All in MENA

Analysis | Gantz’s Gamble vs. the Netanyahu Narrative: Israel Elects

The April 9th election will not only decide who will lead Israel as Prime Minister, but it also has the potential to make drastic changes to Israeli policies towards the Palestinian Territories. Netanyahu’s victory may strike the deathblow to the two-state solution. His defeat could herald the rebirth of the Palestinian peace process. Israeli voters must now decide: to gamble on Gantz’s promise of diplomacy under fresh leadership or to defend Netanyahu’s narrative of an Israel under siege.

Analysis | A Cocktail for Catastrophe: India and Pakistan Clash over Kashmir

Despite major conflicts between India and Pakistan, the one constant rule has been the sanctity of the de facto borders in the contested territory of Kashmir. Such an understanding has ensured that both nations, while heavily active on the border, dare not violate it whatsoever, to the extent that individuals meeting in border crossings into the region usually maintain cordial relations. However, India and Pakistan’s de facto policy on the Kashmir region has changed dramatically over the last few years, perhaps irrevocably.

Commentary | A Tale of Two Summits: Washington and Moscow Advance Opposing Visions for the Middle East

On the 14th of February, two conferences took place on the Middle East. One, featuring representatives from over 60 countries, took place in Warsaw under the leadership of the United States, with generous support from Poland. The other one was a trilateral summit at Sochi, featuring the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Turkey, and organized by Russia. These two summits provide a perfect example of the two approaches that major powers currently employ towards the region, as well as the sharp contrasts in the leadership and effectiveness of Russia and America in the region.

Analysis | The Future of Syria: Actors Abound as Interests Divide

The events of late September perfectly illustrate how the Syrian Civil War has devolved into a series of proxy wars, with nations being involved in the country in a variety of ways. The recent announcement of a Turkish and Russian backed de-escalation zone in Idlib and the airstrikes by Israel against suspected Iranian pro-regime forces in Latakia, just show the variety of regional nations with interests in the country. In order to understand the impact these developments will have on the actions of these countries moving forward, it is crucial understand why such a large number of nations have become embroiled in this conflict.

Analysis | Libyan Civil War

Header for the Column on the Libyan Civil War
This thread is meant to periodically capture the complexities of this conflict, and to provide up-to-date information about the latest movements on the political front as the nation enters a key year, when it is scheduled to have a series of UN mandated elections to determine the actual government of this war-torn nation that has seen its highs and lows since 2011.

Analysis | Europe to the Rescue: Saving the Iran Deal

Despite Trump’s apparent drive to torpedo the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), often referred to as the Iran Deal, President Macron seemed cautiously optimistic about the prospect that the United States would remain party to the deal, suggesting the development of an add-on deal or revised JCPOA which would address ancillary concerns in Washington. But the Europeans will have to do much more to save the Iran Deal and bring lasting peace between Brussels, Washington, and Tehran.

Analysis | Operation Olive Branch: Turkey's Afrin Offensive

As ISIS crumbles in the Levant and the variety of anti-ISIS operations reach their crescendo, the Syrian civil war appears to have acquired yet an additional degree of complexity—Operation Olive Branch, a Turkish military campaign against Syrian Kurdish forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Analysis | The Gulf’s Influence Game in Washington

On June 5th, a number of Middle Eastern countries, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, separately announced an end to diplomatic ties with Qatar. Both Qatar and the Saudi-bloc have sought to promote their narrative of the conflict to officials in Washington. While all of this might seem to simply be “politics as usual”, there are a number of reasons to be concerned about the way the Gulf rivalries are playing out in Washington.

Analysis | Algeria Goes Against the Grain

Algeria may seem like the best candidate to lead military security efforts, but the country faces a number of daunting obstacles in its bid for supremacy. With rapidly diminishing oil and hydrocarbon resources, competition with its neighbor Morocco, and the threat of economic and political chaos on the horizon, Algeria will have to make some tough choices.

Commentary | The Uncomfortable Politics of the Kurdish Referendum

In the wake of the Iraqi Kurdish referendum on independence the international community has predictably come out in opposition to both the vote and the results. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors have forcefully opposed the referendum, with Ankara considering cutting off Kurdish access to a lucrative oil pipeline, Tehran threatening further blockade and isolation, and Baghdad contemplating military action. Given this intense opposition from its neighbors, it is difficult to imagine the landlocked Iraqi Kurdistan functioning as an independent state.

Analysis | A Powerful New Al-Qaeda Affiliate is Shaking West Africa

Amidst an already-tangled web of governance and security problems, the 2017 merger of four terrorist groups presents an ever-growing threat to French, UN, and local forces in Mali, who have struggled since 2013 to extinguish the fire of militant insurgency in the north. Despite considerable foreign military intervention, Mali’s terrorist threat is expanding and its humanitarian crisis grows more desperate every day.

Analysis | Is Saudi Arabia Losing at its Own Game? 

By overplaying its hand in sanctioning Qatar, Saudi Arabia is playing straight into the hands of its longtime regional enemy, Iran. Qatar has necessarily had to turn to Turkey and Iran for day-to-day goods and services it can no longer depend upon in the GCC block. Iran would rather sit back and allow Saudi Arabia to continue its self-defeating policy. The question remains; Is Saudi Arabia losing at its own game?