18
Oct

US President Donald Trump just made the first step to dismantle a deal that took more than four years to negotiate, from the first overtures made by the Obama administration to Iran in 2011 to the final signing of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.
Trump is seeking to undo the diplomatic legacy of the previous administration, arguing that the Iran nuclear deal failed to prevent the development of Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and end its support for terrorism.

Trump ostensibly wants a grand bargain that will cover all of these issues. The irony is that in the past such a grand bargain was put on the table and rejected. Iran itself proposed it in 2003, and it was Trump’s Republican predecessor, George W Bush, that failed to pursue it. That failure led to Iran waging a low-intensity proxy war against the US in Iraq.
Just as Iran had options then to communicate its displeasure when the US failed to engage with it, so it has now. And all of them would lead to more instability in Iraq and the region as a whole. Read more…

By Ibrahim Al-Marashi
Published on Oct. 14, in http://www.aljazeera.com

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is Associate Professor of Middle East History at California State University San Marcos. His publications include Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History, The Modern History of Iraq, and the forthcoming, A Concise History of the Middle East, and a regular contributor for Al-Jazeera English and TRT World.

5
Oct

MIR 2017 Opening ceremony

Written on October 5, 2017 by Waya Quiviger in Master in International Relations (MIR)

Oct. 3rd, 2017

By Alejandro Erquicia, MIR 2017/2018 Student

The tenth intake of the Master in International Relations (MIR) gathered the first week of October for the inauguration of the 2017-2018 class at the Aula Magna of IE’s University Madrid campus. Manuel Muñiz, Dean of the School of International Relations, greeted all 35 students from around the world by signaling that we are surrounded by major challenges and living in times of deep instability. “Given such a global context, including Brexit, North Korea, China’s transformation and the continuous rise of populisms, among others, we need to ask how we solve these issues,” he said as he welcomed arriving students. “The world is growing faster than ever by many metrics, be it population, GDP growth or calorie intake by head and we need professionals to address the impact of change.” Clearly the timing and place could not be better to kick start the MIR and walk into the academia world aware of the fact that we have a role to play in these and many other issues that are at the forefront of international relations today.

The Dean set the tone for what will be a year in which we will deep dive into many areas, topics, regions within the International Relations discipline. A discipline, as he remarked, that is moving quickly and in which the governance implications on a national and international level will be very big. The class was seated in the Aula Magna and had a special visit by IE University’s President, and President of the IE Foundation, Diego del Alcázar. The room was charged with excitement and curiosity from all incoming MIR students ranging from 19 different nationalities, many of whom are bi-nationals and have developed an entrepreneurial experience. Waya Quiviger, Executive Director of the MIR, spoke about what are some differentiators of the MIR, such as that it’s a program that lies at the intersection of the public, private and non-profit sectors, that it is a complete program with a strong focus on theory and practice and that we will benefit without a doubt from the close ties between the different schools at IE, including the world renown business school. Of those graduating from graduate international relations programs offered by members of the Association of Professional Schools of International Relations (APSIA), including IE’s MIR, around 35% go on to work in the public sector, 30% in the private sector, 30% in NGOs and 5% elsewhere. Read more…

26
Sep

What does the war in Syria have in common with the stand-off in North Korea? All the leaders involved in the conflict use missiles as a diplomatic tool to boast of their country’s strength, and to send political messages.

In a speech before the United Nations on Tuesday, President Trump branded North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “rocket man,” borrowing a term from an John Elton song.

However, Trump, is also a rocket man. So is Vladimir Putin. They all use “rockets,” or more specifically cruise and ballistic missiles to send political message to their rival “rocket men.”

Within the span of three months, from April 2017 to June 2017, the US, Iran, and Russia have all lobbed missiles over the skies of Syria, not for tactical military reasons, but to send symbolic political messages to their rivals, a form of “missile diplomacy”. Read more…

Published on Sept. 22nd, 2017 in http://www.trtworld.com

Ibrahim Al Marashi

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

5
Sep

Kuwait, a small country in the Persian Gulf, holds the sixth spot on the global GDP per capita ranking, with an average per capita income of over US$ 69,000 in 2015, adjusted at the purchasing power parity. At the same time, it ranked only 34th in the World Economic Forum’s 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).

New Zealand, another relatively small country both in size and population, has a per capita wealth which is roughly only half that of Kuwait — a little over US$ 34,000 at the purchasing power parity, 35th place in the world. Nonetheless, New Zealand scored visibly higher in competitiveness, ranking 16th in the GCI.

Clearly, the two economies and their structures are not directly comparable. Kuwait’s heavy dependence on natural resource revenues (over 90 per cent of exports) provide for such a lush per capita value, while New Zealand’s GDP is stimulated primarily by services that dominate the local economy, at over 69 per cent. Competitiveness, both as a notion and an index, arguably transcends countries’ idiosyncrasies in relation to their economies’ compositions. Competitiveness is ultimately reliant on a set of universal and comparable parameters. Therefore, a logical question arises: why does this mismatch and others of similar nature happen?

Our tradition of measuring and understanding development and related components such as competitiveness has been dominated by the economic agenda. Conventionally, GDP and its derivatives have been employed to describe and substantiate changes in development. Often, they have revealed clear and important trends that can be useful when approaching policy implementation. For example, the World Economic Forum highlights that GDP per capita is highly correlated with GCI in large cross-county comparison.

Our own analysis has confirmed that GDP explains 69 per cent of the variation in GCI scores across 146 countries when both indexes are taken as averages for three years from 2014 to 2016 and an exponential model is used. At the same time, however, and exemplified by the above comparison between New Zealand and Kuwait, GDP per capita might not necessarily capture the full complexity of the nature of competitiveness at the macro level. Read more…

Published on Sept. 1st in https://www.weforum.org
Mark Esposito

Fellow, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Artem Altukhov, MIR Alumnus 2017

Alejandro Pereda Shulguin, MIR Alumnus 2017

30
Aug

The peaceful co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Spain might be more harmonious right now than at any other time in its history. That could be, in fact, what Daesh is targeting.

The attacks in Barcelona on August 17, 2017, conducted by terrorists pledging their allegiance to Daesh, demonstrate that despite the loss of the Islamic State’s spiritual capital Mosul over the summer, its ideology still inspires violence.

The attacks also fit a wider pattern this summer of urban terrorism having returned to Europe this summer and over the last one year. However, unlike the attacks in the UK earlier this summer, the attacks in Spain have invariably evoked the nation’s Islamic history by the media, analysts, and terrorist themselves.

Whether it was the 2004 bombing of commuter trains in Madrid or these vehicular attacks in Spain’s Catalonia region in 2017, the terrorists legitimize their violence by invoking the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula from 711 to 1492.

The symbolism of catalonia’s Islamic history

When reading about the vehicular attack on Barcelona’s pedestrian boulevard, Las Ramblas, I could not help but to analyze how a Spanish-Muslim terrorist was attacking part of Spain’s Muslim past. Barcelona was never under Muslim rule, although it was sacked by Muslim general al-Mansur in 985. Nonetheless, its most iconic thoroughfare, Las Ramblas comes from the Arabic word “raml” for “sand.” Las Ramblas was a wadi, a dry river bed. Read more…

Written on Aug. 30th, 2017 by Ibrahim-Al Marashi in http://www.trtworld.com
Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

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