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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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01/04/20

The Algerian Hirak: youth mobilisation, elections and prospects for reform

Throughout 2019, millions of mainly young Algerians mobilised peacefully, after an unconstitutional decision by ailing president Bouteflika to run for a fifth term. largely underreported, the Hirak movement has profound implications. After two cancelled elections, Algerians went to the polls in December 2019, electing Abdelmadjid Tebboune as president. The election saw low turnout, as all candidates had links to the former regime, and Algerians continue to peacefully protest and organise politically for real reform.

Jessica Ayesha Northey is Postgraduate Research Director at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. She is the author of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, identity and the democratic process (I.B.Tauris, 2018).

Latefa Guemar is Research Associate with the University of East london. She has conducted extensive research in Algeria, North Africa and the Middle East with a focus on forced
migration and gender.

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01/04/20

Orient II 2020

Ezzeddine Abdelmoula
How sustainable is the Tunisian democratic exception?

Jessica Ayesha Northey and Latefa Narriman Guemar
The Algerian Hirak: Youth mobilisation, elections and prospects for reform

Katharina Konarek
Israel and its electoral system

Ellinor Zeino
Peace versus democracy? The US peace deal with the Taliban in the context of Afghanistan’s government crisis

Ömer Faruk Gençkaya and Pinar Dikmen
Election security in Turkey

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01/04/20

How sustainable is the Tunisian democratic exception?

Unlike the rest of the Arab Spring countries, which failed to democratise, Tunisia seems to have brought its democratic transition to a successful completion. Since 2011, the country embarked on a challenging electoral process along with the building of a new institutional architecture. After a number of consecutive free, competitive and undisputed elections, the debate about Tunisia’s democratisation has shifted from transition to consolidation. The question is no longer about whether Tunisians are capable of establishing a democratic system but about their ability to sustain their nascent democracy. The fact that Tunisia was the starting point of the Arab Spring and the only country to succeed in democratising its political system raised a number of questions about the specificity of this experience. Among the possible answers is the political culture factor, which the author discusses with some historical evidence. The political culture argument helps in assessing the degree to which this unique experience can survive in an unfavourable environment. A number of indicators show that, after nine years of democratic learning and practicing, the so-called Tunisian exception is likely to continue. This paper tries to understand this challenging yet successful transition to the consolidation phase from a democratisation theory perspective.

Ezzeddine Abdelmoula is manager of research at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. His research interest covers international politics and International theories, democratisation, political Islam, and media studies. He holds a PhD in politics from Exeter University and a Masters from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of london.

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01/01/20

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

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.

Tobias Zumbrägel is a researcher at the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) (Germany) as well as PhD candidate at the Chair of Middle East Politics and Society at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany). He studied History, Political Science and Middle East Studies in Cologne, Tübingen (Germany) and Cairo (Egypt). Zumbrägel has conducted extensive field research in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. His research focuses on questions of legitimacy, power and state authority in the Middle East with a special interest in environmentalism and digitalisation.

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01/01/20

Climate change and the water-energy nexus in the MENA region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is home to some 500 million people and is characterised by strong environmental, economic, political and societal gradients. The region is expected to experience higher-than mean global changes in climatic conditions in the near future. Impacts of these changes will be particularly significant for water and energy security in many of the MENA countries. These impacts lead directly to significant issues of national and regional security. Addressing these challenges calls for integrated and holistic considerations and measures in the context of the water-energy nexus.

Manfred A. Lange is Professor and Founding Director of the Energy, Environment and water Research Center at the Cyprus Institute. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) and is a member of the Facilitation Team for the Future Earth water-Energy-Food Nexus Knowledge Action Network (Nexus-KAN). His main research interests include the assessment of climate change impacts with a focus on water- and energy security, renewable energy sources and energy and water use efficiency in the built environment.

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01/01/20

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted political relations around the world; however, none have been felt as abruptly as within the Gulf Cooperation Council States. As a result of the sudden of threat materialisation, there has been a surge in the manipulation of technological and social applications in a bid to increase the state’s control over society. This has been legitimised by the pandemic but has its roots in the survival of the state.

Iyad Dhaoui is a researcher at the Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies, a think tank based in Tunis. He received a PhD in Economics from the University of Sfax, Tunisia. He is interested in conducting economic studies relating notably to the development perspectives and the impacts of social and economic reforms. Areas of expertise include human capital, education, labour market, and economic development.

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01/01/20

SDGs and water management in the MENA region: A comparative analysis of Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia

The three dimensions of sustainable development – economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion – are all intricately linked to water management. The Middle East and North Africa region, however, suffers greatly from water scarcity which in many locations has hampered development and affected many communities, especially the poor. This article looks at the cross-cutting nature of water in the SDGs and how SDG 6 is being addressed in the water management of three representative countries from the MENA: Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia.

Lea Zgheib is Research Assistant at the Climate Change and Environment Program at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut.

Nay Karam is Research Assistant at the Climate Change and Environment Program at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut.

Nadim Farajalla is Director of the Climate Change and Environment Program at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut.

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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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