The war in Ukraine is further diverting US attention from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where Russia and China have expanded their footprint over the past decade. US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to the Middle East—his first since he took office—provides an opportunity to assess the kind of role the United States will play in the MENA region in the future. Is a post-US era about to begin in the region? What is changing in the regional order?
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President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to the Middle East will seek to reassure regional allies at a time when the dominant narrative about the US role in the region, promulgated by Arab capitals, is that the United States is withdrawing from the Middle East and abandoning its allies and security commitments.
Eleven years ago, as popular uprisings erupted across the Middle East and North Africa, Europeans imagined themselves as partners of choice for democratic and economic transitions that would create pathways to sustainable stability. This dream failed catastrophically. The region was overwhelmed by instability and conflict, and Europe, in turn, by waves of refugees and deadly terrorism. Through it all the European bloc found itself marginalized, crowded out by the more assertive interventions of regional and non-regional actors.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provided a brutal reminder to the world—but especially to the West—that hard power matters and that employing military means to alter political realities has not been relegated to a distant past. For countries in the Middle East and North Africa, this is something with which they have lived for decades, and their response to the war in Ukraine has generally been to remain neutral and pursue their own interests.
The past few months have witnessed a new Middle East full of complexity and contradiction. On the one hand, some of the tensions that have gripped the region over the past decade now show signs of abating, with various adversaries engaging in dialogue and rapprochement.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, has served to accentuate ongoing differences between the United States and Europe on the one hand and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on the other. This has, to some extent, benefited Russia’s relations with the MENA region at the expense of the United States and Europe. But the impact of the Russian invasion may eventually prove harmful to Russia’s influence in the MENA region.
Political instability continues in Central Asia. A series of protests that began on 1 July in Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of western Uzbekistan, has turned into tragedy. The toll is 18 dead and 243 injured among protesters and law enforcement.
Il continente è terreno fertile per le monete digitali emesse dalle banche centrali. Tra opportunità di inclusione finanziaria e sfide sulle regole da definire.
Libyans have always had a proud sense of exceptionalism. Despite attempts to compare Libya to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and even uprisings from France to Russia, their own revolution has long retained this sense of exceptionalism, too. Today, however, over eleven years later, the dust has settled upon a much more mundanely tyrannical new world.
In March, the establishment of a new administration parallel with Abdelhamid Dbeibah’s United Nations-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) caught global attention, as Libya slipped back to an era of explicit political divisions. However, the timeline and fault lines of this crisis predate the appointment of Fathi Bashagha’s parallel Government of National Stability (GNS), which is supported by the House of Representatives (HoR, Libya’s parliament). Instead, the roots can be traced to the battle to control Libya’s budget throughout the last eighteen months.