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  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: In August, the exchange rate of national currency of Azerbaijan-“Manat” beat all historical records. That is to say, the exchange rate was 1 USD= 1.61 Manat in previous month . It should be noted that, the exchange rate hit 1 USD= 1.6 Manat in March, 2016. Since the second half of 2014, due to the fall of oil prices in the world markets there is a visible pressure on the national currency ‘Manat’. Overall, the Azerbaijani “Manat” lost 49.6% of its value in 2015 and in addition, a depreciation of more than 3% in the first 8 months of 2016, the losses could reach 52.2%. Although the occurring rapid dollarization and the observed stagnation in the business environment especially in imports in the first months of 2015 and 2016 resulted in short-term reduction in foreign exchange demand in the March-May period of this year and strengthening the exchange rate of USD/Manat at the level of 1.49, the process of depreciation proceeded again afterwards.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Finance
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Cristina Juan Carrion, Leman Orujova
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The trade relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union are a substantial part of enhancing economic and political relations among both parties. Recent years have been characterized by an expansion of the trade volume between two parties; the EU turned out to be Azerbaijan’s biggest trade partner, in terms of both imports and exports. Moreover, trade in services and foreign direct investment relations were also on rise. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is one of the main energy suppliers of the European Union among European Neighborhood countries and is a key partner to guarantee energy security.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Cristina Juan Carrion
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: During the course of 2015 Azerbaijan suffered the impact of two devaluations of the national currency, Azerbaijani Manat (AZN), due to the decrease of the world oil prices. Given that oil and natural gas accounts for more than 90% of Azerbaijani exports, continued low world oil prices had a critical negative impact on the Azerbaijani economy. The current situation has led Azerbaijan to establish new priorities that could help restructure the financial system at this critical moment. The drastic change in the economic outlook of the country has created the need to open a wider window to the European Union (EU) in order to overcome the current economic downturn.
  • Topic: Finance, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Bart Hilhorst
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Ongoing expansions of hydro-infrastructure in the Nile basin, combined with infrastructure completed in the past decade, are increasing the capacity to regulate the Nile as well as the benefits accrued to the Nile waters. No longer reliant on funding from the World Bank and Western donors alone, Nile water development is accelerating in a number of upstream riparian states. Hence, the river Nile upstream of the Aswan High Dam is gradually being transformed from a natural to a regulated river. Hydro-infrastructure projects represent a strong driver for issue-based cooperation among the most affected riparians, but it is noted that the basin- wide perspective is not considered in these ad hoc arrangements. This paper describes the emerging cooperative regime in the Nile basin and analyzes its effectiveness. It presents an inventory of where cooperation among Nile riparians is needed, and discusses the required level of cooperation. It looks at the benefits of cooperation that are not related to a specific geographic area. The paper then identifies four distinct sub-basins that have substantial autonomy in managing their water resources. It concludes that the emerging cooperative setup is logical and for now quite effective, and does not lock in arrangements that may prove inconsistent—at a later point in time—with the overall objective of reasonable and equitable use of the Nile waters by each riparian state. Hence, the emerging cooperative regime arguably represents a positive step in the evolution from a basin without cooperation to a basin managed to optimize the use of the Nile waters for the benefit of its people.
  • Topic: Environment, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Ivo Daalder, Michèle Flournoy, John Herbst, Jan Lodal, Steve Pifer
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: This report is the result of collaboration among scholars and former practitioners from the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, the Center for a New American Security, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It is informed by and reflects mid-January discussions with senior NATO and US officials in Brussels and senior Ukrainian civilian and military officials in Kyiv and at the Ukrainian “anti-terror operation” headquarters in Kramatorsk. The report outlines the background to the crisis over Ukraine, describes why the United States and NATO need to engage more actively and urgently, summarizes what the authors heard in discussions at NATO and in Ukraine, and offers specific recommendations for steps that Washington and NATO should take to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and thereby enhance its ability to deter further Russian aggression.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Ukraine
  • Author: Manata Hashemi
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Disproportionate levels of youth unemployment and economic marginalization in the Middle East have prompted many regional observers to conclude that socioeconomically disadvantaged Middle Eastern youth are more prone to radicalization and thereby constitute a threat to national and international security. The general consensus in these accounts is that low levels of occupational opportunities leave poor youth more disposed to frustration and fatalism, which in turn are strongly linked to radical politics. Alternatively, scholars in the language of rational choice argue that these young people engage in a deliberate calculation of means and ends in order to attain the power and wealth necessary for upward mobility. These scholars posit poor youth as rational, autonomous agents whose goals are defined by individual interests and preferences. However, these respective theories are unable to account for 1) the absence of political radicalism among poor youth in many countries of the Middle East, and 2) the presence of seemingly irrational acts among these youth that neither maximize self-interest, nor necessarily reflect individual preferences. Given the shortcomings of each of these prevailing theories, this paper, instead, synthesizes these two approaches and assesses the social conduct of poor youth in the Middle East from the perspective of aspirations-bounded rationality. From this vantage point, the behaviors of poor youth are not determined by individual economic interests or by pure emotion, but by aspirations. This paper proposes that these youth struggle and create strategies to improve their lives that are conditioned by experience and observation of those who inform their social worlds.
  • Topic: Youth Culture, Employment
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dina Smeltz
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: As talks over the future of Iran’s nuclear program enter a critical stage, the 2014 Chicago Council Survey reveals that the American negotiators come to the table backed by the US public: majorities of Americans favor the interim agreement and support a diplomatic approach, but they are prepared to use military force if necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Author: Dina Smeltz
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The 69‎th session of UN General Assembly is being held against the backdrop of international crises that include the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, ISIS military gains in Iraq and Syria, and continuing negotiations with Iran. According to the recently released 2014 Chicago Council Survey of American opinion on foreign policy, majorities are confident in the UN’s ability to carry out humanitarian efforts and peacekeeping. They are more skeptical, however, of the UN’s effectiveness when it comes to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, resolving international conflicts, and sanctioning countries that violate international law.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura, Liz Deadrick
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: As President Obama prepares to address the nation tomorrow night regarding the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Chicago Council Survey results from May 2014 show that the Americans remain concerned about the threat of international terrorism, though less intensely now than in the past. Still, combating terrorism remains a top foreign policy goal for the US public, and one of the few situations where majorities of Americans say they are willing to support the use of US troops. That support is reflected in recent polls from CNN/ORC International and ABC News/Washington Post, which find majorities of Americans in favor of conducting airstrikes against ISIS.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Fred H. Lawson
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: By the autumn of 2013, the Middle Eastern regional security complex (RSC) had taken on a new configuration, which was substantially different from—and much more explosive than—the one that existed prior to the large-scale popular uprisings that broke out across the Arab world in the winter of 2010-11. Foreign policies adopted between 2000 and 2010 by the Ba‘thi regime in Damascus, the leaderships of Hizbullah and HAMAS, and the Israeli government to parry overlapping internal and external threats created an unprecedented patchwork of strategic rivalries and alignments. Large-scale popular unrest in Iraq and Egypt in early 2011, along with the outbreak of full-scale civil war in Syria later that same year, generated an even more intricate web of interstate security dynamics. The reconfigured RSC that emerged out of the “Winter of Arab Discontent” is only beginning to be explicated, and can best be addressed by tracing the connection between domestic political conflicts and shifts in external belligerence and alignment across the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria