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  • Author: Richard Barrett
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The self-styled Islamic State is an accident of history, emerging from multiple social, political and economic tensions in the Middle East and beyond. It has challenged the territorial divisions imposed on the region following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire by carving out for itself a large area of territory. But ultimately, its impact will flow as much from its challenge to established concepts of government, national sovereignty, and national identity. The Islamic State is most notable for the violence with which it asserts control, but its ruthless tactics will likely prevent the group from ruling effectively and building broader support beyond the front line fighters who protect its security and the authoritarian killers who patrol its streets.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: More than three years after the fall of strongman Muammar Qaddafi, Libya is in the midst of a bitter civil war rooted in a balance of weakness between the country's political factions and armed groups. With a domestic landscape torn apart by competing claims to power and with interference from regional actors serving to entrench divides, restoring stability in Libya and building a unified security structure will be difficult if not impossible without broad-based political reconciliation.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Governance
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Nadia Helmy
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: In the past three decades, Chinese Iranian and Middle East Studies have become more and more systematic, which is reflected not only in the great volume of publication, but also in the varied research methodologies and the increase in Iranian and Middle East academic journals. The development of Chinese Middle East studies have accelerated in particular after Arab Spring revolutions and the political changes in the Middle East (2000- 2013). Research institutes evolved from state-controlled propaganda offices into multi-dimensional academic and non-academic entities, including universities, research institutes, military institutions, government offices, overseas embassies and mass media. At the same time, publications evolved from providing an introduction and overview of Iran and Middle Eastern states to in-depth studies of Middle East politics and economics in three stages: beginnings (1949- 1978), growth (1979- 1999), and dealing with energy, religion, culture, society and security. The Middle East-related research programs' funding provided by provincial, ministerial and national authorities have increased and the quality of research has greatly improved. And finally, China has established, as well as joined, various academic institutions and NGOs, such as the Chinese Middle East Studies Association (CMESA), the Asian Middle East Studies Association (AMESA) and the Arabic Literature Studies Association (ALSA). However, Chinese Middle East Studies remain underdeveloped, both in comparison with China's American, European, and Japanese studies at home, and with Middle East studies in the West.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Government, Politics, Religion, Culture, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Berdal Aral
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper examines the position of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during the Arab revolutions of 2010-2013. In the early 1990s, the UNSC devised the doctrine of 'humanitarian intervention' which was premised on the view that systematic and comprehensive human rights violations within a state could pose a “threat to international peace and security.” Nevertheless, the Security Council consistently failed to act during the course of Arab uprisings due to a number of structural and procedural problems, including the primacy of national interests, permanent members' disagreement about the meaning of 'collective security,' and the isolated nature of decision-making whereby the substance of major resolutions is negotiated behind closed doors.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia
  • Author: Esmira Jafarova
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This article intends to highlight the dynamics within the UN Security Council 1 (UNSC) with regard to the events in the Syrian Arab Republic that have unfolded in the wake of the so-called "Arab Spring" and perturbed the entire region of the Middle East. What had begun as peaceful demonstrations against the incumbent leadership of the country very quickly transformed into the violent conflict that has raged for about three years. As a primary world body fulfilling the watchdog functions over the protection of international peace and security, the UNSC was overwhelmed by the highly dynamic nature of the situation on the ground, and was embroiled in intensive deliberations on the ways to solve the Syrian crisis.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Ruben Tuitel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The Sinai Peninsula has been a center of conflict for many years, starting with the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. After Israel and Egypt signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, it became a peaceful region, strongly controlled by the military during Hosni Mubarak's rule in Cairo. Now, after several years of non-violence, the Sinai Peninsula is once again the center of a complicated conflict. Heavy protests across Egypt in 2011 forced Hosni Mubarak to step down from the presidency, creating a security vacuum in the Sinai that allowed radical Islamists to almost freely operate in the region. During the months that followed, insurgent groups grew in number, recruiting frustrated Bedouin who have been neglected by the Egyptian government for years.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Arabia, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Suna Gülfer Ihlamur-öner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The EU has been involved in democracy promotion in the Mediterranean for many years. However, it is facing criticism from its members and partners for prioritizing security and stability over democracy. Particularly following the Arab uprisings, the effectiveness of the EU's efforts have increasingly been called into question and demands for a new approach towards democratization in the Mediterranean are growing. Ann-Kristin Jonasson's book, The EU's Democracy Promotion and the Mediterranean Neighbors: Orientation, Ownership and Dialogue in Jordan and Turkey, systematically evaluates the EU's democratization efforts by focusing on democracy promotion in two Mediterranean countries, Jordan and Turkey, and effectively addresses the major pitfalls in the EU's strategy. Therefore, it is a timely contribution as the Arab revolutions have forced us to reconsider the prospects for democratization in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: John R. Deni
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The revolutions of the Arab Spring have had profound implications for global security generally and for U.S. security specifically. In most cases, these implications are only beginning to reveal themselves in the various countries affected across the region. Most obviously, the future of Syria—indeed, whether it remains a unified political entity—remains an open question. Whether and how the Syrian civil war is resolved is bound to impact significantly U.S. efforts to help Israel maintain its security. Meanwhile, in Libya, weak governmental institutions and rival power centers have made it difficult for the authorities in Tripoli to gain full control over the entire country. Particularly along Libya's borders, this has magnified the risk of transnational terrorists and traffickers exploiting the poorly governed spaces of the Pan Sahel. Elsewhere, the unfinished revolution in Egypt holds implications for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, for the balance of regional power vis-à-vis Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, and for the global trade—especially energy resources—that passes through the Suez Canal every day.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: US “independence” from energy imports has been a key source of political dispute ever since the October War in 1973 and the Arab oil embargo that followed. Much of this debate has ignored or misstated the nature of the data available on what the US options are, as well as the uncertainties involved in making any long range projections.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia