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  • Author: Volker Perthes
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The summer 2006 war in Lebanon can be perceived through at least five different frames of reference. The US administration saw the war in Lebanon as a local manifestation of the global war on terror. According to this framework, Hezbollah is an Al Qaeda-type enemy, not a national group with a local agenda and constituency; bargaining with Hezbollah is not possible. This point of view makes fighting global terror more difficult and jeopardises the search for stability and peace in the region. Many Israeli and European politicians saw the war as a confrontation between radical Islam and a modern Israeli state, a clash of cultures between Islamic fundamentalists and Western civilisation. This frame of reference, however, fails to recognise the fault line within the Muslim world itself, between those who want to integrate their societies into a globalised world and those who do not. The conflict in Lebanon can also be interpreted as a consequence of the weakening of a state, a framework which underlines the need to strengthen Arab institutions, or as an asymmetrical war between an armed nation state and a guerrilla movement. Finally, the war in Lebanon can be seen as a conflict over power, land, resources and sovereignty - the classic realist perspective. If the international community fails to work toward a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East, another framework will gain strength in the Arab world: one that interprets events according to a theory of non-negotiable conflicts between Western imperialism and radical Islamic resistance.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Mario Raffaelli
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the Transitional Federal Institutions were established after the 2002 Nairobi Conference, the situation in Somalia has seen two drastic about-turns - in opposite directions. In June 2006, starting out from Mogadishu, the Islamic Courts rapidly extended their control over most of south-central Somalia. Now, after the Ethiopian military intervention, the Transitional Government is trying to establish itself in the capital and to effectively exercise its formal authority for the first time. But the military defeat of the Courts has not solved the problems that initially made their success possible. Only reconciliation can create real stability and the European Union can contribute to achieving this. A peaceful and stable Horn of Africa is in the EU's interest, given the risks of it becoming a breeding ground for Al Qaeda-like organisations and a source of immigration. Somalia could also become a test case for solving the problems of a failed state by peaceful means, and an example of the EU's willingness and ability to have an effective dialogue with the Islamic world. Success in Somalia would strengthen the EU as a regional player with Arab and Muslim countries.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Elisabetta Brighi
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that the new government of Romano Prodi managed to effect a significant "shift" in Italy's foreign policy away from the course of the centre-right in the proverbial first 100 days of government. A number of discontinuities with the foreign policy of the Berlusconi government have been invoked, ranging from Italy's relations with Europe and its transatlantic posture, to its engagement with areas of crisis such as the Middle East. But these claims have to be substantially qualified. In fact, it appears that the foreign policy of the Prodi government has rather pragmatically blended elements of change and continuity, and that the shift which has occurred in some areas should be understood more as a combination of domestic and international developments than a result of the change in government alone. Moreover, in order to really change Italy's foreign policy - and change it for the better - the government should focus on a different set of priorities, mainly the institutions, instruments, politics, and ideas of foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Sharon Pardo
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Values and principles in European Union foreign policy, edited by Sonia Lucarelli and Ian Manners, Routledge, 2006
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gianni Bonvicini
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Alleanze alla prova : Europa e Stati Uniti tra cooperazione e conflitto. a cura di Carlo Secchi e Enrico Sassoon, Egea, 2006
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: George Joffé
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe' reactions to its recently-constituted Muslim communities reflect its implicit self-image of cultural homogeneity, despite a long tradition of endless cultural adaption. This, in turn, is a facet of the persistance of an Orientalist vision which stimulates its opposed mirror-image, Occidentalism or Orientalism-in-reverse, as those communities react with a sense of profound alienation. The two interact to generate the cultural and political confrontation that typifies inter-communal relations today, constructing a new inter-communal socio-political boundary that could harden into a permanent divide of mutual hostility. It is this, far more than globalised salafi-jihadism, that explains the political extremism confronting European states today.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bruno Coppieters
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Application of the federal principle of shared sovereignty to external security policies directed against foreign states can easily give rise to a situation in which the federation ceases to be an indivisible subject in an international setting. This can in turn lead to conflicts between the two levels. A comparison of three instances of sanctions adopted by federated states - the sanction policies of Massachusetts in support of the democratisation of Myanmar/Burma (1996-2000), the divestment policies of Illinois in opposition to the governmental policies of Sudan (2006- ), and the participation by Flanders in Belgian and European sanctions in protest against the Freedom Party's participation in the Austrian government (2000) - confirms this thesis.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sudan, Burma
  • Author: James Ker-Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: New Democracy's victory in the March 2004 Greek elections immediately raised questions about the continued development of the process of rapprochement between Greece and Turkey, which had started five years earlier in 1999. However, concerns were misplaced. The incoming administration made it clear that it intended to maintain the policy of détente. Like the previous PASOK government, it sought to minimise the role of Cyprus as a factor in bilateral relations and continued to support Turkey's membership of the European Union. Where differences did arise between New Democracy and PASOK, they appeared to be more a result of the differing styles of George Papandreou and Petros Molyviatis, the two foreign ministers, than as a result of any significant disparity in basic foreign policy principles.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Jayapura
  • Author: Gian Luigi Tosato
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union's difficulty in functioning is a result in large measure of its decision-making mechanisms, which expose any measure to a veto by a scant minority or even a single state. The flexible model of Europe, and that is of differentiated integration, attempts to overcome this deadlock. The flexible model is based on the simple and reasonable idea that a member state which dissents is not obligated to associate itself with a certain initiative, but cannot block the others from carrying it out. In certain "virtuous" conditions, flexibility does not imply a risk of breaking up the Union. On the contrary, it offers a dynamic instrument to reconcile the requirements of unity and diversity and promote the process of European integration.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Cesare Pinelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: While attributing the main tasks relating to CFSP to various institutions, the EU Treaty mirrors the traditional EU structure, which does not appear to be able to provide the coherence and efficiency needed in the foreign policy field. The Constitutional Treaty attempted to achieve coherence by introducing important changes, including an EU Minister for Foreign Affairs (the "double-hatting" solution). After the CT ratification failures, however, thinking must be directed at finding steps that lead towards the CT solutions but are at the same time compatible with the TEU. While double-hatting is difficult to reconcile with some of the TEU's provisions, other measures and devices could to some extent anticipate the CT's perspective without contravening the treaties in force.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe