Regions / Middle East

"Islam and the post-Cold War West: Necessity of an international solidarity in the remaking of a new world order" by Anar Naghiyev

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:42 PM

One of the objectives of Islamic studies is to research the influence and role of Islam in global politics. Measuring the extent of Islamic influence in foreign policy implementation is as important as identifying religious identities and how those identities are manifested; for instance in acts of terrorism. Islam has been a culture for millions of people for centuries, and Koran does not promote violence or aggressiveness. Similar to other religions, it is unique in essence and inclusive in character. Thus Islam should not be associated with terror, anger, or hatred. Nor should Islamophobia be allowed to become mainstream, a frequent, at times common, phenomenon in the West. The global fight against terrorism should uphold the safety of ordinary Muslims; accordingly, Islamophobia should be prioritized as a global threat. In light of these concerns, this article critically examines the way Islam is dealt with in international politics in the post-Cold War era. Read more...

"Challenges to Islamic Solidarity: The Case of Turkish HNGOs" by Pınar Akpınar

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:41 PM

This study investigates the role of Islamic solidarity in the conceptions, motivations, and practices of Turkish HNGOs. While Islamic solidarity plays an important role in the conceptions, motivations and practices of these HNGOs, it is, at times, limited by their strong sense of affiliation with Turkey and Turkish patriotism. In this sense, Islamic solidarity can be downplayed when there is a stronger sense of national affiliation. Furthermore, the sustainability of these HNGOs, and therefore the extent to which they are able to extend Islamic solidarity, is dependent upon the convergence of their ideas and interests with Turkey’s current government. In a similar vein, it remains under question whether these HNGOs would feel the same level of patriotism under a different government. As such, the support they enjoy from the government and the affiliation they feel with Turkey feed into one another. Moreover, Islamic solidarity offered by Turkish HNGOs could be challenged by their overreliance on the precarious space provided for them by the current Turkish government. Read more...

"Reflections on Faith-Based Solidarity and Social Membership: Beyond Religion? The Case of Lebanese Shiite FBOs" by Estella Carpi

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:36 PM

During the July 2006 postwar period in Beirut’s southern suburbs (Dahiye), which were destroyed by the Israeli air force in its effort to annihilate the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah, the Islamic Shi‘a philanthropic sphere has been growing. It has pioneered the postwar reconstruction process and local relief provision, while diversely defining itself in relation to its secular and faith-based counterparts. This paper examines the extent to which religious providers develop solidarity with or antagonism towards provider members of the same community in times of crisis. Indeed, intra-community solidarity among different aid providers tends to be taken for granted. Problematizing this common belief is particularly important for defining the ways in which social solidarity either develops or contracts across faith-based communities during conflict-induced displacement. In this context, aid provision and local accountability remain fundamental litmus papers. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted in Dahiye from 2011 to 2013 with Lebanese Shiite faith-based organizations and private initiatives, a secular local organization, and their respective beneficiaries, this paper advances reflections on how social membership and acts of solidarity and charity interact within the Lebanese philanthropic scenario. Read more...

"Turkey-Azerbaijan Relations after 15 July: Expectations, Solidarity and Cooperation" by Hüsrev Tabak and Özgür Tüfekçi

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:35 PM

The 15 July failed coup in Turkey changed the country’s foreign policy priorities. Since then, the country has redefined its relations with a number of countries based on how they responded to the coup attempt, and whether they cooperated with Ankara in apprehending the penetrators, the FETÖ. Given that 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, and that the two countries have had steady and mutually supportive policies throughout this time, this paper examines whether the post-15 July environment has led to changes in the relationship. Specifically, the paper analyzes Azerbaijan’s response to the ‘fight on FETÖ’, and the development of relations following the coup attempt. Our assessment of the post-15 July political developments suggests that bilateral relations have affirmed the path dependency of the two countries. The attempted coup and its consequences have not had any kind of negative impact on relations; on the contrary, the support Azerbaijan showed to Turkey in the ‘fight on FETÖ’ has deepened mutual trust, thereby further strengthening the path dependent solidarity and cooperation. Read more...

"Azerbaijan – Iran Cultural Relations: Dynamics and Potentials" by Mesiaga Mahammadi

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:33 PM

The article surveys the historical and current state of cultural relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the neighboring Islamic Republic of Iran, and discusses the main directions and potential opportunities of further cultural cooperation. The centuries-old cultural affinity and coexistence have been key to the expansion of bilateral relations; the common cultural heritage led to a long-standing relationship between the two countries - even during the Soviet era. After Azerbaijan regained its independence, Azerbaijan-Iran cultural relations have begun to further expand and deepen. During the early years of Azerbaijan's independence, Iran favored the religious dimension of cultural relations, which later caused some problems in the relationship. But over time, the signing of numerous documents on cultural cooperation between the two countries, and the establishment of an appropriate legal base enabled the relationship to cover various spheres in this direction. From 2003, cinema, music, theater and literature have played an important role in cultural relations between the two countries; in addition, significant steps have been taken to boost ties in science and education. Read more...

"One Belt One Road Strategy: the Views from Kazakhstan" by Rafis Abazov

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:25 PM

Policy makers in Kazakhstan were among the first in Central Asia to support the China-led “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) initiative. However, recently they have begun to re-conceptualize their policies in the region pursuant to the region’s shifting geo-economics and geopolitics. Three fundamental shifts have influenced the emergence of the new Silk Road paradigm in the international relations in the greater Central Asia region. The first is the shift in international trade, investments and economic relations in the Eurasian region, as the decline in global oil prices negatively impacted the economic growth both in Kazakhstan and in neighboring countries. The second is the growth of land-based transportation and communication infrastructure networks, which could potentially open the door for greater regional trade. The third is the formation (albeit in the early stages) of a new regional trade bloc via attempts to unify tariffs, trade regimes, and regulations in order to develop even closer economic relations in the region. Read more...

2014: The Year 10 Million Syrians Became an Insignificant Statistic; Salwa Amor

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:47 PM

In mid-2014, the UN declared that the influx of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), and the ensuing human trafficking catastrophe, had led to the worst humanitarian refugee crisis since WWII. How does the current Syrian refugee crisis fit into the historical context of this previous tragedy, and has the international community and the world at large really learnt anything from past experience? This is the question we pose, and this is the answer we give: a comparison between Europe’s response to the post-WWII refugee crisis and the current, second worst crisis of its kind, reveals that Europe has advanced in many ways. However, for victims of displacement around the world, Europe has yet to move on from the WWII mentality, which was characterized by indifference. Read more...

Life in a Tent… The Unending Plight of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon; Samar el Kadi

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:46 PM

When Syrians fled their war-torn country for the relative safety of neighboring Lebanon, they little imagined that almost four years on, they would still be there. As the humanitarian assistance which they have been relying on runs out and the tolerance of their hosts wears thin, their living conditions have dramatically deteriorated. What is it like for the Syrian refugees who continue to spend years of their lives in poorly equipped tents in miserable conditions? Samar el Kadi reports from the Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon. Read more...

Stranded and Trapped: The Growing Syrian Refugee Crisis in Turkey and the Disaster of International Inaction; Constanze Letsch

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:35 PM

This article discusses the Syrian refugee crisis triggered by the outbreak of conflict in Syria in March 2011, and its impact on neighbouring Turkey. Over 1.6 million Syrians are currently residing within Turkish borders, and Turkey, like other countries in the region, is beginning to reach the limits of its capacity. The article argues that Turkey’s asylum policies as well as the dismal international response to the crisis are pushing increasing numbers of Syrians to risk their lives, fleeing the country via dangerous and ever diversifying human trafficking routes. Evidence has shown that the European response of tightening border controls and trying to deter migrants from reaching its shores by cancelling of maritime rescue operations is failing. This approach only pushes traffickers to use riskier methods, likely to result in more deaths of those trying to reach the safety of a third country. The international community urgently needs to rise to its responsibilities towards the Syrians fleeing violence in their country, both in order to prevent the humanitarian crisis from further spiraling out of control, and to alleviate the pressure on Turkey and other countries in the region. Read more...

A Life On the Edge: Syrian IDPs; Zümrüt Sönmez

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:32 PM

This article examines the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Syria, based on facts and personal observations, and provides recommendations for the international community. IDPs are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the current global context. Escaping from armed conflicts, generalized violence or human rights violations, IDPs leave their demolished houses or besieged towns, only to find themselves trapped within the borders of their home countries, unlike refugees who manage to cross an international border in order to take shelter in another country. Some Syrian IDPs have eventually settled in makeshift camps in the border areas after fleeing civil war. There are reportedly hundreds of thousands people living alongside the Turkish-Syrian border under very harsh conditions. Underlying these conditions and their continuing deterioration, this article attempts to demonstrate the importance of the role of international NGOs in improving the situation for IDPs. Read more...
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