This week's guest editors

The slow pace of female empowerment in the Gulf

These oil-rich countries cannot sustain long-term growth and prosperity if half the population remains marginalised and excluded from the workforce. The GCC states should begin to invest in and reform public and private sector institutions in favour of female-friendly policies.

The Arab Spring and the changing balance of global power

From an empirical-analytical point of view, what has happened in the Middle East and North Africa since Mohammed Bouazizi died? This is not an opinion piece, but an assessment of underlying factors which have put pressure on the aspiration for justice and political reform launched by the Arab Spring. (5,000 words) 

This week's window on the Middle East - December 11, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Lebanon in turmoil.

Political reform in Kuwait?

Some believe it will be another five years before Kuwait can approach the idea of political reform again. But until then, activists should not be discouraged. Calling for an elected government in a region governed in the purest tribal form is not going to bear fruit overnight. 

The Islamic state in context

Almost by default, the swelling numbers of young Arabs, especially in the culturally vibrant centres of the Arab world (Cairo, Tunis, Beirut, Damascus, Casablanca, Kuwait, Manama), will create plurality - in social views, political positions, economic approaches, and in social identities and frames of reference.



Islam in the Arab transformations

The Shari’a is largely irrelevant to most important issues of policy and administration in the economy and in government. Its historical and symbolic locus is on family and sexuality: patriarchal rights, segregation of the sexes, enforced female modesty.

BRICS, a new cooperation model?

One of the criticisms made of the emerging economies is that they are using cooperation to gain markets, political influence and access to natural resources. But that is what the countries of the North are also seeking.

The black swan of the Gulf

The military and security apparatuses of these Gulf states plays a role in keeping the peace, but the best way forward is to build a civil society that is bound by a unifying mechanism such as a functioning, representative, elected parliament.

We may be stateless but we are not voiceless

The stateless in Kuwait have been trapped in poor conditions for two decades. The Arab Spring has provided hope that at long last their voices might be heard.

Gulf States: studious silence falls on Arab Spring

New demands for political reform in the Gulf are meeting a repressive response by regimes especially panicked when pro-democracy protests swell into cross-sectarian movements for meaningful political reform. This brutality polarises opinion between advocates of reform and proponents of repression. It also poses a dilemma for western policy makers in their engagement with their strategic partners in the region.

Bahrain: evolution or revolution?

With its oil reserves measured in years rather than decades and facing the imminent yet difficult transition to a post-oil economy, Bahrainis simply cannot afford another wasted ten-year cycle of partial reform and renewed repression. Major unrest in the Gulf States is altering their self-projection as global actors and oases of stability in an otherwise insecure region. In this context, the Bahraini government’s lethal response to peaceful demonstrators inflicted immense damage on its international credibility

Iran takes critical stance on US missile defences

Iranian officials attempt to discredit US missile defence deployments. China warns Obama over meeting with Dalai Lama. Somali Al Shabab unite with Al Qaeda’s jihad. Female suicide bomber kills 54 Iraqi pilgrims. All this and much more in today’s security briefing.
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