MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

MENASource
MenaSource logo

Follow MENASource:

TwitterRSS


One of the more overlooked effects of the souring of relations between Qatar and many of its neighbors is the potential for the diminishing of America’s military prowess in the region, and the hindrance of its fight against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). This is magnified due to the presence of the al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, from which many reconnaissance and munitions flights against ISIS in Syria and Iraq are done. Further complicating matters for American military activities in the region, and weakening America’s position is the disconnect between President Trump, the State Department, and US Congress, over how to proceed in regards to this crisis that has shaken up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Read More

As the Yemen conflict shows no signs of abating, will former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s recent attempts to reach out to Saudi Arabia be taken seriously? A number of key events suggest that Saleh’s attempts to reach out to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members reveal a change in tactics for the long-standing politician.

Read More

Almost a year into the tenure of Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, little has changed in Tunisia to significantly propel the democratic transition forward. Local elections are a key component of the country’s transition and the 2014 constitution. Devolving power back to municipalities is important in giving more responsibility and accountability to local government officials. While upcoming municipal elections are scheduled for December, in the absence of a clear framework for decentralization, elections alone are unlikely to be effective to develop local governance. But they remain a critical step for the Chahed government to avoid stalling the transition and demonstrate its commitment to strengthening structures of democratic governance.  

Read More

Yemen is currently facing the region’s most severe water crisis. More than half of the population does not have access to clean water and the country is withdrawing their renewable water supplies at a rate of 169 percent, meaning that the population is using more water than can be replenished. Analysts predict that Sana’a—Yemen’s capital and largest city center—could run out of water as early as the end of this year.

Read More

In Yemen, the poorest country in the MENA region, more than two years of an ongoing conflict has resulted in a massive humanitarian catastrophe. Over seventeen million people are not able to adequately feed themselves and are frequently forced to skip meals. Seven million of these are severely food insecure, which means they do not know where their next meal will come from. The conflict has internally displaced around three million people. Many have chosen to travel to ancestral villages or to live with their families or relatives.

Read More

As the chaos in Libya continues, recent reports indicate that the United States is considering ramping up its diplomatic and military involvement in Libya.  On July 10, CNN reported that the Trump administration could soon finalize a new policy for Libya to expand US presence in the country. If realized, a new policy for Libya must prioritize the stabilization of the country in coordination with key European allies. Despite President Trump‘s initial hesitation to consider Libya of critical importance to US national security, it has become clearer that the United States cannot ignore the security threat that Libya poses to US allies in the southern Mediterranean.

Read More

Since mid-March, the governorate of Tataouine in southern Tunisia has witnessed a state of social unrest and a persistent protest movement demanding the right to work and the right to development and equitable distribution of wealth. In Kamour, an important transit point for the oil and gas companies operating in the Tunisian desert, approximately 110 km from the city center, this movement has transformed into an open ended sit-in that began April 3 when protesters started demanding twenty percent of gas revenues for the development of the area and employment opportunities for the governorate’s residents.

Read More

A month later and the Saudi-led decision to blockade Qatar is escalating tensions in the Gulf to the detriment of US security interests. Increasingly so, regional actors like Tehran and Ankara are becoming stakeholders in the conflict, and are actively taking steps to shape it in ways that suit their respective interests and regional visions. This will only serve to perpetuate the rift and complicate negotiations efforts, as downscaling ties with Iran and Turkey are leading demands of Saudi. The United States has a security interest in preventing the conflict from devolving into another regional theater. If the US approach remains divided, or worse, divisive, Washington could soon see its ability to leverage its influence eroding.

Read More

If the definition of insanity is doing something repeatedly and expecting a different result, then the world’s approach to the Yemen conflict amounts to insanity. While the purgatories of the Syrian civil war, global terrorism, and Iraqi sectarianism persist, it is clear that the West has become exhausted with crises in the greater Middle East. However, assuming that the international community is serious about ending the conflict, it is reasonable to ask why an innovative resolution remains out of reach. Perhaps if Saudi Arabia could draw all parties to negotiate a political solution, then Yemen’s civilians could finally find relief. Given its leadership of the Arab Coalition forces in Yemen, this proposal may sound irrational. Yet the true insanity is continuing down a path with little expectation of success.

Read More

Last month, the Sheikh of al-Azhar, Dr Ahmed al-Tayeb, visited the German capital Berlin to attend the Protestant Church’s celebration marking five centuries since the start of the reformation. During his visit he met Germany’s president and a number of other ministers. This came after the visit of Pope Francis II to Egypt, on the invitation of the country’s top Imam, to attend a global conference on peace held at al-Azhar from April 27-28. These high-level political meetings have once again sparked debate over demands for al-Azhar to play a greater role on the world stage to counter the growth of global terrorism. This in turn raises questions about al-Azhar’s growing role and how effective and successful it can be.

Read More