North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.

Demographic, Economy, Policies, Wild Cards

North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.

In the first three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions. After Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, we continue with the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA).

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Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

Policies, Water

Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

The challenge from here on is to avoid water wars while preemptively, cooperatively and aggressively addressing a growing global population’s water security. It can be done, but we must do it now.

  • Many dryland cities like Los Angeles, Cairo and Tehran have already outstripped natural water recharge, but are expected to continue growing, resulting in a deepening arid urban water crisis.
  • According to NASA’s GRACE mission, 19 key freshwater basins, including several in the U.S., are being unsustainably depleted, with some near collapse; much of the water is used indiscriminately by industrial agribusiness.
  • Many desert cities, including Tripoli, Phoenix and Los Angeles, are sustained by water brought from other basins by hydro megaprojects that are aging and susceptible to collapse, while the desalination plants that water Persian Gulf cities come at a high economic cost with serious salt pollution.
  • Experts say that thinking about the problem as one of supply disguises the real issue, given that what’s really missing to heading off a global freshwater crisis is the organization, capital, governance and political will to address the problems that come with regulating use of a renewable, but finite, resource.

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Epidemiology and evolution of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012–2020

Disease, Threats

Epidemiology and evolution of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012–2020

The ongoing transmission of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Middle East and its expansion to other regions are raising concerns of a potential pandemic. An in-depth analysis about both population and molecular epidemiology of this pathogen is needed.

Methods

MERS cases reported globally as of June 2020 were collected mainly from World Health Organization official reports, supplemented by other reliable sources. Determinants for case fatality and spatial diffusion of MERS were assessed with Logistic regressions and Cox proportional hazard models, respectively. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses were performed to examine the evolution and migration history of MERS-CoV.

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Strong diplomacy, strong status: Turkey in the region

Demographic, Diplomacy, Wild Cards

Strong diplomacy, strong status: Turkey in the region

After the end of the Cold War, the United States declared itself the sheriff of global politics. The new world order of American neo-cons amounted to the sole hegemony of the U.S. around the world.

Devastating the established international order, this unipolar international system nullified the status of international law and organizations, particularly the United Nations.

During the first two decades of the post-Cold War period, the U.S.’s unlawful occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq concluded, providing lasting political instability in the Middle East. However, the eruption of the Syrian civil war soon proved that the unipolar international order was simply not working. Losing their role as a playmaker, the U.S. administration injected itself into the Syrian crisis as one of the parties of the regional conflict by using two terrorist organizations, Daesh and the PKK, as proxies

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THE HELPLESS CRY OUT AS THE WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO GENOCIDE

Genocide, Threats

THE HELPLESS CRY OUT AS THE WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO GENOCIDE

Joseph Stalin, while just a commissar, once stated: “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” As Soviet Union leader, Stalin created the Great Famine (the Holodomor) in Ukraine in which up to 10 million people starved to death, about 25,000 every day, in 19321933.

Frenchman Jean Rostand, in his 1939 book “Thoughts of a Biologist,” wrote, “Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god.” Even before then, there has been no shortage of men seeking such deification. They have killed tens of millions of people and driven out millions more to foreign countries that do not want them to live in abject poverty.

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Wars of Blood and Faith

Terrorism, Threats

Wars of Blood and Faith

In the no-holds-barred tradition that has won him so many fans across the nation and around the world, best-selling author and strategist Ralph Peters confronts the crucial security issues of our time–and the troubled times to come.

With his trademark clarity and force, Peters argues that we have left behind the Age of Ideologies to enter a violent period in which ethnicity and religion–blood and faith–will continue to be the source of ferocious rebellions, genocide, and global terrorism.

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Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World

Diplomacy, Policies

Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World

How did it come to pass that, not so long after 9/11 brought the free world to our side, U.S. foreign policy is in a shambles? In this thought-provoking book, the renowned peace negotiator Dennis Ross argues that the Bush administration’s problems stem from its inability to use the tools of statecraft–diplomatic, economic, and military–to advance our interests.

Statecraft is as old as politics: Plato wrote about it, Machiavelli practiced it. After the demise of Communism, some predicted that statecraft would wither away. But Ross explains that in the globalized world–with its fluid borders, terrorist networks, and violent unrest–statecraft is necessary simply to keep the pea

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I Accuse: Jimmy Carter and the Rise of Militant Islam

Demographic, Iran

 I Accuse: Jimmy Carter and the Rise of Militant Islam

Philip Pilevsky argues that President Jimmy Carter’s failure to support the Shah of Iran led to the 1979 revolution that legitimized and provided a base of operations for militant Islamists across the Middle East. Since the Khomeini revolution, radical Islamists have grown bolder in attacking the West and more sophisticated in their tactics. This historical progression can be traced to Carter’s unwillingness to head off Iran’s Islamic threat in its nascent stages.

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Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn (Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures) Paperback – May 16, 2007 by Asef Bayat (Author)

Brazil, Demographic, Iran

Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn (Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures) Paperback – May 16, 2007 by Asef Bayat (Author)

Whether Islam is compatible with democracy is an increasingly asked question, but ultimately a misguided one. In this book, Asef Bayat proposes that democratic ideals have less to do with the essence of any religion than with how it is practiced. He offers a new approach to Islam and democracy, outlining how the social struggles of student organizations, youth and women’s groups, the intelligentsia, and other social movements can make Islam democratic.

Making Islam Democratic examines in detail those social movements that have used religion to unleash social and political change, either to legitimize authoritarian rule or, in contrast, to construct an inclusive faith that embraces a democratic polity. It provides a fresh analysis of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution―how it has evolved into the pervasive, post-Islamist reform movement of the early twenty-first century, and how it differed from Egypt’s religious “passive revolution.”

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Iran: A People Interrupted

Demographic, Iran

Iran: A People Interrupted

Praised by leading academics in the field as “extraordinary,” “a brilliant analysis,” “fresh, provocative and iconoclastic,” Iran: A People Interrupted has distinguished itself as a major work that has single-;handedly effected a revolution in the field of Iranian studies.

In this provocative and unprecedented book, Hamid Dabashi―the internationally renowned cultural critic and scholar of Iranian history and Islamic culture―traces the story of Iran over the past two centuries with unparalleled analysis of the key events, cultural trends, and political developments leading up to the collapse of the reform movement and the emergence of the new and combative presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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