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  • Author: Valeria Talbot, Ugo Tramballi, Paola Magri, Zhao Jianming, Kabir Taneja, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Jeongmin Seo, Naser Al-Tamimi, Nael Shama, Sara Bazoobandi, Anshel Pfeffer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea. Not only oil but also trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism is the name of the business with the MENA region. Beyond energy and economic interests, questions arise about the potential geopolitical dimension of these evolving ties. What are the strategic implications of the projection of Asian countries in an unstable, fragmented and volatile region? How do they interact with each other and with other international players? Last but not least, will the Covid-19 pandemic be a game changer in (re)shaping relations in the future?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics, Business , Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, India, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Mario Del Pero, Paola Magri, Gary C. Jacobson, Michele Alacevich, Gabriella Sanchez, Scott L. Greer, Mario Del Pero, William F. Wechsler, Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Unprecedented and unpredictable: this is how US President Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly been labelled. Beyond the frequent tweets and bombastic rhetoric, however, lie a more conventional four years, as the United States navigated an ever-evolving international reality, compounded by a global pandemic and one of the deepest economic recessions in over a century. This Report analyses the continuity and changes that occurred during Trump’s presidency. Domestically, it investigates the growing political polarization, the country's pre-pandemic economic performance, Trump's approach towards regular and irregular migration, and the US’ response to a healthcare emergency. At the international level, this volume looks at how the US stance has changed vis-à-vis China, the Middle East, and Europe. Which long-term trends has President Trump had to ride through? What was his trademark, and what might be his lasting legacy?
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Immigration, European Union, Inequality, Economic Growth, Engagement , Donald Trump, COVID-19, Polarization, Disengagement
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Vali Nasr, Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The MED Report 2020, Navigating the Pandemic, provides analyses, policy recommendations and a vast array of data and infographics to stimulate discussion and inspire innovative ideas during the 6th edition of Rome MED Dialogues. Following MED's four traditional thematic sections – shared security; shared prosperity; migration; civil society, culture and media – the Report focuses on a selection of topics that are crucial to the region, highlighting both the challenges and the dynamics taking shape in an area that has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of this publication is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the prospects and policy options for the Middle East and North Africa, where COVID-19 has impacted on a context already marred by socio-economic vulnerabilities and instability.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Culture, Geopolitics, Media, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Andrea Cellino, Annalisa Perteghella, Thomas Guerber, Paola Magri, Ranj Alaaldin, Jerome Drevon, Jalel Harchaoui, Irene Constantini, Eleanore Ardemagni, Annalisa Perteghella
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic is not only a health challenge. In the MENA region, against the backdrop of protracted conflicts, instability, and an overall deterioration in socio-economic conditions, the coronavirus crisis adds another layer of vulnerability and has already had long-lasting repercussions on human security across the region. Moreover, as hybrid actors take on an important role as security providers amid the pandemic in a context of limited or absent oversight, risks associated to a lack of accountability, ethno-religious discrimination, human rights abuses and gender-based violence grow. While classical approaches to security provision tend to portray non-state actors and the State as inherently at odds, the complexity of a rapidly evolving security landscape throughout the region should trigger a revision of the very concept of effective governance. Against this backdrop, how should Security Sector Reform (SSR) strategies and programmes adapt? What lessons can be drawn from selected case studies such as Iraq, Libya, and Yemen?
  • Topic: Conflict, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, North Africa
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Annalisa Perteghella, Nadereh Chamlou, Gawdat Bahgat, Abbas Kadhim, Hafsa Halawa, Yahia Mohamed, Lemine Mestek, Emadeddin Badi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time, as many countries in the MENA region remain engulfed in vicious internal conflicts or must cope with structural socio-economic distress and popular dissent. In many respects, such a context and many of its problems resemble those that formed the backdrop for the Arab Spring in 2011. Exactly like what happens with humans, who are hit the hardest when presenting pre-existing conditions, MENA states have been impacted because of their own pre-existing conditions. In this sense, the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare all the vulnerabilities and deficiencies of these states’ structures, and has aggravated pre-existing political, social, and economic shortcomings. How has the pandemic impacted state structures? What is its effect on organized protests and spontaneous popular movements? What are the possible long-term consequences?
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Arab Spring, Conflict, Protests, COVID-19, Elites
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Algeria, North Africa, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Andrei Kortunov, Paola Magri, Ines Abdel Razek, Andrey Chuprygin, Chiara Lovotti, Matteo Villa, Elena Corradi, Ivan Bocharov, Ruslan Mamedov
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Mediterranean region has faced a significant number of challenges that have stemmed from turbulent events taking place on its Southern shores: conflicts and instability, the migration crisis, disruptions of regional value chains, souring regional relations, and foreign power interferences that have severely affected the region. The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the Southern Mediterranean, but the health crisis had ambiguous effects on the underlying economic, social, and political trends of the region. It has exposed and exacerbated much of the previous sources of tension and, obscured many of them as public attention moved towards facing the public health emergency. Will the Covid-19 pandemic spur governments and civil societies to action? Or will it just serve as another smokescreen behind which to hide the region's longstanding problems?
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Migration, Terrorism, Conflict, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Mediterranean
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Arturo Varvelli
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Arc of Crisis in the MENA Region volume deals with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa that are facing a particularly troubled period in their historical development. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and to a lesser extent Jordan and Tunisia have plunged into a legitimacy crisis that in some cases has turned into civil war or violent upheaval. As traditional authorities lose their legitimacy, two alternatives are emerging. The first is a more decentralized system of government, evinced by the empowerment of subnational government bodies and the growing legitimacy of local authorities; in this trend, the local authorities are able to keep the state united and more functional. The second is a growing number of political groups that act as opposition to authoritarianism, which is experiencing a revival. The analysis herein also focuses on Islamist movements; namely, their organizational and ideological development as well as how the shrinking of the political space affects them and the entire polity. This Report explores the distinctive dynamics and characteristics of these challenges in the post-Arab Spring era.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Security, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Lorenzo Vidino
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the past few years, the MENA region witnessed a rise in jihadist extremism and radicalization, as countries in the area were rocked by a series of deadly terrorist attacks. As authorities responded to the threat, it became clear that in order to effectively counter the phenomenon, traditional repressive measures had to now be accompanied by alternative methods of prevention, rehabilitation and dissuasion. How have different governments around the Mediterranean responded? What sort of alternative measures have been taken? How effective have these policies been? What further steps can be taken to strengthen the response of the authorities? These are just some of the key issues that this ISPI Report seeks to cover. The experts in this volume illustrate the policies of contrast, prevention and de-radicalization that have been adopted by countries in the MENA region, revealing emerging trends, lessons learned and overviews of this security status.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa