In early April 2019, General Khalifa Haftar instructed the Libyan National Army (LNA) to take Tripoli by force, initiating Libya’s Second War of Post-Qadhafi Succession. Drawing upon the Libya-Analysis proprietary real time militia mapping project, this paper examines the main armed groups involved in the war: ascertaining their strengths, weaknesses, command and control structures, motivations, alliances, military capacities, and financing. It illustrates how all armed groups in Libya exploit the country’s dysfunctional war economy.
Architecture and urbanism are definitely taking the centre stage in Saudi Arabia’s effort to increase its international outreach and visibility, as exemplified by the Kingdom’s decision to participate, for the first time, to the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture.
The concept of khaleeji identity, also referred to sometimes as Gulf identity or identity of the Eastern Arabia, is characterized by its fluidity and is by no means a univocally recognized one.
In recent years, the display of military symbols, through parades, public speeches and clothing, has become a salient feature of National Day celebrations in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This dimension of national holidays tells much about social and cultural transformations in these countries: through these displays, rulers are promoting some sort of militarized nationalism among citizens to enhance social cohesion, thus intertwining military strength with shared identity and patriotism.
In the current moment it is not possible to consider trajectories of museums and nation-building in the Arabian Gulf without taking into account the ongoing diplomatic crisis, or blockade that began on 5th June 2017. On this date, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt abruptly closed their borders and cut diplomatic ties with Qatar amidst accusations that the small Gulf state supported terrorism, had become too close to Iran and was meddling with their own internal affairs.
When it comes to nation-building strategies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the role of religion, and particularly of sectarian differences, is difficult to ignore. In the below, we explore the ways in which Bahrain and Kuwait, two states with sizable Shiʾi populations and relatively active legislatures, formulate national narratives around these sectarian differences.
The outbreak of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis on 5th June 2017 led to dramatic polarization between United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus Egypt and, on the other hand, Qatar, due to Doha’s alternative foreign policy supporting Muslim Brothers’ political ideology, especially during the Arab spring revolts. On the other side of the GCC, Kuwait tries to multiply its mediator efforts and Oman has strengthened its commercial relations with Qatar to avoid its isolation.
The Gulf monarchies have been experiencing deep economic, social and generational changes; at the same time, open rivalries and subtle competitions are undermining the Arab Gulf (khaleeji) identity as a shared value. National history museums, art exhibitions, traditional festivals and military symbols are increasingly adopted by the governments as top-down tools of nation-building. What are the strategies to instil national awareness, and in which direction? How are concepts like citizenship, nationhood and belonging redefined in the post-oil era?
In December 2017, at the end of a bilateral meeting, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Sudanese counterpart Umar al-Bashir announced a deal to restore Suakin, a ruined Ottoman port town on Sudan’s Red Sea coast. The agreement also gave Turkey the right to build a naval dock to maintain civilian and military vessels. More than one year later there are doubts as to how much work Turkey will do beyond restoring the Ottoman town.
On 6 April the US temporarily pulled out its forces from Libya following the offensive on Tripoli launched by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar, a military operation that has plunged the North African country into a new phase of the civil war.
On April 14th the ‘National Conference’, a much-vaunted event in Libya’s political calendar and arguably over three years in the making, was due to begin. The brain child of the UN’s latest special-representative to the troubled country, Dr. Ghassan Salamé, it was designed to break the political stagnation entrenching since the last UN initiative the ‘Libyan Political Agreement’ (LPA) had been signed in 2015. The LPA birthed a transitional system of governance that was dead-on-delivery with rival institutions unwilling to cooperate.
While Turkey is on its way to consolidating the shift to a presidential system of government, the country is facing a number of domestic and foreign policy challenges. Domestically, the economic crisis is a major threat to stability. As Turkey headed for important local elections on March 31, the economy has officially entered its first recession in a decade after years of sustained growth.