Remains of the Berlin Wall, Germany

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Editor’s Reflection: A Grand Historic Loop? Reading the Cold War as the Present

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s epigram that the ‘more things change, the more they stay the same,’ has underscored the logic of international political life throughout the ages. That people have been duped by their leaders and each other, that the promise of international progress is eclipsed by the realities of runaway nationalisms and exclusion and that petty differences are exaggerated to insurmountable levels has formed a main artery in the metanarrative of civilisation despite long periods…

Beautiful illumination and decoration on 17 December, 2013 on the occasion of Bahrain 42nd National Day at Muharraq, Bahrain

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

The “Who” and the “Why” of the Plotted New Year’s Eve Massacre in Bahrain

Through the combination of solid intelligence and good luck, Bahrain’s security services prevented a New Year’s massacre and disrupted a human and arms smuggling network that ferried known criminals out of, and weapons into, the island country. The 28 and 29 December operations have, by now, been made public and adequate evidence has been provided which clearly demonstrates that: first, the weapons caches seized in both the al Qurrayah warehouse and on-board the fast-boat near the village of…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

The Manama Dialogue and US Policy in the Arabian Gulf

From the side-lines of the 2013 Manama Dialogue, US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, sounded remarkably like Chamberlain as the latter returned from Munich, treaty in hand, and declared ‘peace in our time.’ The Islamic Republic of Iran may not be Nazi Germany, a point largely due to its lack of capabilities and not, necessarily, its intentions—not the intentions of its people, but of its near-fascist theocratic regime; a regime that brutally suppresses dissent and national minorities, claims…

Pushpin pointing location of Dublin on the map

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Dublin England

Imagine the political volcano which would erupt if David Cameron were to announce that the City of Dublin was, in fact, not legitimately part of the Republic of Ireland; that it was historically part of England and England is where it should return to. The consequences of such a statement would be, quite literally, explosive. There would, of course, be unchained anger on the streets of Dublin and throughout the Republic of Ireland. Sectarian violence would probably flare in Northern Ireland and…

BW Prague view

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Obscure in Prague

Looking out the window of my Prague 10 office, it is easy to feel obscure. Block after block of communist era flats, parks and greenery flank the deserted streets with only the faint sound of the district's traffic to pierce the silence of the day. Obscure! That is if one were to ignore the onslaught of the daily grind; administrative decisions to take, lectures to prepare and deliver and, of course, the student body to address with their seemingly endless issues and concerns. Yes, I am located…

Beggar with dog on the street of Prague, Czech Republic

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Prague, Politics and Drugs

In 2009, Czech(oslovakia) surpassed the 20 year threshold it had previously held regarding its unhindered independence. Now, independent for nearly 25 years, the Czech Republic boasts a vibrant national character and, unfortunately, runaway political ineptitude. But somehow the political problems seem not to affect the country's civil society, which carries on its daily tasks and ensures a degree of stability despite the constant political swaggering and the corruption. Think again! Some…

Azadi Monument - Tehran

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Clever Move: Rowhani Rides to Power

Hassan Rowhani is everything Mahmud Ahmadinejad was not. He is charismatic, intelligent and, importantly, politically moderate. In a seemingly surprise electoral victory, Iran has inadvertently proven what most already knew; if you give Iranians the right to vote, without manipulation or vote-rigging - which marred the 2009 polls - they will invariably choose a centrist president, as they did in 1997 when Khatami swept to power on a similar platform of liberalisation and reform. This is because…

Bahrain flag waving on the wind

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Editor’s Policy Analysis: Demographic Warfare

Introduction Spectators of the Arab Spring (in general) and Bahrain’s chapter (more specifically) tend to expend their intellectual energies attempting to depict the symptoms of spasmodic violence while simplifying, exaggerating or omitting root causes from public discourses.1 It seems that the international public prefers visualising – and reporting on – political violence; or rather violent acts carried out in the name of politics instead of the more mundane, but certainly more important,…

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh visited Mavi Marmara Ship on January 2, 2012 in Istanbul,Turkey.

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Gaza's Tangentopoli

ABSTRACT: This article examines the evolution of the al-Harakat Muqawima al-Islamiya (Hamas) movement, operating, as it were, a statelet in the Gaza Strip based on the principles of ‘Tangentopoli (bribesville).’ Hamas shifted from being on the political fringe to Palestine’s prime political resistance movement and now has come to be regarded as a trans-national criminal group. However, the process of transforming from an illegitimate “terrorist” or a legitimate “resistance” group (depending on…

Striking golden clouds and Bahrain skyline

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

al Wefaq and the Politics of Stalling

Friday's (25 January) demonstration-turned-riot in Manama is a clear reminder of the hurdles that continue to obstruct a working national dialogue to defuse political tensions in Bahrain. Every step undertaken, every concession made and every good-will gesture is greeted with renewed violence. Since ensuring public safety is the prime obligation of Bahrain's government, when violence occurs it has no option but to deploy its security forces to restore order. There is nothing exceptional about…

Czech politician and new-elected president Milos Zeman during broadcasting of politician TV discussion two days before elections, Prague, Czech republic, January 23, 2013

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Proč je Zeman špatnou volbou?

Poprvé v historii míří Češi k volebním urnám, aby si sami přímo zvolili hlavu státu. Cílem této volby je však zvolit kandidáta, který nejlépe reprezentuje a symbolizuje národ, ne vůdce jako takového. Tento prezident by měl, z principu, reflektovat smýšlení občanů, ne využívat svůj post k získávání osobní moci a politického vlivu na dění ve státě. Po tom, co byla z druhého kola diskvalifikována bezpochyby nejzajímavější skupina kandidátů, počínajíce potetovaným umělcem a konče technokratem…

Czech unsuccessful president candidate Karel Schwarzenberg during broadcasting of politician TV discussion two days before elections, Prague, Czech republic, January 23, 2013

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

The Case for Karel or Why Zeman is a Bad Choice

Available in Czech here.   For the first time in history, Czechs head to the polls in direct presidential elections. The goal, to find the candidate best set to symbolise the nation; not lead it. Reflect it, not galvanise it for personal gain. After a motley-crew of candidates – ranging from a full-body-tattooed composer to a Jewish technocrat – were disqualified in the first-round nearly a fortnight ago, a series of political energies have been infused into this final week of canvassing…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Political Symbiosis: Zuma, the ANC and the Future of South Africa

A number of years ago a South African diplomat in Prague remarked – in preparation for Africa Day 2010 – that ‘South Africa is not ready to be normal, apartheid made sure that many generations would pass before South African’s can look to the future with pride and vision.’ It is not that South African’s do not look forward to the future; they do. Rather, the more distant past, with all its humiliations and violence, has plagued the post-apartheid environment. People want to forget the brutality…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Leaving Geneva ... or What is in a Kiss?

Iranian Involvement in the So-Called Arab Spring A month ago, the mythology surrounding the past 18 months of Arab upheaval, commonly referred to as the Arab Spring, was finally shattered by an orgy of unadulterated acts of violence across much of the region, directed at the West (particularly the US), and spurred on by an amateurish film completely disassociated with the US establishment. Such violence underscored the lack of Western values the Arab Spring reflected and, when coupled with…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Editor’s Policy Analysis: NATO - From Lisbon to Chicago to Irrelevance?

Introduction In contrast to the nearly instinctive question of whether NATO is situated at a ‘cross-roads,’ it is clear from the latest round of summitry that the sixty-three year old alliance is at a definite impasse. Military and political debacles (in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, etc.) are publically sold as successes, smart-defence policies are confined to paper alone, and discord (between members) over the prudence of ‘out-ofarea’ operations, nuclear and conventional capabilities and…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

The Syrian Civil War: An Interview

Interview Questions by Emil Souleimanov (Assistant Professor, Dept of Russian & East European Studies at the Institute of International Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences,Charles University in Prague) Interview Answers by Mitchell A. Belfer(Editor in Chief, Central European Journal of International and Security Studies) Internal Dimensions in Syria Souleimanov What does the current security situation in Syria look like? Is anything known about the situation in particular places…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Reporting from – Tongue-in-Cheek – ‘Front Line’ Bahrain

For those interested in Bahrain’s domestic political situation, I am happy to report that the coast is clear, tensions have subsided and, it seems, that people have grown weary of the near-endless political bickering, the cat-and-mouse game of fireball tyres terrorising residents, 12 cm high ‘barricades,’ police responses, arrests, imprisonments, demonstrations and tidal waves of denunciations. People have mostly agreed to get back to business; that is, the business of national dialogue and…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Reflecting on Serbia’s Recent Election

With Syria’s civil war reaching fever pitch and terrorism in Europe again rearing its ugly face it is surprising that many in the international press have time, or the interest, to level sustained rhetorical attacks against Serbia’s PM, Ivica Dacic following his successful campaign in Serbian elections some two months ago. Some news agencies – such as the Huffington Post – have embarked on a character-assassination and, wrongly, depict Dacic as a devilish reincarnation of Slobodan Milosevic.…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Letter from the Editor

CEJISS Has Become A Quarterly Journal! It is a great pleasure to inform you that this year, 2012, CEJISS will begin the production of a fourth issue making it the first Quarterly international relations and security journal, in English, in Central Europe. As a result of this development our new publication schedule (as of issue 6:3, September 2012) is set at: 15 March 15 June 15 September 15 December In keeping with our ideological persuasion that the flow of information must never…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Editor’s Policy Analysis: A Blueprint For EU Energy Security

Introduction In the spirit of this special issue of CEJISS – which addresses a variety of issues and geopolitical questions – on energy security, the following analysis intends to provide insight into the EU’s energy vulnerabilities and then suggest some policy options for the EU to consider. This is because if energy security depended on maintaining control over resources, extraction tools, means of transportation and storage – the four main controls inherent in any energy security (ES)…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Bahrain’s Spoilers? Al-Wefaq’s Political Agenda

Bahrain’s 2012 F1 Grand Prix was a step towards national reconciliation at the civil society level. Shiite and Sunni, secular and foreign, people met each other in public spaces as equals. These meetings were not accidental and they were not filled with awkward silence or cold stares; they were engaging conversations, telling a different story than that of a country divided, they spoke of resolution, of moving beyond the violence of 2011. Despite, or perhaps because of, such conversations, the…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Bahrain in Context

Owing to its physical size (691 kms²), its proximity to the Persian Gulf littoral’s most aspiring actors (notably Saudi Arabia at 60 kms and Iran at 300 kms), and growing sectarianism between the Sunni and Shia’ communities, the Kingdom of Bahrain occupies an extremely vulnerable, yet strategically important, position. This has produced disproportionate levels of international and regional interest, particularly since its natural and constructed maritime infrastructure has persuaded exogenous…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Iran’s Hormuz Gambit

Iran’s December (2011) naval exercises and brash rhetoric (Admiral Habibollah Sayyari’s remarked that closing the Strait of Hormuz ‘will be easier than drinking a glass of water’) in response to new sanctions against Iran’s hydrocarbon exports, has brought policy-makers clamouring around ‘crisis tables,’ drafting contingencies as though Iranian intransigence was novel. Such fanfare for a skirmish likely to be brief and leave Iran’s image of military prowess sinking to the seabed, only…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

EDITOR´S POLICY ANALYSIS: MISMANAGING OPPORTUNITY: ISRAEL’S POLITICAL BLINDERS

Introduction Former Jewish guerrilla-turned-Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, reputedly remarked that the ‘darkest place is directly under the light.’ While the context of his observation was rooted in conducting a terrorist war of attrition against British mandate forces, the logic can be superimposed onto nearly any situation involving the game of political hide and seek. In the dynamic environment of current Middle Eastern politics it is clear that all political communities should seek…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

The Fourteenth Province: The Irano-Bahraini Conflict in Perspective

For the Czech version of this article click here. Legitimacy; traditionally manifested in types of political representation and extensions of territorial sovereignty, form the backbone of domestic and international political life. Yet processes of legitimation are not stagnant; they interact with wider political contexts. In other words, legitimacy is ever-evolving. What is less prone to alteration however is the manner in which states and political representatives defend their perceived…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Cracking Regional Riddles: Arab Instability in Perspective

Despite the self-gratifying need to describe the yet unfolding instability among the Arab states as the natural outcome of decades of dictatorial styles of governance or somehow hem them in as democratic movements which simultaneously combusted such simplifications are erroneous and leading decision-makers, in the region and beyond, to make ill-judged policy choices. From London to Jerusalem, Washington to Riyadh, Paris to Tripoli and Beijing to Tehran, it seems that the international community…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Les petits Américains: France’s Libyan Adventure

Chirac’s unmasked condescension to the signatories of the now infamous ‘letter of eight,’ was publically calculated to raise the ethical dimensions of French foreign policy as the US, UK and a coalition of the willing gathered in the Kuwaiti sands (March 2003) preparing to force Hussein from power; to fulfil a regime-change strategy. The image of Chirac and Schroeder (and Putin) slowly shaking their heads in shame at the lack of Anglo-American ethics, and their own moral superiority – ‘we would…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

New Europe, Old America, A Rebuttal to Benny Morris

Large segments of American international relations scholarship have become lost in the political quagmires presented by the post-Cold War period; after all this is a time when former ‘enemies' have been ‘rehabilitated' and become US allies, while more traditional allies attempt to shed a US yoke that has become repressive and, in many ways, repulsive. In this more nuanced international political environment many US scholars have sought comfort in what is simple rather than what is…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Is History Repeating?

2010 was an extremely challenging year for untold millions of people who experienced the full security impact of environmental disasters, ensuing militarised conflicts, food and potable water shortages, and a multitude of smaller, but no less important, issues, all of which have led to mass displacements, ethnonationalist tensions, political violence and a general trembling throughout the international community. At a time when the world (politically and geologically) seems to be going through…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

International Relations in the Public Domain

Scholars of international relations (IR), divided as they are over the contours of the discipline, bear moral responsibility to, among other things, objectively and fairly present the unfolding nature of international affairs, the types and potency of actual and potential challenges, and the means available to confront such challenges. While analyses and policy prescriptions are portrayed using a variety of theoretical tools, all international relations scholars ought to share a desire to…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Obama's Presidency and EU Security

Of the many security issues currently facing the EU, none will have such wide-reaching implications to long-term EU security, and its ability to conduct its international affairs, as Obama’s accession to President of the US. Beyond the popular hype surrounding Obama’s rise to power, it is important to envision how the new US administration views the EU – and its members – in terms of contributions to international security. On the surface, it seems that Obama is committed to maintaining the…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Politics > Economics

As CEJISS releases its fourth issue, international relations rests uncomfortably on the brink. The international atmosphere resembles a mixture of pre-WWI over-confidence among the great powers (particularly the US, Russia and China) and post-WWI global economic instability. The result of these dangerous ingredients is uncertain, though there is much to consider, especially as recent events seem to signal the return of the political over the economic. Despite current headlines indicating…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

A Czech Beacon

It is a pleasure to welcome you to CEJISS 2:1. Before turning to the editorial of this issue, I would like to take the opportunity to inform you of some recent developments concerning CEJISS. Owing to the growth in our readership and continued exposure in academic and policy circles worldwide, we have made some administrative adjustments; brought several new people into the CEJISS Administrative, Editorial and Advisory Boards, and are in the process of up-dating our webpage to continue to…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

A Nuclear Family?

In readying the content of Volume 1 Issue 2 of CEJISS, I was struck by the growing support this journal has received within many scholarly and professional quarters. Building on the success of the first issue, CEJISS has managed to extend its readership to the universities and institutions of a number of countries both in the EU and internationally. It is truly a pleasure to watch this project take on a life of its own and provide its readers with cutting-edge analysis of current political…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Editor's Note - 2010 - Volume 4, Issue 1

Europe has evolved beyond a simple geographic location; it is more than a set of institutions or a common economic area. Instead, Europe is a pervasive Idea based on notions of citizenship (re: political and social inclusion), human rights and justice, shared economic growth and prosperity and responsibility. These are not the current characteristics of Europe, they form the basis of its destination, and it is essential for those living in Europe to begin the lengthy processes of recognising…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

North Korea's Perplexing Gambit

The premeditated murder of 46 South Korean sailors aboard the Cheonan warship (26 March) has peaked tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Had the Cheonan sunk without a loss of life, perhaps the behavior of North Korea, its Machiavellian leadership and their Chinese crutch would have been shrugged off as another bizarre footnote in the history of an archaic reclusive state. However, since the sinking resulted in high casualties, it is important to explore possible motivations for the attack to…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Overcoming Obama's 'Munich Moment'

History weighs heavy in Central Europe, and many inhabitants of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland define, and compare, themselves according to the political conditions of the WWII and post-WWII periods. The burden of  history was seemingly lost on Obama as he rang Fischer - at midnight local time - to announce the end of the US missile defence project (which was meant to be housed by the Czech Republic and Poland) and with it any illusions of how the Czech Republic was seen…

2020 - Volume 14 Issue 2