EPC | 24 Mar 2020
Although according to official figures and based on monitoring the media and following social media websites, Iraq continues to rank low on the list of countries affected by the coronavirus, compared to Iran, one of the epicentres for the spread of the virus, and considering the heavy transport and human movement traffic with it, all circumstances are fit to transform that global threat into an existential threat for the Iraqi people, no less dangerous than the overrun by ISIS of large areas of the country in 2014.
EPC | 23 Mar 2020
In recent decades, a new form of competition has emerged in the Red Sea region, as emerging regional powers have sought to expand their geopolitical and economic influence over a larger area of land and sea. Among them, Turkey is motivated not by some sort of major geostrategic vision, but rather by its economic and commercial interests, combined with a sense of national prestige. Competition for supremacy and prestige throughout the wider Middle East is an essential part of Erdoğan’s ambitious vision of a powerful Turkey. The Red Sea and the Horn of Africa have an important role to play in this regard, as does the wider issue of Turkey’s influence in Africa, which has significant untapped economic potential for the country.
Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 19 Mar 2020
Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it has come to be known, first appeared in a Chinese city (Wuhan) in December 2019. Infections and deaths because of the virus grew at an increasing pace, which led the Chinese authorities to declare top-level emergency in many of the country’s provinces to counter the rapid spread of the disease. As a result of the tight method adopted by the Chinese government in managing the virus spread crisis, rates of infection and death began to fall remarkably starting from the third quarter of February 2020. So much so that no new infections of local origin were recorded on 19 March.
This paper sheds light on some aspects of the Chinese experience in countering the spread of coronavirus, how China succeeded in managing and containing the impacts of one of the most dangerous health crises which the country has faced in its contemporary history, the most salient vulnerabilities relevant to this process, and what the world can learn from all this.
EPC | 20 Feb 2020
Shortly before its resignation at the end of November 2019 amid wide protest movement, the government of former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi signed a framework agreement for economic cooperation with China that envisages the financing of major infrastructure projects from Iraqi oil exported to China. The agreement stirred a political, economic and even popular debate triggered by the government's failure to present the deal to the parliament and keeping some of its clauses untold. This paper sheds light on the context of the agreement, reviews some of its known clauses, addresses political positions thereon, and discusses claims that the deal actually serves Iran.
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.
Ahmad Askar | 18 Feb 2020
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, more commonly known as Al-Shabaab, remains the main security challenge in Somalia and one of the most significant threats to regional stability and security in the Horn of Africa given the recent uptick in the group's activity in Somalia and its growing expansion in the region. The terrorist attacks launched by the group are now claiming the lives of more civilians, military and government officials. This is in addition to targeting government interests and institutions inside and outside Somalia, which places a significant burden on the countries of the Horn of Africa and regional forces due to the risks and threats posed by the group.
EPC | 17 Feb 2020
In a repeat of Adel Abdul-Mahdi's elevation to Iraq's premiership, the leader of the Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and the leader of the pro-Iran Al-Fatah Alliance, Hadi al-Amiri, agreed to nominate former Minister of Communications Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi as a new prime minister. Once Allawi was officially designated by the President of the Republic, Barham Salih, on February 1, 2020, the demonstrations intensified in Baghdad and a number of southern provinces denouncing their ally's, Al-Sadr, departure from the protesters' conditions that the next prime minister must be independent, does not hold two nationalities and has not been a member of any previous government.
Iran's political scene continues to heat up as the country gears up for the next parliamentary elections. On the official level, there have been verbal clashes between the conservative wing-held Guardian Council of the Constitution, which is charged with qualifying parliamentary candidates, and the government, which accused the Council of not being neutral and excluding all candidates who belong to political groups outside the conservative line.
On the political groups’ level, the reformists keep mum on the elections after hundreds of reformist candidates have been disqualified from running in the forthcoming polls. On the other side, cracks have started to appear among the conservatives, otherwise known as the principlists. In the meantime, the grassroots remain relatively apathetic towards the electoral warm-up with no indications that there are above-average preparations for the next vote, sparking fear among regime's circles that the turnout might sink to unprecedented levels.