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Abstract: This is a transcript of an event held on 5 October at Chatham House. The panellists, drawn from the Middle East and North Africa Programme's regional experts, examined the latest round of negotiations aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
As the latest round of negotiations aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict was embarked on in September 2010, the regional ramifications of the much-interrupted peace process have never appeared more important. State actors close to the conflict such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and non-state actors such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, all have a stake in the outcome of the peace talks. Together with the wider Arab League membership and Iran, not all of them wish the process to succeed, or succeed on the terms envisaged by the US and its allies in the European Union.
This panel drawn from the Middle East and North Africa Programme's regional experts will examine what is at stake for the regional neighbours of Israel and the Palestinians. What influence have they had over the initial progress of the negotiations? Are their actions critical in helping or hindering the outcome of the bilateral talks? What alternatives or reactions might they envisage should this latest attempt at peace fail?
Abstract: The recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa region have exposed growing concerns about conflict risk, political stability, and reform prospects across its societies. Given the prevalence of oil and gas resource endowments in the region, which a voluminous literature suggests can be associated with adverse development consequences, this paper examines the interplay between their associated rents and political economy trajectories. The contribution of the paper is threefold: first, to examine the quantitative evidence of violent conflict in the region since 1960; second, to provide a nuanced review of the regional case study literature on the relationship between resource endowments, political stability, and conflict risk; and third, to assess how prospective political transitions have implications for the World Bank Group's work in the region on public sector management and private sector development. The authors find that resources and regimes have intersected to provide stability and limited violent conflict in the region, but that these development patterns have yielded a set of policy choices and development patterns that are proving increasingly brittle and unsustainable. A major institutional challenge for reforms will be to consolidate a requisite degree of inter-temporal credibility and stability in these regimes, while expanding inclusiveness in state-society relations.
Abstract: This policy brief focuses on a case study. It is suggested that an environmental disaster during the summer of 2010 in the Black Sea region triggered in winter 2011 a food crisis in the Arab World; in turn, this led to massive riots, revolts, political instability, a NATO operation and, alas, an oil crisis that accentuates an already suffering global economy. Coextensively, it may be suggested that an environmental crisis triggered a political crisis, which escalated in a series of conflicts that are of major concern for traditional security structures in Europe and beyond. In sum, the argument is made that as a result of this experience, the human security agenda must have a direct effect on our traditional security agenda. The question addressed at this point is how these interrelated chains of events affect the security establishment and our notions of a ‘high strategy.’
Abstract: This report is the culmination of a six-month project commissioned
by the Women’s Refugee Commission and co-funded by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to address the
rights and needs of displaced persons with disabilities, with a
particular focus on women (including older women), children and
youth. Based on field research in five refugee situations, as well as
global desk research, the Women’s Refugee Commission sought to
map existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identify
gaps and good practices and make recommendations on how to
improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons
with disabilities. The objective of the project was to gather initial
empirical data and produce a Resource Kit that would be of
practical use to UN and nongovernmental organization (NGO) field
staff working with displaced persons with disabilities.
Abstract: This report studies the various means Israel uses to ensure its control of the Jordan Valley
and the northern Dead Sea area: the land, the water sources, the tourist sites, and the
natural resources. Chapter One provides statistics on the area and its residents. Chapters
Two and Three analyze the mechanisms Israel created to control large swaths of land and
the water sources. Chapters Four and Five deal with the restrictions Israel imposes on
Palestinian movement in the area and on building and development of Palestinian
communities. Chapter Six discusses other aspects of economic exploitation – agricultural
development, exploitation of Palestinian labor, control of tourist sites and natural
resources, and placement of Israeli environmental-nuisance disposal facilities in the area.
The last chapter of the report describes the prohibitions established in international
humanitarian law on exploitation of the resources of occupied territory.
Abstract: The phrase “Cherkessian Factor” usually refers to the influence exerted by the ethnic solidarity of the Cherkessian (Abkhaz-Adyg) peoples, both those located in the Russian Federation and the Cherkessian diaspora in Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Egypt. This influence is felt on political, social, and cultural processes in the Caucasus and in countries with a large Cherkessian population. It is increasingly likely that this Cherkessian factor will lead to further destabilization in the North Caucasus.
The Carnegie Moscow Center, as part of the Black Sea Peacebuilding Network, hosted a discussion on the Cherkessian factor. Alexander Skakov of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Nikolay Silaev of the Center for Caucasian Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, spoke on this factor and its potential influence. Carnegie’s Andrei Ryabov moderated.
The speakers concluded by discussing possible avenues for resolving the tensions created by the Cherkessian factor in the North Caucasus, including full-scale privatization of land ownership; implementation of the provisions of federal law for municipalities; and effective action against corruption. They argued that such reforms would “permit a significant portion of the population to return to normal economic activity, which is currently impossible, and would thus automatically reduce the unhealthy interest in politically charged questions of ethnic identity … and in radical Islamism.” However, they warned the Russian government does not seem to recognize the necessity of such reforms to help stem the increasing violence in the region.
Abstract: Foreign fighters fuel the world’s conflicts. They
make conflicts more costly for host nations and
peacekeepers. These extremists come from all over
the world and believe they need to fight for their
ideological survival. The best way to combat the
use of foreign fighters is to stop them as close to the
source as possible. This can be difficult, especially if
the U.S. is lacking diplomatic, informational, military,
and economic relations with the source country.
The U.S. government, especially military and
political agencies, needs to be aware of the foreign
fighter phenomenon and plan for it when developing
new contingency and campaign plans as well as
further developing bilateral and regional relationships
in foreign fighter source and transit countries.
This paper will discuss and highlight, from the
national security perspective, the potential military
actions for interdicting foreign fighters. The foreign
fighter problem set, terminology, and life cycle are
defined and discussed. Foreign fighters in current
conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Somalia
are discussed as well. Finally, potential solutions
are introduced as well as actions the U.S. military
can take to stem the flow of foreign fighters within
stability operations framework.
Abstract: The objective of this report is to provide a comprehensive, long-term and regional framework for thinking about water in the Middle East, which can be implemented with specific policy decisions, beginning in the immediate future, by individual countries or small groups of countries without waiting for all the countries in the region to move forward.
Such a framework recognises the potential of water to deliver a new form of peace – the blue peace – while presenting long term scenarios of risks of wars and humanitarian crisis.
The report takes a comprehensive view of rivers, tributaries, lakes and underground water bodies. It is based on the recognition of linkages between watercourses. It is not only impossible for any one country to manage a water body in isolation from other riparian countries but it is also impossible to manage a water body without examining its linkages with other watercourses in the region.
The report takes a long-term view. The countries that are friendly today may be antagonistic tomorrow and the ones which are enemies today may be friends tomorrow. The history of merely last ten years in the Middle East demonstrates how quickly the geopolitical scene changes. The political equations of today cannot be assumed to remain constant during the next decade and beyond. Our vision, therefore, should not be imprisoned by the current context. We have to anticipate alternative political trajectories for the next couple of decades in order to find solutions that are sustainable in the long run.
The report provides a regional perspective. Since watercourses, both surface and underground, do not understand political boundaries, it would be natural to have a regional approach to water management. The nation centric approach is unnatural and therefore unsustainable.
Abstract: Efforts to promote “deradicalization,” or to rehabilitate
detainees charged with terrorism-related
offenses, have taken multiple forms in a wide range
of countries, often as part of broader counterradicalization
strategies that seek to prevent the
adoption of violent extremist ideologies or
behaviors in the first place. Some are more formal
rehabilitation programs, with well-defined agendas,
institutional structures, and a dedicated full-time
staff, while others are a looser combination of social
and political initiatives. Programs vary in their
objectives, their criteria for participation, and the
kinds of benefits and incentives they might offer.
The cumulative lessons learned from several states’
experiences in dealing with violent extremist
groups are of growing interest to countries now
facing similar challenges.
With its global membership, neutral “brand,” and
powerful convening capacity, the United Nations
has the potential to play a powerful role in setting
global norms and shaping international legal
frameworks regarding counterterrorism, as well as
in providing a platform for the exchange of
information and technical assistance for practitioners
This paper draws lessons learned from case
studies of deradicalization initiatives in eight
Muslim-majority countries, which corroborate the
experiences of countries in other regions that have
grappled with violent extremist groups. The paper
concludes by making recommendations
concerning how the UN could help to facilitate the
provision of knowledge and resources to key
stakeholders interested in establishing or strengthening
their own rehabilitation programs.
Abstract: National security is normally seen in terms of military strength and internal security operations against extremists and insurgents. The upheavals that began in Tunis, and now play out from Pakistan to Morocco,. have highlighted the fact that national security is measured in terms of the politics, economics, and social tensions that shape national stability as well. It is all too clear that the wrong kind of internal security efforts, and national security spending that limits the ability to meet popular needs and expectations can do as much to undermine national security over time as outside and extremist threats.
It is equally clear that calls for democracy are at best only the prelude to dealing with critical underlying problems, pressures, and expectations. It is far from certain that even successful regime change can evolve into functional democracies and governance. Countries with no political parties and experienced leaders, with no history of checks and balances in government, with weak structure of governance led by new political figures with no administrative experience, will often descend into chaos, extremism, or a new round of authoritarianism. Even the best governments, however, are unlikely to change an economy and national infrastructure in less than half a decade, and existing demographic pressures will inevitably go on for at least the next decade.
Abstract: While erstwhile authoritarianism and absolutist rule may no longer be possible, it
would be naïve to expect that the Middle East will undergo a metamorphosis. There
would undoubtedly be changes, greater openness, increased transparency, enhanced
governance and increased popular participation. Even these changes would not be
uniform and/or happen immediately. But the process would be on and the
governments, especially ruling elites, would be monitored more closely by the ruled.
Yet, it is extremely unlikely that the current wave of protests will transform the
Middle East into an oasis of democracy. Samuel Huntington’s third wave of
democracy is unlikely to sweep the region any time soon. Relaxing, increasingly
transparent and reforming status quo is perhaps the maximum that one can anticipate
from the current wave of unrest in the Middle East. This being so, what are the
options for the Indian Government? While individuals could demand a more liberal
and people-centric platform, governments have limited space for manoeuvre.
Though ideal, siding with the democratic aspirations of the Arab people is not a
viable option for a state. Wrong moves, missteps or ideology-driven actions would
bring misery for a vast majority of the Indian population.
Abstract: An animated map of recent protests in the Middle East as they spread from country to country, updated with the most recent events. Particular outcomes indicated with descriptions of the progression of events for each nation.
Abstract: This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen. Casualty data of U.S. military forces are compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as tallied from the agency's press releases. Also included are statistics on those wounded but not killed.
Because the estimates of Afghan casualties contained in this report are based on varying time periods and have been created using different methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using them and should look to them as guideposts rather than as statements of fact. This report will be updated as needed.
Abstract: Poor conflict-affected countries tend to have large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, in at least some cases, large numbers of refugees. But the figures should be treated with caution; in some cases, such as Angola and Sierra Leone, governments simply decided that there are no longer IDPs, even if in fact many of those displaced by the conflicts have yet to find durable solutions. It is important to note that displacement is not confined to poor conflict affected states, but it is also a characteristic of some middle income countries, some of which have stable governments, such as Georgia, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Syria and Turkey.
This report was prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011. It explores patterns of displacement and the linkages between armed conflict and education. Some recommendations include:
• That UN agencies and civil society organizations provide necessary technical support to governments to adopt the necessary laws and policies to ensure that IDPs and refugees have access to education.
• That UN agencies, NGOs and bilateral donors ensure that programs developed to provide education to IDPs and refugees take into consideration the broader context of DACs, for example in ensuring that host and return communities are supported in their efforts to provide educational opportunities to the displaced or returnees.
• That GMR highlight the importance of humanitarian and development actors working together to develop ways to re-establish educational systems in post-conflict settings.
Abstract: In the past 10 years, the rehabilitation of Muslim radicals has become a pressing issue. Great
numbers of radicals have passed in and out of various incarcerating institutions and are returned
to their societies where they frequently rejoin radical groups, sometimes more radicalized and
technically proficient than they were prior to their incarceration. Both Muslim and non-Muslim
governments have sought different methods to rehabilitate radicals, ranging from arranging
debates between radicals and mainstream Muslim religious elite to confronting them with
betrayals and denunciations by relatives, friends, and associates. There are also full-scale “reeducation”
camps. This policy paper will seek to evaluate these methodologies and propose for
the United States a workable policy for re-integrating radicals into society, thus defusing the
power of recidivism.
Abstract: Ten years ago, on 31 October 2000, the United Nations Security Council took
an important and unprecedented step into new territory. Recognizing the vulnerability
of women and girls to violence during and after armed conflict, and the
absence or low level of women’s representation in efforts to prevent war, build
peace and restore devastated societies, the Council passed resolution 1325. The
resolution sought formally for the first time in the Security Council to end this neglect and actively to promote and draw
on the untapped potential of women everywhere
on issues of peace and security.
The release of the 2010 edition of The
State of World Population report coincides
with the 10th anniversary of that historic
resolution. The report highlights how women
in conflict and post-conflict situations—as
well as in emergencies or protracted crises—
are faring a decade later.
The 2010 report is different from previous
editions, which took an academic
approach to topics related to the mandate
and work of UNFPA, the United Nations
Population Fund. The current report takes
a more journalistic approach, drawing on
the experiences of women and girls, men
and boys, living in the wake of conflict and
other catastrophic disruptions. This report is constructed around
interviews and reporting in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Haiti, Jordan, Liberia, the
Occupied Palestinian Territory (West Bank),
Timor-Leste and Uganda.
Abstract: The refugee and displacement problem is one of the most complex humanitarian issues facing the Middle East, aid workers say.
Elizabeth Campbell, senior advocate at US NGO Refugees International, believes it is likely the Middle East hosts the highest number of refugees and asylum-seekers in the world. She underlined the need to find lasting solutions: "Any time that people remain uprooted and have not been afforded basic rights or pathways to durable solutions, it is a humanitarian crisis."
IRIN takes a look at the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region, and the main issues they face.
Abstract: The Combating Terrorism Center is an independent educational and research institution based in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy, West Point. The CTC Sentinel harnesses the Center’s global network of scholars and practitioners to understand and confront contemporary threats posed by terrorism and other forms of political violence. 1. Are the Afghan Taliban Involved in International Terrorism? by Anne Stenersen. 5. The Insurgent-Narcotic Nexus in Helmand Province, by Captain Michael Erwin, U.S. Army. 8. The Expansion Strategy of Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, by Gregory D. Johnsen. 11. A Profile of Pakistan's Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, by Arif Jamal. 14. The Failure of Salafi-Jihadi Insurgent Movements in the Levant, by Bilal Y. Saab. 18. The Dangerous Ideas of the Neo-Zarqawist Movement, by Murad Batal al-Shishani. 20. The July 17 Jakarta Suicide Attacks and the Death of Noordin Top, by Noor Huda Ismail. 22. Recent Highlights in Terrorist Activity.
Abstract: Migration to, from, and across Jordan since the Palestinian exodus of 1948 has played a key role in the country's politics, economy, and society. These movements have several underlying, interacting patterns. The main ones are connected to regional geopolitics, the fluctuations of the oil economy in the Persian Gulf, and efforts by the kingdom's Hashemite monarchy to ensure its own stability.
Jordan is a case in point for how various forms of mobility can have strong political and economic implications, both domestically and regionally.
Like most other Middle Eastern states, Jordan is a recent creation, having been established in 1921 within borders drawn by European colonial powers. It soon became the first host of Palestinian refugees. These people have arrived in several waves since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, forming a very large and integral part of the kingdom's population.
Because of the unresolved issue of Palestinian statehood, this migration has constantly posed a challenge to the Jordanian regime. At the same time, it has been an asset to the country's economic development.
Abstract: “Operation Iraqi Freedom” has led to massive humanitarian devastation in the Middle East region. It is estimated that the conflict has led to the internal and external displacement of at least 4 million Iraqis. Ultimately, this Note finds that current international law is inadequate to meet the humanitarian crises that stem from military conflicts entered into in violation of international law, as the Iraqi refugee crisis demonstrates. Accordingly, this Note recommends an additional Protocol to the 1967 Refugee Convention and Protocol. Finally, this Note makes specific recommendations to the current U.S. Presidential Administration as it develops the U.S. response to the disaster. Part II outlines the respective responses to the ongoing Iraqi refugee crisis from the international community, host countries, and the U.S. government during both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Part III takes up the question of what legal obligations host countries, the United States, and the international community possess in regard to the Iraqi refugee crisis under current international law, and proposes a new Protocol to the 1967 Refugee Convention and Protocol. The proposed Protocol would require states that create massive humanitarian disasters through their unlawful entry into war to provide for the financial costs of addressing the toll. Part IV concludes the Note with legal and policy recommendations to the international community and the Obama Administration.
Abstract: This paper discusses the diverging perceptions
and responses of Middle Eastern Arab states to the
issue of climate change. It shows how these states’
policies at the regional and international level have
been shaped, even conditioned, by motivations of
economic security of the oil revenue-dependent
states in the region. It also points out the problems
of this kind of an approach and gives suggestions and
justifications for a more balanced policy approach to
climate change. It is argued that the Gulf oil exporting
monarchies need to take a more constructive and
balanced approach to international climate change
mitigation, as this is the precondition for achieving
functional regional cooperation in this area. In the
future, failing to cooperate regionally will exacerbate
climate change-induced problems and instability in
the entire region. Climate change is by its nature a transboundary
problem. The Middle East is considered to be one
of the most vulnerable regions in the world to its
negative impacts. This is even more significant given
that the Middle East is also one of the most volatile
regions in the world in terms of inter- and intrastate
conflict and instability.
Abstract: As the governments of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) undertake the difficult process of enacting social and political change, the unequal status of women presents a particularly formidable challenge. In Iraq, deliberations over women's legal status have been as contentious as negotiations over how to structure the government. In Jordan, measures to increase penalties for so-called honor crimes faced strong resistance by ultraconservative parliamentarians and ordinary citizens who believe that tradition and religion afford them the right to severely punish and even murder female relatives for behavior they deem immoral. These debates are not just legal and philosophical struggles among elites. They are emotionally charged political battles that touch upon fundamental notions of morality and social order.
In order to provide a detailed look at the conditions faced by women in the Middle East and understand the complex environment surrounding efforts to improve their status, Freedom House conducted a comprehensive study of women's rights in the region. The first edition of this project was published in 2005. The present edition offers an updated examination of the issue, with a special focus on changes that have occurred over the last five years. Although the study indicates that a substantial deficit in women's rights persists in every country in the MENA region, the findings also include notable progress, particularly in terms of economic opportunities, educational attainment, and political participation.
Abstract: The IRC Commission on Iraqi Refugees was established in January 2008 by the International Rescue
Committee to investigate and call attention to the plight of Iraq’s displaced. This is the Commission’s
Over a weeklong visit in late October 2009, with follow-up consultations in November, IRC Commissioners
and staff members returned to Syria and Jordan to evaluate the conditions facing resident Iraqi refugees
and traveled inside Iraq to the Kurdish region and Baghdad to assess the condition of internally displaced
people and their prospects for returning home. During the trip, Commissioners met with the incoming Prime
Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), other KRG and Iraqi officials, representatives from
the United Nations and senior officials of the governments of Syria, Jordan and the United States. Most
importantly, Commissioners and staff heard firsthand about the ongoing crisis from scores of Iraqis living
as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Baghdad and northern Iraq or as refugees in Syria. Their accounts
were harrowing. Since the IRC Commission last visited the region in February 2008,
the needs of displaced Iraqis have become more acute, while
international concern and assistance have diminished. In particular,
assistance from European countries has begun to fall off.
Refugees and IDPs are still clearly afraid to return to their homes. They cite insecurity, lack of access to
housing and services, scarce job opportunities, ongoing criminality and persecution and mistrust of
Abstract: U.S. democracy promotion in the Middle East has suffered a series of crippling defeats. Despite occasionally paying lip service to the idea, few politicians on either the left or right appear committed to supporting democratic reform as a central component of American policy in the region. Who can really blame them, given that democracy promotion has become toxic to a public with little patience left for various “missions” abroad? But as the Obama administration struggles to renew ties with the Muslim world, particularly in light of the June 2009 Cairo speech, it should resist the urge to abandon its predecessor’s focus on promoting democracy in what remains the most undemocratic region in the world. Promoting democratic reform, this time not just with rhetoric but with action, should be given higher priority in the current administration, even though early indications suggest the opposite may be happening. Despite all its bad press, democracy promotion remains, in the long run, the most effective way to undermine terrorism and political violence in the Middle East. This is not a very popular argument. Indeed, a key feature of the post-Bush debate over democratization is an insistence on separating support for democracy from any explicit national security rationale. This, however, would be a mistake with troubling consequences for American foreign policy.
Abstract: This extensive paper examines the complex nexus between democratic change and U.S. security interests, with a principal focus on Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Yemen. It sets out a set of general and country-specific findings and recommendations for a long-term strategy by which “political liberalization” can enhance the stability and legitimacy of governments, thus strengthening security and peacemaking in the region. This report offers a set of general and country-specific findings and
recommendations to assist the Obama administration in its efforts to tackle
escalating security challenges while sustaining diplomatic, institutional and
economic support for democracy and human rights in the Greater Middle East.
The working group recognizes that addressing threats from terrorist
groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, as well as stemming conflicts arising from the
persistence of regional conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia, must be a top
priority. But, as the case studies of Yemen, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon amply
demonstrate, long-term political stability, economic development and security
also requires a continued and even enhanced U.S. commitment, in both words
and deeds, to fostering democratic transformation, human rights and effective
governance. The architecture of security and peacemaking must be
accompanied by a revived focus on democratic reforms.
Absent such an effort, this study group believes that the already wide
political, social and ideological gap between states and societies will further
expand, thus making regimes, and even entire states vulnerable to internal and
external shocks. It is the task and challenge of genuine reformers in both the
regimes and oppositions of the Arab World and South Asia to chart an exit from
the cul-de-sac of arbitrary rule and state-managed political reform by defining a
common vision of substantive “democratic transformation.”