The spread of COVID-19 has hit hard the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, all of which are to varying degrees engaged in the fight against this new, common enemy. Here, as elsewhere, the pandemic emergence triggered a deep economic crisis that affected all economies in the MENA region, including oil exporting monarchies in the Gulf that at the same time suffered from the great plunge in oil prices. The Coronavirus pandemic has not stopped the geopolitical competition among regional and external players keen to extend their influence and to affect political and security dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa. While confrontation and fragmentation continue to characterise a region where conflicts are far to be solved, regional power shifts – such as the normalization of relations between Israel and some Arab Gulf states – are bringing about a reconfiguration of the regional order, with a number of implications for its long-term stability. In this context, the change in the US administration is likely to open new scenarios for the MENA region.
Watch the Dialogue with Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia