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Middle East Centre Papers Series


Gender and Statehood in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Zeynep Kaya, February 2017

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has made greater strides towards gender equality than the federal government of Iraq. However, discriminatory rules and practices still exist, and changes are not fully implemented and monitored in the Region. This paper argues that the Kurdistan Region’s policies of gender equality are linked to its dependence on multilateral organisations and Western states, as well as its government’s aspiration to gain international legitimacy for statehood.


Iran's Eleventh Presidential Election Revisited: The Politics of Managing Change
Ali Ansari, November 2016

With Rouhani's first term coming to an end, and an agreement reached on Iran’s nuclear programme, this paper revisits the 2013 presidential election campaign and argues that the process retained much of the intricate management of previous elections. A willingness to ‘believe the rhetoric’ of the campaign has resulted in a dangerous mismanagement of expectations. 


Theorising Revolution, Apprehending Civil War: Leftist Political Practice and Analysis in Lebanon (1969–79)
Fadi Bardawil, October 2016

This paper focuses on the writings of Waddah Charara as well as the Marxist tradition of thought at the beginning of the Lebanese civil and regional wars (1975–1990). It highlights how Charara’s analysis rethought the question of power away from class politics in the wake of his diagnosis of the failure of hegemony in Lebanon.


The Syrian Refugee Crisis in Lebanon: State Fragility and Social Resilience 
Filippo Dionigi, February 2016

This report provides an account of the unfolding of the Syrian refugee crisis from the perspective of Lebanese political institutions. It maps political reactions to the crisis, and the role played by local administrations and international organisations.Based on these considerations, the report then proposes a set of possible courses of action to be undertaken by various stakeholders.


Political Economy and Social Movement Theory Perspectives on the Tunisian and Egyptian Popular Uprisings in 2011
Joel Beinin, January 2016

Comparing the role of workers before, during and after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrates that the relatively successful installation of a procedural democracy in Tunisia owes a great deal to the movements of workers and the unemployed in the uprisings and to their organisational structure and political horizon. 


Battlefields of the Republic: The Struggle for Public Space in Tunisia
Charles Tripp, December 2015

This paper argues that the Tunisian revolutionary moment of 2011 and its aftermath have opened up spaces that are capable of providing a framework for the agonistic politics associated with democratic possibility. Insurgent public space, an emerging plural public, as well as adversarial contests over the constitution of the republic display features that may help to build ‘conflictual consensus’ as part of a democratic future. 


Is it Always Good to be King? Saudi Regime Resilience after the 2011 Arab Popular Uprisings
Madawi Al-Rasheed, December 2015

Although all Arab monarchies (Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Jordan and Morocco) witnessed varying degrees of mass protest during the Arab uprisings of 2011, none of the kings and princes has thus far been deposed. This paper analyses the conditions that helped maintain Saudi stability, attributing it to a combination of domestic and regional factors. 


The Revival of Nationalism and Secularism in Modern Iran
Pejman Abdolmohammadi, November 2015

Iran is currently facing a time of demographic and ideological change. As the post-revolutionary generation has emerged into political awareness, there has been a revival of interest in democracy, nationalism, secularism and constitutionalism, and a heterogenic protest movement has gathered strength – particularly among young Iranians. This working paper aims to investigate these ongoing trends of secularisation and nationalism, as well as the response of the government. 


Will the Real Palestinian Peasantry Please Sit Down? Towards a New History of British Rule in Palestine, 1917-1936
Charles Anderson, November 2015

This paper surveys the history of peasant and rural resistance to colonial rule, policies, and law in British Palestine before 1936. Although the Arab countryside and its inhabitants have often received minimal or dismissive treatment in much of the scholarly literature, the study argues that rural Arab struggles against political, social and economic dispossession were integral to the history of British Palestine. 


Rentier Islamism: The Role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf
Courtney Freer, November 2015

This paper discusses the degree to which Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE influence political decision-making and how those governments have chosen to handle the Ikhwan. Given the analysis, it provides the following policy recommendations to both regional and Western actors.


Social Movements and the Question of Organisation: Egypt and Everywhere
Maha Abdelrahman, September 2015

This paper considers the nature of activism and revolutionary process in the 21st century by examining some of the dilemmas involved in the case of Egypt. It argues that the characteristics of horizontal networks of activism, especially the absence of centralised organisational structures, although well suited to the phase of mass protestsin the lead-up to the ousting of Mubarak, can pose a challenge to the prospects of long-term revolutionary projects.


Divine Politics Reconsidered: Saudi Islamists on Peaceful Revolution
Professor Madawi al-Rasheed, May 2015

Focusing on mutations of Saudi Islamism during the Arab uprisings, this paper examines the responses of Salman al-Awdah, one of the most influential Saudi Islamist scholars. As he reflects on peaceful revolution in the Arab world, al-Awdah combines his Salafi heritage with insights from western thought, thus producing a hybrid discourse that engages with the inevitability of political change. 


The Uprising of the Marginalised: A Socio-Economic Perspective of the Syrian Uprising
Dr Shamel Azmeh, November 2014

This paper aims at examining the political and socio-economic compromise that underlined the rule of the Ba’th party in Syria for four decades and unpacking how a combination of internal and external shifts that started in the 1990s and intensified in the 2000s led to the erosion of this compromise, providing the background to the events that began in 2011.


New Trends of Women's Activism after the Arab Uprisings: Redefining Women's Leadership
Dr Aitemad Muhanna-Matar, November 2014

Given the complex context of division in women’s political participation in post-uprising countries, this paper focuses on how emerging young female leaders – ordinary educated women with no specific feminist consciousness or previous political involvement – succeeded in shaping a new form of women’s activism. 


Syria-Iraq Relations: State Construction and Deconstruction and the MENA States System
Professor Raymond Hinnebusch, October 2014

This paper examines Syria-Iraq relations in order to explore wider issues of regional politics. It presents an overview of the historical stages in relations between the two countries since their formation, with the aim of using their changing relations as indicators of changes in both regional states and in the regional states system.


Trends in Contemporary Conscious Music in Iran
Dr Malihe Maghazei, June 2014

This paper studies the growing trends in conscious music in Iran, which emerged in the 1990s. It provides a brief historical overview of changes in conscious music in Iran since the Constitutional Revolution of 1905. This music, which is part of a broader intellectual and artistic wave, represents the needs and views of a diverse young population as well as society as a whole.


The Emerging Interventionists of the GCC
Dr Karen Young, December 2013

In a dramatic change of foreign policy, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have emerged as activist states in their interest and willingness to intervene both militarily and financially in the politics of neighbouring Arab states. We can trace this policy shift through the simultaneous yet separate evolution of domestic, regional and international politics. The result is a moment of financial and military interventionism unprecedented in Arab Gulf politics.


The Iraqi Constitution: Structural Flaws and Political Implications
Professor Saad Jawad, November 2013

This paper examines the political implications and impact of the 2005 Iraqi constitution by providing an analysis of Iraq’s constitutional history as well as a study of the process that culminated in the drafting of the new constitution.



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