“The Arabness of Middle East regionalism”, New Article in Contemporary Politics

The Middle East is often considered to demonstrate a case of weak regionalism. This article suggests that the continued prevalence of Arab identity as the hegemonic component of regional consciousness contributes to this. The dominance of a discourse of ‘Arabness’ reduces the region’s flexibility to adapt and develop regional institutions in several ways and particularly vis-a-vis the non-Arab communities and states that are found within the spatial boundaries of the Middle East. To explore the role played by Arab identity politics in regionalism with regard to the status of non-Arab states, this article presents a study of the competing hegemonic regional discourses employed by Turkey, Iran and Egypt during a two-year period following the 2011 uprising in Egypt. This analysis suggests that even during a time of crisis, non-Arab states face obstacles to their assertion of regional projects and that Arabness is a central factor in the narratives resisting alternative interpretations of the interests and definition of the Middle East as a region. The article concludes that Arabness forms the hegemonic discourse that shapes the international relations of the Middle East.

For the full article follow this link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13569775.2014.968474#.VFjm__msWSo

For a free copy if you don’t have institutional access follow this link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13569775.2014.968474#.VFjm__msWSo

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The Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood: Implications for Egypt

A new article published in the Middle East Policy journal looks at the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt since the Arab Spring.  It sets out the underlying factors and shows how domestic and regional challenges were interwoven in this failure. The authors suggest that this  was due to the climate created by the 2011 uprising that enhanced the focus on Egyptian national interests rather than transnational ideologies but was also due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s inability to fully or convincingly employ its vision for Egypt and the Middle East, which was crucial in order to meet the heightened demands of the post-2011 uprising Egyptian public.  Consequently, the ‘Islamist threat’ discourse has not only been reasserted but also strengthened.  This will limit the influence of political Islam, while enhancing Egypt’s impact on post-Arab Spring regional alliances.

The article is published online here  and  here.

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The Implications of Counterterrorism Strategies for Human Security in Europe: The cases of Germany, France and the United Kingdom

Global Re-ordering: Evolution through European Networks

The University of Warwick is part of a major project entitled GR:EEN. GR:EEN is a global collaborative research project (16 institutions) engaged in academic research that impacts upon EU Policy and practice, seeking to define the role of the EU in the emerging global order.  The latest publication from this project is a policy brief that analyses counterterror policies and discourses within the EU and across three EU Member States – the United Kingdom, Germany and France – in order to show the place of the human security concept in the language of counterterrorism policy making.  

The report finds that in spite of greater emphasis on cooperation in the field of counterterrorism and the existing aspirations of human  security, both the EU and members states fail to place human security at the centre of strategic dialogue on counter terrorism because at the member state level the security of the state is still prioritised and enthusiasm at the EU level has waned.

To read the report click here.

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Egypt’s Crisis and Its Polarised Narratives

How a crisis is simplified and framed can say a lot about the strategic choices being made by certain actors, as can be seen from the polarised narratives arising out of Egypt’s crisis.

click here for the full article on the framing of Egypt’s crisis

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The ‘mediation’ of Muslim–Christian relations in Egypt: the strategies and discourses of the official Egyptian press during Mubarak’s presidency

The Iskanders Review

This article, which appears in the journal of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 
Vol. 23, Iss. 1, 2012, analyses the representation of Muslim–Coptic relations in the Al-Ahrām newspaper between 2005 and 2010. The primary goal is to assess the strategies and discourses used by this newspaper to represent sectarianism. As scholars note, negative representations of the ‘other’ in the media can contribute to shaping and prolonging conflict. Therefore, Al-Ahrām‘s representation of sectarian incidents is significant for the analysis both of the dynamics of Muslim–Christian relations in Egypt, and of state and church policies towards communal violence. There are three central discourses. (1) The use of selective narratives of history to construct a collective understanding of national unity as a natural state of relations between Muslims and Christians in Egypt. (2) Displacement of blame, which means constructing inter-religious conflict as alien and external through the use of an ‘us versus them’ paradigm in order to…

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Renewed Sectarian Violence Reported in Egypt

According to this AFP report, a violent clash broke out on Friday 5 April in Qalyubia, Egypt. Five people are believed to have been killed so far.  Egypt has suffered regular incidents of violence between Muslim and Christian citizens for decades.  Causes vary but tensions most commonly stem from controversy over religious conversions and disputes regarding the right of Christians to build or repair places of worship.

Since the uprising of 25 January 2011, there has been an escalation in attacks on Christians and churches, as well as the appearance of the new phenomenon of forcibly exiling Christian families from areas where violent incidents have taken place.  Some claim this has led to a massive increase in the numbers of Christians seeking to emigrate to the West, particularly since the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power in the wake of the revolution.

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Police Brutality as Egyptians Protest Against Morsi

Two years on from Egypt’s uprising of January 2011 and it seems little has changed.  In the ongoing protests in Egypt sparked by the anniversary of the uprising on January 25, Egyptian security is cracking down hard on protesters. For many protesters on the streets asking what has happened to their revolution, the reaction of president Morsi’s government and the security services only seems to underline the sense that their revolution has been bypassed. In one video currently being circulated widely via social media, a middle-aged man is seen apparently stripped naked, beaten and dragged along the ground.

Please be advised the following video contains extremely distressing scenes:

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