Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Gaza, 2014: Where the Streets have No Names

It is a cycle. A deal sits within grasp. It literally sits on the table and awaits a nod, smile and elongated signatures. The deal is the result of a lull in violence that produces confidence and confidence generates channels of discussion and dialogue between the belligerents. Hamas may not recognise Israel, but it still speaks to it via European and Middle Eastern interlocutors. Fatah and Israel speak directly. In its turn, belligerent-to-belligerent dialogue is often the engine for…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Enriching Iranium

Iran is being rewarded for temporarily halting a fraction of its nuclear activities, while the al Quds Force, Revolutionary Guards and its Hezbollah proxy mop-up the last of the Syrian resistance and mobilise to fully bring Iraq into its sphere of influence. Nearly 35 years ago, US diplomatic staff were taken hostage by a group of young Iranian revolutionaries, which included former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The crisis, which lasted some 444 days, coupled with the failed rescue…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Editor’s Policy Analysis: Bahrain’s Political Roundabout

In February this year, to mark the third anniversary of crisis in Bahrain, the militant group the Youth of 14 February called for the occupation of the Pearl roundabout leading to the ambushing and killing of a police officer—dozens more have since been murdered and wounded in bombing attacks. Since 2011, commentators have obsessed over why violence erupted instead of why violence erupted there? So, what makes the roundabout (a.k.a the Pearl, a.k.a. the Lulu but actually the GCC roundabout) so…

Small globe on an old wooden chessboard

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Russia, Iran and the Remaking of World Order: A Reflection

The conflict spiral unfolding in Ukraine has locals biting their knuckles, pundits mobilised to sing and dance for their audiences, scholars deploying worn research to make sense of it all and the international community - largely - sitting uncomfortably in the chambers of the old world order wondering what comes next. The answer is not a return to the Cold War; that era is gone and our telecommunications tools will ensure that the opaque world of Soviet-NATO brinkmanship remains a historical…

Barack Obama on July 23 2008.Sderot is a frequent Palestinian rocket attacks target from Gaza Strip.In his visit he warned that nuclear-armed Iran will threat world security. Image ID: 143026309

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Does Obama Suffer from a Goldfinger Complex?

Reflecting on Aspects of the US’s Middle East Policy As President Obama took to the dais, scanned the anxious room and ploughed into his speech, not a whisper could be heard. Cairo’s al-Azhar University was still; the eyes of Egypt, the Middle East, the world, were transfixed on the representative, the epitome, of a changed America. Gone was the white-man’s-club of US decision-making and enter an American President who truly showed the face of American diversity. Everything was meant to be…

Pearl Monument. The Monument was erected in 1982 during the third summit of the GCC and it was demolished by Government on March 18, 2011 on clashes with protesters

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Reflecting on Escalation and Conspiracies in Bahrain

On 31 December 2013 Bahraini security forces released information about their interception of a boat laden with explosives, detonators, guns and ammunition. The weapons cache came from Iran. For the neutral observer, such an interdiction indicated the active role the Islamic Republic was playing in Bahrain’s political turbulence. And yet, despite such clear evidence, the vast majority of commentaries related to the event sought to lay responsibility at the feet of Bahrain’s government (at best)…

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…

2019 - Volume 13 Issue 1