Research Units

Publications

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  • 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.

  • Social Forces in Contemporary Iran

    EPC | 23 Apr 2020

    Our neighbor, Iran, is currently experiencing significant social turmoil in the face of escalating economic challenges and political crises – largely manifested in the form of ongoing public protests.

  • Internal and External Dynamics of a Rapidly Changing Turkey

    EPC | 07 Oct 2019

    Turkey is today undergoing significant political turbulence. President Erdogan’s popularity is in decline and the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) appears increasingly vulnerable to

Briefs

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  • Intra-Kurdish Dialogue in Syria: Challenges and Prospects

    Malik al-Hafez | 23 Feb 2021

    Despite the attempts of the Kurdish parties in Syria to resume their dialogue, whose last round took place in August 2020, this continues to collide with the divergent priorities of the new US administration, given that Washington is the main sponsor of the dialogue between the National Unity Parties (PYNK) led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) on the one hand, and the Kurdish National Council (KNC, ENKS) on the other hand.

  • Significance of Visit by Africom Delegation to Sudan

    Hamdi Bashir | 18 Feb 2021

    ​On 26 January 2021, the Deputy Commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) Ambassador Andrew Young led a high-ranking military delegation during a visit to Sudan. This was the first such visit by a US military official to this country since it was removed from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. This paper sheds light on the significance of the visit’s timing and objectives, and the prospects for military and security cooperation between the two sides.

  • Election of the New Transitional Leadership in Libya: Challenges and Prospects

    EPC | 15 Feb 2021

    ​The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which met in Geneva on 6 February 2021, has reached an agreement on the choice of the leadership of the executive authority for the transitional phase responsible for holding the parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 December 2021. While the results of the vote came as a surprise, they reflected the scales and stakes of the current political conflict in Libya in the prospect of reaching a final deal for the political solution.

  • Iraqi-Syrian Borders: Clash of Interests and Conflict of Agendas

    EPC | 14 Feb 2021

    ​The Syrian-Iraqi border is one of the most dangerous regions in the Middle East due to the multiplicity of players in this region, their different interests and goals, and the inability to control it. Over many years, this border has turned into one of the regional danger centres, given that unruly forces, militias and terrorist organisations are spread on both sides, in addition to the presence of armies belonging to major foreign powers, both global and regional, without the existence of mechanisms to ensure the non-collision between those forces.

Featured Topic

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  • The Future of Iran’s Presence in Syria

    Nizar Abdul Kader | 24 Feb 2021

    ​Iran began its military intervention in Syria with the outbreak of the civil war in 2011. The main goal of this intervention was to defeat the Revolution and save Bashar al-Assad’s rule from falling, and thus maintain the “Alawite rule” which is a focal point in the Islamic Republic's long-term strategy aimed at establishing a “Shiite crescent” extending from Iran through Iraq and Syria, all the way to Lebanon. A full decade after the military developments in Syria, this paper seeks to foresee the future of the Iranian military presence in this country in the light of the intense competition for influence between the various regional and international players, especially the US and Russia, and in the light of the continuous Israeli military pressure on the Iranian presence to get Iran out of Syria.

  • Escalation in Sinjar, Iraq: Internal Competition and Geopolitical Consequences

    EPC | 23 Feb 2021

    ​February 2021 witnessed further military and verbal escalation regarding the situation in Sinjar near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at the possibility that Turkish forces might launch a large-scale attack on the district that is administratively associated with Nineveh Governorate in order to eradicate the operatives of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who Ankara claims are heavily present in that region and move continuously across the Iraqi-Syrian border, in cooperation with their allies from the Kurdish and Yazidi factions in Syria and Iraq. The Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar had visited Baghdad on 18 January 2021, accompanied by the Turkish Army Chief of Staff General Yasar Guler, to pressure the Iraqi government to activate its efforts to expel the PKK fighters from Sinjar, expressing Ankara's readiness to support the governments of Baghdad and Erbil to implement the agreement they had reached on 9 October 2020 to normalise the situation in Sinjar and drive the PKK out of the region.

  • Dispute between the Kurdish Autonomous Administration and al-Asad Regime in al-Hasakah Governorate: Background and Possibilities

    EPC | 15 Feb 2021

    ​The competition over areas of influence between the Kurdish Autonomous Administration (KAA) and the Syrian regime in the east of the Euphrates developed into direct tension with the beginning of 2021, as the two parties exchanged sieges on areas belonging to the other side, or related to the environment supporting it in Hasaka (also Hasakah) Governorate. While the two parties, with Russian mediation, reached an agreement on 2 February 2021 to lift the mutual siege on their respective regions, the agreement does not constitute a complete and final solution to the outstanding problems between them, which foreshadows new rounds of dispute.

  • Future Prospects of Tunisia’s Political Crisis

    Ahmed Nadhif | 13 Feb 2021

    ​On 16 January 2021, Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced a cabinet reshuffle which included 11 ministerial portfolios, including the ministries of justice and the interior. Afterwards, the country fell into a constitutional-political crisis after President Qais Saied refused to receive the new ministers who were chosen by Mechichi to take the oath after gaining Parliament’s confidence on 26 January 2021, on the grounds of suspicions of corruption and conflict of interests hovering around some of them. The Tunisian President also announced his objection to the measures that accompanied the reshuffle because, in his opinion, they lack a constitutional basis.

Scenarios

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  • Biden Administration and Yemen: Orientations and Implications for the Conflict Parties and Political Solution Path

    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.

  • Israel-Iran Escalation in Yemen: Indications and Possibilities

    EPC | 11 Feb 2021

    ​Tensions have escalated in recent weeks between Israel on the one hand and Iran and its allies, especially the Houthis, on the other hand. Each side has escalated on the ground and in the political and media space, and the two sides exchanged accusations, warnings, and threats with harsh responses. An important part of this escalation is related to the increasing concern of the Israelis about the development of the military capabilities of the Houthi group in Yemen and their access to advanced Iranian military technologies, including ballistic missiles and advanced unmanned aircraft capable of striking Israel, in the light of the possibility that Yemen may be the starting point of Iranian operations targeting Israel and US targets in revenge for the killing of Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh.

  • Biden Administration to Review Agreement with Taliban: Likely Scenarios

    Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 07 Feb 2021

    ​Despite the strategic mistakes in the peace agreement between the Taliban and the US, which was signed in February 2020 during the era of the Donald Trump administration, the Biden administration was not expected to announce its intention to review the agreement a few days after assuming its duties on 20 January 2021. In a phone call on 22 January 2021, the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan informed his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib that the US will review the peace agreement concluded with the Taliban and that pursuant to this review, the US will reassess "whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders”.

  • Increasing Tension in Libya’s Western Faction and Prospects of Settlement

    EPC | 01 Feb 2021

    Over the last weeks of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, many signs have accumulated of rifts and a realignment between the actors of the camp affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA). It can be said that these tensions revolve around the competition over the restructuring of power, against the background of the settlement talks and the related redrawing of the map of security and military influence between the actors of this camp.