[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fourteenth in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
Acta Politica (Volume 55, Issue 4)
Before constitution-making: the struggle for constitution-making design in post-revolutionary Egypt
By: Tereza Jermanová
Abstract: Scholars have recently become attentive not only to the institutional designs that constitutions set up, but also to the constitutional change processes. Most authors, who are concerned with the effects the design of constitution-making processes have on outcomes, have focused on the main constitution-making bodies and their characteristics, leaving aside the question of what happens before members of constituent assemblies meet to deliberate. This article makes the point that to better understand constitution-making and its outcomes, we need to take into account the overlooked early stage of constitutional change when political actors debate and set the rules for how a constitution will be made. Building on various political science perspectives and the case study of the 2011–2012 constitutional reform in Egypt, it underscores the inevitably contentious nature of the design of a constitution-making process. It also highlights the impact that unresolved conflicts over the design can have for the agreement on a constitution between political opponents in the context of a democratic transition. In Egypt, adoption of a broadly accepted constitution was hindered by on-going struggles between Islamists and non-Islamists over their preferred constitution-making designs. The article also outlines the factors that make the settlement on constitution-making rules unlikely.
British Journal of Political Science (Volume 50, Issue 4)
The Future is a Moving Target: Predicting Political Instability
By: Drew Bowlsby, Erica Chenoweth, Cullen Hendrix, Jonathan D. Moyer
Abstract: Previous research by Goldstone et al. (2010) generated a highly accurate predictive model of state-level political instability. Notably, this model identifies political institutions – and partial democracy with factionalism, specifically – as the most compelling factors explaining when and where instability events are likely to occur. This article reassesses the model’s explanatory power and makes three related points: (1) the model’s predictive power varies substantially over time; (2) its predictive power peaked in the period used for out-of-sample validation (1995–2004) in the original study and (3) the model performs relatively poorly in the more recent period. The authors find that this decline is not simply due to the Arab Uprisings, instability events that occurred in autocracies. Similar issues are found with attempts to predict nonviolent uprisings (Chenoweth and Ulfelder 2017) and armed conflict onset and continuation (Hegre et al. 2013). These results inform two conclusions: (1) the drivers of instability are not constant over time and (2) care must be exercised in interpreting prediction exercises as evidence in favor or dispositive of theoretical mechanisms.
Do Islamic State’s Deadly Attacks Disengage, Deter, or Mobilize Supporters?
By: Joan Barceló, Elena Labzina
Abstract: What are the consequences of committing violent attacks for terrorist organizations? Terrorist attacks might broaden the base of supporters by increasing the perceived group efficacy. However, terrorist attacks might also lead its supporters to believe that the organization is excessively violent or involvement may become too dangerous. This article employs a unique dataset with 300,842 observations of 13,321 Twitter accounts linked to the Islamic State (IS), collected during a 127-day period, to empirically investigate the impact of terrorist attacks on the number of the organization’s supporters. By exploiting the exogenous timing of terrorist attacks as a natural experiment, we find that the number of followers of IS-related Twitter accounts significantly reduces in the aftermath of the attacks. Additionally, we provide some suggestive evidence to disentangle two mechanisms: disengagement – a change in supporters’ beliefs – and deterrence – demobilization due to fear. Because we do not find support for the latter, we conclude that the disengagement effect might explain our main result.
Comparative Political Studies (Volume 53, Issue 13)
The Power to Resist: Mobilization and the Logic of Terrorist Attacks in Civil War
By: Sara M. T. Polo, Belén González
Abstract: Existing research has argued that terrorism is common in civil war because it is “effective.” Surprisingly, however, only some groups use terrorism during civil wars, while many refrain altogether. We also see considerable variation in the use of terrorism over time. This article presents a theory of terrorism as a mobilization strategy in civil war, taking into account benefits, costs, and temporal dynamics. We argue that the choice and the timing of terrorism arise from the interaction between conditions for effective mobilization and battlefield dynamics. Terrorism can mobilize support when it provokes indiscriminate government repression or when it radicalizes rebels’ constituency by antagonizing specific societal groups. The timing of attacks, however, is influenced by battlefield losses, which increase rebels’ need to rally civilian support. The analyses of new disaggregated data on rebels’ terrorist attacks during conflicts (1989–2009) and of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tactics in Iraq and Syria support our theoretical argument.
Comparative Politics (Volume 53, Issue 1)
Threat Perception and Democratic Support in Post-Arab Spring Egypt
By: Shimaa Hatab
Abstract: The article examines the reasons why Egyptian elites and masses withdrew their support for democracy only two years after they staged mass protests calling for regime change in 2011. I draw on basic tenets of bounded rationality and recent advances within the field of cognitive heuristics to demonstrate how cues generated from domestic and regional developments triggered stronger demands for security and stability. Drawing on elite interviews and public opinion surveys, I show how both elites and the masses paid special attention to intense and vivid events which then prompted a demand for the strong man model. Fears of Islamists pushed both elites and masses to update their preferences, seek refuge in old regime bargains, and reinstate authoritarianism.
Rebuilding the Ba`thist State: Party, Tribe, and Administrative Control in Authoritarian Iraq, 1991–1996
By: Lisa Blaydes
Abstract: How do authoritarian states establish control in the wake of regime threatening shocks? The 1991 Uprisings—anti-regime protests across Iraqi provinces—were a turning point for Saddam Hussein and the Ba’th Party. I discuss two strategies deployed by the Ba’thist regime to reconsolidate political authority after the rebellion, both influenced by concerns about extending control to geographically-challenging locations. First, the regime collaborated with tribal intermediaries to outsource monitoring and social control of rural areas, particularly in border regions. Second, the regime expanded Ba’th Party influence in Iraq’s “second cities,” like Basra and Mosul, major population centers located near the border of rival states Iran and Turkey. These findings suggest weak states seek to increase their strength through investment in local political actors and in ways that are geographically differentiated across regions.
Women in Legislative Committees in Arab Parliaments
By: Marwa M. Shalaby, Laila Elimam
Abstract: Extant studies have predominantly focused on women’s numerical presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)’s legislatures, yet, research examining the role played by female politicians continues to be limited. To bridge this gap, we study one of the most important, albeit overlooked, bodies within these assemblies: legislative committees. Using an original dataset on committee memberships (n=4580), our data show that females are significantly marginalized from influential committees and tend to be sidelined to social issues and women’s committees. To explain this, we develop a theory of provisional gender stereotyping. We argue that the duration of quota implementation shapes women’s access to influential committees. We focus on two mechanisms to support our argument: a redistribution of power dynamics within legislative bodies and women’s political expertise.
Comparative Studies in Society and History (Volume 62, Issue 4)
Small Warriors? Children and Youth in Colonial Insurgencies and Counterinsurgency, ca. 1945–1960
By: Stacey Hynd
Abstract: Child soldiers are often viewed as a contemporary, “new war” phenomenon, but international concern about their use first emerged in response to anti-colonial liberation struggles. Youth were important actors in anti-colonial insurgencies, but their involvement has been neglected in existing historiographies of decolonization and counterinsurgency due to the absence and marginalization of youth voices in colonial archives. This article analyses the causes of youth insurgency and colonial counterinsurgency responses to their involvement in conflict between ca. 1945 and 1960, particularly comparing Kenya and Cyprus, but also drawing on evidence from Malaya, Indochina/Vietnam, and Algeria. It employs a generational lens to explore the experiences of “youth insurgents” primarily between the ages of twelve and twenty. Youth insurgents were most common where the legitimate grievances of youth were mobilized by anti-colonial groups who could recruit children through colonial organizations as well as family and social networks. While some teenagers fought due to coercion or necessity, others were politically motivated and willing to risk their lives for independence. Youth soldiers served in multiple capacities in insurgencies, from protestors to couriers to armed fighters, in roles that were shaped by multiple logics: the need for troop fortification and sustained manpower; the tactical exploitation of youth liminality, and the symbolic mobilization of childhood and discourses of childhood innocence. Counterinsurgency responses to youthful insurgents commonly combined violence and development, highlighting tensions within late colonial governance: juveniles were beaten, detained, and flogged, but also constructed as “delinquents” rather than “terrorists” to facilitate their subsequent “rehabilitation.”
Deception and Violence in the Ottoman Empire: The People’s Theory of Crowd Behavior during the Hamidian Massacres of 1895
By: Ali Sipahi
Abstract: This article is an historical ethnography of the popular conceptualizations of crowd behavior during the pogroms against the Armenians in the Ottoman East in 1895–1896. It draws on contemporary sources like official telegrams, governmental reports, letters of American missionaries, and Armenian periodicals to show that observers with otherwise highly conflicting views described the structure of the event in the exact same way: as an outcome of sinister deception. Without exception, all parties told some story of deception to explain the violent attacks of the Kurdish semi-nomadic crowds on the Armenian neighborhoods of the city of Harput. The article analyzes these cases of disguise, deluding, and inculcation to reveal how contemporary observers theorized crowd behavior in general and the atrocities they witnessed in particular. They did not perceive violence as an index of social distance or deep societal divisions. On the contrary, they described a world in which Armenians and Muslims lived a shared life, and where one attacked the other only when deceived. Methodologically, the article lifts barriers between intellectual history and social history on behalf of an historical ethnography of people’s theories about their own society.
Nationalist Spirits of Islamic Law after World War I: An Arab-Indian Battle of Fatwas over Alcohol, Purity, and Power
By: Leor Halevi
Abstract: In 1922, one of the most famous Muslim scholars of modern times, the Syrian-Egyptian reformer Rashīd Riḍā, published in his journal a detailed fatwa in defense of alcohol. He did so in reaction to an obscure Indian jurist’s fatwa that had warned Muslims not to use alcoholic products. On the surface, the authors of the fatwas appeared to be principally concerned with the right way to interpret sacred laws of purity and pollution. However, this article reveals that their disagreement had much to do with differing approaches to the politics of independence. Their divergence is intriguing because the cities where they lived, Cairo and Bombay, had just experienced the convulsions of anti-British consumer boycotts. And it emerged at a time when anti-imperial Muslim activists from the Middle East and South Asia were rallying together for a pan-Islamic cause—to prevent the final collapse of the caliphate. These movements swayed both Riḍā and his rival, who may well be described as Muslim nationalists. Yet they embraced radically different strategies for independence. One aimed for national purity, the other for national power. This discrepancy led to the battle of fatwas—a forgotten battle that is worth remembering because it suggests some of the difficulties that Muslim jurists of Arab or Indian ancestry faced during the interwar period when they tried to turn Islamic law into an effective nationalist discourse.
Democratization (Volume 27, Issues 6 & 7)
State of the world 2019: autocratization surges – resistance grows
By: Seraphine F. Maerz, Anna Lührmann, Sebastian Hellmeier, Sandra Grahn, Staffan I. Lindberg
Abstract: This article analyses the state of democracy in the world in 2019. We demonstrate that the “third wave of autocratization” is accelerating and deepening. The dramatic loss of eight democracies in the last year sets a new record in the rate of breakdowns. Exemplifying this crisis is Hungary, now the EU’s first ever authoritarian member state. Governmental assaults on civil society, freedom of expression, and the media are proliferating and becoming more severe. A new and disturbing trend is that the quality of elections is now also deteriorating in many countries. Nevertheless, there are also positive signs: pro-democracy protests reached an all-time high in 2019. People are taking to the streets to protest the erosion of democracies and challenge dictators. Popular protests have contributed to substantial democratization in 22 countries over the last ten years – including Armenia, Tunisia, and Ecuador. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic. Responses to the crisis, including many states of emergencies, risk further accelerating autocratization.
Mobile emergency rule in Turkey: legal repression of protests during authoritarian transformation
By: Mert Arslanalp, T. Deniz Erkmen
Abstract: One of the challenges of autocratizing governments in regimes with nominally democratic institutions is how to repress fundamental democratic rights while claiming to uphold the rule of law. Post-9/11 socio-legal debates point to the emergency rule as a legal framework within democratic constitutions that can be potentially used to hollow out citizens’ rights. But the study of emergency rule is often limited to its enactment under extraordinary situations. This article takes the crucial case of Turkey’s authoritarian transformation and develops the concept of mobile emergency rule to argue that emergency-like suspensions of rights also occur in highly localized and temporary forms in the absence of an officially declared state of emergency. Based on an original dataset, it examines all legal bans on protests issued by authorities between 2007 and 2018 in the name of maintaining order and security. The results illustrate how the use of this tool dovetailed with key turning points of authoritarian transformation in Turkey and reflected the changing needs of the regime as it tried to build and sustain a new hegemonic project. In effect, mobile emergency rule created a highly ambiguous terrain for protest rights even before the declaration of state of emergency in July 2016.
Youth quotas and “Jurassic Park” politicians: age as a heuristic for vote choice in Tunisia’s new democracy
By: Kirstie Lynn Dobbs
Abstract: Countries that undergo a democratic transition often adopt youth quotas to ensure stability and legitimacy in the eyes of a potentially rebellious youth cohort. Tunisia followed this trend by instating a youth quota after undergoing a youth-led democratic revolution in 2011. This subsequently led to youth representing 52% of the candidates (aged 18–35) in the 2018 municipal elections. However, it has yet to be tested whether a candidate’s age matters when evaluating politicians and casting a ballot in elections among Tunisian voters. This article explores the link between age and candidate evaluations which has been largely understudied in the political behaviour literature. Using an original survey experiment fielded in Tunisia, I run a series of regressions that model the relationship between several age treatments and candidate evaluations. Overall, I find that most Tunisians do not use age as a heuristic cue when evaluating political candidates running for office with the exception of the oldest voters who tend to prefer a candidate that is in their 50s. These results showcase the potential limitations of youth quotas serving as a mechanism ascertaining governmental legitimacy in the eyes of young people.
Cross-ideological coalitions under authoritarian regimes: Islamist-left collaboration among Morocco’s excluded opposition
By: Alfonso Casani
Abstract: The 2011 popular uprisings across the MENA region demonstrated the organization of broad cross-ideological collaborations that were able to overcome some of the political cleavages that have traditionally characterized these societies, and more remarkably, the division between left-wing and Islamist actors. However, political tensions soon arose in the new post-uprising scenarios, with secularist-Islamist polarization increasing once again across the region. Contrary to this trend, Morocco saw an increase in collaboration between the opposition Left and Islamist movements. This article delves into the reasons why the opposition in Morocco has been able to avoid polarization, with, instead, an increase in cross-ideological coalitions opposing the regime. To that end, it analyses the rapprochement between the Islamist association Al-Adl wa-l-Ihsane and the country’s left-wing parties, more noticeably the Democratic Way party. It argues that it is due to the excluded nature of these actors and their lack of electoral interests, that they have overcome political pressures and found new forms of collaboration. By drawing on an extensive corpus of in-depth interviews carried out in the Rabat-Casablanca region, this article examines the development of cross-ideological coalitions in the Moroccan opposition, while contributing, more broadly, to the study of cross-ideological coalitions under authoritarian regimes.
Authoritarian diffusion or cooperation? Turkey’s emerging engagement with China
By: Gözde Yilmaz, Nilgün Eliküçük Yıldırım
Abstract: With the recent trend of autocratization in the world, scholars have begun to focus on authoritarian diffusion, cooperation, and autocracy promotion. Despite still being at an early stage theoretically and empirically, this expansion of diffusion literature has informed us about the possibilities of authoritarian diffusion and cooperation. In contrast to the recent focus on regional patterns of authoritarian diffusion and cooperation, this article explores a global process of authoritarian cooperation between Turkey and China. Focusing on the growing economic and political linkages between Turkey and China, we argue that, rather than authoritarian diffusion or autocracy promotion from China to Turkey, the increasing pragmatic cooperation among authoritarian states is the new game in town, shaped by interest-driven calculations to bolster power internally and internationally.
Electoral Studies (Volumes 67 & 68)
Social identity and coethnic voting in the Middle East: Experimental evidence from Qatar
By: Bethany Shockley, Justin J. Gengler
Abstract: What explains widespread coethnic voting in the Middle East? The prevailing understanding revolves around clientelism: the view that MENA citizens support coethnic parties and candidates in order to most easily or effectively extract resources from the patrimonial state. Previous research has thus neglected non-economic explanations of ethnic-based preferences and outcomes in MENA elections, including social biases long identified in other settings. This study presents findings from a conjoint survey experiment in Qatar, where symbolic elections lack distributional implications. Consistent with expectations derived from social identity theory, results reveal strong favoritism of cosectarian candidates, whereas objective candidate qualifications do not affect voter preferences. Bias is especially strong in a policy domain – promoting religious values – that prompts respondents to consider the candidate’s ethnic identity. Findings offer clear evidence that ethnic-based voting in Qatar and likely elsewhere is not merely epiphenomenal but can reflect actual preferences for members of social in-groups.
Vote with your rabbi: The electoral effects of religious institutions in Israel
By: Michael Freedman
Abstract: How do religious parties mobilize local support and what impact does different political strategies have on neighborhoods? Previous literature focuses on the social welfare benefits distributed by religious parties. In this paper, I analyze how religious political parties in Israel generate grassroots support among voters by allying with Jewish religious institutions. Using original data, I examine the association between the timing of entry of religious institutions into neighborhoods and local voting patterns for Israeli national elections. I find that religious institutions are associated with a 4-percentage point increase in the local vote share for religious parties, where this effect is larger for religious institutions with connections to political parties. My results suggest that the primary mechanism driving these results are that these institutions influence the vote choice of existing residents by distributing tangible goods. In contrast, changes to the composition of the neighborhood through in-migration has a more limited effect on voting patterns. These findings highlight the impact of religious institutions on the social and political fabric of local communities.
European Journal of International Relations (Volume 26, Issue 3)
Frontier justice: international law and ‘lawless’ spaces in the “War on Terror”
By: Alexandria J Nylen
Abstract: How does the discourse of international law facilitate extraterritorial state violence? This paper synthesizes insights from International Relations, comparative politics, and legal studies in order to explore how the sovereign foundations of international law may render “frontier territories” exceptionally vulnerable to external military intervention. I argue that international law’s focus on sovereignty constitutes frontier territories as “ambiguous,” which leads to discursive conflicts over how to define these spaces, what is considered “legal” and “illegal” action within them, and who gets to define their status. All of this creates a conducive environment for powerful international governments to denigrate frontier territories as “lawless,” by rhetorically constructing them as exceptional legal spaces that do not deserve the same protections as areas ordered by sovereign ideals. To illuminate this empirically, I conduct a discourse analysis of 16 distinct legal documents from the Obama White House, including internal memorandums and public speeches on the legal standing of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Transforming refugees into migrants: institutional change and the politics of international protection
By: Lama Mourad, Kelsey P Norman
Abstract: Since the 2015 refugee “crisis,” much has been made of the distinction between the legal category of refugee and migrant. While migration scholars have accounted for the increased blurring of these two categories through explanations of institutional drift and policy layering, we argue that the intentional policies utilized by states and international organizations to minimize legal avenues for refugees to seek protection should also be considered. We identify four practices of policy “conversion” that have also led to the increasingly problematic distinction between migrants and refugees: (1) limiting access to territory through burden-shifting and other practices of extraterritorialization; (2) limiting access to asylum and local integration through procedural and administrative hindrances; (3) the use of group-based criteria as a basis of exclusion; (4) the inclusion of non-Convention criteria within resettlement schemes. Drawing upon a historical institutionalist approach and a wide array of empirical sources—including 3 years of combined primary field research conducted in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey between 2013 and 2016—we demonstrate that states are actively pursuing a greater degree of control over the selection of refugees, in practice making refugee resettlement closer to another immigration track rather than a unique status that compels state responsibility.
European Journal of Political Research (Volume 59, Issue 4)
In‐group solidarity or out‐group hostility in response to terrorism in France? Evidence from a regression discontinuity design
By: Steven M. Van Hauwaert, Robert A. Huber
Abstract: Conventional wisdom holds that terrorism has a wide‐ranging impact on a polity. At the same time, a complementary, yet less extensive body of research discusses the impact of terrorism on the crux of representative democracy, namely its citizens. In contribution to that literature, and to further explore how external shocks affect public opinions, we propose a two‐dimensional analytical framework to examine the effects of the November 2015 terrorist events in Paris and Saint Denis. Drawing from extant scholarship, we argue that we can expect both in‐group solidarity and out‐group hostility to increase in direct response to these events. This study relies on a regression discontinuity design to analyse a representative survey (DREES) that was in the field at the time of the events. Findings are two‐fold. First, and perhaps surprisingly, we find no conclusive evidence of increasing out‐group hostilities as a direct consequence of the terrorist events. Second, we find a definite strengthening of in‐group solidarity indicators following the events. This not only confirms that citizens adjust their opinions in response to environmental stimuli, but also highlights the democratic resilience of citizens, particularly when faced with a collective threat. Altogether, these findings add to our understanding of why and how individual behaviour changes in light of exogenous shocks.
Global Change Peace & Security (Volume 32, Issue 3)
Opposition from within – Israeli soldiers resist the occupation
By: Maia Hallward, Lina Tuschling
Abstract: Protests in response to Israeli military action in the Occupied Territories have a long history in Israel. While such opposition movements in many countries are comprised of civil society activists, the dynamics of protest differ in Israel because of the country’s mandatory military service. From the 1980s to present day, former and current Israeli soldiers have used a wide range of methods, tactics, and strategies to challenge Israeli military actions. Using insights from nonviolent resistance theories, we examine how the approaches and goals of military opposition groups in Israel have changed over the past decades. Specifically, we develop a typology to explain why different types of protest arise from within the Israeli Defense Force that garner strong reactions – whether laudatory or derogatory – from the Israeli government and general public. The paper concludes with lessons learned for military opposition movements in the context of nonviolent resistance theory and practice.
Government and Opposition (Volume 55, Issue 4)
Ambiguities of Radicalism After Insurgents Become Rulers: Conflicting Pressures on Revolutionary State Power in Western Sahara’s Liberation Movement
By: Alice Wilson
Abstract: Armed insurgents seeking to seize the state often aim to transform the nature of state power. Yet for insurgents who become ruling authorities, how do radical visions of state power influence governance after the urgency of war? This article examines state-building in the liberation movement for Western Sahara, a partially recognized state which has ruled an exiled civilian Sahrawi population in Algeria from wartime through to a prolonged ceasefire. Drawing on in-depth qualitative fieldwork, and engaging with theories of radicalism, post-war sociopolitical reconstruction and anomalous forms of state power, the article traces how post-ceasefire international and domestic contexts created conflicting pressures and opportunities for both the moderation, and the continuation, of Sahrawi refugees’ wartime radical governance. This case of insurgents-turned-rulers suggests how radicalism and moderation are overlapping processes, how moderation is not necessarily an ‘undoing’ of radicalism, and how radical ideas matter for leadership and grassroots militants in different ways.
Cross-Class and Cross-Ideological Convergences over Time: Insights from the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutionary Uprisings
By: Gianni Del Panta
Abstract: The 2010–11 Arab uprisings continue to prompt a great deal of discussion. By focusing specifically on Tunisia and Egypt, this article aims to present a more dynamic account of revolutionary moments in these countries. It does so in two ways. First, the changing nature of structures and mechanisms of authoritarian domination over time is explored. Second, the convergences of different social classes and political forces during the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are not treated as unique and static occurrences. By showing how the two revolutionary networks gradually emerged and enlarged, a truer picture is thus provided. By doing so, this article aims to contribute to a more nuanced interpretation of the two revolutionary outbursts and to the development of the fourth generation of revolutionary studies.
Explaining the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s Self-Governance Practices in Northern Syria, 2012–18
By: Burcu Özçelik
Abstract: On 17 March 2016 the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (Partîya Yekîtî ya Dêmokrat, PYD) unilaterally proclaimed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria in three cantons, Afrin and Kobane in northern Aleppo province, and Jazira in Hassakeh. The party’s ideology claims to endorse the participation of civilians and certain Arab tribes and minorities in its governance councils. However, the PYD and its armed militia, the People’s Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, YPG), have been accused of committing human rights violations against civilians and installing one-party rule. Given its stated normative commitments and ideas on democracy, this ideology–practice gap begs the question: what factors facilitated the PYD to conform to its democratic pronouncements on power-sharing and inclusivity under certain conditions and, conversely, what factors permitted their abandonment or violation? By analysing the PYD’s governance record and strategies in northern Syria between 2012 and 2018, this article argues that the PYD displayed a mix of democratic adherence and transgression in its governance practices. This has meant that the PYD engaged hybrid mechanisms of democracy-building, coercion, displacement and violence in order to consolidate territorial control and assert ideological hegemony. I argue that complex networks of local, state and third-party interests complicate Kurdish self-rule in Syria, requiring a multilevel approach to understand the interrelated challenges to democratization in the post-war transition. I identify four major types of relations that have influenced the PYD’s hybrid governance practices: intra-organizational factionalism; civilian–rebel relations, especially in mixed demographic areas; international sponsors and rivals; and rebel–regime relations.
International Affairs (Volume 96, Issues 5 & 6)
Sexual violence in the border zone: the EU, the Women, Peace and Security agenda and carceral humanitarianism in Libya
By: Paul Kirby
Abstract: The last decades have seen a striking increase in international policy seeking to protect against conflict-related sexual violence. Norms of protection are, however, unevenly applied in practice. In this article, I address one such situation: the significant and growing evidence of widespread sexual violence at detention sites in Libya where migrants are imprisoned after interception on the Mediterranean Sea. Drawing on policy documents, human rights reports, interviews with advocates and officials, and an analysis of debates in the EU Parliament and UNHCR’s humanitarian evacuation scheme in Libya, I examine how abuses have been framed, and with what effects. I argue that decisions about protection are shaped not only by raced and gendered categorizations but also by a demarcation of bodies in the border zone, where vulnerability is to some degree acknowledged, but agency and responsibility also disavowed by politicians, diplomats and practitioners. The wrong of sexual violence is thus both explicitly recognized but also re-articulated in ways that lessen the obligations of the same states and regional organizations that otherwise champion the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The combination of mass pullback and detention for many migrants with evacuation for a vulnerable few is an example of carceral humanitarianism, where ‘rescue’ often translates into confinement and abuse for unwelcome populations. My analysis highlights the importance of the positionality of migrants in the Libyan border zone for the form of recognition they are afforded, and the significant limits to the implementation of the EU’s gender-responsive humanitarian policies in practice.
Bytes not waves: information communication technologies, global jihadism and counterterrorism
By: Michael Chertoff, Patrick Bury, Daniela Richterova
Abstract: Rapoport’s conceptualization of the last, religious wave of four global waves remains highly influential. But it, and other typologies, have placed too little emphasis on the influence of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the evolution of global jihadist activities. This article makes two new contributions by developing both a new ICT-based typology for understanding jihadist evolutions, and by focusing on successful attacks. Our central argument is that ICTs’ impact on global jihadism has facilitated dramatic transformations of its strategy, organization and tactics since the 1990s, and that these can be understood as four overlapping iterations. ‘Jihadism 1.0’ describes the hierarchical, top-down directed and overseas financed and trained terrorist organizations that conducted iconic attacks at the turn of the millennium. Jihadism has since evolved into ‘Jihadism 2.0’ and then ‘Jihadism 3.0’. Jihadism 2.0 recognizes that a number of smaller, coordinated attacks can have a global impact. Jihadism 3.0 is inspired terrorism that has no links to the central terror organization, utilizing individuals and crude tactics. Finally, jihadism is evolving toward ‘Jihadism 4.0’, or cyberterrorism. We argue this typology provides a useful basis for scholars and practitioners to conceptualize the ICT dynamics influencing global jihadism, and these may be applicable to other global terrorists. The conclusion analyses how counter-terrorism services can respond to these evolutions and charts areas for future research.
Water weaponization in the Syrian conflict: strategies of domination and cooperation
By: Marwa Daoudy
Abstract: How do actors weaponize water in intrastate conflicts? Existing typologies of water weaponization make deterministic differentiations between state and non-state actors and invoke opaque labels like ‘terrorism’. Furthermore, these typologies ignore how various actors engaged in violent conflict also cooperate over water, and whether water weaponization occurs beyond war. I propose a new typology for water weaponization in an analysis of the case of Syria, drawing on the leaked ‘ISIS papers’ as well as primary sources and interviews. The study begins by charting how the Ba’athist regime used water as a weapon of domination and legitimacy against its Kurdish population with infrastructure that would later facilitate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) ability to take hold of northeast Syria. I then turn to how non-state armed groups like ISIS and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have adopted strategies of water weaponization similar to the Syrian government by targeting and channelling water systems with major tactical implications. Finally, I show how enemy parties such as ISIS and the al-Assad regime weaponized cooperative water agreements to advance their mutual interests with violent implications for civilians. As such, I sort strategies of water weaponization into four categories: domination and legitimacy, military tools, military targets, and cooperation. In doing so, this new typology makes three main contributions, by: 1) accounting for how water is weaponized in state-society relations outside conflict; 2) refining existing definitions of water as a military tool and target; and 3) appraising the weapon-like effects of water cooperation.
Multinational security coalitions and the limits of middle power activism in the Middle East: the Saudi case
By: Rory Miller, Sarah Cardaun
Abstract: This article examines Saudi Arabia’s decision in recent years to use novel and hitherto unexplored informal alliance formats, which we term multinational security coalitions (MSCs). This development was initiated by the new Saudi political leadership under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who have a much greater inclination to pursue proactive foreign and security policies than their predecessors. However, it will be highlighted that beyond the priorities of individual personalities, this shift in Saudi Arabia’s behaviour occurred against the backdrop of significant changes in the existing security environment, including the perceived withdrawal of the United States from the security affairs of the region during the presidency of Barack Obama, and crucially also Saudi Arabia’s frustration over the failure of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to develop into a viable security mechanism. The article begins with the introduction of the key ideas relating to institutional design, the conceptual framework for this study. Section two outlines the most important reasons for Saudi Arabia’s choice of the MSC format. The third section examines the strengths of the MSC format—especially informality, the resulting low entry-thresholds and the low risk of entrapment—that provided Saudi Arabia with partial and temporary success in recruiting coalition partners and thus bolstering its leadership role. The final section demonstrates, however, that ultimately MSCs are not a panacea. The informality of MSCs that makes it easy for the pivotal state to assemble a coalition also makes it hard for it to forge, and enforce, a common vision.
International Interactions (Volume 46, Issue 4)
Private military and security companies, corporate structure, and levels of violence in Iraq
By: Benjamin Tkach
Abstract: This article analyzes the effect of private military and security companies (PMSCs) on levels of civilian casualties in Iraqi governorates from 2004 to 2007. Within a principal-agent framework, we argue that the capacity to monitor and evaluate PMSC performance is conditioned by the availability of performance-related information. Crucially, PMSC corporate structure impacts the information available to the employer. Differences in PMSCs’ corporate structure (e.g., whether a firm is publicly traded or closed ownership) influences the disclosure of different levels of information about a firm’s performance. A closed ownership PMSC is opaque, obstructing access to information. Publicly traded PMSCs, by contrast, have legal obligations to release information on corporate performance, policies, and contracts. Closed ownership PMSCs are correlated with increases in the likelihood of civilian casualties while publicly traded PMSCs have no effect on civilian casualties.
International Political Science Review (Volume 41, Issues 4 & 5)
Democratic disillusionment? Desire for democracy after the Arab uprisings
By: Niels Spierings
Abstract: Have the Arab uprisings influenced the desire for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa? This study presents a systematic explanation of the different impact the uprisings had on people’s desire for democracy across the region. It applies the relatively new consequence-based theory of democratic attitudes, and integrates the notion of deprivation into it. The expectations derived from this framework are tested empirically by examining data from 45 public opinion surveys in 11 Middle East and North Africa countries (2001–2014) and combining them with a systematic country-level case comparison. The study shows that the desire for democracy drops mainly in countries of major protest and initial political liberalization, but no substantial democratization (e.g. Egypt, Morocco) indeed, and that a lack of major protest or initial reform (e.g. Algeria, Yemen) ‘prevents’ disillusionment. The seemingly exceptional Lebanese and Tunisian cases also show the mechanism holds for specific groups in society: Lebanese Sunnis and the poorest Tunisians.
A new approach to measuring legislators’ activity
By: Osnat Akirav
Abstract: How do we measure the activity of legislators? I argue that, in addition to using measures such as how many bills they pass, we must also consider activities such as parliamentary questions, early day motions, motions for the agenda and one-minute speeches. One means for doing so is Akirav’s activity scale developed in Israel. I use this scale to measure legislators’ activity in two additional political systems – the United States and the United Kingdom. I also identify the characteristics shared by the most active legislators and the least active. The findings indicate that opposition, junior and committee chair legislators are more active than other representatives. While previous studies have investigated the cost–benefit analysis in which legislators engage regarding where and how to invest their time in their legislative work, this study is the first to conduct such an analysis about both their legislative and non-legislative activities. This more complete picture reveals their incentives for engaging fully in parliamentary work.
On the construction of identities: An autoethnography from Turkey
By: Funda Gençoğlu
Abstract: In this article I analyze, on the basis of my personal experience, the discontents of contemporary Turkish politics; more specifically, neoliberal conservative hegemony, and its three manifestations: stability of instability; a religio-conservative gender regime; and anti-intellectualism. I illustrate how these manifestations are intertwined in the process of identity construction: how an individual’s identity as a citizen, as a woman, as an academic is being constantly constructed/de-constructed/reconstructed in a manner integral to the social and political context. The contribution of this article is threefold: it shows how personal experiences are a legitimate source of knowledge; it enables an understanding of how political identities are in a constant state of making; it challenges dominant conceptions of politics and the political through challenging binaries such as individual/social, personal/political, and emotional/rational.
Referendums as a political party gamble: A critical analysis of the Kurdish referendum for independence
By: Dylan O’Driscoll, Bahar Baser
Abstract: This article brings the case of the Kurdish referendum for independence into the wider literature on independence referendums. It examines the decision to hold an independence referendum and explores the pre-referendum conditions and the post-referendum consequences. The article argues that the referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was held due to internal political competition and party politics rather than the ripeness of the timing for independence. Theoretically, this article adds a new dimension to the scholarship on independence referendums, as it demonstrates that the purposes of independence referendums can go beyond the question put to the population – such as consolidating popular support by connecting to the population’s nationalist desires, despite independence not being a realistic prospect. Finally, it brings further support for previous findings of the importance of international support for independence referendums.
The creation of new states through interim agreements: Ambiguous compromises, intra-communal divisions, and contested identities
By: Nina Caspersen
Abstract: For some separatist movements, interim agreements offer a possible route to recognized statehood. However, such agreements require these movements to compromise on their demand for immediate independence and risk the preservation of the joint state. How is this reconciled with their claim to self-determination and how is it received by the community they claim to represent? This article examines four post-Cold War cases where an interim agreement has been accepted (New Caledonia, Bougainville, Montenegro and South Sudan). It finds that interim agreements are more easily accepted when the community is significantly divided on the issue of independence and when an inclusive and flexible construction of the community predominates. Somewhat paradoxically, this suggests that new states are more likely to emerge in cases without a determined, cohesive, ethnically defined demand for independence.
International Political Sociology (Volume 14, Issue 3)
Requiem for Risk: Non-knowledge and Domination in the Governance of Weapons Circulation
By: Anna Stavrianakis
Abstract: Analyses of risk in international political sociology and critical security studies have unpicked its operation as a preventive and preemptive political technology. This article examines the countercase of the governance of weapons circulation, in which risk has been mobilized as a permissive technology. Examining UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen, I demonstrate how risk assessment constitutes a regime of recklessness in which risk is made not to matter in three main ways: systematic not-knowing about international humanitarian law violations; claims of unintentional harm and practices of reputation management; and future-proofing the inherent temporality of risk. I argue that risk has served to facilitate arms exports despite the potential for harm: it has been mobilized as a mode of domination. This does not suggest a failure of risk as a governance strategy or a contradiction in its operation, however. Rather, it illustrates the generative character of risk as a regulatory technology in contexts marked by asymmetrical power dynamics. If the potential for domination is built into the operation of risk, we need a requiem for risk and a search for alternative grounds of repoliticization that can generate more adequate modes of regulation and accountability.
Aesthetic Elisions: The Ruins of Palmyra and the “Good Life” of Liberal Multiculturalism
By: Elif Kalaycioglu
Abstract: Palmyra’s capture and destruction by ISIS resonated widely with an international audience. Drawing on Lefebvre’s theory of the production of space and affect theory’s key insights on object attachment, this article argues that the attachment to Palmyra manifests desire for a particular “good life” of an idealized liberal multiculturalism: a virtuous cycle of trade and tolerance represented by aesthetic flourishing. This widely circulated representation is grounded on excisions of power and inequality. I analyze the political stakes of such excision through the invisibility of Tadmor, positioned as a neighboring town rather than an afterlife of Palmyra in this representation. Through Tadmor, we see Palmyra as entangled in economic inequality and consolidation of power and complicit in their elision through its aesthetic representation as a multicultural haven. At stake is the question of what it means to attach the desire for coexistence to this representation of Palmyra at the detriment of places like Tadmor. While this paper makes its key intervention into the affective terrain and limits of a current global political moment, my argument also contributes to discussions of the global production and circulation of affect, bringing into view its attachment to sites and spaces.
International Studies Quarterly (Volume 64, Issue 3)
Swinging Shale: Shale Oil, the Global Oil Market, and the Geopolitics of Oil
By: Inwook Kim
Abstract: Is shale oil “revolutionizing” the global oil market and the geopolitics of oil? If so, how? While two aspects of the shale boom—a new source of supply and a cause for the price collapse in 2014–2015—dominate the conventional wisdom, I argue that the most revolutionary change is the least understood aspect of shale oil—shale oil producers’ rise as new swing suppliers due to its unique extraction technique and cost structure. Shale oil producers also differ from traditional swing producers in motives, contexts, and an amount of accessible excess capacity such that while shale oil lowers the medium-term price ceiling, it does not eliminate short-term price volatility. By examining the geopolitics of oil since the advent of shale oil, I analyze how such new market realities have or have not altered the US foreign policy on issues involving possible oil supply disruptions, Saudi Arabia’s long-held special status in US grand strategy, rationale for US withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, and the foreign policy of China, the largest oil importer today, and Russia, a major petrostate.
Community-Level Postmaterialism and Anti-Migrant Attitudes: An Original Survey on Opposition to Sub-Saharan African Migrants in the Middle East
By: Matt Buehler, Kristin E Fabbe, Kyung Joon Han
Abstract: Why do native citizens of the Middle East and North Africa express greater opposition to certain types of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons? Why, particularly, do they express greater opposition to sub-Saharan African migrants? This article investigates these questions, leveraging results from an original, nationally representative survey of 2700 native Moroccan citizens. We find support for traditional theories, mostly developed from studies of Western Europe, that hypothesize that the perceived cultural, economic, and security threats migrants pose provoke citizen opposition to certain migrant subtypes. Diverging from past research, however, we argue that the importance of these threats waxes and wanes dramatically at the subnational level due to variation in community-level postmaterialism. In areas where economic development is high, and many citizens live in European-style conditions, postmaterialism—preoccupation with cultural, identity, and security-based concerns—helps to predict greater citizen opposition to sub-Saharan African migrants. However, in areas where economic development is low, and many citizens do not live like Europeans, this greater opposition to African migrants derives from economic concerns, notably job competition. While postmaterialism is considered an individual-level phenomenon, our work highlights its importance at the community level: The personal circumstances of citizens and the circumstances of the community in which they live interact to condition which perceived threats become more (or less) important to explaining anti-migrant attitudes.
Journal of Economic Cooperation and Development (Volume 41, Issue 3)
Challenges for the Islamic Finance and banking in post COVID era and the role of Fintech
By: M. Kabir Hassan, Mustafa Raza Rabbani, Mahmood Asad Moh’d Ali
Abstract: Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a huge disruption in the finance world and it poses another challenge to Islamic finance after the global financial crisis to provide an alternative and sustainable finance. Islamic finance has a large market share in industries such as, microfinance, small and medium enterprises, and retail lending. They are the worst hit during the ongoing pandemic. The magnitude of the ongoing financial crisis is expected to be different from the global financial crisis of 2008; therefore, it poses different challenges for Islamic finance and banking. It requires a different set of financial services, strategies, and technologies to overcome this challenge. Against such a backdrop, the present study aims to analyze the challenges posed by COVID19 to the Islamic finance and how disruptive technological innovation called Fintech can be utilized to address those challenges. The study also presents a critical analysis of the Islamic finance and the role of Islamic finance in creating a more sustainable financial system post COVID.
Journal of Peace Research (Volume 57, Issue 6)
Terrorism and internet censorship
By: Stephen A Meserve, Daniel Pemstein
Abstract: The internet provides a powerful tool to terror organizations, enhancing their public messaging, recruitment ability, and internal communication. In turn, governments have increasingly moved to disrupt terror organizations’ internet communications, and even democracies now routinely work to censor terrorist propaganda, and related political messaging, in the name of national security. We argue that democratic states respond to terror attacks by increasing internet censorship and broadening their capacity to limit the digital dissemination of information. This article builds on previous work suggesting this relationship, substantially improving measurement and estimation strategy. We use latent variable modeling techniques to create a new measure of internet censorship, cross nationally and over time, from internet firm transparency reports, and compare this measure to an expert-survey based indicator. Leveraging both measures, we use a variety of panel specifications to establish that, in democracies, increases in terror predict surges in digital censorship. Finally, we examine the posited relationship using synthetic control methods in a liberal democracy that experienced a large shock in terror deaths, France, showing that digital censorship ramped up after several large terrorist attacks.
Journal of Social History (Volume 53, Issue 3)
Counting the Population and the Wealth in an “Unruly” Land: Census Making as a Social Process in Ottoman Kurdistan, 1830–50
By: Nilay Özok-Gündoğan
Abstract: This article examines the earliest modern Ottoman censuses in Kurdistan in the mid-nineteenth century from a social history perspective. Echoing the efforts of its contemporaries, the Ottoman state set out to conduct its first modern population census in 1830. This early census reflected the state’s aims for standardization and centralization, yet it was conducted “successfully” only in provinces geographically close to the capital. In Kurdistan, a border area controlled by ancient Kurdish chiefdoms and tribes, the census remained a herculean task for over four decades. Following recent society-centered views of global census history, this article approaches the modern Ottoman census experience in this early period as a social process rather than a top down enterprise. It argues that what determined the content, structure, and the format of these early censuses was not the discussions in the meeting rooms of the Ottoman imperial bureaucracy but social encounters between local and central, state and nonstate actors situated in the locality.
Perspectives on Politics (Volume 18, Issue 3)
A Path out of Patriarchy? Political Agency and Social Identity of Women Fighters
By: Güneş Murat Tezcür
Abstract: Violent movements in different parts of the world have employed large numbers of women fighters. I address the question of how and why so many women from diverse backgrounds join an ethnic insurgency. Informed by an intersectional approach, I suggest that when gender and ethnic inequalities overlap, an ethnic insurgency promising gender emancipation would have strong appeal among women. At the same time, the intersection of class and gender shapes distinctive patterns of mobilization among women of an ethnic minority. In particular, uneducated women with lower class backgrounds join the movement because it provides them with the most viable way out of patriarchal relations. I employ a multi-method research design to study a paradigmatic case of women in arms, the Kurdish insurgency. I use an original large dataset containing information about more than 9,000 militants, from extensive fieldwork entailing dozens of in-depth interviews, and an archival study of sources in primary languages. My findings reveal the effects of unequal relationships based on ethnicity, gender, and class on violent political mobilization and the ambivalent relationship between women’s political agency and empowerment.
Explaining Ethnoreligious Minority Targeting: Variation in U.S. Anti-Semitic Incidents
By: Ayal Feinberg
Abstract: Over the last two decades alone, the United States has suffered well over ten thousand religion-motivated hate crimes. While racism and religion-motivated prejudice have received considerable attention following the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that resulted in deadly violence, there is little systematic scholarship evaluating where and when incidents targeting ethnoreligious minorities by non-state actors are likely to occur. Utilizing the FBI’s reported anti-Semitic hate crime data from 2001–2014, my main theoretical and empirical exercise is to determine which factors best explain where and when American ethnoreligious groups are likely to be targeted. I propose that there are four essential mechanisms necessary to explain variation in minority targeting: “opportunity” (target group concentration), “distinguishability” (target group visibility), “stimuli” (events increasing target group salience) and “organization” (hate group quantity). My models show that variables falling within each of these theoretical concepts significantly explain variation in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. Of particular importance for scholars and practitioners alike, Israeli military operations and the number of active hate groups within a state play a major role in explaining anti-Semitic incident variation.
Political Science Quarterly (Volume 135, Issue 3)
Political Trust in Nonconsolidated Democracies: The Turkish Case in Comparative Perspective
By: Kursat Cinar, Tekin Kose
Abstract: Kursat Cinar and Tekin Kose explore individual- and country-level determinants of political trust in 17 nonconsolidated democracies with particular emphasis on the case of Turkey. They situate their findings in the growing body of literature on political trust, identifying similarities and differences, and offer insights on the correlates of political trust throughout the world.
Political Studies (Volume 68, Issue 4)
Enhancing the Legitimacy of Offices for Future Generations: The Case for Public Participation
By: Graham Smith
Abstract: Independent offices for future generations are rare among institutional designs that aim to ameliorate short-termism in democracies. Drawing on the experience of offices for future generations in Israel, Hungary, and Wales, the article argues that such institutions face at least three challenges to their legitimacy: first, the capacity of an unelected agency to constrain government and law-making; second, the ability of a single office to adequately represent the plurality of interests within and across future generations; and third, their political fragility and vulnerability. The article develops the counterintuitive argument that offices for future generations can enhance their democratic legitimacy through embedding systematic public participation in their activities, in particular through the institutionalization of deliberative mini-publics.
Review of International Political Economy (Volume 27, Issue 5)
Changing modes of market integration, domestic developmental capacities and state-business alliances: insights from Turkey’s automotive industry
By: Julia Langbein, Olga Markiewicz
Abstract: This article investigates how different modes of transnational integration shape developmental state capacities in peripheral economies. The Turkish automotive industry serves as an ideal case to investigate this question. Turkey is a country that was exposed to different integration strategies, and we can trace the effects of these changing strategies on the evolution of developmental state capacities in a strategic sector. We make two arguments: first, we argue that the character of the domestic state-business alliance is an important factor that filters the effect of different modes of integration on developmental state capacities. Second, we argue that in cases with limited state autonomy the shallow mode of integration helps to increase the political and economic power of pre-existing rent-seeking alliances and with it, to consolidate the institutional status quo. Should the state be endowed with larger autonomy from vested interests, it helps to preserve the institutional status quo of at least some developmental capacities. By contrast, the deep mode can alter the domestic balance of forces and help to induce institutional changes leading to increased developmental capacities. Our dynamic analysis reveals important insights into the developmental advantages and disadvantages of different modes of integration.
Review of Radical Political Economics (Volume 52, Issue 3)
Emerging Forms of Social-Union Organizing Under the New Conditions of Turkish Capitalism: A Class-Capacity Analysis
By: Efe Can Gürcan, Berk Mete
Abstract: How has Turkey’s working-class movement adapted to the new conditions of capitalism? What alternative forms of struggle have emerged to address precarization under neoliberalism? Providing a bottom-up account of social-union activism based on interviews with union activists, we argue that neoliberal capitalism structurally incapacitates working-class organizing in Turkey through a process of precarization, strongly expressed in the flexibilization of labor and further amplified by sociogeographical unevenness and cultural identities. These challenges are addressed through innovatory methods of bottomup organizing such as white-collar forums of exchange, internet activism, the accentuation of the emotional and gendered dynamics of class struggle, solidarity actions with blue collars, and various forms of street activism.
Third World Quarterly (Volume 41, Issues 9-11)
Hezbollah and the framing of resistance
By: Marco Nilsson
Abstract: Hezbollah is a holistic network whose social, political, military and cultural dimensions are all parts of a discourse of resistance. Conducting a qualitative frame analysis of speeches by Hezbollah’s General Secretary Nasrallah, supported by interviews with Hezbollah leadership privy to its ideology, this study analyses the construction of muqawama (resistance). It argues that resistance is a complex social phenomenon, which can be manifested, for example, in the differences in how resistance is framed in varying contexts, often addressing different audiences. However, three unifying themes emerged from the frame analysis: diversity of resistance, normalisation of resistance and social dimensions of resistance.
UNESCO, world heritage and the gridlock over Yemen
By: Lynn Meskell, Benjamin Isakhan
Abstract: Since March 2015, the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen has had devastating consequences for the country, its people and its rich cultural heritage. This article traces the responses of the world’s foremost multilateral body concerned with heritage promotion and protection, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Drawing on extensive interviews, archival research and long-term ethnographic research on UNESCO itself and, more specifically, its responses to the war in Yemen, it documents UNESCO’s profound failures in protecting Yemen’s heritage and in confronting the Saudi-led coalition. To do so, the article utilises the framework of ‘gridlock’ to analyse how and why multilateral bodies such as UNESCO become hamstrung in confronting powerful member states in conflict. The article concludes by arguing that UNESCO’s failures in Yemen hold powerful lessons about the role of multilateral institutions in addressing conflict.
The ‘Juffair dilemma’: Arab nationalism, alignment and ‘national-popular collective will’ in Bahrain
By: Hsinyen Lai
Abstract: This paper challenges ‘the myth’ of the demise of Arab nationalism after the Arab–Israeli War in 1967 that appears in the scholarship of international relations of the Middle East (IRME). I argue instead that Arab nationalism plays a constitutive role in ideologically linking the issue of Bahrain’s post-colonial state sovereignty and foreign policy on alignment, showing its political salience after 1967 in what I call ‘the Juffair dilemma’: the Al Khalifa regime’s dilemma in aligning with the US after Bahrain’s formal independence. Drawing on Antonio Gramsci’s ‘national-popular collective will’ to re-conceptualise Arab nationalism, the paper further argues that the impact of Arab nationalism on Bahrain’s alignment was revealed through a political struggle between the Al Khalifa regime and the Bahraini New Arab Left, corresponding to wider regional and international anti-imperialist movements in the context of the Cold War. This struggle manifested Arab nationalism as a non-collective will, in which ideological disconnections existed between ‘the people’ and the regime, in Bahrain. It then created the context where the issue of alignment was related to the contestation of sovereignty and the Palestinian question, which was the source of the Al Khalifa regime’s dilemma in making alignment with the US.
Political solutions among Palestinian university students: different models and conceptions
By: Fathi Nemer
Abstract: Once a baseline resolution to the question of Palestine, the two-state solution has become contested after decades of failed negotiation and renewed support for a one-state solution. This study measures Palestinian university students’ understandings of these different solutions through a representative survey. Results indicate that despite being unconvinced by it, the majority of respondents prefer a two-state solution, although their conception of its specificities differs to that of the Palestinian Authority. Most respondents held unclear ideas of the meaning of the one-state solution. Finally, a model based on analysis of this data explains the reasons and circumstances behind students’ preferences.
[The articles below were recently added to the Peer-Reviewed Articles Review: Summer 2020 (Part 4). They have been included here for your convenience.]
Acta Politica (Volume 55, Issue 3)
A cosmopolitan–communitarian cleavage around the world? Evidence from ideological polarization and party–voter linkages
By: Oliver Strijbis, Joschua Helmer, Pieter de Wilde
Abstract: Can structural conflict over globalization be observed outside Western Europe? When does such a cosmopolitan–communitarian cleavage emerge? These questions are highly relevant as similar conflicts over open borders seem to take place in various countries. To answer these questions, we analyze electoral competition on issues related to globalization such as migration and international integration in Germany, Mexico, Poland, Turkey, and the U.S. We investigate ideological polarization on these two issues at the level of both voters and parties, as well as their linkage through structural and issue voting. At the level of the voters, we analyze preferences on the two issue dimensions with data from the World Values Survey. In order to arrive at valid measures of parties’ policy positions on the same dimensions, we combine data from electoral manifestos, public claims data, and expert surveys. Finally, we link voters’ structural positions and issue preferences with parties’ policy positions through a series of ordered logistic regressions. Our comparative analysis reveals that in our sample a cosmopolitan–communitarian cleavage can be observed only among the affluent immigration countries. We discuss potential explanations for this finding.
Electoral Studies (Volume 66)
Partisanship, media and the objective economy: Sources of individual-level economic assessments
By: Alper H. Yagci, Cem Oyvat
Abstract: Economic voting studies have repeatedly shown that voter’s assessment of incumbent economic performance is important for the vote decision. However, there is little work explaining how individuals form their economic assessments. Utilizing individual-level data from Turkey, we find that variation in retrospective assessments can actually be predicted by individual income growth rates over the previous year, and the association is stronger for pocketbook assessments. Nonetheless, partisanship and media are important sources of bias, especially for sociotropic assessments. Controlled for partisanship, viewers of pro-government media are more likely to think that the national economy has done better than their own household over the last year, and also more likely to believe that the economy would fare worse if the incumbent is replaced. The findings testify both to the capacity of the individuals to anchor their assessments to personal experience, and to the media’s ability to weaken this anchor.
Global Media Journal (Volume 18, Issues 34 & 35)
Social Penetration of Egyptian Youth on Social Networking Sites between Conscious and Unconscious
By: Fedaa Mohamed, Amal El Sayed Draz
Abstract: It is known that Facebook and Instagram users can set their privacy settings to determine their levels of disclosure. That means that the users are the ones who decide the penetration level for themselves on those social networking sites (SNS). This study seeks to test whether those SNS can penetrate their users unconsciously and with their agreement at the same time or not. Through a qualitative study of highly engaged Facebook and Instagram users, this paper defines a new concept of SNS penetration, and claim that it happens forcefully and in an unconscious way. Focus groups will be conducted to answer the major research questions and a thematic analysis will be conducted on the focus groups to determine the topics discussed by the participants. The data will be analyzed within the frameworks of Social Penetration theory and Communication Privacy Management (CPM) theory. Four main challenges will be tested as the study samples which are 10 Year Challenge, Kiki Challenge, The Ice Bucket Challenge and the Face App Age.
Role of Public Relations in Crisis Management with the Coronavirus Crisis as an Example: A Case Study on the UAE
By: Amed Kamil
Abstract: Public relations is a social phenomenon that has existed along with mankind in every society. It develops with the development of societies as a result of the social interaction among individuals, organizations, and bodies. Undoubtedly, society and the complexity of human relations in various fields have made people realize that these relationships are worthy of study, research, and investigation. The current world is filled with crises related to the many changes that have occurred in the areas of politics, economics, population, and environment. These changes have affected the social and organizational aspects of human life. The major challenge facing individuals and organizations are the changes in nature, size, and factors of movement, which have creating difficulties and problems and causing breakdowns in values, beliefs, and properties. Therefore, facing crises and raising awareness is necessary to avoid further material and moral losses. The research aims to shed light on the procedures followed by the UAE to manage the coronavirus crisis, which other governments can benefit from to manage the crisis in their countries.
International Affairs (Volume 96, Issue 4)
Drone imagery in Islamic State propaganda: flying like a state
By: Emil Archambault, Yannick Veilleux-Lepage
Abstract: This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the Islamic State’s use of images taken by drones, drawing on a dataset of ISIS propaganda images from October 2016 to December 2018. Analysing the three principal uses of drone imagery by ISIS—images of drone strikes, images of other attacks and observation—we argue that ISIS’s use of drones distinguishes itself from other state and non-state uses of drones primarily by its communicative and symbolic value. While ISIS’ use of drone strikes takes place in a tactical rather than strategic setting, its employment of drones to film VBIED attacks allows them to achieve a strategic effect. After outlining ISIS’ use of drones for combat air support and to film ground (particularly VBIED) attacks, we argue, drawing on political geography, that ISIS employs drones in propaganda to stake and reinforce a claim to sovereign control of territory, performed through the flying of aircraft. The use of drone imagery, we argue, taps into long-standing visual and discursive strategies which associate vertical hierarchy and flying with mastery and control, allowing ISIS to display attributes of aerial sovereignty. This article, through an analysis of ISIS drone propaganda, provides a rare insight into non-state actors’ perception of drones and the communicative value of drone images, in addition to suggesting further avenues for the incorporation of political–geographical studies of verticality into the study of political violence and rhetoric.
International Political Sociology (Volume 14, Issue 2)
Genocide in Sudan as Colonial Ecology
By: Louise Wise
Abstract: This article presents a novel theoretical and empirical account of the genesis and constitution of genocide in Sudan. To do so, it brings developments in critical genocide studies, notably the colonial and international “turns” and renewed attention to the scholarship of Lemkin, into dialogue with theoretical arguments about processual ontologies, complexity theory, and assemblage thinking. The latter provide a conceptual vocabulary to rethink the kind of ontological phenomenon that genocide constitutes. Rather than a discrete outcome or temporally and geographically bounded “event,” genocide in Sudan is seen as a heterogeneous, process-based, systemic entity. Challenging conventional genocide models generally and dominant narratives about Sudan specifically, the article argues that genocide in Sudan should be conceptualized as an historical internal frontier-based pattern that is constituted by three intersecting colonial forms: postcolonialism, internal colonialism, and neocolonialism. In doing so, it suggests a new way of thinking about the genocide-colonialism nexus. Tracing these three colonialisms, genocide appears not as an aberrant breakdown, violent outburst, or top-down ideological “master plan.” Neither is it a single, linearly unfolding process. Rather, it is emergent from a colonial ecology, its logic and potentiality imbricated with, and incipient within, a temporally and geographically expansive web of actors, processes, structures, relations, discourses, practices, and global forces.
Things and Terms: Relations Between Materiality, Language, and Politics in Post-revolutionary Iran
By: Kusha Sefat
Abstract: Departing from the canons of the cultural and material turns, this paper emphasizes the shortcomings that each body of work has shown in addressing political transformations. So doing, it argues that shifting relations between materiality and language occasion different kinds of politics. Specifically, the paper offers a new interpretation of one of the most critical epochs in the political history of modern Iran, by illustrating that the confluence of the material and linguistic worlds in the Islamic Republic during the 1980s, brought about a distinct political field in which relations between words and their material referents became fixed at the level of multitudes. This blocked public processes of performativity and resignification of signs in ways that might have threatened the centrality of the revolutionary leader, Imam Khomeini. What developed was a social milieu in which Khomeini never faced the possibility of defeat in politics.
International Politics (Volume 57, Issue 4)
How Mosul fell: the role of coup-proofing in the 2014 partial collapse of the Iraqi security forces
By: Quint Hoekstra
Abstract: The Islamic State’s capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul in June 2014 was a seismic event. How can this be explained? This article answers this question by turning to the literature on anti-coup d’état measures and its side effects. It argues that, to prevent a military coup, Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki engaged in extensive ‘coup-proofing’ methods such as purging rivals, ethnic staking, creating a parallel security force, and increasing intra-government surveillance. These measures were highly effective in preventing a possible military putsch but did greatly reduce the Iraqi troops’ capacity and willingness to fight. Ethnic stacking in particular resulted in mass troop desertions when the Islamic State advanced in 2014. In advancing this argument, this article not only helps us better understand the dramatic fall of Mosul, but may also assist states to strengthen other international assistance programmes for governments fighting domestic insurgencies.
International Relations (Volume 34, Issue 2)
IR in the Middle East: foreign policy analysis in theoretical approaches
By: May Darwich, Juliet Kaarbo
Abstract: Research on international relations of the Middle East (IRME) has suffered from a schism between International Relations (IR) theory and regional particularities. To address this, scholars have offered corrective accounts by adding domestic factors to IR structural approaches. Studies on IRME thus reflect the turn to decision-making and domestic politics that has recently occurred. This article develops a critical analysis of the domestic politics orientation in IRME. We argue that this scholarship ignores work in foreign policy analysis (FPA) with its psychological-oriented and agent-based dimensions and that this constitutes a missed opportunity for the study of the region. The article offers suggestions for incorporating FPA research into IRME and argues that an FPA perspective offers an alternative and complementary approach to the eclectic frameworks predominant in the scholarship on IRME.
International Studies Perspectives (Volume 21, Issue 3)
Role-Play Simulations and Changing Perceptions of the Other: Model UN, Model Arab League, and Student Views of the Muslim World
By: Vaughn Parnell Shannon
Abstract: Role-play simulation can both enhance knowledge and favorably affect perceptions of others in global politics. This article tests these hypotheses in two quasi-experimental pretest/post-test surveys of student perceptions of Muslims, Arabs, and the countries of the Middle East. Students engaging in Model UN and Model Arab League simulations representing Arab and Muslim countries demonstrated improved knowledge of the countries they represented and, more importantly, positive changes in perceptions of Muslims and the Muslim countries they represented. A control group demonstrated no such change in images of the Muslims, Arabs, and countries of the Middle East. This preliminary study shows the potential importance of role-play simulations in fostering cross-national and cross-cultural understanding in the fraught relationship between the Middle East and the West.
International Studies Quarterly (Volume 64, Issue 2)
Rebel Group Attrition and Reversion to Violence: Micro-Level Evidence from Syria
By: Vera Mironova, Karam Alhamad, Sam Whitt
Abstract: Why might former rebel combatants ever revert to fighting? The purpose of this research note is to inform the scholarly community on rebel incentives to remobilize for violence, a topic which has been underexplored in the literature, using evidence from an ongoing conflict: the case of volunteer ex-combatants in the Syrian civil war. In late 2014 to early 2015, we conducted surveys with 196 ex-fighters who served with different rebel group brigades linked to the Free Syrian Army as well as moderate Islamist and jihadist groups. Interviews were conducted in Gaziantep, Turkey, a common destination for combatants exiting the battlefield in rebel-held territory in northern Syria. We find that ex-fighters who are ideologically committed to the defeat of the Assad regime and/or the establishment of an Islamic state are most likely to want to return to combat. However, rebel group organizational deficiencies and strategies keep many highly motivated fighters away. Our results illustrate how rebel fighters might quickly remobilize when disciplined, well-organized rebel groups emerge on the scene, as evidenced by the rapid ascent of the Islamic State (ISIS).
Who Wants to Be a Suicide Bomber? Evidence from Islamic State Recruits
By: Andrea Michelle Morris
Abstract: Suicide attackers are frequently educated and economically well-off. These findings are widely taken as evidence that highly competent individuals predominately volunteer to conduct suicide operations. I evaluate this theory using a novel dataset on the personnel records of members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The dataset contains information on the characteristics of individuals who volunteer for suicide attacks as opposed to normal combat missions. The results reject the self-selection hypothesis, as education and religious knowledge are negatively associated with volunteering for suicide attacks. Instead, the findings are consistent with an alternative explanation for why high-quality individuals commit suicide attacks: leaders of terrorist organizations carefully screen recruits and select high-quality individuals to commit these attacks. The results highlight the importance of leader demand rather than soldier supply of suicide bombers.
Illiberal Norm Diffusion: How Do Governments Learn to Restrict Nongovernmental Organizations?
By: Marlies Glasius, Jelmer Schalk, Meta De Lange
Abstract: Recent decades have witnessed a global cascade of restrictive and repressive measures against nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). We theorize that state learning from observing the regional environment, rather than NGO growth per se or domestic unrest, explains this rapid diffusion of restrictions. We develop and test two hypotheses: (1) states adopt NGO restrictions in response to nonarmed bottom-up threats in their regional environment (“learning from threats”); (2) states adopt NGO restrictions through imitation of the legislative behavior of other states in their regional environment (“learning from examples”). Using an original dataset on NGO restrictions in ninety-six countries over a period of twenty-five years (1992–2016), we test these hypotheses by means of negative binomial regression and survival analyses, using spatially weighted techniques. We find very limited evidence for learning from threats, but consistent evidence for learning from examples. We corroborate this finding through close textual comparison of laws adopted in the Middle East and Africa, showing legal provisions being taken over almost verbatim from one law into another. In our conclusion, we spell out the implications for the quality of democracy and for theories of transition to a postliberal order, as well as for policy-makers, lawyers, and civil-society practitioners.
Journal of Democracy (Volume 31, Issue 3)
Authoritarian Survival: Iran’s Republic of Repression
By: Misagh Parsa
Abstract: Although democracy spread throughout the world during the latter part of the twentieth century, a number of countries remain highly authoritarian. To understand authoritarianism’s survival, analysts must examine the nature of these regimes, the social movements that rise to challenge them, and the likelihood that transformation will be revolutionary. This article argues that the persistence of the Iran’s theocracy stems from a confluence of factors: repression of all independent political organizations; the instigation of external conflicts to provoke internal cohesion; shifting ideological claims and outright deception; and the absence of an alternative, unifying revolutionary contender or coalition, not to mention the ideological and political splits that divide the opposition.
The European Journal of Development Research (Volume 32, Issue 3)
Labor Productivity and Economic Growth in a Hydrocarbon-Dependent Economy: The Algerian Case, 1984–2015
By: Serge Rey, Sofiane Hazem
Abstract: This paper addresses the empirical question of whether productivity can help explain the economic growth dynamics in Algeria over the period from 1984 to 2015. The first aim of this article is to measure the productivity for both the economy as a whole and for different sectors. Then, original estimates of the capital stock are made using the permanent inventory method, which enables the evolutions of the total factor productivity to be inferred. On the basis of these estimates, it is shown that, while the Algerian economy as a whole performed fairly well in terms of economic growth, this was more the result of an increase in production factors, i.e., labor force, than of labor productivity growth, which was very limited. This partly reflects the weak performance of the hydrocarbons sector, which has experienced a decline in labor productivity since the early 2000s, while other sectors such as agriculture have experienced strong productivity gains.