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....
The Bush administration contends that the push for democracy in the Muslim world will improve U.S. security. But this premise is faulty: there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. Indeed, a democratic Middle East would probably result in Islamist governments unwilling to cooperate with Washington.
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....
Profile: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is al-Qaeda's most successful terrorist operator, having planned and executed the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States; Raised in Kuwait to a family from the Baluchi region of Pakistan, Mohammed was cousin to Ramzi Yousef; He graduated from North Carolina A&T; University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1986, and afterwards went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets there; With Yousef, he took part in the aborted Project Bojinka and was indicted in the United States for his role, but he was not detained; In 1999, he went to Osama bin Laden and proposed what would become the 9-11 plot. After the attacks and death of al-Qaeda's military chief Mohammed Atef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was regarded as the group's terrorist operations chief; At the time of his capture in 2003, he was plotting attacks against the United States and United Kingdom; He was one of 14 key al-Qaeda operatives and associates transferred from CIA custody to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.
Profile: Ringleader in 1993 World Trade Center bombing. U.S. officials say there is no strong evidence he was working for al-Qaeda at the time; However, his ties to the organization grew, and by the 1995 Bojinka plot (Philippines), he was affiliated with bin Laden's organization; Said he wanted to kill 250,000 people in the first World Trade Center bombing; Nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
May 23, 2009 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace // Islam Online
Those who live through dramatic democratic transitions, whether in Spain, Poland, or the Philippines, often describe a similar sequence of feelings—first wisps of hope, then tremendous uncertainty followed by elation during the transition itself, concluding with the slow disillusionment that the extraordinary birth of democracy leads to a mundane day-to-day politics in which various individuals and groups work the system to realize their short-term interests.
Residents of the Arab world have been denied this set of experiences. But in a sense, Kuwaitis have been living through a very drawn out version of a democratic transition. And they have experienced some of the emotions described above, but in an odd sequence....
The Obama administration's emphasis on "smart power" is by now well known. To most observers, that has meant the need to "balance and integrate all elements of our national power" in order to deter and defeat emerging threats, as President Barack Obama himself put it in a speech at National Defense University in Washington on March 12.
Many have focused on Obama's insistence, in the same speech, that "we cannot continue to push the burden on to our military alone" and his commitment to "comprehensive engagement with the world." What has gotten less attention is the central role Obama foresees in this approach for "strengthened partnerships with . . . foreign militaries and security forces that can combat . . . common enemies."
The principle underpins Obama's new, "cooperative" strategy for the Afghanistan war, announced last week. But it also applies to the Middle East, where Washington is quietly building an alliance of heavily armed, pro-U.S. nations meant to contain Iran.
This plan relies on record levels of arms sales to friendly Middle Eastern governments, particularly of missile-defense systems. "Bilateral active missile-defense measures underway are vital elements of regional deterrence and of defensive cooperation, and they should be expanded," Gen. David Petraeus, commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, said at a December summit in the United Arab Emirates.
U.S. government-brokered Foreign Military Sales doubled to more than $20 billion between 2005 and 2006. By 2008, proposed FMS deals had reached a record $50 billion. Three-quarters of the sales were requested by Middle East allies. Washington subsidizes around 20 percent of the weapons deals to the region....
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....
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.
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....
May 17, 2011 Refugees International // Open Society Foundations
This year Kuwait is celebrating 50 years of independence. But for around 10 per cent of its population—known as “bidoon”—the anniversary also marks 50 years of statelessness.
”Bidoon” means “without” in Arabic, indicating that this group—estimated to range between 90,000 and 180,000 people—lives without nationality. Not considered as nationals by Kuwait or any other state, bidoon are stateless. While Kuwaiti nationals enjoy a large number benefits and subsidies, stateless people in this small but very wealthy country live in slum-like settlements on the outskirts of its cities, where they suffer numerous human rights violations.
This report outlines the history of the bidoon issue in Kuwait and their current situation. It discusses the relevant legal framework, with particular focus on discrimination in access to and withdrawal of nationality. It also analyzes Kuwait’s international obligations in the areas of nationality and statelessness, and offers policy recommendations....
April 13, 2011 Center for Strategic and International Studies
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....
Kuwait has been pivotal to nearly two decades of U.S. efforts to reduce a threat posed by Iraq. After U.S. forces liberated Kuwait from Iraqi invading forces in February 1991, Kuwait was the central location from which the United States contained Saddam during 1991-2003, and it hosted the bulk of the U.S.-led force that invaded Iraq in March 2003 to remove Saddam from power. It is the key route through U.S. troops have been withdrawing from during 2009-2011.
Although Kuwait remains a staunch U.S. ally, it is troubled domestically. For the past five years, wrangling between the elected National Assembly and the ruling Al Sabah family primarily over the political dominance and alleged corruption of the Al Sabah has brought virtual political paralysis to Kuwait. Political infighting has tarnished Kuwait's reputation in the Persian Gulf as a model of protections of rule of law and human rights as the Al Sabah have turned to increasingly harsh measures to suppress dissent. These measures have included beatings of demonstrators and imprisonments of journalists. However, Kuwait's tradition of vibrant civil society and expression of opinion led to the resignation of the Interior Minister, held responsible for repressive measures, on February 7, 2011, in advance of a planned public demonstration....
September 29, 2010 Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States // The Centre for the Study of Global Governance
This paper will explore the connections between internal security, external stability and international events in the Gulf States. It will examine how Gulf security has been affected by globalisation and the emergence of the Global War on Terror. This has occurred within the context of a changing international environment characterised by the deeply-flawed projection of unilateral American military power in Iraq and the rise of Russia, China and India as regional competitors for the region’s energy resources. Therefore the paper will focus on the multiple and overlapping challenges to Gulf security, and assess how the six member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council can best adapt to the shifting international order. It will place security issues within the broader political and economic context and examine the cross-border and ideational challenges to internal security and external stability....