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  • Author: Leah Zamore, Hanny Megally, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: After five years of devastating conflict, Yemen now faces an escalating COVID-19 crisis. The effects of the war have drastically diminished the country’s ability to cope with a pandemic, and the economic impact of the crisis is rapidly becoming devastating as well. If allowed to take hold, COVID-19 threatens the lives of nearly 30 million people who are already suffering through the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nor is the risk posed by COVID-19’s spread in Yemen limited to Yemenis. A pandemic that recognizes no borders or fault-lines cannot fester anywhere without threatening health security everywhere. Yet the international response so far has been both muted and slow. A new approach is urgently needed—one that aims not only to address the immediate threat that COVID-19 poses, but to tackle the underlying conditions that have left Yemen so uniquely vulnerable to the virus in the first place. This report explains how Yemen became so vulnerable to COVID-19, traces the impact of the pandemic so far, including the risk to vulnerable groups, and offers a critical perspective on the international action necessary to prevent further catastrophe in a country already suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis—from renewed pressure for a ceasefire to a dramatically scaled-up humanitarian response.
  • Topic: Conflict, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Hanny Megally, Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a dire risk to the tens of thousands of people imprisoned in Syria’s archipelago of prisons and detention facilities, many in conditions so ghastly that they constitute crimes against humanity. These facilities function as overcrowded torture chambers by design. Thousands have already died in detention due to such circumstances, and those still living are especially vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus. If COVID-19 is permitted to take hold, the devastation among the prison population will be swift and fatal. Nor will it stop at the prison walls. What can be done to avert a catastrophe that threatens not only the up to 100,000 who may still be alive in detention, but also the war-weary Syrian population at large? This briefing outlines a two-step approach to averting the looming disaster, calling first and foremost for immediate and large-scale prisoner releases, because no prevention or mitigation efforts will succeed unless the challenges presented by overcrowding are addressed. While releases are underway, the living conditions of those who remain imprisoned must be radically transformed to safeguard health and prevent the pandemic from taking hold.
  • Topic: Prisons/Penal Systems, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The humanitarian crisis in northern Syria is on the verge of becoming a COVID-19 catastrophe. A decade of conflict has left the healthcare system in ruins—and millions of displaced people in Idlib province were already suffering due to a lack of shelter and sanitation. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic posed to spread to an area with just 600 doctors and fewer than 50 adult ventilators for four million people, the situation is dire. Why is Idlib the last refuge for internally displaced Syrians, and what can donors, international humanitarian actors, and local organizations do to ensure that they are not left behind as the world grapples with COVID-19? This policy briefing by Tayseer Alkarim, Hanny Megally, and Leah Zamore delves into roots of the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, details the current capacity of the exhausted healthcare system amid the ongoing conflict, and examines what these constraints mean for mounting a response to the spread of the coronavirus. The briefing explains how donors and international humanitarian organizations can take action now to support local institutions, increase testing and treatment capacity, improve availability of PPE and public information, and press for an immediate ceasefire. The plight of Idlib is one of the most complex humanitarian dilemmas of our time, influenced by prolonged conflict, a looming COVID-19 outbreak, and the ongoing failure of the international community to take effective action. A further failure to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Idlib will cost lives—and risk global health security further by allowing the virus to spread in one of the places that is least-equipped to contain it.
  • Topic: Health, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Hanny Megally, Elena Naughton
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Tens of thousands of people have been unlawfully detained by the Syrian government and other parties to the conflict in Syria. In most cases, their fate—and if they are alive, their whereabouts—remains unknown. Many families have been waiting for word of their spouses, children, and other relatives since mass protests first began in 2011. This situation is adversely affecting not only Syrians inside the country—including over 6.5 million who are internally displaced—but also many of the 5.6 million refugees who are likewise desperately seeking answers about family members from abroad. This joint report from the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) recommends a set of urgent steps that should be taken to assist families in obtaining information about the whereabouts of their loved ones, gaining access to them, and achieving their prompt release. Authored by CIC's Hanny Megally and ICTJ's Elena Naughton, the report details the scope of the detention crisis and argues that answers and coordinated action are needed now. Time is of the essence, as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be accelerating in Syria, putting those detained in overcrowded and unsanitary prisons at further risk. Any meaningful progress toward a political agreement in Syria will be dependent on more than a negotiated ceasefire or reduction in violence and urgent access to humanitarian assistance. There will be little or no possibility of lasting peace without addressing critical issues, like the question of the missing, detained, abducted, and forcibly disappeared.
  • Topic: Prisons/Penal Systems, Syrian War, Crimes Against Humanity, Humanitarian Crisis, State Abuse
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Leah Zamore
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Crises In 2016, global policymakers came together to confront a critical policy dilemma: what is, or should be, the role of humanitarian action in a world beset by “permanent emergencies” that do not end, in which the root causes are overwhelmingly structural and political? One major outcome of the summit was the commitment to a “new way of working” based on linking the “triple nexus” of humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding (HDP) efforts. Our new report shares the results of a major independent review of the implementation of this process.
  • Topic: United Nations, Fragile States, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, Chad
  • Author: Bruce Jones, David Steven, Emily O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: On December 16, 2013, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's powerful former intelligence chief, gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal. He was speaking out after a turbulent four months in Middle East and Persian Gulf diplomacy, diplomacy that culminated in an interim nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers. Prince Turki, long a close friend to the United States, used the interview to blast American policy. He was critical of U.S. strategy in the region as a whole, but particularly vehement about leaving Saudi Arabia out of the loop as the United States engaged in secret bilateral diplomacy with Iran. "How can you build trust when you keep secrets from what are supposed to be your closest allies?" he fumed.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Nick Witney
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The EU claims to be in the business of “crisis management” – ready if need be to make “robust” military interventions to control conflict, especially in its neighbourhood. In practice, it now prefers to “outsource” such interventions to others, notably the United Nations and African Union (AU), limiting itself to supporting roles. This is not just shabby; it also saps Europe's influence in a world in which European interests and values are increasingly contested. And it places too great a burden on organisations such as the UN and AU. Unless the EU rediscovers a willingness to bear the costs and risks of military operations to control conflict, Europe can expect everintensifying refugee pressure on its southern borders. Although military force will not help in Ukraine or the turmoil of the Middle East, the EU could make a big difference if it were prepared to do more in crisis management in Africa. The EU could contribute to or complement UN or AU efforts in a variety of ways. Responding to the crisis in UN peacekeeping, Ban Kimoon has ordered a review. New EU High Representative Federica Mogherini should do the same, involving outside experts in a stock-take of international efforts to control conflict to Europe's south and commissioning specific proposals to get the EU back to playing a properly responsible security role.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East
  • Author: W.P.S. Sidhu (ed), Bruce Jones (ed), Colette Jaycox
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The consensus decision reached at the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to convene a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East was, perhaps, the most salient outcome of the quinquennium gathering.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Megan Gleason
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: This paper, commissioned by the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations, analyzes current trends in United Nations peacekeeping and makes predictions about the development of UN operations over the next five years (to 2017). It covers (i) the changing global context for UN operations and efforts to enhance the organization's performance over the last five years; (ii) trends in troop and police contributions; (iii) projections about potential demand for UN forces in various regions, especially the Middle East and Africa, in the next five years and (iv) suggestions about the types of contributions European countries such as Denmark can make to reinforce UN missions in this period.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The papers included in this report relate to a conference co-hosted by the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, the NYU Center on International Cooperation (CIC) and the Brookings Institution on 21-22 February in Abu Dhabi on “The Use of Force, Crisis Diplomacy and the Responsibilities of States.”
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Elizabeth Sellwood
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Across the Middle East, the year 2011 already appears destined to be a period of upheaval. It is not yet clear how the dramatic events of January and February will influence the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but three factors suggest that this year will also be one of change for Palestinians and Israelis.
  • Topic: Regime Change, Territorial Disputes, Governance, Prisons/Penal Systems
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Bruce Jones, Camino Kavanagh
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As we began the process of drafting this review, citizens across the Middle East and North Africa took to the streets to demand an end to the abusive practices of the security services, more representative and responsive government institutions, the protection of their rights, greater access to economic opportunity, participation in decision-making, and access to justice. They began demanding, in short, the rule of law.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Democratization, International Cooperation, Post Colonialism, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa