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China serves as a stabilizing force in South Sudan’s fragile peace

On Wednesday, the “final final” peace deal was ostensibly struck– a handshake between South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kirr– signifying a truce in the 5-year civil war that has devastated the young nation.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Haider al-Abadi: From success to despair

Since 2014, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq has had to deal with an unending series of problems including corruption, the war against the Islamic State (IS), and sectarianism. Following a poor performance in the May elections and the mass protests in Basra, will Abadi survive?

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Czech diplomacy in Syria: A protecting power for the West?

At present the Czech Republic remains the only Member State of the European Union to maintain diplomatic relations with war-torn Syria. Consequently, the Czech mission in Syria frequently provides consular services for EU and US citizens in Syria and intermediary services for external actors.

Europe Middle East/North Africa Security

The Security Briefing: Libya, Lebanon, and Italy’s new defense minister

The latest Security Briefing from GRI Senior Analyst Nicolò Donà dalle Rose focuses on the appointment of Italy’s new Minister of Defense and its impact on Italian involvement in Libya and Lebanon, as well as Italy’s broader foreign policy stance.

Middle East/North Africa Natural resources and energy Security Special Reports

The Energy Briefing: The never-ending battle for Libya’s Oil Crescent

The competition for the control of state revenues remains tense as Haftar’s Libyan National Army intensified its attempts to seize key institutions ahead of December 2018 elections. Although oil production increased in 2017, continuing insecurity due to armed groups still largely constrain Libya’s oil potential.

Economics Middle East/North Africa

Tunisia’s new modus operandi

In recent months, Tunisia’s government and the worker union UGTT have negotiated an agreement that aims to improve the socio-economic situation of the country. While this new model of having UGTT participates in the policy agenda slows down the reform process, it also offers realistic chances to allow inclusive growth.

Middle East/North Africa

Why Iran and Syria still need each other

Bashar al-Assad’s reliance on Tehran might have at some point upset the balance of power between the Iran and Syria, but recent developments, most notably the US withdrawing from the nuclear deal, have emphasized the significance of the alliance for both countries.

Middle East/North Africa Natural resources and energy

Iran’s waning involvement in the South Caucasus

With the JCPOA finalized in 2015, Iran seemed to finally build on its potential to become a shaping actor in the South Caucasus. Yet the scrapping of the JCPOA in April 2018 threatens to disillusion those who were optimistic about new trading and investment opportunities. Under growing pressure, the region seems to be neglected again by Tehran.

Middle East/North Africa Security

The Houthis: Sunni-Shiite conflict as a self-fulfilling prophecy

After failing to confront Iran’s growing power in Iraq and the Levant, Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s attempt to prevent Iranian meddling seems to have reinforced the sectarian split in Yemen – handing Iran the chance to integrate the Houthi movement into its network of proxies.

Economics Middle East/North Africa

The prospects for Saudi women’s participation in the labor market

In the new Saudi economy, women are essential as workers and consumers, and they are being granted new rights at an unprecedented pace. But to appease conservative forces, female empowerment is likely to remain limited.