MENASource

  • How to Hold Elections in Libya

    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?

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  • Libya’s Falling Strongman

    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.

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  • Navigating the Saudi Road to Success

    In 2016, in the face of low oil prices and rapidly declining foreign reserves in an unsustainable, oil dependent rentier state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was faced with two scenarios: an ‘Open Road’ where social and economic reform would transform the country into a diversified, moderate, and prosperous society; or the ‘Rocky Road’, where the sclerotic government would fail to reform and the country could plunge into a deep recession amid rising internal conflict and a monarchy in peril.

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  • The State of Emergency in Egypt: An Exception or Rule?

    The presidential decree issued on October 10, 2017 re-declaring state of emergency for three months, raised widespread debate. This decree was the third of its kind in 2017. Egypt has a long history of exceptional laws (the emergency law being among the most prominent of them). Since the 1952 Officers Movement, Egypt has been governed for decades by many regulations and exceptional laws that are considered a violation of public law. Public law is all general legislations issued by parliament to regulate public affairs based on honoring the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. Public law is normally applied by the regular (non-military and non-exceptional) judiciary.

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  • Libya's Constitution is the Minimum Requirement for Elections

    On January 10, 2018 the United Nations endorsed the UN Support Mission in Libya’s (UNSMIL) intention to hold national elections by the end of 2018, led by the new UN Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame. So far, more than 2,000,000 citizens (about 32 percent of the adult population) are already registered to vote. Many Libyans are hopeful that elections will finally bring stability and order to a state which has been plagued with violence, corruption, and lawlessness for almost seven years. However, it will be extremely difficult to meet these expectations if a mandated constitution does not exist to check elected officials, or if there is no legal framework of action for newly established institutions.

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  • Baghdad and KRG Locked in a Standoff

    Both Iran and the United States have been pushing Iraq and the KRG to normalize their relationship, but Baghdad’s maximalist approach means the KRG is likely to hold out until after the May 2018 elections to make a deal.

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  • Big Trouble in Little Aden

    The city of Aden was ostensibly the only part of Yemen where post-conflict reconstruction was viable, especially since the area of the conflict has been declared a Houthi-free zone since July 22, 2015.  Subsequently, the residents of the city were seemingly united in that the majority are southern, Sunni, and anti-Houthi/Saleh. But now the conflict is occurring amongst Aden “allies,” not just nationally but regionally as well, as they are now divided based on the claim that President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government is “corrupt.”  

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  • After the Ritz Carlton Crackdown, What’s Next?

    Last week it was reported that the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh would start taking reservations again on February 14, after months of serving as a detainment facility for Saudi elites accused of graft. In a dramatic blitz in the middle of a November night in Riyadh, Saudi security forces moved to detain dozens of powerful suspects in a dramatic anti-corruption drive. The bulk of the suspects were transported to Riyadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton Hotel, which was closed for business and converted into a detention facility, albeit a comfortable one. Critics of the move dismissed it as a political power-grab by Saudi Arabia’s young and ambitious Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, while more optimistic observers lauded it as the possible beginning of the end of the rampant corruption that plagues Saudi Arabia. Lost in the discussion was the economic context of this most remarkable development....
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  • January 25: Experts Weigh In Seven Years Later

    We asked several Egypt experts where they think Egypt stands seven years after the January 25, 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. A common takeaway has been that Egypt is continuing to regress to its pre-2011 days.

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  • While National and International Actors Stall, Local Leaders in Libya Step Up

    The impression that the political situation in Libya is stalled is widespread. The lack of productive movement from national-level actors is undeniable: the UN-led mediation is faltering, the transitional government in Tripoli is not moving forward as fast as it should, and the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk continues to under-perform, plagued by a constant lack of quorum. The HoR continues to face the usual accusations of being under the control of General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army. The General himself is not moving much beyond releasing a series of interviews and declarations in which he affirms his acceptance of the UN-led mediation to the international stage, but at the same time professes his pessimism about its potential success, and threatens to directly intervene, assume control, and “save” the country.

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