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  • Author: Walter Feichtinger
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The revolts in Tunisia and Egypt were effective in ousting the regimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, bringing rumor and protests to Yemen, Syria and other places and starting a violent revolution against Muammar Gaddafi – but it remains to be seen whether the abrupt achieved cohesion among the protesters will overcome the political transformation and bridge long existing gaps between the various groups and factions in these countries. Demonstrations in Tunisia, and also in Egypt, indicate that there is limited cohesion and tolerance within politics and civil society when it comes to tackling daily problems and finding lasting solutions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Graeme P. Herd
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Beyond noting the fluidity, ambiguity and ambivalence associated with the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, there is little consensus on causes and likely consequences. Do these geopolitical earthquakes constitute an “Arab Spring” leading to transition democratization, akin to 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe? Or should we look to 1979 in Iran, and the prospect of Sunni rather than Shia theocracy taking hold? Might the wider Muslim world – Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey – provide alternative potential governance models for the MENA region, given indigenous variants appear exhausted and no longer able to self-reproduce? What are the lessons which other MENA incumbent regimes and the international community will identify? How might those lessons be learned?
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jason Gluck
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The National Transitional Council (NTC) new Constitutional Declaration is a critical development in Libya's transition to democracy. But while most features of the document are very positive, the relatively short timeline for the transition may create significant challenges.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Jamie Balfour-Paul
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The EU has a long history of co-operation with the Arab region. Its economic and security interests in the region are considerable. In line with the European Consensus on Development, respect for human rights and democracy have been explicit values within EU development policies. Past EU co-operation in the region, especially in health and education, has achieved successes and enabled people to claim certain rights.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Regime Change, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The current Polish Development Cooperation system has been under gradual construction since 2004. Fortunately, recent reforms have raised the probability it eventually will evolve as a strong and important tool for Poland's external relations. Moreover, these positive changes are taking place at a very crucial moment in history when unprecedented turmoil in the Arab world has exposed the weaknesses of the European development policy and while Poland is holding the presidency of the EU Council. The convergence of these factors further strengthens the need for a swift finalization of improvements in its development cooperation system if Poland wants to play a more critical role internationally and prove its usefulness in assisting other countries to meet their political and economic aspirations. A development policy that is better-resourced and more balanced (geographically and thematically) would provide Poland with a credible tool of soft power and would strengthen the brand of Polish solidarity.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Karol Kujawa
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For several months, we have witnessed rapid change in the countries of North Africa. Researchers and politicians have raised questions about the future of Arab countries once the revolution has run its course. Will the new authorities attempt to build a theocratic state or will they follow the example of Turkey and implement democratic reforms? The latter choice is becoming increasingly popular in the Arab world. This article will address the key questions that come up in connection with Turkey and Arab countries, including: the source of Turkey's popularity in the Arab world, what do they have in common, what divides them and, finally, whether Turkey could become a model for Arab countries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Turkey, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Mohamed Elagati (ed)
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: There is a great similarity between the Egyptian and Tunisian political changes at the beginning of 2011. Not only were there similarities between the two economies—imbalanced development and investment indicators and increasing rates of inflation and unemployment—but also in a symbolic sense in the reaction of citizens to the harsh living conditions. The very same week that a young Tunisian man, Mohamed Bou Azeezi, set himself on fire to object to the municipality's confiscation of the goods he was selling, Egyptian Hamdy Al-Senoosi lighted himself on fire as well, objecting to the confiscation of his “tuctuc”. Many analysts point to differences in the political system: In Egypt, there was allowed some space for political practices, while in Tunisia there existed a very repressive environment to the extent that human rights activists called Zine El Abidine Ben Ali “The Arab Pinochet.” That repression led to the explosion of public outrage in Tunisia. The Tunisian system is a typical authoritarian one while the former Egyptian system was a model of “electoral authoritarianism,” allowing some space of political movement via a sort of “pluralism” (even if it was a facade), a somewhat independent judiciary (even if it was subject to political pressures), something akin to freedom of expression (even if owners of media channels could not cross certain lines) and seats in parliament for the opposition (even if the majority always went to the main party).
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Daniel Tavana
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This policy brief analyzes Egypt's electoral framework in light of legal and political changes following the popular revolt that overthrew Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Over the course of a three and a half month period, Egyptians will elect representatives to lower and upper houses of Parliament: the People's Assembly and the Shura Council, respectively. Once both houses convene in March 2012, a 100-member constituent assembly will be selected to draft a new constitution.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Duncan Pickard
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The paper is intended for all policy analysts interested in Tunisia, but it could be especially helpful for members of the NCA and the legal advisory committee, chaired by Yadh Ben Achour, that was recently established to advise the NCA on constitutional law and drafting procedure. The National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia (NCA) will act as the constitutional convention and transitional legislature of Tunisia and was elected on 23 October 2011.1 Decree No. 582, released on 20 May 2011, extends a one-year mandate to the NCA to write a new constitution for the republic. This commitment was also reflected in a September 18 agreement signed by Tunisia's largest political parties. Drawing from recent cases and academic literature, this paper explores key procedural questions that will confront the NCA in its first month in office.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Rusty Barber, William B. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Successful attacks on key government buildings underscore worries about whether Iraqis can manage their own security. They mask, however, something new in Iraqi society: an emerging vox populi that found potent expression in provincial elections last January, despite the odds. As national elections approach in March, political leaders are realizing that they ignore this growing voice at their peril. Aware that American attention is shifting towards other problems at home and abroad, Iraqis are nervously contemplating how much U.S. support they can expect going forward in their fragile experiment in democratic governance. The U.S. role in helping Iraqis prepare for national elections has been crucial and largely welcome—it should continue through the transition to a new government. Successful complete withdrawal by 2012 depends on an Iraqi government that is responsive to its people’s basic needs and capable of evolving peacefully via fair elections. Longer term, there are several critical areas on which a distracted and resource stretched America should focus. These include intensifying efforts to help Arabs and Kurds resolve disputes and forestall the need for an extended U.S. military presence in northern Iraq. Helping Iraq protect its borders – a vulnerability highlighted by Iran’s recent incursion—and nudging the Gulf Arab states to more actively engage Iraq as an emerging partner in regional security and economic structures will also be key to stability inside and beyond Iraq’s borders. If water is the “new oil” in terms of its resource value and potential to create conflict, that future is now playing out in Iraq. Shortages and poor quality are already causing serious health and economic problems, displacement and raising tensions with Iraq’s neighbors. The U.S. can help here on both the diplomatic and technical sides of the issue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia