Dr. Nizar Abdul Kader | 11 Oct 2020
Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean are at their highest in decades following Turkey’s decision to send a research vessel, the Oruç Reis, to prospect for gas and oil in maritime areas which Turkey believes fall within its exclusive economic zone, a claim disputed by both Greece and Cyprus.
The roots of the crisis stretch back several years to when commercial quantities of oil and gas were first discovered in the marine areas off the coast of the two countries. Given the geographic overlap between the two, both Athens and Ankara claimed rights to those resources, which has greatly complicated the issues of sovereignty and economic rights in the exclusive economic zones claimed by both sides.
Before delving into the causes of the dispute — in which Greece and Cyprus together are facing off against Turkey — and the possible outcomes, it will be useful to take a quick look at the history of relations between the three countries, which have so often been characterized by the threat of escalation and a growing sense of hostility.
EPC | 01 Oct 2020
On 8 September 2020, the sixth meeting of the Iran-Turkey Cooperation Council was held under the chairmanship of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The meeting approved many common issues between the two sides as a gateway to enhancing their strategic relations at this stage. However, what is striking is that the meeting, which took place by means of videoconferencing, confirmed that the two countries would take joint steps in the region in a way that serves their interests, “including joint military and security operations, in countering terrorism and organised crime” groups. These are directly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Iranian Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK). It did not take long hours before reports emerged of an escalation of Turkish and Iranian bombardment of the areas where these two organisations are deployed in the cities of Erbil and Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Firas Elias | 30 Sep 2020
The beginning of 2020 marked the actual emergence of the so-called "Katyusha cells" in Iraq. The killing of the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards General Qasem Soleimani, accompanied by the Deputy Chairman of the Popular Mobilisation Committee (PMC) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport at the beginning of 2020, was the practical beginning of the formation of those cells, which took it upon themselves to attack the headquarters and bases in which the US forces are located, as well as the US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Despite the lack of clarity of the structure of those cells and of their organisational and administrative links, what is certain is that they came about as a result of an agreed internal fission between the [pro-Iran] loyalist factions in order to carry out irresponsible missile attacks against the US forces and exert more pressure on the Iraqi government regarding the issue of removing the US forces from Iraq.
EPC | 29 Sep 2020
While the government of Mustafa al-Kadhimi is struggling to ensure that the salaries of employees, retirees, and beneficiaries of the social protection network continue to be paid after the sharp decline in public treasury revenues due to the decline in oil prices under the pressure of the coronavirus outbreak, its efforts received a severe blow following the reinclusion by the European Union (EU) in May 2020 of Iraq in the list of high-risk countries for money laundering and terrorist financing, along with North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. This step would have negative economic and financial repercussions for Iraq.
Ahmed Diab | 28 Sep 2020
The major European powers are studying how to intensify their military presence within the framework of a new strategy that adopts tougher stances against China’s "unilateral" moves and naval assertiveness in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, which extends from East Africa, through East and Southeast Asia, then the South China Sea, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia.
Amr Hashem Rabea | 27 Sep 2020
Senate elections were held in Egypt during August and September 2020, and the results of those elections were announced in mid-September 2020. This paper sheds light on the return of the Senate to political life in Egypt and the controversy surrounding its importance, as well as the composition of this council, its electoral system, and the parties participating in its elections, including candidates, voters and the electoral administration. The paper also analyses the most prominent election results of the Senate and how it can enrich political life in Egypt in the near future.
EPC | 22 Sep 2020
The visit of the Russian delegation to Damascus on 7 September 2020, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, and the meetings it held with regime officials, are of particular importance given the current pace of regional and international interactions on the Syrian issue. In addition, this visit is expected to constitute a turning point in the Russian policy towards the Syrian crisis, and to give indications of the directions of Russia’s policy towards the region, and the form of its relations with the international actors therein. This paper attempts to explore the nature of the changes in the Russian policy against the background of this visit, and the new elements in this policy.
EPC | 21 Sep 2020
The potential role Turkey could play in Africa -- mainly in the context of countering Chinese economic influence -- emerged as a question in a webinar organized by the Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK). TAIK is led by Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, a Turkish industrialist with strong connections and a business partnership with the Trump family, particularly with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, through his ownership of Trump Towers in Turkey.
Under such circumstance one has to ask pertinent questions: Is a strategy of Turkish-American cooperation to counter Chinese influence in Africa based on sound assumptions? Does Turkey have major influence in Africa? Is there strategic convergence between Turkish-American interests? As we will see the premise underpinning the feasibility of Turkish-American cooperation in Africa remains uncertain and speculative.