The International Spectator

Volume XLI, No. 2 (April - June 2006)

IAI Library Notes


EU accession dynamics and conflict resolution : catalysing peace or consolidating partition in Cyprus? / Nathalie Tocci. - Aldershot ; Burlington : Ashgate, c2004. - x, 205 p. - ISBN 0-7546-4310-7

An attentive analysis of the role played by the European Union, alongside the United Nations, as a mediator in the Cyprus peace process. Attention is focused on the period from when negotiations were relaunched - 2002 -up to their (negative) outcome in 2004.

The entry into the EU of the Republic of Cyprus alone sealed the failure of the European strategy aimed at encouraging reunification of the island. To understand the causes of the failure, the author first describes the position of all the actors in the conflict (Greek Cypriot community, Turkish Cypriot community, Greece and Turkey) and all those who played a mediating role in this period (UN, US, EU and - of the Union member states - Great Britain).

After a brief chapter summarising the history of the conflict, attention is turned to the process of Cyprus' entry into the EU and the incentives and disincentives it gave the actors in the conflict. The weakness of EU action is then analysed looking, above all, at the inconsistencies in the EU's foreign policy, conditioned by the diverse strategies (or inaction) of the member countries and their respective positions on the future entry of Turkey.

The last two chapters suggest what role the EU could have played in solving the Cypriot conflict and the lessons to be drawn for the future.

Muslim communities in Europe

European Muslims and the secular state / edited by Jocelyne Cesari and Sean McLoughlin. - Aldershot ; Burlington : Ashgate, c2005. - viii, 202 p. - ISBN 0-7546-4475-8

Produced by the Network of Comparative Research on Islam and Muslims in Europe as part of the project on "Islam, Citizenship and the Dynamics of European Integration" financed by the European Commission, the book is a study of relations between the lay national legal orders of various European countries and their resident Muslim communities and, in particular, of the political recognition of these communities through representative organisations.

The research method adopted is based on analysis of the interaction between groups and culture. The first part of the book deals with Church-state relations in European countries, while the second part concentrates on the role played by the Muslim leadership in Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany and - at the local level - Italy. The particular interaction between the secular state and Muslim communities in Europe has produced, the authors find, some unexpected results, causing the emergence of specific religious figures, on the one hand, but also influencing their work, on the other, with the secondary effect of strengthening the reformist movements (in Great Britain, the Muslim Brothers and the Jama' at-i Islami).

A description of centralised initiatives, such as that of the French Interior Ministry, flanked by an analysis of local ones, such as those undertaken in different Italian regions, would seem to indicate that the local level is the more suited to a fruitful interaction between public authorities and religious leadership, more effectively favouring the participation of the immigrant community.

The third part looks at the tendency among Muslims in Europe to "individualise" religious practice. Surveys of Muslim youths and women in Spain, Belgium and Norway show that religious practice has been relocated to the private sphere, but rather than implying a decline in religious values, it is often actually a manifestion of more orthodox practice. The last two chapters are on the development of Sufi orders in Germany and the Deobandi movement in the UK.

Immigration and insecurity in France / Jane Freedman. - Aldershot ; Burlington : Ashgate, c2004. - 182 p. (Critical security series). - ISBN 0-7546-3583-X

The book deals with the progressive "securitisation" and "problematisation" of immigration and integration in France, caused mainly, in the author's opinion, by the choice of French politicians and authorities emphatically to relaunch the concept of republican citizenship. According to the author, politicians have often transformed the concept into a myth, while overlooking the need to pay more attention to the real problems of society and the economy.

The first part of the book takes a look at the context in which France's immigration and asylum policies have developed. The first chapter describes the recent transformation of the concept of immigration and its progressive identification with threat. The second chapter studies the evolution of French policy in the context of European integration and concludes that the progressive abolition of the Union's internal borders has had a multiplying and accelerating effect on the securitisation of immigration in France. Again within the European context, the third chapter analyses asylum policy and, in particular, the case of the Sangatte camp, a detention centre for those seeking asylum in the UK. The fourth chapter examines clandestine immigration, concentrating on the case of the sans papier.

The second part deals with the consequences of those policies on immigrants' rights. Much emphasis is given to the effects of securitisation on the status of women inside the immigrant communities. The fifth chapter describes the "excluding" nature of France's citizenship policy and the social and economic inequality between immigrant and non-immigrant citizens. Chapters 6 and 7 are dedicated respectively to the condition of immigrant women and the headscarf debate. The final chapter analyses the persistent racial discrimination in France, warning that the failure of the fight against racism has to some extent been caused by its increasing"institutionalisation" in France

Penser l'immigration et l'intgration autrement : une initiative belge inter-universitaire / Bichara Khader et al. (ds.). - Bruxelles : Bruylant, 2006. - 410 p. - ISBN 2-8027-2099-6

The book is the output of a conference organised in October 2004 with the participation of experts in various disciplines from seven Belgian universities. The aim was to present the state of the art of research on immigration and integration in Belgium. According to the editors, the participation of specialists exclusively from the academic world was an occasion for thinking "differently" about the complex reality of immigration in Belgium in that it made it possible to take a distance from the request - frequently put forward by political authorities - to provide normative responses.

The first chapters take a historical, demographic and socio-geographic approach, underlining that immigration is characterised as a "solution" to the economic and social requirements of Belgian society. The question of immigration and integration is dealt with in the following chapters from the sociological, political and legal points of view, describing in the development of both national and community law.

Various analyses are devoted to the two most numerous immigrant communities in Belgium, the Turkish and the Moroccan. Specific studies look at the recent changes in family law in Morocco and the setting up of bodies that regulate relations between national and local institutions and the Muslim communities.

International relations and the Middle East

International relations of the Middle East / [edited by] Louise Fawcett. - Oxford [etc.] : Oxford University Press, 2005. - xiv, 356 p. - ISBN 0-19-926963-7; 978-0-19-926963-1

The two areas of study, international relations and the Middle East, are extremely interdependent, yet the editor observes that Middle East experts - mainly scholars of the internal dimension of politics of the region - continue to be only slightly familiar with the issues of international relations - and vice versa. The book is intended to be a tool for both, a textbook for post-grad courses on the subject, which presents contributions from some of the best-known scholars in the sector in a unitary and coherent manner. The many perspectives used by the authors (above all realism and constructivism) are always accompanied by much information and empirical analysis of the facts.

The first part of the history of international relations in the Middle East is illustrated in three chapters which present, respectively, the Ottoman and colonial period, the Cold War period, and the years following, introducing with the latter some of the issues (oil and globalisation) dealt with in more depth in the second part. In it, six experts deal at length with some of the problems specific to the region: the relationship between economic liberalisation and political reform, identity between Arabism and Islamism, regional cooperation and security problems in the area. The third part presents some exemplary case studies: the Arab-Israeli conflict and the failure of the Oslo process, external intervention in the Gulf and the last two Gulf wars. The last two chapters examine respectively US policy towards the area and the role played by the European Union, illustrated with a brief historical summary including transatlantic relations during the Iraq conflict.

Each chapter is enhanced with a list of recommended further reading.

The one-state solution : a breakthrough plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock / Virginia Tilley. - Manchester and New York : Manchester University Press, 2005. - xii, 276 p. (New approaches to conflict analysis). - ISBN 0-7190-7336-7; 978-0-7190-7336-7

This original and thought-provoking work argues for the very controversial thesis of a "one-state-for-two-peoples" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Through five well constructed and empirically based chapters, the author analyses in a historical perspective the extent of Israeli settlement expansion in the Occupied Territories, the role of key external actors in the conflict and domestic Israeli dynamics, and reaches the conclusion that a viable Palestinian state is unworkable today.

The author then calls for Israel to annex the Occupied Territories and form a unitary civil democracy, following the model of Western European democracies, also recently adopted in South Africa. As unrealistic as this thesis might sound to many, it is in no way portrayed in an idealist or nave manner by the author. In fact, the last chapter of the book is entirely dedicated to the daunting obstacles to a one-state solution, which include major revision of the Zionist utopia, but also Palestinian and other regional resistance, and puts forward some ideas about how those obstacles might be addressed.

Uncharted journey : promoting democracy in the Middle East / Thomas Carothers, Marina Ottaway, eds. - Washington : Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005. - viii, 302 p. (Global policy books). - ISBN 0-87003-212-7; 0-87003-211-9 (pbk)

The United States policy of democracy promotion in the Middle East is strongly criticised in this book, which brings together research documents produced in 2003-04 for the "Democracy and Rule of Law in the Middle East" programme.

Carnegie's researchers point out various critical points of US strategy, underlining above all the intrinsic contradiction between the publicly declared motivation - security - (to encourage political reform and democratisation with the aim of eliminating the "roots of terrorism") and those interests - also security, but economic as well - that have always driven the United States to give priority to maintaining close relations with authoritarian governments in the region.

The first part of the book describes the current political situation in the Arab countries: the authors emphasise the difference between liberalisation processes and democratisation processes and analyse the positions of both the Islamist movements and the promoters of reform. Analysis reveals that errors have been made as a result of poor knowledge of the Middle Eastern setting: little attention to Islamist movements and a poor understanding of the processes started up by the authoritarian governments in the region to "absorb" political reforms without changing the system of power management.

The second part illustrates the problems that derive from the strategies undertaken to date: the choice of supporting civil society, promoting women's rights, linking economic and political reforms and, finally, excluding support to the only movements that have a real social base, the Islamists. According to the authors, many assessment errors have been due to misleading comparisons with processes in Eastern European countries while at the same time, many lessons that could have been learned from that experience have been ignored. US politicians have continued to overestimate the possible role of civil society and the possibility of an external actor actually influencing the direction of political processes.

The third part suggests some fundamental choices that US politicians should face (recovering lost credibility, clearly setting out a strategy of democracy promotion integrated coherently in a policy towards the area). The analysis shows that the invasion of Iraq has produced a real obstacle: Arab experts and politicians see democracy promotion as an intrinsic part of a policy that privileges the use of force. US strategy is then compared to European strategy, to which end the EU's activity in the last decade is described, in particular the Barcelona process.

The study concludes that the US strategy of encouraging processes of democratisation in the Middle East based on gradual top-down reform is predicated on the wrong assumptions.

US foreign policy and the Persian Gulf : safeguarding American interests through selective multilateralism / Robert J. Pauly, Jr. - Aldershot ; Burlington : Ashgate, c2005. - 158 p. (US foreign policy and conflict in the Islamic world). - ISBN 0-7546-3533-3

The author analyses the evolution of US policy in the Gulf area with a detailed description of the policies of three successive US administrations (Bush Senior, 1989-93; Clinton, 1993-2001 and Bush Junior, 2001-04). Contrary to what one might assume from the title, there is little analysis of multilateral diplomacy.

The book argues that US policy towards the area has been characterised and determined in the last twenty years by an "ineluctible necessity" to counter the threat represented by Saddam Hussein. This is the perspective from which the work of the three administrations is assessed. The outcome is a sharp critique of the Clinton presidency and the strategy of containment ("... the president was unable, if not unwilling, to identify [Iraq as] one more clear threat to US interest ...").

The work is based on assumptions that the author considers undisputable ("Eliminating Saddam's regime was unquestionably an indispensable first step in providing an opportunity for the liberal democratization of Iraq - and, perhaps, the Greater Middle East - over the long term"), and justifies the reasons adopted by the Bush Jr administration to present Iraq as the main threat to the United States (the Iraqi government supported international terrorism, specifically al-Qaida, and was "inclined" to the use of weapons of mass destruction).

The book provides a comprehensive presentation of the arguments used by the United States to promote the war in Iraq.

Italian foreign policy

Gli aiuti allo sviluppo nelle relazioni internazionali del secondo dopoguerra : esperienze a confronto / a cura di Luciano Tosi e Lorella Tosone. - Padova : CEDAM, c2006. - XXXVIII, 286 p. - Ricerche e studi / Centro interuniversitario per lo studio della storia delle organizzazioni internazionali e dei processi e movimenti di cooperazione internazionale ; 7 ). - ISBN 88-13-26171-3

The proceedings of a conference held in Terni in May 2004 and organised by the faculty of political science of the University of Perugia, plus three other essays.

The book takes a look at the evolution of the concept of development and the development aid policies of industrialised countries by focusing on individual experiences, particularly that of Italy, to which three of the eleven chapters are devoted. The period mainly considered includes the fifties and sixties, when aid policy was first undertaken also in Italy. An interesting case of an old colonial relationship developing into multilateral cooperation on an equal footing aimed at development - defined by one of the authors as "aid upon invitation" - is Libya. The book seems to reveal that, as least since the seventies, Italy has been trying to operate autonomously with respect to the United States, building a bridge between Europe and Africa. The other experiences analysed concern the United States, Norway, Germany and the European Community.

L'Italia al palazzo di vetro : aspetti dell'azione diplomatica e della presenza italiana all'ONU / a cura di Stefano Baldi e Giuseppe Nesi. - Trento : Universit degli studi, c2005. - 122 p. - (Quaderni del dipartimento di scienze giuridiche ; 50). - ISBN 88-8443-114-X

This book is based on a series of video-seminars held in 2004 and organised by Italy's Permanent Representation at the UN in New York and the University of Trent, integrated by a few unpublished essays.

The seminars, like the subsequent book, were meant to shed light on the complex and lesser known aspects of Italy's activity at the UN, the daily work of Italian diplomatic officials in New York, the repercussions of multilateral diplomacy in general and of that of the UN in particular.

The essays analyse the activity of the Third Commission of the General Assembly as regards human rights, the peacekeeping operations undertaken by the Security Council in Africa in crisis situations, UN activity in relation to the Iraqi question, the relationship between the private sector and the UN, European harmonisation in the Security Council, the fine line between politics and law in the UN framework, that is international law in the diplomatic sphere, the new threats to international security deriving from hacktivism and cyberterrorism, the communication activities of the UN and the television channel managed and produced by the organisation.

In appendix includes useful descriptions of the most recent (2000-05) Italian publications (in Italian) on the United Nations.

L'Italia e le esportazioni delle armi / Alberto Traballesi. - Roma : Centro militare di studi strategici, 2005. - 105 p. (Paper Osservatorio strategico ; giugno 2005)

This paper originated in a research project promoted by CeMiSS (Centro Militare di Studi Strategici), Rome, in 2004 and as an extension of an essay already published in that year by the same author on the transfer of military technology and equipment in Italy. The objective is to provide an analytical description of the rules and regulations in force in Italy as concerns the export of arms and the international control regimes, the agreements and the multilateral organisations of which Italy is a part, with specific reference to the prospects for growth in Europe and the transatlantic sphere. The author's intention is to emphasise Italy's activity as regards regional and international security. The document is accompanied by a CD rom containing the main normative reference texts.

Italy and NATO expansion to the Balkans : an examination of realist theoretical frameworks / Luca Ratti. - Roma : Carocci, c2004. - 223 p . - (Studi e ricerche / Universit degli studi Roma Tre. Dipartimento di studi storici geografici antropologici ; 13). - ISBN 88-430-3312-3

Based on a PhD thesis, this essay offers two key reads: one on the characteristics and evolution of Italian foreign and security policy and another evaluating the existing theoretical paradigms - particularly the realist paradigm - applied to the case of Italy.

After an ample survey of the theoretical perspectives and the internationalist studies in Italy, the essay develops along three main lines: the first demonstrates that application of the realist theory is necessary and sufficient to understanding Italian politics when structural pressures are strong; the second demonstrates that it is necessary but not sufficient when structural pressures are weak; the third demonstrates that it is clearly insufficient when structural constraints collapse or are radically changed. The study was carried out on primary (above all, archive documents and interviews) and secondary sources. The text is divided into five sections: after the initial theoretical introduction, the second section studies Italian foreign and security policy during the Cold War; the third analyses the European and Italian scenarios after the fall of the Iron Curtain; the fourth section focuses on NATO's expansion and the relative role of Italy; the fifth and final section contains the conclusions. Underlying everything is an assessment of the congruence of the realist theory with the objectives of the study. The conclusions show, on the one hand, both the continuity and the developments in Italian policy at the regional level and, on the other, the need for variants of the realist paradigm - neo-classic or defensive realism - to understand Italy's foreign policy in the post-Cold War period.