Research Unit


  • EPC | 20 Sep 2020

    The “October Surprise” Scenarios in the Upcoming U.S Elections

    ​The concept of the "October Surprise" constitutes an integral part of the US political vocabulary during the US presidential election years. This term usually refers to the occurrence of an internal or foreign policy event only weeks before Americans go to the polls in early November, which may affect the election result. The presidential elections in November 2020 entail higher risks in case of such an event, given the severe political polarisation in the US. The presence of a small number of undecided voters in swing states is likely to determine the final outcome of the election. It is also likely that the decision of those swing voters will come in response to their automatic reactions to last-minute developments.

  • Shereen Mohammed | 16 Sep 2020

    Constitutional Amendments in Algeria: Motives and Scenarios

    Algeria is scheduled to hold a public referendum on the new constitution on November 1, 2020. Both the upper house of the Algerian parliament, the Council of the Nation, and its lower house, the People’s National Assembly, unanimously approved the final draft of a new constitution on September 10 following months of discussion between political parties and the grassroots Hirak movement over several controversial articles. The result is a constitution that draws a line under the Bouteflika era, which lasted for two decades.

  • Bilal Abdullah | 14 Sep 2020

    Resumption of the Negotiating Track in Libya: Catalysts and Challenges

    Following the ceasefire agreement reached between Fayez al-Sarraj, Chair of the Presidential Council, and Aguila Saleh, President of the House of Representatives, the conflict in Libya has come one step closer to a peaceful settlement in which politics, rather than military action, is once again seen as the solution. This comes after a meeting in Bouznika, Morocco, at which the two sides announced that they had come to an agreement on the criteria required for holding a leadership position in Libya, and that these positions would be distributed among Libya’s three historical regions.

  • ​Bassem Rashed | 06 Sep 2020

    Protests’ Crisis in Belarus and the Likely Scenarios

    The internal turmoil in Belarus has exacerbated since the announcement that the 65-year-old incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko has won a sixth term in the presidential elections on 11 August 2020. The announcement was followed by angry protests that roamed the streets of the capital Minsk, and whose repercussions spread to several other cities, rejecting the results of the elections, which were described as rigged. The protesters called on President Lukashenko to leave office and end his authoritarian rule of Belarus.

  • Shereen Mohammed | 06 Sep 2020

    Establishing a “Demilitarized Zone” in the Libyan City of Sirte: Conflicting Positions and Likely Scenarios

    During the past few weeks, some international and regional powers, such as the US, Germany and Turkey, as well as the United Nations (UN), have called for the establishment of a demilitarised zone in Sirte, as an introduction to de-escalation and the settlement of the conflict in Libya. This gained importance after the announcement by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Parliament), of a ceasefire between the two parties to the conflict. However, there is a divergence in the positions of the local, regional and international parties towards this call, in addition to the existence of a set of issues that impede reaching an agreement between the parties to the conflict regarding the establishment of a demilitarised zone in Sirte. This opens the door to multiple scenarios regarding the dynamic geography of the Libyan conflict.

  • EPC | 02 Sep 2020

    Will Iraq Really See Early Elections?

    Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took the political elites by surprise on July 31, 2020 when he announced that early elections would be held on June 6, 2021. He has since been leading a hidden political battle with the largest parliamentary blocs over the early elections. This paper sheds light on al-Kadhimi’s motives for bringing the elections forward, the stances of the political elites regarding the move, and the prospects for the early elections.

  • ​Shereen Mohammed | 31 Aug 2020

    Forming Mechichi Government in Tunisia: Political Implications and Potential Future Trajectories

    On 25 August 2020, Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi announced the formation of the new Tunisian government, which comprises 28 portfolios, between ministers and ministers of state. The composition must gain confidence by a majority (at least 109 votes out of a total of 217 votes) during the session of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People of Tunisia (Parliament), which is scheduled to take place in early September 2020. This paper analyses the political significance of the formation of the Mechichi government, and presents the possible scenarios for its approval and the most important expectations regarding its future performance.

  • Muhammad al-Hadithi | 24 Aug 2020

    Al-Kadhimi’s Visit to Washington and the Future of Iraqi-American Relations

    The visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to the US has gained great importance in the context of Iraqi-US relations, given the nature of the major changes taking place in the region and Iraq’s position within the framework of those shifts, as well as Iraq’s position in the US strategic perception and its role in the regional and international balances of power. At a time when the manifestations of the US-Iranian conflict in the region are increasing, Iraq emerges as the hottest arena of this conflict and its repercussions. Besides, the continued state of political instability in Iraq is linked to the continuation of the Iranian role in Iraq and the US continuous efforts to reduce that role and limit its effects.