Research Unit

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  • EPC | 04 Aug 2020

    Turkey’s Intervention in Libya: Determinants and Challenges

    Turkey's signature with the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj of two memorandums of understanding to define maritime rights and security and military cooperation between the two countries in November 2019 marked a turning point in the Turkish intervention in the Libyan arena. The operation has become a direct, open and qualitative intervention, as a result of which Turkey increased its military support for the GNA forces. In addition to providing them with sophisticated weapon systems, it also provided them with Turkish military advisers and Syrian mercenaries loyal to it. This contributed to transforming the course of the battle and the success by the GNA forces in evicting the forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Haftar from the cities of the West Coast, Tripoli and its suburbs, the al-Watiya air base, and the city of Tarhuna, and their retreat towards the city of Sirte and the military base of Jufra in central Libya.

  • EPC | 03 Aug 2020

    Al-Kadhimi’s Visit to Iran: Iraqi Sovereignty in Exchange for Economic Aid

    ​On 21 July 2020, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi paid a visit to Iran. This was his first external visit after he took office. It also came after he delayed a scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia due to the hospitalization of the Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. Kadhimi’s visit to Tehran comes in the context of an Iraqi political dynamism that is different from before. This dynamism focuses on establishing Iraqi sovereignty and demanding that Iran control its loyal factions in Iraq. In return, Iraq would continue to play the role of Iran’s economic lungs.

  • EPC | 28 Jul 2020

    Explosions in Iranian Military Sites: Accused Parties and Extent of Tehran’s Response

    In June 2020, Iran experienced a series of explosions and fires that extended to military sites (including an explosion that shook the Parchin military complex, an explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility, and news of a series of explosions that extended to military sites east of the capital Tehran) and industrial zones (including an explosion in a power plant in Ahwaz in southwest Iran, a petrochemical company near Mashhad in northeast Iran, and a fire that broke out in a factory south of the capital Tehran), thereby raising serious questions about the nature of those incidents, their consequences, and the causes behind each one of them.

  • ​Ahmed Askar | 28 Jul 2020

    The Growing Relationship between Iran and al-Shabab Movement in Somalia: Motives and Potential Consequences

    In recent years, there have been increasing signs that Iran and Al-Shabaab have been growing closer. Iran is aspiring to expand its influence and its activities throughout the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region by strengthening its ties to emerging movements and organizations, such as the Houthis in Yemen and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and using these groups to achieve its strategic goals and create a new balance between the regional and international powers active in the region. This poses a clear threat to security and stability in the region and to these powers’ strategic interests; they have therefore been forced to work together to attempt to sever the ties between Tehran and Al-Shabaab and prevent further instability in the region.

  • Ahmed Diab | 27 Jul 2020

    Future of the Regional Struggle over Afghanistan after the American Withdrawal

    In light of the facts and complicated conditions that will result from the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, new international and regional inclinations and policies are emerging regarding the future of that country. Peace talks between the Taliban Movement and the Afghan government are expected to be complicated and protracted, probably extending for years. In case a political settlement is not reached between the Afghan government and the Movement, the US withdrawal could lead to the eruption of a large-scale civil war, some of whose protagonists would be supported by regional and international powers such as Russia and China which have political, economic and security interests that converge at times and conflict at others in Afghanistan. Some neighbouring countries such as Iran, Pakistan and India also have conflicting interests. The influence of India and Pakistan over actors in Afghanistan is well known. Besides, the two countries have mechanisms and means to influence the state of affairs in Afghanistan.

  • EPC | 27 Jul 2020

    Sunni Endowment Diwan Triggers Struggle over Sunni Marji’yya in Iraq

    Once again, the controversy returns in the Iraqi Sunni community regarding the religious authorities. This time the cause is the replacement of the President of the Sunni Endowment Office (or Diwan, SEO) and the attempt to designate a new name to run the Sect’s endowments and associated investment projects. The disagreement between the relevant parties reflects the ongoing conflict between the secular and Brotherhood Sunni powers in Iraq.

  • EPC | 26 Jul 2020

    Al-Kadhimi Government and its Strategy to Contain the Popular Mobilization Forces

    ​The factions of the Popular Mobilization Committee (PMC, al-Hashed al-Shaabi) constitute a real challenge to the new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi who had pledged in his government programme to establish the state sovereignty, limit the possession of weapons to the state, and organize the Iraqi military establishment in an effective and serious manner. Kadhimi’s promises came amidst a general feeling of depression and mistrust among the Iraqi people as a result of the repeated promises that were offered without being met by the former governments. This paper sheds light on the conflict of wills between the Kadhimi government and the PMC factions.

  • EPC | 20 Jul 2020

    Extending Embargo of Arms Trade with Iran: American Attempts and International Obstacles

    It has become clear that the most important controversy on the threshold of the US presidential elections concerns the issue of the extension of the embargo on arms trade with Iran. International sanctions provided for by the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had imposed an embargo on arms trade with Iran. However, the nuclear deal (which is in turn an international document recognized by the UNSC) provides for the termination of the said embargo in October 2020. Thus, the issue of lifting the embargo has become the subject of disagreement between the US and its former partners in the nuclear deal.