EPC | 09 Dec 2020
Iraq constituted one of the most important agenda items that were absent from the US election race in 2020, in contrast to previous elections in which it was, specifically since 2003, strongly present in the presidential debates or even in the statements of the candidates. This absence can be attributed to the fact that Iraq may constitute a secondary foreign policy issue for the US in the coming stage, and that other Middle Eastern affairs, including the Iranian nuclear agreement and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, constitute more urgent concerns. This raises a question about the extent of Iraq’s importance for the new US administration led by President Joe Biden. This paper is an attempt to shed light on the nature of the approach with which President Biden will deal with the Iraqi issue, and his future options.
Shereen Mohammed | 22 Nov 2020
Tensions have recently escalated at the Guerguerat (also Karkarat) border crossing between Morocco and Mauritania, which is located in a buffer zone guarded by United Nations (UN) forces within the Western Sahara region, after armed elements of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario), on 21 October 2020, infiltrated into this region and disrupted the movement of civilians and commercial goods through this crossing, and sought to obstruct the work of military observers working with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), who are tasked with monitoring respect for the ceasefire between the Moroccan and Polisario sides. This prompted the Moroccan army to intervene, announcing on 14 November 2020 its success in fully securing the buffer zone. Nevertheless, the possibility of escalation persists in light of the announcement by the Polisario Front of the end of the commitment to the 1991 ceasefire agreement with Morocco, which could pave the way for an overall military confrontation between the two sides.
EPC | 18 Nov 2020
Inflation is one of the main indicators for measuring the performance of the Iranian economy. Monthly inflation rates refer to the change in the price of goods within one month. There is a slow criterion which is the total inflation within 12 months, which is an indicator of the annual performance, and the deep trend of the economic performance. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced that it plans to limit annual inflation at 22 percent (with a margin of increase or decrease of nearly two percentage points), after it had reached the level of 41.2 percent in 2019, setting one of two records over the past four decades. This paper discusses inflation scenarios in Iran, in both its monthly and annual versions, over the remaining five months of the current Iranian fiscal year, in view of several influences, including the outcome of the US elections and internal developments.
Shereen Mohammed | 25 Oct 2020
The Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement in Tunisia is witnessing an escalating struggle between its leaders. This is mainly due to the problematic succession of Rached al-Ghannouchi as the head of the Movement, considering that the Movement has become divided between two groups, one of them advocating the continuation of Ghannouchi as the Movement’s leader by renewing his candidacy for a third presidential term to maintain the Movement’s stability and survival at the forefront of the country’s political scene, while the other refusing to amend the Movement’s internal law which stipulates that Ghannouchi may not assume the leadership of the Movement for more than two consecutive terms.
EPC | 19 Oct 2020
In mid-September 2020, Fayez al-Sarraj, Chair of the Presidential Council and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, announced his intention to resign from his post before the end of October at the latest, in the hope that the Dialogue Committee would, by then, have appointed a new prime minister and Presidential Council. This came a few days after the interim government, based in the eastern city of Al-Bayda, also tendered its resignation to the president of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh Issa. The timing of these two events, and the continuation of each government’s activities within the scope of its temporary control, is a sign of progress in the current discussions on both the political and military tracks. It also provides a space in which to build common ground with a view to launching a new transitional period, during which existing divisions could be overcome and preparations could be made for holding presidential and parliamentary elections, in accordance with agreed constitutional provisions.
Shereen Mohammed | 13 Oct 2020
The Moroccan model for dealing with violent and terrorist groups, in particular Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, is one of very few cases of a pre‑emptive mechanism for preventing national security threats. Most Arab States have, by contrast, taken a curative approach to dealing with the consequences of terrorism (i.e. retrospectively, once the impact has grown), in particular after the 2011 revolutionary movement and the armed conflict that subsequently spread throughout several Arab States. This article will examine the “multi‑pronged pre-emptive” approach adopted by the Moroccan government, which blends political and security dimensions, especially in view of important economic factors compounded by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahmed Diab | 04 Oct 2020
On 27 September 2020, after an inconclusive ceasefire period that lasted nearly three decades, military confrontations erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan through a barrage of artillery shelling, during which heavy armour was deployed along the confrontation line separating the two countries regarding the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and its neighboring areas. The confrontations quickly turned into an escalating military conflict between the two countries, which reinforced fears of potential destabilising repercussions in the Caucasus.
Shereen Mohammed | 30 Sep 2020
On 21 September 2020, the Islamic Action Front (IAF, Jabhat al-Amal al-Islami) party in Jordan (the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood) announced its participation in the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on 10 November 2020, according to an IAF statement that was read by the IAF Deputy Secretary-General Wael al-Sakka. This paper analyses the implications of the IAF’s participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections, the challenges it faces, both from within it and in the surrounding environment, and the possible scenarios for the IAF’s tactics during the next phase.