10 December 2018

The demographic time bomb: How the Arab Gulf countries could cope with growing number of youngsters entering the job market
- Martin Hvidt

This article explores the demographic challenge as it exists in the Gulf countries today. Figures are presented and an estimated 500.000 new entrants to the working age groups pr. year is the reality facing these countries. The public sector cannot absorb these and so it becomes the private sector. The policies of localization and technology upgrade is meant to make way for employment of nationals in this sector. However, in the transition period other means are necessary. The World Bank suggests that basically the state pays the citizens a compensation so that the total income from is equated between the public and the private sector.

2 November 2018

Jordan – the unstable “island of stability” - Peter Seeberg

Jordan was also exposed to protests and demonstrations in the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. During 2018, where we have seen renewed protests in Jordanian cities – mainly as a result of a highly unpopular tax law and increasing fuel and electricity prices – it seemed that a renewed Arab Spring took place. The political unrest has been ongoing all the while Jordan has been hit by significant economic problems, first of all a huge budget deficit, low growth and a permanent negative balance of trade. In addition to that Jordan fights with rapidly decreasing water resources, large numbers of refugees and pressure for reforms from the side of the IMF. The challenges tend to undermine the Jordanian regime, but so far without serious consequences for King Abdullah – probably as a result of external support, first of all the EU and the US.

3 October 2018

An International Relations perspective on the problematique of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Part II: Toward a debate on Middle Eastern nuclear weaponry - Martin Beck

This is the second part of an analysis on the problematique of the Iran Nuclear Deal. It presents a debate-oriented analysis that is inspired by an approach based on the Copenhagen School and informed by insights from Realism and Institutionalism.


5 September 2018

An International Relations perspective on the problematique of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Part I: Rationalist Perspectives - Martin Beck

The present first part of two analyses on the problematique of the Iran Nuclear Deal presents two Rationalist perspectives on it. From a Realist point of view, the scenario of Iran being a nuclear power is simply acceptable if not desirable. Rather than singling out the Iranian nuclear program, Institutionalism would opt for a policy approach that strengthens the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and envisions achieving a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

8 August 2018

Are Al-Qaeda and Islamic State modern? Reflections on Islamic fundamentalism and modernity - Mehmet Ümit Necef

The article discusses whether Islamist fundamentalists, regardless of whether they are violent or peaceful, are modern. Constitutive elements of modernity and the concepts of counter-modernity and demodernization are presented. It is concluded that fundamentalism, in whatever form it emerges, cannot be considered as modern. Fundamentalists are in modernity, but not of modernity.

3 August 2018

Lifting the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. Reasons and consequences - Martin Hvidt

This article explores the reasons why Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and son of the current King, who accented to power in 2015, chose to lift the ban on women driving. The reasons are mostly related to the potential benefits to the economy that follows from allowing the women to transport themselves. For women play an important role in the current development plan, the so-called Vision 2030. But how do an estimated 3 million new drivers affect traffic congestion, pollution and fuel consumption, and how will they integrate in a traffic system which has one of the highest traffic death rates in the world?

3 July 2018

New perspectives in EU’s migration and border management – the case of Libya - Peter Seeberg

Initially the article describes the recent EU-Libya relations with a focus on migration and border management followed by a more detailed analysis of the EU operations in the Mediterranean Sea. It is then discussed how the planned increased level of funding over the coming years might influence the situation in the Central Mediterranean and in Libya. It is argued that the EU ambitions of securing its external borders, support legal migration, counter irregular migration and return those migrants who have no right to stay in Europe, seem relevant in the context of Libya, but that efficiency in carrying out the suggested measures require that lasting solutions are found concerning the internal crisis in Libya.


20 June 2018

Music Albums and the State of Exile: A Study of Creative Expressions among the South Asian Migrants in the Gulf  - M.H. Ilias

This work is about some of the literary and artistic expressions that the current phase of South Asian diaspora has generated. With their own artistic and aesthetic resources, the Gulf migrants from Kerala, South India have created a ‘subsection’ within the parameters of popular culture to express their emotions, feelings, informal opinions and worldviews, which encourages a refocusing of aesthetics away from the traditional domains of high culture. Major themes of these popular cultural forms include the ‘shattered dreams’ of unsuccessful migrants, the work-place stress they encounter and the breakup in relationships.  Such productions in the form of music albums, video footages and You Tube clippings, based on new-fangled aesthetics have a discernible effect on the imagination of the diasporic community and are greatly patronized by the labour class in the Gulf. The focus of this work revolves around Katupāṭṭu which in its modern form refers to sending letters or messages in the form of music albums. They are basically songs composed for the purpose of disseminating a message.

4 May 2018

Framing the security-stability nexus in recent EU-Mashreq relations: Need for changes of EU foreign policy tools? - Peter Seeberg

It is the aim of this article to shed light on the recent EU policies towards the MENA-region focusing on EU-Mashreq relations in the light of the Syrian crisis. Recent bilateral agreements between the EU and the Arab Mashreq states, focusing on the specific challenges related to the development of the Syrian crisis and its spill-over effects and consequences for the Arab Mashreq states. The cooperation between the EU and the Mashreq states over the last years has focused on security and stability in the region. It is shown that the Brussels II Conference 24-25 April 2018, rather than preparing for new challenges related to a post-war scenario in a not too distant future, primarily focuses on the humanitarian aspects of the recent crisis in the Mashreq.

10 April 2018

The new role of women in the new Saudi Arabian economy - Martin Hvidt

Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and son of the current King, who accented to power in 2015, is a man of action. He was appointed Ministry of Defense and started a war in Yemen, he outmaneuvered Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince and thus brought himself first in line to the throne, and has in November 2017 allegedly with the aim to stifle corruption, brought his major potential opponents from the business and media world but also from within the Royal family to bend to his rule. Parallel to this tactical maneuvering, his father placed him as head of the government entity, who oversaw the creation of the Vision 2030 development plan, and the detailed catalogue of no less than 543 specific reform initiatives outlined in the National Transformation plan 2016-2020 to implement the reform.
Mohammad bin Salman, the young crown price in Saudi Arabia, eagerly pursues the reform drive he initiated in 2017 with the Vision 2030 reform package. This news analysis focuses on the current initiatives aimed to include the women in the new Saudi Arabia. 

5 April 2018

Kurdish overrepresentation among Danish Islamic State warriors  - Mehmet Ümit Necef

The article discusses the possible reasons why Kurds are apparently overrepresented among Danish Islamic State warriors. Research on Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin joining IS is also presented, since it also suggests a corresponding overrepresentation.  

13 March 2018

Transnational Salafi Networks from India and Negotiating Identity in the Gulf - M.H. Ilias

This work focuses on a set of questions; how India-centered Salafi groups as transnational entities are perceived by the expatriate Indian Muslims in the Gulf; how are the modern subjectivities formed in the context of transnational migration and religious puritanism corresponding with each other in the contemporary discourse on Salafism among the Indian Muslims in the Gulf; and how does Gulf Salafism from Kerala negotiate its identity in both Salafi and non-Salafi-dominated settings? This work has taken the case study of Gulf Salafism, a movement that emerged among the Salafis of Kerala in the Gulf insisting on the need of a radical redefinition of the term Salafiyyat (emulation of the pious ancestors) against the popular term Islahiyyat(reform) by tracing their intellectual lineage solely to the revivalist scholar Ibn Taymiyya, through Abd al-Wahhab who eschewed a line of thought insisting on literal, self-contained understanding of the Quran and Sunna.

4 March 2018

Contract slavery? On the political economy of domestic work in Lebanon - Martin Beck

The present debate analysis is the second part of a short study on foreign domestic work in Lebanon. The first part was put online in February 2018 as a news analysis. The present debate analysis firstly scrutinizes the application of the concept of contract slavery. In its second part, the author elaborates on the issue and critically discusses the political economy of domestic work in Lebanon by applying four basic categories of political economy: state, class, race, and gender. The result of the latter analysis is a more nuanced image of the political economy of domestic work in Lebanon.

11 February 2018

On the political economy of domestic work in Lebanon - Martin Beck

The present news analysis is the first part of a short study on foreign domestic work in Lebanon. Domestic work in Lebanon has been chosen because this female-dominated business—in terms of both supply and demand—is often neglected in analyses of otherwise highly male-controlled political economies. Moreover, in contrast to the Gulf States, Lebanon is an open society in which “Westerners” can easily gain access to the local population, thereby inviting researchers to engage in participatory observation of the political economy of domestic work. The following first part presents the main features of the Lebanese political economy of domestic work. Then its main components of foreignness and femininity are discussed in more detail. The second part of the study which will be uploaded in March is a debate analysis on how to categorize best the political economy of domestic labor in Lebanon.

28 January 2018

The price of oil. The disruption caused by the American shale oil industry - Martin Hvidt

Following the OPEC meeting decision 30 November 2017 to continue the restriction on member's production of oil, the price of oil is continuing – however – slowly to climb and is currently listed at around $63 pr. barrel. This is sad news for the consumers in oil-importing countries but indeed good news for the Arab Gulf states which have been hard pressed on their national budgets from the last 4 years low prices. This article will discuss the factors which determine the current level of the oil prices and their outlook for the coming decade. The energy market seems to be in a significant restructuring, including new oil and gas resources from shale oil producers.

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