The Looming Climate Peril. Sustainable Strategies and Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

The Looming Climate Peril. Sustainable Strategies and Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

by Tobias Zumbrägel

Taking the viewpoint of ‘political ecology’, this first issue of the newly created CARPO Sustainability Series highlights the social and political implications of sustainable transformation across the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Overall, it aims to achieve four goals: (a) to provide a comprehensive overview of existing research and avenues of thought; (b) to supply a cross-sectoral analysis across the MENA region, rather than in-depth single case studies; (c) to uncover broader implications and dialectic relationships between sustainability and political power constellations; and (d) to sketch out some potential future developments and dynamics over the coming years.Read more


<i>Bar’a</i> as an Expression of Liminality Ritual Performance, Identity and Conflict Prevention in the Highlands of Yemen

Bar’a as an Expression of Liminality Ritual Performance, Identity and Conflict Prevention in the Highlands of Yemen

by Ulrike Stohrer

This Study focuses on the performative genre barʿa, which is one of the most important means of nonverbal communication between social groups in Yemen. As such, this Study deals with a cultural practice of the tribal population in the Yemeni highlands that also has important significance for Yemeni society as a whole by serving as an expression of tribal, regional and also national identity. Moreover, the practice is a cultural tool that enables tribesmen to deal with unsafe and potentially conflict-bearing situations in a stabilizing manner. It is used as a ritual for integration and strengthening collective identity, as well as as a means of keeping peace and preventing conflicts.

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Projecting Power Westwards. China’s Maritime Strategy in the Arabian Sea and its Potential Ramifications for the Region

Projecting Power Westwards. China’s Maritime Strategy in the Arabian Sea and its Potential Ramifications for the Region

by Julia Gurol & Parisa Shahmohammadi

This Study looks at China’s new maritime strategy in the Arabian Sea within the framework of the Maritime Silk Road and analyses its possible implications for the adjacent countries. The main focus of the analysis is placed on the most critical sea lines of communication which connect China with the Middle East: the Bab al-Mandab, the Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf and the Street of Hormuz, as well as the Suez Canal. The authors analyze China’s change in strategy from its focus on securing its own coastlines to a stronger outward power projection and the development of a navy that not only concentrates on securing resources but also on the establishment of regional hegemonic power. Further, the authors project possible economic and security implications of this change in strategy for the role of China in the region as well as its respective countries.

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Imagining an Alternative Homeland. Humanism in Contemporary Yemeni Novels

Imagining an Alternative Homeland. Humanism in Contemporary Yemeni Novels

by Abdulsalam al-Rubaidi

This Study presents insights into alternative values and visions offered to society by leading contemporary Yemeni novelists with the aim of laying the basis for a better future of their country. CARPO Associate Fellow Abdulsalam al-Rubaidi analyzes six contemporary Yemeni novels, each of which is built around widely debated issues in Yemen, revolving around three main categories: regionalism, religious affiliations, and race. The Study identifies a multidimensional humanistic space as the ultimate goal of literary narration – a vision which is based on love, respect, recognition, rationality, openness, environmental awareness and orientation towards peace.

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Rivals or Partners? Interdependencies between the EU and China in the Middle East

Rivals or Partners? Interdependencies between the EU and China in the Middle East

by Julia Gurol

Geopolitical occurrences and the changing role of the United States in the Middle East have led to an increased interdependence between the EU and China in the Middle East, a region where the economic and security interests of each meet, compete and converge. While the main drivers of EU-China relations remain economic, the security dimension of their relationship is steadily increasing. It is therefore timely to undertake a preliminary mapping of EU-China security relations in the Middle East, in order to assess the potential drivers towards cooperation and explore possibilities to turn the greater interdependence into increased cooperation rather than expanding competition.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Recognizing the Primacy of Politics in UN Peacebuilding

Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Recognizing the Primacy of Politics in UN Peacebuilding

by Andrea Warnecke

This CARPO Study scrutinizes the dichotomy between the political and non-political parts of the UN system and asks whether the UN system can conduct peacebuilding in contested intra-state settings irrespective of Security Council backing. It argues that the UN’s perennial pre-occupation with improving peacebuilding coherence across its bodies is bound up with the attempt to project greater political leverage vis-à-vis host state governments. The quest for peacebuilding reform has recently come full circle by acknowledging the fundamental dilemma of conducting intra-state peacebuilding in ‘non-cooperative’ environments as a challenge to be addressed at the political level of inter-governmental cooperation rather than through the non-political parts of the UN.

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Grey-scales. Negotiating the Civil State in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

Grey-scales. Negotiating the Civil State in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

by Sarah Wessel

As a slogan, dawla madaniyya (civil state) was one of the most often heard during the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings across the Arab World. In this CARPO Study, Sarah Wessel explores the changing state-society relations in Egypt, following the so-called 25 January Revolution until the ousting of Muhammad Mursi. By investigating the complex assumptions, perceptions and circumstances expressed in support of the civil state, the authors shows that the diverse notions indicate a deeper shared concern: whether the emerging political and social extremes can be reunified in order to rehabilitate the disintegration of the national collective.

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Aden 1986 – The Forgotten Evacuation [in German]

Aden 1986 – The Forgotten Evacuation [in German]

by Hans Jürgen Wendler

In the final phase of the Cold War, as Moscow is losing its grip on the world-wide socialist community of states, a civil war in socialist southern Yemen forces thousands of foreigners to flee to the beaches of Aden. They are brought to safety in a joint rescue mission across Cold War frontiers, including ships from East and West. For the first time in the history of sea evacuations since 1945, a German freighter – the MS “Müggelsee” – is part of the mission. Despite the positive role the GDR played in the rescue mission, it subsequently increases the control of its merchant marine. Thirty years later, contemporary witnesses share their memories and the foreign ministries of both Germanies open their archives. Available only in German.

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The GDR, Honecker and the South Yemen Crisis of 1986 [in German]

The GDR, Honecker and the South Yemen Crisis of 1986 [in German]

by Miriam Müller

In January 1986, a internal conflict in the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) escalates into a bloody civil war. After a few days, Aden lies in ruins and with it the international credibility of a significantly decimated YSP – a fact that soon took a heavy toll on the erstwhile close relations with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and its governing party, the Marxist-Leninist Socialist Unity Party. This CARPO Study provides an overview of this special friendship between the GDR and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) and analyses the consequences of the 1986 conflict in the context of the last phase of the Cold War. It concluded with a view towards a possible trajectory the GDR-PDRY relationship could have taken had not both states dissolved. Only available in German.

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