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  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Danial Kaysi
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Within days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocratic country governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Charles Schmitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Yemeni economy is often portrayed as a dire picture of impending disaster, as the country runs out of oil and even more devastatingly of water. Yemen's economic problems are real, but they are not caused by an absolute, irreparable shortage of resources. Rather, it is Yemen's contentious politics and its lack of institutional development that constitute the main obstacle to surmounting present economic difficulties.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Development, Economics, Poverty, Natural Resources, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Marwan Muasher
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The protests that spread throughout the Middle East in the spring of 2011 are calling greater attention to reform in the region. King Abdullah II has attempted to launch a number of political reform initiatives in Jordan since coming to the throne in 1999. But all efforts to open up the political system have been thwarted by a resilient class of political elites and bureaucrats who feared that such efforts would move the country away from a decades-old rentier system to a merit-based one. This group accurately predicted that reform would chip away, even if gradually, at privileges it had acquired over a long period of time in return for its blind loyalty to the system. It thus stood firm not just against the reform efforts themselves, but also in opposition to the king's own policies.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Marwan Muasher, Muhammad Faour
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Any romantic notions in the West that the 2011 Arab uprisings could create instantaneous democracy in countries that have succeeded at toppling their leaders are already shattering. In the absence of strong political parties and viable civil society structures in most of the Arab world, these uprisings are proving to be only the first step in a process that will not follow a clear path and will take years to unfold. Much trial and error will take place and the region will experience multiple ups and downs before stable political and economic systems take hold.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Education, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Pessimism about the progress of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds has risen sharply in recent years. Negative developments in a variety of countries, such as military coups, failed elections, and the emergence of antidemocratic populist leaders, have caused some observers to argue that democracy is in retreat and authoritarianism on the march. A broad look at the state of democracy around the world reveals however that although the condition of democracy is certainly troubled in many places, when viewed relative to where it was at the start of this decade, democracy has not lost ground in the world overall. The former Soviet Union is the one region where democracy has clearly slipped backward in this decade, primarily as a result of Russia's authoritarian slide. The Middle East has also been a source of significant disappointment on democracy but mostly in comparison with unrealistic expectations that were raised by the Bush administration. In most of the rest of the world good news with respect to democratization is found in roughly equal proportion to bad news and considerable continuity has prevailed as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Marina Ottaway
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Incumbent regimes in the Arab world, monarchical and republican alike, have weathered the period of intense, worldwide political change that has followed the end of the Cold War without giving up much of their power. Though not completely untouched by events that have shaken the rest of the world, most Arab regimes have survived the wave of political transformation that has engulfed the rest of the world relatively intact. Many regimes have carried out reforms, but the reforms have been directed at modernizing the economy and addressing social issues rather than redistributing power in the political system. Indeed, most regimes that talk of political reform are in reality avoiding it. To be sure, there have been some political changes: For example, more political parties exist today in most Arab countries than fifteen years ago, and more countries hold elections of varying quality. Access to information and the quality of political debate have increased in many countries as well. Power, however, remains firmly where it was: in the hands of kings and presidents.
  • Topic: Cold War, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sufyan Alissa
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since 1989, Jordan has passed through several phases of economic reform aimed at stabilizing the economy and managing the transition from a state-dominated model to one that is private export led. Initiated under severe economic crisis conditions, the reform process in Jordan has been slow, selective, and uncoordinated. Thus far Jordan has succeeded in stabilizing its economy and engaging in a process of trade and financial liberalization and privatization, but it has failed to find long-lasting solutions to major social and economic challenges facing the country.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Sarah Phillips
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Republic of Yemen was created in 1990 through the unification of the northern and southern states, the Yemeni regime has very consciously framed its policies in the language of democracy, while simultaneously muzzling initiatives that might help facilitate democratic consolidation. There has been a marked increase in the level of popular political activity, but the country's power structures have proven resilient to political reform.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Kuwait's Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), founded in 1991, is a relatively new political actor in Kuwait. Yet by the standards of regional Islamist movements, it is one of the most experienced in parliamentary and electoral politics. The ICM can claim some real electoral and programmatic successes, but any move beyond marginal or incremental achievements rests largely on its ability to build on the success of an ad hoc and diverse coalition of Islamist, liberal, and populist political forces. In short, if the ICM navigates difficult waters, it may be able to achieve many of its goals while demonstrating the broader potential of an Islamist electoral movement as part of a coalition pressing for liberalizing political reform. Kuwaiti political history suggests strong reasons for skepticism-the opposition has never been able to maintain a united front for long, and the Kuwaiti government has tools at its disposal to disperse, placate, and even exclude dissenters. But the opportunities beckoning the movement and other opposition political forces are stronger than they have ever been.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Recent years have witnessed unprecedented political dynamism in Saudi Arabia. Since 2002, the government has pursued various reform policies. Its most relevant measures have included reforming the Shura Council, holding municipal elections, legalizing civil society actors, implementing educational reform plans, and institutionalizing national dialogue conferences. Although these measures appear less significant when compared with political developments in other Arab countries, such as Lebanon and Egypt, they constitute elements of a meaningful opening in Saudi authoritarian politics.</p
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt