MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

The startling result of the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union has caused political and economic chaos in Britain unparalleled since World War Two. Prime Minister David Cameron will be out of power by September 2 and Britain faces a period of profound uncertainty and volatility over the nature of its future relationship with the EU.

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On June 26, Turkey and Israel announced the end of a diplomatic row reached a head in 2010, after eight Turks and a Turkish-American citizen were killed on an aid flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, bound for Gaza. Soon after the incident, Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel, and within six months had expelled the Israeli ambassador to Turkey and suspended all military agreements with the nation. Negotiations over an agreement under which diplomatic ties could resume had stalled for some time over one sticking point: the Turkish demand to end the blockade on Gaza.

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Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi appears to have launched the sudden assault on the city of Fallujah last month in an effort to distract from the political turmoil in Baghdad. And to some extent, it has worked. Popular support for the fight has won the prime minister a short political reprieve, and the media landscape has replaced extensive coverage of political drama in Baghdad with blow by blow accounts of the battle for Fallujah.

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On June 21, in an unexpected move, the first circuit of the Egyptian State Council’s administrative court, headed by State Council Vice President Yahya al-Dakrouri, annulled a Saudi-Egyptian maritime agreement, ceding sovereignty of the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the Gulf kingdom. The Egyptian government, at the time, said that Saudi Arabia had transferred the islands to Egypt for safekeeping in 1950.

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The recent resignation of former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his replacement with incoming Prime Minister Binali Yidirim represents a shift in Turkish domestic politics. Yildirim, a long-time close ally to current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has pledged to work towards implementing Erdogan’s top domestic priority: a new constitution to bring about a transition from the current parliamentary system of government to a strengthened presidential system. Turkey’s opposition parties reject this transition and have campaigned against the proposal, citing the risk of authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic freedom.

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The trial of the head of Egypt’s Press Syndicate and two board members resumed this week without much fanfare, indicating that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government has won popular support in the confrontation between the government and independent journalists.

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Over the past three decades, the tiny, wealthy Gulf emirate of Qatar has become one of Japan’s most important Middle Eastern partners. Driven by Japan’s demand for steady access to hydrocarbon resources from a reliable and stable partner and Qatar’s large-scale projects in preparation for the World Cup in 2022, the energy and construction sectors continue to dominate bilateral trade. However, in recent years Tokyo-Doha relations have expanded in financial, security, educational, and diplomatic spheres.

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This article is remarks by Ralf Fuecks, president of the Heinrich-Böll Foundation, presented at the Foundation’s 17th Annual Policy Conference on June 17, 2016.

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This article is Frederic C. Hof’s Remarks presented at the Heinrich Bӧll Foundation’s 17th Annual Policy Conference on June 17, 2016.

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In the early hours of Sunday morning, a gunmen entered Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Three hours later, at least 50 people were dead, including the gunman, and another 50 were injured. The attack, the worst mass shooting in US history, was carried out by Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old US citizen born in New York to first generation Afghan parents.

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