PDF version available here In response to the September 11 attacks, the United States occupied Iraq. Baghdad effectively ended up in the hands of Iran, thus leading to the formation of the Shi’i Crescent. Riyadh has been leading the Sunni crusade to derail the march of Shi’ism. At the same time, to protect its nuclear […]
There is a guarded optimism that the Arab Spring could result in genuine religious and political reforms. This optimism is grounded in the belief that for the new governments to be reelected, they must reduce unemployment and poverty quickly and convincingly. Dogmatic posturing produces neither jobs nor prosperity. Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists–with Wahhabi inspiration and […]
Examining the differences between the uprising in Syria and those in Tunisia and Egypt offers important clues as to why Syria’s regime is likely to survive. The Tunisian and Egyptian armies refused to kill demonstrators and even supported the revolution. Syria’s Alawi-led forces, on the other hand, do not hesitate to kill, as the Tadmur and Hama […]
In December 2009, Abu Dhabi awarded South Korean companies a four-reactor BOT contract to generate 5,600 MW of electricity. In two contradictions, the emirate announced in February 2008 the plan to build Masdar City, a zero carbon, zero waste, and 100 percent renewable energy powered town; and in July 2009, it became the secretariat headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This article argues that Abu Dhabi’s non-representative, non-participatory governance enables a poorly informed ruling elite enjoying rentier economic circumstances to reach such decisions. It concludes that the Masdar spirit and IRENA’s principles require Abu Dhabi to abandon nuclear energy for safe solar and wind power.
The compatibility between Islam and democracy has been a controversial topic. While empirical studies since 2000 confirm the prevailing notion that Muslim majority states offer fewer political rights than non-Muslim countries, the question as to why such a phenomenon exists remains unsatisfactorily answered. One key element is how the interpretation of Islam itself has been so effectively used by Arab regimes to indoctrinate subjects into believing that blind obedience to their absolute rule is a form of Islamic piety. This article will also argue that Islam, combined with the security forces and the poverty of the masses render the majority of Arabs politically quietist.
DRY AQUIFERS IN ARAB COUNTRIES AND THE LOOMING FOOD CRISIS Elie Elhadj* As water volumes in Arab lands dwindle, as per capita income in the large and heavily populated non-oil producing states remains low and narrowly diversified, as high population growth rates persist, a food disaster will sooner or later strike. These countries will have […]