Research Unit

Featured Topic

  • EPC | 12 Jan 2021

    The US Designates Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization: Likely Consequences

    ​On 10 January 2021, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that his Department intends to notify Congress of its intention to designate the Houthi Ansar Allah (Supporters of God) group as a "foreign terrorist organization" (FTO). In the same statement, which was posted on the website of the Department of State, he also announced his intention to designate three Houthi leaders, namely Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, on the list of international terrorists. The US Secretary of State pointed out that the designations “will provide additional tools to confront terrorist activity and terrorism by [Ansar Allah]”. It is also intended “to hold [Ansar Allah] accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure, and commercial shipping”. He also added that the designations are “intended to advance efforts to achieve a peaceful, sovereign, and united Yemen that is both free from Iranian interference and at peace with its neighbors”. These sanctions are scheduled to take effect on 19 January 2021, the day before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

  • EPC | 11 Jan 2021

    Russian-Iranian Agreement in West of the Euphrates: Objectives, Interests and Outcomes

    For the first time since their intervention in Syria, the Russian forces have reached the Iraqi borders at the Albu Kamal crossing in December 2020. This area is considered to be purely under Iranian influence since control over it was regained from the Daesh (Islamic State, ISIS) organisation in 2018. There are indications of an unannounced Russian-Iranian agreement, many of whose details are unclear. This raises questions about the considerations that prompted the two countries to conclude this agreement, and whether it constitutes a prelude to changing the conditions of the players in the Syrian-Iraqi border area. This paper sheds light on the current developments in the region of West Euphrates and explores the potential prospects for them.

  • EPC | 11 Jan 2021

    Muqtada al-Sadr’s Bid to Nominate Iraq’s Next Prime Minister

    Seven months before the date set for the early parliamentary elections, in June 2021, the Sadrist Movement launched its electoral campaign by revealing that it seeks to win the majority of seats in the next parliament and thus have the right to name the Prime Minister. This came through a series of coordinated positions by the Movement’s leader Muqtada al-Sadr and his senior aides, and was met with a mixture of caution and skepticism on the part of the political and popular circles, given the radical changes that this would cause in the map of the distribution of influence between the main Shiite actors and, subsequently, in the Iraqi political balances.

  • EPC | 10 Jan 2021

    The Kurdistan Protests and Prospects of Negotiations with Baghdad

    As a result of the financial and political crisis, the delay in paying employees' salaries, and the Kurdish blocs' refusal to vote on the borrowing law that was approved by the Iraqi Council of Representatives (COR) in November 2020, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the Kurdistan region in the first week of December 2020. The protesters burned party headquarters in Sulaymaniyah and blocked roads with burning tyres, while the security services carried out crackdowns and arrests and used live ammunition to disperse the protesters, which led to deaths and injuries among the protesters. While most of the demonstrations were confined to the provinces of Sulaymaniyah and Halabja, which are under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), they indicate the exacerbating danger that may be caused by the economic crisis throughout the region, especially as it comes at a time when the Kurdish Region is about to split, given that the differences between Baghdad and Erbil have reached their climax. Therefore, the Region quickly sent a delegation headed by Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister of the Region and a leader of the PUK, to Baghdad to reach a solution to the budget and salary issues.

  • EPC | 31 Dec 2020

    Morocco’s Role in Confronting Security Threats in Africa’s Sahel Region: Premises, Challenges and Prospects

    ​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).

  • EPC | 30 Dec 2020

    Russia Signs Deal with Sudan to Establish Logistics Center for its Navy in Port Sudan: Implications and Possible Application

    The Russian announcement on 8 December 2020 of the signature of an agreement with Sudan to establish a "Logistical Support Centre" for the Russian Navy on Sudanese soil sparked increased interest among experts and analysts who focused on the special importance of this development, especially in terms of its impact on efforts to enhance the deployment of Russian naval forces in the Red Sea, expanding the range of their operational moves, and considering its role in countering what were described as US attempts to seize influence and control in this vital region. However, questions are raised about the possibility of the implementation of this agreement by Sudan after the improvement of its relations with the US.

  • ​Mostafa Kamal | 29 Dec 2020

    International Competition for Libya’s Oil Ports

    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.

  • Ahmed Nadhif | 21 Dec 2020

    The “French Awakening” Against Political Islam: Motivations and Future Repercussions

    Despite the lack of official figures on the number of Muslims in France for reasons related to legal barriers, France is the largest European country in terms of the number of Muslims. According to some estimates, five million Muslims live in France, ranging between citizens and residents, which makes this mass a source of general controversy that is renewed with every terrorist attack launched by Muslims. This has been the case since October 2020 in the wake of the attacks that struck the city of Nice and the assassination of the teacher Samuel Patty. However, the controversy this time coincided with an official campaign that some called "an open war against political Islam", while others dismissed it as a "circumstantial campaign" similar to the campaigns carried out by the French authorities in the past.