The Taliban’s Criminal Enterprise – By Shawn Snow

The media tends to paint a portrait of the Taliban as a monolithic, ideologically motivated entity with the goal of overthrowing the Kabul-led government. The conflict in Afghanistan, however, is morphing into a resource conflict and the Taliban is becoming involved in criminal enterprise, especially the opium trade. Poppies are the main staple crop in […]

Explaining Protests in the Gulf Monarchies During the Arab Uprisings: The Role of Coalitions, Oil and International Influences – by Andreas Kaufmann

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This article aims to explain why the six Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain experienced such varying degrees of protest during the Arab uprisings in 2011 and why Bahrain experienced mass protest while the other five monarchies did not. This article argues that the reason for the monarchies’ […]

“When She Stands Among Men”: Sexual Harassment of Women at Political Protests in Cairo, January 2011 – August 2013

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The authors, Serena Hollmeyer Taylor, Amy Tan, Phoebe Sloane, Maggie Tiernan, and Faiqa Mahmood are all students or alumni of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.   Introduction             Between January 2011 and August 2013 there were over 700 cases of sexual harassment reported in Cairo.[1] These cases include everything from catcalling to groping to rape […]

Negotiating With the PKK: Catastrophe or Cure? by Samantha Smith

Credit: James (Jim) Gordon

In early 2013, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he was negotiating with the jailed head of the PKK Abdullah Ocalan as part of a new initiative to address the Kurdish question. Many are optimistic for the potential success of the current negotiations, claiming that it is a historic window of opportunity to bring […]

Op-ed: Chaos in Iraqi Kurdistan? by Elayne Stecher

The recent flare-up of tensions between Baghdad and Erbil over the exportation of Iraqi oil to Turkey has fueled the international media’s preoccupation with ethno-sectarianism and the vulnerability of the state in post-Saddam Iraq. Subsequent predictions by international media outlets of an imminent breakdown of order in the north of Iraq ignore the complex reality […]

Challenging History: The Power of Transitional Justice in Tunisia – by Luca Urech

On December 15th, 2013, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly adopted comprehensive Transitional Justice legislation aimed at dealing with the country’s past of human rights abuses. The new legislation contrasts with ad-hoc transitional justice measures adopted by the first two caretaker governments that followed the Ben-Ali regime. Drawing upon a legal analysis of the new Transitional Justice law, this […]

Chances and challenges for the use of secret back-channels: the case of US-Iranian negotiations – by Stefan Maetz

P5+1 Talks With Iran in Geneva, Switzerland

This paper aims to show the role that secret back-channels can play in negotiations. After a theoretical analysis of back-channel negotiations, it will examine what factors contribute to the failure of initiating negotiations, with particular reference to a proposal made by Iran in 2003 which offered the U.S. the possibility to negotiate a comprehensive agreement […]

Responses to revolutions: A comparative analysis of the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood branches in Egypt and Syria in the wake of the Arab Spring – by Molly Blessing

The Muslim Brotherhood is generally believed to be the most influential Islamist organization in the world, serving as the flagship for Sunni Islamist movements. Decisions made by the Brotherhood hold especial significance in light of the recent upheavals known as the Arab Spring. An active group in several of the countries involved, the Brotherhood’s actions […]

Morsi and Transitional Justice: Peace vs. Justice & Implications for a Post-Brotherhood Egypt – by Dallin Van Leuven

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While the Arab Spring brought unprecedented hope for peace and democracy in North Africa and the Middle East, countries that underwent regime change face the dilemma of transitional justice. For example, how should Egypt deal with the calls for justice relating to the 846 people killed during its 2011 uprising or to the abuses perpetrated by the […]

Book Review: Amaney A. Jamal’s “Of Empires and Citizens” – by Elissar Harati

Of Empires And Citizens

  The entrenchment of authoritarianism in the Arab world is usually attributed to cultural, religious, or economic factors. Most experts look to the political economy of rentier states, particularly in the Persian Gulf, to explain how clientelism buys off loyalty and dissent. Rentier states derive a substantial portion of their national revenues from the extraction […]