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The Journal for politics, economics, and culture of the Middle East published by the German Orient-Institute

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01/01/19

Transnational armed Salafi Jihadi networks: Emergence and development

Salafi Jihadi transnational radical networks have captured public attention with world-wide mobilisation in support of their approach to Islam and opposition to their Muslim and non Muslim opponents. Born at the intersection of the Palestinian question, the Salafi religious revival, and the domestic failures of the Arab-Muslim world, these networks became embroiled in armed conflicts in the Muslim world before transferring the battlefield to Western countries. This article provides a historical retrospective of their emergence and development with a focus on notable turning points.

Jérôme Drevon is a research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva. He is particularly interested in civil wars, political violence, and Islamist and jihadi groups’ strategic developments.

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01/01/19

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict in its eigth decade

This article discusses various ways to achieve a fully-fledged state existence for Palestine. It takes stock of Palestine’s diplomatic successes, contrasts them with the limited national self determination under the conditions of Israeli occupation, discusses whether the virtual state with its activities on the international stage can approach a state of real and recognised statehood, and examines the question of what possibilities are available ‘on the ground’ for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a division of the country between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea or federal models of coexistence between the two nations.

Margret Johannsen is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. Her main research interest is the peace process in the Middle East with special emphasis on state-building.

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01/01/19

Geopolitics dominate Middle Eastern sports

Sport has long played a key role in the development and politics of the Middle East and North Africa. Increasingly it has become a battlefield in the region’s multiple disputes as well as the effort of states to garner soft power, enhance their regional and global influence, punch above their weight, and undermine their rivals. The battlefields are numerous. They include the 2022 Qatar World Cup, institutions of global governance such as world soccer body FIFA and its Asian affiliate, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), media broadcasting rights, and in numerous incidents national football associations and some of the Middle East and North Africa’s most prestigious clubs. The strategies and tactics adopted in the sports diplomacy of the various nations are mirror images of their various regimes. Nevertheless, taken together, the battles make a mockery of the insistence of international sports associations that sports and politics are unrelated and separate and threaten to undermine the integrity of global sports governance.

James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture.

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01/01/19

Globalisation and contentious politics in the MENA

Globalisation is widely accused in the MENA of being a false flag for neo-colonialism. Paradoxically it is the slowing of globalisation that poses the greater threat to the region’s political economies because it puts downward pressure on oil and gas prices, renders more difficult the challenge of diversifying economies away from hydrocarbons, and reduces pressures for reform of authoritarian orders. The MENA, in sum, missed a golden opportunity to benefit from the post-Cold War globalisation wave by failing to liberalise its economies and polities while moving up production ladders.

Robert Springborg is research fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs in Rome; and Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. His most recent book is Egypt.

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01/01/19

After the West: Russia and China in the Middle East

Since the Second World War the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been the geopolitical arena in which great and major powers have flexed their muscles and, in pursuit of their global ambitions, have tried to dominate this strategic regional system and exclude their rivals from it. The United States and its Western allies, thus, came to dominate the MENA region. But, since the end of the Cold War and the global transitions which have shifted the balance of economic power from the Atlantic to the East, the West’s supremacy is no longer assured. Global transitions, also known as systemic shift, are arguably also leaving their mark on the external balance of power in this highly penetrated regional system. This article takes stock of this process of change.

Anoushiravan Ehteshami is Professor of International Relations in the School of Government and International Affairs, and Fellow of University College at Durham University. He is the Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Chair in International Relations and Director of the HH Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Programme in International Relations, Regional Politics and Security. He is, further, Director of the Institute for Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies (IMEIS) at Durham, one of the oldest and noted centres of excellence in Middle Eastern studies in Europe.

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01/10/18

Economic deprivation, political de-legitimacy and the rise of new citizen movements in the MENA region

While the Arab Spring is seen as a failure, except perhaps for Tunisia, this article argues that because conditions for uprisings in favor of citizen rights are still strong new citizen movements will continue to re-emerge throughout the Middle East in protest against economic deprivation and political corruption. Two in particular are analyzed: the Basra movement and Hirak in the Moroccan Rif.

Roel Meijer is Associate Professor, teaching Middle East history and politics at Radboud University, Nijmegen, Department of Religious Studies.

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01/10/18

Solid waste management in the MENA region: A comparative analysis of Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia

This paper compares solid waste management in Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia; countries that are at different stages in terms of waste management but they share similarities pertaining to waste practices, sources and types of waste, demographics, waste infrastructure, and governing systems. By applying a cross-country comparison, similarities are identified and differences pertaining to the governance of the sector highlighted. The effort would help establish an exchange platform for policy-related issues and lessons learned.

Yasmina El Amine is an environmental scientist, and current project coordinator at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut (AUB). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from AUB, and a Master of Science in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, with a focus on water Management. Her research interests are at the interface of climate change, water security, sustainability, and development, framed through an interdisciplinary, and systems-thinking lens.

Chafik Abdallah is a Research Assistant at Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and Inter-national Affairs in American University of Beirut. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Agriculture, Diploma of Agricultural Engineer, and a Master’s of Science in Irrigation and water Resources Management, all from the American University of Beirut. His research interests revolve around water management and use, efficient irrigation design, remote sensing and climate change.

Rana El Hajj is program manager for Climate Change and Environment at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (AUB). In her current capacity El Hajj works on advancing and linking research to policy on climate change related topics in Lebanon and the Middle East and North Africa region and on bridging the gap between different stakeholders. Current focus areas include climate change adaptation; waterenergy-food security nexus; regional security; water governance; and resilience in cities.

Nadim Farajalla is the director of the Climate Change and the Environment Program at the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. His current research focuses on the impact of climate change on human settlements and activities with focus on adaptation and resilience; the nexus of water-energy-food security and climate change; and recovery of devastated land due to anthropogenic activities such as wars, farming, quarrying, etc.

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01/10/18

Strategic policymaking and Germany’s MENA aid programme

The dramatic increases in Germany’s official aid to MENA countries since 2011 have not been accompanied by a public strategy setting out Germany’s objectives in the region. This raises the questions of what the German government’s strategic objectives for its MENA aid are, and whether they actually address development and humanitarian challenges in the region. Although new priorities have been set, Germany’s MENA aid programme shows signs of policy incoherence and fragmentation. A whole-of-government strategy based on the Sustainable Development Goals would help balance German interests with the MENA region’s development priorities.

Mark Furness is a researcher in the Inter- and Transnational Cooperation with the Global South Research Programme at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn. His research and policy advisory work focuses on German and European development cooperation, policy coherence, and the MENA region.

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01/10/18

Autocracy, democracy and populism in the Arab region with reference to Tunisia

In contrast with populism’s recent manifestations in the west, where concerns of its posing a threat to established democracies have been raised, in the Arab region populist movements have often played a positive role in promoting transition towards democratic governance, the Tunisian experience being a notable illustration. A main explanation of this difference lies in the contrasting political contexts in the west and the Arab world: entrenched democracies vs with one or two exceptions varying forms of autocracies.

Hajer El Ouardani is Assistant Professor of Economics and Director of the Economic and Quantitative Methods Department, the Higher School of Economic and Commercial Sciences at the University of Tunis; researcher at the “Prospective, Stratégies et Développement Durable” laboratory (University of Tunis El Manar) and member the Centre d’Etudes en Macroéconomie et Finance Internationale (Nice,France). Her research interests include monetary and fiscal economics and economies of the Middle East region.

Samir Makdisi is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Founding Director of the Institute of Financial Economics, the American University of Beirut; member of the Board of Trustees, Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey (Cairo); and Member of the Board of Directors of the Forum for Euro-Med. Economic Research Institutes (Marseilles).His research interests include monetary, international and development economics and the political economy of the Middle East region.

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01/10/18

Gender equality in entrepreneurship in the Near and Middle East

In this article we shed light on the determining factors affecting the development of female entrepreneurship in MENA countries. we overview social, legal and economic backgrounds and based on this review as well as our conducted studies, we draw a series of recommendations in order to overcome difficulties and foster female entrepreneurship in the region.

Mohsen Tavakoli is a research assistant and Ph.D. candidate. His major research interests lie in analysing the interplay between entrepreneurship development and entrepreneurship education, the internationalisation process of SMEs and health in the workplace.

Catherine Laffineur is an Associate Professor of Economics at University Côte d’Azur, specialising in labour economics, international economics and entrepreneurship. Her work has been published in academic journals such as Small Business Economics, Review of world Economics, and Annals of Economics and Statistics.

Alain Fayolle is a Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and the founder of the Entrepreneurship Research Centre at EM Lyon Business School, France. He received the 2013 European Entrepreneurship Education Award and was elected Chair of the AOM Entrepreneurship Division for the 2016-2017 academic year. In 2015, he was named a wilford L. white Fellow by the International Council for Small Business.

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01/10/18

The Middle East politics of entrepreneurship: A brief review on entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool in Gulf Cooperation Council countries

The paper aims to present a brief review besides relevant discussions of the usage of entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool among Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Therefore, statesponsored ecopreneurship, social entrepreneurship and commercial entrepreneurship among the states have been seen as the promotion of the foreign politics of the six Arab states. Moreover, for each one of the states a policy was defined and introduced.

Amin Forouharfar is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Sistan and Baluchestan (USB), located in southeast of Iran. His expertise is on the fields of Public Administration strategies and entrepreneurship, especially in the MENA region.

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01/10/18

Economic reforms as a means to diversification in the Arab Gulf states

The current economic reform agenda unfolding across the Arab Gulf states is a reaction to the sharp decline in oil prices that began in late 2014. As prices recover, there are threats to the immediacy of the fiscal pressure to reform, but the larger pressures to diversify economies away from resource dependency in ways that build private sectors that can supply jobs and boost productivity remain strong. Governments are at a crossroads. There will be important variation in policy formation, opportunity creation and service delivery in the region. These are experimental times in Gulf policy formation and governance. Economic governance is increasingly connected to ambitious foreign policies and questions on the state’s commitment to citizens, and its reliance on foreign labour.

Karen E. Young is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She teaches courses on the politics and economics of the Middle East at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her research focuses on the political economy of the Gulf states and emerging markets.

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