Page 1




CONTENTS: •3: From the Editor-in-Chief •4: From the DUUNS President •5: Sex Tourism and Child Prostitution in Brazil –Michelle Wray •7: Laying The ‘Brics’ of Development –Iynna Halilou •9: Anglo-Russian Political Developments of the Past Decade and Their Consequences – Joe Terry •11: Revival of the Silk Routes? –Manon Knoertzer •12: Women’s Rights in Egypt –Maggie Shitagh •13: Turning Tides in the Atlantic –Josh Edwards •15: Protest, government crackdown and international concern: the pattern of the Arab spring – until Bahrain –Olivia Gleeson •17: Does current Middle Eastern instability undermine Obama’s East-Asian pivot? – Mark Lazar

•19: Clash of the Theoretician Against the Practitioner in IR? –Andrew Chapman

•20: Acknowledgements



Welcome Note: From the Editor-in-Chief Hello there!

for all their help and different input that has helped shaped this issue. Also, a very special

My name is Asari Ndem, current Editor-in-

thanks to James Crosland-Mills for our spiffy

Chief, and I would like to welcome you to

new logo!

another exciting issue of the Durham University United Nations Society’s magazine,

As always,please help contribute to The

The DUUNS Globalist. The magazine was

DUUNS Globalist by sending in your articles/

launched in October 2011 and although we are

cartoons/pictures (we are still interested in

constantly working to improve it, I am very

including a photography section). Send in

pleased with the way this issue has turned out. letters commenting on previous articles; Join We have done away with sections this year and the Editorial Team at the start of every new instead arranged the articles in what I hope

school year and help edit articles as well as

would be easily read. We aim to make the next

offer creative input!

issue a lot more exciting and hopefully more people would hand in articles as well so we can Our email address is: have our regular sections back, especially the

‘Globalist Banter’ section which was a readers favourite last year.

On this note I wish you all a Happy New Year and please, enjoy reading!

I would like to say a massive thank you to all our writers and the current Editorial Team:

Asari Ndem,

Isabel Allgeyer, Mark Lazar, Lara Godden,

Editor-in-Chief, The DUUNS Globalist.

Iynna Halilou, Yasmine Keddad, Andrew Chapman, Nive Mathukumar and Elaine Lau



From the DUUNS President: Dear all, A very warm welcome to DUUNS' second edition of its student magazine: The Globalist. The Globalist is an extension to our society's efforts in pursuing the goals and purposes for which it was founded. We live in a diverse yet interconnected world, and we try to present this diversity in all our activities. We do this by getting our members involved and giving them a platform to present their views and develop themselves. Through this magazine, we hope to convey not a specific viewpoint but multiple outlooks on current international affairs. The society in general aims to give its members a platform for engagement with global happenings and their possible consequences. The editorial team has worked very hard to compile a collection of insights on diverse affairs, which is sure to gauge your palate for political discourse.


I sincerely hope that our readers will enjoy the thoughts, analysis, and normative perspectives envisaged in these pages. Wishing you an enjoyable read, Nawaf Al-Issa, President, Durham University United Nations Society (DUUNS)


Sex Tourism and Child Prostitution in Brazil Brazil is a beautiful country, with a diverse culture and much to recommend to travellers, but some people have more sinister aims in mind when visiting Brazil. Politically and economically, Brazil is one of the most stable countries in South America, with democratic principles, a successful economy, and a female president. However, like all countries, there are social issues, and a terrible and prevalent issue in Brazil is that of child prostitution.

Brazil is second only to Thailand in the number of children in prostitution, with half a million estimated (UNICEF). This is not only a problem in remote rural areas of the country, but also in large cities like Rio de Janeiro, child prostitution continues despite the law and it is a serious issue in Brazil, not only among street children in towns and cities. The BR-116 motorway stretches for 2,700 miles from the North to the South of Brazil, through the most populated regions and it is the most active road in the world for the sexual exploitation of children. The motorway is used constantly and there are many towns and villages along its breadth where children as young as 9 years old are ‘working’ on its sides selling their bodies to passing truck drivers. Some families even go as far as opening their homes as brothels to serve this purpose. Every 10 miles a child is sold for sex (Meninadança).

PHOTO CREDITS Left Photo: Skiddyrow.wordpress .com Right Photo: Chroniclesofcriminalit


-Michelle Wray

“The country's erotic reputation has long been attracting an unwanted type of tourist. Every week specialist holiday operators bring in thousands of European singles on charted flights looking for cheap sex. Now Brazil is overtaking Thailand as the world's most popular sex-tourist destination.” ` -Chris Rogers (BBC)

The human rights of the children in child prostitution are being completely ignored, destroying education, mental and physical health, a future and autonomous choice. The environment these children live in is almost impossible to leave; many children are forced to prostitute themselves by their own parents or guardians. Sexual abuse and incest within families and communities, and the common abuse of street children is a continuing problem.

The Olympics is a great international event, and in 2016 it will be held in Rio de Janeiro, the first host city from South America to do this. This is an exciting experience for Brazil and the eyes of the world will be on the country. However, both those..


Sex Tourism and Child Prostitution in Brazil (cont...)

By Michelle Wray

...organising child prostitution and those who use child prostitutes are waiting to exploit the expected tourism and money that will come into Brazil with the Olympics.

The Olympics in 2016, combined with the Football World Cup of 2014, which is also to be held in Brazil, will exacerbate the already prevalent issue of child prostitution. ‘Sex tourism’ is expected to increase, and is already being advertised online, and many children will be brought into the big cities from more rural areas, to work as prostitutes. The age of consent in Brazil is already lower than other countries, at 14 years, but the prostitution of minors up to the age of 18, is illegal. The increase of tourists


coming into Brazil for these two international sporting events will include many sex tourists, putting the children and young people of Brazil who are already at risk or involved in prostitution in more danger.

Child prostitution in Brazil is a difficult challenge seemingly outside the boundaries of law and morality. There are certainly serious issues with the system of how the law deals with this. The court case covered by The Economist (April 7th 2012) is an example of this, where a man who had sex with three 12-year-old girls was cleared of all charges, because the children were prostitutes. The Economist reported the judges as saying

that the girls were, ‘far from innocent, naive, ignorant or ill informed about sexual matters’. But clearly, that is the very problem. Children should not be forced into prostitution at all.

The Brazilian government plans to crack down on child prostitution before the Olympics, though does this imply they were not taking such stringent measures to deal with this problem before? There are also charities working to prevent the increase of child prostitution in the run up to the 2014 Football World Cup, and even more significantly, the 2016 Olympics. Child prostitution in Brazil is a problem that needs to be exterminated.


LAYING THE ‘BRICS’ OF DEVELOPMENT The BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – hope to reinforce their alliance by establishing a joint development bank. By#Iynna#Halilou The fourth BRICS summit, held in New Delhi, India on March 21, 2012 saw its member states examine the possibility of setting up a new Development Bank, which would work to mobilise “resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries”. proposed bank would also provide The proposed Development Bank would finance for joint BRICS projects. act as an alternative for its member states to the Western-dominated International The five nations plan to sign agreements that would help banks extend credit to Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank (WB) and the International other members in local currencies - a way Monetary Fund (IMF). At the New Delhi of decreasing reliance on the US dollar. Using national currencies might provide conference, Brazil's President, Dilma Rousseff, criticised the developed world’s greater macroeconomic flexibility and create national reserves. monetary policy for creating “unfair obstacles” for developing countries. Following subsequent negotiations, the new Development Bank is likely to be launched at the fifth BRICS summit, which will be held in Durban, South Africa, in March this year. BRICS bank: building common strategies The proposed bank is seen as an alternative to the IMF and could become a strong voice in the lobby for reforms of existing IFIs. The bank is expected to be a lending organisation to poor nations that would help them speed up their development and reduce poverty. It could also provide financial support to countries suffering from financial instability, a function that has, thus far, been largely reserved for the IMF. The


Despite the encouraging progress of the project so far, the proposed bank is still in the early stages of development and a number of issues need to be resolved first. Fundamental questions remain over the location of its headquarters, with both India and South Africa hoping to host the bank. Furthermore, the bank’s mandate and structure need to be determined - particularly the question of whether non-member states will be allowed to use the bank. Windsor Chan, who is the Deputy General Manager of the China Construction Bank's Johannesburg branch, was optimistic about the bank’s prospects: “The project will go ahead if the countries put in the effort; with the

uncertainties of the current market, particularly in the US and the EU, the BRICS countries will need to find [an] alternative growth path, both external and domestic.” “The Development bank could in the future provide another finance choice for the non-Western countries without the political agenda hindering their economic development.” Nicolas Véron, a senior fellow at Brueghel, a Brussels-based economic think-tank, was less convinced by the long-term prospects of the Development Bank. Véron said it was “unclear whether the BRICS bank was a real proposal, or a threat to the west. Effectively the reference of a new development bank followed a scathing statement against the management of the financial institutions. One may look at it as a way to ask for more balanced governance of the Bretton Woods’s bodies, or they [the BRICS] will create their own system outside the World Bank”. South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, feels that South-


LAYING THE ‘BRICS’ OF DEVELOPMENT (cont...) By Iynna Halilou

-Africa has a responsibility to ensure the establishment of the BRICS Development Bank. Not only could the bank help the country finance its stateled infrastructure drive, it could potentially double the trade of South Africa with other BRICS members to $500 million by 2015. China’s growing African influence After the US lost its AAA credit rating in August 2011, China was publicly critical of US economic policy. It openly suggested that the introduction of a “new, stable and secure global reserve currency” was needed. In March 2012, South Africa came out in support of China, endorsing the


Chinese Renminbi as a new international trade and investment currency, in a bid to challenge the US dollar’s supremacy of trade and investment in emerging markets. South Africa has indicated its political support of China, and could potentially further increase the Renminbi’s access to the African market. Chan acknowledges “the promotion of the Renminbi as the trade currency for a global approach including Africa”. However, he adds that “China’s trade and investment in Africa only represents less than 5% of the country’s global trade and investment; its focus in the short to medium term will remain in Asia and the other traditional markets. Its engagement

with Africa tends to be on a long-term perspective and in this regard a sustainable growth is critical". The five BRICS countries represent nearly 3 billion of the world’s population and it is an ever-expanding economy – responsible for 56% of the foreseen economic growth for 2012 according to the IMF. The creation of the development bank and the idea of developing another global currency will not only increase the BRICs countries’ influence, but it will also jeopardise the US reserve currency status. The BRICS are no longer adapting to the world economy but are taking an active role to shape it.


Anglo-Russian Political Developments of the Past Decade and Their Consequences The door has been opened but neither side wants to be the first to walk through...!!!!!!!!!!!!! By Joe Terry

During the second half of the last decade, Anglo-Russian relations worsened to such an extent that the Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko referred to it as “close to freezing”. It was the murder of the former Federal Services Bureau agent Alexei Litvinenko in London in 2006 that proved to be the trigger that set off a standoff between the countries, suggesting a return to a Cold war-style conflict. Both sides embarked on a series of tit-for-tat damnations through the media and punitive measures designed to damage the other’s reputation in the international community. Immediately after the Litvinenko case Britain demanded the extradition of the main suspect Andrei Lugovoi, which Russia rejected. Their justification was twofold: firstly, they pointed to Britain not extraditing Boris Berezhovsky to Russia (where he is wanted on fraud charges) and secondly, they have a constitutional ban on the extradition of citizens. As a result, in 2007, the UK chose to expel diplomats from London and tightened visa restrictions on visiting officials, to which the Russians responded immediately in kind. Perhaps consequently, in the same year the Kremlin took the decision to close, without warning, all British Council offices outside Moscow. Underpinning all of this was the shadow of espionage that permeated all AngloRussian political decisions, from the discovery of the infamous British “spy-rock” in 2006 to British media reports in 2010 suggesting that here had been no decrease in Russian agents operating in the UK since the Cold War ended. Finally, after Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia in 2008 Britain stood at the

Photo: Left Photo: British Foreign Secretary. Photo Credit: Right Photo: Russian Foreign Secretary. Photo Credit:


head of the international outcry that condemned Russia’s actions as aggressive and imperialist. What followed was a two-year cooling-off period before the reestablishment of political contact in 2010, where some attempt at a détente was made from both sides. In the first visit to Russia by a British Prime Minister since 2007, David Cameron met with the then president Dmitry Medvedev in order to discuss how to improve their bilateral relations. The rhetoric was decidedly positive; both sides spoke of the need to create a new base, engage in direct, constructive dialogue, whilst looking forward to a future of mutual cooperation. Signs were emerging that the rapid and alarming deterioration in political relations was coming to an end. However, as encouraging as this rhetoric undoubtedly was, both leaders came back from these reset talks with minimal concrete policy. Both sides publicly acknowledged the necessity to improve the relations but they are simultaneously waiting for the other to be the first to offer the olive branch. In other words, the doors have been opened but each is expecting the other to be the first walk through. There still remain problems to be solved and looking forward in 2013, these problems could yet prove to be a roadblock that returns the relationship in the opposite direction. In May 2012 the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague,


Anglo-Russian Political Developments of the Past Decade and Their Consequences (cont..)

By Joe Terry

..met with his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, policy then it is highly likely that we shall to discuss Russia’s refusal to join the international condemnation of Assad’s regime in Syria, (a stance based on Russia’s strong economic ties with the Syrian despot’s government). This is a position from which Russia has still not yet backed away from. Furthermore, the return to power of Vladimir Putin could also prove to be an aggravating factor in the development of Anglo-Russian relations, especially with regard to the Syrian question. In stark contrast to his more diplomatically minded predecessor who often showed a willingness to cooperate with the West, if Putin chooses to return to his tried-and-tested form of an aggressive, anti-West foreign


see Britain involved in another, perhaps even larger, conflict with Russia. In the short term, although it is unlikely that Russia will change its stance on Syria, given their historical refusal to back down on any question of international importance that directly concerns the Russian economy, there is one remaining issue that can, and perhaps should, be resolved to ensure that Russia and the UK start 2013 on as firm a basis as possible. Both sides could agree to extradite the respective individuals wanted in both countries, thus finally removing the hangover from the Litvinenko case and giving Russia the

chance to try Berezhovsky on his numerous fraud charges. In this way, Russia and the UK could choose to walk through the open doors, assuring cooperation and mutual respect, or away from them, potentially causing many more problems.


By Manon Knoertzer

There is no doubt that states of the Middle East and emerging Asian markets have commercial interests in developing their mutual ties—and that they mean to do it. With the extensively documented shift of power from western nations to those of East Asia, it is only logical that the commercially active states, geographically located in between would shift their focus eastwards. In reality, the Middle Eastern ties with Asia are ageless, notably dating back to the silk routes of the middle ages. In an article entitled “A Modern Silk Road Between Asia and the Middle East”, the New York Times argues that “the pendulum (of economic power) is swinging back, and the Middle East — especially the Gulf region — is again growing much closer to Asia”. This theoretical shift is mirrored through numbers and arrangements. An Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement was signed between China and Saudi Arabia in 2002 (1423 AH) following similar pacts made with Indonesia and the Philippines. Farouk Soussa, the chief Middle East economist at Citi in Dubai said to the New York Times that, during the 2000s, trade between the two regions grew by 700 percent, making Asia the destination for over half of the region’s trade. Similar numbers can be found in an article by Asia Today, which describes a fivefold increase in trade between the UAE and China alone in the past ten years. Attempts to build on these ties continue. On the 21st of November 2012, a thousand Chinese retail agents descended on Dubai in order to expose fifteen thousand products to Middle Eastern buyers. Also in Dubai, a shopping mall, Dragon Mart, became the


Photo Credit:


biggest trading center for Chinese products outside Mainland China when it was built in 2004. It stretches over 175,000 metres, and plans to expand with the creation of Dragon Mart 2.

of interest. This is an aspect that has, to my knowledge, not been analysed or sufficiently acknowledged as yet. For this reason, the following statements are on a hypothetical rather than factual level. Nonetheless it seems that ties of friendship created in university can have significant impacts in the early stages of career life. Abdussubhan Bin Shams al Haji, one such university student from Dubai stated earlier today: “Insha Allah (God willing) I will start a link with fellow students from Singapore and Malaysia later on”, when he takes succession of his family business. This is another area that requires further research. However, it is clear that the Asian-Middle Eastern ties are developing fast, with enormous economic potential and that the members of the regional elites who have come together in the context of higher education abroad will undoubtedly be at the heart of these advances in the years to come. It is possible that Oxford, Cambridge or even Durham will provide a breeding ground

On a wider, regional level, it is worth noting the analyst Raad Alkadiri’s claim that the Gulf is “making a strategic gamble” in Asia, potentially hoping that larger states will fill some of the security vacuum in the Middle East. Whether this gamble will put the Middle East at risk of for these future business relationships. dependency on Asian market fluctuations or generate indispensable long-term developments is a question of some importance, but one which will not be undertaken in this article. Mutual interests naturally create the links between Asia and the Middle East. On the other hand, individuals build relationships and make the deals between the companies involved. It is interesting to note, considering this context that the children of both Asian and Middle Eastern elites are regularly sent to the UK and USA for higher education. In an alien culture, Asian and Arab students tend to converge, finding mutual points


Women’s Rights in Egypt By Maggie Shiltagh

Women played a huge part in the 2011 revolution, taking to the streets with a newfound sense of freedom and empowerment in an effort to claim their rights. However, developments since the fall of Mubarak, which have seen Egyptian women pushed to the background of the transition process, are threatening to halt the progress. Women are not being given the voice they deserve and the hope of equality that the revolution instilled within them seems to be on the verge of fading. Despite their newfound desire for change, women are still finding themselves dependent on the protection of men. Societal norms for men and women are still firmly engrained into Egyptian culture, with a widespread fear of deviating from them. Politics has long been seen as a male environment, and this in itself creates a strong barrier to entry. Changing discriminatory laws can only be partially effective if a cultural change does not take place simultaneously. Tahrir square, once the hub of the revolution, has now become dangerous territory for women. Sexual harassment has become a part of everyday life and women are too often being blamed for the violence inflicted upon them. The stigma associated with sexual abuse encourages many to remain silent, for fear of losing their dignity and respect within the community as well as any hope of getting married. The political participation of women remains a pressing issue. The high female voter turnout was promising and demonstrated that women are an important demographic with the potential to sway a vote. However there is a lack of representation higher up. This is arguably due to long-term female marginalisation, resulting in a limited talent pool. Putting unqualified females into positions of power will only be detrimental to the cause, tarnishing its image through a lack of demonstrable results. Thus it will take some time, through education and employment, until women are able to climb the ranks. That is not to say, however, that there is no female talent – but there is less. The previous government championed women’s rights through Susan Mubarak, and despite much controversy, the fact that there was a leading figure driving the movement was important. In spite of ongoing rivalry, the NGOs in the Susan camp were given more attention, better funding and were generally better off. Now it is up to others who are less well placed to lead such action. The rivalry over international donor funding is starting to die down, however the tainted legacy she left continues to bear heavily upon these issues. Despite being the result of years of struggle by many women’s rights groups, the legitimacy of


laws concerning child marriage, divorce and FGM is now being question due to Susan’s involvement in their creation. The demand for women’s rights is being linked, particularly by conservatives, to the corruption of the former regime and the westernisation of Islamic values, inhibiting significant progress. The status of women within the Muslim Brotherhood does not paint a hugely positive picture for the future, particularly given that the head of the women’s branch is male. Women were at the heart of the MB’s electoral campaign, yet are still not getting the recognition they deserve. The revolutionary mindset of the younger generation, who often have family ties to some of the leading figures, may add more weight to their demands. Women have previously been excluded from prominent roles on the grounds of ‘security concerns’, which has been an effective way of keeping them marginalised. However, with women being at the forefront of recent revolutionary action, this justification now carries less legitimacy than ever before. When the first ever Egyptian veiled newsreader appeared on state TV a few months back, this firmly put an end to Mubarak’s longstanding rule. Criticised by some for signifying a loss of autonomy, it was viewed by many others as a huge step for freedom of expression, which has never yet been present. We must not forget that the issue of women’s rights spans well beyond the political realm. Women are crucial to the labour force and no economic reform is viable if they are excluded. However job creation in the private sector is not mirroring the increasing demand and public sector expansion is no longer fiscally viable. Female illiteracy in the region is still high and creates a significant barrier to progression, limiting the aforementioned talent pool further and putting women in a weak position to compete. As well as a lack of opportunities, it is often easier for women to fill traditional roles at home, rather than to challenge their male counterparts in the workplace. It is essential that the issue of women’s rights stay a pressing concern for the new government, in order to avoid any danger of a reversal of previous efforts. In this post-revolution era, women are more determined than ever to win their freedom. But it seems that this is not always enough, when the cultural barriers are so strong.



‘La Crisis no es el Problema, El Problema es el Sistema.’ This is the slogan of yet another poster, calling for another street protest that seem to magically appear on a daily basis across the historic Spanish port of Cadiz. Once one of Spain’s richest cities, enjoying an almost total monopoly over colonial trade, the Andalucían city is now virtually Europe’s unemployment capital. With around a quarter of the Spanish workforce jobless across the country (the figure for Cadiz is 36%), and more than 50% of 18-26 year olds without work, it is difficult to walk through the streets of the city without hearing someone mutter the words ‘La Crisis’. In a typically Spanish manner, people have gone on to write songs about it. More recently however, Cadiz has been in the news for a reason other than its distressing unemployment rate. On the 16th November, the city hosted the XXII Ibero-American Summit, an annual two-day conference that sees the leaders of Latin America meet with their Spanish and Portuguese counterparts and former colonial masters, to discuss political issues and arrange business deals. In an historic reversal of roles, it was the President and King of Spain who, in the immediate wake of a General Strike, made a desperate plea for Latin American investment in Iberia. Whilst both Spain and Portugal have been sinking ever deeper into recession, dealing with vast public deficits, the majority of Latin American countries are enjoying healthy rates of economic growth. Moreover, the OECD has forecasted this growth to continue improving, predicting 4% growth across Latin-

Photo Credit:


“Latin America finally seems poised to ‘win’ after centuries of exploitation by foreign powers. As this often forgotten corner of the globe races towards becoming an economic world leader...” -Josh Edwards

America in 2013. As the doom and gloom of Europe’s economic plight endures, such figures seem remarkable. Thus, a number of questions have arisen following on from the Cadiz Summit, with the realisation that the relationship between the Old and the New World has profoundly changed. One of the most important of these questions is whether Latin American nations can, or even should, come to the aid of their former colonial masters. The irony of the situation speaks for itself. This being said, there is certainly optimism that mutually beneficial business opportunities could be realised. It is of course vital to remember that Latin America still has a long list of problems to overcome if it is to fulfil its potential as a cultural and economic world leader of the future. Extensively discussed at the Summit, leaders unanimously recognised that further developments in infrastructure, industry and technology will be essential in overcoming problems such as widespread social inequality across the region.


IBERIA SEEKS SALVATION IN THE NEW WORLD (cont...) By Josh Edwards (Foreign Correspondent)

It is in these sectors that Spain is well positioned to offer its expertise. Thus there is certainly credible hope that a co-operative Ibero-American relationship could develop further, speeding up Iberia’s recovery as well as stimulating mutual growth. However, what cannot be emphasised enough is that Latin America has absolutely no obligation whatsoever to favour Iberian interests. In spite of all Spain’s ceremonious rhetoric at the Cadiz Summit, which celebrated the shared languages and culture of IberoAmerica, calling for solidarity during this time of crisis, Latin American leaders have made it clear that they will have no qualms when it comes to defending local interests. As President

Photo Credit:


Rafael Correa of Ecuador stated, ‘abuses of interests’ by Spanish companies will no longer be tolerated, a reference to the 1980s and 1990s in which Spanish tycoons built up business empires in Latin America in what is known as the ‘Re-conquest’. To this day, the lack of locally driven industrialisation across parts of the region, often prevented by this kind of foreign infiltration, has obstructed dreadfully poor countries such as Bolivia from ever benefiting fully from their huge reserves of natural resources. If, for example, Bolivia is able to make use of its vast proportion of the world’s lithium, they could be at the forefront of the development of the electric car industry as it begins to replace petrolfueled vehicles.

Whether or not Spanish companies will be invested-in, by countries like Bolivia, to aid them in their development remains to be seen. What is certain however is that Spain will not enjoy the kind of self-benefiting, asymmetrical with Latin America that Europeans have enjoyed since they first set foot on its shores. Latin America finally seems poised to ‘win’ after centuries of exploitation by foreign powers. As this often forgotten corner of the globe races towards becoming an economic world leader, it is difficult not to feel that justice has somehow been served.


Protest, government crackdown and international concern: the pattern of the Arab spring – until Bahrain.!

Why the Citizens of This Gulf Nation Have Been Betrayed By the ‘Champion of Freedom’ By the US By Olivia Gleeson

We have all been made aware of the catalogue of uprisings that have swept across the Middle East since 2010; passionate civil resistance against oppressive governments, met with brutal state crackdowns. International bodies call for a peaceful resolution, and even military intervention, in the case of Libya, these have characterized the typical Western response to these conflicts. Why then has comparable political unrest and subsequent state-sponsored violence against its own population in Bahrain gone largely unnoticed by the West since its onset in early 2011? The inspiration for the Bahraini protests rests on two precepts. Firstly,


the Shia Muslim population wants greater equality, seeking freedom from long-standing discrimination by the minority Sunni Muslim faction (who comprise roughly 25% of the population). Secondly, having watched the successful ‘democratic’ revolution unfold in nearby Tunisia, the Bahraini citizens also wanted to see change in their country, triggering a call for the deposition of the Sunni monarch, King Hamad. Protestors camped in the capital Manama for weeks on end, before Hamad declared Martial law and a three-month state of emergency, which saw the city cleared of the peaceful protestors by state security

forces in a brutal show of force. Human rights groups say that to date more than 2,900 citizens have been arrested, with confessions extracted through whipping, electric shocks and even threats of rape. At least 80 people have died either from violence at the hands of the Bahraini police, or from torture whilst in imprisonment. Incredulously, the government crackdown also saw a group of 50 doctors and nurses put on trial for their part in aiding wounded protestors.


The abominable human rights situation and the unprecedented use of force by the ruling leader against his own people are symptomatic of the Arab Spring as a whole. However, in the Bahrain instance there is one crucial difference, which can be inferred from the fact that many may even have omitted Bahrain from what you understand as the ‘Arab Spring'. There is, and has been, a stark lack of international diplomatic concern over the events, mirrored by a paucity of media attention.

Bahrain is strategically important to the US as it is the home of its 5th Fleet, which has meant the American government has continuously strived to maintain a stable relationship with the Hamad dynasty. In addition, WikiLeaks releases of state department cables last year revealed that Washington values the Hamad’s bellicose attitude towards Iran. This occurred in response to Iranian hostility towards Bahrain for conceding Why is this the case? Initially we could point to local factors, US military provisions in their country. Perhaps, therefore, it such as the difficulty for international journalists to enter the cannot express disapproval of a government that it so keenly country: visas for several media outlets, including Channel 4 wants to keep on side! As a testimony to this perturbing US and Al Jazeera, were not granted by the Bahraini government. agenda, a CNN documentary on the uprising that reported There also was severely restricted freedom of speech for those repressive conduct by the Bahraini government was only aired journalists attempting to cover the protests. It is also possible once in the United States and not at all on CNN international, to believe that the events in Bahrain, a small and relatively presumably to play down the damning role the Hamad ‘insignificant’ country in comparison to the oil-rich state of government had in the events. Libya, are not on a large enough scale to warrant international concern, after all a death toll of 80 appears relatively minor How can it be that a country which champions the cause of compared to 10,000 people thought to have been killed so far self-determination stays mute when it knows that by speaking in the Syrian uprising. Or have we just become lethargic out against the repressive regime, it will have the power to towards the cause in the Middle East having observed a generate international awareness and concern over the fate of multitude of states descend in a domino-like-fashion into the Bahraini citizens? The depressing reality is that civilian and often sectarian chaos? governments choose their priorities with little regard to morality, and in the case of Bahrain, strategic diplomatic There is, perhaps a far more cynical explanation lurking in the relations have been ranked higher than the moral duty to shadows, one that the West, in particular the US has a vested stand up for the human rights. interest in concealing. I, like many other commentators, believe the lack of discourse in Washington about Bahrain is no accident. It is not that the US is disinterested in Bahrain– to the contrary it is exceptionally interested, hence its

Photo Credit:


deliberate silence on the unrest - illogical I know, but bear with me.


Does current Middle Eastern instability undermine Obama’s East-Asian pivot? By Mark Lazar

In October 2011, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State at the time, signalled a major change in US foreign policy with her article: ‘America’s Pacific Century’, published in Foreign Affairs. US should focus on East Asia, rather than the Middle East, she argues, because “The Asia-Pacific has become a clear driver of global politics” and it is of seminal importance for the US “to lock in a substantially increased investment (encompassing the) diplomatic, economic, strategic”. This is reflected diplomatically with both Clinton and Obama having significantly increased official visits to the continent. More tangibly, full withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in December 2011, and the intention for Afghanistan to follow suit by 2014 also signified Obama’s reluctance to stay actively embroiled in Middle Eastern affairs. Furthermore, second term Presidents traditionally shift their focus from domestic to foreign policy, as they can afford to take more risks without the specter of re-election constantly overshadowing their actions. In Obama’s case, a focus abroad is probable for two additional reasons. Firstly, he has already secured his domestic legacy with Healthcare reform, and secondly, the intense partisanship from House Republicans means that further domestic legislation of that magnitude is unlikely to get passed. Thus, there are significant indications pointing to increased US involvement in East Asia. However,

Photo Credits: Left Photo: Right Photo:


questions remain: what would the pivot entail and are their other obstacles to Obama’s vision? National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, speaking on the subject of Obama’s recent Asian trip - his first journey abroad since reelection - commented that Obama decided to pivot to Pacific-Asia in early 2009, the start of his first term. Since then, the Middle East has become more unstable, through events such as the Arab Spring, Iranian nuclearisation and renewed hostilities between Israel and Palestine. These three issues require US focus. Democratization of the Middle East is of considerable importance, and its current limits (recently manifested by Morsi increasing his constitutional powers in Egypt) will be of concern. Indeed, Obama has been criticised for his piecemeal response to the Arab Spring; intervention, or even condemnation of violence has not reflected the severity of individual situations, but has arguably cohered more with US interest. Majority support for Palestine becoming a UN nonobserver state has left the US on the wrong side of international opinion. Arguably their decision to oppose that resolution moves the US away from a two state solution, which is their official policy. In any case, Netanyahu’s decision to build 3000 Israeli homes in the E1 block, separating East Jerusalem (the future capital of the Palestinian state) from the West Bank, has


demonstrated that the issue could not be further from settlement. Thus, the US is currently in a very difficult position, torn between International opinion and their loyalty to Israel, driven by the strong Israeli lobby at home. Finally, Iranian refusal to give up nuclear proliferation, despite the severity of imposed sanctions, will demand US response. Although there is minimal support for a return of a unilateral, GWB-esque foreign policy, the Middle East is still the top of the foreign policy agenda. The USA can hardly abandon the region in favour of Asia.

The fact that Obama has categorically stated that defence cuts will not be applied to the Asian-Pacific region, and naval concentration will intensify in the Pacific (60% of the US navy will be situated there by 2020) does imply that this is a key However, before dismissing the pivot, it is worth considering priority, despite it not being a current primary security Obama’s intentions with regards to East Asia. Clearly, security concern. In the long term, it is clear that security in East Asia is less of an immediate problem than in the Middle East, but will be of fundamental importance for the international that does not mean it is not significant. According to Donilon, community, however over the next four years, unless an the pivot implies various strategy objectives: increasing and unforeseen crisis occurs, Obama’s pivot will do no more than modernising alliances in the region (with developed nations consolidate US capabilities to deal with a future Asian threat. such as Japan, South Korea and Australia, and developing As Dr Christopher Davidson stated, Obama will spend his nations, such as India and Indonesia), engaging in multilateral next four years putting out fires in the Middle East. His institutions, such as ASEAN, and participating in the East foreign policy legacy will most likely be made or broken in the Asian summit (Obama is the first US president to do so), same region as his predecessor, despite his best intentions. advancing the region’s economic architecture, by creating open transparent economies, and ensuring all countries abide by internationally established trade rules. The final policy implication is ensuring a stable relationship with China, achieved by balancing competition with cooperation. Donilon stated specifically that Obama had placed a key superstructure in place so that regional disputes with China could be solved peacefully. However, the US has a long standing mistrust of China, so the strengthening of other alliances and deeper integration into institutions, can be construed as balancing (a

Photo Credits:


term Donilon uses on multiple occasions) the Chinese threat. The economic benefits of a stable region are huge; Asia accounts for ¼ of world GDP, which is expected to rise to over 30% in the next 3 years. Thus, potential conflicts with China, namely over Taiwan and the Diaoyu Islands must be avoided at all costs.


Clash of the Theoretician against the Practitioner in IR? By#Andrew#Chapman Recently, the Durham UN society had an honour bestowed upon it incomparable to any other in its short history. From the treacherous back roads of North Wales, Dame Margaret Anstee, former Undersecretary General of the UN, made the perilous journey to Durham to attend a panel on humanitarian invention in which she was joined by our own Dr Angela Joya from the University’s School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA). What transpired was a fascinating discussion in which Dame Margaret firstly delivered an impromptu speech, given with an effortless eloquence to which one could only aspire after 40 years in diplomacy, where she argued with a restrained dignity that humanitarian intervention was principally the act of one human being helping another. Indeed, throughout all of her trials and travails, from flood management in Uruguay to factional politics in Angola, Dame Margaret argued that her raison d’être was not to advance Western interests but her duty as a world citizen. In what was the most emotionally poignant moment of the panel, she argued that it was this world view which put her in an impossible dilemma when dealing with The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Portuguese: União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) (UNITA), a group which history will remember as one of the most heinous of the 20th century, as its soldiers, no matter what atrocities they had committed, were still entitled to humanitarian support on the grounds of their being human. What, however, was


the most prominent and sustained point of Dame Margaret’s speech was that humanitarian intervention should be considered a logistical operation evaluated on the efficiency of the distribution of available resources. She spoke most fondly of her participation in the humanitarian intervention in Bangladesh when Sir Robert Jackson, a logistical master whose only contemporary can surely be Winston Wolf in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, ensured that this would be viewed as the blueprint for humanitarian intervention for years to come. What therefore characterised Dame Margaret’s position, as a practitioner, was a high end idealism, in terms of identity, blended with a shrewd pragmatism of “what do I have?” and “how can I use what I have?” when in the field. One could therefore argue Dame Margaret concentrated more on the humanitarian than the intervention throughout her long and highly successful career. Next Dr Joya took to the stage and gave a speech of equal quality that would have enlivened even the most docile of AlQasimi drones in a Monday 9 o’clock. She argued that intervention is an inherently political act, giving examples of how variations in intervention over the past two decades have been based on the political agenda of what until recently has been considered a unilateral global system. Indeed, such a position becomes particularly plausible when we consider that Palestine, so often the white elephant in the room, has been a taboo subject for interventionists for decades even given the legalistic principles that could back such action. In this light, Dr Joya argues that we must always consider historical precedent when analysing intervention and historical precedent, as one of our contemporaries reminded us with the pertinent example of the Russian famine of 1921, shows that intervention has always been a political rather than a moral act. What therefore

characterised Dr Joya’s position, as a theoretician, was that intervention hitherto has been motivated by interest and that therefore, as opposed to focusing on the practicalities, we must examine our own ideals before considering such a course of action. Her position therefore focuses on the politics of intervention over the humanitarian. I must confess that the talk, as all good talks should do, left me with more questions than answers. It seemed to me that there was an incommensurable difference between the views of the theoretician, who focuses politics over action, and the practitioner, who focuses on action over politics. Did this mean that I would have been better equipped for a career in an NGO or IGO, to which many of us aspire, if I had studied supply chain management over international relations? Not necessarily. As Dr Joya reminded me, the theoretician’s role is to scrutinise and bring to account the practitioner. The means and ends of the theoretician, who formulates, and the practitioner, who implements, are therefore different but complementary within the political process. If therefore, as the next generation, we can be as practical and ebullient as Dame Margaret and as incisive and analytical as Dr Joya, the world will hopefully find itself in good hands.



If you would like to comment on a particular article please send us an email with your comment addressed to the author and we may print it in the next issue. NOTE: The opinions expressed within are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect Durham University’s stand on issues. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Durham University United Nations Society.


The Globalist, Epiphany 2013  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you