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  • Mapping Political Actors in Iraq

    EPC | 11 Aug 2021

    Mapping Political Actors in Iraq aims to: identify the main individuals, parties, alliances and other actors in Iraqi politics; analyze their strengths and weaknesses; identify the tools they employ to achieve their goals; expose the interactions and balances between them; and explore their regional and international alliances. In doing so, it identifies key polarizing issues and attitudes, as well as likely scenarios for their development going forward.

  • 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.

Briefs

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  • Understanding the Recent Contours of UAE Foreign Policy

    EPC | 22 Sep 2021

    The UAE has witnessed foreign policy steps recently that many consider as turning points in its approaches to the outside world. The UAE National Security Advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visits to Turkey and Qatar in August has highlighted such a change. These visits represented a sudden breakthrough in the UAE’s relations with both countries, considered tense in recent years. So, what has led to this turning point?

  • The Afghanistan Crisis: A Series of Misconceptions

    Spyridon N. Litsas | 15 Sep 2021

    The chaotic American evacuation of Afghanistan and the by proxy defeat by the Taliban have many consequences for the US status. The fall of Kabul also offers Turkey the opportunity to make its presence in the region noticeable.

  • Can Turkey Tilt the Balance of Ethiopian Conflicts?

    Suhaib Abdul Rahman | 05 Sep 2021

    ​Ethiopia is experiencing rapid and inflamed domestic and external circumstances. Ethnic conflict between its various regions has deepened, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has moved the battle beyond its territory with its fighters penetrating deep into the Afar and Amhara regions. In early August, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged all Ethiopians, including civilians, to join the federal forces in pushing the rebels back. Ahmed has also been trying to mobilize regional support for his bid to resolve the armed conflict raging in the country for about 11 months.

  • What Makes the Prosecution of ISIS Fighters in Syria Complex

    Malik al-Hafez | 04 Sep 2021

    Officials in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, the administrative arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)), have reiterated the demand for an independent international tribunal to prosecute ISIS fighters in SDF custody since mid-2019. However, going along this path is fraught with many obstacles and challenges. The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS refuses to push for the formation of such a court, arguing that this is outside the coalition’s mandate. Such a pretext also indicates that Western countries are not serious about taking back fighters belonging to their nationalities.

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  • Baghdad Conference: Transient Move or a New Regional Framework?

    EPC | 13 Sep 2021

    Iraq sees itself as a neutral and effective point of convergence in its divided regional periphery. The Baghdad conference also raised questions about the future trajectory and whether it was a nucleus for a new regional framework reflecting the reality of the emerging regional power relations or a mere transient moment that political and security shifts in Iraq and the region would overcome.

  • Raisi Government and Iran’s Covid-19 Policy Challenge

    EPC | 08 Sep 2021

    Controlling the Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as the biggest challenge for the new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. He has stressed that his government’s priority is to end the pandemic and that his government would use its total capacity to contain the spread of the virus by providing the financial resources necessary to import large quantities of vaccines and accelerating the pace of vaccination. However, he has not succeeded so far as Iran remains among the region’s lowest-ranked countries in terms of vaccination rate.

  • Morocco Elections 2021: Scenarios, Determinants, and Alliances

    EPC | 07 Sep 2021

    On September 8, 2021, the Moroccan legislative elections will be held to elect the occupants of 395 seats in the House of Representatives through a direct secret ballot. These elections are expected to result in a new government with a busy agenda. It will have to deal with many complex issues, domestic and regional. The significant adverse repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on Morocco’s public health and the economy would be the biggest challenge. The country’s recurring spats with neighboring countries, Algeria and Spain, have also cast a shadow over the elections. On the other hand, regional instability experienced by the Maghreb countries imposes a problematic reality on Morocco. The future of the political process seems ambiguous in Libya and Tunisia. Furthermore, successive changes in the leadership of Algeria’s military and security establishments and the persistent discontent among large segments of the Algerian youth suggest that the domestic situation there is still far from stable.

  • Exceptional Measures and the Political Crisis in Tunisia

    Ahmed Nadhif | 06 Sep 2021

    Tunisian President Kais Saied issued a presidential order extending the exceptional measures to suspend the Assembly of the Representatives (the Parliament) until further notice and lifted the parliamentary immunity of all its members. This was an extension of the decision Saied made on July 25, 2021, freezing the legislative authority for 30 days. Saied’s latest move ended the period of anticipation that the country and political forces were experiencing. It also triggered speculation over his next steps and those of his opponents in the Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement party, which has witnessed organizational changes coinciding with the political transformation taking place in the country. This paper examines President Saied’s motives for extending the duration of the exceptional measures and the positions of the political forces. It also sheds light on the transformations experienced by the Ennahda Movement, the President’s strongest opponent, and anticipates the future paths of the political crisis in Tunisia.

Scenarios

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  • Lifting of Lebanon’s Oil Subsidies and Implications for Syria

    EPC | 12 Sep 2021

    The collapsing Lebanese economy and a raised possibility of lifting subsidies on oil derivatives could have repercussions for smuggling these commodities to Syria because of the price difference.

  • Yemen’s Economy in Crash Landing Mode: Implications and Options

    EPC | 23 Aug 2021

    Yemen has plunged into a complex, severe, and multifaceted economic crisis driven by widespread macroeconomic instability. This crisis portends that the country is on the path of a total and imminent collapse if the international community does not intervene to stop it. This precarious situation prompted the Yemeni Prime Minister, Maeen Abdul Malik, and his Foreign Minister, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, to appeal to "brotherly and friendly countries" to provide urgent support to rescue the economy and cushion the risks and repercussions arising from it. This paper highlights the indicators of an imminent economic collapse in Yemen, its repercussions, and the options available to avoid such a collapse in the first place.

  • Somalia Elections: Challenges & Prospects

    Suhaib Abdul Rahman | 19 Aug 2021

    The decision to postpone the parliamentary elections in Somalia, which were scheduled to be held on July 25, raised political and security concerns that an agreement between the opposition and the regime of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (known as Farmaajo) on May 27, 2021, could collapse. The agreement helped resolve an electoral crisis between the two parties who were close to getting embroiled in an all-out civil war. The agreement stipulated that the elections be held within 60 days, with Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble taking a leading role in them, and reducing the powers of the outgoing president in the transitional phase, after the failed attempt to extend his term for an additional two years.

  • Ethiopia: New Conflict Balances

    EPC | 17 Aug 2021

    After an eight-month takeover of the Tigray region, the Ethiopian army withdrew from the northernmost regional state after a unilateral federal government ceasefire decision. The move seemed to signal a radical shift in the conflict in Ethiopia. The Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) - the military arm of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) - shifted from defense to offense, creating new balances that put the conflict in Ethiopia on new paths that were not expected in its initial stage. This paper reviews and analyzes the latest developments in the Ethiopian conflict, and potential trajectories.