April 8, 2008 Center for Contemporary Conflict // Naval Post Graduate School
Can a social science theory assist governments in their quest to end disruptive social uprisings? In this work I will show how a basic understanding of social movement theory can assist both those who study insurgencies and those who are conducting counterinsurgency operations by revealing the causes and dynamics of the mobilization of the insurgents. My case for this study is the social mobilization that led to and sustained the Dhofar Rebellion against Sultan Said Taimur and his son Sultan Qaboos in Oman. I argue that people who can recognize the social movements, mobilization of insurgents, framing of issues, political opportunities or lack thereof, and the repertoires used by the insurgents can eventually take ownership of the causes of the insurgency and reduce the power of the social movement to acceptable levels....
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....
Oman's economy is heavily reliant on oil revenues, which account for about 75 percent of the country's export earnings and 40 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). During 2006, Oman's real GDP grew at an estimated rate of 4.2 percent, down from 5.7 percent in 2005. The slowdown in economic growth occurred largely as a result of declining oil production in Oman. To help offset these declines, the government has devoted considerable resources to new exploration and production activities, enhanced oil recovery projects, and introduced policies aimed at diversifying the country's economy away from the oil sector. The development of natural gas reserves in Oman is a central part of this effort, and natural gas production is likely to expand considerably during the next several 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....
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.
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.
- 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....
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.’...
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....
This report examines US relations with Oman in the context of increased economic liberalization and security cooperation. It discusses defense and security ties between the US and Oman, cooperation in the war on terrorism, and explores Oman's capabilities in relation to US security assistance. The author discusses major issues affecting their relations, including democratization and human rights, Oman's regional stability and relations with other Gulf and Middle Eastern countries.
April 23, 2010 The Finnish Institute of International Affairs // Ulkopoliittinen Instituutti
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....