EPC | 11 Apr 2021
Iran Strategic Report is designed to provide an impartial and objective reading of the situation in Iran. The importance of this strategic report stems from the political, geographic and social importance of Iran and the impact of its ideological orientations and alliances on regional policies, security and stability in the Gulf region and broader Middle East. Particular importance is attached to the 2020 report given its contribution to the understanding of Iran’s question and drivers of Tehran’s behavior in this potentially decisive year in the life of the Iranian revolution amidst the preparations of the forthcoming presidential elections in June 2021, which will also be pivotal for reasons the reader will find out as she/he reads the report.
Dr. Ebtesam al-Ketbi | 22 Mar 2021
The United Arab Emirates represents an ideal case to study of a small state’s effective response to strategic challenges and contemporary shifts in the Middle East. Regional and international geopolitical developments in the region since the dawn of the twenty-first century have forced radical changes in UAE foreign policy and power-building.
Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi | 24 Feb 2021
Over the past four decades, the issue of relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States have dominated the Iranian political arena. Such is the extent of this preoccupation with America, that some argue it is more influential than all other objective and subjective factors in the politics and economics of the region.
EPC | 16 Jul 2020
Iraq today finds itself at a crossroads, beset by challenges and life-and-death decisions. The public protests that erupted in early October 2019 revealed a number of deep structural crises in the country, growing public resentment vis-à-vis the political elite, and an expanding rift between these political forces and the Iraqi street. They have ignited a conflict that has opened the door to all manner of possible future scenarios for the nation.
Ahmed Nadhif | 12 Apr 2021
On 9 April 2021, Tunisian President Kais Saied began a three-day official visit to Egypt, his first since he took office in October 2019. During the visit, he met, alongside his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a number of Egyptian officials and Islamic and Christian spiritual leaders. The visit came within a changing regional and internal context for Egypt and Tunisia alike.
Dr. Ebtesam al-Ketbi | 31 Mar 2021
Iran’s pursuit of regional hegemony has come to represent an increasingly complicated and intractable dilemma for the Middle East. Iran has neither succeeded in its aims, nor abandoned this destructive strategy; for four decades it has threatened the security and stability of the region, and the Gulf in particular, creating an impasse that now extends beyond the Middle East to affect global interests.
EPC | 30 Mar 2021
The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi's initiative for national dialogue, which he launched on 8 March 2021, came as an attempt to benefit from the positive atmosphere left in the country by the visit of the Pope of the Vatican, and to pave the ground for the general elections scheduled for October 2021. However, the initiative raised a clear difference in the reactions of the various Iraqi actors.
EPC | 23 Mar 2021
On 11 March 2021, former Moroccan Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) Abdelilah Benkirane announced that he would freeze his membership in his party in protest against the government's approval of the legislation to cultivate cannabis, within the framework of a deep crisis facing this Islamist party that has been leading the government coalition in Morocco since November 2011.
A Turkish prosecutor filed a case with the constitutional court on March 17, 2021 demanding the closure of the Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), accusing it of colluding with the banned Kurdish militant movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated a terrorist organization in Turkey.
HDP had attempted "to destroy the inseparable unity of the Turkish state and the nation through the actions and statements of its members." The party is also accused of “not standing by Turkey and its interests on any domestic or international issue.”
This case has caused a debate among political parties and movements in Turkey, especially that it comes in a difficult period of time in which the country is going through at the domestic and external levels. This step follows an escalation by the Turkish government against HDP and its members since Nov. 2016. This is indicative of a clear desire by the ruling alliance in Turkey to re-engineer the political life in the country to dismantle the alliance of the opposition, which HDP is one of its pillars. It is also a preemptive step before the upcoming parliamentary elections. This raises many questions about the future awaiting HDP in Turkey and the implications of its potential ban on the political landscape in the country.
In early March 2021, the fifth conference of its kind was held virtually to announce financial pledges for humanitarian efforts in Yemen. The conference resulted in pledges to provide only 43 percent of the amount requested by the United Nations (UN) to fund aid, which threatens to reduce its programmes and the number of beneficiaries, and exacerbate the humanitarian situation in Yemen. This paper sheds light on the context of the conference and the implications of its results, and makes proposals to increase the adequacy of the response to the humanitarian crisis in the light of the decline in international funding.
EPC | 22 Mar 2021
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, Organisation for the Liberation of the Levant), led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani, seeks to reproduce its image through the shifts it makes at the level of its political rhetoric, or through the tactical changes made by Julani, both by appearing in a modern outfit, abandoning the stereotypical image of the Mujahideen (Holy Warriors), and by wandering in Idlib's markets, unlike the jihadi leaders who live in isolation from the people and reside in unknown areas.
Most of the interpretations have argued that this behaviour is as an attempt on the part of the HTS to reposition itself vis-à-vis the Syrian crisis, and to present itself as a moderate local player who deserves to be a party to the final settlement that determines the future of Syria. This paper tries to shed light on those shifts and determine their causes and the results expected to be achieved from them.
EPC | 17 Mar 2021
On March 7, 2021, hundreds of African migrants, mostly Ethiopian, were killed or injured in a horrific fire in a detention center run by the internationally-unrecognized Houthi authorities in Sana’a, Yemen. Until now, the Houthis are deliberately trying to cover up the circumstances of this tragic incident holding the International Organization for Migration (IOM) fully responsible. There were calls to give international humanitarian and human rights organizations immediate and unrestricted access to the location and casualties and open an independent and transparent investigation into the incident.
This paper reviews the conflicting accounts about the fire incident in the African migrant’s camp in Sana’a. The paper also monitors the different positions of all sides, including international organizations and countries of the victims. In addition, the paper explores the potential trajectories of this case and what the international community could do to hold those responsible accountable for this horrific incident.
EPC | 21 Mar 2021
The Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI) faces a real challenge in preserving the existential benefits that it gained after the fall of the regime of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in April 2003, whereby the KRI became one of the poles of the ruling political system in Iraq. This time, the problems of the KRI are not a dispute with the central government in Baghdad as before, but rather a dispute between the two partners of the ruling regime in Kurdistan, namely the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by the family of the late President Jalal Talabani. This paper discusses the causes of the real dispute between the two parties and whether an administrative division is possible in the KRI authority.
EPC | 02 Mar 2021
The former Iraqi Prime Minister and leader of the State of Law Coalition Nouri al-Maliki is seeking to promote himself to head the next government that will be formed following the early elections that are scheduled for October 2021. During the past days, his coalition and other loyal parties began organising a media campaign to polish Maliki's image and launch an early election campaign that sparked various reactions in popular and political circles. This paper attempts to read Maliki's electoral chances, and trace his campaign and its impact on the Shiite alliance.
EPC | 28 Feb 2021
The Houthis have launched a ferocious attack on the oil province of Marib, the last stronghold of the internationally-recognised government in the north of the country since the beginning of the second week of February 2021, in an escalation that is the largest and that comes immediately after the US announced their removal from the lists of foreign terrorist organisations, and in conjunction with a Washington-led diplomatic mobility and repeated European and United Nations (UN) calls to stop the military escalation and move towards a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis.
This paper sheds light on the most important motives for the Houthi attack on Marib, and the messages that the group wishes to convey to the international community and its opponents and allies alike, and explores the repercussions of this escalation for the Yemeni crisis and the peace process, and possible scenarios.
EPC | 17 Feb 2021
The Yemeni crisis and the regional tensions that are fuelled by it have topped the list of concerns of the new US administration. On 4 February 2021, President Joe Biden announced the suspension of his country's support for the military campaign led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in Yemen, and appointed a special envoy to Yemen in an effort to strengthen US diplomatic efforts to "end the war" in this country. On the next day, his State Department announced the start of procedures for removing the Houthis from the list of terrorism, which was actually done on 16 February 2021.