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  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU needs to place a stronger emphasis on promoting democracy in its Eastern neighbourhood. A new approach should combine limited, focused conditionality with increased openness and multi-level linkages. Conditionality is often effective in promoting faster and better reforms where the home-grown will to democratise is present (as in Moldova, for example). It is not likely to work as a transformative policy, bringing about change from authoritarianism to democracy in the neighbourhood. The goal of tying neighbours to Europe should prevail over the principle of political conditionality. Economic integration and visa freedom have to be pursued with all neighbouring countries. This makes democratisation more likely to occur in the longer term. Engagement, providing it is not limited to political leaders, can be a successful strategy to push for democratic change. Cooperation with (semi-)authoritarian governments has to be accompanied by strong support for civil society and multiple links with the populations. Ukraine is a test case of the EU's ability to use association agreements as a tool for democracy promotion. The involvement of neighbours in the negotiation process offers a possibility to shape their domestic agendas. At the same time, there must be 'red lines': the EU should emphasize that it will not sign the agreements with countries having major problems with democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following is a sampling of reactions from various Islamist leaders, commentators, and organizations following the death of Usama bin Laden.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (“Tandhim Al Qaeda fi Bilad Al Maghrib Al Islami”, commonly referred to by its French acronym AQMI) is a reformed version of an Algerian terrorist group formed in September 1998, Al Jama'a Al Salafiya lil Da'wa wal Qital (Salafist Group for Predication and Combat, GSPC). Born in the context of the waning Algerian civil war that had raged in that country between 1992 and 1998, with an estimated 150,000 dead, the GSPC carried with it three consequential elements: the violent legacy of the civil war and its heavy toll on Algerian society; an entrenched radical Islamist identity prone to armed violence; and a design on the part of this group to not disarm and perpetuate its armed insurrection.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Algeria, North Africa
  • Author: Julian Lindley-French
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: With British and French aircraft undertaking most of the air operations over Libya and some fiftyfive years on from the Suez debacle, historical irony abounds. On November 2 2010, London and Paris agreed the Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty1 (see box below). On the face of it the accord is by and large military-technical: to develop co-operation between British and French Armed Forces, to promote the sharing and pooling of materials and equipment including through mutual interdependence, and leading to the building of joint facilities. This it is hoped will promote mutual access to each other's defence markets, through the promotion of industrial and technological co-operation. But what has the treaty to do with the European Union (EU) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)? Does the treaty mark the first step on the road to regalvanising Europe's strategic defence or is it simply the strategic pretence of two aging, failing powers unable to accept a world that has moved on?
  • Topic: NATO, Democratization, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Britain, France, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • 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: Antti Kaski
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The purpose of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty was to enhance the unity of the member states' foreign policies and the coherence of the external action of the European Union (EU). As manifested recently by the lack of unity and delayed action in the wake of the Arab revolutions, the EU still has considerable work to do before it can claim to have become a global heavyweight in foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia, Lisbon
  • Author: Marc Finaud
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The 2010 Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference reaffirmed “the importance of the Resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference”, which had been “an essential element of […] the basis on which the Treaty was indefinitely extended”. Indeed, Arab countries had joined consensus in exchange for a call on “all States in the Middle East” (including Israel) “to take practical steps […] aimed at making progress towards […] an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of [WMD] and their delivery systems”, and on “all States party to the [NPT], and in particular the nuclear-weapon States […] with a view to ensuring the early establishment by regional parties of [such a zone]”. Fifteen years later, the 2010 Review Conference could understandably “regre[t] that little progress ha[d] been achieved”.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sean Kane, William Taylor
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With U.S. military forces scheduled to depart Iraq in December of this year, the State Department and other civilian agencies are being asked to assume a scale of operational and programmatic responsibilities far beyond any other embassy in recent memory. The capacity of the U.S. civilian agencies to assume these responsibilities does not now fully exist. Notably, securing and moving U.S. civilians will require more than 5,000 security contractors. A limited U.S. military contingent post-2011 may well be more cost-effective than private security guards and could also relieve State and other civilian agencies of logistical and security responsibilities. This would enable them to focus on their comparative advantages: diplomacy and development assistance. Planning for the post-2011 U.S. mission in Iraq, however, remains hampered by uncertainty as to whether the Iraqi government will request an extension of the American military presence in the country. A small follow-on U.S. military force would appear to safeguard Iraqi stability and make the achievement of U.S. strategic objectives in Iraq more likely, but cannot be counted on. Should such a request not be received from the Iraqi government, the U.S. may need to reduce the planned scale and scope of its operations and goals in Iraq.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Cédric Jourde
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Until recently, the Sahel (as-Sahil), literally the “shore” of the Saharan “sea,” rarely made headlines. Nevertheless, the expanding nexus of illicit trafficking and transnational Islamist terrorism—and the increasingly serious risk this poses to stability in the region and to international security—is attracting growing attention. These concerns will likely mount as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attempts to use the window of opportunity presented by the Arab Spring to reestablish itself in North Africa while transitional governments there devote much of their energy to rebuilding state institutions. In turn, an unstable North Africa, especially Libya, could further exacerbate insecurity in the Sahel as unsecured weapons and trained mercenaries filter their way into the region.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Arabia, Mauritania
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutas
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The publication of the Palmer report written by the panel of inquiry established by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon once again brought the 31 May 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident and the blockade of Gaza back to world's attention. On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos stormed a passenger ship, the Mavi Marmara, the largest boat of a flotilla of six boats which were carrying 10000 tons of humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza, in international high waters. The operation left 9 activists dead and over 30 activists wounded. The Israeli military assault against the Mavi Marmara immediately ignited worldwide protests and condemnation. Turkey, whose citizens were attacked by Israeli soldiers in international high waters, 72 miles away from the Gazan coast, took the lead in protests and condemnation. Israel, however, claimed that the demonstrators on the Mavi Marmara were aiming to break the blockade of Gaza and the Israeli commandos were forced onboard to react in an act of self-defense.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The EU's Eastern Partnership with the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus and Azerbaijan has now been in place for two years. But the EU is not looking eastwards much these days – it is looking inwards to tackle the aftermath of the financial crisis, and south to the Arab Spring. At the same time, the enthusiasm of the Eastern partners seems to be fading. The EU Commission's recent review of the European Neighborhood Policy points in the right direction but if the partnership is to make any sense, it is necessary to make it more attractive.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Caucasus, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of the UN speeches and Netanyahu's acceptance of unconditional talks, Abbas now seems to be the odd man out, though renewed Israeli construction in east Jerusalem could alter that dynamic.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Ghaith al-Omari, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Palestinian decision to appeal to the UN is rooted in frustration with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government and the conviction that negotiations are futile at the moment. Furthermore, they believe that President Obama's efforts, while admirable, will not produce results. These beliefs -- combined with the sense of urgency imparted by the Arab Spring and the growing perception that the Palestinian leadership can no longer back down from the initiative -- makes it likely that they will head to the UN this month as planned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, United Nations
  • Author: Henrik Boesen Lindbo Larsen
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: NATO's intervention in Libya has highlighted the risks connected with enforcement of humanitarian principles in Europe's neighbourhood through engaging in regime change. The EU now seems to remain the only viable forum if the Western states wish to play a more permanent role in Libya.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Helle Malmvig, Leila Stockmarr
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: If the Middle East Quartet is to regain its relevance and the Obama Administration to deliver on its promise of a New Beginning, a new internationally-sanctioned framework is long overdue.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The promise of what came to be known as the Arab Spring, which dawned in North Africa, sweeping into the Arabian Gulf and up through the Middle East, has foundered in Yemen. Political turmoil has taken hold and reform has stalled, sparking renewed insecurity, devastating an already frail economy, and triggering a national fuel crisis that has in turn driven rising levels of hunger. Levels of child malnutrition in some regions are among the worst in the world. While billions of dollars have been donated to Tunisia, Libya, and to a lesser extent Egypt to rebuild their economies, Yemenis are facing chronic hunger and have few resources at their disposal. While the eyes of the world are on other countries experiencing major upheaval, Yemen must not be forgotten. Leaving the country to simmer and collapse in slow motion will lead to far greater humanitarian and security concerns.
  • Topic: Poverty, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Norway, Yemen, Arabia, United Nations, Egypt
  • Author: Amr al-Azm
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Syrian regime was initially able to count on its neighbors in two key areas: ensuring that their territories do not become a safe haven for Syrian dissidents and continuing to receive their support on the regional and international level. This support has since eroded as a result of the regime's inability to contain the ever-escalating level of violence being perpetrated against the protesters. The gravest concern for the regime is the emergence of a Benghazi scenario in a city like Aleppo as a result of Turkish military intervention. The Syrian regime now finds itself in an ever-increasing cycle of isolation and increased internal repression.
  • Topic: Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Yigal Schleifer
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Turkish relations with the Syrian regime have developed at a dizzying pace over the last 15 years, going from outright hostility to close cooperation and back to estrangement. Prior to the current uprising, Turkey looked at Syria as a cornerstone in its plans to become a political, economic and “moral” leader in the Middle East. Ankara has deep concerns regarding developments in Syria, particularly in terms of the domestic repercussions of any Syrian political instability or social upheaval. These concerns shaped Ankara's initial caution in completely breaking with Damascus and could still limit the scope of Turkish action against the Assad regime.
  • Topic: Regime Change, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Sean Kane, Elie Abouaoun
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's reaction to the popular uprising in Syria is mostly determined by the chaos its Shiite-led government believes would follow the sudden collapse of Bashar al-Assad's regime. Baghdad possesses limited ability to influence the course of events in Syria, but is using this to provide modest support to the Assad regime. The fractured and sectarian nature of Iraqi politics, however, militates against Baghdad developing a decisive position on the way forward in Syria.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria