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This Week at ISN
19 – 23 August 2013

Our Weekly Editorial Roundup

» Editorial Plan | Security Watch | Blog | Video

//   Middle East and North Africa: Issues in Focus
The complex realities of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have many parents. The strategic postures of Iran and Turkey are two of them, but there are also a number of additional factors that exert their influence on a more local level. For instance, why is it that Israel's Mizrahim (Arab Jews) tend to support right wing Israeli policies? And why has Jordan thus far remained relatively untouched by the Arab Spring? Finally, how might these factors shape the region over the   next few years?

The Third World, Global Islam and Pragmatism
19 August 2013

What really drives Iran's foreign policy? According to Walter Posch it has three dominant strains: religious fervor, rational political calculation and something that Western observers tend to overlook – Iran's long-standing self-image of itself as a spearhead of the Third World. » More

Turkey's Regional Role: Public Attitudes in the Middle East
20 August 2013

Have the recent uprisings in the Middle East tarnished Turkey's reputation among its neighbors? On the contrary, say Sabiha Gündogar Senyücel and others. Their research suggests that despite the ongoing political turmoil in the region, public attitudes towards Turkey remain favorable. » More

Israel's Internal Frontier: The Enduring Power of Ethno-Nationalism
21 August 2013

Why do Israel's Mizrahi (Arab Jews) generally support the country's right-wing political parties and their policies? Cathrine Thorleifsson attributes this phenomenon to the power of ethno-nationalism, which she believes will persist as a preferred   vehicle for Israeli national unity. » More

Political Instability in Jordan
22 August 2013

Jordan has so far managed to weather the political storms unleashed by the Arab uprisings. Robert Satloff and David Schenkerthe warn, however, that this might soon change. They think that the risk of political instability within the country is greater now than at any time since the early 1970s. » More

The Future of the Middle East and North Africa
23 August 2013

The Arab uprisings have arguably aggravated the social, economic and political problems that already exist in the Middle East and North Africa. In today's Question and Answer session, the CSS' Lorenzo Vidino offers his predictions on how the attempts to resolve these problems might play out over the next few years. » More

//   Security Watch
Prospects for the Delivery of Russian S-300 Systems to Syria: A Real or Virtual Threat?
19 August 2013

The delivery of Russian S-300 missiles to Syria will undoubtedly complicate any plans the US and Israel might have to intervene in the conflict. But is Moscow serious? Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski has his doubts. He believes that the proposed transfer is part of a broader Russian disinformation campaign. » More

Dangerous Deadlock in Djibouti
20 August 2013

Djibouti's recent election was generally seen to be free, fair and open. This judgment, however, has not prevented the opposition from contesting the final outcome, which leads Redie Bereketeab to worry about political instability in an Islamic country that plays host to Western military bases. » More

Libya Struggles to Clear Explosive Remnants of War
21 August 2013

Despite the ongoing efforts of the United Nations, 'explosive remnants of war' (ERW) remain a major problem in Libya. According to the IRIN, internal political differences and a significant shortfall in funding are two major reasons why. » More

Bullets, Bombs and Ice Cream: The Unintended Consequences of Google Earth's New Cartographic World
22 August 2013

Google Earth offers unprecedented public access to satellite material that was once the exclusive preserve of the state. One obvious if unintended consequence of this service, writes Nicholas Kaempffer, is that insurgents and extremists now use satellite imagery to plot and better coordinate their activities. » More

How to Read the U.S.-Pakistani Restart
23 August 2013

Islamabad's 'unhelpful role' in Afghanistan and the US's ongoing reliance on lethal drone strikes continue to fray USPakistan relations. In today's Questions and Answers session, the Council on Foreign Relations' Daniel Markey considers the prospect of 'restarting' – yet again – this fraught relationship. » More

//   Blog
China's "Surgical" Human Rights Crackdown
19 August 2013

China's Communist Party wants to crack down on the social media platform Weixin (WeChat). Robert Blohm believes it's because the platform is completely private, thus making it the ideal place for online activists to gather and criticize the government. » More

Perhaps Bowing to Pressure, Rohani Appoints Woman to Iranian Cabinet
20 August 2013

Hassan Rohani was recently and widely praised for appointing a woman to his cabinet. Symbolism aside, Golnaz Esfandiari reminds us that there is still much to be done before Iran's female population is fairly represented in the country's political system. » More

Georgia: Is Moscow Building Another Berlin Wall?
21 August 2013

Russia recently began erecting a 27 kilometer-long fence that divides parts of Georgia from South Ossetia. Molly Corso warns that it not only violates the 2008 ceasefire agreement between both countries, it also reflects Moscow's unwillingness to enter into constructive dialogue with Tbilisi. » More

Japan's Militarization Would Threaten Regional Security
22 August 2013

Shinzo Abe's growing influence over the Japanese Diet may help him shift the country from 'self-defense' to 'national defense', as he hopes to do. According to Yuki Yoshida, that's bad news for Japan's domestic politics and an already volatile Asia-Pacific region. » More

Brazil's Wired Protests
23 August 2013

There was something different about the protests that engulfed Brazil over the summer, writes Robert Muggah. Instead of being channeled through the traditional political parties and trade unions, they were led by the country's burgeoning – and increasingly tech-savvy - middle class. » More

//   Video
The Iraq War: Ten Years On
In this 'evergreen' video, Professor Michael Clarke and Dr Jonathan Eyal take a look back at various aspects of the Iraq War, to include the initial invasion, the search for weapons of mass destruction, and the long-term consequences of the war for Iraq and the surrounding region. » More

Against and Beyond the Crisis: the Role of Urban Social Movements
A new way of politics is emerging and it's very much up for grabs. But if that is the case, what is this alternative way of politics all about? In this video, controversial cultural geographer and political anthropologist David Harvey explores this question. He also hopes that this new form of politics will reverse the political and economic 'pathological behaviors' he sees all around him. » More

The Emerging Role of China In the Middle East
In this short video, the Brookings Institution's Martin Indyk and Vali Nasr, consider whether China will fill the political vacuum that the United States has failed to fill recently in the Middle East. » More

Coming Up
Next week our editorial focus examines security dynamics in West Africa.

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