Alla vigilia della settimana che molti pensavano decisiva per la conclusione dei negoziati commerciali tra Stati Uniti e Cina, il presidente americano Donald Trump ha deciso di sorprendere tutti con un colpo di scena: via Twitter, ha annunciato l’innalzamento dei dazi dal 10% al 25% su 200 miliardi di dollari in vigore da venerdì 10 maggio.
Oman in the not-too-distant past could be described as a nation searching for a viable state, whereas now it is more a state seeking to deepen the nation. Among the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Oman stands alone in enjoying an ancient feeling of nation. The national identity of the smaller states is in large part a creation of the last few decades while Saudi Arabia is a collection of disparate regional identities cobbled together over the course of less than a century.
The concept of khaleeji identity, also referred to sometimes as Gulf identity or identity of the Eastern Arabia, is characterized by its fluidity and is by no means a univocally recognized one.
In recent years, the display of military symbols, through parades, public speeches and clothing, has become a salient feature of National Day celebrations in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This dimension of national holidays tells much about social and cultural transformations in these countries: through these displays, rulers are promoting some sort of militarized nationalism among citizens to enhance social cohesion, thus intertwining military strength with shared identity and patriotism.
When it comes to nation-building strategies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the role of religion, and particularly of sectarian differences, is difficult to ignore. In the below, we explore the ways in which Bahrain and Kuwait, two states with sizable Shiʾi populations and relatively active legislatures, formulate national narratives around these sectarian differences.
The outbreak of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis on 5th June 2017 led to dramatic polarization between United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus Egypt and, on the other hand, Qatar, due to Doha’s alternative foreign policy supporting Muslim Brothers’ political ideology, especially during the Arab spring revolts. On the other side of the GCC, Kuwait tries to multiply its mediator efforts and Oman has strengthened its commercial relations with Qatar to avoid its isolation.
The Gulf monarchies have been experiencing deep economic, social and generational changes; at the same time, open rivalries and subtle competitions are undermining the Arab Gulf (khaleeji) identity as a shared value. National history museums, art exhibitions, traditional festivals and military symbols are increasingly adopted by the governments as top-down tools of nation-building. What are the strategies to instil national awareness, and in which direction? How are concepts like citizenship, nationhood and belonging redefined in the post-oil era?
The 2019 elections coincide with an important milestone in South Africa’s history: it is also the 25th anniversary of the country’s first ever democratically-held elections. The country is approaching these elections in the wake of some shocking reports of state corruption and graft reaching to the highest offices of leadership. Continuing high levels of poverty and unemployment, skewed development, lack of progress on transformation and stagnant growth have all dampened enthusiasm for the upcoming polls.
South Africa will hold its sixth elections since its transition to democracy 25 years ago. The elections take on added significance in the corrosive aftermath of nine years under former president Jacob Zuma. This period undermined the embryonic foundations of constitutional rule through a destructive “state capture” project, with widespread systemic corruption, fraud, and abuse of power as the main manifestations.