January 2, 2008 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Despite passing considerable economic and social reforms Arab regimes continue to avoid substantive political reforms that would jeopardize their own power. Reformers in ruling establishments recognize the need for change to increase economic competitiveness, but the preferred process of “managed reform is leading to further political stagnation, says a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In Incumbent Regimes and the “King’s Dilemma in the Arab World: Promise and Threat of Managed Reform, Carnegie Senior Associates Marina Ottaway and Michele Dunne argue that emerging, reform-minded leaders in Arab nations face a dilemma”globalization and better public access to information are prompting calls for modernization, yet history shows that even limited reforms introduced from the top often increase, rather than decrease, bottom-up demand for more radical change, as in the case of the Iranian revolution. To contend with this threat, Arab regimes are attempting to control the process of change through “managed reforms: the introduction of formal, institutional reform without the transfer of real power (Bahrain and Egypt); substantive improvements in citizens’ rights without institutional reform (Morocco); or the limited participation of legitimate opposition groups (Yemen and Algeria)....
June 14, 2007 FundaciÃ³n para las Relaciones Internacionales y el DiÃ¡logo Exterior
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
November 30, 2006 FundaciÃ³n para las Relaciones Internacionales y el DiÃ¡logo Exterior
The Gulf monarchies - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - stand to become
increasingly important for European foreign policy concerns.
These states are a primary focus of the European Union's new
energy security policy, European counter-terrorist efforts and a
new programme of NATO security cooperation. In the wake of
several leadership successions and with elections either having
recently been held or imminent in several Gulf states, it is
essential for European foreign policy interests that the extent
and form of political change in the region be fully understood.
While the obstacles to far-reaching reform remain formidable,
Gulf polities increasingly have revealed themselves to be less
static and more complex than regularly assumed. This
Backgrounder looks at some of the detailed aspects of - and
limits to - the Gulf's reform processes in order to help shed
light on debates over the future evolution of its monarchies....
Debates over democracy continue to occupy not only U.S. and European policymakers but Arabs as well. Arguments rage about the merits of top-down versus bottom-up democratization. In coffeehouses and in taxis, Arabs discuss the issue. Can democracy take root in Arab countries? How can democracy's supporters move democratization forward? Is civil society a precursor for democracy, or can civil society thrive only once democracy is achieved? How do each country's internal and external dynamics affect the process? In order to gauge progress, it is necessary to measure democracy. Comparisons of such measurements taken in seventeen Arab states between 1999 and 2005 suggest not only is progress lacking in most countries, but across the Middle East, reform has backslid....
June 22, 2006 Middle East Review of International Affairs
This article considers the prospects for Islamist groups gaining power in Middle Eastern countries. It begins with a brief glance at the past quarter century since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, examining why--despite predictions to the contrary--Islamists throughout the region have had only very limited success in taking power so far. It then goes on to identify the various strategies Islamists have employed so far in their quest for power, considering the likelihood that these strategies will succeed in the future in accomplishing their goals. The article also appraises the chance that success in one country will ignite an avalanche of Islamist takeovers....
June 13, 2011 Combating Terrorism Center // West Point
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.
This volume contains the following articles:
- The Death of Usama bin Ladin: Threat Implications for the U.S. Homeland, By Philip Mudd
- Terrorist Tactics in Pakistan Threaten Nuclear Weapons Safety, By Shaun Gregory
- The Syrian Uprising: Evaluating the Opposition, By Mahmud Hasan
- Can Al-Qa`ida Survive Bin Ladin’s Death? Evaluating Leadership Decapitation, By Jenna Jordan
- Hizb Allah’s Position on the Arab Spring, By Benedetta Berti
- Israel, Hizb Allah, and the Shadow of Imad Mughniyyeh, By Bilal Y. Saab
- The Taliban’s Conduct of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, By Ben Brandt
May 12, 2011 Combating Terrorism Center // West Point
This issue includes the following articles:
- Saudi Arabia Moves to Maintain Regime Stability - Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Reaction to Revolution in the Middle East - How the Arab Spring Could Embolden Extremists - Are Islamist Extremists Fighting Among Libya’s Rebels? - Bahrain: Crushing a Challenge to the Royal Family - JI Operative Umar Patek Arrested in Pakistan - The Implications of Colonel Imam’s Murder in Pakistan - Recent Highlights in Terrorist Activity
The Sentinel is a monthly, independent publication that leverages the Center’s global network of scholars and practitioners to understand and confront contemporary threats posed by terrorism and other forms of political violence....
Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in August 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch.
The situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate as al-Shabaab stepped up its attacks and fighting intensified in Mogadishu.
Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government was further weakened in August. The month began with an attempted coup and culminated with the mayor of the southern city of Osh – the epicenter of June’s pogroms – defying the President’s orders to resign.
In Kashmir, anti-Indian protests that began in June worsened in August with at least 40 demonstrators killed in clashes with the police, bringing the total death toll to over 60.
In Northern Ireland dissident Republicans launched a spate of bomb attacks throughout the month in an attempt to derail the peace process. Meanwhile, in Bahrain over 200 people, including high-level Shiite political leaders, have been reported arrested in a government crackdown ahead of October’s parliamentary elections, fueling almost daily clashes between security forces and Shiite opposition supporters.
CrisisWatch identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Kosovo in September, as the EU makes intensive diplomatic efforts to produce a UN General Assembly resolution acceptable to both Serbia and Kosovo that could serve as a basis for a comprehensive settlement.
CrisisWatch also identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Israel, as direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine – the first in almost two years – are due to restart in Washington on 2 September....
In the five years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has solidified a trend of supplying high technology weapons and millions of dollars in military assistance to allies in the "war on terror." Support for the United States - either in its quest to stamp out international terrorist networks, or for its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - seems to take precedence over other criteria usually taken into account when the United States considers an arms transfer. According to standing tenets of U.S. arms export policy, arms transfers should not undermine long-term security and stability, weaken democratic movements, support military coups, escalate arms races, exacerbate ongoing conflicts, cause arms build-ups in unstable regions, or be used to commit human rights abuses. However, in the last five years, the Bush administration has demonstrated a willingness to provide weapons and military training to weak and failing states and countries that have been repeatedly criticized by the U.S. State Department for human rights violations, lack of democracy, and even support of terrorism. To thoroughly evaluate and analyze this trend of increased military assistance, the Challenging Conventional Threats project at CDI has, since 2001, profiled countries that have a unique role in the "war on terror," through the strategic services they have provided to the United States as it conducts anti-terror operations across the globe. The series features analysis of the current political situations in the profiled countries, taking into account other indicators of the relative stability and openness of the country, such as military expenditures, total number of armed forces, and the human rights situation as assessed by the U.S. State Department, alongside an evaluation of U.S. military assistance to these countries over the past 17 years - the post-Cold War years....
December 8, 2006 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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....
Al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula leader Abdulaziz Al-Muqrin issued calls for the Saudi royal family to be overthrown. Conquering Saudi Arabia would be the first step towards establishing a Caliphate that would liberate the third holy place [Jerusalem] and unite all the Muslims of the world. The nightmare scenario for the West in one in which Saudi oil production (10% of world output) is taken out by terrorist attacks or by regime change. The Saudi ruling family is stuck between two contradictory policies: appeasement of puritanical Islam and alliance with America....
November 30, 2004 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // University of Maryland
The Shi'i Muslims of Bahrain are a disadvantaged majority, widely dispersed within the thirty-five islands in the Persian Gulf that make up the state. They share other Bahrainis' ethnic Arab background and Arabic language, but they have distinct religious beliefs from the minority Sunni Muslims, and the Sunni royalty tha#t rules the country. The major division between Bahrain's Sunni and Shi'i faiths derives from a dispute dating back to the 7th century over who were the true successors to Muhammad, Islam's original and primary prophet, with the Shiite following Ali, Mohammed's son-in-law. The Shi'i of Bahrain remain a minority at risk, but there are grounds for cautious optimism. Although Bahrain is by no means ready to adopt full-scale democracy, the Amir has pushed for economic and political reforms, and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community. For the time being, most Shi'a still belong to the middle or lower classes of Bahraini society, and do not possess the ability to change their form of government. And a troubling aspect continuing in Bahrain is the government's reliance on arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention without trial, and forced exile. Yet, given the reforms since year 2000, there does seem to be room for compromise on both sides. The opposition is mostly moderate and the violence on both sides over the past few years has been restrained....
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.
The detainees were unaware that they were being filmed while stating their confessions in a pre-prepared film to convict them and to mislead public opinion
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern and worry for the health and life of 14 Bahraini citizens who were arrested since 15 December by the National Security Apparatus, and whom the authority claims to be members of a “terrorist cell group”, and were trained in Syria last summer, as was stated in the film that was prepared in advance and which was broadcasted on Monday evening, 28 December.
What adds to the concern is what the lawyers of detainees reported and which is related to their clients being put through torture; whose marks were evident on their bodies. They are being held in solitary confinements, and most of them do not know the other detainees with them in the same case or the nature of the charges against them. According to what the detainees expressed to their lawyers, most of them have not visited Syria before, as was stated in the film. As per the information conveyed to the BCHR by the detainees’ lawyers, some of them were arrested as “hostages” until he handed over his wanted brother to the security Apparatus who came to arrest him when he was not at home; the other was brought in as a “witness” in the case to find themselves accused of being part of the alleged cell....
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights expresses its deep concerns on the well being and safety of more than 14 Bahraini nationals who have been detained by the National Security Apparatus since December 15th, 2008, in relation to the alleged uncover of a “terror plot”. The BCHR is concerned of the use of such events in the ongoing campaign against activists and human rights defenders .
New wave of arrests and Arbitrary Detention:
A new wave of arrest started on December 15, 2008. All of the detainees were from Shia villeges in the outskirts of the capital Manama. Relatives reported that the arrests took place at dawn without proper legal procedures....
An atmosphere of clashes between demonstrators and security forces consisting of foreign forces prevailed in all villages and areas of Bahrain after the Authority prevented a peaceful demonstration on December 17, called up on by the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture to commemorate the anniversary of victims of torture in the previous era. This date was chosen to retrieve the public memory about the two young men shot dead by snipers of special security forces during nineties of the last century, while they were participating in a peaceful march in the village of Sanabis calling for political reforms, democracy and restoration of the then dissolved parliament. On the other hand, an official statement, released to local and international news agencies by a source in the National Security Bureau, stated that a "terrorist" cell was discovered consisting of a group of Bahrainis was "planning" to carry out a terrorist acts aimed at disrupting public order, terrorize innocent civilians and threaten their lives....
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....
Human rights defenders in Bahrain have been subject to a fresh wave of arrests, abuse and possibly torture following protests last month in which an activist was killed, report the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo) and other rights groups.
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.
Following a spasm of violence, Bahrain faces a critical choice between endemic instability and slow but steady progress toward political reform. The most sensible way forward is to launch a new, genuine dialogue in which the political opposition is fairly represented and to move toward changes that will turn the country into a constitutional monarchy. In order to create an environment in which such talks could succeed, the regime should take immediate steps to address the human rights crisis, including by releasing political leaders jailed for peacefully expressing their views, and reverse the alarming sectarian polarisation that has occurred.
In February and March 2011, Bahrain experienced peaceful mass protests followed by brutal repression, leaving a distressing balance sheet: over 30 dead, mostly demonstrators or bystanders; prominent opposition leaders sentenced to lengthy jail terms, including eight for life; hundreds of others languishing in prison; torture, and at least four deaths in detentions; trials, including of medical professionals, in special security courts lacking even the semblance of due process of law; over 40 Shiite mosques and other religious structures damaged or demolished; the country’s major independent newspaper transformed into a regime mouthpiece; a witch hunt against erstwhile protesters who faced dismissal or worse, based on “loyalty” oaths; serious damage to the country’s economy; a parliament left without its opposition; and much more. More significant for the long term perhaps, the violence further polarised a society already divided along sectarian lines and left hopes for political reform in tatters, raising serious questions about the island’s stability....
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....
July 27, 2011 International Centre for Black Sea Studies
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.’...
This report documents serious government abuses, starting in mid-February 2011. These include attacks on health care providers; denial of medical access to protesters injured by security forces; the siege of hospitals and health centers; and the detention, ill-treatment, torture, and prosecution of medics and patients with protest-related injuries.
The government violations were part of the violent response by authorities to largely peaceful pro-democracy and anti-government demonstrations that began in February and continued months after military and security forces began a massive crackdown in mid-March, which led to the armed occupation of Bahrain’s main public hospital, the Salmaniya Medical Complex, on March 16....
On June 2, 2011, Peacebuild, with the financial support of the International Development
Research Centre, convened a day-long discussion on the tumultuous changes taking place in the
Middle East and North Africa.
Objectives for the roundtable were to share up-to-date information on current and longer-term
political issues and dynamics, to assess areas for possible support for democratic transitions in
the region, identify areas of relevant Canadian expertise – diaspora, NGO, academic, business
sector, governmental -- and, based on the discussion, generate a set of policy options and/or
recommendations for people-to-people support, NGOs, academics and the Government of
Participants in Cairo, Ottawa and Montreal were linked into a wide-ranging discussion, which
first focused on hearing activist and expert views from the epicentre of regional change – Egypt.
Among the questions explored with human rights activist Hossam Baghat, strategic analyst
Mustafa El-Labbad, activist author May Telmissany and IDRC regional expert Roula El-Rifai were
the makeup of the reform movements in the region and their objectives, what is the real extent
of political Islam’s influence in the Middle East and what has been the role of the armed forces
in the transitions?...
September 29, 2008 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
The Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) dataset is a subsidiary of the
Minorities at Risk (MAR) Project. The purpose of this project is to answer fundamental
questions focusing on the identification of those factors that motivate some members of ethnic
minorities to become radicalized, to form activist organizations, and to move from conventional
means of politics and protest into violence and terrorism. Focusing initially on the Middle East
and North Africa, the MAROB project provides information on the characteristics of those
ethnopolitical organizations most likely to employ violence and terrorism in the pursuit of their
perceived grievances with local, national, or international authority structures. The project has
identified 118 organizations representing the interests of all 22 ethnopolitical groups in 16
countries of the Middle East and North Africa, operating between 1980 and 2004. The project developed a set of criteria for the inclusion of organizations into the MAROB dataset. These are as
• The organization makes explicit claims to represent the interests of one or more ethnic groups and/or the
organization’s members are primarily members of a specific ethnic minority.
• The organization is political in its goals and activities.
• The organization is active at a regional and/or national level.
• The organization was not created by a government.
• The organization is active for at least three consecutive years between 1980 and 2006.
• Umbrella organizations (coalitions/alliances) are NOT coded. Instead, member organizations are coded.
Organizations were selected on the basis of their basic longevity. This was operationalized in the following manner:
The first year that an organization is mentioned in a source as being active, it is put on a “watchlist” for potential
inclusion. Once the organization is mentioned in sources for three consecutive years, it is included in the dataset,
coded from the first year of the three consecutive years. If an organization included in the dataset disappears from
source material for five consecutive years, it is no longer coded for following years. If after that time, it is again
mentioned for three consecutive years, it is again included but as a separate organization....