Research Unit


  • EPC | 12 Sep 2021

    Lifting of Lebanon’s Oil Subsidies and Implications for Syria

    The collapsing Lebanese economy and a raised possibility of lifting subsidies on oil derivatives could have repercussions for smuggling these commodities to Syria because of the price difference.

  • EPC | 23 Aug 2021

    Yemen’s Economy in Crash Landing Mode: Implications and Options

    Yemen has plunged into a complex, severe, and multifaceted economic crisis driven by widespread macroeconomic instability. This crisis portends that the country is on the path of a total and imminent collapse if the international community does not intervene to stop it. This precarious situation prompted the Yemeni Prime Minister, Maeen Abdul Malik, and his Foreign Minister, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, to appeal to "brotherly and friendly countries" to provide urgent support to rescue the economy and cushion the risks and repercussions arising from it. This paper highlights the indicators of an imminent economic collapse in Yemen, its repercussions, and the options available to avoid such a collapse in the first place.

  • Suhaib Abdul Rahman | 19 Aug 2021

    Somalia Elections: Challenges & Prospects

    The decision to postpone the parliamentary elections in Somalia, which were scheduled to be held on July 25, raised political and security concerns that an agreement between the opposition and the regime of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (known as Farmaajo) on May 27, 2021, could collapse. The agreement helped resolve an electoral crisis between the two parties who were close to getting embroiled in an all-out civil war. The agreement stipulated that the elections be held within 60 days, with Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble taking a leading role in them, and reducing the powers of the outgoing president in the transitional phase, after the failed attempt to extend his term for an additional two years.

  • EPC | 17 Aug 2021

    Ethiopia: New Conflict Balances

    After an eight-month takeover of the Tigray region, the Ethiopian army withdrew from the northernmost regional state after a unilateral federal government ceasefire decision. The move seemed to signal a radical shift in the conflict in Ethiopia. The Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) - the military arm of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) - shifted from defense to offense, creating new balances that put the conflict in Ethiopia on new paths that were not expected in its initial stage. This paper reviews and analyzes the latest developments in the Ethiopian conflict, and potential trajectories.

  • EPC | 11 Aug 2021

    FSO SAFER: An Ongoing Crisis

    Warnings of an increasing likelihood of an explosion or leakage from the "FSO Safer” oil tanker, which has been floating off the western coast of Yemen, 8 kilometers from the port of Ras Issa in the Hodeidah Governorate, have been mounting recently. This comes at a time when the United Nations and the Houthis continue to accuse each other of obstructing the implementation of an agreement they concluded in late November 2020, as well as a “scope of work document” for a UN expert mission that is supposed to be sent to assess the tanker’s situation and make some necessary repairs, pending a final solution to the tanker crisis. After declaring that the crisis had reached a “dead end", the Houthis accused the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) of "wasting time and donor funds allocated to the project on fruitless meetings and discussions, at a time when the situation of the tanker is much worse than it was when the agreement was signed."

  • EPC | 02 Aug 2021

    Muqtada al-Sadr's Boycott of Iraq Elections: A Political Tactic or a Strategic Decision?

    Powerful Iraqi cleric and leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, announced on July 15, 2021 his decision to boycott the upcoming elections, and "withdraw his hand" from all members of the current and future governments, ​as he put it. Needless to say, this step raises questions about the motives that led to taking such a decision and to what extent it is serious, especially since it followed extensive preparations made by the Sadrist movement for the upcoming vote, and projections that it would be the biggest winner of the new electoral system. This is in addition to statements by several leaders of the movement that it will form the next government. Shortly after al-Sadr's announcement, a decision was issued by his private office to shut down the political body of the Sadrist movement and appoint its main officials, Nassar al-Rubaie and Muhammad al-Mawsili, as advisors to al-Sadr. Also, prominent movement politicians such as Hassan al-Kaabi, Hakim al-Zamili and Maha al-Douri quickly announced their withdrawal from the upcoming elections in compliance with al-Sadr's directives. Later, al-Sadr left Iraq for Lebanon, where he has a residence, apparently as a sign of moving away from the Iraqi politics, as he did in previous times. This paper discusses whether this step is a political tactic or an irreversible decision.

  • EPC | 11 Jul 2021

    Syria: the Danger of the Transformation of the De Facto Partition into a Permanent Status

    The parties controlling the areas outside the authority of the Syrian regime tend to perpetuate their presence in an attempt to create an alternative authority in those areas, taking advantage of the external protection provided by the regional and international parties, and from the situation of freezing the conflict that is taking place in Syria, in addition to possessing the resources through which they can provide services in their areas of control, which makes them a de facto authority in the absence of any prospect for a political settlement in Syria. However, this reality that has been going on for many years has produced a divisive reality in Syria, which seems likely to turn into a final form that is difficult to change, as long as this change does not comply with the political and security calculations of regional and international actors in light of the existing balance of power and their subjection to the equations of conflict and the current rules of engagement.

  • EPC | 23 Jun 2021

    Iraq’s Elections: Scenarios

    Tensions between the Iraqi government and the "Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)" continue to run high as systematic kidnappings and assassinations by the Iran-backed militia remain unabated. This has pushed grassroots to call for boycotting the vote similar to what happened before the 2018 elections against the wishes of government politicians and parliamentarians who continue to sound the alarm over any potential deferral of the elections. This paper attempts to anticipate future scenarios for the Iraqi elections based on the current situation in the country.