International Relations

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A dialogue with Islam as a pattern of conflict resolution and a security approach vis-à-vis Islamism

In this chapter Islamism is viewed as a variety of religious fundamentalism. The religion of Islam must be differentiated from the many varieties of Islamism as political ideology. In view of the developments in the post-bipolar Middle East, there is a clear connection between fundamentalism and security. Domestic and regional stability in the southern Mediterranean is needed, and the Islamization of politics is viewed as a security threat to peace in this region. Samuel Huntington recognizes what is termed the 'cultural turn' in seeing how cultures and civilizations play an increasingly important role in international politics. The major problem with his approach is that he believes civilizations can engage in world political conflicts. The chapter focuses on the attitudes of Islamic fundamentalists vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli peace process. It examines the impact of the working hypothesis on the negative connection between peace and Islamism in the case of the Maghreb.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
Constructing security in historical perspective

This chapter examines the concept of security through discursive contestation at the leadership level in a critical Middle Eastern case, that of Israel. It examines the specific discourses of security employed by opposing political groups during key periods in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The chapter argues that failure to resolve the fundamental dispute among Palestinians and Israelis stems directly from the victory during the 1950s of the more hard-line militaristic Israeli approach towards state security and development. It discusses the shortcomings of a systemic or structural realist approach to the question of the Palestinian-Israeli peace. The chapter establishes a historical basis for the dispute between Israeli militarism and moderation with a focus on the critical period of the early to mid-1950s. It assesses the contemporary implications of the doctrines of militarism and moderation with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the 1990s.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
Israel and a Palestinian state

This chapter outlines the paradigm and applies it to a preliminary analysis of the national security of Israel and a nascent Palestinian state. The problem with the realist approach to conceptualizing national security was vividly demonstrated by the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Adopting the state as the level of analysis creates a problem for exploring the national security of the Palestinian entity, which at time of writing has not achieved de jure recognition as a state. In contrast to a number of Middle Eastern states that have serious ethnic divisions, the Palestinian state is blessed with a relatively homogeneous ethnic that is Arab, population. The Palestinian economy ranks among the poorer economies of the developing world, being even below the average for the Middle East and North Africa.

in Redefining security in the Middle East

This chapter is a clarification of the difference between political liberalization and democratization. It formulates the theoretical arguments, namely that regimes and societies are two important referent objects of security which, though neglected by traditional security studies literature, are consequential; and that the two are inextricably linked. This is followed by the chapter's empirical case study, the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. The chapter offers some preliminary thoughts on the usefulness of this addition to security studies in the light of the Middle Eastern context. An examination of regime-society relations in the developing world in general and the Middle East in particular highlights the inadequacies of traditional formulations of security. Demands for social, economic and political rights across the Middle East have threatened the positions, indeed the very safety and perhaps even the survival, of regimes that have been in power for many years.

in Redefining security in the Middle East

In this chapter, Israel is the immediate context for exploring gender roles ascribed by national security, and the cleavages that result from a society in constant state of war. It explores the gendered aspects of national security in Israel and considers the ways in which women are domesticated within their protection systems. The chapter also considers how current gender boundaries have developed historically and in relation to the political process in Israel. It discusses the politics of women's resistance in order to explore women's alternative understandings of security. Israeli women have organized around two main responses to the gendered structures of war, responses that correspond to the mainstreaming versus independence debate in feminist theory. Israeli women have always had a difficult relationship with the Israeli military-industrial complex. Since the 1990s, significant changes have taken place in the Middle East military-industrial arena because of the evolution of the strategic environment.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
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Redefining security in the Middle East

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers security in relation to the political sector in terms of processes of democratization in the region and demands of new groups for wider and more meaningful access to political decision making. It establishes a theoretical context for redefining security in the Middle East by considering a range of concepts, debates and theories that have traditionally been absent from the field. The book provides an analytical model for redefining national security as a theory and as a practice in the post-Cold War era. It explores fundamental issues related to Islamophobia and the West, the relationship between Islam and democracy, and circumstances for groups and parties to gain political power and effect social change through indigenous tools and symbols.

in Redefining security in the Middle East
A veiled threat

In the Middle East, security is strongly influenced by politicized forms of fundamental belief systems. This chapter examines the dual role of political Islam, with specific focus on Palestine and the case of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas is gaining in popular support due to renewed violence in the Middle East and the Palestinian population's increased endorsement of suicide or 'martyrdom' operations against Israeli targets. Throughout its short history, Hamas has continued to depict its movement most fundamentally as a clear and viable alternative to the secular forces led by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The uncompromising position assumed by Hamas, toward both Israel and the PLO moderates willing to negotiate with the Israelis, is clearly intended to gain adherents to Hamas' more 'revolutionary' approach to the Palestinian issue.

in Redefining security in the Middle East

For over five decades, the Cold War security agenda was distinguished by the principal strategic balance, that of a structure of bipolarity, between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (USSR). This book seeks to draw from current developments in critical security studies in order to establish a new framework of inquiry for security in the Middle East. It addresses the need to redefine security in the Middle East. The focus is squarely on the Arab-Israeli context in general, and the Palestinian-Israeli context in particular. The character of Arab-Israeli relations are measured by the Israeli foreign policy debate from the 1950s to the 1990s. A dialogue between Islam and Islamism as a means to broaden the terrain on which conflict resolution and post-bipolar security in the Middle East is to be understood is presented. The Middle East peace process (MEPP) was an additional factor in problematizing the military-strategic concept of security in the Middle East. The shift in analysis from national security to human security reflects the transformations of the post-Cold War era by combining military with non-military concerns such as environmental damage, social unrest, economic mismanagement, cultural conflict, gender inequity and radical fundamentalism. By way of contrast to realist international relations (IR) theory, developing-world theorists have proposed a different set of variables to explain the unique challenges facing developing states. Finally, the book examines the significance of ecopolitics in security agendas in the Middle East.

This chapter focuses on the normative change in the international peacekeeping operations of the United Nations (UN). It explains that the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts has evolved unevenly but appreciably in terms of both objectives and authority from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. It analyses the collective expectations of the international community, focusing specifically on the objectives and authority of the UN in relation to intra-state peacekeeping environments in the two specified time periods.

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change
The analytical framework

This chapter discusses the analytical framework used in this study of the United Nations' role in intra-state peacekeeping. The study uses historical structural method to analyse the normative discourses of relevant actors in peacekeeping environments. It establishes whether questions pertaining to objectives, functions and authority are addressed by the relevant actors in any direct or obvious sense and then analyses significant clusters of normative views in relation to peacekeeping environments, focusing on the extent to which differences of opinion and perception between crucial actors have a bearing on the UN's response to intra-state conflicts in the different periods.

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change