PANEL 8: The International Politics of Middle Eastern Societies

Chair and Discussant: Dr. Nassef Manabilang Adiong (PhISO and Co-IRIS)

8.1 Decoding the Daesh: Is there Islam in the Islamic State
Haron Ar-Rashid Dima (Far Eastern University, Manila)
– Advanced undergraduate student, International Studies department
Abstract: This research therefore analyzes the truth behind the utility of history and development in the advancement of interests. It aims to probe on the existing notion of utilizing the credibility and stature of Islam (as a civilization and as religion) in the pursuit of certain motives and in the conduct of achieving them. Hence the objective of answering the question relating to the Daesh being an Islamic movement impelled to forward Islam and its belief of creating a single unit to which it can oversee and decide on the affairs of Muslims across the globe. Simply put, is the Daesh Islamic, judging from its objectives and methods of religious propagation? In the progress of this study, I use conventional Realism and Social Constructivism as the theories to guide my metaphorical analysis . The Realist Theory shall represent the objectives and interests of the militant groups and their relentless propagandas to achieve these ends. Social Constructivism shall outline how we see these militant groups in different contexts, i.e. ‘our terrorists’ and ‘their freedom fighters’ analogy. To expound, terrorism is a social construct- it varies in different perspectives. With these theories, the researcher will look into the correlation of the Daesh validation of interests and the Islamic norms as two separate entities. This will be done through the analysis of metaphors and data gathered in sources relating to the militant group, Qur’an particularly on jihad, caliphate, and the Islamic thought on politics and government. As per the theories I have cited and the objective of the research, the research hypothesis shall revolve on the assumption that Islam is made into an object of politicization and secularization to legitimize and cloak the interests of those who seek prestige, power, and gain. Persons in this wing will try to invoke verses in the Holy Qur’an to resolve the crises of doubts thrown by those who inquire. They claim to act in accordance with the Divine Law, but promote their own imposition on the weak and unable- only to achieve a goal only they have constructed for themselves.

8.2 Possibility of a Democratic Islam in Iran
Olivia G. Rosete (Far Eastern University, Manila)
– Advanced undergraduate student, International Studies department
Abstract: After the 1978-1979 Iranian Revolution that established the Islamic Republic, Iran now faces an intellectual revolution. This intellectual revolution signifies the emergence of different Iranian discourses and their respective intellectual circles. This paper focuses on two of these circles — the Reformist and Neo-Conservative Intellectual Circles—and their clashing ideologies about inserting democracy in Iran. This paper seeks to answer if there is any middle ground between the two circles by using historical comparative method and by applying constructivism in identifying the underlying motivations that constituted the said clash. This paper hypothesizes that with the institution of elections, Iran has already found a middle ground in which both circles have co-existed.

8.3 The Role of Social Media during the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt
Denson Acomular (Far Eastern University, Manila)
– Advanced undergraduate student, International Studies department
Abstract: The Arab Spring in 2011 that swept across the Middle East and North African (MENA) region had brought about a new paradigm on the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in aiding social mobilization and political protest. Moreover, this paper analyzes the potential use of such modern technologies particularly the internet and Social Media Networks (SMN) as alternative platforms against the traditional state-sponsored media and as a tool for political change, through the examination of cross-section of primary and secondary sources includes scholarly works, articles and journals that had transpired in the Arab Spring especially in Tunisia and Egypt. In analyzing, this research used the Constructivism Theory of International Relations which argues the critical role of ideas, identities, interests and social discourse in shaping the overall actions and behavior of the different actors in the international community. Constructivism theory helps the research in two ways: First, the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings were largely a product of a shared understanding that the governments are unable to provide basic services to its citizens, which ultimately lead to revolution. Hence, the dissenting mentality (ideas) and identities of citizens. Secondly, the Internet and Social Media have possibly created new identities and social structure in aiding the revolution. Drawing upon the experiences of these case studies, the main problem arises with the extent to which the Information Communications Technology (ICT) had aided the citizens of their respective countries. With this in mind, the research questions are as follow: (1) What roles do the Social Media Networks play in the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt? (2) How does this new platform enable citizens to translate it as a political tool? (3) How can these new technologies form new identities in the social and political sphere? In addressing these questions, this research argues that the revolution in Tunisia and Egypt has been motivated by a deep-seated economic, social and political injustices and inequalities, in which social media played a critical role in facilitating and aiding ways to translate these problems into political upheaval, and thereby forming social networks of ideas and interest in the process.

8.4 International Documentary Responses of the Syrian Crisis and the Paris Attack
Paulene Andrea C. Palaganas (Far Eastern University, Manila)
– Advanced undergraduate student, International Studies department
Abstract: As documentaries have been covering the issues in the global community, this may show the discrepancies on how it is delivered by its journalists and how its audience/viewers of the international community respond to the happenings and/or drastic events in a certain place and race. This paper comparatively examines the documentations and the response of the international community (as the audience) of the Paris Attack and of the Syrian Crisis in accordance with the notion of International Relations being dominated by the lens of the West as to how the Rest are being regarded as minorities and to relate whether this status of IR has an impact to this concern. The research questions of this paper are 1) Do documentaries possess power to be able to affect the response of the International community to the two happenings to be compared? If so, to what extent? 2) Is there any discrepancy in the documentation? If so, what factors contribute to the discrepancy? The methodology of this paper is analytical approach to the findings that will be presented later. The ontomology of this paper is interpretivism wherein social phenomena, in this case the Paris Attack and Syrian Crisis, are created from perceptions and consequent action of those social actors (documentaries) concerned with their existence. The lens to be used to guide the paradigm of this study is critical realism. The researcher’s standpoint on this paper, for the epistemology, is from the perspective of an empiricist who believes that all knowledge is ultimately grounded upon experience.

8.5 The Role of Civil Society in the Tunisian Democratic Transition
Christian Derek S. Guerra (Far Eastern University, Manila)
– Advanced undergraduate student, International Studies department
Abstract: The revolution that exploded on the international scene on 14 January 2011 in the North African country of Tunisia and quickly spread to the Arab world, that began to be known as the Arab Spring where for many it serves as a democratizing force that has brought about political reforms in the present; this study aims to examine the nature and significant role of the civil society in consolidating a democratic government and analyze the Tunisian experience that was seen by many as a model for a modern democratic state in the Arab world.

8.6 Comparing Womanhood in Saudi Arabia and in the Philippines
Gellie Honeyca Develos (Far Eastern University, Manila)
– Advanced undergraduate student, International Studies department
Abstract: Asia’s diverse culture gives a lot of implications to its people and the way they engaged in their respective society. There are various customs and traditions on how people should engage with one another, from children to children, siblings to siblings, parents to child, and other institutions that form what society should be and shouldn’t be. There are factors that affects the way people think and engaged to the respective society they belong with, it’s either by the way (their) clan (family) imposed the ‘to-do’ things or even imposed a sort of superiority against others, by Historical factors or even by the Government. In some cases, people consider Religion and its teaching in accordance to their actions taken towards the society. The Muslim women are the example of this compliance towards religion. While in the other corner of Asia liberated Women also exist, specifically in the Philippines. Women in Asia also has a distinction depends on what society or country they belong, it is hard to generalized the characteristics of e women in Asia for the simple fact that they are diverse and has a different perspective on how their society works. By these I tend to articulate the women in Saudi Arabia and the women here in the Philippines, these two kinds of women have a very different societal set up and power that being enjoyed in the society. This research aims to know what the differences are and commonalities of these two distinctive types of women belong to different society when it comes to: (their) compliance toward Religion and lastly; the Rights (they) enjoyed that being provided by the Government to know their position in the society.

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