The MED Report 2019 Weathering the Storm. Charting New Courses in the Mediterranean provides analyses, policy recommendations, and new approaches to critical issues facing the enlarged Mediterranean region today. Structured along four thematic sections – shared security, shared prosperity, migration, culture and civil society – the Report focuses on a selection of key topics, highlighting both challenges and developments stemming from a region that is undergoing profound transformations.
In February 2018, anticipating the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared a policy of “preferring East over West”, thus paving the way for deeper cooperation with Asian powers such as China, Russia, and India.
In recent decades, militias and sub-national armed groups have played a decisive role in politics and security in the MENA region. Their prominence with local and outside actors in areas where state institutions have collapsed presents multiple policy challenges. Armed groups have access to substantial resources and in some cases enjoy considerable local legitimacy. That makes them formidable but also resilient forces.
The Southern secessionists enter the Yemeni State and Saudi Arabia regains the upper hand in Yemen, but endorsing implicitly the UAE-preferred strategy, the inclusion of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) as a recognized political entity, with the purpose to counter, militarily and/or politically, the Huthis.
President Donald Trump’s tweets on Tuesday attempting to mend fences with the Syrian Kurds arrived too late and did not improve the situation. Speaking through the spokesperson of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurds were clearly shocked by Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops deployed along the border with Turkey and stand by in the face of a possible Turkish military offensive in northern Syria.
The MENA Region: A Great Power Competition volume deals with competition among regional and external players for the redistribution of power and international status in the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on Russia’s renewed role and the implications for US interests. Over the last few years, a crisis of legitimacy has beset the liberal international order. In this context, the configuration of regional orders has come into question, as in the extreme case of the current collapse in the Middle East.
It is hard to predict the outcome of Tunisia’s presidential election, whose first round takes place on 15 September. From one perspective, this is a good thing – an encouraging sign of how much Tunisia’s democratic transition has succeeded. After all, a genuinely open election remains a rarity in the Arab world.
On Sunday, August 4, a series of airstrikes in Libya’s remote southwest desert town of Murzuq killed a gathering over 40 armed men and civilians, with a further 50 people injured. Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, most likely carried out by foreign aircraft, claiming the targets were ‘Chadian opposition fighters’.
Over the last eight years the Syrian conflict has developed into one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of modern times. More than half a million victims, 5 million refugees abroad and 6 million internally displaced: the figures only capture part of Syria’s catastrophe. In addition, there is the less quantifiable damage to the country’s social fabric.