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  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The utilization of mercenaries has become one of the key predicaments in the Middle East, particularly in the hotbeds of armed conflict, including Libya, Yemen and Syria. Such militia are usually transferred through the use of civil flights, crossing land borders or smuggling through organized crime networks. This has been reflected by numerous evidence including the escalating tensions between the international powers such as ‘France’ and regional ones such as ‘Turkey’, even affecting the mutual hostility between the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ and Ankara, and the latter's policy aiming at disturbing Libya's neighboring countries. In the case of Yemen, the Houthi militia and Islah party have also used African mercenaries. It is further evident in the warning given by the Yemeni government to ‘Tehran Mercenaries’ against turning Yemen into a battlefield after the murder of Qassem Soleimani.
  • Topic: War, Non State Actors, Houthis, Militias, Mercenaries
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, France, Libya, Yemen, North Africa, Syria
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Sales of medical masks, gloves, adhesive tapes and other protective equipment have soared in the Middle East after the spread of COVID-19 and especially after the WHO raised the virus global threat assessment to its “highest level” on February 29. This led to an increase in demand for masks to a degree of “obsession" at times, raising regional concerns after the increase in its price along with risking its supply and the formation of a parallel market. Although the subject of medical masks may fall under public health matters, measures taken to address its economic use actually have to do with the adopted governmental policies to deal with fighting the pandemic on state levels. These policies include, but are not limited to, enhancing healthcare infrastructure, monopoly prevention, consumer protection, relaunching inactive factories specifically after the disruption of imports from China as one of the largest global masks suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin analyzes several of the key economic effects on the Middle East and North Africa caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden drop in oil prices.
  • Topic: Oil, Economy, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Turkeyscope Dr. Soner Cagaptay analyzes the evolution of Turkey's foreign policy with respect to both Syria and Libya.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Amaney Jamal, Michael Robbins, Salma Al-Shami
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Arab Barometer
  • Abstract: Youth economic frustration across MENA is increasing ▶ Youth have little trust in governments, which are widely viewed as being corrupt, leading to a potential crisis of legitimacy in the region ▶ However, views of youth differ relatively little from older generations in this regard ▶ Youth are more likely to want to emigrate and to participate in informal politics ▶ Arab publics, including youth, generally affirm women’s equal rights but less accepting of their equal roles in society
  • Topic: Corruption, Human Rights, Public Opinion, Authoritarianism, Women, Democracy, Youth
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Improving the performance of local governments, local administration, village councils, and municipalities in Arab conflict zones face a set of challenges. The most prominent among these challenges are the continued internal armed conflicts with regional dimensions, strengthening the legitimacy of certain political regimes, power struggle between central and local governments, growing partisan and political disputes, severe destruction in areas controlled by terrorist organizations, and the growing fiscal deficits of local councils. On one hand, the fiscal deficits have increased amid a low level of donor support, poor development of councils’ resources, and the enduring conflict between the legitimate government and armed militias. The influx of irregular migrants have also imposed a double burden on already overstretched local bodies.
  • Topic: Governance, Conflict, Syrian War, Bashar al-Assad
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the economic challenges facing Tunisia, a country which many have claimed represents perhaps the sole success story of the 'Arab Spring.'
  • Topic: Poverty, Economy, Arab Spring, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Rina Bassist analyzes Morocco's motivations for joining the African Union, and the concomitant evolution of its regional policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, African Union
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Morocco, Africa
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Rina Bassist examines new alliances between international powers as a result of the ongoing Libyan civil war. The April 4 offensive launched by Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the National Libyan Army (LNA) to take control of Tripoli is now, as of May 2019, in its second month; regional actors are becoming fearful of a bloody stalemate. While the ongoing civil war in Libya has pitted mostly local forces against each other, countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia have allied against Italy and Great Britain, in an intensified diplomatic battle primarily being waged at the UN Security Council. In fact, the ongoing Libyan crisis has shattered traditional alliances. The usual global camps have been turned upside down, replaced instead by new, improbable partnerships. This article will deal with these new emerging alliances which are replacing, in this particular context, the long-established balance of power in the UN Security Council and the international arena. More particularly, we will look into the motives behind the strategic shift, and why world powers have abandoned their initial objectives for Libya.
  • Topic: War, Alliance, Crisis Management, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Despite that ISIS may have dealt with heavy blows, whether in the previously-dominated areas or the emerging ones, it is still able to stage terrorist attacks by employing various tactics, key among them the “lone- wolves” and “sleeper cells”. This has been evident in the recent terrorist operations in many countries, such as Tunisia and Morocco, as well as several European countries, which ISIS have threatened to target by using explosive belts, car-ramming and stabbing during Christmas holidays. Notably, some of such attacks have been carried out using tactics and methods that have not been widely used in the past. This raises questions about the ideological transformations that ISIS, its sleeper cells and sub-groups may have witnessed, given the new realities brought about by the war on the organization.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Al-Qaeda has sought to exploit the 17th anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001 to assert its survival and ability to stay at the forefront of terrorist organizations worldwide. In doing so, it seems to be trying to cover up the multiple challenges facing it at the present stage, which may cause its influence to diminish in the medium and long term. Thus, it cannot be ruled out that the fears expressed by many of its leaders over the organization declining influence is the main factor that prompted Ayman al-Zawahiri to increase the media messages he sends to the organization cadres and members along with other organizations, especially its rivals, as well as the international and regional powers concerned with combating terrorism. It is a remarkable shift from what happened in the past years, which witnessed a relatively limited appearance of al-Zawahiri to comment on events with the aim of proving that he is still alive and interacting developments. The new development raises many questions about the significance of the flurry of messages, particularly that they come at a time the region is witnessing numerous important variables with profound impacts, such as the receding influence of the pro-al-Qaeda groups in Syria against the backdrop of the recent security and political arrangements.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, North Africa, Syria, Maghreb
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The recent years have witnessed a growing interest from Helsinki in the transformations and interactions of the Middle East, as evident in the inauguration of academic institutes in the region, visits by diplomatic and parliamentary delegations, activities with research centers, proposals for the resolution of conflicts between political parties, meetings between joint business councils and representatives of chambers of commerce and enhancing the cooperation with Arab intelligence agencies. The Finnish government has several objectives within this calculus.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Investment, Currency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Finland, Libya, North Africa, Syria