Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes de Sciences Po

Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.

The history of industrial capitalism and its modes of domination is intimately linked to that of violent entrepreneurs deploying their coercive resources at the service of workplace discipline, the extraction of surplus value and the securitization of the accumulation cycle. The relationship between capital and coercion is always fraught with tensions, though, and sustains new vulnerabilities among security-consuming elites. The manufacturing economy of Karachi is a particularly fertile ground for studying this endogenous production of insecurity by security devices. The relations between Karachi’s factory owners and their guards have generated their own economy of suspicion. Various attempts to conjure this shaky domination have generated new uncertainties, calling for new methods of control to keep the guards themselves under watch.

Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes de Sciences Po

Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.

Anne de Tinguy (dir.)

Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake

Laetitia Bucaille

Today, the creation of a Palestinian state appears to be a distant possibility: the international community rejected to manage the issue, and the leadership in these territories weakened because of its divisions, revealing their inability to advance. Both the political and the territorial partition between the Gaza strip, governed by the Hamas and the West Bank, under Palestinian authority in line with Fatah, reveal a profound crisis that questions the very contours of Palestinian politics. It also shows that Hamas’ integration in the political game made it impossible to pursue the security subcontacting system. Maintaining the system avoids reconstructing the Palestinian political community, and makes it difficult to develop a strategy that moves towards sovereignty. Since October 2015, the popular and pacific resistance project has been shelved by the return of the violence against Israeli civilians. The Palestinian leadership counts on internationalization of the cause, which has shown mediocre results. Will the replacement of Mahmoud Abbas by his competitors permit to leave the rut?

Leila Seurat

Yet there is ample literature devoted to the sociology of the police in the western world, little research focuses on Arab countries. This study tries to fill this gap by offering an ethnographic study of Ras Beirut police station, the first and the only police station in Lebanon that has been reformed according to the community policing model. The academic works focusing on the importation of this model in developing countries point out how difficult it is to implement and emphasize its negative outcomes due to the local characteristics of each country. Fragmented on a sectarian and a political ground, Lebanon remains a perfect field to explore this hypothesis. Indeed the divisions of the Lebanese state weaken the interactions between the public and the private security forces. Nevertheless, many others factors, beyond the religious and the political divisions, explain Ras Beirut’s failure. The internal dynamics at work inside the police station and the influence of the patronage networks reduce considerably the chances of its success.

avec la collaboration de Madhi Mehraeen et Ibrahim Tavalla

War since 1979 and the reconstruction of the state under Western tutelage since 2001 have led to a simplification of the identity of Afghan society, through an invention of ethnicity and tradition – a process behind which the control or the ownership of the political and economic resources of the country are at stake. Hazarajat is a remarkable observation site of this process. Its forced integration into the nascent Afghan state during the late nineteenth century has left a mark on its history. The people of Hazara, mainly Shi’ite, has been relegated to a subordinate position from which it got out of progressively, only by means of jihad against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and the US intervention in 2001, at the ost of an ethnicization of its social and political consciousness. Ethnicity, however, is based on a less communitarian than unequal moral and political economy. Post-war aid to state-building has polarized social relations, while strengthening their ethnicization: donors and NGOs remain prisoners of a cultural, if not orientalist approach to the country that they thereby contribute to “traditionalize”, while development aid destabilizes the “traditional” society by accelerating its monetization and commodification.

Francesco Ragazzi

The French government recently announced a plan to « fight against radicalization », and a series of measures aimed at preventing the passage to violence. Although the term is not entirely new to the French political language, it marks a departure from an anti-terrorism policy justified mainly by a judicial approach and enforced in great part through administrative measures. France is thus moving closer to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, who have developed such policies since the mid-2000s. Yet what is, exactly, the « fight against radicalization »? How can we explain this new approach of the French government? And what can we learn from a decade of experiences of these two European countries? This study shows that the concept of radicalization serves as an effective discourse to legitimize police action beyond its usual areas of competence, investing many areas of diversity management such as education, religion, and social policies. The study traces the diffusion of the discourse through European institutions and analyzes, through the notion of « policed multiculturalism », the effects of its legal, administrative and preventive forms.

Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos

In Nigeria, the Islamic terrorism of Boko Haram raises a lot of questions about the political relationship between so-called "religious" violence and the state. At least three of them expose our confusions about islamization, conversion, radicalization and the politicization of religion, namely:
– Is it a religious uprising or a political contest for power?
– How does it express a social revolt?
– How indicative is it of a radicalization of the patterns of protest of the Muslims in Northern Nigeria?
A fieldwork study shows that Boko Haram is not so much political because it wants to reform the society, but mainly because it reveals the intrigues of a weak government and the fears of a nation in the making. Otherwise, the radicalization of Islam cannot be limited to terrorism and it is difficult to know if the movement is more extremist, fanatic and murderous than previous uprising like the one of Maitatsine in Kano in 1980. The capacity of Boko Haram to develop international connections and to challenge the state is not exceptional as such. Far from the clichés on a clash of civilizations between the North and the South, the specificity of the sect in Nigeria has more to do with its suicide attacks. Yet the terrorist evolution of Boko Haram was first and foremost caused by the brutality of the state repression, more than alleged contacts with an international jihadist movement.

This text aims to examine a particularly difficult phenomenon to study — slaughter —, although it is at the center of many wars today and yesterday. Slaughter is defined as a generally collective form of action that aims to destroy non-combatants, usually civilians. Slaughter is viewed as an extremely violent, both rational and irrational practice growing out of an imaginary construct pertaining to someone to be destroyed, whom the torturer perceives as a complete enemy.
The aspiration of this text is to show the relevance of exploring slaughter from a comparative standpoint. It will go beyond the mere case study, or rather it will put the best of these studies (on ex-Yugoslavia, Rwanda, etc.) into perspective.
To better understand the process by which the slaughter is put into action, two main directions guide the analysis:
- historic depth: it is in fact difficult to attempt to understand the slaughters that took place in 1990 without taking into account occurrences in the 20th century, including those termed "genocides."
- transdisciplinary overture: slaughter as a phenomenon is so complex in itself that it requires the eye of the sociologist, anthropologist and psychologist, as can be seen in the following pages.

Amandine Regamey

The legend of women snipers who allegedly fought against Russian forces in Chechnya was first fueled by war stories among Russian troops before Russian authorities officially embraced and promoted the narrative. It was eventually disseminated in society through movies and literature. This legend offers insights into the war narratives of Russian troops about the war in Chechnya and its portrayal in Russian society more generally. It consists of different intertwined layers that vary in importance and significance, all of which contribute to its success. Drawing on the figure of the « Wight Tight », mythic women mercenaries from the Baltic States, the legend portrays Russia as a victim of an aggression thus legitimizing the war in Chechnya. Additionally, the legend recounts the experience of Russian soldiers, therefore providing grounds for Russian political and military leaders to stigmatise women and justify the violence committed against civilians. Finally, it allows men serving in Chechnya to construct a male identity based on the war experience, which is able to oppose the imaginary threats of these female enemies. The text addresses also the way war legend can help understand armed conflict, and the way scattered sources and questionable testimonies can be turned into an object of research.

Laurent Gayer

Between 1984 and 1995, the Indian Punjab was the theatre for a separatist insurrectional movement led by Sikh irregular armed groups. Most Sikh militants who picked up the gun against the Indian state were male, but a handful of women also took part in this armed struggle, which also enjoyed some support from Pakistan. Rather than the motivations of the fighters, it is their individual trajectories that are explored here. Following a critical biographical approach, paying attention to the silences of the actors and to the distorting effects of their ex-post testimonies, this paper aims at unraveling the familial genealogies of these militant careers, before identifying their successive sequences. Through this exercise, it is possible to shed light on individual dispositions towards engagement. However, this preliminary exercise must be followed up by an in-depth study of the conditions of actualization of these dispositions into a sustained form of commitment. Therefore, this paper focuses on the modalities of recruitment into clandestine organizations, before turning to the practical and psychological dilemmas induced by the return of these combatants to civilian life, which remain understudied. By introducing gender into the scope of the study, this paper also aims at assessing the variations between masculine and feminine ways of being and having been in clandestinity.

Emmanuel Viret

Dealing with the dynamics of rural violence under the multi-party transition (1991-1994), this paper suggests new points of view on the mobilization of Rwandan peasantry during the genocide (1994). Going through local archives and interviews held in the hills and in four prisons of the country, the analysis focuses on the increasing development of an economy of violence. The multi-party system incited competing rural elites to recruit a growing number of men and ruffians against other contenders in order to assure their access to power. Local elites (re)formed patron-client links previously dried by the spreading of money and wage incomes in the countryside. Particular attention is paid to the dimension of political entrepreneurship and to the relationship between social brokers and rural elites, in the course of the struggle between political parties as well as during the building of the Power coalitions which led the massacres locally.

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.

Shira Havkin

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.

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 ?

Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski

The post-Soviet Russian army, having decided to maintain the draft, must address issues associated with the existence of ethnic and religious minorities; specifically the growing numbers of Muslims and the proselytizing by the Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church’s policy of blessing the troops is the source of growing discontent among the Muslim community. The two conflicts in Chechnya have further contributed to the difficulties faced by the army’s Muslim minority. However, protests by Muslim leaders have lost their legitimacy since 1999. The policies of reconciliation led by Vladimir Putin have born fruit. The Muslim religious authorities have become increasingly involved in the draft, army officers have been educated about the basic principles of Islam, and “stroibaty” have been dismantled. The management of the forces however remains a source of tension, most notably the official policy of using the reorganization of local and ethnic groups to eradicate the “dedovchtchina”. Given the growth of the Muslim population what can we expect from a move to a professional army? Will the armed forces mirror the diversity of the nation or will they be ethnically and religiously homogeneous?

The Darfur crisis has shed light on unresolved crises at its borders in Chad and the Central African Republic. What these various conflicts most have in common is probably the existence of transnational armed movements that endure and reorganize in the fringes created by state dynamics in the region as well as the aporias of the international community’s conflict-resolution policies doubled by the choices of certain major powers. An analysis of the situation in the Central African Republic and the history of certain armed movements active in this regional space argues in favor of a less conventional approach to crisis-solving strategies. It points up a zone centered on the Central African Republic and its borders with neighboring countries as the real site for the analysis of armed factionalism since the wave of independence and the specific trajectories of state-building.

Bayram Balci

Post-Soviet Azerbaijan is the theater of an Islamic revival in the public sphere, a direct consequence of exiting from the empire and achieving independence, which involved the rehabilitation of religion, even the integration of Islam in a new national identitarian policy. Azerbaijan stands out from the rest of the former USSR by the fact that it is the most secularized Muslim country due to its early entrance into Russia’s bosom and the fact that it was long the ground for an ideological clash between the Shiite Persian Empires and the Sunni Ottoman Empire. It is through the convergence of internal factors – a preserved Islam despite the anti-religious Soviet policy – and external factors – the influence of neighboring countries, Turkey, Iran and the Arab world – that Azerbaijani Islam has been reconfigured since the end of the communist era. Eager to preserve the country’s secularity – the pride of the elites – and to ensure that the religious revival does not turn into a source of tension between the two essential components of its population (Shiites and Sunnis), the state has – with difficulty and sometimes a lack of subtlety – set up a religious policy that is far from receiving general approval. However, even if its handling of Islam is disputed, the Azerbaijan government controls the religious phenomenon through a policy that alternates between tolerance and repression.

Since the war began in 2002, an unprecedented social movement has taken hold in the Ivory Coast, the "Patriotic Youth," that rallies around a violent ultranationalist and anti-colonialist discourse. Supported by mass organizations that control the urban areas, the Patriotic Youth have become central political actors and a shock weapon used by the government in power. While acknowledging this political instrumentalization, the Etude goes beyond functionalist interpretations of the Patriotic Youth phenomenon in attempt to grasp the driving sociological forces and assess their scope. Based on unpublished surveys conducted in Abidjan among grassroots activists of the "Patriotic galaxy," it demonstrates that also at stake in this grand nationalist fervor is the emergence of a new political generation, involving FESCI student unionism, which today makes violent claims to rights and social recognition. In this hypothesis, the anti-colonialist register is used as a vocabulary expressing generational revolution and emancipation of a fraction of the youth that has experimented with violence in union struggles and in war. It concludes by examining the influence of this phenomenon with regard to a possible resolution of the crisis. Beyond its institutional dimensions, the Ouagadougou accord paves the way for a change of political generation, the "Fescists" – both patriots and rebels – who have managed to impose themselves on the heirs of Houphouetism.

The international community analyzed the crisis in Somalia in light of its own interests rather than the reality of the country. After having failed to work out a true reconciliation government between 2002 and 2004, western countries went about keeping alive a government that had no real legitimacy, but backed by Ethiopia and Kenya. The emergence of the Islamic Courts in June 2006 reshuffled the cards. More than the radicalization of the Islamic Courts, two arguments finally determined Somalia’s fate and the rekindling of war there. Ethiopia couldn’t stand to see an autonomous power friendly to Eritrea appear on its southern flank. And the United States wanted to signal the absolute predominance of its fight against terrorism over any other consideration. Such a posture provided the opportunity to try out a new security doctrine giving the Pentagon ascendancy over the pursuit of alleged terrorists, co-opting new regional powers on the African continent in the process, given that most of its European allies once again proved particularly limp in the face of yet another militarist drift on the part of Washington. Incapable of occupying the political space, the transitional Somalian government encouraged radicalization. The specter of an Iraq-style conflict in Africa began to loom with Ethiopia’s shaky victory in January 2007.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Though Afghan emigration results from sociopolitical circumstances (drought, changes in the system of government, wars) and from the economic structure (pastoralism, seasonal cycles of productive activities), it is part of a historical continuum of recurrent population movements in the region. Many Afghans, particularly Hazaras, have settled in Iran since the end of the 19th century. Their presence in the country intensified during the 1970s following the Iranian oil boom and the Afghan drought, but also following the political upheavals in Afghanistan since 1978. The Islamic Republic has adopted a changing and rather inconsistent policy to deal with these immigrants, and in a both popular and formal climate of xenophobia the country’s current objective is to repatriate them. Yet, the presence of Afghans on Iranian soil seems irreversible as it satisfies economic needs, reflects the intensity of commercial exchanges between the two countries, and constitutes a complex cross-border social reality. Lastly, the Afghan presence stokes a public and legal debate on how to define citizenship, while it appears to be inherent to the Iranian conception of its own nation.

Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh

Is the concept of “human security”, which has been discussed and debated in international organizations and academic circles since 1994, simply “hot air”, as its critics claim? Or does it provide a suitable framework for proposing multisectoral, integrated solutions in a world that is increasingly interconnected? While there is no consensus as to the exact definition of the term, human security goes beyond traditional notions of security to focus on such issues as development and respect for human rights. To some the concept is attractive, but analytically weak since it introduces too many variables that are not necessarily linked together. To others, human security concerns should be limited to situations marked by the threat or outbreak of violence. For those who favour a broad definition (as does this author), the human security agenda provides the means to assess the root causes of conflict (whether intra-state or inter-state), to propose adequate policies for resolving crises, and to provide the means for sustainable peace-building. In so doing human security policies focus on social and economic issues as they affect the individual, arguing that security (in the narrow sense of the term) is dependent on a wide-ranging network of factors that require a comprehensive approach to be effective. The paper introduces the various documents on the subject produced by international organizations, takes up the problem of the relation between academic research and policy-making, and points to a certain number of cases in which nations or regional organizations have included human security as a foreign policy option. Throughout the paper reference is made to the case of Afghanistan that is treated in the study reproduced in annex.

Renaud Egreteau

The Burmese junta that came to power in 1962, and reaffirmed its domination by a second military coup d’état in September of 1988, has steadily increased its control over the nation’s institutions and over the running of the country (renamed Myanmar in 1989). In August of 2003, the decision taken by General Khin Nyunt, Prime Minister and head of military intelligence, to propose “a road map to democracy” suggested that a gradual “transition to democracy”, closely supervised by the military regime, was possible. But the ousting of Khin Nuyunt in October 2004 spelled the return of the regime’s hardliners and of the last of the army’s nationalist chiefs, adamantly opposed to any negotiations with the democratic civilian opposition led by Aung San Suu, held under house arrest since May 2003. Thus the regime, strengthened by a favorable strategic environment, has a good chance of remaining in power by setting its own rules for “democratic” procedures, its aim being to keep the country stable rather pursuing a process of liberalization. Such a policy will inevitably be detrimental to the interests of the opposition and the ethnic minorities.

Rémi Castets

With a substantial Uyghur population, Xinjiang (East Turkistan) is, after Uzbekistan, the second largest Muslim Turkic-speaking area of settlement area in Central Asia. Annexed by China fairly late, this territory has a tumultuous history punctuated by foreign interference and separatist insurrections. Through strict control of the regional political system and a massive influx of Han settlers, the communist regime has managed to integrate this strategic region and its large oil deposits into the rest of China. However, over the past twenty years, unrest in Xinjiang has dramatically intensified. Less familiar to Western countries than the problem of Tibet, the Uyghur question is nevertheless a deeper source of concern for the Chinese authorities. After a long media blackout about this unrest until September 11, 2001, the Chinese government issued a series of documents attempting to depict the Uyghur opposition as an outside terrorist force linked to transnational Islamist terrorist networks. This rhetoric, which portrays the current unrest as a foreign attempt to destabilize the region, conceals a deep socio-political malaise and an opposition that actually takes on a far different shape from the vision official discourse tries to impose.

Radovan Vukadinovic

The violent disintegration of Yugoslavia has fundamentally shaken the Balkans. The disappearance of the Yugoslav federation - previously a pillar of stability in the region - and the quest for external allies amongst the protagonists in the present conflict have dramatically modified the regional framework. This structure itself had already undergone profound change due to the collapse of the pre-existing communist regimes. In this paper Radovan Vukadinovic examines the regional actors by analysing their fears, their short and long term interests and the development of their external relations. In the last part of the paper he attempts to provide a sketch of a new balance of power in a still blurred political landscape. He points out the defects of a model too rigidly based on the past: that of a Mittel European, "Catholic" alliance, in opposition to an "Orthodox" one. Instead the author detects two smaller coalitions emerging: on the one hand that of Greece, Rumania and Serbia and on the other, that of Turkey, Bulgaria and Albania.

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