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  • Author: Haizam Amirah-Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is shaking Arab countries hard at a time when the region is already under great pressure. The responses of Arab states to the threat of the coronavirus, added to the uncertain international context generated by the pandemic, is aggravating existing problems in the Middle East and the Maghreb. This current global emergency and its ramifications has the potential to turn socioeconomic challenges into political crises and intensify demands for change that have spread through multiple countries in the region over the past decade. Until an effective vaccine against the pandemic is made available and widely accessible, the economic and social costs of the drastic restrictions being imposed by Arab governments during the successive waves of the pandemic may be overwhelming and, ultimately, unbearable.
  • Topic: Politics, Arts, Culture, COVID-19, Demonstrations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A survey of how regional media outlets discussed the congressional impeachment process and its potential ramifications on the 2020 presidential election. Across the Middle East, the story of President Trump’s impeachment and subsequent acquittal received secondtier coverage compared to regional or local issues. Many Arabic-language websites and newspapers translated and republished Western articles as opposed to creating their own content on the issue, such as Al Jazeera publishing a translated version of a Guardian editorial. Moreover, the bulk of the articles just explained the facts or process of impeachment rather than expounding on its significance. Some celebrated the idea that there is a mechanism for peaceful removal of a leader. Most commented on the unlikelihood of Trump’s removal and how America is facing unprecedented polarization. Those articles that did offer their own editorial content were split on whether impeachment will help or hurt Trump’s election campaign. Publications in the Gulf states tended to portray impeachment as an act of “political vengeance” by Democrats against Trump, “who won despite their opposition” (Sky News Arabia). Most Gulf papers posited that Trump will ultimately benefit in the 2020 election “after proving his innocence before the Senate” (Al Seyassah). Yet Qatari coverage deviated from the general Gulf trend. For example, one Al Jazeera article asserted that the impeachment case against Trump “is simple, and established not only by officials speaking under oath, but by his own words and actions.” Egyptian newspapers were more split on how impeachment will affect the election. Anti-American outlets in Syria suggested it will hurt him, with Al Baath noting “all data indicate that Trump’s hope for a return to the White House have faded.” Lebanese publications tended to take a more neutral view. The Hezbollah-controlled newspaper Al Akhbar wrote that the prospect of impeachment weakening Trump’s electoral campaign “is similar to that of his potential main rival,” arguing that Joe Biden was also tainted by the process. Most Iranian media tended to copy Western sources, but two themes prevailed among outlets offering original content: portrayal of impeachment as a scandal that has tainted Trump’s presidential legacy, or neutral analysis of how impeachment may or may not harm his reelection chances. A few analytical pieces suggested that he might be able to transform the scandal into an asset for his campaign, since it may “lead to more popularity among the middle class.” While most Iranian articles leaned against Trump, few appeared to praise Democrats. Turkish articles generally depicted impeachment as a “gift” to Trump’s campaign. SETA, a think tank that supports President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claimed that what “hasn’t killed Trump will make him stronger.” Sabah News, another pro-Erdogan source, wrote that impeachment will “unite Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives around him.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Media, News Analysis, Domestic politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Peter Bartu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019,the Middle East seems beset by conflict, chaotic politics and dysfunctional economies.However, the mood of the people in Algeria,Sudan,Lebanon and Iraq is more defiant.Not since 2011 have we seen such public demonstrations for accountability and an end to corruption,war and foreign meddling.
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Arab Spring, Conflict, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Sudan, Middle East, Algeria, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: Peter Bartu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, the Middle East seems beset by conflict, chaotic politics and dysfunctional economies. However, the mood of the people in Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq is more defiant. Not since 2011 have we seen such public demonstrations for accountability and an end to corruption, war and foreign meddling. This time, they might just get it.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Sudan, Middle East, Algeria, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: Mohammed Issam Laaroussi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Tremendous socio-economic and political challenges are facing Morocco during the Coronavirus crisis. Regardless of the promising signs of a short-term momentum in unity and institutional trust, the institutional weaknesses in the public policy and healthcare system have not disappeared.
  • Topic: Politics, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arab Countries, Morocco
  • Author: Imad K. Harb
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The recent agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan will not help the cause of regional peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Meagan Torello, Nahla Valji, Pablo Castillo, Tanya Ansahta Garnett, Kari Øygard, Lina Abirafeh, Catherine Tinker, Renata Koch Alvarenga, Rachel Clement, Lyric Thompson
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: In the second issue of our 20th volume, the critical diplomatic roles from grassroots advocacy to international negotiations are explored. Nahla Valji and Pablo Castillo open this issue, arguing for the importance, and ultimate necessity, of gender parity for the success of the United Nations’ peace and security efforts. This article discusses the great need for gender parity both within the UN system as well as within its advocacy on the ground. Following, Tanya Ansahta Garnett and Kari Øygard offer a case study on women’s roles in peacebuilding and civic engagement in post-conflict Liberia. They discuss whether or not women’s participation and representation is an effective strategy towards meaningful long-term change. Lina Abirafeh then examines the widespread issue of genderbased violence in the Arab region by outlining several case studies. Abirafeh then considers how it continues to withhold women’s political and legal progress in the region. Changing gears, Catherine Tinker and Renata Koch Alvarenga then survey the successes and continued drawbacks to gender equality in climate finance, offering a call to action for quicker implementation of a genderresponsive approach to mitigating the effects of climate change. Rachel Clement and Lyric Thompson conclude this issue by discussing the theory behind a feminist foreign policy and what it will take to move beyond the definition to a comprehensively feminist approach to foreign policy that is engrained in all sectors of diplomacy while also elevating traditionally unheard voices.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Gender Issues, United Nations, Women, Inequality, Intimate Partner Violence
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, Global Focus
  • Author: Lina Abirafeh
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: The Arab region is a diverse grouping of 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Despite a range of economic, political, and security configurations, the one commonality is the region’s poor standing in terms of gender equality, ranking lowest in the world on both the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report and the Women, Peace, and Security Index.1 The World Economic Forum (WEF) found that, despite progress in closing the gender gap across the region in 2018, it nonetheless remains the world’s least gender-equal region.2 It will take the Middle East and North African economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change,” the report stated.3 While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality, ranking 119 globally; the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2 percent;4 Saudi Arabia ranked 141 with a 59 percent gender gap rate, showing “modest progress,” with improvement in wage equality and women’s labor force participation; and Lebanon ranks third to last in the region, ahead of only Syria and Yemen. As such, social indicators are not promising – and not progressing. Patriarchal societies, growing conservative movements, and lack of political will to advance and achieve gender equality together are building a foundation to foment a backlash against women’s rights and freedoms. Gender inequality exists in many forms and can be found in the realms of health, education, economics, and politics. However, gender-based violence remains the most egregious manifestation of inequality and entrenched patriarchy in the region. No country is immune to gender-based violence; one in three women and girls worldwide will experience some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime.5 The Arab region is no exception. Ending gender-based violence has proved to be an intractable human rights challenge partially due to its prevalence across all socio-economic and cultural groups. This violence takes many forms – sexual, physical, emotional and economic. Globally, intimate partner violence is the most common form of gender-based violence.6 Labeling gender-based violence when it occurs remains a challenge. An inability to identify it makes it extremely difficult to legislate against and eradicate. For instance, in many countries worldwide, sexual harassment, marital rape, and coerced sex are not considered violence. This is not to mention verbal harassment, which is also not considered a violation of women’s rights and bodily integrity.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Gender Based Violence , Intimate Partner Violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: ONG Keng Yong
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Ambassador ONG Keng Yong, who graduated from MAAS in 1983, remembers his time in Washington and sheds light on Singapore’s “price taker” approach to foreign policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Asia, Arab Countries, Singapore, United States of America
  • Author: Aisha Al-Sarihi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Since the 2014 drop in oil prices, Gulf countries have begun to shift their attention toward renewables.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Gulf Nations