5 March 2013
"How can E-learning promote Learner Autonomy?" - article by Helle Lykke Nielsen
The article reports on a study where e-learning tools in the form of online tests, self-assessment and individual learning plans have been included into the teaching of Arabic as a second language at university level with the aim of promoting learner autonomy and thus helping first year students to make the often difficult transition from secondary school to university.
5 March 2013
"Corruption in the Middle East" - analysis by Martin Beck
Corruption is one of the most prominent issues in political debates all over the Middle East. This is, at first glance, surprising since the Middle East—notwithstanding some extreme cases such as Iraq and Sudan—in general appears to be a world region where governments’ performance in contain-ing corruption is regular and even good if compared with some other cor-ruption-prone areas such as Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Does the heated political debate on corruption in the Arab world reflect political hys-teria? In the following, it will be argued that this is not the case. Rather, the thesis of the present article is that in the Arab Middle East, when compared to the Western world, corruption in the public sector plays a systemically different role in the politico-economic systems.
25 February 2013
"The Iranian presidential election, EU sanctions and the regional perspectives" - analysis by Peter Seeberg
The article takes its point of departure in the upcoming Iranian presidential election. The internal rift between the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the in many ways problematic Iranian national economy make the election challenging for the regime – regardless of the fact that due to the constitution Ahmadinejad cannot get reelected. The Iranian regime is on collision course with most regional players and with the US and the EU. The EU has launched a relatively far-reaching set of sanctions against Iran, which are aimed directly at Iran’s foreign trade, hereunder the oil and gas sector. The restrictive measures create serious problems for Iran, which – despite being one of the largest producers of oil and gas – radically needs modernization and investments in order to meet the domestic demand. It cannot be ruled out that we in connection with the upcoming presidential election will see demonstrations and unrest like in connection with the 2009 presidential election – and in the Arab world since early 2011.
31 January 2013
"The Jordanian elections – problems unsolved but put off" - analysis by Peter Seeberg
The article discusses the situation in Jordan after the recent elections. The elections, with a relatively high voter turnout, have not secured internal stability for good and the problems in Jordan remain. The Jordanian economic and social conditions will be have to be dealt with by the new government and the political reform process needs to be taken further. The elections have not dealt with a growing dissatisfaction and even criticism of the king himself – something of a novelty in Jordan, where the king are under pressure. Fortunately, seen from the viewpoint of the Jordanian regime, the Jordanian population as well as important external actors supporting Jordan seem to prefer stability to rapid change.
31 January 2013
"Explanations for the Arab Spring" - analysis by Martin Beck and Simone Hüser
The Arab Spring was not predicted by experts of Middle Eastern politics. Two conclusions could be drawn from this: firstly, it should be questioned why experts failed to do so; secondly, the scientific community should aim at explaining why they were taken by surprise. The present short article is an attempt at the latter. Thus, the issue at hand is what caused the Arab Spring. In particular, four different approaches as outlined in the scholarly literature will be presented. The article ends with a conclusion on perspectives whether and how the different approaches might be synthesized.
16 January 2013
"Egypt's dilemma: Democracy without democrats" - analysis by James Sater
This article discusses the post-revolutionary crisis that has been haunting contemporary Egyptian politics since the downfall of the Mubarak regime in February 2011. It argues that the constitutional process has failed to achieve a political consensus among Egypt's political elite. Instead of trying to achieve a compromise, Egyptian political actors have tried to coerce their counterparts into accepting their values and political ideologies. Consequently, the current crisis is understood as a crisis of trust, which may cripple Egypt's political institutions for a long time to come.
20 December 2012
"Syria and the EU. The crisis in Syria and the international sanctions with a focus on Syrian-EU relations" - analysis by Peter Seeberg
The Syrian crisis in 2011-2012 has seen a reaction from regional and international actors, where restrictive measures against the Syrian regime have been brought into play. Also the EU has in rounds of tightening sanctions attempted to influence the tragic development in Syria. The EU has thereby – confronted with the clampdown on the Syrian opposition by the Syrian armed forces – given up on years of efforts aiming at entering deals with Syria, that never included the Ba’ath regime into the group of ENP-states, with which the EU gradually develops closer cooperation. The sanctions by the EU, the US, the Arab League, Turkey etc. are putting increasing pressure on the Syrian regime and the elite around it. It is the ambition of this article to describe and analyze the sanctions and discuss to which degree they have influenced the situation in Syria. Furthermore the article seeks to shed light on strategic regional and international dimensions of the sanctions against Syria with a focus on the EU as actor vis-à-vis a MENA-region in transition.
20 December 2012
"The Ideational Underpinning of Planning in the Gulf countries" - analysis by Martin Hvidt
Research on the content of the current development plans published by the governments in the GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) show a striking similarity in the conception of the developmental challenges the countries are facing and not least in the means to overcome these problems. This paper aims to identify the ideational input underpinning the planning effort in these countries, in an effort to explain these similarities.
13 December 2012
"2012 Nobel Prize Winner European Union as a Civilian Power in the Middle East?" - analysis by Dr. Martin Beck
Since the 1970s, the self-image of European foreign policy towards the Middle East has been shaped by the approach of a “civilian power.” This image has received prominent external support when the Norwegian nobel committee awarded the EU the nobel prize for peace in October 2012. An ideal “civilian power” is supposed to base its foreign policy on values of democracy and peace. Yet, in terms of European policy towards the Middle East, both inconsistencies in the approach and realities on the ground in the Middle East as well as a hostile international environment resulted in policies that mostly did not correspond to the ideals of a civilian power. The recent cataclysms in the Arab Middle East, as triggered by toppling decade-long authoritarian leaders, particularly Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak of Egypt, are both a challenge and an opportunity for reconciliation between Europe and the Arab Middle East.
4 December 2012
"Israeli-Palestinian conflict" - interview with Martin Beck
Martin Beck was interviewed in Globus on Radio 24syv (from 2:00-20:00).
20 November 2012
"Hezbollah and the Syrian uprising" - analysis by James Sater
Due to Lebanon’s multi-sectarian composition and relatively liberal political system, the country is often viewed as a mirror of contemporary Arab politics. As much as this remains true in 2012, the uprising in Syria is pushing the fragile political balance to breaking point. This analysis of contemporary events and Hezbollah’s domestic position with regards to the Syrian uprising underlines the fragility of Lebanese domestic politics. It aims to illustrate that the position of one protagonist, Hezbollah, has substantially been weakened over the past 12 years, and that the Syrian uprising has therefore the potential of substantially radicalizing all Lebanese political groups.
20 November 2012
"The new democracies in the North Africa and the Middle East? New challenges for the EU" - article by Peter Seeberg
Peter Seeberg has an article on page 4 in the Arab-EU Quarterly Autumn 2012.
22 October 2012
"Challenges concerning industrial cluster building in Jordan" - analysis by Nasim Barham
The establishment of Industrial clusters is considered a strategy for initiating regional development and enhancing enterprise competitiveness. They enable knowledge transfer, networking, cooperation, com-petition and enhance productivity. Clusters combine the interaction between private firms of producer and provider with public organiza-tions and research institutions. However, since the 1980s, the establishment of industrial estates in Jordan did not lead to effective interaction between the firms even by interrelated industries. The external economies generated by industrial agglomeration are still the main factor steering the strategy of industrialization. This strategy reached the stage of lock-in despite the worldwide enormous changes in industrial paradigms. The industrial, as well as the social structure, presented themselves as the main obstacles hindering the transition to competitive industry and to establishment of a successful industrial cluster. The following article discusses the main results of the field research con-ducted during the first half of 2011. The cluster analysis applied is based on individual enterprises located in the King Abdullah Industrial Estate, east of the capital city of Amman.
22 October 2012
"Palestinians back on the political stage?" - analysis by Dr. Martin Beck
The Arab Spring significantly increased the coverage of Arab politics in international mass media. Yet, the “usual suspect” that regularly captures the headlines of world affairs in past decades—politics in the occupied Palestinian territories—has been remarkably absent from the headlines of reports on the Arab Spring. Yet, recently, the Palestinians appear to be back on the political stage.
27 September 2012
"The Arab Revolts and the strategic relations between the EU and the MENA region – the case of Egypt - analysis by Peter Seeberg
This paper analyzes the perspectives of the in many ways surprising development in Egypt since early 2011 for the strategic relations between Egypt and the EU. First of all existing bilateral agreements between the EU and Egypt will be discussed and to which degree changes are in the pipeline as a result of the political changes in Egypt and the Middle East following the Arab revolts. Furthermore significant strategic agreements which Egypt has entered with regional partners in the Middle East are discussed in the context of Egyptian-European relations. Finally it is the ambition to discuss to which degree we will see changes of foreign and security policy relations between Egypt and the EU after the fall of the Mubarak regime and the start of an unclear but significant transformation process.
23 June 2012
"Is an Islamist democracy emerging in North Africa?" - by Peter Seeberg
The Arab Spring represents a repoliticization of a region which for years had an image of unshakeable authoritarianism attributed to it. According to Peter Seeberg, Islamist parties have largely benefit from the new active public sphere because they represent the only well-organized alternative to the authoritarian regimes. This Brief analyses the evolution of Islamist movements in several countries and how the emergence of a new wave of Political Islam challenges the traditional policies of the EU and its member states.
17 June 2012
The Diverse Facets of Land Grabbing with Special Reference to the Middle East - by Nasim Barham
This article discusses recent agricultural transitions in the Middle East and the related phenomenon known as “land grabbing".
8 May 2012
Is Good Water Governance Possible in a Rentier State? The Case of Jordan - by Nasim Barham
This paper discusses the water problems in Jordan and the obstacles hindering the application of national water policies.
8 May 2012
Provincialization of Europe and the Middle East? Migration, regional competition and the global perspective - by Peter Seeberg
In this article, Associate Professor Peter Seeberg discusses the development towards a so-called provincialization of Europe.
18 April 2012
The Arab Spring: Restructuring of Internal and External Political Relations – Current Views of Arab Thinkers - by Nasim Barham
While intellectuals and politicians in the Arab countries widely agree on the causes for the uprisings in the Arab countries the past year, opinions differ when it comes to expected outcomes. This articles outlines the current ongoing debate among Arab intellectuals.
2 April 2012
Migration and non-traditional security issues in the MENA-region. The case of pre-revolt Syria - af Peter Seeberg
The article describes and analyzes the Syrian migration to Lebanon and the Gulf, taking its theoretical point of departure in the concept of non-traditional security. Furthermore the article focuses on to which degree the migration phenomenon can be seen as an expression of transnational integration.The article has been presented as paper for the workshop “Migration, security and foreign policy in the Mediterranean”, held in Amman, 17. November 2011.
7 February 2012
7 February 2012
9 January 2012
Islamist Politics after the Spring: What do Salafist parties want? - by Dietrich Jung
In the recent elections in Arab countries, Islamist parties performed very well. While this was expected from the political representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, the success of Salafist parties came as a surprise. This essay briefly analyses the ideology of Egypt’s most important Salafist party, Al-Nour, and gives a tenta-tive suggestion on the future role of Islamist parties in Arab politics
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