tunis17Christine Petre
(Editor, Your Middle East)

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr) Publication date: 26 February 2015

Many have explained Tunisia's democratic success story by referring to the country's consensus seeking political climate. There are many factors behind this continuous compromise seeking policy, which continues to be at the core of Tunisian politics.

It was the 26-year-old Tunisian fruit vendor Mohammed Bouazizi's self-immolation on December 17 2010 that ignited a protest wave that would spread beyond the country's borders. However, it was only in the so-called Arab Spring's birthplace that the revolution not only ousted former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali but also paved the way for a peaceful and stable democratic transition. Today Tunisia is seen as a success story, deemed by watchdog Freedom House as a "Free" country and labelled by the Economist as the only "fully democratic" country in the region. What is the secret behind the Tunisian success story, ask observers. One important element for the country's ability to avoid unrest is the country's commitment to political compromise and inclusive governance, which has been evident throughout the country's post-revolutionary development...Read more

hasan(HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan was Chairman of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation from 2013 to 2014 and currently chairs the High Level Forum for the Blue Peace Middle East Plan)

Copyright: www.osce.org – Publication Date on RIEAS web site: 15 February 2015.

Waging Peace with Water Water shortages due to climate change and conflicts can spell death and suffering for millions; regional water co-operation, on the other hand, can bring peace. This was the message His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan brought to the OSCE Security Day on water diplomacy held on 8 July 2014 in Vienna... Read more

displaced15Cecile Abi Tayeh
(PhD Candidate at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens & RIEAS Research Associate)

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr)
Publication date: 1 February 2015

In a world full of turmoil, the displaced persons are a tragic illustration of the convulsions of the planet. They witnessed all the situations of the war, famine and oppression that lay on the exodus roads millions of uprooted. In the past years, the proliferation of conflict and violent situations resulted in new forced movements of populations that have come to bring a large number of displaced people in the world....Read more

gulfstates15Andrew Hammond
(European Council on Foreign Relations, Middle East policy fellow Author, The Islamic Utopia: The Illusion of Reform in Saudi Arabia)

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr) Publication Date: 23 December 2014

The Syrian civil war has been the third major jihad of modern times for Gulf Arab states. The first, Afghanistan, was a new experience, the inaugural transnational jihad of the modern era in which Saudi Arabia and the United States jumped into the fray against the Soviet invasion. Each with different motivations, they poured some $20 billion in the fight and Saudi interior ministry may have facilitated travel for anything between 35,000 and 40,000 young men to join in. Sensing Russian weakness, Washington wanted to take the fight to the Soviets, while Al Saud were willing to provide the manpower because of a new turn that Saudi Arabia took in the 1980s: scared by the 1979 Wahhabi revolt at the Grand Mosque in Mecca the regime moved to boost its Islamic credentials. The class of ulama (religious scholars) were given wider powers over society, the kingdom embarked on a programme of global proselytization (printing Qurans and funding mosques), and Saudis were publicly encouraged to join the Afghan jihad. The Mujahideen were public heroes... Read more

ukrainearabspringEhud Eilam
(Holds a M.A. & a Ph.D in his field: Israel's national strategy and military doctrine. He has been involved with the study of those subjects, academically and practically for more than 20 years. Dr. Eilam also worked for a few years as a researcher in his expertise for Israel's Ministry of Defense, as a private contractor. He now resides near Boston, USA)

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr) Publication date: 9 December 2014

There is a certain similarity between the Arab turmoil in the Middle East and the conflict in the Ukraine. This has to do with the resemblance and linkage between Russia and Iran, Turkey and Poland and the nature of the battlefield... Read more

thinktanksProf Daniel Pipes
(President of the Middle East Forum based in USA)

Copyright: http://www.danielpipes.org/ - Publication Date on RIEAS web site: 27/09/2014

In a eyebrow-raising 4,000-word exposé, "Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks" published in the New York Times on September 7, Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams and Nicholas Confessore look into the novel issue of foreign governmental financing for American think tanks.

The trio found that while the total scope "is difficult to determine ... since 2011, at least 64 foreign governments, state-controlled entities or government officials have contributed to a group of 28 major United States-based research organizations." Using the sketchy available information, they estimate "a minimum of $92 million in contributions or commitments from overseas government interests over the last four years. The total is certainly more." ... Read more
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