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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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01/01/20

Rethinking unsustainability in Tunisia’s sustainable development

This article problematises sustainable development in Tunisia through the lens of regional (under)development. Decades of accumulated imbalances between the country’s coastal (Sahel) and southern/interior regions stand as barriers to ‘inclusive citizenship.’ Spatially transposed imbalances in service provision and economic goods (income and employment) are compounded by unequal burden-sharing of costs of development by people and environment of the central and southern regions. while institutional democratic gains since the 2011 revolution have been substantial, regional disparities in Tunisia have only been exacerbated in recent years. This calls for critical rethinking, in scholarship and policy, of the interplays between sustainable and unsustainable development (e.g. in the tourism industry).

Larbi Sadiki is Professor of Arab Democratization at Qatar University. He is the Lead Principal Investigator on the QNRF-funded project ‘Transitions of Islam and Democracy: Engendering ‘Democratic Learning’ and Civic Identities,’ and editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics (2020).

Layla Saleh is Associate Professor in the Department of International Affairs, Qatar
University. She is a Principal Investigator in the QNRF-funded ‘Transitions of Islam
and Democracy: Engendering ‘Democratic Learning’ and Civic Identities,’ and the author of US Hard Power in the Arab World: Resistance, the Syrian Uprising, and the War on Terror (Routledge, 2017).

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01/01/20

Sustainable development and environmental policy in the Middle East and North Africa

The advanced sustainable development agenda that is taking place in the oil-rich Arab Gulf monarchies is frequently described as a mere ‘greenwash’. From this perspective, the article argues that some Gulf monarchs have strategically exploited the ‘green niche’ in order to foster their grip on power. As ‘adaptable autocrats’ they benefit from the global trend on sustainability and have managed to adjust their policy accordingly.

Katharina Nicolai works at the Erlangen Centre for Islam and Law in Europe and is a PhD candidate at the Chair of Middle East Politics and Society at the Friedrich-
Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany). She studied Political Science, Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies in Heidelberg, Marburg, Erlangen (Germany), Leuven (Belgium), and Rabat (Morocco). Her research focusses on political systems of MENA, foreign policy and geopolitical trends in MENA, autocracy studies, and environmental sustainability.

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01/01/20

Orient I 2020

Iyad Dhaoui
Youth unemployment and social inclusion in MENA countries: Challenges and patterns

Manfred A. Lange
Climate change and the water-energy nexus in the MENA region

Tobias Zumbrägel
Beyond greenwashing: Sustaining power through sustainability in the Arab Gulf monarchies

Katharina Nicolai
Sustainable development and environmental policy in the Middle East and North Africa

Larbi Sadiki and Layla Saleh
Rethinking unsustainability in Tunisia’s sustainable development

Lea Zgheib, Nay Karam and Nadim Farajalla
SDGs and water management in the MENA region: A comparative analysis of Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia

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01/10/19

Jordan: Stability and instability in the Hashemite Kingdom

June 2019 marked the twentieth year of the reign of King Abdullah II in Jordan. In these two decades, Jordan has faced no shortage of internal and external challenges, including the regional ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011-2012. But the last several years have been particularly trying, especially with the emergence of the Trump administration in the United States, shifts in key regional alliances and alignments, and worsening economic conditions. Traditional allies like the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE seemed to partially sideline Jordan with a ‘deal of the century’ in mind, and many Jordanians worried that any ‘peace’ deal might come at their expense. Meanwhile Jordan’s longstanding economic and fiscal crises had grown even worse, with Jordanians lamenting unemployment, inflation, and corruption in public life. Many have taken to the streets in protests, demonstrations, and strikes to make clear their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Even as Jordanians feared that their own allies might sell them out in any potential US-brokered ‘peace’ deal, the kingdom faced deepening crises from within and from without. This article examines the question of stability in Jordan, including the economic and political challenges to its internal stability, as well as the impact of external challenges to that stability.

Curtis R. Ryan is a Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. He has written extensively on international relations in the Middle East, on inter-Arab relations, alliance politics, and on Jordanian domestic politics and foreign policy. He is the author of three books: Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah (Lynne Rienner, 2002), Inter-Arab Alliances: Regime Security and Jordanian Foreign Policy (University Press of Florida, 2009), and most recently, Jordan and the Arab Uprisings: Regime Survival and Politics Beyond the State (Columbia University Press, 2018).

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01/10/19

The military, the economy, and social instability in Egypt under al-Sisi

During the past five years, officers have been in control of the Egyptian state apparatus and struggling economy. The military regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi applies economic policies that generate acute discontent among the increasingly impoverished lower classes. Meanwhile, officers corruptly accumulate wealth by occupying government offices and expanding monopolistic business enterprises. Despite the apparent political stability of the regime, social instability is the hidden reality.

Zeinab Abul-Magd is a freelance security and policy analyst with a special focus on North Africa. He was the Austrian Defense Attaché to Italy, Greece, Libya and Tunisia from 2007 to 2012. He has a Master’s Degree from the University of Vienna (Political Science) and from the National Defense University/National War College in Washington D.C. (National Security Strategy; distinguished graduate). He is Director of the California-based advisory company Perim Associates. Since 2016 he is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Council on US-Libya Relations.

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01/10/19

Lebanon and the plight of living under volcanoes

This article examines how vulnerable Lebanon is with respect to a series of nested crises unfolding in the Middle East, while having little bearing on the course of events. In this regard, one can see the extent to which these crises are intertwined (in such a way that none can be solved in isolation) through a transversal examination of their reception in the Lebanese arena. On top of that, Lebanon is facing pressing economic challenges not adequately dealt with by the authorities whose dysfunctionality is mainly related to the confessional system of governance, further exposing the country to regional turbulence. The ruling political class’ reliance on wishful thinking solutions and social resilience in the face of shocks endangers Lebanon’s stability.

Rayan Haddad holds a PhD in International Relations from Sciences Po Paris (2007). He is a member of the Cercle des Chercheurs sur le Moyen-Orient (Paris). His main research interests lie in studying the importation of exogenous conflicts into the Lebanese arena and Hezbollah’s policies.

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01/10/19

Orient IV 2019

Rayan Haddad
Lebanon and the plight of living under volcanoes

Curtis R. Ryan
Jordan: Stability and instability in the Hashemite Kingdom

Michael Semple
Locating the Uzbek narrative of social justice within the Afghan Taliban movement’s political culture

Ruth Hanau Santini
The state of dis-Union: The EU and Europe in the MENA region since 2011

Wolfgang Pusztai
Key factors of instability in Libya

Zeinab Abul-Magd
The military, the economy, and social instability in Egypt under al-Sisi

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01/10/19

Locating the Uzbek narrative of social justice within the Afghan Taliban movement’s political culture

This article considers how Uzbek members of the Afghan Taliban Movement thought about ethnic relations and pursued a notion of social justice in their dealings with the ethnic Pashtun leadership of the movement. The political culture of the movement frustrated the Uzbeks’ aspirations to control appointments of officials in areas inhabited by Afghanistan’s Turkic minorities. The contradictions between Taliban political culture and the Uzbeks’ idea of social justice drove strategic decisions by Uzbek and Turkman Taliban during the post-2001 phase of jihadi, including their attempt to align with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Michael Semple is a professor at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast. He conducts research and dialogue, delivers policy advice and participates in the public debate on conflict and peacemaking in Southern Asia and the Middle East. He has published extensively on the Taliban movement. His recent work includes research into the political culture of the Taliban and its implications for peace-making strategies. He has worked and travelled extensively in Afghanistan and Pakistan for three decades. He has served with the United Nations and was deputy to the European Union Special Representative in Afghanistan.

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01/07/19

Politics after Turkey’s exit from democracy

This article argues that the local elections of 31 March are a major turning point for Turkey’s political prospects. The re-run of the elections in Istanbul should not be understood as an indicator for the country’s democratic backsliding or its ‘exit from democracy’ – a critical juncture that happened much earlier – but suggests that even under the conditions of an albeit unstable dictatorship, elections can have unintended but far reaching consequences. In the Turkish case, this is the emergence of an emboldened opposition that for the first time in the country’s history now faces the opportunity to embrace a democratic habitus and carry the country beyond its longstanding predicament of being a ‘democracy without democrats’.

Kerem Öktem is Professor of Southeast European Studies and Modern Turkey at the University of Graz and Associate of the Centre of International Studies at the University of Oxford. He is also the founding chair of the Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey. He studied Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford, where he wrote his PhD in the field of Political Geography. He works on Turkish politics with a particular interest in ethnic and religious politics and social movements. Turkey’s Exit from Democracy (Routledge, 2018, co-edited with Karabekir Akkouyunlu), explores the political and societal dimensions of de-democratisation in the context of the country’s transition to a hyper-presidential regime.

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01/07/19

Structural reforms in Turkey

The paper discusses the structural reforms that Turkey needs to introduce in order to attain an environment that will enhance the prospect for growth and improved living standards and simultaneously decrease the occurrence of economic crisis over time. After discussing governance and economic growth issues, the paper concentrates on how Turkey could establish a rule-based liberal market economy.

Sübidey Togan is Professor Emeritus at Bilkent University. His publications include Foreign Trade Regime and Trade Liberalization in Turkey during the 1980’s (Avebury 1994), The Economy of Turkey since Liberalization (Macmillan Press ltd, 1996, co-editor v. N. Balasubramanyam), Turkey and Central and Eastern European Countries in Transition: Towards Membership of the EU (Palgrave Macmillan ltd., 2001, co-editor v.N. Balasubramanyam), Turkey: Economic Reform & Accession to the European Union (world Bank and Centre for Economic Policy Research CEPR, 2005, co-editor B. Hoekman), Macroeconomic Policies for EU Accession (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2007, co-editors E. Başçı and J. von Hagen), Economic Liberalization and Turkey (Routledge, 2010) and The Liberalization of Transportation Services in the EU and Turkey (Oxford University Press, 2016). His area of interest is International Economics.

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01/07/19

Turkey’s 2019 municipal elections

The article introduces the legal basis of Turkish municipalism from the late Ottoman Empire until the last law change in 2012. It then gives an overview of municipal practice and shows the similarities and differences between the ruling party AKP and the main opposition party CHP in realising the legal requirements. The article concludes with some suggestions – albeit from a purely municipal perspective – as to why the CHP seems to be have been more successful in greater municipality elections recently.

Charlotte Joppien is managing director at the Türkei Europa Zentrum at University of Hamburg, and a researcher at the administrative court in Hamburg. Her dissertation on municipal practice and party organisation in Turkey was awarded the dissertation award of the Society for Turkology, Ottoman and Turkish Studies and was published in 2018 Municipal Politics in Turkey: Local Government and Party Organisation (Routledge).

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01/07/19

Orient III 2019

Salim Çevik
Municipal elections and its long-term impact

Charlotte Joppien
Turkey’s 2019 municipal elections

Sübidey Togan
Structural reforms in Turkey

Kerem Öktem
Politics after Turkey’s exit from democracy

Funda Tekin
Turkey and the EU: From accession to estrangement?

Özlem Tür
Turkish foreign policy and the Syrian crisis: Challenges, opportunities and shifting alliances

Ergin Günes
Refugees as an instrument of Turkish power politics

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