The Centre for Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies is publishing a series of Papers that analyse current regional affairs and erspectives and present the outcome of interdisciplinary research on major issues concerning the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Muslim communities worldwide.
Although no state has officially recognized its independence, Somaliland operates as a democratic, de facto state since the 18th of May 1991, when it unilaterally declared its independence from the Republic of Somalia. The purpose of this article is to attempt to construct a critical debate on Somaliland’s independence and put forth arguments for and against the recognition of Somaliland’s independence, taking into consideration the historic realities of the county and the region. I will use a multidisciplinary approach to examine the topic in question by including political, economic, and legal analysis. The first part of the article is dedicated to the historical background of the region without which it is not possible to achieve a fruitful debate. The second part argues against the recognition of Somaliland; observing the political entity as an illegal entity being created by a particular clan (Isaaq) in order to serve personal interests, and as a proxy being used by foreign powers (mainly Ethiopia) in order to keep Somalia divided and weak.
Religion and politics constitute a relationship around which human affairs clustered since time immemorial. Faith in one or more superior beings already existed before the very first moment that people started perceiving themselves as members of an entity, irrespectively of its level of institutionalisation of power and formality of interpersonal relations. From the first family-based nomad communities where decisions were made on the basis of the Gods-sent omens till George W. Bush’s references to God and al-Qaeda’s Allah-inspired mission and ideology, religion was always centrally placed in politics (Gentile, 2006; Bruce, 2003) and vice versa.
The aim of this essay is to show the way in which the political thought of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb has influenced Islam’s non-religious (mainly social and political, i.e. ideological) aspects. The concepts of religion and ideology will be quickly examined both in relation to Islam and to each other as well, al-Banna’s and Qutb’s political thought will be thematically analysed, while in the end a critique will take place.
“War is the father of all and king of all” (Kirk, 1954, p. 245) is what Heraclitus claimed and even if it might be quite exaggerating, it is not far from reality. War has always been central in shaping human affairs and it constitutes one of the most ancient forms of politics, since it has been used since time immemorial by human beings trying to impose their will on other neighbouring entities. War has largely contributed towards changing the form, structure and composition of both the entities launching it and those on which it was being imposed, while it was a result of war that modern states have been born and developed.
The revolutions and the uprisings in the Middle East changed the balances in the region and, consequently, Russia’s perspective on it. Russia had to face the risk of losing relatively new gains, as well as dilemmas on which side to favour, especially in the case of Libya and Syria. It can be said that Moscow generally remained a “royal realist,” standing on the side of its interest and trying to adapt its policies to the ad hoc developments. The way Russian policy will develop and the extent to which the already made choices have been successful or not are both still “under process.”
The “Arab Spring” in general and especially the Egyptian peoples’ quest for democracy have dominated the reports, analyses as well as reportages of the international academia and Press during the last months. However, less attention has been paid to the reasons why a non-democratic regime in Egypt had lasted for so long. The analysis of these factors should give a clear picture to the reader of the great difficulty in toppling Mubarak’s system and the importance of the Egyptian peoples’ revolution.
Turkey’s friendly relations with Hamas and Hezbollah constitute an indisputable reality in the Middle East the last six years. The AKP government has brought Turkey closer to the two radical Islamist organisations, to the detriment of the country’s long existing relations with Israel and the West, and despite the harsh internal reactions by the Kemalist establishment. Dynamics have started to change in the region. It remains to be seen what these changes will bring about for all Middle Eastern countries.
Boualem Sansal belongs to a generation of Algerian writers who, three decades after Algerian Independence, denounce the drift of the sociopolitical and economic system in their country that “leaves less and less room for illusions” (Bonn, et al.: 1997 : 206). Gradually, for certain authors, who are steadily growing in number, “referential writing is supplanting formalism” as Jean-Marc Moura noted (2007: 155). The bloody current topicality of the ‘90s thus inspired Algerian authors like Rachid Mimouni and Rachid Boudjedra to courageously bear witness in a literature firmly rooted in reality. By the last decade of the 20th century, the country had ceased being a model of third-world socialism, nationalism had eroded and the absence of hope compelled increasingly more members of the younger generation to go into self-imposed exile.
Osama is dead. Seemingly, there couldn’t be a worst time for alQaeda. The death of a leader in the midst of confusing and challenging developments is never good news for a militant “vanguard” organization like Al Qaeda, who together with the Salafi-jihadi current in general, found themselves up against the wall by the untimely winds of the Arab Spring. Nevertheless, by one of those twists of history, the death of Osama may turn into a very timely development for the survival of “Jihad
Sudan, the largest country in Africa and in the Arab world, once represented the hope of peaceful coexistence between Arab and African, Muslim and Christian. We are currently witnessing the predominantly Christian and animist African South voting for its secession from the North.This article will try to examine the reasons why Sudan is going to be divided, the fears and uncertainties for the newest sovereign state in the African Continent and how is this secession is perceived firstly in Africa and secondly in the world
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