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  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: Based on the Arab Transformations survey of Iraq in 2014, this paper examines the relative weight of religious identification and region of residence in several key areas, including main challenges perceived by the population, perceptions of security, of economic conditions, of governance, political mobilisation, corruption, and migration. Contrary to the perception that sectarian identity is the most important factor in understanding contemporary Iraqi politics, this analysis shows that religious identification is often a confounding variable, and that regional location better captures variations in respondents’ perceptions, including in key areas such as security, the economy, and migration.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Andrea Teti
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: The EU claimed it would learn the lessons of the Arab Uprisings with a ‘qualitative step forward’ in its approach to development, democracy, and security. However, an examination of the conceptual structure of revised EU Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) suggests EU policy changed little, and that in later incarnations it displayed a retrenchment towards conventional notions of democracy, development, and security, prioritising the latter over the former two. The Union seems to have failed to re-examine its approach to democracy, development, and security, falling back on approaches to all three which have been tried – and have failed – in the past.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: The Arab Uprisings moved the EU to learn lessons from past mistakes and re-define its approach to development, democracy, and security. Reality, however, has fallen short of this aim. Analysis of the revised Neighbourhood Policy suggests it changed little, falling back on pre-Uprisings conceptions and discarding approaches which were more inclusive, organic, and better suited to long-term EU interests. Conversely, ArabTrans survey data shows MENA populations display precisely the more substantive and holistic approaches to democracy which EU policy discarded. It also shows supporters of the Uprisings were driven by dissatisfaction with the provision of satisfactory socioeconomic conditions and tackling corruption, and that their expectations of improvements remain largely frustrated. This mis-match between policy and popular expectations leaves existing difficulties unaddressed.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: The Arab Uprisings represented a series of events unprecedented in the history of the Middle East: mass, popular and largely non-violent uprisings took place starting in December 2010 in Tunisia and reverberating throughout the region. These protests threatened – and in several cases resulted in the overthrow of – apparently stable autocratic regimes. The unprecedented nature and extensive domestic, regional and international impact of the Uprisings in and of itself merits attention, but coming hard on the heels of a global financial crisis and given the resonance of the Arab Uprisings with protest movements beyond the region, these Uprisings appear all the more significant beyond the region itself. The significance of the Uprisings is not just academic, however: the Middle East is one of the most frequently conflictual regions in the world, it is central to the global political economy – e.g. as a source of hydrocarbon fuels, and as a global logistical nexus –, it is a source of and transit point for migratory flows towards Europe, and its autocracies have been supported as key allies by Western governments, both in Europe and North America.
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: In order to understand why the Uprisings happened in the Arab World in 2010-11 and specifically to understand their origins in Egypt, it is necessary to combine a long term political economy trend analysis with an analysis of short term dynamics (della Porta 2015). This enables us to locate the Uprisings in a socio-economic, cultural and political context in Egypt and analyse the interaction between structure and agency (Beinin 2009; della Porta 2014). In doing so we take account of the three temporalities of capitalism: long term changes; mid-term moves between growth and crisis; and the short term dynamics of the immediate juncture. Specifically, the Uprisings can be located in a crisis of neo-liberalism, the growth of the precariat (Standing 2011), a breakdown of the social contract between the state and citizens, and a perception of growing inequalities and a decline in satisfaction with life (Therborn 2013; Subrabmanyam 2014; Verme et al 2014; World Bank 2015). While in the West the growth of the precariat – is a relatively recent phenomenon, in Egypt a large proportion of workers have always been employed in the informal sector, what happened in the 2000s was that an increasing number of the educated sons of the middle classes were forced into this type of employment. This occurred in the face of sluggish real economic growth, at least partly due to the demographic transition with a decline in decent jobs, (full-time, permanent formal sector) for the increasing number of educated young people coming onto the labour market (Hakimian 2013).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Rachel Sigman, Staffan I. Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: One of the most common adjectives used to describe democracy in sub-Saharan Africa is "neopatrimonial". Characterized by strong executives, pervasive clientelism and use of state resources for political legitimation (Bratton and van de Walle 1997), neopatrimonial democracy has been (controversially) associated with a range of (mostly undesirable) social, political and economic outcomes. This paper offers an empirical assessment of neopatrimonialism in Africa's political regimes. We show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, African regimes vary both quantitatively and qualitatively in their embodiment of neopatrimonial rule. Moreover, we find no clear evidence indicating that neopatrimonialism necessarily impedes the advancement or survival of democracy
  • Topic: Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carl Henrik Knutsen, John Gerring, Svend-Erik Skaaning
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Theoretical work on the institutional sources of economic growth regards decentralization and democracy in a positive light. Despite this, empirical work shows that neither fiscal decentralization nor national democracy is a robust predictor of per capita GDP growth. We argue that these theories have failed to bear fruit because they ignore the linchpin of decentralization and democracy, namely local democracy. Democracy at a local level enhances economic growth by enabling decentralized policy selection and incentivizing local politicians to select policies that benefit economic development, including the provision of local public goods. We test for the relationship using a novel measure of local democracy with global coverage and time series extending from 1900 to the present. We find robust evidence that local democracy nurtures growth. This relationship holds up when accounting for country- and year-fixed effects, when controlling for democracy at the national level, and when we treat our measure of local democracy as an endogenous regressor. Additional tests reveal that the relationship is clearer in contexts where our argument suggests that it should operate more strongly, namely (national- level) democracies and in periods and regions where local-level institutions have a more pronounced role in policy-making.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jennifer Cafarella
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute conducted an intensive multi-week planning exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to defeat the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. ISW and CTP will publish the findings of this exercise in multiple reports. The first report examined America’s global grand strategic objectives as they relate to the threat from ISIS and al Qaeda.[1] This second report defines American strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria, identify the minimum necessary conditions for ending the conflicts there, and compare U.S. objectives with those of Iran, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia in order to understand actual convergences and divergences. The differences mean that the U.S. cannot rely heavily on international partners to achieve its objectives. Subsequent reports will provide a detailed assessment of the situation on the ground in Syria and present the planning group’s evaluation of several courses of action.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: XIAO Yingying, YUAN Zhengqing
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The internet history in Africa is short, but this new technology is spreading fast on the continent. Along with this, cybercrime in Africa is becoming increasingly rampant, while the relevant legal institutions and law enforcement capacity are lagging behind, with public and private cyber security awareness being relatively weak. In recent years, African countries start accelerating the design of institutional framework concerning cyber security governance. Besides e-transaction and cybercrime, personal data protection is also part of Africa’s cyber security governance, which is the result of the “impartment“ from Western developed countries and the active advocacy from NGOs. Whether at the national level, sub-regional organization level, the African Union level or NGO level, those Western developed countries and western-dominated international organizations have played a role in the institutional design of African cyber security governance, some of which referred to or even copied the original designs of the Western countries. This may lead to the African continent being “recolonized” in cyberspace, with no autonomous decision-making power in global cyber security governance. Besides, from design to implementation, African countries still have a long way to go, and whether the institutions based on the western experience are suitable for the culture and ideas of the African countries, remains to be tested with practice.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: J. Samuel Valenzuela, Timothy R. Scully, Nicolás Somma
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Recent literature on the Chilean party system has noted that its characteristics changed under the impact of Pinochet's long dictatorship. The right allegedly became a tool for maintaining his regime's “legacies,” and this generated a binary pattern of electoral competition between “pro-authoritarian” and “prodemocratic” forces after the return to democracy. The literature has also stressed that levels of identification with the nation's parties have plummeted, thereby questioning the extent to which the Chilean party system is an institutionalized one. And yet all analysts acknowledge, without being able to explain, that the distribution of voter options for the main parties from one election to the next has continued to be largely stable
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In July 2016 NATO leaders will meet in Warsaw to formally review whether earlier decisions on strengthening the Alliance’s collective defenses are sufficient. Greater efforts will be needed, but consensus may not be easy to achieve. Below the surface, the cohesion of NATO is under severe strain from multiple crises including Russian revanchism, mass migration, and terrorism. Summit preparations are also taking place under the shadow of potential strategic shocks. Internal disagreements fueled by rising populism could lead to a British exit from the European Union, a disorderly breakdown of the Schengen system, or worse. In this context it would be a mistake to underestimate the risk of NATO fragmentation. To strengthen cohesion, U.S. leaders should consider broadening the debate beyond the immediate concerns over Europe’s troubled neighborhood, fostering intra-European peer pressure on providing adequate military capabilities, and stimulating European nations to develop complementary force postures. These initiatives could revitalize the transatlantic bond, but would require patient engagement before and after the summit.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Brian Jenkins, John Lauder
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: NPEC Working Paper 1602, “The Nuclear Terrorism Threat: How Real Is It?” presents two opposed views on the threat of nuclear terrorism. Brian M. Jenkins, a Rand analyst and a leading expert on nuclear terrorism, argues that the threat is overblown. John Lauder, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Nonproliferation Center, argues the opposing case that the threat is growing and we need to be hedging against it now.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: NPEC Working Paper 1601, “How Dark Might East Asia’s Nuclear Future Be?” contains detailed projections of what the future holds for a more nuclear-armed China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea. None are predictions. The volume’s purpose is to encourage deeper debate about the security implications of nuclear proliferation in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shane Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: On February 12, 2013, North Korea’s state media announced that it had conducted a third nuclear test “of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power…demonstrating the good performance of the DPRK's nuclear deterrence that has become diversified.”[1] Since then, there has been renewed debate and speculation over the nature and direction of North Korea’s nuclear program. Can it develop weapons using both plutonium and uranium? How far away is it from having a deliverable warhead and how capable are its delivery systems? How many and what kind of weapons is it looking to build? These are not easy questions to answer. North Korea remains one of the most notoriously secret nations, and details about its nuclear program are undoubtedly some of its most valued secrets. Yet, the answers to these questions have far reaching implications for U.S. and regional security.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mira Kaneva
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The associative definition of borders implies the separation or the connection between two contrasting units (even in terms of their coloring on the geographic map). Thus the inherent intermediate position of borders has always marked the bordering practices between and within political communities. In international relations studies, though, despite the centrality of borders in policy-making, border studies are reduced to a marginal position. Ironically, border studies are driven to the periphery of academic research due to the prevailing misconception of them as epiphenomena at the expense of core phenomena such as state, sovereignty, and territory
  • Topic: International Organization, Immigration, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric Mietz
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: In many ways, female recruits, both from the Western Balkans and other regions, are attracted to the Islamic State for the exact same reasons as men, highlights BCSP guest researcher Eric Mietz
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Mira Kaneva
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The associative definition of borders implies the separation or the connection between two contrasting units (even in terms of their coloring on the geographic map). Thus the inherent intermediate position of borders has always marked the bordering practices between and within political communities. In international relations studies, though, despite the centrality of borders in policy-making, border studies are reduced to a marginal position. Ironically, border studies are driven to the periphery of academic research due to the prevailing misconception of them as epiphenomena at the expense of core phenomena such as state, sovereignty, and territory
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus