23

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Religion and the EU's external policies: Increasing engagement

15-12-2017

Since 11 September 2001, the European Union has been increasingly confronted by religious crises in a world in which globalisation is reshaping religious demography. In parallel with similar developments in the Member States and the United States, the EU has developed instruments to give greater consideration to religious trends when addressing human rights concerns and engaging key partner countries. Faith-based organisations are playing a pivotal role in a number of new fields, including climate ...

Since 11 September 2001, the European Union has been increasingly confronted by religious crises in a world in which globalisation is reshaping religious demography. In parallel with similar developments in the Member States and the United States, the EU has developed instruments to give greater consideration to religious trends when addressing human rights concerns and engaging key partner countries. Faith-based organisations are playing a pivotal role in a number of new fields, including climate change, development, and conflict resolution, and the EU is taking them increasingly into account. In addition, religion plays an important role in the internal and external policies of some key EU partners, as this study shows in annexes. That is why this field is slowly emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. The annexes in this paper, concerning individual countries, were drafted by Naja Bentzen, Gisela Grieger, Beatrix Immenkamp, Elena Lazarou, Velina Lilyanova, Martin Russell, Alexandra Friede and Jessica Park.

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

11-12-2017

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely ...

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely condemned as a violation of international law and a political provocation. However, it leaves open the possibility to address the status of the city as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Workshop: Sectarianism in the Middle East

14-07-2017

Sectarian conflict and polarisation has become a key feature of Middle East politics in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. This workshop looked at some of the key drivers of this, such as the troubled legacy of foreign intervention, state failure, regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, ruling strategies of authoritarian regimes as well as the spread of identity and sect-based political movements. With in-depth analysis of the two key arenas of sectarian conflict in the ...

Sectarian conflict and polarisation has become a key feature of Middle East politics in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. This workshop looked at some of the key drivers of this, such as the troubled legacy of foreign intervention, state failure, regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, ruling strategies of authoritarian regimes as well as the spread of identity and sect-based political movements. With in-depth analysis of the two key arenas of sectarian conflict in the contemporary Middle East, Syria and Iraq, and a paper on the consequences of state collapse, this publication looks also tries to make recommendations how the EU could help reduce sectarian tensions.

Autore esterno

Dr Toby MATTHIESEN, St Antony's College, Oxford University, Dr Simon MABON, Lancaster University ; Dr Renad MANSOUR, Chatham House, Dr Raphael LEFÈVRE, Oxford University

ISIL/Da'esh: From Mosul to Mosul

13-07-2017

In June 2014, ISIL/Da'esh took over the city of Mosul in Iraq, and from there declared the advent of an Islamic State. Three years later, in July 2017, after nine months of battle involving Iraqi security forces, popular militias and Kurdish troops, ISIL/Da'esh has been expelled from its Iraqi stronghold, adding to the past two years' severe territorial losses. This is an important victory; however, it does not yet represent the eradication of a terrorist group that still has many supporters.

In June 2014, ISIL/Da'esh took over the city of Mosul in Iraq, and from there declared the advent of an Islamic State. Three years later, in July 2017, after nine months of battle involving Iraqi security forces, popular militias and Kurdish troops, ISIL/Da'esh has been expelled from its Iraqi stronghold, adding to the past two years' severe territorial losses. This is an important victory; however, it does not yet represent the eradication of a terrorist group that still has many supporters.

Indonesia: Security threats to a stable democracy

24-10-2016

Indonesia is a stable country which has undergone a successful transition to civilian democracy. However, there are still concerns about the military's continuing strong influence. There are also a number of internal and external threats to stability, although these remain fairly low-level, for now.

Indonesia is a stable country which has undergone a successful transition to civilian democracy. However, there are still concerns about the military's continuing strong influence. There are also a number of internal and external threats to stability, although these remain fairly low-level, for now.

The Conflict in Yemen: Latest Developments

24-10-2016

The Yemen conflict has deteriorated since 2015 despite repeated rounds of peace negotiations. The most recent round of UN-led Talks ended in August 2016 with no agreement. The conflict is in danger of escalating beyond Yemen’s borders with frequent Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia, foreign ships being targeted by missiles from Houthi-controlled areas near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait – a major international trade route – and Saudi Arabia and Iran siding with opposite sides in the conflict. The latest ...

The Yemen conflict has deteriorated since 2015 despite repeated rounds of peace negotiations. The most recent round of UN-led Talks ended in August 2016 with no agreement. The conflict is in danger of escalating beyond Yemen’s borders with frequent Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia, foreign ships being targeted by missiles from Houthi-controlled areas near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait – a major international trade route – and Saudi Arabia and Iran siding with opposite sides in the conflict. The latest 72-hour cease-fire starting 20 October was not renewed when it ended on 22 October. The cease-fire did, however, allow humanitarian aid agencies to step in to start to provide assistance to some of the 21.2 million people across the country who are in need of humanitarian aid. UN OCHA has estimated it needs USD 1.63 billion for its Yemen humanitarian response plan, but it has only received pledges for 47 % of that amount so far. The EU has recently announced a further EUR 40 million for the fund, taking the total EU pledge to EUR 120 million. The European Parliament has called for an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for the majority of the destruction of civilian infrastructure.

Countering extremism in Arab countries

11-05-2016

Terrorist attacks in Sousse, Tunis, Beirut and the Sinai clearly show that hardly any country in the Arab world is immune to the threat posed by jihadi terrorism. Despite their different political agendas, countries in the region have been taking unprecedented steps to identify local factors in radicalisation and recruitment to violent extremism, and to prevent and counter these processes.

Terrorist attacks in Sousse, Tunis, Beirut and the Sinai clearly show that hardly any country in the Arab world is immune to the threat posed by jihadi terrorism. Despite their different political agendas, countries in the region have been taking unprecedented steps to identify local factors in radicalisation and recruitment to violent extremism, and to prevent and counter these processes.

Human rights in Nigeria

09-03-2016

Despite its democratic progress, Nigeria's human rights situation remains problematic. The most egregious violations occur in the context of the internal fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. Other widespread patterns of human rights violations relate mainly to weak rule of law and an intricate legal system, impunity of security forces, and discriminatory social practices.

Despite its democratic progress, Nigeria's human rights situation remains problematic. The most egregious violations occur in the context of the internal fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. Other widespread patterns of human rights violations relate mainly to weak rule of law and an intricate legal system, impunity of security forces, and discriminatory social practices.

Understanding the branches of Islam: Sunni Islam

15-02-2016

All Muslims share certain fundamental beliefs and practices. Nonetheless, over time, leadership disputes within the Muslim community have resulted in the formation of different branches, leading to the development of distinct religious identities within Islam. Sunni Islam is by far the largest branch of Islam: its followers make up 87 to 90% of the global Muslim population. The name 'Sunni Islam' derives from the term ahl al-sunna wa-l-jama'a ('people of the prophetic tradition and the community ...

All Muslims share certain fundamental beliefs and practices. Nonetheless, over time, leadership disputes within the Muslim community have resulted in the formation of different branches, leading to the development of distinct religious identities within Islam. Sunni Islam is by far the largest branch of Islam: its followers make up 87 to 90% of the global Muslim population. The name 'Sunni Islam' derives from the term ahl al-sunna wa-l-jama'a ('people of the prophetic tradition and the community'). Sunni Islam claims to represent the Muslim consensus concerning the teachings and habits of the Prophet. It originated among those Muslims who, contrary to Shiites and Khawarij, denied that Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, had been chosen as Muhammad's only legitimate successor. In contrast to Shiite Islam, where disagreement over the legitimate leader led to further splits into several sub-branches, Sunni Islam avoided fundamental divisions, allowing, instead, for 'pluralism within a unitary system'. This briefing offers a short overview over the distinctive features of Sunni Islam, its main institutions and holy places and the main trends in Sunni Islam today. This paper may be read together with other EPRS publications entitled Understanding the branches of Islam (September 2015) and Understanding the branches of Islam: Shia Islam (January 2016), as well as Understanding Sharia (May 2015) and Relations between Islam and the State (June 2015).

Nigeria: Security situation

28-01-2016

As a security actor, Nigeria provides a contrasting picture. While the country has asserted its role as a major security player in western Africa and on the African continent, where it has taken part in numerous peace operations; at home, its security forces have had difficulty tackling multiple internal security threats, including terrorism, sectarian conflicts and local insurgencies.

As a security actor, Nigeria provides a contrasting picture. While the country has asserted its role as a major security player in western Africa and on the African continent, where it has taken part in numerous peace operations; at home, its security forces have had difficulty tackling multiple internal security threats, including terrorism, sectarian conflicts and local insurgencies.

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