Regional Trends

The Crisis of Forming the Government in Lebanon: Complexities and obstacles

Dr. Nizar Abdel-Kader | 27 May 2021

For eight months, Lebanon has been suffering from an intense governmental crisis, and it does not seem that it would be easily solved in the light of the deep divisions between the various political actors, despite the severity of the economic and living crisis facing the Lebanese people. International and Arab efforts have failed to overcome the obstacles facing the government formation, just as the efforts of the Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rai have failed to find a common ground between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri. This paper sheds light on the complexities of the crisis of forming the Lebanese government, its developments, its main obstacles, and the options available to its designated head for the success and adoption of his composition.

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Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement Between China and Iran: Strategic Ramifications and Available Options

Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 10 May 2021

On 21 June 2020, the Iranian government announced its approval of the draft "comprehensive cooperation agreement" for a period of 25 years with China, as part of the "comprehensive strategic partnership" signed between them in March 2016. On 27 March 2021, the agreement was formally signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries. The agreement sparked great controversy, ranging from the motives behind it, to the expected gains for its two parties, the potential repercussions that the agreement could have for the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf region, and the future of the agreement and its ability to hold in case of change in the current regional and international conditions. There are several interests behind the decision by China and Iran to sign the agreement at this time. Some of those interests date back to before the signing of the agreement, but some other interests are related to the timing of the signing of the agreement. This raises important questions about the extent of the agreement’s ability to survive and continue in the event of a change in the current international and regional context. The future of the agreement is not merely related to the nature of the interests that stand behind it, but is also related to the nature of the agreement, or rather the way the two parties to the agreement view its real goals, and China's ability in particular to fulfill the promises related to the agreement to the Iranian side, as well as the nature of the future ruling elite in Iran and its position on assessing the gains and costs of the agreement.

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Giants Together: Opportunities and Challenges in Collaborating on Artificial Intelligence Between the United Arab Emirates and Israel

Liran Antebi | 04 May 2021

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that has enormous potential impact, both inside and outside the security sector. With this in mind, countries are battling for leadership in this field, which has even turned into an arms race between various nations. Although smaller countries are less likely to be able to compete with the superpowers, investing in this technology and developing applications for both civilian and military purposes is crucial to their economic development as well as their national security. With the Abraham Accords having recently been signed between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, the areas in which these countries will be able to cooperate are vast and the possibilities raise many questions. Specifically, what are the opportunities and challenges of cooperation between these countries in the field of AI?

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Results of Egyptian Parliamentary Elections: Potential Impact on its performance and Future Relationship with Government

Amr Hashem Rabea | 20 Jan 2021

The elected Egyptian Parliament held its first session on 12 January 2021, after several weeks were spent in selecting the Members of Parliament (MPs), which culminated in the appointment by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of 5 percent of the MPs. This paper sheds light on the extent of integrity of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, the significance of the results obtained by the political parties and trends, the new phenomena in those elections, and the impact of all this on the nature of Parliament’s relationship with the government in the future.

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The Possibility of Military Escalation between Turkey and Greece and Likely Scenarios

Dr. Nizar Abdul Kader | 11 Oct 2020

Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean are at their highest in decades following Turkey’s decision to send a research vessel, the Oruç Reis, to prospect for gas and oil in maritime areas which Turkey believes fall within its exclusive economic zone, a claim disputed by both Greece and Cyprus. The roots of the crisis stretch back several years to when commercial quantities of oil and gas were first discovered in the marine areas off the coast of the two countries. Given the geographic overlap between the two, both Athens and Ankara claimed rights to those resources, which has greatly complicated the issues of sovereignty and economic rights in the exclusive economic zones claimed by both sides. Before delving into the causes of the dispute — in which Greece and Cyprus together are facing off against Turkey — and the possible outcomes, it will be useful to take a quick look at the history of relations between the three countries, which have so often been characterized by the threat of escalation and a growing sense of hostility.

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Elections of Egyptian House of Representatives: Preparations and Expectations

Amr Hashem Rabea | 06 Oct 2020

Nearly a week before the official announcement by the National Elections Authority (NEA) in Egypt of the results of the Senate elections on 16 September 2020, the NEA called on the electors to cast their votes in the elections for membership of the Egyptian House of Representatives (EHR), which has broad legislative and oversight powers and is the representative of the legislative authority in the country. One day after the results of the Senate elections were announced, that is, on 17 September 2020, the NEA announced the start of accepting candidacy applications for membership of the EHR. This paper discusses the ongoing preparations for holding those elections whose schedule was announced on 10 September 2020. It deals with the most prominent powers of the EHR, its electoral system, the general features of the electoral campaigns, chiefly what happened in the nomination process for the EHR seats, and the implications of the nominations for party life in Egypt. The last part of the paper is devoted to discussing the most prominent expectations concerning the work of the next EHR and the agendas it would undertake to achieve in its next legislative term.

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2020 Egyptian Senate Elections: Outcomes and Challenges to its Role in Politics

Amr Hashem Rabea | 27 Sep 2020

Senate elections were held in Egypt during August and September 2020, and the results of those elections were announced in mid-September 2020. This paper sheds light on the return of the Senate to political life in Egypt and the controversy surrounding its importance, as well as the composition of this council, its electoral system, and the parties participating in its elections, including candidates, voters and the electoral administration. The paper also analyses the most prominent election results of the Senate and how it can enrich political life in Egypt in the near future.

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The Emirati-Israeli Peace Treaty: Potential Regional and Strategic Implications

EPC | 16 Sep 2020

The formal signing of the UAE-Israel peace treaty at the White House on 15 September 2020 marked a "historic moment", according to the description of US President Donald Trump, whose administration sponsored reaching this treaty. Accordingly, full diplomatic relations would begin between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, and joint UAE and Israeli delegations would be involved in signing bilateral agreements in the fields of investment, tourism, communications, technology, civil aviation, health care and the environment. This is the first US-sponsored Arab-Israeli peace treaty in nearly 25 years, that is, since Jordan signed the Wadi Araba treaty in 1994. It constitutes the culmination of a long path of rapprochement between the Arab and Israeli sides.

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Intra-Afghan Round of Negotiations: Chances, Risks and Possible scenarios

Ahmed Diab | 15 Sep 2020

On 12 September 2020, in the wake of the nineteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) towers in New York in 2001, direct intra-Afghan negotiations between the government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban movement began in Doha. These negotiations constitute the second phase of the Afghan peace project, nearly six months after the signing of the Doha Agreement between Washington and the Taliban on 29 February 2020, which aims at ending the war that tore the country apart for nearly twenty years.

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The “New Levant” Project: Likely Opportunities, Challenges and Trajectories

EPC | 07 Sep 2020

The "New Levant (Mashreq)" project, proposed by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, is a qualitative event in the reality of the region that has been witnessing divisions and tensions between the various parties. This indicates the nature of the challenges facing the project and the difficulties that may block its path. Despite its economic title, the project entails political and strategic dimensions. However, the question being raised is: do its parties have the capability, desire and will to transform the project into a geopolitical project that is capable of proving its presence in the region's equations and balances? This paper sheds light on the aforementioned project, and clarifies its opportunities, challenges and expected paths.

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