting the kind of ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam that potentially creates an environment conducive to breeding extremism.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Mohammad AlAhmad
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: CCAS Professor Mohammad AlAhmad discusses how Arab prison literature goes beyond documenting the prison experience to serve as an instrument of resistance and to hold readers accountable for their silence.
  • Topic: Torture, Prisons/Penal Systems, Authoritarianism, Political Prisoners, Literature
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Egypt, Morocco
  • Author: Amirah El-Haddad
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This discussion paper is available below in both Arabic (2019) and English (2018). The structural transformation of countries moves them towards more sophisticated, higher-value products. Network analysis, using the Product Space Methodology (PSM), guides countries towards leading export sectors. The identification process rests on two pillars: (1) available opportunities, that is, products in the product space that the country does not yet export which are more sophisticated than its current exports; and (2) the stock of a country’s accumulated productive knowledge and the technical capabilities that, through spillovers, enable it to produce slightly more sophisticated products. The PSM points to a tradeoff between capabilities and complexity. The methodology identifies very basic future products that match the two countries’ equally basic capabilities. Top products are simple animal products, cream and yogurt, modestly sophisticated plastics, metals and minerals such as salt and sulphur for Egypt; and slightly more sophisticated products such as containers and bobbins (plastics) and broom handles and wooden products for Tunisia, which is the more advanced of the two countries. A more interventionist approach steers the economy towards maximum sophistication, thus identifying highly complex manufactured metals, machinery, equipment, electronics and chemicals. Despite pushing for economic growth and diversification, these sectors push urban job creation and require high-skill workers, with the implication that low-skilled labour may be pushed into unemployment or into low-value informal jobs. A middle ground is a forward-looking strategy that takes sectors’ shares in world trade into account. This approach identifies medicaments in the chemicals sector; seats (e.g. car and aeroplane seats) in the “other highly manufactured” sector; inflated rubber tyres in the chemicals community (plastics and rubber); containers, bobbins and packages of plastics also in the plastics and rubber section; and articles of iron and steel in the metals sector for Egypt. The top product for Tunisia is furniture in the highly manufactured and special purpose goods community, followed by three products in plastics and rubber in the chemicals community, and finally three machinery sectors.
  • Topic: Development, Economic Growth, Exports, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, Allison Lach, Bridget Leahy, Andrea Stricker
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Science and International Security
  • Abstract: The Peddling Peril Index (PPI) for 2017 is a strategic export control ranking of 200 countries, territories, and entities produced by the Institute.1 It evaluates states as to the effectiveness of their strategic export control systems. In this report, we evaluate the countries ranked in the PPI according to their Volume of Exports and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), both absolute and per capita2. This evaluation uses data on volume of exports and GDP, measured in U.S. dollars, as published by the United Nations and the World Bank. The nature of the exports for each country was not evaluated. The report focuses on the top and bottom 25 percent of countries by export volume (100 countries), GDP (100 countries), and GDP per capita (100 countries). It finds that six countries in particular deserve additional scrutiny due to their weak export controls and high volume of exports. They have very low PPI scores, meaning they do not have adequate export controls in place.3 They are: Indonesia, Nigeria, Kuwait, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Iran (Islamic Rep. of). Two additional countries, Colombia and Egypt, are identified as having relatively high GDP or GDP per capita, but exceptionally low PPI rankings. In general, countries with lower GDP per capita did worse in PPI performance, which highlights the need to tailor export controls in these countries to their resources. Chapter 12 of the PPI report describes several ways in which to do so, ensuring that the countries would have basic but adequate strategic export controls in place.
  • Topic: GDP, Economy, Exports, Illegal Trade
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Colombia, Egypt, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Arab Barometer
  • Abstract: Egyptians are deeply concerned about the state of education in their country. The vast majority are dissatisfied with the current education system as well as government efforts to improve it. Perhaps as a result, most are worried that there is no possibility to provide their children with a good education. This combination means that youth non-formal education (NFE) programs hold a unique opportunity to yield significant gains in the academic achievement of students in Egypt in the near-term. However, if such programs are to address both the perceived weaknesses of the Egyptian education system and the concerns of the population, issues like cost, which limit participation, must be seriously considered. Across all demographics, cost is overwhelmingly cited as the biggest barrier to participation. The prevalence of programs organized by private institutions only exacerbates this challenge. In addition, programs must account for demographic differences. At present, the majority of youth who participate in NFE programs come from families with higher incomes, higher education levels and who live in urban areas. Expanding opportunities for accessing youth NFE programs requires special focus on targeting Egyptians who reside in rural areas, who have incomes below the median, and whose tend to have lower levels of education. Non-formal education programs provide unique potential for bridging the gap between the existing education system and what increasing educational opportunities for the country’s youth. However, careful consideration must be given to the types of programs most likely to be successful in the Egyptian context. Although youth NFE programs tend to be viewed positively across the country, a substantial portion of Egyptians are either unaware of such programs or do not look upon them favorably. Moreover, programs should target job-related skills as Egyptians consider these the most useful. NFE programs should be promoted to potential participants with this consideration in mind.
  • Topic: Demographics, Education, Public Opinion, Higher Education, Academia, Students
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Susan Douglass
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: A look at the role of textbooks in shaping worldviews, global literacy, and national pride. The middle of the twentieth century was a watershed period in history for many reasons, with one of the most significant being the rise of mass education systems across the world. As Britain shed its colonies, newly independent countries with influential leaders launched efforts to educate their masses—efforts that had been held back under colonial rule. India and Egypt, under Nehru and Abdel Nasser respectively, began using government schools to strive for social integration and mold their citizens’ worldviews to enlist them in national economic development and modernization. Britain, too, launched a much-needed expansion of its secondary education system and revamped its elementary schools to meet the demands of the postwar baby boom.
  • Topic: Education, Nationalism, History, Children
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, South Asia, Middle East, India, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
  • Abstract: The advent of political independence allowed most Sub-Saharan countries to determine the appropriate mix of policies and institutions that would enable them to achieve rapid socioeconomic development. But experiences across the continent have so far yielded mixed results, and the search for an effective political economy model in the face of a rapidly globalizing world remains an ongoing challenge for most countries. In this study produced by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) Strategic Studies Project, we ask why some developing countries seem to be growing much faster and have much better socioeconomic performance than others. Indeed, what macroeconomic policies and institutions should Sub-Saharan countries pursue to enable more sustainable, lasting, and inclusive growth while dealing with the challenges that a rapidly changing political and economic world order present? The study’s main intention was to generate knowledge to enhance the efficacy of Africa’s political economy and development pathways by identifying alternative macroeconomic policy and institutional options that can be deployed to enable deeper socioeconomic transformation.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Economic Policy, Capacity
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania, Egypt, Botswana
  • Author: Sarah Burkhard, Erica Wenig, David Albright, Andrea Stricker
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Science and International Security
  • Abstract: Apart from Saudi Arabia, which our Institute views as currently the largest proliferation risk in the Middle East, three key neighbors of Iran also warrant intensive study as to their nuclear capabilities and plans, safeguards and obstacles to proliferation, and future proliferation risks. After Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Egypt are seen by the Institute as states in the Middle East most poised to seek advanced nuclear capabilities in response to a resurgent nuclear Iran, or as the limitations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) conclude or otherwise end. Egypt has the most experience of the three in working with nuclear materials and facilities under efforts dating back decades. Turkey may pose the greatest risk as far as surprise proliferation given the state of political affairs in that country and growing impulse of President Erdogan to consolidate power. The UAE, which was the first Middle Eastern country to adopt a so-called “gold standard” of renouncing enrichment and reprocessing, will be a country to watch for reversing course on its pledge. Each of these countries has varying security concerns with regard to Iran, and each has nuanced domestic goals that could propel proliferation attempts. A common recommendation for all three countries is that the United States and its allies should seek strong defensive relationships with those countries potentially affected by the end of JCPOA limits; others include the United States should work to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities in the region and use national intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to detect and work to reverse proliferation if it emerges. A summary of findings on each country follows, with a technical look at their emerging nuclear capabilities and plans, the security context with regard to Iran, status of their safeguards and obstacles to proliferation, and recommendations for preventing the spread of advanced nuclear capabilities in the region.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Infrastructure, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Egypt, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Fida Adely, Michael Hudson, Joseph Sassoon, Noureddine Jebnoun, Marwa Daoudy, Emad El-Din Shahin, Rochelle A. Davis
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: In this fifth year anniversary of the Arab revolts or “Arab Spring,” we might ask ourselves “what has changed in the region?” Given the conflicts raging in the Arab world as we speak, many have concluded that the revolts failed, or that rather than bringing “progress” they have pushed us back—entrenching authoritarianism, displacing millions, exacerbating sectarian differences, etc. But such conclusions reflect a short view of history and a truncated understanding of change. More troublesome, they can fuel a view of the region as unchanging, stagnant, and even backward.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Social Movement, Economy, Arab Spring, Youth, Syrian War, Revolution, Counterrevolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries, Syria, North America, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Shahrokh Fardoust
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The region has incurred huge economic and social losses from poor economic management and conflicts requiring massive military outlays. A policy shift is needed to deploy its substantial human, natural, and financial assets more efficiently through adopting economic and social policies that lead to more rapid and inclusive economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa. The four most powerful players in the region—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey—need to spearhead regional political and economic stabilization to address the root problems. Major regional infrastructure projects in energy, water, and transport are needed to better integrate their economies and expand intra-regional and world-wide trade. This policy paper argues that the major regional players should each follow a coherent long-term development strategy requiring four prongs plus cooperation: Reduce regional tensions and end conflicts through diplomacy and by recognizing that the current approaches are impeding investment and economic growth. Undertake significant economic and institutional reforms at home to remove binding constraints on growth, revitalize the private sector, improve financial access by small and medium-sized businesses, and improve the quality of education. Focus on well-targeted policies and structural reforms that would lead to significant reductions in youth employment and increased female labor force participation; and introduce cuts in military expenditures as regional tensions subside, and reallocate public investment savings to clean energy and infrastructure investments. Increase inter- and intra-regional cooperation and trade, initiate regional projects in partnership with the private sector in areas such as tourism, air and ground transport, regional energy and water, regional health and education, and research hubs. To support these initiatives, a regional development and reconstruction program supported by a 'mini-Marshall Plan' is urgently needed.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Reform, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Joseph Sassoon
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Dr. Joseph Sassoon has spent the past few years working to improve our understanding of authoritarian governments that are typically inscrutable to outsiders, focusing first on the Ba‘th Party under Saddam Hussein for his book Saddam Hussein’s Ba‘th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime and, more recently, conducting a comparative analysis of eight authoritarian regimes in the Arab world. Dr. Sassoon’s comparative analysis, which he recently finalized during a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, looks at differences and commonalities among these coercive governments and will be published in his forthcoming book, Anatomy of Authoritarianism in the Arab Republics.
  • Topic: History, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Interview, Baath Party
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Vicki Valosik
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Dr. Hoda Elsadda has spent years documenting history—as it has been lived and experienced by women in Egypt—but this time she’s the one making history. Elsadda, a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University and current Carnegie Foundation Centennial Fellow at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, served on the “Committee of 50” delegates who wrote the historic 2014 Egyptian constitution.
  • Topic: Human Rights, History, Women, Constitution, Arab Spring, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Ross Harrison
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: In this MEI Policy Paper, Ross Harrison asserts that a new regional order is emerging out of the conflicts of the Middle East. The relationships among the pillars of this order--Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran--are crucial, as they will largely determine "whether the future of the Middle East will be a continuation of the current chaos and destruction or a more positive transition toward stability and prosperity." Harrison argues that global powers must concentrate on creating conditions conducive to cooperation among the pillars.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Maria Haimerl
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Egypt and Tunisia have been witnessing radical transformations ever since presidents Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali were toppled. The countries have seen, among other changes, a remarkable awakening of public interest in politics and in shaping their own societies, an unprecedented flourishing of their political landscapes, and relatively free and fair, and hence historic, elections. However, as is to be expected, uncertainties prevail, and both countries are struggling hard with the complex steps of their respective transitional processes. They are encountering formidable challenges (although the degrees and dimensions of these challenges vary), such as the emergence of new powerful political actors with an Islamic reference system and an unpredictable and unclear agenda as regards their commitment to democratization; a society split along a secular-Islamist divide; and, correspondingly, a lack of consensus on the draft of a new constitution. A deteriorating and hence alarming socio-economic situation, an unwillingness to deal with atrocities committed in the past, a highly politicized judiciary, and a complex and opaque constellation of actors further complicate the situation.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Mensur Akgün, Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The report entails the findings of the fifth annual survey conducted by TESEV Foreign Policy Programme in collaboration with KA Research between August 15- September 13, 2013. As in previous years, the public opinion survey reveals interesting insights into the recent Middle Eastern viewpoints, perceptions and expectations. 2800 Respondents from 16 countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Iraq and Iran) of the region reflect on Turkey’s role and regional challenges in the light of current happenings.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Tunisia, Oman, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Vivek Chilukuri
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The third year of the Arab revolts has presented several domestic and foreign challenges for the nations involved. Each nation has reflected the specificities of their local conditions, citizen grievances, and regime legitimacies and responses. At the same time, several common themes have emerged, such as the core underlying demand for a life of integrity, civility, and dignity, while also enjoying a basic set of universal human and citizen rights. Constitutional votes and the reorganization of state structures in Tunisia and Egypt will serve as the guiding lights for other nations still making their way toward reforms, though these remain hotly debated topics throughout each nation in the region. Though Islamists have risen to power, we have seen that their popularity is not infallible and is now fluctuating in response to their performances after assuming power. In the end, questions of "social justice" return as the main and enduring motivator for protesters in the Arab world, particularly when it comes to many of these countries' socioeconomic disparities.
  • Topic: Islam, Reform
  • Political Geography: Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Mehmet Ozkan
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: Bugünkü Mısır’ın en temel sorunu iç politikada yaşanan hızlı gelişmeler ve istikrarsızlıklar olarak değerlendirilse de Arap dünyasında ve Mısır’da yaşanan devrim, dış politika bağlamında yeni ufuklar ve sorunlar ortaya çıkardığı gibi bölge ve ötesi için de yeni imkanlar sunmuştur. Mısır dış politikasının geçmişten bu yana karşılaştığı en temel sorun, kültürel havza niteliğindeki bir ülke olarak, bu zenginliğin dış politikasına tutarlı bir şeklide yansıtıp yansıtamadığıdır. Mısır eğer üçlü kimlik yapısını oluşturan “Arap”, “Afrikalı” ve “Akdeniz dolayısıyla Batılı” karakterini tutarlı ve koordineli bir şekilde dış politikasına yansıtamaz ve bu üzerinden bir politika belirleyemezse, Mısır dış politikası kısa dönemli başarılı olsa bile uzun vadeli sonuçları itibariyla başarısız olmaya mahkum gözükmektedir. Sadece modern dönem olan Nasır, Sedat ve Mubarek dönemleri incelenince bile bunu görmek mümkündür. Arap Baharı’yla beraber başlayan süreç bu anlamda tarihi bir fırsatı barındırmaktadır. Hem sosyal dinamiklerin – ve dolayısıyla kimliklerin – yeniden yapılandırıldığı bu dönemde bu hem bir fırsat hem de Ortadoğu’da yaşanan sistemle ilgili dönüşümde Mısır’ın sağlıklı katkısına ihtiyaç bir zorunluluktur. Bu tür bir yeniden yapılanma aynı zamanda Mısır’ın entellektüel ve siyasal liderliğinin önünü açacaktır. Bu analiz Mısır dış politikasını geçmişten günümüze bu çerçevede bir değerlendirmesini yapmaktadır. | There is an overall consensus regarding Egyptian foreign policy, that internal dynamics and destabilized environment pose a threat for foreign policy making, however revolutions in Egypt and the region created a great potential as well as their challenges and difficulties. Throughout its history the main concern of Egyptian foreign policy has been the lack of influence related to its cultural heritage and identity. Unless there is a coherent balance between Egypt’s triple identity, namely “Arab”, “African” and “Mediterranean/Western”, created; Egypt will lose its strategic position and impact in the region in the long run if not in short term. One can easily observe the situation from three moments in modern history of Egypt: Nasr, Sadat and Mubarak`s periods. The process that has been sparked with Arab Spring is a great opportunity in this sense. Within this process social dynamics identity as well are transforming in the sense that there is both an opportunity as well as a responsibility upon Egypt’s shoulders to contribute for regional readjustment. The initiative will open room for intellectual and discursive domination of the region by Egypt. This article focuses an evaluation of Egyptian foreign policy from this perspective.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Revolution, Mohammed Morsi
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Amr Darrag
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Dr. Amr Darrag is the member of the Executive Board and the Chairperson of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in Egypt. In his article “On The New Vision for the Egyptian Foreign Policy After the Revolution” he shares his party’s visions for a prosperous and stabilized Egypt. As a member of the Party, Dr.Darrag provides a roadmap with main foreign policy objectives to achieve an imperative role in the international arena. The article also sheds light on the Egypt-Turkey partnership for their development in the economic and political platforms. Dr.Amr Darrag, Mısır’daki Özgürlük ve Adalet Partisi’nin yürütme kurulu üyesi ve partinin Dış İlişkiler Komitesi başkanıdır. “On the New Vision for the Egyptian Foreign Policy After the Revolution” başlıklı makalesinde kalkınmış ve istikrarlı bir Mısır için partisinin ortaya koyduğu vizyonu paylaşmaktadır. Aynı zamanda partinin bir üyesi olarak, uluslararası alanda önemli ve kalıcı bir aktör olmak yolunda izlenecek temel dış politika hedefleri için bir yol haritası sunmaktadır. Makale ekonomik ve siyasi platformlarda Mısır-Türkiye arasındaki ilişkilerin geliştirilmesi için de öneriler içermektedir. Makale yalnızca İngilizce olarak yayınlanmıştır.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Arab Spring, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Mensur Akgün, Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The report entails the findings of the fourth annual survey conducted by TESEV Foreign Policy Programme in collaboration with KA Research between August 3- 28, 2012. As in previous years, the public opinion survey reveals interesting insights into the recent Middle Eastern viewpoints, perceptions and expectations. 2800 Respondents from 16 countries of the region reflect on Turkey’s role and regional challenges in the light of current happenings.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Tunisia, Oman, UAE
  • Author: Mensur Akgün, Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report contains the findings of TESEV Foreign Policy Programme’s third survey of the perception of Turkey in the Middle East. Conducted by KA Research in 16 countries between October 19th and December 15th, the survey questioned 2323 people by telephone or face to face. As in previous years, the survey contains striking results. Despite falls in some countries, Syria and Iran being the most significant, the general perception of Turkey in the region has not changed fundamentally. In fact of the countries that regional opinion was sought, Turkey has surpassed even Saudi Arabia into first place with 78% of the region having a favourable opinion of it. The conclusions are similar to those in previous years. However, there are some results relating to the ‘Arab Spring’ that should be noted here.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Gulf Nations
  • Author: David Barchard, Gökçe Perçinoğlu, Jonathan Levack, Mensur Akgün, Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This study contains the results of the second survey conducted by KA Research Limited between August 25th and September 27th 2010 with my contribution and that of TESEV’s researchers. Again, the 2010 survey was conducted in the same seven Arab countries but, unlike 2009, it was also conducted in Iran. In total, 2,267 people were surveyed by telephone or face-to-face. These results show a statistically significant increase in positive opinion of Turkey. Although they are dealt with more thoroughly in the report, there are a few social and thus political findings that are different from the previous year.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan