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  • Author: Helle Malmvig
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Middle East regional security order is under rapid transformation. The Arab Uprisings and the Syrian War are changing not only the relationship between state and societies, but also some of the region's core norms and historical divisions. This report analyses key changes in regional security order the Middle East in the period after 2010. It identifies five key issues where regional order is changing: State-society relations Relations with the West and foreign policy posturing The impact of the Iran-Syria –Hezbollah Axis (the Resistance Front) and radical-moderate divide The Sunni-Shia rift and the rise of identity politics The Saudi-Qatar rivaling, and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Qatar
  • Author: Julie Elisabeth Pruzan-Jørgensen
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Islamic women's activism may appear a contradiction in terms to many Western audiences accustomed to presentations of Islam as counterproductive to the promotion of women's empowerment and the situation of women more generally. Yet in the Arab world (and beyond) many different groups and individuals – as scholars, as charity and welfare providers, and as religious or political activists – work to empower women based on Islamic arguments and references.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Islam, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Lars Erslev Andersen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The global balance of power is changing, and the role of the US as the only superpower is being challenged by emerging new powers and a still more powerful China. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Persian Gulf. This Working Paper by DIIS researcher Lars Erslev Andersen argues that if we are fully to understand the developments in the Persian Gulf we need to analyze the Persian Gulf as a regional security complex in its own right. The argument is developed empirically with reference to the case of Bahrain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain
  • Author: Leila Stockmarr
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Changing with rapid speed, the current political geography of the occupied Palestinian territory has de facto come to undermine a two-state solution and is turning the official aim and end point of international negotiations at best into a naïve mirage for policymakers and at worst into a façade for a very different political game playing out in the occupied territory of the West Bank and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem: that of Israel's ongoing territorial expansion into Palestinian land. The study shows how the settlement policies inside what are internationally-recognised Palestinian territories are not merely undermining the realisation of the two-state solution: the territorial claims put forward and pursued in practice and their anchoring in strategies of legitimisation reach far beyond international legal standards. This reveals a very different political narrative embedded at the core of the conflict from that projected by those images often appearing in the mainstream media and policy circles: a narrative of an ongoing struggle over land detached from any 'Peace Process' measures.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Rune Friberg , Lyme
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Local demonstrations in the provincial town of Da'ra in March 2011 fuelled the eruption of unprecedented popular demonstrations and protests throughout Syria. The Syrian leadership's half-hearted promises of reforms were accompanied by brutal repression that propelled the conflict into escalating violence and ultimately a vicious and complex civil war. Dismayed by the unfolding events, a number of countries and regional organisations imposed sanctions on Syria with reference to the regime's grave human rights abuses from 29 April 2011 onwards. As the conflict has drawn out a substantial battery of international sanctions has been developed, most significantly by the USA, Turkey, the League of Arab States and the European Union. Aimed initially at bringing the repression to a halt and, later, to an increasing extent at weakening the Syrian regime, the sanctions have primarily targeted: equipment and material used for monitoring and repression; the Syrian oil and energy sector; the banking and financial sector; and there are also sanctions targeted at individuals believed either to be responsible for or assisting in the regime's oppression.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Martin Harrow
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Video-recorded decapitations have an enormous impact, they are cheap and easy, and they allow the terrorists to exploit the potential of the Internet. With these advantages, the tactic would have been expected to quickly spread across the globe as a favored tactic. Yet, years after its invention in 2002, this has not happened. This paper using evolutionary theory finds that video-recorded decapitations have not caught on for locally specific reasons: in the West because the tactic is less accessible than one might expect; in Iraq because of the unwillingness to be associated with Zarqawi, and in the Afghan context, it has not spread because it is mainly relevant for mobilizing resources from abroad, which is not a priority for the Taliban. These are however situational variables, and just as suicide bombings took years to spread, there may be campaigns of video-recorded decapitations as conditions change.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Middle East, Taliban
  • Author: Leila Stockmarr
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of new Islamist groups challenging Hamas from within is demarcating a new tendency towards inter-Islamist rivalry in Gaza. Based on original empirical data this report maps the Islamist milieu in Gaza. It offers a critical examination of how Hamas has governed Gaza since 2007 and why new Islamist groups in Gaza have emerged. The report argues that the phenomenon of new Islamists is diffuse and intangible. It does, however, relate to the question of the ideological price of governing in Palestine, and the repercussions of Hamas' rule and external policies upon the Islamist milieu in Gaza where, for the first time, an Islamist political body is in power. Two major aspects are motivating the emergence of new Islamist agendas: people's ideological grievances towards those in power and the instrumentalisation of ideology and religion in the midst of a power struggle between an increasingly authoritarian political body and its dissidents and challengers. In the face of governments which are failing to deliver, non-organised religious activity has become political power in Gaza.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Lars Erslev Andersen
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the July 2005 London terrorist attacks the focus of anti-terrorism efforts has moved towards radicalisation within European societies and away from the conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia. This report argues that this shift in focus is based on a misconstrual of al-Qaida as it mistakes effect for cause. Based on an examination of the communication strategy of al-Qaida and the political rhetoric of Salafism the need for an analysis of militant Salafism in its political and societal context is demonstrated. The radicalisation theory is criticised and it is argued that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the increased focus on efforts to counter radicalisation within European societies more or less have failed because al-Qaida has been able to exploit this strategy and reorganise itself around an operational centre in Pakistan. The report concludes that only politically viable solutions in South Asia and the Middle East can effectively suppress al-Qaida and militant Salafism.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Mass Media, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Europe, South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Marie-Louise Koch Wegter, Karina Pultz
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In 2003, the Danish government launched the Partnership for Dialogue and Reform (PDR) with the dual objective of 1) establishing a basis for improved dialogue, understanding and cooperation between Denmark and the Arab region; and 2) supporting existing local reform processes in the Middle East and North Africa. With the first objective, which is the focus of this study, PDR was intended to demonstrate the trivialization of Huntington's thesis of a clash of civilizations that Al Qaeda, only few years before, had brought back to the limelight of international politics and endeavoured to prove. PDR was to show populations in Europe and the Arab world that there was indeed a strong, shared agenda between the so-called West and the mother-region of the Islamic world and that mutual misconceptions and prejudice could be overcome through the joined pursuit of this agenda of progress.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, Denmark, North Africa
  • Author: Rune Friberg Lyme
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Managing external communication has proven an increasingly significant concern to Lebanese Hizb'allah. This report argues that the organisation has developed a highly sophisticated communication strategy that enables it to address a variety of target groups efficiently with differentiated aspects of its particular ideologically informed message, using the particular media platform best suited for this purpose. In doing so, the communication serves two main objectives: first, to disseminate aspects of the organisation's religiously informed world-view, ideology, values, motives and moral codes; and secondly, to conduct psychological warfare against its enemies.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia