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  • Author: Kelsey Wise, Amin Awad
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The series of refugee crises in the Middle East and North Africa has created urgent need for coordinated international responses and advocacy. To learn more about the complexities of meeting the needs of diverse refugee populations across the region, and addressing their root causes, JMEPP Levant Regional Editor Kelsey Wise sat down with Amin Awad in advance of his appearance at the Harvard Arab Conference. Mr. Awad currently serves as the Director for the Middle East and North Africa with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and has extensive experience working on refugee issues and in humanitarian relief in the MENA region. He is also the Regional Refugee Coordinator for Syria and Iraq.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Refugee Crisis, Displacement, Syrian War, Resettlement, Child Marriage
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Yemen, United Nations, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Reva Dhingra
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The 2018-2019 school year opened with some worrying figures for Syrian children in Jordan. Over forty percent of an estimated 240,000 registered Syrian school-aged refugees remain out of formal school. Despite ongoing efforts, enrollment levels of about 131,000 in September remained well below the target of 170,000 children. With most refugees unlikely to return to Syria in the immediate future—the number of registered refugees increased in 2018—education while in Jordan remains a pressing concern. Funding cuts, school and teacher quality, documentation barriers, and complex mental health and psychosocial problems among refugee children contribute to education shortfalls, but only partially explain the unexpectedly low enrollment of refugee children. The initial education response was fractured between the immediate imperative of keeping children off the streets and the long-term imperative of integrating children into formal school. As the crisis stretches into its eighth year, however, the impulses of the early education response continue to impede efforts to educate Syrian children in Jordan. Despite the best efforts of donors, NGOs, and the Jordanian government, this early approach may have inadvertently increased time out of school for children who, under government regulations, are not allowed to re-enroll after three years. As a result, many of these children will likely never be able to enroll in school again. Examining the refugee education response in Jordan offers lessons for providing education during the early stages of refugee crises.
  • Topic: Education, Children, Refugees, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Deniz Çıtak
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: On January 20, 2018 at 17:00 local time, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) entered Afrin, a city in northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan named the military operation “Operation Olive Branch” (Zeytin Dalı Harekâtı) for the region’s many olive trees. According to Turkey, the operation does not violate international law because the operation was against the PYD and YPG as an act of self-defense, aiming to guarantee the security of Turkey’s borders. For Turkey, the links between the PKK and Syrian Kurdish groups classify Kurdish activity in northern Syria as a threat to Turkey’s domestic security.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Military Intervention, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Nicholas Norberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the backdrop of negotiations over drafting Syria’s new constitution and a transition in UN representation on Syria, the conflict in Idlib continues to simmer. Unrest in Idlib and dissatisfaction there with the internationally-recognized opposition, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), leaves residents of Syria’s northwest excluded from constitutional committee. This is significant because the constitutional convention is increasingly viewed as a precondition for advancing the larger peace process. The constitutional committee is no place to hammer out granular differences between warring factions in Idlib, but the course of events there hold significant implications for the future of the broader peace process.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Conflict, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, United Nations, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Mahdi Dakhlallah, Imad Salim, Tahseen al-Halabi, Bashar al-Assad
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the presidential campaign, Trump said he “[doesn’t] like Assad at all” and described the Syrian leader as “a bad guy.” But he compared Assad favorably to the alternatives. “Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump stated, whereas “we don’t even know who they [the rebels] are.” Trump even claimed Assad to be “much tougher and much smarter” than political rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Unsurprisingly, Assad and his admirers took heart in Trump’s surprise victory last November, with an adviser to the Syrian president saying the American people had “sent a great, a very important message to the world.” Yet Assad supporters – as well as the Syrian president himself – are taking a cautious approach to the new US administration, unsure of whether, and to what extent, Trump will overhaul American foreign policy. Here’s what columnists in pro-Assad media outlets think about Trump’s implications for Syria, followed by excerpts from two interviews with Assad about the new US president.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Elections, News Analysis, Trump, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristin A. Wagner, Satgin Hamrah, Benjamen Franklen Gussen, Robert Mason, Robert Maguire, Adi Saleem Bharat, Lauren Fisher, Joseph Sadek, Dalia Ghanem-Yazbek, Serhat S. Çubukçuoğlu
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Our Spring 2016 volume encapsulates the dangerous developments in MENA over the course of the past year. While the international community hoped for a resolution to the five-year Syrian Civil War, the conflict has further divided the region into a sectarian split, pitting Shia Iran and the Sunni gulf states on opposing sides. Additionally, Russia’s brief military intervention, finally winding down as of March 2016, has further destabilized the country and significantly increased the flow of refugees into the heartland of Europe. With the November 2015 Paris attacks, the threat of the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) to the west was finally realized, calling into question ongoing efforts to counter violent extremism, as well as to resolve the Syrian Civil War. Meanwhile, Turkey’s increasing two-front war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Daesh has resulted in a series of deadly terrorist attacks throughout the country, putting further pressure on Turkish leadership to both find a solution to the Kurdish question and stem the refugee flow transiting northward from Syria. It is through this lens that the Spring 2016 edition has been crafted. With conflict and instability abound, we present first an exclusive interview with Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Salim al-Jabouri. On a more positive note, JMEPP also interviewed Tunisia’s Minister of Economic Infrastructure and Sustainable Development, Hedi Larbi, on Tunisia’s relative stability and success in its post-Jasmine Revolution transition. This year’s featured articles include Robert Mason’s assessment of the Saudi leadership and the perilous position it now finds itself in, both geopolitically and domestically; and Serhat S. Çubukçuoğlu’s eyes on Turkey’s natural gas ambitions as being linked to settling the Cypriot peace talks, as well as re-establishing partnerships with its regional neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean. Benjamen Franklen Gussen creates a new picture of a geographically reoriented Middle East, while Dylan MaGuire analyzes the no-fly zone option in Syria, with a look back to previous operations in Iraq and Libya. Focusing on gender, Dr. Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck looks at integration and inclusion of women in Algeria’s military, yet presents a critique on its superficiality. With an eye on Turkey’s destabilized southern border region, Joseph Sadek provides commentary on the political and geostrategic jostling between Turkey and its Kurdish population, as well as the complex relationships between Turkey, the PKK, and Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) rebels. Turning to terrorism, Lauren Fisher presents an argument against the stovepipe methodology of countering violent extremism by exploring the complexities behind the topic. Finally, we conclude with a literature review by Adi Saleem Bharat on the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement as it pertains to academia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Development, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, Infrastructure, Armed Forces, Violent Extremism, Women, Radicalization, Islamic State, Political stability, Arab Spring, Humanitarian Intervention, Syrian War, Negotiation, Kurds, BDS
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Cyprus
  • Author: Jennifer Rowland, Nada Zohdy, Brian Katulis, Michael Wahid Hanna, Faysal Itani, Muhammad Y. Idris, Joelle Thomas, Tamirace Fakhoury, Farouk El-Baz, Kheireddine Bekkai, Amira Maaty, Sarah McKnight
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Our Spring 2015 volume captures the troubling developments of the past year in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2014, the Syrian conflict that has so beguiled the international community spilled over into Iraq, with the swift and shocking rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). ISIS is causing the ever-complex alliances in the region to shift in peculiar ways. In Iraq, US airstrikes provide cover for Iranian-backed militias fighting ISIS; while in Yemen, the United States supports a Saudi intervention against a different Iranianbacked armed group that has taken control of the Yemeni capital. Meanwhile, simmering political disputes in Libya escalated into a full-blown civil war, sparking concern in neighboring Egypt, where the old authoritarian order remains in control despite the country’s popular revolution. The Gulf countries contemplate their responses to record-low oil prices, continuing negotiations between the United States and Iran, and the threat of ISIS. And Tunisia remains one of the region’s only bright spots. In November, Tunisians voted in the country’s first free and fair presidential elections. This year’s Journal brings new analysis to many of these complex events and broader regional trends. We begin with the positive: an exclusive interview with former Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa. In this year’s feature articles: Brian Katulis zooms out to assess the Obama administration’s record in the Middle East over the past six years; Michael Wahid Hanna refutes the notion that the Iraqi and Syrian borders will need to be redrawn as a result of ISIS’ takeover; and Faysal Itani analyzes the US coalition’s strategy to defeat ISIS, arguing that it cannot succeed without empowering Sunni civilians. Muhammed Idris and Joelle Thomas turn to economics in an assessment of the United Arab Emirates’ efforts to go green. Tamirace Fakhoury points out a blind spot in the study of the Middle East and North Africa: how large diaspora communities affect political dynamics in their home countries. Farouk El-Baz takes us to Egypt, where he proposes a grand economic plan to pull the country out of poverty and set it on a path toward longterm growth. From Egypt, we move west to the oft-neglected country of Algeria, where Kheireddine Bekkai argues for more inclusive education policies on national identity. Finally, Amira Maaty comments on the region’s desperate need for robust civil societies, while Sarah McKnight calls for improvements in Jordan’s water policies.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Development, Environment, Migration, History, Natural Resources, Social Movement, Islamic State, Economy, Political stability, Arab Spring, Military Intervention, Identities, Diversification
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Algeria, North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America