European Union

On Settlement Trade, Europe Doesn’t Stand Tall

The transatlantic rift over the war in Iraq, and now post-war reconstruction, builds on growing European disenchantment with muscular US unilateralism. French and German opposition to the war—echoing the sentiments of a majority of the European Union's member states—highlighted seemingly growing differences between European and American attachments to international laws and conventions, underscored by recent trade disputes and wrangling over US attempts to exempt its nationals from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court. Differences between European capitals and Washington have been particularly acute as regards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Turkey and the European Union

There are three kinds of people in Turkey who most look forward to the country’s membership of the European Union. The first group, most obviously, comprises big businesses — “Istanbul” capital as opposed to small and medium domestic market-oriented Anatolian capital. The other two groups are rather less obvious, and it is their views which I want to challenge here. The second group is left/liberal opinion, ranging from social democrats and parts of some socialist organizations, to trade union leaders and activists of the various human rights organizations. The third group, broadly speaking, is the Kurdish movement.

Points of Difference, Cases for Cooperation

In discussions between American and European scholars about Western policies towards the Middle East — an issue of increasing importance for trans-Atlantic relations — Europeans are often asked to explain why their policymakers and pundits criticize US Middle East policies instead of accepting a form of burden sharing that would allow the European Union to pursue its economic interests in the Middle East and the Mediterranean while leaving political leadership to the US. After all, did the US not defend overall Western interests in the Middle East, particularly the free flow of oil? Was not the US the only power capable of brokering peace between Israel and the Arabs? [1]

No Debate

In 1990, an umbrella organization was created to promote Middle East studies in Europe. The European Association for Middle East Studies (EURAMES) has modest goals and virtually no budget. It has published a directory of Middle East scholars in Europe (with EU funds) and has initiated triennial conferences in cooperation with its member societies. [1] The foundation of EURAMES has encouraged the creation of new national associations in Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Poland. [2]

An Interview with Mark Duffield

Mark Duffield visited Croatia and Bosnia between January 9 and 22, 1994, as part of a study of complex political emergencies. Joe Stork spoke with him on January 28, 1994.

In your field report you refer to the failure to provide protection as representing a political failure of historic consequences.

Bosnia and the Future of Military Humanitarianism

Mark Duffield was in Bosnia and Croatia from January 9 to January 22, 1994 as part of a larger study of complex emergencies. The following is condensed from his “first impression” field report.

The war in former Yugoslavia has displaced over 4 million people. Nearly 3 million of these are in Bosnia, where half the population has been uprooted. From a humanitarian perspective, the war in Bosnia presents itself as the blockade and terrorization of civilian populations. While access can be negotiated, as the war has spread across central Bosnia this has become increasingly difficult. Food supplies have fallen to critical conditions.

Regionalism and Geopolitics in the Maghrib

In February 1993, the Arab Maghrib Union (AMU) marked its fourth anniversary. Despite the great hopes that were vested in this regional economic organization, it has not thrived. [1] There have been five summit meetings since the Treaty of Marrakesh was signed to great fanfare, but the heads of state have been sorely distracted by issues other than building an economic union in North Africa: the unresolved matter of Western Sahara, the Islamist movement in Algeria, the international sanctions against Libya, the pressure for democratization in Mauritania and Tunisia, even the Persian Gulf war.

“Images from Elsewhere”

“You chase colonialism out the door, it comes back through the sky,” observed the Algerian Press Service several years ago, alluding to the phenomenon of satellite broadcasting that has literally brought European television into the living rooms of North Africa. [1] More than 95 percent of urban households in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have televisions, and more than 30 percent have video decks. Parabolic antennas are sprouting like inverted mushrooms on rooftops around the southern Mediterranean (estimates for Algeria alone range between 1.3 and 2.2 million households, or 8 to 17 million viewers). [2]

Constructing Europe’s New Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall was joyfully welcomed not only by the German people but by the other peoples of the continent: With the abrupt end to the joke about Real Socialism, Europe seemed to be moving forward toward a period of freedom, directed by principles of greater tolerance, compassion and justice.

Two and a half years later, we know this was an illusion generated by the euphoria of the moment. Exclusivist nationalisms, ethnic conflicts and old religious disputes are unleashing civil wars, blind terrorism, persecution of minorities, militant racism and xenophobia. A new protective wall — without barbed wire, minefields, watchtowers and trenches, but equally effective and much more lethal — is arising around the fortress of the Twelve.

The Europe of Columbus and Bayazid

From the perspective of Sultan Bayazid II, the Ottoman ruler in Istanbul, Columbus’ expeditions may have been a distant diversion. In fact, they belonged to a set of profound changes in relations between Islamic and Christian territories on a world scale. For the 500 years before 1492, the fortunes of Europe depended heavily on Muslims — Arabs, Turks and others — who in various guises linked Europeans to the rest of the Eurasian system of trade and empire.

North Africa Faces the 1990s

The startling changes that have transformed the political landscape of Eastern Europe in 1989 may have no equivalent in the Middle East exactly, but that region has seen some remarkable developments nonetheless. The Arab versions of perestroika, or restructuring, while less profound in comparison with those of Czechoslovakia or Poland, reflect certain realignments of political forces. No regimes have toppled — yet. But from Palestine and Jordan in the Arab east (the Mashriq) to Algeria in the west (the Maghrib), a phenomenon of intifada, or uprising, is challenging the static politics of repression that have prevailed for many years.

From the Editors

Events elsewhere in the world — elections in Nicaragua, death squads in South Africa and recent decisions by the European Commission — hold much instruction for people concerned with the Middle East. Elections, after all, are not the same as democracy. After ten years of US armed intervention and economic aggression, a majority of Nicaraguans voting on February 25 chose an alternative to 10,000 percent inflation, to pervasive shortages, to the killings and sabotage of the Contras. “Sandinistas Lose the Hunger Vote” was the accurate headline in the Financial Times. The winning opposition front was cobbled together and financed by the State Department.

Arafat Goes to Strasbourg

Europe’s attitude could influence the decisions of the next Palestine National Council, Yasir Arafat told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on September 14, 1988. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairperson urged Europeans to assume their share of “international responsibility” for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The prospect of European recognition of a Palestinian state and provisional government, he said, would powerfully support Palestinian moves to abandon armed struggle for diplomacy.

The Immigrant Experience in Sweden

Mahmut Baksi was born twice. The first time, in Kozluk, a village in Turkish Kurdistan, in 1944. His left-wing and nationalist activities brought him into conflict with his landowning family and with the Turkish authorities. Mahmut chose to leave, and he sought political asylum in Sweden in 1971, where he was born the second time. The metaphor of a second birth comes from the introduction to his book of short stories, Hasan Aga, published in 1979. “I will be eight this year. I came here [to Stockholm] on May 25, 1971. This is my new birthday.

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