The chapter initially takes the reader through a sustained discussion of the basic tenets of the book’s theoretical framework by examining its development as a specific research agenda within international relations and migration studies, and provides detailed discussion of the theoretical underpinnings of migration diplomacy while also identifying potential avenues for further scholarly work. The chapter also identifies the main challenges faced by international relations researchers of migration, namely the need to problematise and unpack the terminology employed in the study of migration politics; the desire to move beyond the study of archetypical cases, and shift attention to non-traditional cases; as well as the difficulties involved in data collection methods and methodological approaches that need take the adverse empirical realities of Middle East migration politics into account.
The book’s concluding chapter offers an overview of the main arguments presented across it. It pays particular attention to the originality of the book vis-à-vis its focus on the Global South, and its attempt to present a complex picture of how foreign and migration politics interact. The chapter also presents a number of possible avenues for future research, focusing on diverse regions of the world and a range of different types of mobility.
This first empirical chapter sets the stage for an analysis of the politics of migration in the contemporary Middle East via an in-depth analysis of the linkages between emigration and foreign policy in the case of Egypt. Modern Egypt was chosen as a case study based on two factors. First, the country has a historical standing as the largest regional provider of migrant labour. Second, the qualitative variety of migratory processes throughout the history of modern Egypt, and their quantitative increase in the post-1973 period, have endowed the Egyptian case with a vast array of writings, debates, customs, and social rituals on migration, whose discursive importance has been unexamined. This chapter argues that Egyptian practices demonstrate key linkages between emigration, subject-making processes, and foreign policy in the 1952–2011 era. The discourse on migration under Nasser reflected a broader collectivist ethos, under which the theme of population movement was employed to discipline Egyptian citizens in accordance with the regime’s ideology of statism-developmentalism. In contrast, migration and, more specifically, return migration under Sadat and Mubarak was employed to promote an individualisation of responsibility, as citizens disciplined themselves to use their freedom in making responsible choices under a broader turn towards neoliberalism.
This chapter focuses on how labour migration to the Gulf contributed to processes of inter-state cooperation across the Middle East. Egyptian migration diplomacy targeted its unskilled and low-skilled labour and focused on ensuring bilateral coordination with Arab host-states that, in turn, led to inter-state cooperation. Egypt coordinated its emigration policy as per host-states’ needs and political sensitivities: it realised Arab oil-producing states’ labour demands, and institutionalised unrestricted short-term, or temporary, emigration across the region; the ruling regime also understood these states’ reticence to politicised migrants, and it discursively linked this form of migration to its repudiation of Nasser and his regional foreign policy, within the context of ‘de-Nasserisation’. Similarly, Arab host-states coordinated their policies to Egypt’s needs and political sensitivities: seeing an opportunity for massive numbers of unskilled and low-skilled migrant workers from Egypt, they prioritised their recruitment over other nationalities; second, they acknowledged the Egyptian regime’s desire to ‘save face’ in terms of Egypt’s deteriorating economic condition, and framed their recruitment of Egyptians as compensation for the Egyptian state’s shouldering the burden of Arab–Israeli conflict. By the end of the 1970s, short-term migration of Egyptians had resulted in inter-state cooperation in other policy fields.
This chapter introduces the themes of this book, pointing to the unexplored research question of how cross-border mobility features in regional competition for political power and, more particularly, in the foreign policy strategies of migrant and refugee sending, transit- and host-states. It provides an overview of relevant work in the field of migration politics, before introducing the concept of migration diplomacy. It continues to discuss the book’s methodology and data collection strategies, as well providing an overview of the chapters to follow.
This final chapter examines how cross-border mobility may also feature in issue-linkage strategies, as migrants and refugees are employed as instruments of leverage by host states. This chapter focuses on two types of mobility as leverage – labour and forced migration. In terms of the former, the chapter first examines how Egypt was faced with numerous attempts by Arab host-states to target Egyptian migrant communities within their borders, predominantly unskilled or low-skilled, as instruments of coercion. Egyptian migrant communities were faced with various forms of abuse, including incarceration and torture, or, more frequently, expulsion from their host-states, who sought to take benefit from Egypt’s socio-economic dependence on labour migration. Two types of issue-linkage strategies were employed by Arab states against Egypt: in the first, Libyan coercion emerged as personalistic cross-regime relations between the sending and host-state broke down, namely between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Libyan Prime Minister Anwar Gaddafi; the second type of strategy aimed to secure specific policy concessions from Egypt, as has been the case with Iraq or, in the post-2011 era, with Libya and Jordan.
This chapter provides an introduction to the politics of migration in the Middle East, paying particular attention to the importance of state policies. There are, broadly, four time periods that should be discussed: the colonial period, encompassing the era of the Ottoman Empire and the colonial Mandate period that ended, roughly, in the years following the end of World War Two. This is a period characterised by a rather-free circulation of movement within this broad region, as well as long-distance emigration to the Americans, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. It is also marked by waves of immigration into the region from Europe. The postcolonial period, from the late 1940s until the late 1960s, coincides with the rise of Arab nationalism, as cross-border population mobility is driven mainly by political, rather than economic, factors. The oil boom period, from the late 1960s until the early 1980s, is dominated by economically driven cross-border migratory flows, although national and regional politics continues to play an important role. Finally, the period of de-Arabisation, from the 1980s to today, is characterised by an influx of Asian and sub-Saharan migrants and the rise of irregular migration, as well as increasing cooperation between Arab and European states.
How does migration feature in states’ diplomatic agendas across the Middle East? Until recently, popular wisdom often held that migration is an important socio-economic, rather than political, phenomenon. Migration diplomacy in the Middle East counters this expectation by providing the first systematic examination of the foreign policy importance of migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the Global South. Gerasimos Tsourapas examines how emigration-related processes become embedded in governmental practices of establishing and maintaining power; how states engage with migrant and diasporic communities residing in the West; how oil-rich Arab monarchies have extended their support for a number of sending states’ ruling regimes via cooperation on labour migration; and, finally, how labour and forced migrants may serve as instruments of political leverage. Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork and data collection and employing a range of case studies across the Middle East and North Africa, Tsourapas enhances existing understandings of regional migration governance in the Global South. The book identifies how the management of cross-border mobility in the Middle East is not primarily dictated by legal, moral, or human rights considerations but driven by states’ actors key concern – political power. Offering key insights into the history and current migration policy dilemmas, the book will provide both novices and specialists with fresh insights on migration into, out of, and across the modern Middle East.
This chapter identifies the trade-off that authoritarian states face between migration and security: on the one hand, they wish to reap the economic benefits associated with large emigrant populations; on the other hand, they also face the political need to maintain control of emigration flows, to monitor the movements of political dissenters, and to contain diasporas’ activism abroad. Authoritarian states’ diaspora policymaking can best be understood via the management of the trade-off between the political imperative to prevent emigration and the economic urge to embrace it. Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt demonstrate how states are torn between ‘controlling’ and ‘courting’ their diasporas residing in Europe and North America. Regime security considerations have led the first four states to develop intricate control mechanisms that aim to prevent political activism abroad and to minimise diasporic acts of dissent against the ruling regime of the sending-state. Conversely, Egypt’s diaspora policy has evolved more inclusively: while acts of repression are not unknown, the main tenets have revolved around the desire to engage their citizen diaspora groups into the country’s development ambitions. The chapter discusses these policies and employs the tenets of the illiberal paradox to shed light on the rationale behind this divergence.
Chapter 5 analyses Angela Merkel’s recalibration of policy towards Russia in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Germany showed impressive leadership in the EU by achieving consensus on the need for strong political support for Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia. German policymakers cleverly fashioned an EU policy towards Russia, invoking the spirit of NATO’s Harmel doctrine of the 1960s, which combined dialogue and deterrence and was a precursor to détente. For presentational purposes, this was important. It helped secure acceptance of the policy change in both Germany and other EU countries that had reservations about sanctioning Moscow. Germany was starting to emerge from its two decades of conscious denial about the direction of Russia. However, its limitations were also on show. German efforts to negotiate a peace process in Ukraine achieved only the semblance of one. In practice, Russia did not see sufficient incentives to change its policy. Despite its firm stance on sanctions, the government’s support for the new Nord Stream pipeline designed to double the capacity of direct gas deliveries to Germany indicated that its new approach to Russia retained an important old element. This policy prioritised the interests of German industry in cheap supplies over the security interests of Ukraine, the prime loser from the diversion of gas through the new pipeline. It also ignored the EU’s energy security strategy as well as the objections of its central European neighbours united in their vigorous opposition to the project.