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  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even as their lack of transparency worsens the public health crisis, the Supreme Leader and other officials have systematically gutted any civil society elements capable of organizing substantial opposition to such policies. Iran’s ongoing coronavirus epidemic has left the people with less reason than ever to trust the information and directives issued by their leaders. Part 1 of this PolicyWatch discussed the clergy’s role in aggravating this problem, but the state’s mistakes and deceptions have been legion as well. They include scandalous discrepancies between official reports after a period of denial that the virus had entered the country; a health system that was unprepared to deal with such a disease promptly and properly; and official resistance to implementing internationally recommended precautionary measures, such as canceling flights from China and quarantining the center of the outbreak. These decisions have sown widespread confusion about facts and fictions related to the virus, the most effective medically proven ways to control it, and the degree to which it is spreading throughout the country. As a result, an already restive population has become increasingly panicked about the future and angry at the state. Yet can the coronavirus actually bring down the regime? The harsh reality is that the state has left little space for opposition to organize around health issues, or any issues for that matter. Instead, it has sought to confuse the people and redirect their anger toward external enemies, even as its own policies contribute to the crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Health, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Beirut Port blast (BPB) has revealed the fundamental failure of the Lebanese political system, but deep democratic reforms will take time and are fraught with risks. Given the US withdrawal and the extreme tensions in the region, the EU has a critical role to play in addressing the short-term humanitarian crisis, responding to the economic and financial situation, and providing a forum for civil society empowerment. If it fails to do so, the price is further geopolitical destabilization.
  • Topic: Civil Society, European Union, Geopolitics, Finance, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lebanon
  • 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: 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: Ulaş Bayraktar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report has been produced in the framework of the Empowering Civil Society for a More Democratic Local Governance Project funded by the scope of Republic of Turkey and European Union supported Partnerships and Networks Grant Program. TESEV is the lead, Şişli Municipality and Association of Union of Citizen Assemblies are the co-applicants, and the Checks and Balances Network is the associate of the project. The transition from the classical management approach to the governance approach, in which private sector and non-governmental organisations take on roles in determining public policies, has been the dominant discourse of politics for more than a quarter century. Instead of a hierarchical and monolithic bureaucratic process, this approach envisions a management triangle that engages other stakeholders. However, these governance principles have not been fully put into practice in Turkey and those that have been implemented have not yielded the expected results. The present study aims to test these statements at the level of local governments and politics. Its purpose is also to open up a discussion based on the findings of interviews and roundtables conducted in ten cities in Turkey and of a comprehensive survey administered to a nationally representative sample of civil society organisations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Governance, Democracy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Esra Kaya Erdoğan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The question we need to ask is this: how do we determine whether a government is successful or not in the face of a pandemic of such proportions? While it may seem like there is an objective answer to this question, in fact the answer will inevitably be influenced by the political stance, worldview and party preference of the person responding.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Accountability, Transparency, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • 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: 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: Ibrahim Ayberk, Sait Akşit, Ali Dayioğlu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This study presents the importance of patron states for de facto states within the context of Turkey-Northern Cyprus relations intending to highlight how and in what ways the Turkish Cypriot civil society is influenced by this relationship. It analyses the societal dissent in Northern Cyprus through a detailed study of the leading role played by trade unions given the conjectural developments since the early 2000s and argues that this differentiates Northern Cyprus from other de facto states. With the case analysis of Northern Cyprus, this study aims to contribute to the gap on the study of de facto states’ domestic affairs and the influence of patron states on the societal structures of these entities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, State, Emerging States, Unions
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Cyprus, Mediterranean