Ethnopolitics Papers | Volume 5 (2015)By Timofey Agarin on 17 February 2015
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 38
The Limitations of the Consociational Arrangements in Iraq
Eduardo Abu Ltaif
The political crises in Iraq following the American invasion have triggered the need to revisit the power sharing arrangements established in the constitution and practised at the level of the political system. Since Iraq is a deeply divided society, consociationalism has been the main force of political reconstruction after the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. However, the Iraqi constitution and the political system lack genuine consociational practices. The aim of this paper is to study the limitations of the consociational arrangements and offer prescriptions that may help ameliorate the challenges facing the fragile political system. The political system will be analysed within the framework of consociationalism and power sharing agreements. Two of Lijphart’s four conditions are absent in the consociational arrangements in Iraq: grand coalition and mutual veto, while two other characteristics of consociationalism, proportionality and autonomy, are strongly present but are not enough to preserve stability.
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 37
East Ukraine’s four perspectives: A Solution According to the South Tyrol Model
Despite repeated attempts of the international community and the conflicting parties to solve the East Ukraine stalemate through negotiation and agreement, the confrontation has become a frozen conflict with no clear perspective of a solution. Irrespective of the historic evaluation of the political, diplomatic and strategic backgrounds and responsibilities which will have to be undertaken later on, the separatist parts of Eastern Ukraine around Donetsk and Lugansk stand before four concrete options: 1. Forced re-integration through military intervention by Kiev’s central government; 2. Separation followed by probable association with Russia; 3. Federalization of Ukraine with strong regional states, among them an “Ethnic Russian” federal state within a Ukrainian federation at the Eastern border; 4. Wide-reaching autonomy from the central government while remaining integral part of the national Ukrainian territory. Despite its imperfection, the fourth option seems to be the least harmful and the most appropriate for an interim solution. It should therefore be carefully considered by all those involved. The concrete model to follow could be the proven territorial Autonomy of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol-Alto Adige in Northern Italy, a model protected by international agreements considered one of the most successful mechanisms of ethno-political pacification in Europe.
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 36
Insecurity through Security Sector Reform
This article contributes to the critical discourse on Security Sector Reform (SSR) by explicitly acknowledging its political dimension and implications. It considers the role of SSR in international processes of state-building, highlighting the paradox implicit in this model and its implementation on the ground using the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) as a case study, as the state-building project there has become synonymous with SSR. The limited success of SSR has largely been related to problems in the operationalisation of its holistic ambition of providing human security with dignity to target populations, and less related to the exercise of control over target populations through mobilising and monopolising the potential for violence thereby enabling the implementation of the international template for how a society should be administered and populations “protected” and “cared” for. Contrary to the way it is commonly portrayed, SSR is not a politically benign model. It is highly intrusive, and has increasingly become the dominant framework for the Great Power regulation of and intervention in non-western societies.
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 35
Salt and Socialism: A Deconstruction of Tuzla’s Political Identity in the Context of the Bosnian Conflict
The “Bosnian Uprising” in February 2014 took its spark from the North-Eastern Bosnian town of Tuzla – a traditionally left-wing city and the only municipality to have actively resisted the “ethnicisation” of politics that scattered the rest of the country during the first multi-party elections of 1990. Historically, Tuzla’s working class has been characterized with a legacy of positive inter-ethnic relations going back as far as the Austro-Hungarian period. The city’s collective memory as a (non-ethnic) unicum, together with its strong Yugoslav identity, finds its codification in the survival of a solid working-class culture. This article will show how Tuzla managed to survive ethnic fragmentation in a time of severe political turmoil. It will be argued that the city displayed considerable immunity to ethnic polarization, primarily by constructing an anti-nationalist, working class narrative around which the citizens collectivized their historical identity.
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 34
Voicing Grievances and Hope through Art: Yemen’s Youth Empower Themselves'
With a reputation for terrorism and state failure, for many Yemen is not the first place that comes to mind when speaking about a new art scene in the Middle East. Yet, in the course of the Arab uprisings, Yemen’s youth used various forms of art as a medium to voice their demands and spread messages of resilience and peace. Carving out a new space in civil society, they continue to lobby for peaceful coexistence at times of violent elite struggles and political bargaining that does not accommodate the ordinary Yemenis’ needs or the 2011 youth protesters’ demands. Although quietly, this counter-movement takes on various forms, ranging from music and theatre to photography, filming and graffiti. A key aspect in most of these zero-budget projects is the participation of the ordinary population. Murad Subay’s much-respected graffiti campaigns turned the capital Sana‘a into an open-air studio for many who might not have touched a brush or spray can ever before, but discovered the powerful voice of art as a means to express both discontent with the current situation in Yemen and hopes for the future. The media collective #SupportYemen gives a voice to neglected issues through their videos that are available to everybody inside and outside the country. Yemen’s very own TEDx events give a platform for artists to present their work and activists to spread the messages of their campaigns. This paper sheds light on these three cases of a new civic entrepreneurship in Yemen and demonstrates the inclusiveness of their working mechanisms and the emanation their work has in the country and abroad.
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 33
The Logic of the ‘Fight and Talk Cycle’ in Sri Lanka and the Final Defeat of the LTTE
This article explores the conclusion of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, arguing that the ineptitude and counterintuitive tendencies of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leadership led to an inability to convert gained advantages on the battlefield into potential advantages during peace negotiations with the Sri Lankan State between 2001 and 2006. At the same time, the transformation of LTTE-controlled areas into a quasi-autocratic state, with the absence of any political vision for sustainable peace, subjected the leadership to a loss of legitimacy both internationally and locally. This political juncture produced new opportunities for the Sinhala State to break the usual ‘fight and talk cycle’ of the conflict and defeat the LTTE by applying ruthless military tactics.
Ethnopolitics Paper No. 32
Ethnicity and Political Stability in Uganda: Are Ethnic Identities a Blessing or a Curse?
Uganda has 56 ethnic groups, the largest being the Baganda, occupying the northern shores of Lake Victoria, and the smallest are the Ik, who are found in the north-eastern corner of the country. All cities and towns of Uganda as well as state institutions are known for high levels of heterogeneity and the country’s politics has been a reflection of its ethnic plurality. However, peace, tranquillity, stability, regional economic equity and orderly transfer of political power have been elusive in Uganda. This paper addresses the role of ethnic identities in the politics of Uganda. It makes an attempt to unearth the extent to which ethnicity has ensured political stability with the view to illustrating whether ethnic identities have been a blessing or a curse. The paper is guided by the ethnic theories of primordialism and instrumentalism. Using interviews with key informants, archival information and a review of the available literature, the author concludes that ethnicity has largely been a curse in post-colonial Uganda but in the pre-colonial epoch it was a blessing.