Articles

100 Items

A funeral ceremony in Kobani, Syria

Wikicommons

Journal Article - E-International Relations (E-IR)

Societal (In)Security in the Middle East: Radicalism as a Reaction?

| Apr. 24, 2019

Societal insecurity, stemming from historical and functional realities has emboldened the identity-based gap of states vs. societies in the Arab region. The division of the Ottoman Empire into new states without much attention to identity lines, created a historical identity challenge in those states. On the other hand, Arab ruling elites’ efforts to enforce state-centred identities failed to prevent the challenge of conflicting identities. Later on, their functional inefficiencies emboldened the identity dichotomy.

As a result of threats perceived by Arab societies against their collective identity as well as separate challenges facing each state, the state-society gap continues to challenge state identities. Collectively perceived threats create and strengthen collective frameworks intended to address those threats. And among other frameworks come radical and terrorist organisations.

Iran Syria missiles

Associated Press

Journal Article - International Affairs

Iran's Syria Strategy: The Evolution of Deterrence

| Feb. 04, 2019

Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran's decision-making calculus and divide the country's strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran's Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

(Middle East Development Journal)

(Middle East Development Journal)

Journal Article

Debunking myth: economic values in the Arab Worldthrough the prism of opinion polls

| Mar. 21, 2018

Using World Value Survey opinion poll data, we empirically characterize the economic values and norms held by individuals in the Arab world, in comparison to values held in the rest of the world. We find that, contrary to some common beliefs, there are many values that predispose citizens of Arab countries to be part of a market economy, including a high level of work ethics, comfort with competition and the work of markets, and a high level of economic motivation.

(Business and politics)

(Business and politics)

Journal Article - Cambridge University Press

Private banking and crony capitalism in Egypt

| Mar. 01, 2018

This paper looks at the relationship between banking and cronyism in Egypt. A key puzzle that it tries to resolve is why private banks may lend in preferential ways to politically connected firms. In doing so, it tries to identify the causal pathways that link bank lending decisions to the corporate characteristics of politically connected firms.

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Journal Article - Global Discourse

The struggle for the Islamic supremacy

| January 2017

In the 5 years following the Arab Uprisings, it is apparent that the Middle East and Islamic world are undergoing a profound sociopolitical reconfiguration. The rise of armed resistance groups and the clash of nationalisms between secular and religious movements have only served to undermine regional stability and deepened the fragmentation of the social cohesion. As a consequence, many Arab countries are immersed in a process of counterrevolution and experience deep cleavages. A number of these have been categorized as sectarian in nature, between Sunni and Shi’a, yet this article seeks to show that the term requires broader intellectual development to understand contemporary events. To this end, it engages with the term by looking at the rise of Islamist groups and their evolution across the twentieth century, to stress that socioeconomic contexts are also important in shaping the emergence of groups that are described as sectarian in nature. From this position, we are better placed to understand the fluid nature of domestic and geopolitical change across the Middle East and Islamic world.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy, right, confers with his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy at the White House on Oct. 1, 1962 during the buildup of military tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that became the Cuban missile crisis.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

Why the President Needs a Council of Historians

| September 2016

We urge the next president to establish a White House Council of Historical Advisers. Historians made similar recommendations to Presidents Carter and Reagan during their administrations, but nothing ever came of these proposals. Operationally, the Council of Historical Advisers would mirror the Council of Economic Advisers, established after World War II. A chair and two additional members would be appointed by the president to full-time positions, and respond to assignments from him or her. They would be supported by a small professional staff and would be part of the Executive Office of the President.

Magazine Article - Harvard Gazette

Britain muses: play bridge or solitaire?

    Author:
  • Christina Pazzanese
| June 17, 2016

On Thursday, voters in the U.K. will decide by a simple majority whether to remain in the E.U. during a national referendum known as “Brexit” (a portmanteau of the words British and exit). Over the last month, public opinion polling showed voters evenly split, with the “leave” campaign edging upslightly in recent days. Douglas Alexander is a senior fellow in The Future of Diplomacy Project.The Gazette spoke with Alexander about the upcoming referendum and the potential fallout for the U.K. and Europe.