MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

MENASource
MenaSource logo

Follow MENASource:

TwitterRSS


The political situation in Libya has slowly reached one of apparent paralysis while the military situation is continually evolving with frequent clashes across the country. Given the lack of any progress, the whole approach undertaken by the international community has clearly failed and desperately needs a new strategy. Political negotiation alone, without one that engages the various militias, will not yield new gains. One adjustment to the strategy could include investing in the development of local authorities at the municipal level and engaging them in the slow process of reconstructing state-society relations—an essential component of state rebuilding.

Read More

The next Israeli confrontation with its neighbors will be markedly different from its previous encounters. Recent military escalation in Syria that resulted in the downing of an Israeli F16 in February, points to new trends that could shape future conflict between Israel and Iran.

Read More

While women in the Middle East and North Africa still face critical challenges, it is worth noting recent progress on the occasion of international women’s day. Many countries across the Middle East have taken recent steps to codify certain rights for their female citizens. With the introduction of quotas for their legislative bodies, female representation in parliament in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia has jumped since 2011. Last year, lawmakers in Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon repealed provisions in their penal codes allowing rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Even Saudi Arabia has taken a progressive step and issued a royal decree in September 2017 allowing women to drive.

Read More

Algeria has a problem knocking on its door: Libya. A relative powerhouse in North Africa, a combination of political and economic issues has weakened Algeria in recent years, limiting its engagement in Libya while it dealt with its more immediate concerns at home. Despite these challenges, Algeria may step up in the face of continued instability in Libya. However, after years of taking only limited action, Algeria is left with a weak hand to deal.

Read More

Hezbollah’s power and resilience at the Lebanese level is not only derived from its military might and Tehran’s constant backing, but more importantly, from the tireless support of its Lebanese Shia Muslim community base. The allegiance of Lebanese Shia to Hezbollah is widely known to be rooted in the party’s capability to win hearts and minds through its social program and the organization’s nearly forty year struggle against Israel and more recently its “war on terror.” Yet ultimately, what makes the bond between Hezbollah and its base so strong is the feeling among many Shia, within the more popular classes, that Hezbollah’s arsenal guarantees political ascendancy and social mobility within the Lebanese system.

Read More

As early as 2007, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy from 2004-2007, I argued that the central government needed to pay attention to legitimate grievances to prevent constant warfare in the north and a potential secession of the south. At the time, the late president Ali Abdullah Saleh prohibited foreign diplomats from visiting the Saada region in the north, claiming that security conditions made any trip there a dangerous proposition. My colleagues and I, however, frequently visited the south.  

Read More

With one hand holding the hose for hookah and the other his beeping cell phone, a conversation with Mohammed al-Qadhi is constantly interrupted. He swiftly takes a glance at his cell phone and says, “Excuse me, it’s breaking news I must send this to my editors.” He grabs his phone and he begins tapping.

As one of Yemen’s veteran journalists and rare war correspondents, al-Qadhi has a lot on his plate. Despite spending a short vacation in Cairo, he is busy following the news, receiving calls and updates from his contacts in Yemen, and reporting to his editors at UAE-based Sky News Arabia.

Read More

On February 17th, Libyans will celebrate the anniversary of a revolt that ultimately toppled and killed Muammar Qaddafi, ending his forty-two-year oppressive rule. This anniversary and others in the region are regrettable reminders of how the expectations in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring compare to the reality on the ground seven years later. Many countries that sought to depose a tyrannical leader now find themselves in worse circumstances. Libya and Syria in particular have faced extreme violence since 2011. In both states, the political and security vacuums from internal fractures allowed the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) to rise and thrive. In Syria, this same vacuum allowed Russia to gain military influence and involvement in the conflict. Russia is likely to use current unstable conditions in Libya today for its own interests, much as it has done in Syria, beginning over two years ago.

Read More

Since 2011, Libya’s path to democracy has been unclear. The United Nations’ (UN) inability to bring warring factions to the negotiating table has left the country in chaos. While negotiations have failed, the UN is pushing to hold elections in 2018. Given the chaos in the country, however, will the UN overcome the challenges needed to execute elections successfully?

Read More

The situation on the ground in Libya is fluid and complex. Militias in the West and South police their own local communities but few have regional control. The only exception is in eastern Libya under the leadership of strongman General Khalifa Haftar and his self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA). In his campaign to eradicate terrorism, Haftar emerged as a potential strongman who could bring security to Libya. That possibility, however, is becoming less likely.

Read More