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  • Author: Joseph Braude
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A new opportunity has emerged to roll back generations of antisemitic and rejectionist messaging in Arab media, mosques, and schools. It stems from the convergence of interests between Israel and Arab powers, a youthful Arab grassroots trend in favor of a “peace between peoples,” and new Israeli and American Jewish capacities to engage Arab public discussions from the outside in. But prospects for change remain severely constrained: In addition to the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, the legacy of antisemitic brainwashing endures in many Arab institutions and draws further energy from Iranian and jihadist information operations. Meanwhile, proponents of a positive shift lack coordination, planning, and adequate support. In Reclamation: A Cultural Policy for Arab-Israeli Partnership, Joseph Braude documents the opportunity as well as the obstacles, and then proposes a strategy to accelerate progress. He explains how to engage Arab allies in a coordinated communications reform effort, support independent Arab champions of civil relations with Israel and Jews, expand the “outside-in” capacities, and degrade Iranian and jihadist channels of indoctrination within the region.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mohammad Darawshe
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: For the Arab voter, there weren’t compelling reasons to vote in the 2019 Knesset elections. In fact, a number of reasons motivated them not to. Quarrels around the issue of seat rotation plagued the Joint List and clarified for the Arab voter that the hope for unity had been lost. The Arab public therefore decided to punish the parties, taking from them the privilege it had given, returning them to their natural size in order to school them in the laws of modesty.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Arik Rudnitzky
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: This article reviews the results of the elections for the 21st Knesset in Arab and Druze communities. It also examines voting patterns in these localities by demographic characteristics (by ethnic group and geographical area) and voting patterns of Arab residents in mixed cities. The discussion then deals with two issues: (a) the question of the renewed connection between the Arab voter and Jewish parties; (b) the voting patterns of Christian voters. All data presented here were taken from the conclusions of Central Elections Committee
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Eline Rosenhart
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: On April 11, 2019, months of popular street protests led to the ouster of Sudan’s President of 30 years, Omar al-Bashir. Since April 6, the protesters in Sudan have maintained a presence in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum. The street in front of the headquarters has been transformed into a massive campground with people sleeping, eating, praying and even watching soccer and music performances. Protesters have set up roadblocks to prevent army vehicles from entering the area and volunteers are checking for weapons at the improvised checkpoints that control entry into the protesters’ campground. So far, their efforts have proven effective. The Transitional Military Council, which took over from al-Bashir, has not managed to disperse the protesters, remove the roadblocks, or impose a curfew. What were the events that led to the protest movement that removed Omar al-Bashir from power? What are the demands of the protesters? Why are they still massed in front of the military headquarters?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Yasar Aydın
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Today, it is possible to state that the bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany are perhaps the most strained that they have ever been. While there have been some signs of lessening tensions following the February 2018 release of German citizens held in Turkish prisons, points of contention still remain. These include an ongoing dispute over Fethullah Gülen’s supporters in Germany, the fate of other German citizens currently incarcerated in Turkey, and Ankara’s recent rescinding of work permits for German journalists. Meanwhile, the Ankara-Berlin relationship is further challenged by the Turkish Diaspora.[1]It is true that the transnational orientations of German citizens of Turkish origin and their communal organizations in Germany intensify the interdependencies between the two countries. However, simultaneously these transnational interconnections also increase the complexity of the bilateral relations and widen the friction between Turkey and Germany.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Recently, two trends became apparent in global oil markets. First, prices rose: the OPEC basket price reached $73.14 a barrel on 24 April 2019, a 40 percent rise over the price at the beginning of January, and 13 percent higher than the average for the year of 2018. According to the International Energy Agency, the reasons for higher prices included tighter global supplies that have prevailed due to strong compliance with OPEC’s decision in December 2018 to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day (mb/d), as well as sanctions against Venezuela and Iran, and conflict in Libya. These developments, along with the second trend of the rising US share in the global oil market discussed below, offset bearish factors including concern over the health of the global economy
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Turkay Nefes Salim
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: A well-known Turkish sociologist, Şerif Mardin, once remarked that conspiracy theories shape Turkish people’s historical perspective. Indeed, conspiratorial accounts are ubiquitous in modern Turkish politics: the Turkish government explained that the Gezi Park protests in 2013 were a foreign conspiracy meant to undermine Turkish economic progress.[1] Moreover, ever since the 1970s, various speakers in the Turkish parliament have claimed that there is a clandestine elite group determined to defend the Turkish state ideology by legal and extralegal means alike, and which is responsible for various conspiracies including, but not limited to extrajudicial assassinations.[2] In this political climate, conspiracy theories about Dönmes (Sabbateans), the followers of Sabbatai Sevi (Shabtai Tzvi), represent a major part of contemporary Turkish anti-Semitism. For example, the conspiracy theory books of Soner Yalçın became best-sellers in the Turkish book market in 2004 and 2006
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Several key questions arise with respect to China’s economic involvement in the Middle East: What are China’s interests in the Middle East? How far are they dominated by its energy needs? How are they affected by its relations with the United States? Since the reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping at the end of the 1970s, China has experienced rapid economic growth. In 2000, China’s GDP was equal to 12 percent of that of the US; by 2017 it had reached 63 percent. It’s GDP per capita rose from under 3 percent of the US level to nearly 15 percent in the same period. In real terms, China’s GDP more than quadrupled and GDP per capita rose nearly as fast.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: On Jan. 3, 2017, thirty-three years after leaving the Organization for African Unity (OAU) over the acceptance of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SDAR) as a member state, Morocco’s bid to rejoin the African Union (AU) was approved. And while Rabat presented this as a triumph, this move reflected in effect the failure of Morocco’s ‘’empty chair’’ policy, designed to penalize its African partners for recognizing SDAR and the Polisario Frente. Morocco succeeded in persuading a large majority of AU members to vote in favor of its integration, but at the same time was forced to accept an AU which includes SDAR as a member state. Had Morocco renounced its ‘sacred cause’ of sovereignty over Western Sahara? Not in the least. But King Mohammed VI now estimates that this objective can be better achieved as a member of the AU.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ayşe İrem Aycan Özer
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This analysis is about the change in Israel’s security understanding. Israel is a country located in the Middle East surrounded by Arab regimes which were historically hostile to its very existence in the region. The unification of the Arab countries against Israel and the lack of an ally in the region created a constant fear in Israel. When it started having better relations with Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey, Israel ended its isolation and found partners in its immediate geography. Even when relations between Turkey and Israel took a turn for the worse, Israel continued to have Egypt and Jordan on its side.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Middle East is once again going through a period of war and upheaval, including mass murder of civilians, state failure, transnational terrorism, sectarian wars, physical and societal destruction, massive arms purchases, use of nonconventional weapons (notably chemical) and a permanent risk of proliferation of WMD. These developments are a threat to the region, but also to the rest of the world and to Europe in particular. The current turmoil should not be underestimated for its potential to trigger an even bigger hot war that could involve other players, if only because of miscalculations by some of the parties involved.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Special report on Dynamics and potential for cooperation in eastern Mediterranean
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Danielle Pletka
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In connection with an assessment of AEI’s work on the Middle East over the past two decades, I drafted the following survey. The arc of our scholarship in this critical region is fascinating and illuminates the continuity and evolution of the challenges the United States faces in the Middle East. What is ultimately clear is that in the region both the challenge of destructive ideas and the fostering of better ones will shape outcomes.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Arturo Varvelli
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Arc of Crisis in the MENA Region volume deals with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa that are facing a particularly troubled period in their historical development. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and to a lesser extent Jordan and Tunisia have plunged into a legitimacy crisis that in some cases has turned into civil war or violent upheaval. As traditional authorities lose their legitimacy, two alternatives are emerging. The first is a more decentralized system of government, evinced by the empowerment of subnational government bodies and the growing legitimacy of local authorities; in this trend, the local authorities are able to keep the state united and more functional. The second is a growing number of political groups that act as opposition to authoritarianism, which is experiencing a revival. The analysis herein also focuses on Islamist movements; namely, their organizational and ideological development as well as how the shrinking of the political space affects them and the entire polity. This Report explores the distinctive dynamics and characteristics of these challenges in the post-Arab Spring era.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Security, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Lorenzo Vidino
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the past few years, the MENA region witnessed a rise in jihadist extremism and radicalization, as countries in the area were rocked by a series of deadly terrorist attacks. As authorities responded to the threat, it became clear that in order to effectively counter the phenomenon, traditional repressive measures had to now be accompanied by alternative methods of prevention, rehabilitation and dissuasion. How have different governments around the Mediterranean responded? What sort of alternative measures have been taken? How effective have these policies been? What further steps can be taken to strengthen the response of the authorities? These are just some of the key issues that this ISPI Report seeks to cover. The experts in this volume illustrate the policies of contrast, prevention and de-radicalization that have been adopted by countries in the MENA region, revealing emerging trends, lessons learned and overviews of this security status.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: On 12 October ISPI in cooperation with the IEMed organised a workshop “New Euro-Mediterranean Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean”. The event was organised in the framework of the EuroMeSCo ENI Project, co-funded by the European Commission. This dialogue workshop aimed at discussing the initial research results of the Joint Policy Study and engaging the participants in analyzing and sharing their perspectives on whether the Russian moment in the MENA region corresponds to opportunism, a new strategy or it falls in between these options. Additionally, this workshop aimed at shedding light on the role Russia is currently playing, how this can influence the balance of power as well as how regional players look at Russia. The present report is a summary of main points raised in workshop discussions
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Geoffrey Kemp
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: America’s Middle East policy must adapt to a changing region. The lack of an overarching theory of vital U.S. interests in the Middle East and of a strategy narrowly tailored to defending them has rendered U.S. policy reactive and largely incoherent. To the extent that it has coherence, it is driven by a strategy of primacy—by a complex of ideas in which active, armed American management of the region is essential for stability, in which states do not have a strong tendency to seek balance against threats, and in which increasing U.S. involvement will generally increase stability—and do so at costs acceptable to the United States. This strategy has undergirded costly choices like striking Libya, invading and occupying Iraq, putting American boots on the ground in Syria, and supporting unsavory partners against their internal opponents. This strategy faces building headwinds: public frustration, a growing national debt, and better-armed foes. Primacy comes at a growing opportunity cost: power tied up in the Middle East is unavailable to address a rising China or a more active Russia. And this strategy seems out of step with the region’s rapidly shifting strategic alignments. The time is ripe to go back to the basics, prioritizing the threats that require U.S. action in relation to the other international crises that affect vital U.S. interests, especially in East Asia and Europe
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Joe Barnes
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies have come under increasingly sharp criticism since the emergence of ISIL as a threat to Iraq during the summer of 2014. Some of this criticism has come from predictable quarters: neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who have long been critical of the Obama administration’s relatively “soft touch” approach to the region, notably its hesitance to get the United States more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war. But a sense of drift in U.S. policy toward the Middle East has spread to the general public, as well.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Hassan Hassan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The collapse of ISIS’s caliphate and its subsequent flight from much of its former territory has been a triumph for the anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq and Syria. However, for ISIS, expulsion from former urban strongholds is the end of one chapter and the beginning of another: the group has since rolled out a well-developed strategy to assure its future resurgence. This paper examines ISIS’s actions, publications, and communications to determine its insurgency strategies and long-term organizational outlook, emphasizing sources that have been largely overlooked by forces fighting the group. By analyzing the strategies ISIS uses and has used in its previous incarnations, this paper argues that insurgent groups like ISIS will continue to operate within the ungoverned space along the Syria-Iraq border, and that if left unchecked, the group is likely to re-emerge
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Itamar Radai
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: “On the deck of the Titanic,” thus sailed the members of the Joint List of Arab parties on the eve of the 2015 Knesset (parliamentary) elections, according to senior journalist Wadea Awawdy.[1] Four years later, in light of the results of the 2019 elections, it seems that this prophecy has almost materialized, even though the ships have narrowly escaped the iceberg, at least for the time being. The Hadash-Taʿal list attained 193,293 votes, equivalent to six seats in the Knesset, while Raʿam-Balad barely crossed the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent with 143,863 votes, giving them four seats. Arab voters’ turnout declined to a historic low of about 50 percent, as opposed to the overall turnout of around 68 percent.[2] The sharp drop in Arab voter turnout led to Arab parties’ political representation declining from 13 seats in 2015 to 10. Israeli Hebrew-language media coverage explained this change in terms of Arab alienation and marginalization. However, the mainstream Hebrew media outlets tend to neglect the coverage of Arab politics, including the election campaigns,[3] hence ignoring at large an important internal factor: the collapse of the Joint List on the eve of the 2019 elections, and its implications. This article will focus on the rise and dramatic fall of the Joint List, and its repercussions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratization but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Law, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surged in northwest Mosul in a bid to clear the city prior to Ramadan, anticipated to begin on May 26. Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Federal Police (FP) units joined 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Division units in northwest Mosul on April 28. The combined forces recaptured the neighborhoods of Mushairfa and 30 Tamouz, and are fighting to seize the denser neighborhoods of Harmat, 17 Tamouz, and Hawi Kanisa as of publication. Meanwhile, Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) recaptured three neighborhoods in western Mosul. ISF are unlikely to clear the city prior to Ramadan. ISIS claimed to launch attacks to retake two Old City gates, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Toub. ISIS will also continue to defend the Old City by conducting suicide attacks and attempting to draw fire on civilian gatherings. ISIS will concentrate its defenses around al-Nuri Great Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared publicly in 2014.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Gutowski, Jesse Rose Dury-Agri
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed forces continue to advance on the major ISIS-held urban centers of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have encircled ISIS in Mosul’s Old City. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabqa, a city adjacent to Raqqa that contains Syria’s largest dam. ISIS also lost terrain in southern Syria, as various factions of the Syrian opposition, including some with U.S. backing, cleared ISIS from positions in Suweida and the Qalamoun mountains. ISIS will attempt to offset these losses during its annual Ramadan offensive campaign, anticipated to begin around May 27. ISIS’s campaign in 2017 increasingly resembles its 2013 insurgent campaign; ISIS’s Ramadan plan will likely focus on synchronizing spectacular attacks across different locations for combined effect. Potential targets include religious sites, security forces, and oil infrastructure. ISIS may also conduct ground attacks in Salah ad Din, Anbar, and central Syria where ISIS retains latent combat capability.
  • Topic: War, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Chris Kozak, Genevieve Casagrande, Tom Ramage
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Since its inception, Daesh has been successfully recruiting women across national and ideological lines to assume key positions in advancing the organization’s objectives. According to recent estimates, out of 31,000 fighters within Daesh territories, almost one-fifth, roughly 6,200, are women. Yet, to date, research and policy focus on women’s involvement in Daesh has been scant. Several media accounts that have covered female participation tend to be alarmingly reductionist in their description of the roles women play in Daesh. These reports primarily categorize women as either passive victims, “Jihadi brides,” or subsidiary supporters of male guardians with negligible influence. This approach not only ignores the multiplicity of roles played by women to expand Daesh’s ideological and operational agenda, but also oversimplifies the motivations behind their decisions to join Daesh. Just like their male counterparts, women are complex human beings with conflicting aspirations, ideological leanings, and life struggles that inform the choices they make.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, elements of an Astana de-escalation plan were enacted while pro-government forces advanced in Hama and the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus. Opposition infighting in Eastern Ghouta and Idleb appears to have stopped for the time being. Fighting in and around Daraa city remained high this week, and both opposition and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to take territory from ISIS.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, opposition forces advanced once more against ISIS fighters in the southeastern desert of Syria, opposition forces fought with one another once again in the Eastern Ghouta area of rural Damascus, and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance against ISIS in Tabqa city west of Raqqa. Additionally, pro-government forces advanced against feuding opposition forces in Eastern Damascus, and international and pro-government forces were deployed within YPG-held territory following recent exchanges of fire between Turkey and Kurdish forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The international community’s e orts have recently succeeded in reducing the sources of funding of many terror organizations in the Middle East. ISIS is one instance, where the military operations launched by a US- led global coalition since September 2014, have signi cantly reduced the terrorist group’s funds generated from oil sales and illicit trade and caused huge losses.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: ISIS appears to be planning to attack the interests of some states that are in- volved in the war against it. The terror group’s recent assault was conducted in retaliation for its defeat in Mosul, liberated on July 10, 2017. That is evi- denced in ISIS’ quick claim of responsi- bility of the attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 31, 2017.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey-Israel relations have recently been caught in a new stage of political and media confrontations between the two countries over the recent developments at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, triggered by Israel’s installation of metal detectors at electronic gates to control access to the sanctuary. The resulting tensions prompted speculations that a new crisis is in the making that is rem- iniscent of the six-year diplomatic rift triggered by the 2010 Israeli raid on the Turkish- agged aid vessel Mavi Marmara, o the blockaded Gaza Strip, leaving ten Turks dead. That is despite the fact that the two countries renormalized their ties returning ambassadors to their posts and build- ing strong economic relations.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: European states seek to increase the chances of maintaining the implementation of the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehen- sive Plan of Action (JCPOA), concluded on July 14, 2017 between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers, which includes the European Union, France as well as Germany. The bid is especially driven by the European view that a collapse of the deal would in ict grave consequences on their interests. However, the European bid is facing no easy hurdles. While the United States is keen to impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, Iran is similarly adamant about continuing this program as well as exploiting the nuclear deal to expand its in infuence in the region through backing terrorist organizations and establishing relations with non-state actors.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The raging war between Hezbollah and al-Nus- ra-Front in Arsal region raises several questions about militia wars, their features, mechanisms and outcomes. Such concerns have been raised especially after the relatively swift and decisive battle, which ended with a truce between the two parties sponsored by Lebanese General Se- curity and International Red Cross. Under the truce, al-Nusra Front militants and their families were evacuated from the Lebanese Arsal to Syria, in addition to the exchange of hostages between the parties. This was not the rst war raging be- tween armed militias in Syria, Iraq or Libya, as such kind of war has become common in recent times, especially in countries where ideologically disparate militias ght over spheres of in uence.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Current data on the political and military situation in Syria indicate that the military as- pect remains the dominant factor in the crisis due to the faltering political track at Geneva and Astana. Nonetheless, significant political changes that developed recently cannot be underestimated in determining the future of the crisis.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Kurdistan Democratic Union party (PYD) led by Saleh Musallam continues its ef- forts and takes new executive actions with the aim of turning the federal system, an- nounced on 17 March 2016 in areas under its control in northern Syria (Rojava regions) into reality. The previous step taken by PYD was preparing a draft Federal Constitution composed of 85 articles stipulating that the constitution is a social contract for the dem- ocratic federal Rojava, and considering the city of Qamishli as the capital and center of the federation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is making steady progress on the ground in Raqqa, ISIS’ main stronghold in Syria. The alliance of militias recently announced that they retook 70% of the city from the terrorist group following a successful plan to divide the city into an eastern and western zone and storm the city from both sides. The SDF militants advancing from the eastern and western parts of the city linked up for the first time on August 11 prevent- ing ISIS from reaching the Euphrates River and keeping its fighters with civilians who remain besieged by both groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Alexander Velez-Green
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long looked to Egypt as a key partner in the Middle East. Egypt’s adherence to the Camp David Accords is fundamental to Israeli security. Cairo has also been a key player in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process for many years. In addition, the Egyptian state has played an essential role in supporting the U.S. fight against global jihadism. Its provision of reliable access to the Suez Canal, Egyptian airspace, and intelligence sharing directly enables U.S. operations against al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) across the Middle East. That is not to mention the blood and treasure that Egypt itself has spent to defeat terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Nicholas Heras
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and trans-Sahara regions are undergoing a period of instability and state collapse, with active civil wars raging in four of the most important countries in the region: Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. As witnessed during the Arab uprisings of 2010–2011, the MENA region has begun to grapple with the once and future challenges of instability as the regional population grows and skews younger, economies stagnate and start to collapse, and resources become scarcer. U.S. national security policy toward the MENA and trans-Sahara regions is at a point of high uncertainty, with a new administration developing strategies to address the security threats to the United States and its partner nations being caused by the region’s civil wars.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Thembisa Fakude
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The haphazard nature of the political campaign by the anti-Qatar forces demonstrated serious political immaturity and the over-estimation of the power of money in politics and shaping world opinion.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dr. Mohammed Cherkaoui
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The new approach of the U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East has increasingly pivoted around possible ways of fighting radical groups with various denominations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Stasa Salacanin
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The GCC crisis has put all international actors, including Europe, in a complicated position, and as ever louder calls for the greater engagement in the mediation process comes at challenging times as Europe is facing countless problems at home.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Naser al-Tamimi
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Saudi government has begun an ambitious process of economic reforms, but internal resistance and external disturbances – worsened by the Gulf crisis – are increasing costs and may lead to its failure.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dr. Mohamed Erraji
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the role of media fabrication and propaganda in the current political crisis in the Gulf. Propagandists have deliberately created a new political reality to demonise Qatari politics and political leaders with a detailed political approach to create a prefabricated reality.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Murat Yeşiltaş
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Turkey's current strategic move is it is a continuation of Turkey’s new vision for regional politics within the context of the new regional geopolitical realities.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Stasa Salacanin
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: In 2005, Qatar imposed a self-moratorium on future gas developments in the North Field, but has recently lifted it in defence of the country’s leading LNG market share as new global players rapidly expand their production.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Husain Haqqani, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: arendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power during the May 2014 elections, promising radical changes. The party’s electoral manifesto outlined numerous problems that threatened Indian society, while promising to protect social values and enact “urgent changes” in the economy, agriculture, energy, education, and governance.1 Observers from around the world hailed the BJP’s victory as a success, and believed that a pro-business government assuring fundamental changes would tap into India’s unfulfilled economic potential.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch, Stephanie Dahle
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched a campaign against Qatar. Tensions between these Gulf Cooperation Council members were nothing new, but few anticipated the sudden escalation or the intensity of the campaign. The anti-Qatar campaign leaders then failed to achieve a rapid resolution of the crisis in their favor through a Qatari capitulation. More than four months later, the GCC remains badly divided and both sides are increasingly entrenched in their positions. To make sense of this political conflict, POMEPS is pleased to release this collection of essays by a wide range of leading scholars published in The Monkey Cage and in POMEPS Studies over the last several years. The collection is divided into four major sections: the origins and course of the current conflict; regional responses; how the Arab uprisings impacted the GCC; and background on the divisive question of Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: The Middle East has experienced a dramatic flood of refugees and forced migration over the last fifteen years. The UN High Commission on Refugees reports more than 16 million refugees and 60 million displaced persons around the world today, including asylum seekers and the internally displaced. The wars in Syria and Iraq have produced the greatest share of the Middle East’s refugees in recent years, but many more have fled wars and failed states in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Neighboring states have faced severe challenges in absorbing millions of refugees, while North African states and Turkey have emerged as key transit hubs for refugee flows into Europe.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Security, International Affairs, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Jessa Rose Dury-Agri, Omer Kassim, Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The liberation of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sh­am’s (ISIS) urban holdings in Iraq was necessary but not sufficient to secure America’s vital national interests. ISIS has lost neither the will nor the capability to fight, even as it withdraws into desert hideouts and sleeper cell formations in November 2017. Rather, dispersed ISIS militants have begun an insurgent campaign in northern and western Iraq as some of its foreign fighters have returned to their home countries to serve in ISIS’s external operations network.
  • Topic: Islam, War, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Maha Yahya
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanon’s and Iraq’s political systems are based on sectarian and ethnic power-sharing. In summer 2015, both countries faced popular protests demanding better governance. These protests began over poor service provision but escalated into opposition to the countries’ overarching power-sharing systems. These demonstrations were framed as nonsectarian, civic responses to deteriorating conditions and corrupt leadership. While protestors raised hopes that change was possible, their curtailment by the sectarian leadership underlined the challenges of political transformation in divided societies.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: This report considers the hybrid warfare techniques of Daesh, Al Qaeda, the Taleban, and Iran, and makes specific suggestions on how the UK and other Western countries can better counter this threat. The report is sistilled from discussions with senior British officials, academics, and current practitioners in the media, strategic communications, and cyber security
  • Topic: Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East