In the light of the declared trends of the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden regarding his foreign policy, speculations prevail about adverse policies and positions that are likely to be taken by his administration vis-à-vis both Russia and Turkey on a number of issues. This raises questions about the status of the Libyan conflict within those forthcoming positions of the new administration towards the two countries.
Tunisian President Kais Saied visited Doha during the period 14-16 November 2020 at the official invitation of the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad. This visit gained its importance from being the first for President Saied to Qatar since he assumed the presidency of Tunisia in October 2019, and his second visit to an Arab country after Algeria.
Morocco's interest in the African Sahel (Coast) region is attributable to the successive crises in the region, especially the Malian crisis, in addition to the growing activity of terrorist groups, as well as the threat of transnational organised crime which takes many forms, perhaps the most prominent of which are drug smuggling, human and arms trafficking, and kidnapping. This was confirmed by the latest Global Terrorism Index 2020 issued by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
Delay in reaching a political solution to end the Libyan crisis leads to the widening of the conflict over oil resources in this country, given that Libyan oil accounts for 93-95 percent of the total public revenues of the Libyan budget, and covers 70 percent of total spending. The continuation of the conflict has led to a decline in Libya's total daily oil production, from 1.6 million barrels per day before 2011 to 1.25 million barrels per day in 2020, after the resumption of oil production which was halted several times due to the intensification of the conflict. Libya is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). While Libyan production falls within the minimum limit of the agreement to reduce production, which was estimated at 1.7 million barrels per day in September 2020, Libyan production constitutes an important factor in the oil price wars in the region.
Tensions have recently escalated at the Guerguerat (also Karkarat) border crossing between Morocco and Mauritania, which is located in a buffer zone guarded by United Nations (UN) forces within the Western Sahara region, after armed elements of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario), on 21 October 2020, infiltrated into this region and disrupted the movement of civilians and commercial goods through this crossing, and sought to obstruct the work of military observers working with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), who are tasked with monitoring respect for the ceasefire between the Moroccan and Polisario sides. This prompted the Moroccan army to intervene, announcing on 14 November 2020 its success in fully securing the buffer zone. Nevertheless, the possibility of escalation persists in light of the announcement by the Polisario Front of the end of the commitment to the 1991 ceasefire agreement with Morocco, which could pave the way for an overall military confrontation between the two sides.
The Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement in Tunisia is witnessing an escalating struggle between its leaders. This is mainly due to the problematic succession of Rached al-Ghannouchi as the head of the Movement, considering that the Movement has become divided between two groups, one of them advocating the continuation of Ghannouchi as the Movement’s leader by renewing his candidacy for a third presidential term to maintain the Movement’s stability and survival at the forefront of the country’s political scene, while the other refusing to amend the Movement’s internal law which stipulates that Ghannouchi may not assume the leadership of the Movement for more than two consecutive terms.
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