Great Power Politics

U.S. Policy Options in Afghanistan

EPC | 10 Aug 2021

Nearly two decades after the start of U.S. war in Afghanistan, President Biden announced a full withdrawal from the region on April 14. In a speech from the official residence, he had initially set a deadline of September 11 to officially withdraw 2,000 troops and any remaining contractors. That deadline has since been moved up to August, with 90% of the withdrawal already completed to date, because of hastening Taliban gains and increased instability since May. Insurgents have already captured 200 of Afghanistan’s 471 districts, including key trade routes and crossings along the Tajik and Turkmen borders. This faster than expected military advance of the Taliban will soon put pressure on the Biden administration to find face-saving formulas against accusations that it left Afghanistan at the hand of Islamist radicals after America has spent so much blood and treasure in the country in the last 20 years.

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British Presence in the Horn of Africa: Interests, Policies and Prospects

Ahmed Askar | 07 Mar 2021

The tour of British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in January 2021 that included Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia reflects the nature of Britain’s new policies, London’s expanding efforts to maximize its influence in the region and establish a foothold there as part of the UK’s post-Brexit global vision. In its attempt to improve its ties with countries in the Horn of Africa, Britain depends on a number of pillars and approaches that enhance its strategic interests there. At the same time, London faces some challenges that curb Britain’s moves in the region such as the growing influence of the competing powers and the increasing security and terrorist threats. This paper highlights the nature of Britain’s interests and motivations in the Horn of Africa, characteristics and foundations of this interest, and the potential future scenarios for the British regional presence.

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European Mediation in Iran’s Issue: An Endeavor for Solution or a Political Agenda?

EPC | 03 Mar 2021

​In recent days, the Iranian issue has witnessed a congestion in the positions issued by the relevant parties, in addition to some mediation initiatives at the diplomatic level (the Qatari and European initiatives). This indicates an increase in efforts to find a solution to this issue and pave the way for the revival of the nuclear agreement. However, there are indications that the European efforts in particular have begun to deviate from their main goal, which is to solve the Iranian nuclear issue, towards the implementation of a political agenda, namely to support the moderate Iranian trend in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for 18 May 2021.

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France’s “Charter of Principles” and its Impact on Political Islam and Turkish Organizations

Ahmed Nadhif | 07 Feb 2021

On 18 January 2021, Macron received at the Élysée Palace the leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), and received from them the final text of the "Charter of the Principles of Islam in France", which clearly condemns "political Islam" and the "foreign links of some Islamic organisations". However, the document was not signed by all eight federations of the CFCM, as three federations failed to sign. This paper sheds light on the content of the Charter of the Principles of Islam in France, and attempts to dissect the composition of the CFCM and analyse the effects of applying the contents of the Charter on the work of political Islam groups and groups associated with the Turkish influence inside France.

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Russia Signs Deal with Sudan to Establish Logistics Center for its Navy in Port Sudan: Implications and Possible Application

EPC | 30 Dec 2020

The Russian announcement on 8 December 2020 of the signature of an agreement with Sudan to establish a "Logistical Support Centre" for the Russian Navy on Sudanese soil sparked increased interest among experts and analysts who focused on the special importance of this development, especially in terms of its impact on efforts to enhance the deployment of Russian naval forces in the Red Sea, expanding the range of their operational moves, and considering its role in countering what were described as US attempts to seize influence and control in this vital region. However, questions are raised about the possibility of the implementation of this agreement by Sudan after the improvement of its relations with the US.

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The “French Awakening” Against Political Islam: Motivations and Future Repercussions

Ahmed Nadhif | 21 Dec 2020

Despite the lack of official figures on the number of Muslims in France for reasons related to legal barriers, France is the largest European country in terms of the number of Muslims. According to some estimates, five million Muslims live in France, ranging between citizens and residents, which makes this mass a source of general controversy that is renewed with every terrorist attack launched by Muslims. This has been the case since October 2020 in the wake of the attacks that struck the city of Nice and the assassination of the teacher Samuel Patty. However, the controversy this time coincided with an official campaign that some called "an open war against political Islam", while others dismissed it as a "circumstantial campaign" similar to the campaigns carried out by the French authorities in the past.

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A New European Strategy for the Indo-Pacific: Drivers and Constraints

Ahmed Diab | 28 Sep 2020

The major European powers are studying how to intensify their military presence within the framework of a new strategy that adopts tougher stances against China’s "unilateral" moves and naval assertiveness in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, which extends from East Africa, through East and Southeast Asia, then the South China Sea, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia.

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Japan’s Political Map after Shinzo Abe

Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 09 Sep 2020

On 28 August 2020, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation from his post as head of government and head of the ruling party in Japan, thus opening the way to competition for the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been chaired by Abe since 2012. Given that the party has parliamentary majority, the winning candidate is not expected to face any parliamentary obstacles that would prevent him from assuming the post of prime minister. This means that the winning candidate would take over the remaining term of Abe’s government until the next parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2021.

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NATO and the “New Containment” Strategy Towards China: Motives, Challenges and Possibilities

Ahmed Diab | 26 Aug 2020

The former Soviet Union posed the most prominent challenge to the West and the US in particular at the ideological and military levels, since World War II until the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. However, from that moment on, strategic circles began to nominate China as the threat that would endanger the future of US power in the world. For more than a year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has demanded that the alliance assume a greater political role in world affairs, and even help countries in the Indian and Pacific oceans compete with the rise of China.

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Future of the Regional Struggle over Afghanistan after the American Withdrawal

Ahmed Diab | 27 Jul 2020

In light of the facts and complicated conditions that will result from the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, new international and regional inclinations and policies are emerging regarding the future of that country. Peace talks between the Taliban Movement and the Afghan government are expected to be complicated and protracted, probably extending for years. In case a political settlement is not reached between the Afghan government and the Movement, the US withdrawal could lead to the eruption of a large-scale civil war, some of whose protagonists would be supported by regional and international powers such as Russia and China which have political, economic and security interests that converge at times and conflict at others in Afghanistan. Some neighbouring countries such as Iran, Pakistan and India also have conflicting interests. The influence of India and Pakistan over actors in Afghanistan is well known. Besides, the two countries have mechanisms and means to influence the state of affairs in Afghanistan.

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Extending Embargo of Arms Trade with Iran: American Attempts and International Obstacles

EPC | 20 Jul 2020

It has become clear that the most important controversy on the threshold of the US presidential elections concerns the issue of the extension of the embargo on arms trade with Iran. International sanctions provided for by the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had imposed an embargo on arms trade with Iran. However, the nuclear deal (which is in turn an international document recognized by the UNSC) provides for the termination of the said embargo in October 2020. Thus, the issue of lifting the embargo has become the subject of disagreement between the US and its former partners in the nuclear deal.

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Germany’s Tendency to Enhance its Presence in Africa: Limits and Motives

Ahmed Askar | 19 Jul 2020

After its relative absence until recently, Africa has become increasingly important for Germany. A number of major shifts have played a role in the continent’s rise to the top of the priorities of Germany’s political policy agenda, mainly the outbreak of the refugee crisis and the migration of Africans to Europe in 2015, in addition to the rise in the activity of terrorism and organized crime networks in Africa, and Berlin’s desire to play a greater role in the continent. This has driven Germany to pay more attention to Africa. This was manifested at several levels in light of Germany’s growing interests and motives with respect to Africa. This would enhance Germany’s future influence in the continent.

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Indo-Pacific as a New Theater for International Policies and its Impact on the Arabian Gulf Region

Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 09 Jun 2020

This paper deals with the rise of the concept of the Indo-Pacific as a new theatre for the interactions of international politics. It portrays the main drivers of the development of this concept and its security, political and strategic dimensions and implications, both at present and in the future. It also analyzes the nature of the general features of regional and international policies in the Indo-Pacific region and the extent of its actual and potential impact on the Arabian Gulf region.

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Returning to the Mechanisms of the Nuclear Agreement: US Attempts to Prevent Iran from Obtaining the Right to Weapons under the Agreement

EPC | 20 May 2020

In October 2020, the ban on trade in conventional weapons with Iran imposed under article 5 of Annex II of the nuclear agreement — which prohibits all countries from trading in such weapons with Iran — will come to an end. The ban was scheduled to last for five years from the day that the agreement came into effect, ending in October of this year. The various parties to the agreement are ramping up their political maneuvers, however, as the US administration and the remaining parties to the agreement appear to hold incompatible positions regarding the end of the embargo.

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Covid-19 Crisis between the U.S and China: Risks and Potential Repercussions

Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 13 May 2020

While the Chinese-US relations have been characterized by a conflictual nature since the arrival of the Donald Trump administration in January 2017, the current crisis, that had started to take shape between both countries in light of the COVID-19 virus crisis, is perhaps the most serious in the history of the relations between both countries. It involves the risks of building an international anti-China bloc if the US manages to hold China responsible for the synthetic (artificial) origin of the virus and its “intentional laziness” in warning countries of the world of the consequences of this disease and to convince the largest number possible of countries of this assumption. This would have serious strategic implications for China at more than one level.

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Europe's Divergence over Dispute Resolution Mechanism with Iran: Reasons and Scenarios

EPC | 19 Feb 2020

Europe's rift over Iran's nuclear deal continues to persist. While Britain and France take hardline positions, Germany and the EU foreign policy team continue to show understanding of the Iranian stances. However, this rift does not mean that the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will remain unchanged. Other parties to the agreement might follow the U.S. path and withdraw from the deal, without necessarily leading to the collapse of the deal or putting the Iran's nuclear program back on the UN Security Council's table. Contrary to the Iranian consensus on how to deal with the United States, the Iranian regime appears divided over its relationship with Europe and how to approach the Europeans, amidst a steady decline in Iranian-European relations.

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Dispute between US President and Congress regarding War Powers: Background and Horizons

Amr Abdel-Aty | 04 Feb 2020

President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, on January 3, 2020 has reignited debate between Congress and the President as to who should have the final say in the use of US military power abroad. The debate escalated when the Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives in the congressional mid-term elections on November 6, 2018, following which they have taken various steps, with the support of several Republican lawmakers, to restore the constitutional power of the legislature to declare war and to control the movement of US troops abroad.

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US Sanctions on Iran: Limits and Prospects

EPC | 02 Feb 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin announced a new package of sanctions against Iran. The new wave of sanctions affected the steel products sector, and the largest companies in this field, along with some security and military leaders. The announcement of the new packages of sanctions coincides with a new wave of political debate in Washington about the feasibility of the sanctions on Iran, and whether these sanctions are actually capable of achieving their main goal, which is forcing Iran to a come back to the dialogue table by breaking the backbone of this country’s, and exacerbating levels of popular discontent to force the Iranian regime stop its intransigence.

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