Over the last few years, the myth of a Russian “return” to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has captured increasing attention from policy-makers all over the area and beyond, as well as the academic community. This widespread narrative originated, in particular, in the Syrian crisis and the Russian military intervention in the country. After a prolonged period of disengagement from the MENA region, the Syrian crisis provided the Kremlin with a front door to return to a region that has always been of geostrategic relevance to its foreign projection.
Alliances and rivalries in the Middle East have become liquid. The proliferation of regional conflicts and a more acute sense of regime vulnerability across the region explain why realignments are more frequent and countries are able to ally on one particular front and be at odds on another one. In the past, alliances shifted but were far more consistent. Making sense of Turkey realignments is paramount to understand both the geopolitical shifts in the MENA region and tensions in transatlantic relations.
The 31 March presidential elections in Ukraine matter to Ukraine, its region and the EU. While the majority of experts deem it impossible to have a winner in the first round and, thus, expect a second one in April, the March contest will be a first important step in the crucial process of determining the direction the country will take. Thus, while we should not hold our breath on election day, we should definitely keep a close eye on the contest and its outcome.
On March 31st, Ukrainians will head to the polls to vote for their next president, and while the results remain uncertain, what is promised is that these elections will differ significantly from previous ones in the country's history.
The war in Yemen has greatly affected migration and refugee movements from and to the Horn of Africa, but not in the way one would expect. Instead of a large number of Yemenis fleeing the country because of war, violence and the horrific humanitarian situation, relatively few have left. Yet, an astonishing number of migrants from the Horn has entered Yemen since the outbreak of the 2015 war.
Various observers of Yemeni political dynamics have rightly highlighted that what we generally call the Yemen civil war is, in reality, three separate yet overlapping conflicts. The first one is the multi-sided civil war, namely the conflict opposing the internationally recognised government of President Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, supported by the Saudi-led coalition and a plethora of various local militias and UAE’s proxies, against the Houthi movement.
Despite the geographic distance separating them, what happens in Yemen is of strong interest to Europe. And so it should be, if only for moral reasons. The human tragedy unfolding in this small nation of 28 million, bounded by the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia and Oman, should shake the conscience of humankind. While precise figures are elusive, tens of thousands of people have been killed in fighting, and tens of thousands, especially young children, have died from hunger and disease.
Radicalization in prison has long been a critical issue in the West (and beyond), where prisons have sometimes been turned in recruitment and proselytization hubs by different kinds of extremists, including jihadists. As is well known, one of the main concerns is that radicalized subjects may indoctrinate other common detainees. Italy has also been affected by this phenomenon and jihadist radicalization in prison represents a concrete threat.
A poco più di due mesi dalle elezioni presidenziali, fissate ufficialmente per il 18 aprile, sembra ormai certa la ricandidatura per un quinto – e storico – mandato da parte dell’attuale presidente Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in carica dal 1999. La crescita economica interna permane in una condizione di ristagno nonostante la progressiva risalita del prezzo degli idrocarburi, che rappresentano la principale risorsa del paese, abbia in parte alleviato la sofferenza fiscale dello stato.
The Palermo conference in mid-November seemed to have brought the UN back to the center of the Libyan crisis. Its greatest merit was that it set a clearer timetable for the various electoral deadlines. A few months later, however, we can say that this new promising phase has been followed by yet another disillusionment.