Research Units

Publications

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  • Strategic Report - Iran / Second Edition: The Iranian Situation in 2020

    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.

  • The UAE Power-Building Model and Foreign Policy Shifts

    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.

  • Iran and the Biden Administration: A Potential Return to Negotiations

    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.

  • Mass Protests and the American-Iranian Competition in Iraq

    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.

Briefs

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  • Juba Declaration and its Impact on Sudan’s Political Landscape

    EPC | 20 Apr 2021

    Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan and Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, Head of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on March 28, 2021 signed in South Sudan’s capital Juba a “declaration of principles” (DOP) that constitutes a framework for political talks with armed groups to end conflicts in the country and rebuild the new Sudanese state.

  • China’s Gulf Initiative and the Absence of a Regional Alternative

    Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi | 15 Apr 2021

    Arab and international media have touted the Strategic Cooperation Agreement between China and Iran as a “game changer” that will have a significant impact on the distribution of power in the Gulf region. Visiting the Middle East, China’s foreign minister introduced a broad plan to solve the region’s various crises by targeting five key issues – most notably the crisis in relations between Iran and its Arab Gulf neighbors.

  • Visit by Tunisian President to Egypt: Objectives and Outcomes

    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.

  • Solving the Iran Impasse: A Perspective from the UAE

    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.

Featured Topic

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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?

  • Will Turkey Ban the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party?

    EPC | 11 Apr 2021

    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.

  • Conference to Support Humanitarian Response in Yemen: Towards More Efficient International Response

    EPC | 23 Mar 2021

    ​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.

  • Shifts in “Hay’at Tahrir al Sham”: Reasons and Ends

    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.

Scenarios

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  • The Struggle Between Kais Saied and Ennahda Movement in Tunisia: Causes and Likely Trajectories

    Ahmed Nadhif | 01 May 2021

    The differences that began more than a year ago between Tunisian President Kais Saied and the Islamic Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement – which has the parliamentary majority – escalated, to turn into an open struggle between the two sides and a media clash with statements, in the light of a multidimensional crisis that the country is going through at all political and economic levels, which was deepened by the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. This paper seeks to analyse the nature of this struggle between the two sides by monitoring its indicators, revealing its causes and roots, and trying to anticipate the possible paths for its development in the future.

  • Prospects for the Roadmap in Libya: Likely Scenarios

    Bilal Abdullah | 13 Apr 2021

    Libya’s new Government of National Unity (GNU) headed by Abdel Hamid Dbeibah was able to win the vote of confidence of the Libyan parliament in an unprecedented unified session in the second week of last March. However, appointing the newly elected leadership through the dialogue forum does not represent enough guarantee to complete the implementation of the declared roadmap. There are other obstacles that prevent proceeding according to the timeline which calls for holding presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, 2021. This paper seeks to deal with the likely failure of upholding the implementation of the roadmap in case presidential and parliamentary elections were not held on the set date at the end of this year. Such scenario is open to several trajectories if the ceasefire holds on or the armed conflict erupts once again.

  • Sulaymaniyah-Erbil Disagreement: Scenarios of Division in Iraqi Kurdistan

    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.

  • Al-Maliki’s Chances of Making Comeback as Prime Minister of Iraq

    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.