Shereen Mohammed | 22 Nov 2020
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.
Shereen Mohammed | 25 Oct 2020
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.
EPC | 19 Oct 2020
In mid-September 2020, Fayez al-Sarraj, Chair of the Presidential Council and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, announced his intention to resign from his post before the end of October at the latest, in the hope that the Dialogue Committee would, by then, have appointed a new prime minister and Presidential Council. This came a few days after the interim government, based in the eastern city of Al-Bayda, also tendered its resignation to the president of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh Issa. The timing of these two events, and the continuation of each government’s activities within the scope of its temporary control, is a sign of progress in the current discussions on both the political and military tracks. It also provides a space in which to build common ground with a view to launching a new transitional period, during which existing divisions could be overcome and preparations could be made for holding presidential and parliamentary elections, in accordance with agreed constitutional provisions.
Shereen Mohammed | 13 Oct 2020
The Moroccan model for dealing with violent and terrorist groups, in particular Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, is one of very few cases of a pre‑emptive mechanism for preventing national security threats. Most Arab States have, by contrast, taken a curative approach to dealing with the consequences of terrorism (i.e. retrospectively, once the impact has grown), in particular after the 2011 revolutionary movement and the armed conflict that subsequently spread throughout several Arab States. This article will examine the “multi‑pronged pre-emptive” approach adopted by the Moroccan government, which blends political and security dimensions, especially in view of important economic factors compounded by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shereen Mohammed | 16 Sep 2020
Algeria is scheduled to hold a public referendum on the new constitution on November 1, 2020. Both the upper house of the Algerian parliament, the Council of the Nation, and its lower house, the People’s National Assembly, unanimously approved the final draft of a new constitution on September 10 following months of discussion between political parties and the grassroots Hirak movement over several controversial articles. The result is a constitution that draws a line under the Bouteflika era, which lasted for two decades.
Bilal Abdullah | 14 Sep 2020
Following the ceasefire agreement reached between Fayez al-Sarraj, Chair of the Presidential Council, and Aguila Saleh, President of the House of Representatives, the conflict in Libya has come one step closer to a peaceful settlement in which politics, rather than military action, is once again seen as the solution. This comes after a meeting in Bouznika, Morocco, at which the two sides announced that they had come to an agreement on the criteria required for holding a leadership position in Libya, and that these positions would be distributed among Libya’s three historical regions.
Shereen Mohammed | 06 Sep 2020
During the past few weeks, some international and regional powers, such as the US, Germany and Turkey, as well as the United Nations (UN), have called for the establishment of a demilitarised zone in Sirte, as an introduction to de-escalation and the settlement of the conflict in Libya. This gained importance after the announcement by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Parliament), of a ceasefire between the two parties to the conflict. However, there is a divergence in the positions of the local, regional and international parties towards this call, in addition to the existence of a set of issues that impede reaching an agreement between the parties to the conflict regarding the establishment of a demilitarised zone in Sirte. This opens the door to multiple scenarios regarding the dynamic geography of the Libyan conflict.
Shereen Mohammed | 31 Aug 2020
On 25 August 2020, Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi announced the formation of the new Tunisian government, which comprises 28 portfolios, between ministers and ministers of state. The composition must gain confidence by a majority (at least 109 votes out of a total of 217 votes) during the session of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People of Tunisia (Parliament), which is scheduled to take place in early September 2020. This paper analyses the political significance of the formation of the Mechichi government, and presents the possible scenarios for its approval and the most important expectations regarding its future performance.