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  • Author: Yasmina Abouzzohour
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Oman is often portrayed as an “oasis of peace” that is immune to dissent. In fact, this assertion is an oversimplification and this paper provides a more discerning analysis of the relationship between the regime and opposition actors – such as youth groups, industrial workers, and intellectuals – that have led contestations in the last decade. It overviews the Omani political context, highlights recent episodes of contestation, and examines how the regime successfully contained them. It argues that in the coming years, the regime is likely to face heightened discontent triggered by socioeconomic hardship and it will be essential for the authorities to open the political sphere and stop repressing free speech.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Arab Spring, Protests
  • Political Geography: Oman, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the European Union (EU) debates its new post-2020 funding instruments, EU civil society support faces a pivotal moment. The union has been fine-tuning this support in recent years and is now contemplating further reforms. Civil society around the world is undergoing far-reaching changes as new types of informal activism emerge, governments try to constrict civic activity, and digital technology has major political implications. Against this backdrop, this analysis proposes ten practical ideas for how EU civil society assistance needs to evolve. It focuses on the countries that fall under the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)—Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans—and the six states of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. This research examines how EU funding mechanisms need to change and assesses whether current financing proposals are likely to be beneficial or damaging. It suggests how the EU can overcome the main challenges of supporting newer forms of activism. And it explores how the EU can best help civil society to resist the heightened repression it faces in most IPA and EaP states. To improve its civil society assistance, the EU should: 1. tie critical measures to civil society support; 2. set minimum thresholds for mainstreaming; 3. engage with unfamiliar civil society partners; 4. define clearer rules on government-organized nongovernmental organizations (GONGOs); 5. focus on systemic resilience; 6. help local fund raising; 7. widen support networks; 8. better connect civil society to politics; 9. assess the civil society impacts of other EU policies; and 10. link civil society to foreign policy. This publication does not attempt to give a comprehensive or detailed account of all aspects of EU civil society support—something Carnegie has covered elsewhere.1 Rather, it offers a snapshot of the current state of play in this area of policy at a moment when the EU is debating significant changes and is set to make decisions that will affect the future course of its civil society support.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Balkans, European Union
  • Author: James Pamment
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The EU Code of Practice on Disinformation (COP) produced mixed results. Self-regulation was a logical and necessary first step, but one year on, few of the stakeholders seem fully satisfied with the process or outcome. Strong trust has not been built between industry, governments, academia, and civil society. Most importantly, there is more to be done to better protect the public from the potential harms caused by disinformation. As with most new EU instruments, the first year of COP implementation has been difficult, and all indications are that the next year will be every bit as challenging. This working paper offers a nonpartisan briefing on key issues for developing EU policy on disinformation. It is aimed at the incoming European Commission (EC), representatives of member states, stakeholders in the COP, and the broader community that works on identifying and countering disinformation. PCIO is an initiative of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and does not speak on behalf of industry or any government.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Cooperation, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of income inequality in Latin America over the long run, comparing them with explanations of why the whole region is unequal. I first show how land inequality can account for differences between Latin America and other parts of the world but how it does not explain within-region differences. Using qualitative comparative analysis, I then consider how political institution and actors interact with the economic structure (i.e., type of export specialization) and with the ethnic composition of the population. The paper has several findings. A low indigenous/afrodescendant population is a necessary condition for relatively low inequality. I identify two sufficient-condition paths, both of which include the role of democracy, political equality, and a small indigenous and afrodescendant population. The first path also includes a favorable export specialization, while the second one includes the presence of leftist presidents instead. The paper calls for more explicit comparisons between our analytical models for the whole region and our explanations of between-country differences. Hopefully, the paper can also trigger more research on how the interactions between ethnicity, politics, and the export structure shape inequality in Latin America.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Political Economy, Poverty, Race, Social Movement, Democracy, Inequality, Ethnicity
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: José Francisco Alvarado Cóbar
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: In order to have a more nuanced understanding of inclusive peace processes, it is important to understand how civil society can connect to formal peace negotiations. The Colombian peace negotiation process is highly regarded as one of the most inclusive processes; involving civil society groups from diverse backgrounds, including both women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/ transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) groups. But how do these groups leverage influence among the main conflict actors, and what specific challenges and opportunities do they face? This paper applies a conflict resolution and negotiation framework to assess the involvement of women’s and LGBTI groups in the most recent Colombian peace negotiation process. In doing so, the suggested framework provides a practical application of conflict resolution and negotiation strategies that can further complement discussions on inclusion of marginalized groups in other peace negotiation processes.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Development, Gender Issues, Governance, Women, Negotiation, LGBT+, Peace
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Sophie Pornschlegel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Civil society is a crucial ally in safeguarding and upholding the European Union's (EU) values. And although the EU, and in particular the European Commission, has made a conscious effort to support civil society organisations (CSOs) across Europe, it has not been enough to counter the phenomenon of 'shrinking spaces' effectively. As the COVID-19 crisis is likely to harm civil society across Europe, through the growing restrictions on civil liberties and the subsequent economic recession, the need for better and more comprehensive support has never been more urgent. Within the realm of the Treaties, the EU institutions could take a range of measures to improve its civil society support. It could come up with a more comprehensive strategy outlining its approach towards civil society; provide adequate and flexible financial resources to respond to the needs of CSOs; and improve its dialogue processes, to 'CSO-proof' its legislation but also to benefit from the bridge-building function of civil society, thereby linking the EU's support for civil society to its attempts to improve democratic participation. While the newly presented recovery instrument and the revised proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) are important steps to provide the necessary help for European societies and economies to recover, civil society support does not seem to be a priority. This is a dangerous omission. The EU must recognise the value of civil society in safeguarding democratic principles and upholding the Union's core principles. If it fails to better support CSOs through this challenging time, the EU will be able to do little else but stand and watch as democratic backsliding intensifies across member states and, in some cases, will eventually tip over into a downward spiral towards authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Global Recession, Authoritarianism, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mahjoob Zweiri
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Iran’s regional role in MENA is influenced by the evolution of its state-society relations and shifts within its state institutions. This paper argues that the growing regional role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a reflection of the militarization and securitization of the Iranian political system. Conversely, frustration by segments of the Iranian population with the political system’s inability to deliver economically has increasingly manifested itself in criticism and contestation of the regime’s regional role.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Regional Cooperation, Authoritarianism, Militarization
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Nizar Saghieh, Jamil Mouawad
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This interview with lawyer and Executive Director of “The Legal Agenda” Nizar Saghieh addresses the most important dimensions of accountability following the economic and financial crisis that Lebanon is suffering. It expands the notions of justice, lack of trust in the judiciary, and widespread corruption while attempting to create hope by emphasizing the vitality of a civil society brought once more to the fore by the “17 October Uprising.” Rather than a mere uprising against power, this is now known as the revolution that revived and rebuilt society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Financial Crisis, Social Movement, Protests, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Ruben Carranza, Mohamed Azer Zouari
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: Building on its work in Tunisia since 2012, ICTJ met with representatives of youth-led civil society organizations and social movements and state institutions involved in pursuing accountability for Ben Ali-era corruption. This paper focuses on the strategies and insights that members of the youth-led organizations and movements shared in these discussions. It seeks to call attention to their larger revolutionary goals and to offer ways for policymakers, advocates, and donors to support these goals in their transitional justice work.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Transitional Justice, Youth, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Saskia Brechenmacher, Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the mid-2000s, civic space has come under attack in many countries around the world. To counter this trend, transnational actors that support civil society have responded in many ways—from exerting diplomatic pressure and building international norms to providing emergency funds for activists. Despite these efforts, governments continue to impose legal and extralegal restrictions amid a worsening larger political environment for civil society. Closing civic space now appears to be just one part of a much broader pattern of democratic recession and authoritarian resurgence. The international response seems stuck: some useful efforts have been undertaken, but they appear too limited, loosely focused, and reactive.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Political Activism, International Community
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katrin Hansing, Bert Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Few political transformations have attacked social inequalities more thoroughly than the 1959 Cuban Revolution. However, as the survey data in this paper shows, 60 years on, structural inequalities which echo the pre-revolutionary socio-ethnic hierarchies are returning. While official Cuban statistics are mute about social differences along racial lines, the authors were able to conduct a unique, nationwide survey which shows the contrary. If the revolutionary, state-run economy and radical social policies were the main social elevators for the formerly underprivileged classes in socialist Cuba, the economic crisis and depressed wages of the past decades have seriously undercut these achievements. Moreover, previously racialised migration patterns have produced highly unequal levels of access to family remittances, and the gradual opening of the private business sector in Cuba has largely disfavoured Afro-Cubans, due to their lack of access to pre-revolutionary property and remittances in the form of start-up capital. While social and racial inequalities have not yet reached the levels of other Latin American countries, behind the face of socialist continuity a profound restructuring of Cuban society is taking place.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Race, Social Stratification, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Katja Creutz
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has raised its stakes in human rights governance. It has systematically sought to remove human rights from the centre of the international order by launching alternative human rights concepts, blocking human rights financing at the UN, and hindering civil society involvement in human rights scrutiny. China’s approach to human rights is not only guided by past experiences of humiliation and the idea of developmentalism, but first and foremost by the desire to secure the existing political system and its leadership. The alternative design for human rights is built around consensual cooperation rather than hard legal obligations and international scrutiny. It promotes dialogue and capacity-building instead of practices such as naming and shaming. States supportive of human rights should respond to Chinese efforts in the Human Rights Council as well as within the UN more broadly. This can be done by raising awareness of the systematic attack on human rights, increasing knowledge about Chinese foreign policy objectives, and by creating practices that help to achieve common stances.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Along with Vladimir Putinʼs third presidential term, intensified repression has manifested itself in line with the countryʼs increasing economic challenges. The starting point for this political trend was the so-called Bolotnaya Affair in May 2012. Since then, the regime has tightened the screws: non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding must register as ‘foreign agents’; there are numerous restrictions on the use of the internet, as well as conditions for organizing demonstrations. The regimeʼs policies aim to send signals to the rest of society about the serious consequences that unwanted political and civic activities might cause. However, measures become inflated when the repressive deterrent targets too many. By 2019, along with the changed social mood, unparalleled solidarity against repressive policies, particularly around the regional elections in Moscow, has forced the authorities to retreat from some of their initial repressive goals. The Kremlin duly has to re-evaluate the usage of its repressive deterrent against the political opposition and civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Repression, Fear, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Inequality and exclusion are among the most pressing political issues of our age. They are on the rise and the anger felt by citizens towards elites perceived to be out-of-touch constitutes a potent political force. Policy-makers and the public are clamoring for a set of policy options that can arrest and reverse this trend. The Pathfinders’ Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion seeks to identify practical and politically viable solutions to meet the targets on equitable and inclusive societies in the Sustainable Development Goals. Our goal is for national governments, intergovernmental bodies, multilateral organizations, and civil society groups to increase commitments and adopt solutions for equality and inclusion.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals, Multilateralism, Elites, Exclusion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amy Erica Smith, Emma Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last decade, scholars have begun to elaborate the diverse ways religion manifests in democracies. We draw on theories related to modernization, secularism, and religious competition, as well as survey data from the Comparative National Elections Project, to explain individual-level and country-level variation in religious politicking—religious leaders’ and organizations’ engagement in electoral campaigns. At the country level, though human development depresses the rate at which citizens receive political messages from religious organizations and clergy, both secularism and religious pluralism boost it. At the individual level, “civilizational” differences across religious groups are muted and inconsistent. However, across the globe, citizens with higher levels of education are consistently more likely to receive political messages—an effect that is stronger where religious politicking is more common. A case study of Mozambique further confirms the insights obtained when we unpack modernization and secularization theories.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Developing World, Democracy, Citizenship, Human Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: Has an overreliance on the military as a one-size-fits-all solution become so engrained that we no longer consider alternatives? Are domestic politics so intertwined with foreign affairs that the citizenry has no choice but to accept veterans to fill the ranks of the executive branch? Is there hope for the future? Can we rebalance the general orientation of our government? The outcome to all these questions can be arrived at in a favorable way if our military continues to embrace the Huntingtonian notion of objective control. If professionalism continues to guide the actions of our military’s senior leaders and those who serve in decision making bodies such as the National Security Council, there is hope for a reversal in what Lasswell describes as a “picture of the probable.”
  • Topic: Civil Society, Military Affairs, Leadership, Professionalism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: How does one define “healthy” civil-military relations? The simplest definition would suggest a nation’s military is subordinate to its ruling body. In other words, the guys with all the guns listens to those without any. So how then would we evaluate this relationship in a country like Venezuela?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Military Affairs, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: South America, Venezuela
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: A Pew Research Center report published on July 10 suggests that most veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan believe these wars are “not worth fighting.” What are the implications of these findings? What can they reveal about the health of U.S. civil-military relations? Is it dangerous for the guardians to be opposed to the mission they are directed to accomplish?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health Care Policy, Veterans, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: David Devlin-Foltz, Susanna Dilliplane, Rhonda Schlangen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In 2016, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation launched a new grant-making strategy to support advocacy for access to family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) services in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal: support vibrant African organizations able to positively influence their government’s FPRH policies and funding decisions. The strategy seeks to shift power towards the local civil society organizations (CSOs) doing the advocacy work and to strengthen their capacity to advocate. During the first five years of the strategy’s implementation, the Foundation is working with the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program to assess and learn from the experience of its grantees and the CSOs they support. This midterm report summarizes key findings and recommendations based on evaluation activities conducted in 2017 and 2018.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Local, Advocacy, Family Planning, Reproductive Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Chios Carmody
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This is a guide to the legal framework for emissions trading under the cap-and-trade system created and adhered to under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). This guide is intended to serve three aims. First, the guide is an overview of the WCI cap-and-trade system for emissions trading by current users of the system; potential industry participants; state, provincial and municipal governments; academic institutions; and members of civil society. Second, the guide’s aim is to foster learning among domestic and international actors interested in North America’s collective response to climate change and highlights one attempt to combat climate change through a subnational cap-and-trade system on the continent. Third, during the course of research for this guide in 2018, the province of Ontario linked its WCI-inspired cap-and-trade system with that of California and Quebec and six months later delinked its system, eventually terminating it altogether and announcing its intention to withdraw from the WCI. A third purpose of this guide is therefore to serve as an account of Ontario’s short-lived cap-and-trade system and its brief experience with linkage.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto
  • Abstract: The Reach Project is a research initiative based in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. They examine the successful delivery of social services to those who are hardest to reach. This case study examines how the Ministry of Social Development in Palestine designed, implemented, and continues to refine the Palestinian National Cash Transfer Program (PNCTP) to specifically reach those who are hard to reach.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Poverty, Inequality, Social Services
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Darcie Druadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: South Korea’s deliberate liberalization of migration controls has facilitated the entry and stay of new types of residents from various ethnic, political, and national backgrounds. With this demographic shift comes new questions for the South Korean polity in terms of its expectations of rights and duties of residents in the country. South Korean citizenship has, until the past decade, been largely premised on belonging in two fields: shared ethnic descent and contributions to the nationstate development project. However, new residents, who are ethnically diverse and who contribute to the national project, are seeking greater rights and social welfare provisions just as Korean nationals are ambivalent about their inclusion in the democratic body politic. As a result, the migrant policies bring into sharper relief the contours of democratic discourse in South Korea today. Drawing from six months of immersive fieldwork conducted in South Korea, this paper analyzes the relevance of migrant rights and expectations in understanding the broader democratic challenges in South Korea. Examining the government’s institutionalization of certain migrant “categories”—namely, temporary labor migrants and so-called “marriage migrants”— the paper argues that South Korea’s treatment of diversity and the protection of individual rights should be analyzed more deeply to understand current trends in South Korean civil society and democracy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Migration, Immigration, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Yusri Khaizran
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Yusri Khaizran sheds light on recent civil and political developments in Israel's Arab society, against the backdrop of the significant events that took place within the larger Arab world at the beginning of this decade.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Minorities, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, Pawel Marczewski, Vijayan Mj, Ghia Nodia, Natalia Shapoavlova, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Marisa Von Bülow, Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. Some organizations focused on the needs of underrepresented groups, such as women’s empowerment, inclusion of minorities, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights; others addressed broader societal issues such as economic justice, social welfare, and antipoverty concerns. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and postcommunist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world. It does so under the rubric of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network project, an initiative that aims to explore new types of civic activism and examine the extent to which these activists and associations are redrawing the contours of global civil society. The emerging role and prominence of conservative activism is one such change to civil society that merits comparative examination. Taken as a whole, the report asks what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society. Its aim is not primarily to pass judgment on whether conservative civil society is a good or bad thing—although the contributing authors obviously have criticisms to make. Rather, it seeks mainly to understand more fully what this trend entails. Much has been written and said about anticapitalist, human rights, and global justice civil society campaigns and protests. Similar analytical depth is required in the study of conservative civil society. The report redresses the lack of analytical attention paid to the current rise of conservative civil society by offering examples of such movements and the issues that drive them. The authors examine the common traits that conservative groups share and the issues that divide them. They look at the kind of members that these groups attract and the tactics and tools they employ. And they ask how effective the emerging conservative civil society has been in reshaping the political agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Activism, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Europe, South Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, Caucasus, Middle East, India, Poland, Brazil, South America, Georgia, North America, Thailand, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. has learned many lessons in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—most of them the hard way. It has had to adapt the strategies, tactics, and force structures designed to fight regular wars to conflicts dominated by non-state actors. It has had to deal with threats shaped by ideological extremism far more radical than the communist movements it struggled against in countries like Vietnam. It has found that the kind of “Revolution in Military Affairs,” or RMA, that helped the U.S. deter and encourage the collapses of the former Soviet Union does not win such conflicts against non-state actors, and that it faces a different mix of threats in each such war—such as in cases like Libya, Yemen, Somalia and a number of states in West Africa. The U.S. does have other strategic priorities: competition with China and Russia, and direct military threats from states like Iran and North Korea. At the same time, the U.S. is still seeking to find some form of stable civil solution to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—as well as the conflicts Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and West Africa. Reporting by the UN, IMF, and World Bank also shows that the mix of demographic, political governance, and economic forces that created the extremist threats the U.S. and its strategic partners are now fighting have increased in much of the entire developing world since the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and the political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a working paper that suggests the U.S. needs to build on the military lessons it has learned from its "long wars" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in order to carry out a new and different kind of “Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs,” or RCMA. This revolution involves very different kinds of warfighting and military efforts from the RMA. The U.S. must take full advantage of what it is learning about the need for different kinds of train and assist missions, the use of airpower, strategic communications, and ideological warfare. At the same time, the U.S. must integrate these military efforts with new civilian efforts that address the rise of extremist ideologies and internal civil conflicts. It must accept the reality that it is fighting "failed state" wars, where population pressures and unemployment, ethnic and sectarian differences, critical problems in politics and governance, and failures to meet basic economic needs are a key element of the conflict. In these elements of conflict, progress must be made in wartime to achieve any kind of victory, and that progress must continue if any stable form of resolution is to be successful.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Military Strategy, Governance, Military Affairs, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Somalia, Sundan
  • Author: Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: n 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embarked on a bold experiment: It began drafting young men into the military. This move was not only a departure for the Emirates, it was a departure from world trends. Governments have been moving away from national service requirements for decades as military missions have changed and governments have sought to create highly skilled all-volunteer armies. But the UAE move to press young men into military service was meant to build the country, not just the army. Several factors contributed to the decision to adopt conscription. One was a deeply unsettled regional environment. Another was a drive to promote a stronger sense of shared Emirati identity. A third was a growing fear that young Emirati men were becoming lazy and “soft” just as the government eyed an increasing imperative to shape its workforce for a world less centered on oil. A fourth consideration was the UAE’s resolve to blunt the forces that contributed to the Arab uprisings in 2011. Staring down all of these factors, the UAE leadership decided a bold intervention was needed. The leadership constructed a program combining intensive physical fitness training with military training, national education, and character education. It did not only reach 18 year-olds. Everyone 30 years of age and younger is required to register, pulling men from their jobs and families to live with their peers in barracks, perform predawn calisthenics, and clean toilets. Those lacking the fitness for military training—nearly one in five—are not exempted, but rather are trained for civilian roles in vital sectors. The UAE drew from careful studies of other national service programs around the world—especially in Finland, Singapore, and South Korea—and had indirect knowledge of Israel’s program. Compared to these countries, the UAE has made innovations in its approach to citizenship education, workforce development, and public health. Women can volunteer, but fewer than 850 have done so, compared to 50,000 male conscripts. Women are cast largely in a supportive role as relatives of conscripts.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Women, Citizenship, Services
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Persian Gulf, UAE
  • Author: Lana Baydas, Shannon Green
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: To combat the global threat of terrorism, countries have passed and implemented numerous laws that inadvertently or intentionally diminished the space for civil society. States conflate terrorism with broader issues of national security, which is then used as a convenient justification to stifle dissent, including civil society actors that aim to hold governments accountable. As the global terror landscape becomes more complex and dire, attacks on the rights to the freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly only increase. This report analyzes the impact of counterterrorism efforts on civic space, examines its manifestations in various socioeconomic and political contexts, and explores various approaches to disentangle and reconcile security and civil society. It features case studies on Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Hungary, and India. This report was published under the sponsorship of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), a coalition of scholars and experts from around the world that is developing concrete, evidence-based recommendations on how best to address and push back on closing space around civil society.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: India, Hungary, Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Nicholas Harrington
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Middle East has long been one of the most unstable regions in the world, and there are no present prospects for change in the near future. This instability is the result of ongoing conflicts and tensions, and a variety of political tensions and divisions. It also, however, is the result of a wide variety of long-term pressures growing out of poor governance, corruption, economic failures, demographic pressures and other forces within the civil sector.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Lana Baydas
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the July 2018 elections approach, Cambodian civil society has faced an uptick in attacks and restrictions on their operations and funding. The government has increasingly attempted to stifle dissent and incite the opposition’s demise. As civil society grapples with the effects, some organizations have begun to organize their response, while others increasingly give way to self-censorship. In response, the international community, donors, and civil society must take action in order to halt further precipitation into a one-party autocracy and to preserve the remnants of Cambodian democratic framework that still remain.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democracy, Protests, Repression
  • Political Geography: Asia, Cambodia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Séverine Deneulin
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The concept of integral human development is central to the Catholic social tradition. Yet, it remains under-explored with regard to its integrating components and their implications. What does taking an integral human development perspective mean for social analysis and action? The paper seeks to answer this question on the basis of the four encyclicals in which the idea of integral human development is treated, and in combination with two other sources: 1) the literature on “human development” in the multidisciplinary social science field of international development studies and its conceptual foundations in Amartya Sen’s capability approach; and 2) the life of a faith community in a marginalized Latin American urban neighborhood. Based on a combination of these sources, the paper concludes by proposing an understanding of “integral human development” that it calls a spirituality-extended capability approach to the progress of peoples.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education, Poverty, Religion, Inequality, Youth, Violence, Christianity, Catholic Church
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Sandra Polanía-Reyes
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This study tests an unintended benefit of a conditional cash transfer program in Colombia: the ability to overcome coordination failures. Participants interact with fellow beneficiaries, which gives rise to a coordination device. Beneficiaries participate in a minimum effort coordination game. Those enrolled in the program for over a year are exerting the highest level of effort. The improvement in coordination is not due to potential confounds such as willingness to cooperate or connectivity. A structural choice model illustrates that when beliefs about other’s behavior are sufficiently high the Pareto- dominant equilibrium holds. The findings support nascent initiatives to influence beliefs through policy interventions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Political Economy, Poverty, Communications, Governance, Inequality, Economic growth, Public Policy, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Worldwide, the internet and the increasingly important social media and content applications and platforms running on it have assumed an extraordinary and powerful role in people’s lives and become defining features of present-day life. This global digital ecosystem has created immeasurable benefits for free expression, social and cultural exchange, and economic progress. Yet, its impacts, and the easy access to content it provides, have not all been either foreseeable or desirable, as even a cursory scan of the daily news will show. In this environment, the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, in cooperation with the Department of Canadian Heritage, invited government, business, academic and civil society experts to an international working meeting in March 2018 to explore governance innovations aimed at protecting free expression, diversity of content and voices, and civic engagement in the global digital ecosystem. One of the goals was to bring different players and perspectives together to explore their similarities within a comparative public policy context. This publication reports on the meeting’s discussion as participants sought innovative approaches to deal with both present and emerging challenges, without impeding the creativity and benefits that the internet can bring.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Digital Economy, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sean Foley
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: MAAS alum Sean Foley (‘00) discusses his forthcoming book, Changing Saudi Arabia: Art, Culture, and Society in the Kingdom.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Arts, Natural Resources, Culture, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Davin O'Regan
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy increasingly embraces and seeks to empower civil society organizations in developing countries as a critical contributor to stability and security. This paper explores whether there are grounds for these claims, specifically whether variation in civil society can explain the onset of civil wars. It examines two common explanations for the conflict-preventative potential of civil society, namely its ability to increase social capital and citizens’ voice. Four hypotheses are tested by integrating new data on various attributes of civil society from the Varieties of Democracies Initiative into a common model of civil war onset. Little support is found for claims that civil society reduces the probability of civil war onset by improving social capital, but onset may be reduced when a strong advocacy and political orientation is present in civil society. In other words, there appears to be some grounds for U.S. policy claims that a stronger civil society can enhance citizens’ voice and reduce instability and conflict onset. This finding still raises many questions about the precise links between civil society and civil war onset, and introduces potential complications for how policymakers might address conflict onset through support for civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Democracy, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Pinckney
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: Why do some nonviolent revolutions lead to successful democratization while others fail to consolidate democratic change? And what can activists do to push toward a victory over dictatorship that results in long-term political freedom? Several studies show that nonviolent revolutions are generally a more positive force for democratization than violent revolutions and top-down political transitions. However, some nonviolent revolutions, such as the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt, do not seem to fi t this pattern. This study takes on this puzzle and reveals that the answer lies in large part in the actions of civil society prior to and during transition. Democracy is most likely when activists can keep their social bases mobilized for positive political change while directing that mobilization toward building new political institutions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democracy, Resistance, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Fetzer, Stephan Kyburz
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better at managing conflicts over distribution? We exploit exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments and use new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria to answer these questions. There is a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the resource. Conflict over distribution is highly organized, involving political militias, and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Democratically elected local governments significantly weaken the causal link between rents and political violence. Elections produce more cohesive institutions, and vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Conflict, Violence, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Nousha Kabawat, Fernando Travesi
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: By looking at the documentation efforts of Syrian civil society organizations, this paper challenges the notion that criminal prosecution is the sole avenue of justice available for alleged crimes in Syria. Documentation could be used for important other avenues of justice, such as acknowledgement, fulfilling victims’ right to truth, and informing and preparing future transitional justice processes. This paper makes several recommendations for what can be done with documentation to support Syrian victims.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Transitional Justice, Criminal Justice, Victims
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria