Research Unit

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  • EPC | 20 May 2020

    Returning to the Mechanisms of the Nuclear Agreement: US Attempts to Prevent Iran from Obtaining the Right to Weapons under the Agreement

    In October 2020, the ban on trade in conventional weapons with Iran imposed under article 5 of Annex II of the nuclear agreement — which prohibits all countries from trading in such weapons with Iran — will come to an end. The ban was scheduled to last for five years from the day that the agreement came into effect, ending in October of this year. The various parties to the agreement are ramping up their political maneuvers, however, as the US administration and the remaining parties to the agreement appear to hold incompatible positions regarding the end of the embargo.

  • EPC | 19 May 2020

    The Impact of US and Russian Oil Policies on the Future of the Oil Markets

    The policies adopted by the leading countries in the oil market influence the shape of the market and how it responds to changes. In March 2020, Russian policy drew the country into a price war with Saudi Arabia, leading to a sharp drop in crude oil prices. In response, the USA changed its short-term approach in order to protect the US shale oil industry, by pushing for an end to the Russian–Saudi price war and the completion of the OPEC+ deal, which was concluded on April 12. The deal is evidence of the many overlapping interests that these countries share, which enabled them to reach a deal on a number of policies despite having different objectives for the oil market.

  • EPC | 18 May 2020

    Al-Assad-Makhlouf Dispute: Background and Dimensions

    The current dispute between the president of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad and Syria’s top businessman Rami Makhlouf constitutes a new variable in the policy of the Syrian regime and its way of dealing with the problems that erupt within the narrow circle of decision making. While Rami Makhlouf is not a political figure and has no specific position within the Syrian power hierarchy, it is no secret that in addition to being a relative of Assad, he represents a strong economic centre that owes its status to the significant role played by the regime policy. This makes him organically linked to the Syrian ruling system. This is evidenced by the fact that Rami Makhlouf benefitted a lot from the economic transformation that occurred in Syria under Assad the son’s presidency, that is the shift from planned to market economy which required the issuance of hundreds of presidential decrees to rehabilitate the legal and political structure accordingly. This paper sheds light on the background of the dispute between the two men and Russia’s position thereon in its capacity as the most influential player in Syrian policies.

  • EPC | 18 May 2020

    Somalia’s 2020/2021 National Elections: Problematic Issues and Potential Scenarios

    Preparations are underway to hold the presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 in Somalia. A new draft electoral law has been developed by the Ministry of the Interior after consultation with the five federal states and the parties concerned. It was then approved by the Council of Ministers and both chambers of Parliament, to be ratified by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in February 2020. Holding elections in a federal country with weak institutions in both the centre and the periphery constitutes a completely new adventure. The political scene lacks federal states that are united, strong and capable of negotiating. Neither is there a strong centre that is capable of delegating some of its powers to the periphery. On the contrary, there is a federal government that has failed to take control of many areas and that acts as if it is in control of the whole of Somalia. In contrast, there are regional states that are weak and incapable of properly controlling the areas where they are located. This paper aims to analyze the political process in Somalia, monitor the main influential actors at the current political scene, and build potential scenarios for those elections.

  • EPC | 17 May 2020

    Turkey’s Lira Crisis: Feasibility of Traditional and Non-traditional Solutions

    The financial crisis broke out in Turkey for cumulative reasons even before the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. While the negative effects of the global pandemic will emerge during this summer in Turkey, the pandemic has destroyed government hopes and plans for economic recovery, albeit relatively, this year. This paper looks into the reasons for the current Turkish lira crisis and the solutions available to the government to overcome it or manage it for a longer period.

  • EPC | 17 May 2020

    Iran’s Budget between Discrepancy in Official Figures and the Reality of Collapse

    On 20 March 2020, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the start of the implementation of the Iranian general budget for the current Iranian year (March 2020/March 2021). Thus, it became the first general budget in the history of the new Iranian regime to be implemented without being debated in Parliament. After the Iranian Parliament had rejected the draft general budget in January 2020, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dropped the role of Parliament in debating the budget owing to the suspension of Parliament’s activity as a result of the spread of coronavirus. The Guardian Council of the Constitution was tasked with debating the general budget and presenting it to the government for implementation. As a result, on the last day of the last Iranian year, Rouhani informed the ministries of the draft general budget and of its effect.

  • Mohamed Fayez Farahat | 13 May 2020

    Covid-19 Crisis between the U.S and China: Risks and Potential Repercussions

    While the Chinese-US relations have been characterized by a conflictual nature since the arrival of the Donald Trump administration in January 2017, the current crisis, that had started to take shape between both countries in light of the COVID-19 virus crisis, is perhaps the most serious in the history of the relations between both countries. It involves the risks of building an international anti-China bloc if the US manages to hold China responsible for the synthetic (artificial) origin of the virus and its “intentional laziness” in warning countries of the world of the consequences of this disease and to convince the largest number possible of countries of this assumption. This would have serious strategic implications for China at more than one level.

  • Ahmad Askar | 11 May 2020

    The Future of the African Continent in Light of Covid-19 Crisis

    The large-scale spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa raises numerous concerns about the extent of readiness of its countries in countering the epidemic and the nature and magnitude of the losses they sustain. These concerns get even worse in view of the challenges faced by the continent on all fronts, particularly with regard to the continent’s poor health system and the possible consequences of failure to counter the pandemic. This maximizes the continent’s political, economic, security and social costs in a manner that would adversely reflect on the future of the African continent and its relationship with the outside world going forward.