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Middle East and Africa Database

Middle East and Africa Database ScreenshotAVAILABLE NOW. (Through March 26, 2012: 569,000 records; 438,000 fulltext records.) The Middle East and Africa Database is a bibliographic and fulltext database that provides area coverage (especially for political development, social development, foreign policy, economic development, investment, oil and petrochemicals, trade and technological industries) for the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Arabs, Iranians, Turks and Africans worldwide, including in Europe and North and South America. The database is designed to provide easy bibliographic and fulltext access to journals, newspapers, conference proceedings, press releases, books, manuals, magazines, and ephemera. Our journal list is here. More information about our online platform is available in the Search Guide.

Core area country coverage (two core areas):

Middle East-North Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, North Cyprus, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia (Puntland, Somaliland), Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Western Sahara, Yemen.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Dahomey, Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Upper Volta, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Other Muslim and African majority states: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Brunei, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kosovo, Malaysia, as well as disapora populations worldwide, are included.

All Reference databases are constantly expanded and enriched, both with additional records from journals that have been abstracted for many years, but also from new journals, new sources and new books, whether by abstracts or fulltext.

Middle East & Africa Database Sample Abstract 1

Sakr, Naomi

"The Arab 'Knowledge Deficit' Through UN Eyes", in Political Quarterly, April-June 2004. pp. 185-190.

The latest UNDP-issued, Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development co-sponsored, Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) presents a bleak prospect for the human development of the region. (However, UNDP reports that more than 1 million copies of the report were downloaded from the internet.) The report finds, in part, that: Turkey alone produces more books than all 22 Arab nations combined; Greece translates five times as many books as the 22 Arab nations. In a region of 270 million Arabic speakers, a book is considered a bestseller if it sells 5000 copies. In the mid-1990s, 25% of all students graduating with a first degree emigrated. In 1980-2000, South Korea registered 44 times as many patents in the United States as the nine leading Arab states. At the same time, the author of the report, Nader Fergany, notes that viable reforms of this bleak situation must originate within the Arab world itself, and cannot meaningfully be directed from outside the Arab world.

The report identified three key regional deficits: a freedom deficit, a women's empowerment deficit, and a deficit of human capabilities and knowledge relative to income. ADHR reports that the Arab region devotes only 0.2% of GDP on research (compared to 3% in USA, Sweden and Japan, and 0.7% in Greece, Portugal and Spain), and that such research in the Arab region is "directionless" and unproductive.

One serious problem is that Arabs remain suspicious of outsiders and suspect that foreigners come to their region with "ulterior motives". This is a reasonable (if not helpful) product of a bitter history of foreign intervention and domination in recent generations, and a "perceived disregard" for the plight of the Palestinians. As ADHR observes: "When an Arab writer criticizes his or her society, he or she is often accused of promoting the interests of foreign powers against the interests of the nation, because (so the argument goes) by exposing the weaknesses of society, the writer is supplying those powers with ammunition for attacking Arab countries." (p. 83)

ADHR notes these concerns are legitimate and that the "hijacking" of self-criticism within Arab societies by foreign powers has had a deadly and destructive impact on Arab societies and on Arab discourse. This tendency is reinforced by government-supported criticism of Arab researchers as tools of foreigners, even when it is not true.

The World Values Survey ( finds that Arabs strongly support democracy, strongly oppose authoritarianism, and support gender equality in education. However, Arabs continue to think that men should have preferences in employment, believing that women have a more meaningful role in the family than in the workplace. However, ADHR notes there have been some "breakthroughs" in gender equality in recent years. ADHR also notes that the perception that gender equality is being used by foreign powers as part of a broad social program to destabilize Arab societies has slowed progress.

In addition to general tensions between Arab nations and peoples, and foreign powers, after 9/11 there has been a dramatic reduction in educational opportunities for Arabs in the United States. The number of Arab students in the USA fell 30% between 1999-2002, and 31% in the case of Saudi students.

The war on terrorism has also had an impact of Arab mass media, with the closing of Al-Murr TV in Lebanon (not mentioned in AHDR) and with the US-imposed censorship of Al-Jazeera news reporting in Iraq. At the same time, the connection of Al-Arabiya's owners to Saudi leaders makes it too wiling to meet American demands for censorship. Although Al-Jazeera was found in a regional poll to have the highest credibility among Arab viewers, its credibility must be sustained for its reporting on the region's social, political, economic and cultural problems to be influential. With Internet access in the region at only 1.6%, satellite television remains the most important source of news for the region. However, US imposed censorship, intended to legitimize US military intervention in the region, threatens to discredit Arab mass media before it can become fully established.

While foreign demands for "social development" may be counterproductive, progress will be slow even if the ADHR recommendation of an "authentic, broadminded and enlightened Arab knowledge model" can be developed, in the face of foreign invasions and occupation.

Geographic Descriptors: Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa, Occupied Iraq, Palestine, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, USA

Subject Descriptors: Book Trade, Censorship, Expatriate Students, Feminism, Gender Policy, Gender Sociology, Geopolitics, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Internet, Mass Media, Patents, Polls, Publishing, Social Development, Television, Terrorism, Translation Services

Corporate Descriptors: Al-Jazeera, AHDR, Arab Human Development Report, UNDP, Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development, Al-Qaeda, Al-Murr TV, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, War on Terrorism, World Values Survey

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Middle East & Africa Database Sample Abstract 2

Carlette, Donald L.; Steele, James B.

"Billions Over Baghdad", in Vanity Fair, October 2007. pp. 336-339, 374-380.

In 4/2003-6/2004 some $12 billion in US currency, mostly belonging to the Iraqi people, was shipped from the Federal Reserve to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad: Some $9 billion in cash would disappear. The money included cash assets frozen as long ago as the Iran-Iraq War, as well as the funds accumulated in the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which retained a percentage of Iraqi oil earnings during the Oil-For-Food embargo.

On 6/24/2004, the Federal Reserve's East Rutherford Operations Center (EROC) in East Rutherford, New Jersey, packaged $2.4 billion in $100 bills in its vast automated currency vault. Forty pallets weighing 30 tons were assembled and packaged by robots. The money was recounted by the Treasury Department and then was shipped to Baghdad. This was the largest of a series of transfers that delivered the $12 billion in cash to Baghdad (actually the Federal Reserve Bank of New York would ship $11.981 billion in cash, weighing 363 tons).

In Baghdad, the money passed into the control of the CPA. The CPA itself as an ad hoc institution, assembled on the fly without any normal internal controls or procedures; it was neither an Iraqi organization, an American organization, nor was it authorized by the United Nations. L. Paul Bremer would be named CPA administrator with a mandate to quickly transfer authority to a reconstituted Iraqi government. (Bremer had worked under Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig; and when selected to head the CPA he worked with something called Marsh Crisis Consulting) The Pentagon allocated $1.2 billion to fund the operations of the CPA. The CPA was off the books and accountable to no one. During its short existence, $23 billion would pass through its hands, in addition to potentially billions of dollars of oil that it controlled but did not account for.

CPA had a vague idea of where some money was sent, for example, $7.7 billion to the Iraq Ministry of Finance or $1.5 billion to Iraqi banks (although auditors could only demonstrate that $500 million had reached the banks). UN auditors (including KPMG) were given only very limited access to CPA records and were not welcome.

Corruption was everywhere in the CPA. Of 8206 guards employed by CPA, only 602 existed--the rest were fictitious people receiving very real payments. Halliburton Co. charged CPA for 42000 daily meals for soldiers while providing only 14000. One surprised CPA official received $500 million in cash to be spent immediately on "security" with no instructions on how the money was spent. Ret. Adm. David Oliver, CPA director of management and budget would shrug and simply say that it did not matter if billions of dollars disappeared. Innumerable payments of less than a million in cash disappeared without any documentation.

Security company Custer-Battles received its first ever contract, for $16.5 million, to protect civilian flights into Baghdad. In the first year it received $100 million. In 5/2005 Ernst & Young honored the firm for its rapid entrepreneurial growth; in 9/2005, the Air Force barred the firm from new contracts for massive fraud. For example, it billed the CPA $400000 for electricity that cost $74000, and $432000 for food that cost $33000. It billed CPA for equipment it did not own, that did not exist, and that it had seized at gunpoint from Iraqis. In 2006, a federal court would fine the firm $10 million in damages and penalties for fraud that used shell companies in the Cayman Islands to manufacture phony invoices. That ruling was overturned on the basis that CPA was not an American governmental entity.

The suburban house at 5468 Soledad Road in La Jolla, California, was the nominal headquarters of NorthStar Consultants, which received a $1.4 million contract from CPA on 10/25/2003 to provide accounting and auditing services to CPA. The houses is owned by Thomas A. and Konsuelo Howell. The house is also the base for International Financial Consulting Inc. (IFC) and Kota Industries, a furniture and flooring company. The Howells are the only listed directors of all three firms. Neither Howell nor DOD will discuss the contract, although Howell states he saw the contract (requiring CPAs) on the Internet and was awarded it by bidding for it.

NorthStar has employees in Baghdad, but how many, what they did, and and who they were is unknown; apparently none were CPAs. Bremer incorrectly believed NorthStar was a firm of CPAs: it had none.

Interestingly, the contract with NorthStar, heavily censored by a Pentagon official before it was released, indicated the address of NorthStar: Post Office Box N-3813 in Nassau, Bahamas. Post Office Box N-3813 is also used by Patrick Thomson and his Bahamas-based Lions Gate Management Ltd. Thomson and Lions Gate were involved in the recent collapse of Evergreen Security, a firm that set up thousands of tax-avoidance trusts managed by Thomson; Evergreen siphoned $200 million from investors before it collapsed. Another Evergreen officer was William J. Zylka, a New Jersey "con man" who pocketed $27.7 million. Thomson incorporated NorthStar for Howell in the Bahamas in 1/1998. Thomson states he has no knowledge of NorthStar's activities and states he simply set up the shell company for a small fee.

In the final three months of the CPA, some $5 billion in cash was moved to Baghdad ($750 million on 4/26/2004; $1 billion on 5/18/2004; and, $2.4 billion 6/22/2004)--On 6/28/2004, after Bremer left Baghdad, Air Force Col. Don Davis, serving as CPA comptroller and manager of DFI, tried to have another $1 billion in cash shipped to the CPA: The Federal Reserve refused since the CPA had already been dissolved. Bremer's last official act was issuing a blanket amnesty to all CPA officials and contractors.

Five years into the war, the federal government has brought no claims against any war profiteers under the False Claims Act). Billions have disappeared, and not one cares. (Includes photographs of the private home that is the corporate headquarters of NorthStar Consultants in La Jolla, and the N-3813 post office box in Nassau, Bahamas, that is the offshore home of NorthStar Consultants.)

Geographic Descriptors: Baghdad, Bahamas, California, Cayman Islands, Iraq, New Jersey, Occupied Iraq, UN, USA

Subject Descriptors: Air Force, Auditing, Banking, Contracts, Corruption, Fraud, Purchasing, Security Services, Shell Companies, Statistics, Trusts

Corporate Descriptors: Neo-Cons, CPA, Coalition Provisional Authority, KPMG, NorthStar Consultants, Marsh Crisis Consulting, Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, EROC, East Rutherford Operations Center, Ministry of Finance (Iraq), False Claims Act, DFI, Development Found for Iraq, Custer-Battles, IFC, International Financial Consulting Inc., Oil-For-Food, Kota Industries, Lions Gate Management Ltd., Evergreen Security Ltd.

Named persons: Davis, Don [USA]; Bremer, Paul [USA]; Kissinger, Henry [USA]; Haig, Alexander [USA]; Howell, Thomas A. [USA]; Howell, Konsuela [USA]; Thomson, Patrick [USA]; Zylka, William J. [USA]; Oliver, David [USA]

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Middle East & Africa Sample Primary Document

Refugees International

Press Release: Refugees International Undertakes Mission to Spotlight Stateless Peoples of Africa. District of Columbia: Refugees International (, October 16, 2006.

Statelessness in Africa, like elsewhere, is attributable to a multitude of causes ranging from state succession, to gaps in national citizenship laws, to targeted discrimination against certain communities of people. However, a common contributing factor to statelessness in African countries is the colonial legacy which created borders that ultimately led to divided linguistic/ethnic/religious communities and interfered with traditional patterns of migration. An additional cause of statelessness has been the increase in movement across these borders. Later this month Refugees International will begin to highlight the problem of statelessness in Africa by examining the nationality conflict in Cote d'Ivorie and the protracted situation of Mauritanians in Senegal. Maureen Lynch, RI's Senior Advocate for Stateless Initiatives, will lead the assessment mission, joined by consultant Dawn Calabia.

Cote d'Ivoire: At the heart of the war in Cote d'Ivorie and the tensions with the country's large migrant population (which constitutes more than one third of the country's 17 million inhabitants) are the questions: Who is an Ivorian citizen and who rightfully should be? During the twentieth century, Cote d'Ivorie allowed millions of African immigrants, particularly from Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana, to work inside its borders. Laborers came to work on cocoa, coffee and cotton plantations. At least 26% of the population in Cote d'Ivorie is estimated to be of foreign descent (though estimates run as high as 40%), and of that group, 95% were other Africans. An estimated three million people live in Cote d'Ivorie without citizenship documentation. Citizenship issues helped spark a civil war that has displaced hundreds of thousands. While legislation has now been passed to resolve the citizenship question, additional drafts on nationality and naturalization and the May 2006 pilot program to identify and register Ivorians indicate that it remains a troublesome issue.

Senegal: In the late 1980s and early 1990s Mauritania imposed statelessness on a large portion of its non-Arab population. Over a decade later, the deprivation of citizenship continues to plague the population and obstruct durable solutions. More than 20,000 Mauritanian refugees (estimates vary widely, from 20,000 to 60,000) are still living on the Senegal side of the border. UNHCR assisted the refugees from 1989 until 1997, when all food and other relief were cut off. Most of the refugees have no documentation other than an annually renewable card that provides recognition as a refugee. They are not eligible for government assistance, health care or most public services.

While both Senegal and Mauritania have permitted informal repatriation, refugees currently remaining in Senegal have declared that they will not return to Mauritania until their security is assured, their citizenship is restored, and their property is returned. >In September of 2005, the Mauritanians living in Senegal renewed efforts to resolve their stateless plight. A so-called Dodel Appeal was introduced as a call for the right of return to Mauritania, the right to regain Mauritanian citizenship, and reparations for property lost at the time of their expulsion. Further international attention and pressure needs to be generated in order to ensure such opportunities are seized and rights are restored.

Geographic Descriptors: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal

Subject Descriptors: Agricultural Labor, Cocoa, Ethnic Policy, Immigration, Immigration-Ivory Coast, Immigration-Senegal, Insurgencies, Plantations, Refugees, Refugees-Statistics, Relief Aid, Repatriation

Corporate Descriptors: Refugees International, UNHCR, Dodel Appeal

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