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Bahrain, Collective mobilizations, Identities, Kuwait, Middle East, Multinational corporations, NGOs / Civil society, Oman, Political economy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Social policy, State, United Arab Emirates, Les études du CERI
During the first decade of the 21st century the Gulf States undertook reforms of their social policies based on the generous redistribution of hydrocarbon profits. One of the elements of the redistribution was to guarantee of employment. Beginning in the 1990s rising unemployment indicated that the traditional employment policies were ineffective, generating social tensions as evidenced in the "Arab spring". The goal of the reforms is to move nationals into salaried jobs in the private sector, currently held largely by foreign workers. The change is strongly opposed by business executives and local entrepreneurs. Having become accustomed to inexpensive foreign workers they object to the increased costs entailed by the reforms. The royal families are thus obliged to negotiate between the interests of the private sector, often aligned with their own, and the dissatisfaction of the young, the group most impacted by unemployment and the key players in the protests that erupted in 2011 in Bahrain, Saudi-Arabia and Oman.
Defense policy, Expertise, International security, North America, Prospective, State, Terrorism, United States, Wars / Conflicts, Les études du CERI
What kind of future worlds do experts of international security envision? This paper studies the role of experts in DC's think tanks, a relatively small world socially and culturally highly homogeneous. It underlines the characteristics of this epistemic community that influence the way its analysts make claims about the future for security. The DC's marketplace of the future lacks diversity. The paradigms analysts use when they study international politics are very similar. Moreover, the range of issues they focus on is also relatively narrow.
The paper highlights three main features of the relation between those who make claims about the future of security and those to whom these claims are addressed (mainly policymakers). First, it shows that, for epistemic but also for political reasons, the future imagined in think tanks is relatively stable and linear. This future also contributes to the continuity of political decisions. Second, the paper shows that think tanks are also "victims of groupthink", especially when they make claims about the future. Third, it underlines a paradox: scenarios and predictions create surprises. Claims about the future have a strong tunneling effect. They reinforce preexisting beliefs, create focal points, and operate as blinders when, inevitably, the future breaks away from its linear path.
Energy / Natural resources, Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico, Multinational corporations, Political economy, State, Venezuela, Les études du CERI
Latin America's national oil companies, created at various times during the twentieth century, have each evolved in a different way. The two main companies – Petroleos de Mexico (Pemex) and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) – provide excellent illustrations of the rich diversity of organizational and industrial development. Many factors – such as the importance of earth quakes – explain the diversity.
Nevertheless, the role of governments during the period of nationalizations is key. It was then that the relationships between the owners of natural resources, public operators, regulators, the finance ministries, and international operators were defined. This process shaped the companies' institutional structures (path dependency) and set the parameters for future entrepreneurial dynamism. The path by which each of these enterprises developed continues to affect their culture as evidenced by the recent reforms which attempted to restructure Pemex and PDVSA.
Markets / Finance, Mauritania, Political economy, Political order, State, West Africa, Les études du CERI
In 2004 the government of Mauritania admitted that for the past ten years its national macroeconomic and financial data had been falsified. This admission revealed a small part of the fraudulent practices that took place during the Taya era which ended in 2005. But it also showed that the economic management of this "good student" had become ensnared in true "bureaucratic anarchy". Beginning in 2005, when the democratic transition should have enabled the public administration's house to be put in order, reforms were often motivated by a desire to improve the image of the regime and were thus less than effective. Then, following the elections of 2007, and in the midst of financial scandals, the government developed a technocratic approach which alienated the Mauritanian public who perceived a power vacuum. A new coup d'etat occurred during the summer of 2008. The "Rectification Movement" of general Abdel Aziz acquired legitimacy as a result of its fight against terrorism in Sahel. Employing populist rhetoric and adopting the moral high ground in the fight against rampant corruption, the Movement favored lax management of resources and tight, even authoritarian, control of public finances.
India, Politics / Political Systems, Poverty, South Asia, State, Terrorism, Violence, Wars / Conflicts, Les études du CERI
The Maoist movement in India began to develop in the late 1960s, taking advantage of the political space provided when the Communist Party of India (Marxist) abandoned its revolutionary fight. In the early 1970s the Maoist, also called Naxalistes, were the victims of intense factionalism and severe repression which led the militants to retreat to the tribal zones of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, their two pockets of resistance during the 1980s. This strategy explains not only the transformation of the Indian Maoist sociology (which was led originally by intellectuals but became increasingly plebian) but also its return to power in the late 1990s. That decade, notable for economic liberalization, witnessed the exploitation of mineral resources in the tribal regions to the detriment of the interests of the inhabitants. The growth in Maoism during the 2000s can be explained also by a reunification under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) which was created in 2004.
The reaction of the government in New Delhi to this phenomenon which affects half the Indian states has been to impose repressive measures. In contrast the Maoists see themselves as the defenders of a State of rights and justice.
Borders, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Privatizations, Security policy, State, Violence, Les études du CERI
Since 2006 the checkpoints along the borders of the West Bank and the Gaza strip have been reorganized and equipped with a new technological platform. They are now managed by private security firms. The instigators of these reforms speak of the "civilianization" of the checkpoints and justify their program on economic, organizational and humanitarian grounds. This detailed study of the concrete means by which the management of the Israeli checkpoints has been outsourced and commodified enables one to establish links between the evolution of Israeli society in terms of the relationship between the State, the market and society and the actual changes in the operation of the occupation. It would appear that this is not a case of the State receding in the face of market forces in a zero sum game. Rather it is the redeployment in a neoliberal context of the State in which it has adopted the uniquely Israeli layering of the public and the private, the national and the international, the State and civil society.
Collective mobilizations, East Africa and The Horn, Nationalism, Political order, Poverty, Sociology, Somalia, State, Terrorism, Transnational actors, Violence, Les analyses du CERI
Algeria, Energy / Natural resources, North Africa, Politics / Political Systems, Social policy, State, Violence, Les études du CERI
Thirty years after the nationalisation of hydrocarbons Algeria’s oil wealth seems to have disappeared judging by its absence in the country’s indicators of well being. In Algeria oil led to happiness for a few and sadness for many. The absence of controls over oil revenue led to the industries downfall. Since 2002 Algeria is again seeing oil wealth. The increase in the price per barrel from 30 to 147 dollars between 2002 and 2008 provided the country with unexpected revenue permitting it to accumulate funds estimated, in 2009, at 150 billion dollars. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, returned to a devastated Algeria to restore civil order, unexpectedly benefited from this price increase. Thus, in addition to national reconciliation he was able to offer Algeria renewed economic growth. However, given that the wounds of the 1990s are not entirely healed and the illusions of oil wealth have evaporated this unexpected return of financial abundance raises concerns. To what ends will this manna be put ? Who will control it ? Will it provoke new violence and conflict ?
La question des droits de l’homme au Kazaksthan : discours officiel et réalités des faits sur fond de présidence de l’OSCE
Caucasus / Central Asia, Human rights, International humanitarian law, Kazakhstan, State, Violence, Les dossiers du CERI
Governance, Morocco, NGOs / Civil society, Norms, North Africa, Politics / Political Systems, Poverty, State, Les études du CERI
In Morocco describing an activity as having a « participative » character vests it with all the virtues of civil society and implies it is a panacea. The launch in 2005 of the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD), a program calling for the mobilization of everyone in the fight against poverty, can be considered a symbol of this « participation phenomenon ». By analyzing its norms and styles of action on which they are based it is possible to discover the internal logic of the participatory phenomenon and to see how it shapes politics. The promotion of certain styles of action, those combining the virtues of civil society with the technical support of participative policies, transforms the criteria of legitimation. Also, the moral values ascribed to participation justify the violation of other social norms, both economic and political, which have nothing to do with participation. Such an approach, developed here on the basis of the INDH at El Hajeb, brings to light the complex ideology on which the subject of participation is based as well as its active and creative role in the political configurations which draw their legitimacy from the value placed on participation.