Six years after the first free elections in Egypt’s post-Arab uprisings era, the Persian Gulf media’s attention to the country’s presidential election has considerably changed. Although the Gulf countries’ political support for Egypt remains unchanged – also expressed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s two-day visit to Cairo earlier this month in which he reaffirmed the highest level of bilateral cooperation – this election appears to be less important for Cairo’s Arab allies.
In the Arab Gulf states, the military has turned the page: a new, national-oriented pattern of civil-military relations is in the making, triggered by foreign projection and, in some cases, mandatory military service.
On 30 June 2017 the Tunisian army celebrated its 61st anniversary. On that occasion the Armed Forces presented their new military uniform. According to the spokesperson for the Tunisian Ministry of Defence, Belhassen Oueslati, the renewed attire is part of new equipment received from international partners, remarking the efforts to modernise the military and adapt it to the new challenges the country faces.
As Lebanon seems inexorably dragged into the regional cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran – the bizarre saga of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation being the latest illustration – it is worth looking at the current state of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and questioning its ability to prevent any type of conflict escalation. Discussions on the LAF generally oppose two competing views.
“Egypt’s old guard is back?” It’s a constant question in Egypt: it reminds us about the political, institutional and economic role that the Egyptian armed forces (EAF) – the “glorious army” – play in the history of the country.According to Zeinab Abul-Magd, “the Egyptian military managed to weather many fundamental transformations in the country, including socialism, neo-liberalism, and recently mass uprisings, and successfully adapted to change in order to amass power and expand its profitable b
The years preceding the Arab Spring were rather calm ones for the armed forces of the Arab world: two major conventional campaigns (Iraq 2003 and Lebanon 2006) barely involved the military, and terrorism was mostly under control in Algeria and Yemen. Elsewhere all was quiet on the Arab front. The Arab Spring changed this in more ways than one: to start with, it turned the militaries of Tunisia, Syria and Egypt into political actors, and split those of Yemen and Libya in two.
Whereas most large European countries have been greatly affected by Islamic State-inspired terrorism, Italy has not seen the same degree of radicalization and extremist activity. With a much smaller number of foreign fighters, no terrorist attacks to date, and less developed terrorist networks, the country has been able to cope with the latest wave of transnational terrorism. With the offensives to crush the Islamic State now winding down, however, authorities fear that returning foreign fighters may generate a new surge in terrorist attacks.
In cooperation with Atlantic Council. The event took place in Rome, Sala Capitolare Presso il Chiostro del Convento di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (Piazza della Minerva, 38).
Working languages: Italian and English with simultaneous translation.