Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.

 

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In Militias we Trust: Libya’s Conundrum

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Date added: 02/22/2013
Date modified: 02/22/2013
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Juan Garrigues,
Research Fellow, CIDOB

17 January 2013 / Opinión CIDOB, n.º 174 / E-ISSN 2014-0843

Co-published with openSecurity, a section of openDemocracy: www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity

Uthman Mleghta, commander of the powerful al Qaaqa brigade from the Nafusa Mountains town of Zintan, rejects being described as a qatiba (militia). On a recent foreign NGO's visit to his heavily guarded headquarters in Tripoli, Mleghta presented his "group's" activities, including a newly launched print newspaper and an education programme for Libyan youth.

But his visitors were more interested in al Qaaqa's security role. Al Qaaqa is responsible for, among others, controlling the border pass with Tunisia, guarding certain oil fields and the protection of some high profile Libyan politicians.

The Poverty Paradox – And How to Address It

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Date added: 11/08/2012
Date modified: 11/08/2012
Filesize: 210 kB
Downloads: 986

Lars Rylander and Jan Rudengren
POLICY BRIEF, No. 102, October 17 2012.

Poverty alleviation is the cornerstone and mission of the development community. Yet perhaps the community's focus on low-income countries (LICs) has skewed a healthy and accurate evaluation of the effectiveness of its interventions. A careful analysis of the current data indicates that the majority of poverty is found within middle-income countries (MICs) and not in the LICs. Seemingly unaware of this, the policy of the development community is still aiming at promoting LICs to become MICs. Once having become a MIC, it is assumed that poverty reduction will be accommodated largely by the national growth policies, supported by non-grant funds, international financial institutions (IFIs) and the global financial market.

Afghanistan: The Geopolitics of Regional Economic Integration. The Emergence of China as the New Facilitator

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Date added: 10/11/2012
Date modified: 10/11/2012
Filesize: 539.22 kB
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Masood Aziz
September 2012

Once a dormant region, the great span of territories and nations surrounding Afghanistan is now more central to global affairs than ever. Indeed, the geopolitics of the region of Central and South Asia may now help define the future of the 21st century.
A
t the same time, across these territories, the very nature and character of the political, economic and security currents have been shifting relentlessly. Rather than simply a replay of the old “Great Game”, what is transpiring here now may be an undeniable precursor of, and a new window looking forward into, the world’s contemporary politics, influencing other parts of the globe.
T
his dynamic is marked by Russia’s retreat, and at the same time, the emergence of China as a new type of Pax Romana power. In turn, China’s rise is now inexorably re-balancing the interests of both regional and global players such as Russia, India, Europe and the United States. A closer examination of this region reveals that as the West is now hindered by its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, Asia’s rise may be reflective of a steadfast ascent and signaling a permanent trend pointing to the beginning of an undisputable multipolar world. The military presence of the US and European allies in Afghanistan has defined their engagement in this region for over a decade now. Their efforts were focused on controlling the regional threats impacting Afghanistan and in the process producing economic and social stability. However, despite some advances, Afghanistan’s stability is not assured. In particular, the model of intervention pursued by the West in Afghanistan has not produced results in securing its economic growth and its integration within the region. Without assuring Afghanistan’s economic stability, the region will remain mired in conflict risking wider instability. What other major force might emerge which would allow for the creation of conditions offering new dimension of strategic approaches to realizing the type of stability, often desired but not attained, and which might act as a a positive agent for a more effective regional economic integration?

Egypt: The Marriage of Islamism and the System

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Date added: 10/11/2012
Date modified: 10/11/2012
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Author : Global Political Trends Center (GPoT - Turkey)
By Cengiz Günay | Published in May 2012

The "January 25 Revolution" was not a classic revolution. President Muba-rak's fall did not entail the overthrow of the regime, neither alter the elites or destroy their institutions, nor reverse the social situation. Although power structures and economic patterns were not removed, Mubarak's fall set an end to exclusive authoritarian despotism and initiated a process of power sharing; a so called passive revolution characterised by the absorption of the "enemies' elites" into the system. From this perspective, legalisation has been only a further step in the Islamists' long and rocky road of integration through moderation. Initially based on tactical considerations, shifts in methods and behaviour usually also evoke a shift in emphasis from ideological conceptions to political pragmatism. The absorption of the Islamist elites supported a process of embourgeoisement and de-ideologization. This did not entail a departure from Islamic tenets, but rather from ideological conceptions which seemed more and more unrealistic in a globalized world. The integration of de-radicalised and moderated socially conservative Islamist groups with market economy and parliamentary democracy promises not only the prevention of political and economic turmoil, but also guarantees the reinforcement of the existing patterns of domination.

Turkey’s Middle East policy challenged by Arab Spring

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Date added: 10/11/2012
Date modified: 10/11/2012
Filesize: 112.07 kB
Downloads: 808

Francis Ghilès,
Senior Research Fellow, CIDOB

18 September 2012 / Opinión CIDOB, n.º 158 / E-ISSN 2014-0843

Two years ago Turkey was a confident player on the Middle East stage. Gone were the decades during which it gave the impression of being a pliant supplicant of the United States and Europe. Despite the damage to bilateral ties the country had long enjoyed with Israel - a consequence of Turkey’s harsh reaction to the badly mishandled raid by Israeli commandos on a convoy of ships bringing humanitarian assistance to Hamas-run Gaza in 2010, the country’s Middle East policy was widely admired.