Research Unit

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  • EPC | 11 Apr 2021

    Will Turkey Ban the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party?

    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.

  • EPC | 23 Mar 2021

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

    ​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.

  • EPC | 22 Mar 2021

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

    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.

  • EPC | 17 Mar 2021

    African Migrants Fire in Sana’a: Positions and Likely Trajectories of the Case

    On March 7, 2021, hundreds of African migrants, mostly Ethiopian, were killed or injured in a horrific fire in a detention center run by the internationally-unrecognized Houthi authorities in Sana’a, Yemen. Until now, the Houthis are deliberately trying to cover up the circumstances of this tragic incident holding the International Organization for Migration (IOM) fully responsible. There were calls to give international humanitarian and human rights organizations immediate and unrestricted access to the location and casualties and open an independent and transparent investigation into the incident. This paper reviews the conflicting accounts about the fire incident in the African migrant’s camp in Sana’a. The paper also monitors the different positions of all sides, including international organizations and countries of the victims. In addition, the paper explores the potential trajectories of this case and what the international community could do to hold those responsible accountable for this horrific incident.

  • Ahmed Nadhif | 15 Mar 2021

    Erdogan’s Pivot to Erbakan’s Faction: Motivations, Challenges and Prospects

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey is going through a state of disintegration in its traditional social base since 2013 in the wake of disagreement with the Gülen movement led by Fethullah Gülen. Huge segments of the Turkish conservative class started to shun AKP. In the summer of 2016, the botched coup attempt deepened this rift after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan forged an alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as part of the People's Alliance. This has led to the rise of the nationalist tendencies inside AKP and policies of the Turkish regime while traditional leaders started to leave the party. However, AKP defeat in local elections in June 2019 has clearly shown this base disintegration, especially when Erdogan’s ruling party lost Istanbul mayoral elections in front of its historical rival the Republican People's Party (CHP) after 25 years of controlling this position. Since then, Erdogan has been looking for a new formula to run in the upcoming elections, whether by cementing his alliance with the nationalists or by looking for new allies. The Turkish president is also trying to restore his historical conservative base. To this end, he has been trying for some time to woo his old mentor, Necmettin Erbakan’s movement. This paper analyzes Erdogan’s tendency for rapprochement with Erbakan’s movement by clarifying its indicators, motives, and challenges facing AKP leadership to conclude this alliance, and its future consequences.

  • Ahmed Askar | 07 Mar 2021

    British Presence in the Horn of Africa: Interests, Policies and Prospects

    The tour of British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in January 2021 that included Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia reflects the nature of Britain’s new policies, London’s expanding efforts to maximize its influence in the region and establish a foothold there as part of the UK’s post-Brexit global vision. In its attempt to improve its ties with countries in the Horn of Africa, Britain depends on a number of pillars and approaches that enhance its strategic interests there. At the same time, London faces some challenges that curb Britain’s moves in the region such as the growing influence of the competing powers and the increasing security and terrorist threats. This paper highlights the nature of Britain’s interests and motivations in the Horn of Africa, characteristics and foundations of this interest, and the potential future scenarios for the British regional presence.

  • EPC | 03 Mar 2021

    European Mediation in Iran’s Issue: An Endeavor for Solution or a Political Agenda?

    ​In recent days, the Iranian issue has witnessed a congestion in the positions issued by the relevant parties, in addition to some mediation initiatives at the diplomatic level (the Qatari and European initiatives). This indicates an increase in efforts to find a solution to this issue and pave the way for the revival of the nuclear agreement. However, there are indications that the European efforts in particular have begun to deviate from their main goal, which is to solve the Iranian nuclear issue, towards the implementation of a political agenda, namely to support the moderate Iranian trend in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for 18 May 2021.

  • Nizar Abdul Kader | 24 Feb 2021

    The Future of Iran’s Presence in Syria

    ​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.