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  • Author: Ömer Aslan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Fathers and Sons: The Rise and Fall of Political Dynasty in the Middle East A decade after 9/11, the Arab revolts gave a second impetus to scholarly interest in the Middle East. A plethora of books and other academic and popular pieces have been published in the last few years. McMillan's book, Fathers and Sons, gives the reader a fine, bird's eye view account of the Arab world's journey in particular and the Muslim world in general from the time of the Prophet. McMillan's work is a historical narrative of how and why the Arab world inherited a system of dynastic succession that is blatantly un-Islamic and how that path culminated in the Arab revolts. The book, more popular than academic, is unbiased in its perspective towards Muslims/Arabs and is especially easy to read and follow. McMillan starts his narrative with the method of succession from one Guided Caliph to another. The convening of shura to decide the Caliph in the early period of “Rightly Guided Caliphs” contrasts starkly with the later period, when the method of consultation is abandoned for patrimonial rule. The consequence was that “the caliphate would no longer be a community of the faithful but a kingdom like any other” (p. 23). McMillan traces the history of militaries as the backbone of regimes in the modern Arab world to the period of Umayyad rule as well. It was “army officers wedding themselves to their rulers” that created the authoritarian stability in the region after the 1960s. The author reminds us that “this welding of a loyal army to an elite ruling family [during Muawiya's rule during the Umayyad] became the bedrock of a political model” (p. 26).
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michael Leigh
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy trade cannot overcome longstanding political conflicts. There are no 'peace pipelines' anywhere in the world. Rather peace is a condition for investment in pipelines and other forms of energy infrastructure. Where political breakthroughs have been achieved, however, energy trade can reinforce cooperation between states and contribute to regional stability. These considerations are particularly pertinent to the Cyprus settlement talks and Middle East Peace Process, against the background of energy discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Piki Ish-Shalom
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Iran's imminent rise to nuclear power status raises reasonable fears about the Middle East stability. Having examined the discursive exchange of Mutual Assured Evilness (MAE) by Iran and Israel, some political commentators and decision makers express doubts over the workability of nuclear stability. That is because they question whether these countries can overcome their mutual hatred and find the requisite instrumental rationality for nuclear stability. Their fears are exacerbated when they regard Iran as a religious country and hence supposedly incapable of rational behavior. However, the discourse of evil is not only indicative of hatred. Evil it seems is a conceptual relic encased in religious metaphysics. It is a datum that enables us to expose the religious layers that exist alongside secularism. Israel's hyperbolic use of the term evil resonates as strongly as it does because of the religious metaphysics that coexists with Israel's supposedly secular belief system. Therefore, in some ways, Israeli society may be closer to Iranian society than Israelis generally allow themselves to believe and all the while the two societies are locked in a dance of hatred and fear, fueled, among other things, by MAE.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Murat Yeşi̇ltaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article examines the critiques directed at Turkish foreign policy during the AK Party administration. There are three basic critiques leveled at the foreign policy that has been followed by the AK Party: Islamist ideology, geopolitical codes, and lack of capacity in foreign policy. These criticisms will be examined through a multi-layered approach, whereby they will be contextualized in terms of global fragmentation (macro level), regional disorder and fragmentation (meso level), and restoration in domestic politics and the opponents within Turkey towards these policies (micro level). A look at the challenges that Turkish foreign policy faces today and the search for a new foreign policy model will follow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Christian Koch
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The breakdown of state structures and the wider regional political order has resulted in a complex tapestry of conflict throughout the Middle East that is likely to produce a continued period of volatility and violence for several years to come. This is because there are numerous dynamics at play that are competing with one another across various levels. Within these dynamics, religion as a mobilizing factor which, alongside sectarianism has emerged as a primary driving force for many of the ongoing conflicts. In addition, the deep crisis of the nation-state has released different dichotomies resulting in overlapping lines of confrontation that seem to be exploding all at once. The situation is exacerbated by the diminished leverage of global players on regional forces and regional players over national ones, thus significantly complicating the search for solutions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North Africa
  • Author: Robert Begley
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Righteous Indignation, Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012) targets the political left's death grip on American culture. Focusing on the arts and entertainment, on academia, and (most important to him) on the media, he critiques the ideas of intellectuals who fundamentally oppose America's founding ideals, and he provides rational advice for liberty lovers who want to regain the culture.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Norbert Scholz
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section lists articles and reviews of books relevant to Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Entries are classified under the following headings: Reference and General; History (through 1948) and Geography; Palestinian Politics and Society; Jerusalem; Israeli Politics, Society, and Zionism; Arab and Middle Eastern Politics; International Relations; Law; Military; Economy, Society, and Education; Literature, Arts, and Culture; Book Reviews; and Reports Received.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Jakub Wodka, Sarah Kuzmicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article explores the strategic importance Turkey holds to the European Union and how Ankara could contribute to the EU's achieving the status of a veritable global power. It seeks to understand how the often contradictory threads (democratization vs. creeping authoritarianism) in the recent transformation of Turkish domestic politics affects its European credentials. The main argument of the paper is that it is in the core interest of both parties to align their policies in the neighboring regions, namely the Balkans, Caucasus, and the Middle East, especially in the post Arab Spring era. What hinders the genuine EU-Turkey partnership is often the political and tactical short-sightedness of both parties rather than the factual divergence of strategic interests.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: David Roberts
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Emir Tamim has become the new ruler of Qatar after the abdication of his father, Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani. The latter followed an independent foreign policy throughout his reign and sought good relations with all states, although Qatar's taking sides in the Arab uprisings have somewhat modified this position. Evaluating Qatar's foreign policy under Emir Tamim is difficult. In his upbringing Tamim was imbued with their vision of Qatar as an internationally oriented state. It would be very surprising if he were to backtrack on this basic thrust and withdraw Qatar internationally. Emir Tamim's Qatar will therefore likely continue to seek to extend the small state's influence throughout the region wherever and whenever possible.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Laurent Bonnefoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Due to the specific history of Saudi Arabia, the export of religious ideologies has long been seen as an important tool of Saudi "soft power". Through a variety of institutions and actors, only some of which can be linked to Wahhabism or even to Islam, interactions between Saudi Arabia and the world are complex and diverse. While mechanisms aiming to export a conservative interpretation of Islam that have been labelled Salafism may be manifest, this policy brief intends to question the efficiency of such mechanisms for the dissemination of religious ideologies. In order to do so, it will first define Salafism. It will then highlight the diversity of this concept, in particular when it comes to its relations with the Saudi monarchy. Finally, it will conclude by highlighting some changes triggered by the "Arab Spring" uprisings that affect the relationship among Salafi movements in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia