Home > Roundup > Roundup of Analysis: Oil, food, authoritarianism, and minorities

Roundup of Analysis: Oil, food, authoritarianism, and minorities

Heydemann: Upgrading Arab Authoritarianism. In recent years, a new model of authoritarian governance has emerged in a number of key Arab states. A product more of trial and error more than intentional design, Arab regimes have adapted to pressures for political change by developing strategies to contain and manage demands to democratize. They have expanded political spaces—electoral arenas in particular—where controlled forms of political contestation can occur. They have also tempered their opposition to Islamist political participation. In some instances, notably Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, Islamist representatives have secured meaningful representation in parliament. (Steven Heydemann, Abu Aardvark)

An Analysis on the Baluchi Minority. The Baluchi minority in southwestern Pakistan and southeastern Iran is increasingly marginalized, discriminated against by the state, and suffers from limited access to the benefits of citizenship, according to political observers and human rights groups. Although the 6 million-8 million ethnic Baluchis in both countries live in a strategic location atop untapped hydrocarbon and mineral deposits and possible trade routes, it looks unlikely that their grim conditions will improve soon. A report released on October 22 by the International Crisis Group argues that only free and fair elections are likely to encourage Baluchi participation in Pakistani politics. The Brussels-based think tank predicts that in the absence of political reconciliation, violence will continue unabated between Pakistan’s military and Baluchi nationalist militants demanding political and economic autonomy. (Abubakar Siddique, Turkish Weekly)

The Connection Between Food Supply and Energy: What Is the Role of Oil Price? I became fascinated with the connection between our food supply and energy when I first learned of the problems that North Korea was having feeding itself. (see here). This data showed me something amazing about modern society, we don’t live in the information age, we don’t live in the industrial age, we live in the agricultural age. Without food, we have no industry or information. Unfortunately many don’t understand this. Nor do they understand that today the modern farming system is merely a means to turn petroleum into food, via mechanized planting and harvesting, and the use of petroleum based insecticides and fertilizers which consume huge amounts of energy in their manufacture. (Glenn Morton, The Oil Drum)

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