World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010



· NOT_DEFINED date: THU, 22 / 9 -11 am

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Institute for International Politics, Institute for International Politics, Helmut-Schmidt-University, University of the Federal Armed Forces in Hamburg

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Annette Jünemann and Jakob Horst

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: Chair:Eva-Maria Maggi, Visiting Scholar, Henry M. Jackson School of International Relations, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Paper discussant: Richard Gillespie, University of Liverpool

This is the third of three corresponding panels that will focus on various processes of interaction with and within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The overarching aim is to overcome the traditional role models that dominate the interregional discourse in northern as much as in southern Mediterranean countries. We can learn a lot about political realities if we analyze the logic of action of relevant political actors within their social environment. While the first panel will address the topic from a conceptual and theoretical perspective, the second and third panel approaches the same issue through empirical case studies.
The analytical focus is on patterns of interaction between governmental institutions, economic entrepreneurs, religious groups and other diverse groupings. Their complex – individual and/or collective - logic of action, determined by a multitude of interrelated parameters like political and economic interests, norms and values, is in the center of the research. This may also include academic discourses such as “democratic peace“, “securitization” or “neo-colonialism”. Since interaction does not happen outside time and space, social and political contexts on a global, regional and local level have to be considered as well as institutional and legal frameworks of interaction and the specific rationale of organisations.
This diversified analytical approach transcends the established perception of interregional relations as mainly intergovernmental and as predominantly driven by particular interests of national and/ or regional powers. Popular notions like ‘dominance’ or ‘partnership’ might change their meaning if interests and strategies of actors that are neither ‘north’ nor ‘south’ are taken into account. This does not mean that notions of power, dominance or exploitation will become irrelevant. However, we believe that interregional relations are much more complex and truly interdependent than the prevalent discourse with its focus on ‘south’ versus ‘north’.

Paper presenter: Abdeslam Maghraoui, Ass. Professor at Duke University, USA, Department of Political Science “The limits of Good Governance: The Barcelona Spirit and Corruption in Morocco”
One of the key pillars of the European Union strategy towards the South Mediterranean countries is the promotion of good governance to fight corruption and improve the delivery of public services to the poor. Together with international financial and development institutions, the European Union spent billions of dollars on good governance programs. Morocco, which has been a major recipient and a "good student" of various "good governance" programs during the last fifteen years, provides an interesting real world experiment with the potential and limits of good governance as a strategy to fight corruption. This paper raises questions about the standard package of technical measures advocated by international donors to improve governance without engaging in sensitive questions about the nature of power relations. The paper asks in other words: Can a technical approach to good governance reduce corruption when it [corruption] is symptomatic of deeper political problems? The term "technicaI" is used in this paper to refer to policing, oversight, transparency, and accountability measures that aim to improve institutional structures, processes, and capacities with minimal interference in the country's political system. The paper documents aseries of paradoxes to show that Morocco's good governance campaign has actually increased corruption and concentrated the monarchy's already extensive powers.

Paper presenter:Ivesa Lübben and Kerstin Fritzsche, Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Marburg, Germany, “New partners for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership – ‘Moderate Islamists’ foreign policy positions towards the European Union”
Fifteen years after the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and despite the formation of the Union of the Mediterranean in 2008, only little progress has been made with regard to the creation of an “area of dialogue, exchange and cooperation guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity (…)” (Barcelona Declaration, Nov. 1995). Manifold reasons are offered to be responsible for the crisis – ranging from the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the ascent of radical Islamists groups. Thus, the question arises, whether alternative political actors might prove more suitable for the partnership than the established Arab regimes.
In this respect, little attention is currently given to moderate Islamist parties and movements despite their evolution into significant political forces in most North African and Middle Eastern countries. Research on moderate Islamists centers largely on their positions on social, religious and domestic issues, yet, leaving out their mindset towards the European Union and the prospects offered by the Barcelona Process and the Union for the Mediterranean respectively.
This paper wants to contribute to closing this research gap by analyzing the foreign policy positions of moderate Islamists towards the European Union and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. As first results from research show, moderate Islamists – despite common features – share different views on their European neighbors. The paper aims at exploring the “logic of action” leading to these varying positions. It argues, that a set of factors influences whether moderate Islamists embrace or reject certain aspects of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Such variables include among others inclusion/exclusion from the political system, economic integration of the country with the European Union, characteristics of the moderate Islamists’ electorate and supporters etc. The approach of the paper especially focuses on the relations of the moderate Islamists to the middle class and how this reflects in their positions towards the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
The paper draws on preliminary findings of a DFG-funded research project on foreign policy positions of moderate Islamists parties in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Jordan. After elaborating its theoretical approach, it will present two empirical case studies dealing with the “logic of action” of the Moroccan PJD (Parti de la Justice et du Développement) and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood with regard to their foreign policy positions towards the EU and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

Paper presenter: Annette Jünemann, Institute for International Politics, Institute for International Politics, Helmut-Schmidt-University, University of the Federal Armed Forces in Hamburg
“Logics of Action Behind and Within the Union for the Mediterranean”
The paper is tightly connected to the conception of the panel, applying the analytical framework to the newly set up institutional framework of the UfM. What is the logic of action of relevant political actors who redesigned the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership? The paper argues, that political action is determined by a multitude of interrelated parameters like political and economic interests, norms and values. The origins of the EMP were rooted in the normative paradigm of democratic peace and processes of securitization shaped its further development. Is the new paradigm of thought in the background of the latest reforms the rediscovery of neo-liberalism? Neo-liberal beliefs have always been rather common among practitioners in EU-institutions but controversial in the academic community. We are interested in the discourses on social and political developments on the global and regional level that determined not only the latest institutional change, but also the changes in thought that stand behind it.
Obviously, the rather technocratic patterns of the UfM aim at a de-politization of Euro-Med relations. Values like democracy and human rights have been downgraded and constructivist ideas of region building have been replaced by a more efficient variable geometry. While the setup of the UfM was an intergovernmental top down process, inter-regional relations will subsequently be shaped by a variety of governmental institutions, economic entrepreneurs, religious groups and other diverse groupings. Civil society is likely to loose room for maneuvre within the de-politicized set-up of technical projects, whereas economic entrepreneurs are to profit from enhanced economic liberalization. They will presumably enjoy an increasing scope of action. What logic of action will they follow? What impact will they have on the appearance of new transnational spaces? According to modernization theories economic liberalization will not only result in economic development but will also create spill over effects to the political sphere. If such effects are intended, the logic of action behind the UfM does indeed relate to neo-liberalism. The paper will shed more light on the coming into being of the UfM and it will contribute to the controversial debate on modernization theories and neo-liberalism in the context of Euro-Med relations.