17 December 2013
"Morocco and the EU. New tendencies in transnational migration and the EU’s migration policies" - analysis by Peter Seeberg
Taking Morocco as example this article describes significant and interesting new tendencies in transnational migration and the EU responses. The problematic development in parts of the Middle East in 2012-13 and – more specifically – the security issues related to growing, uncontrolled migratory movements affecting the Moroccan state tend to reinstitute pragmatic, low-profile responses on behalf of the EU.
17. December 2013
"Barzani and Erdogan Meet in Diyarbakir: A Historical Day" - analysis by Mehmet Ümit Necef
On 16th November 2013, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a mass meeting in Diyarbakir, the biggest city in Turkish Kurdistan, with the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani. While many political analysts hailed the meeting as historical, the opposition and a number of commentators attacked Erdogan for abandoning Turkey’s traditional policies towards Kurds in general, and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq in particular. Especially the fact that Erdogan addressed Barzani with his official title: "The President of the Kurdistan Regional Government", and his reference to the Kurdish populated area in Northern Iraq as "Kurdistan" was seen as a radical break from traditional state policy towards the Kurds. The present news analysis argues that the "Diyarbakir Meeting" was indeed a break with traditional Turkish state policies towards the Kurds and possibly an important step on the road to full recognition and equality between Kurds and Turks in Turkey.
21 November 2013
"The Debate on the July 2013 Military Coup in Egypt: It Is About Much More than the Definition of a Coup (Part II) - analysis by Mervat Hatem
This is part two of Mervat Hatem's analysis of the 2013 coup in Egypt.
17 November 2013
"Lebanon and the Syrien crisis. Challenges for the EU and the US" - analysis by Peter Seeberg
The article takes its point of departure in the recent political turmoil in Lebanon, where the crisis in neighbouring Syria is influencing the conflict between the two main political alliances in Lebanese politics, March 8 and March 14. The presidential election, which is going to take place in 2014 – and which used to be a thing decided in Damascus – has become an important theme in the fragile situation in Lebanon, not the least because it is completely impossible to foresee how the war in Syria will end. The sensitive situation is deepened by the apparent fact that both sides in Lebanon, Hezbollah as well as the Future Movement alliance, are sending men and weapons into Syria. Furthermore the internal problems in Lebanon are influenced by the almost 800.000 Syrian refugees having fled to Lebanon. The potential regional and international repercussions are significant: both the US and the EU are having trouble dealing with the complex situation in Lebanon, where both March 8 and March 14 parliamentarians supposedly will be relevant negotiation partners beyond a possible post-Assad scenario.
17 November 2013
"Designed to survive? The institutional capabilities of Morocco and Jordan" - article by Mads Qvist Frederiksen
This paper focuses on how the monarchies in Jordan and Morocco both evaded the protests that spread during the Arab Spring. The paper claims that this is made possible not only as a result of their financial resources, but because of an intelligent use of institutions that has been nurtured over time to create a more resilient monarchy. The two kings are as symbols of nationhood in principle above politics, but at the same time they are at the centre of politics, being involved in every institutional aspect of the state. A series of institutional reforms over the past decades has in reality just broadened and strengthened the resilience of the two monarchies.
17 October 2013
"The Debate on the July 2013 Military Coup in Egypt: It is about Much more than the Definition of a Coup (Part I)" - analysis by Mervat Hatem
This is part one of Mervat Hatem's analysis of the military coup in Egypt.
8 October 2013
"Securitizing the revolution: How Assad managed to convince Russia not to use R2P in Syria" - article by Nicolai Trudsøe Trock
This article discusses why Russia doesn't support R2P action in Syria.
11 September 2013
"The July 2013 Military Coup in Egypt: One normative clarification and some empirical issues" - article by Martin Beck
The incident on July 3rd, 2013, was a classical military coup against a democratically elected government. In the light of this finding it appears puzzling that so many actors (and even analysts) who are—or claim to be—democratic justified the military coup as a legitimate action.
11 September 2013
"Egypt: Problems of Constitutionalism and Secularism" - article by James Sater
This analysis attempts to show that the political gridlock in contemporary Egypt including the military coup is less about the exact phrasing in constitutions that may or may not guarantee individuals’ protection from the state, i.e. the liberal meaning of constitutionalism. Rather, it is about the role that extra-constitutional institutions including Islam should play in providing for exactly the same protection, a question that is triggered by socio-economic crisis, mismanagement, and authoritarian tendencies among the political elite.
22 June 2013
"Islam and the West: Locating the culprits of an increasingly troubled relationship" - article by Peter Cowan
This article by Peter Cowan discusses the future of Islam in Europe on the basis of a critical assessment of the role of the media and existing education programmes.
19 May 2013
"Must I drive? The discrimination debate in Saudi Arabia" - article by Line Stange Ramsdal
This essay discusses gender segregation in Saudi Arabia and points to reasons why some women may oppose aspects of gender equality.
11 April 2013
"Citizenship in the Middle East - exploring a field of research" - analysis by James Sater
The question of citizenship has been at the center of transformations in the Arab world for a number of years. Yet, a systematic overview on how to apply the concept of citizenship has so far been lacking. An initial attempt was made in the 1990s by Nils Butenschon et al. in a collection of essays (2000) yet except for a more provocative monograph called States Without Citizens (Jandora 2008) no other serious attempt has been made. While this short overview does not claim to provide a comprehensive approach, it still aims to introduce how citizenship can be applied to the analysis of Middle East politics, and develop some hypothesis for further studies.
10 April 2013
"The Arab League: a new policy approach in the making?" - analysis by Martin Beck
On March 24, 2013, the Arab League announced the transfer of Syria’s representation in the regional organization from the official Syrian government headed by Bashar al-Asad, whose membership had been suspended in November 2011, to the representative of the oppositional Syrian National Coalition. This move, which in terms of political symbolism is quite spectacular, is the latest initiative in a chain of activities launched by the Arab League after the historic events of the Arab Spring. The League’s first and widely covered major policy attempt in the frame of the Arab Spring was its decision to back a no fly zone in Libya made in March 2011. Since the fall of 2011, the Arab League has focused on Syria by launching several initiatives such as suspending Syria’s membership in the League, imposing economic sanctions, setting up a peace plan and launching a peacekeeping mission. The present short article aims at assessing the activities of the Arab League since the Arab Spring by presenting and discussing five theses.
"Statelessness and Dual Power - Challenges for Progress in Post-Qadhafi Libya and the Perspectives for EU-Libyan Cooperation" - analysis by Peter Seeberg and Marie Louise Hermann
The article analyzes the situation in Libya with a special focus on the relations between post-Qadhafi Libya and Europe, and discusses the recent challenges for progress in Libya and the perspectives for EU-Libyan cooperation in the coming years. Also the article characterizes the situation in Libya two years after the start of the revolt against Qadhafi, the recent development within Libyan society and the conditions for Libya for becoming a normal foreign policy and security actor on the Mediterranean political scene. In connection with this two aspects appear as particularly relevant, the first aspect being the migration issue, where Libya over the last decades have emerged as a very important transit migration country for people from south of Sahara trying to reach Europe. The second aspect has to do with different types of internal contradictions in Libya along tribal, ethnic-religious and regional lines and the reality of a “dual power” situation in recent Libya. On one side the weak state led by the General National Congress and the Libyan Army, on the other side the unofficial leadership in the Supreme Security Committee (SSC) and affiliated armed councils.
"Muslim Street Patrols in London" -article by Kirstine Sinclair
This article discusses ”Muslim Street Patrols” in London and responses from Imams and Muslims online.
"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.
"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.
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