The predominant majority of Iraqis identify themselves primarily as Iraqi nationals. However, it is the disagreement over what ‘Iraq-ness’ means that has perpetuated the internal conflict, and prevented Iraqis from defining their political community in an inclusive and pluralistic way. The country has been deeply affected by the lack of an inclusive national narrative and effective political system, and the ‘democratic’ system that emerged in post-Saddam Iraq did not improve the situation.
Freedom and Democracy
The June 1st elections held in Egypt for partially renewing the Shura Council (parliament’s Upper House) marked the beginning of an electoral process that will end with the 2011 presidential elections, which may result in the appointment of a successor to Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981. The homecoming of the former IAEA secretary and Egyptian diplomat Mohamed El Baradei, who many believe will be the next president, the doubts concerning the elderly Mubarak’s re-election (this would be his sixth consecutive term), and the recent campaign of arrests against the main opposition group, the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood movement, are fuelling many questions about the future stability of this, the most highly populated Arab country. We discuss the matter with the Italian historian and journalist Paola Caridi – author of Hamas. Che cosa è e cosa vuole il movimento radicale palestinese published by Feltrinelli – who for years has followed the evolution of the situation from nearby Jerusalem.
The challenges posed by globalisation, the AKP’s foreign policy, the Kurds and the Armenians. The 2010 Istanbul Seminars ended with a debate on Turkey, a country that in the immediate future will be called upon to face increasingly difficult challenges, not least that of the tricky process of joining the Club of 27. There are still a number of problems to be solved. There is Northern Cyprus, the Armenian and Kurdish issues, but also the completion of modernisation plans to prevent Turkey from drifting towards radical nationalism and religious extremism.
The fragility of the agreements signed is there for everyone to see and contradicts President Al Bashir’s triumphant statements, when, speaking on State television and to the international press, he declared that the civil war in Darfur was “over.” Not all the players in the Sudanese political scenario wish for reconciliation. On the contrary, there have been violent clashes between government troops and the rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/SLM), a group that has not signed the truce.
Reset-DoC carries on the debate about Europe and its future with a new essay by Hauke Brunkhorst, Director of the Institute of Sociology and of the Department of European Studies at the University of Flensburg, Germany. The following paper has two parts: in the first part the author outlines an evolutionary model for analyzing the relation of democracy, cosmopolitanism and conflict. In the second part he applies this model it to the case of European constitutionalization, and its failure.
In an unprecedented statement, over forty senior academics and career diplomats including more than a dozen former presidents of the most important professional association for scholars of the Arab and larger Muslim world, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), have signed a letter to US President Obama and Secretary State John Kerry calling for the Administration to demand the immediate release of blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah and other political detainees in Egypt, for Egyptian officials to suspend the protest law of 2013 and end the repression of free speech rights guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and international law, and end the regime of violence, including torture and extra judicial execution, that still governs Egypt after the electoral victory of Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as President. Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations endorses this campaign and encourages readers to subscribe to it as well by posting a comment to this article in the designated section below. It is our hope that this cause will receive the attention it deserves through media across the world. The original letter was published by Jadaliyya.
Original article published on CNNWhen religion is used, or misused, as a violent tool against the innocent, then it is the user not the tool that is the source of violence. The mere idea of traumatizing a human soul violates all values on Earth. Whether based on religious texts or human interpretations, no value in the history of mankind justifies any brutal act against any of God's creation.
Ever since Partition and Independence, Indian political life has privileged the concepts of diversity, pluralism, tolerance and inter-religious harmony. The way to realise these values, according to the ideology dominant thus far, was to have a state that expressed equal ‘love’ for all communities, that is, a state taking it upon itself to safeguard the peculiarities, rights and interests of groups defined along the axes of religion or caste, or as a majority and multiple minorities. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta has explained recently, in the vision of its founders and the architecture of the Constitution, India was conceived of as a ‘federation of communities’ with a paternalistic, secular state presiding over and managing a mosaic of identities. But, the outcome of India’s 2014 general elections, which puts the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power under the leadership of Narendra Modi – sworn in as the new prime minister on Monday 26 May – calls for a widespread debate on the meaning, purpose and definition of secularism in this country.
As India enters its 2014 general election to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha, the spectacle of prominent commentators adjusting their views towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi unfolds before our eyes with escalating frequency and vivid clarity. These adjustments — to use a term that is more descriptive than judgmental, at least for starters — take a variety of forms, and come from a range of observers, analysts and experts.
Fardin, 25, has left Kermanshah, the largest city in Iranian Kurdistan, to travel to Kirkuk in Iraq. There he will work for the state-owned electricity company where his cousin is employed. “This is an excellent opportunity since in Iran everything is at a standstill, while in Massoud Barzani’s Iraqi Kurdistan there is a great deal going on,” explains Fardin. Thanks to his father’s role in the Iran-Iraq war (1981-1988), the young man was only obligated to serve in the army for one year instead of two. “This exemption is applied to the children of war veterans, but I would not have wished to stay on as a regular soldier. The pay is appalling and a soldier earns 3,000 toman a month (7.5 euros) while a professional soldier at the start of his career earns a little over 300,000 toman (75 euros),” he added.
The rise to power of the Fethullah Gülen confraternity has transformed Turkey since the 90s. This spiritual movement has given rise to a vast media and financial empire, doubled by an imposing network of schools, universities and residences within Turkey, but also on a global scale. Scattered throughout all levels of social and political life, its members weigh heavily on government choices. Yet, the movement’s omnipotence is no longer compatible with the ambitions of its former ally Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The dilemma that the so-called Arab Spring has entered in its third year since its inception in 2011 makes many wonder if it deserves the name in the first place. It is an Arab winter, bloody, gloomy and dark. The political deadlocks in Tunisia and Yemen, the rampant violence in Egypt, the demolition and possible division of Syria, instability in Libya, slow change in Morocco and Jordan, and controlled change in the Gulf are arguments put in the forefront to express disappointments over the Arab massive street protests and the little they have achieved. It should be remembered, however, that social movements always bring a spirit, and that is what marks them in history. That is what turns them into revolutions, after being mere revolts, unorganized protests, that are or appear to be leaderless, and of little internal and external support. The American and French revolutions took decades to stop violence and social distrust, and about two centuries to reach their current status (which other nations and societies are not obliged to mimic, but only to learn from).