Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

RAND, Cold Warriors and the Failure of ‘Rational Choice Philosophy’ – NYTimes.com   Leave a comment

You may have to read the complete article several times to understand the full impact of its tenets . Rational choice  theory and rational choice philosophy , its origins and manifestations  can help us to discern elements in the approach that our Governments and Countries are making in economic and societal governance fronts….even the thrust for democracy in the ” Arab Spring ” Middle East.

 

“But the real significance of rational choice philosophy lay in ethics. Rational choice theory, being a branch of economics, does not question people’s preferences; it simply studies how they seek to maximize them. Rational choice philosophy seems to maintain this ethical neutrality (see Hans Reichenbach’s 1951 “The Rise of Scientific Philosophy,” an unwitting masterpiece of the genre); but it does not. Whatever my preferences are, I have a better chance of realizing them if I possess wealth and power. Rational choice philosophy thus promulgates a clear and compelling moral imperative: increase your wealth and power!

Today, institutions which help individuals do that (corporations, lobbyists) are flourishing; the others (public hospitals, schools) are basically left to rot. Business and law schools prosper; philosophy departments are threatened with closure.”

via RAND, Cold Warriors and the Failure of ‘Rational Choice Philosophy’ – NYTimes.com.

Posted June 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East, Philosophy, Society

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Joint Efforts to Map Water Levels Across Arab Countries   Leave a comment

“Water supplies have a major impact on agriculture and the environment. A steady water supply is also essential for city life. Cities are growing in size and population throughout the region.   And, because of climate change, experts predict an increasingly dry future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that rainfall in many parts of the region will decrease by over 20% during the next century.

And as water resources dry up, competition for it will get more intense. With the satellite data, working across borders, regional leaders will be able to work from the same information, enhancing cooperation and efficiency. Cooperation in tackling  some of the area’s water issues is essential.”

The ever increasing scarcity and distortion of water resources requires monitoring and cooperation  of the use of the resource. Read on….
via Joint Efforts to Map Water Levels Across Arab Countries.


Posted June 14, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East, Water

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Arab Spring has not run its course, expert says – The National   Leave a comment

 

 

“ABU DHABI // A leading expert on civil society has warned the Arab Spring has not finished, with elections in Oman in October a potential flashpoint that could trigger fresh protests.

At a conference in Abu Dhabi on the role of the media in Arab societies, Khalid al Safi al Haribi, the managing director of the Omani think tank Tawasul, predicted further demonstrations before the end of the year.”

via Arab Spring has not run its course, expert says – The National.

Do read the complete piece. Events elsewhere are so quick to fall off the mainstream media screen…we are all on ” One Blue Marble” and so this does affect us all.

Posted June 14, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East

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BBC News – Middle East protests: Country by country   Leave a comment

Good overview tool from the BBC :

Following the fall of the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, unrest has been spreading throughout the region. Could a domino effect sweep more leaders from power?

via BBC News – Middle East protests: Country by country.

Posted June 12, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East

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PIPES: The emptying of Yemen – Washington Times   Leave a comment

“For the first time in its exceedingly long history, Yemen now threatens the outside world. It does so in two principal ways.

First, even before the current political upheaval began there on Jan. 15, violence out of Yemen already impinged on Westerners. As President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s weak government controlled only a small part of the country, violence had emerged both near to Yemen, such as attacks on American and French ships, and distant from it, like Anwar al-Awlaki’s incitement to terrorism in Texas, Michigan and New York. With Mr. Saleh’s apparent abdication on June 4, when he traveled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, the central government’s writ will further diminish, leading to yet more attacks being planned inside Yemen for execution outside the country.

But it’s the second danger that staggers my mind: An unprecedented emptying out of Yemen, with millions of unskilled and uninvited refugees, first in the Middle East, then in the West – many of them Islamist – demanding economic asylum.

The problem begins with an increasingly cataclysmic water shortfall. Gerhard Lichtenthaeler, a specialist on this topic, wrote in 2010 how in many of the country’s mountainous areas, available drinking water – usually drawn from a spring or a cistern – is down to less than one quart per person per day. Its aquifers are being mined at such a rate that groundwater levels have been falling by 10 to 20 feet annually, threatening agriculture and leaving major cities without adequate safe drinking water. Sanaa could be the first capital city in the world to run dry.

And not just Sanaa: As a London Times headline put it, Yemen “could become first nation to run out of water.” Nothing this extreme has happened in modern times, although similar patterns of drought have developed in Syria and Iraq.”

 

via PIPES: The emptying of Yemen – Washington Times.

Yemen…. economic and water constraints. One key to geopolitical movement in this Middle Eastern country. 

Posted June 11, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East

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The Future of Women Leaders in the Middle East   Leave a comment

When Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi stepped into a role as head of IT strategy for transport services company Dubai Ports World, she was an anomaly in many ways. She was an engineer working on a complex, technical initiative that required a great deal of interaction with the members of the C-suite; a local from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) working with a large number of expatriates; and a female executive in the male-dominated maritime industry. “I was the first senior woman coming on board, and it was a tough challenge,” she says. “I would have to explain to executives how I was going to deliver, and there was always a question: ‘How much can I rely on you?’”

Pictured above L to R: Muna AbuSulayman, Haifa Jamal AlLail, Sheikha Hanadi Al Thani

Photographer credits L to R: courtesy of Muna AbuSulayman; courtesy of Haifa Jamal AlLail; © Fadi Al-Assaad/REUTERS

To build the needed trust, she says, she learned the terminology of the maritime industry and learned how to present IT projects to senior executives in a way that showed the project’s value to the business. But ultimately, what really established her credibility was the delivery of an IT system that supported the day-to-day operation of the company’s ports. “For women to be accepted, they have to be trusted, and they have to be overachievers,” she says. “The bottom line is whether you can deliver dollars — or dirhams. You have to prove that it doesn’t matter, gender-wise, who sits there.”

Now the minister of foreign trade for the UAE and the most powerful woman in the Arab world, according to the Forbes 2010 list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, Al Qassimi is no longer an anomaly. She is one of a small but significant group of women who are defying expectations and making a difference in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

via The Future of Women Leaders in the Middle East.

Posted May 28, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East, Women

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