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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: Summary points
- Yemen’s power structures are under great strain as the political elite struggles to adapt to
nationwide grassroots demands for a more legitimate, responsive and inclusive government.
- Dramatic political change in Yemen could lead to violent upheaval and a humanitarian
crisis, against the backdrop of the country’s deteriorating economic and security
conditions. It might also result in a new, more legitimate political configuration.
- In 2010, Western governments initiated a partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) states to address the security risks posed by the situation in Yemen. This was
based on the recognition that these states have significant financial resources, strong
cultural ties to Yemen and important connections within its informal power networks.
- Ambivalence and limited bureaucratic capacity initially constrained the Gulf states’ potential
to respond strategically to instability in Yemen. However, growing domestic opposition to
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh, coupled with his diminishing international support,
triggered a collective GCC response in 2011 aimed at mediating a political transition.
- Saudi Arabia maintains extensive transnational patronage networks in Yemen. Many Yemenis
believe it is trying to influence the outcome of political change and that succession dynamics
within the Saudi royal family are affecting the calculations of Yemeni political actors.
- The ‘Arab Spring’ has generated reformist pressures and divergent regime responses
within the Gulf monarchies themselves. This increases the complexity of the policy
landscape regarding Yemen.
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: 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: 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: Governments in the Arab world have violently dispersed demonstrations apparently inspired by or in solidarity with Egypt's democracy protesters and have detained some of the organizers, Human Rights Watch said today.
The security forces' clampdown is part and parcel of regular prohibitions on public gatherings in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, and Yemen. These governments curtail free expression and assembly despite the fact that almost all of the region's countries have signed international agreements protecting both rights, Human Rights Watch said.
"Images of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have mesmerized the Arab public but have terrified their rulers," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "They have responded with their usual mix of repression and intimidation to nip the buds of any wider democratic blossoming."
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: In this talk, Richard Barrett opens with remarks about al-Qaida's current status (in particular the slackening pace of attacks), and moves into a survey of al-Qaida's affiliates in the various regions of the world, then covers al-Qaida and the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in considerable depth. He says, "I think the capabilities that al-Qaida and its affiliates have have also reduced. I think there are fewer really
competent people engaged in terrorism, and I want to talk a little later about some of the people
who have been killed recently, but also the nature of the new recruits to some of these groups.
And I think also, the whole presentation of al-Qaida as an international movement with groups
acting in concert all over the world – that, too, has deteriorated. They’ve not been able to sustain
that image in the short term. And most of the targets for terrorist groups are now essentially
local, and they are no longer so obviously linked to some sort of global agenda."
Abstract: The Middle East remains one of the world’s stormier regions, with fault
lines running across ethnic groups, nation-states, communities, and
religions. Even a cursory overview of the region yields a long list of active and nascent strength in the nuclear realm as the most severe threat to their security.
Over the course of 2008 Iraq witnessed an improvement in security, but
there is still no guarantee that this achievement is stable or that it will be
possible to maintain it once American forces leave the country. At the same time, the conflict in Afghanistan is intensifying anew, and the growing involvement of NATO and US forces is expected to increase even further.
Over the last three years, Israel was involved in two armed confrontations
that were characterized as wars, both against sub-state organizations and
elements supported by Iran. The weight of non-state players in military
confrontations is growing, and military confrontations between countries
are becoming rarer.
Against this background, there is little wonder that the Middle East
remains a region characterized by ever-growing national armed forces
and non-state militias, and remains one of the largest customers of various
types of weaponry.
Abstract: While much of the world has focused on Iran’s missile developments, and possible nuclear capabilities, this is only one of the risks that threaten the flow of petroleum products from the Gulf – a region with some 60% of the world’s proven conventional oil reserves and 40% of its natural gas. Far more immediate threats have emerged in terms of asymmetric warfare, terrorism, piracy, non-state actors, and other threats.
The Burke Chair at CSIS has developed a new briefing that provides an overview of these threats, showing current trends and highlighting the strategic geography involved. This brief looks beyond Gulf waters and examines the problems created by Iran’s ties to other states and non-state actors throughout the region. It highlights Iran’s capabilities for asymmetric warfare, but it also examines the threat from terrorism and the role it can play in nations like Yemen. It looks at the trends in piracy and in the threat in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean.
The key issues addressed are: Terrorism, asymmetric Warfare, maritime and Border Security, combating piracy, critical facilities and infrastructure, role of chokepoints, and role of State and non-state actors.
Abstract: A brainstorming session on the impact of conflict-driven displacement in the ESCWA region was
held at UN House, Beirut on 9 February 2009. The session was organized by the Section for Emerging
and Conflict Related Issues (ECRI) in order to discuss and solicit inputs and comments on a
forthcoming ESCWA study on the socio-economic impact of displacement in the ESCWA region. The
session provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges posed by displaced populations on host
countries in the region, as well as possible solutions to these challenges. Other topics covered during
the session included the need to formulate clear policy recommendations for ESCWA member countries
and future collaboration between ECRI and United Nations agencies on regional responses to the
problem of displacement.
Abstract: Pendant longtemps, le Moyen-Orient a été vu essentiellement à travers les menaces qui pesaient sur l'approvisionnement des pays occidentaux en pétrole et la confrontation entre Israël et les pays arabes. Le champ géographique était ainsi localisé, les menaces et conflits étaient bien identifiés avec ds périodes de tension pouvant déboucher sur des crises ouvertes comme en 1967, 1973 ou 1979. Certes, les conflits perduraient, qu'il s'agisse du Liban ou de la Palestine, mais des gestions de crise pragmatiques permettaient d'en circonscrire la portée. Depuis le début de ce siècle - le 11 septembre 2001 étant considéré à cet égard comme une rupture -, les turbulences de cette région s'intensifient, se développent et s'étendent géographiquement vers l'est, faisant apparaître de nouveaux acteurs. Du Liban au Pakistan, les fronts de crise se multiplient.
Abstract: This assessment of the anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT)
regime of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is based on the Forty Recommendations 2003 and the
Nine Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing 2001 of the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF), and was prepared using the AML/CFT assessment Methodology 2004, as updated in
February 2007. The assessment team considered all the materials supplied by the authorities, the
information obtained on site during their mission from February 28 to March 15, 2007, and other
verifiable information subsequently provided by the authorities. During the mission, the assessment
team met with officials and representatives of all relevant government agencies and the private sector. A basic legal framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing is in place
in the UAE, but that framework needs further strengthening in a number of areas. The AML law
needs to be amended to expand the range of predicate offences and to provide greater powers for the
financial intelligence unit. The FIU should also increase its own staffing so that it may operate as an
autonomous unit, rather than relying on the resources of the Central Bank's Supervision Department
and other regulatory agencies. The absence of meaningful statistics was a significant hindrance to the progress of the
assessment. With only minor exceptions, the level of effectiveness of AML/CFT measures across all
sectors was difficult or impossible to gauge. The development of a national strategy for AML/CFT
must urgently address this issue if recent progress is to be built upon.
Abstract: Once a year, the Gulf Research Center (GRC), the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), the RAND Corporation and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University gather in Gstaad, Switzerland, to analyze and take stock of the strategic situation of the Middle East Region. The 2008 conference focused on the various geopolitical and regional dynamics including the emergence of the Arab Gulf States as significant factors in regional relations; the changing priorities vis-à-vis the Middle East from external actors such as Europe, Asia and Russia; the evolving priorities of the United States as it deals with the continuing challenges of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and the Arab-Israeli conflict; the economic consequences as a result of the rising price of oil; and the broader transition taking place with the rise of non-state actors, the erosion of state power and the emergence of sub-regional dynamics. Within the context, the conference also took an issue-specific view that included the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and its relationship with the Middle East, and Iran and the Arab Gulf States. The central themes that ran through this conference included the growing interconnection between problems in the region, therefore making it more difficult to articulate an analysis along national lines; the emergence of ‘bottom-up’ or ‘micro’ politics in Lebanon, Israel (among the Arab population), and the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Turkey; the continuing need for the US in the Middle East; the confusion between transactional and transformational policies; and, finally, the idea of “wildcards”, i.e. unpredictable events which could change the dynamics of the region. The conference concluded with the following assessment: “Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding what the future holds for the Middle East, one thing is certain. We are living a transitional period. In the past, outside powers dealt with one leader, who assumed control over all coercive parts of the states (the security state). This was easier to a certain extent, though the West bemoaned the lack of democracy. Now, the West is regretting the weakness of states and the often --too- lively, and unpredictable politics. Iraq and Lebanon appear to be losing control, but perhaps because a different political culture is emerging. We are experiencing the end of the autocratic, authoritarian period, and heading towards a new era. In the meantime, however, we see something stirring and unpredictable taking place. Perhaps, we should therefore look at it without judgment?”
Abstract: U.S. policymakers have made securing and maintaining foreign contributions
to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq a major priority since the preparation
period for the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. This report
highlights and discusses important changes in financial and personnel contributions
from foreign governments to Iraq since 2003.
To date, foreign donors have pledged an estimated $16.4 billion in grants and
loans for Iraq reconstruction, with most major pledges originating at a major donors'
conference in Madrid, Spain, in October 2003. However, only a small part of the
pledges have been committed or disbursed to the World Bank and United Nations
Development Group Trust Funds for Iraq. The largest non-U.S. pledges of grants
have come from Japan, the European Commission, the United Kingdom, Canada,
South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. The World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, Japan, and Saudi Arabia have pledged the most loans and export
Currently, 33 countries including the United States have some level of troops
on the ground in Iraq or supporting Iraq operations from nearby locations. Those
forces are working under the rubric of one of several organizations — the
Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I); or
the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Currently, the largest
troop contributors, in addition to the United States, are the United Kingdom, Georgia,
Australia, South Korea, and Poland. Some of these key contributors have announced
their intention to reduce or withdraw their forces from Iraq during 2008. The total
number of non-U.S. coalition troop contributions has declined since the early
stabilization efforts, as other countries have withdrawn their contingents or
substantially reduced their size.
Abstract: When the United Arab Emirates announced in June it was forgiving billions of dollars in Iraqi debt (Al Arabiya), President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed vowed to alleviate "the economic burden faced by the brotherly Iraqi people." But some observers saw the move more as an investment in security than an economic bailout. "The bottom line is that the Iraqi crisis can spill over to impact the political, security, and strategic scene" in Gulf Arab states, writes Abdulaziz O. Sager, chairman of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. Arab diplomacy may be " a first step" to containing that threat, Sager writes.
Abstract: Australia’s withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq should not signal a
withdrawal of Australian security engagement in the Gulf region.
Australia’s ongoing economic, political and security interests in the
region require a coherent approach rather than one of benign neglect
interspersed with occasional bursts of self-interested attention.
Abstract: A new report by the Burke Chair at CSIS focuses on the range of uncertainties that will shape events before the new President takes office. It is not enough, however, for a President to take the oath of office, It takes time to put a new team in place and to take effective action. In the real world, the next President will not be able to fully shape a policy for either war, and gather real momentum in implementing it, until the fall of 2009. That is two military campaign seasons and a host of political developments from now.
This means pragmatic, realistic policy has to be based on how events have changed between this spring and mid to late 2009. If things get steadily better in Iraq in the interim, it would be irresponsible to withdraw without recognizing that fact and seeking some form of victory. If things fall apart in ways that make Iraq security and stability impossible to achieve, it would be equally mindless to irresponsible until 2013.
Abstract: Le Moyen-Orient est, depuis longtemps, une priorité stratégique et économique pour les puissances internationales qui s’y impliquent de différentes manières: négociations politiques, accords commerciaux ou encore investissements divers.
Les transferts d’armes représentent une autre facette de cette implication. Depuis la fin de la Guerre froide, le Moyen-Orient est une des régions du monde qui a importé le plus d’armements. En effet, l’approvisionnement militaire de la région semble être une réponse automatique des puissances étrangères aux défis auxquels leurs alliés locaux doivent faire face.
Sur les cinq dernières années, la région a concentré plus d’un cinquième des importations mondiales, principalement en raison des achats effectués par 5 États : les Émirats arabes unis, Israël, l’Égypte, l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite.
Du côté des exportateurs, les contrats sont également conclus par un petit nombre de pays. Les États-Unis, qui comptent pour la moitié des exportations, fournissent les pays du CCG et Israël. Ils sont suivis par les États membres de l’Union européenne dont les armes ont généralement les mêmes destinations. Enfin, les transferts de la Russie et la Chine se dirigent vers les pays délaissés par Washington et Bruxelles.
Abstract: The report documents the serious abuses that domestic workers face at every step of the migration process. It also shows how the Sri Lankan government and governments in the Middle East fail to protect these women. The report is based on 170 interviews with domestic workers, government officials, and labor recruiters conducted in Sri Lanka and in the Middle East.
Abstract: Despite increased European foreign policy coordination and presence in most areas of the world the Gulf region and more specifically the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) continue to represent an area of neglect. One need only compare policies towards the Gulf with policies towards the North African and Middle Eastern states included within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) to witness this deficit. Despite the shortcomings of the EMP this initiative represents a coordinated and embedded European strategy towards the southern Mediterranean that has not been extended to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This is all the more surprising given the fact that the Arabian Peninsula concentrates several pivotal issues of international concern, including energy security, Middle Eastern regional security, counterterrorism and debates over Arab democratic reform. European weight in this region remains negligible, and the EU as a collective entity has failed to develop a comprehensive and coherent policy towards this crucial part of the Middle East. This neglect is explained by two European judgements: first, that the Gulf does not present the kind of acute geopolitical urgency that would merit paying the costs associated with a greater engagement in the region; second, that the EU has negligible capacity to affect social, economic or political change in the Gulf and that its interests are thus best served by stability-oriented caution. Such judgements might contain a healthy dose of realism; but the EU may also pay a price for its passivity in the
WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean consists of four technical divisions headed by directors reporting to Deputy Regional Director/Regional Director. They are: Health Protection and Promotion (DHP), Health Systems and Services Development (DHS), Communicable Disease Control (DCD), General Management (DAF). There are two departments in the office of the Assistant Regional Director and they report directly to the Assistant Regional Director. The two departments are Knowledge Management & Sharing and Policy & Strategy Support. Five priority programmes are supervised by the Regional Directory/Deputy Regional Director while reporting through their respective divisional directors. The priority programmes are the Tobacco Free Initiative, Roll Back Malaria, Stop TB, Community-based Initiatives, Women in Health and Development. Further, the regional office runs a special programmes on Polio Eradication, which reports directly to the Regional Director. Another is the UNAIDS Inter-Country Programme. It gives support to the development of an expanded response to HIV/AIDS through the coordinated action of the UN theme groups on HIV/AIDS as well as the process of national strategic planning; collaborates with EMRO in the joint response to HIV/AIDS at the regional and country level; strengthens partnerships with UNAIDS cosponsers through joint regional initiatives in HIV/AIDS priority areas.
Abstract: With the world's attention focused as never before on political reform and democratization in Arab countries, giving rise to often highly politicized debates, it is important to provide accurate, factual information about Arab political systems and reforms being introduced in the region. This webpage represents a joint undertaking of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and the Fundacixc3xb3n para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Dixc3xa1logo Exterior (FRIDE) in Madrid. It provides easily accessible baseline information about the political systems of Arab countries, with links to official documents and websites, and will be frequently updated to provide information about reforms being introduced.