MENASource

  • The Khashoggi Reset

    The murder of Jamal Khashoggi—a resident of the United States and a citizen of a Kingdom that owed him protection—highlights the purely transactional nature of the relationship between Riyadh and Washington. Although the transactions themselves are important—ensuring the secure transit of petroleum supplies to the world market, sustaining intelligence exchanges on terrorist threats, countering Iranian destabilization, and a security assistance relationship that projects protective American power while boosting the American defense industry—Saudi actions undermining the transactions themselves mandate for Washington a time-out and reset.

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  • Murder in Istanbul and the Turkish Saudi Rivalry

    On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national living in self-exile in the United States, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That was the last time he was seen alive. The reason for Jamal’s visit to the consulate is familiar to foreigners who marry Turkish nationals. To set-a-date for one’s wedding, the Turkish government requires a document certifying that you are not already married. Ultimately, it was Jamal’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, that alerted Turkish authorities about the disappearance, touching off a gruesome and tragic story, rooted in Saudi incompetence and Turkish opportunism to try and take advantage of global outrage over the reported death of a popular figure.

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  • The Chilling Effect of the Khashoggi Case: A Trigger for Arabs Living in Fear

    Since the apparent murder-disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, analysts have focused primarily on the implications for US-Saudi relations and the future of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s vision for domestic reforms. Absent from policy discussions and analysis is the impact of brutally silencing a mild critic of an autocratic regime on the psyche of 450 million Arabs, most of whom still live under regimes that severely limit freedoms of speech, protest, political participation, and religion.

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  • The Khashoggi Affair: Back to the Future

    From the abuses of the male guardianship in Saudi Arabia to arrest and torture of dissenters in Egypt and the jailing of environmentalists and journalists in Iran, the Middle East is rife with human rights abuses. Nor is this something new. Authoritarian regimes in the Arab world, both monarchical and republican, since their independence from colonial powers have routinely used repressive measures to keep their opposition at bay and their broader population quiescent. Saddam Hussein notoriously put down a Kurdish rebellion in Halabja in 1988, gassing 5,000 people during the larger campaign of al-Anfal which reportedly killed over 50,000 Kurds. Syria, even before Assad’s bloody war against his opposition in 2011, routinely jailed, tortured, and killed opposition figures; and had no compunctions against tracking them into neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon, in order to do so.

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  • The Arc of Crisis in the MENA Region

    On Tuesday, October 9th, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East held a conference to discuss the nature of foreign involvement in ongoing conflicts in the region as well as the resilience of Jihadism in the post-2011 period. The conference coincided with the launching of a report, “The Arc of Crisis in the MENA Region: Fragmentation, Decentralization, and Islamist Opposition,” which explores a number of trends in governance that have emerged since the Arab Spring.

    Atlantic Council President and CEO, Frederick Kempe, kicked off the conference with opening remarks, followed by the President of the Italian think tank the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), Ambassador Giampiero Massolo, and the Ambassador of Italy to the...

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  • Iraqi Kurdistan’s Parliamentary Elections: Inflection Point or Plateau?

    The people from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) headed to the polls this week to elect 111 members of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament. This is the fifth general election following the creation of the regional legislature in 1992, and it was the first since last year’s controversial independence referendum. The effects of the failed attempt at independence continue to reverberate among the powerful establishment parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), who have shared control of the region since the establishment of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in early 1990s.

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  • Moroccan Conscription: An Unfinished Process

    If passed by the country’s two parliamentary chambers, an expedited draft law 44.18 would reinstate mandatory military service for both Moroccan men and women between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five by the end of next year. The announcement fell on the same day as King Mohammed VI’s speech on the 65th Anniversary of the King and People’s Revolution, August 20—a public holiday commemorating a turning point in the country’s struggle for independence from the French—in which he urgently appealed to the nation and government to address the country’s persistent youth issues including unemployment, idleness, and lack of opportunity.

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  • Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis Persists, Despite Humanitarian Funding

    When over $2 billion was pledged for the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) earlier this year, it was considered not only a success but also the best funded response plan worldwide according to anonymous aid workers who spoke to the author during the UN General Assembly. So far, 65% of the pledged funds have been delivered. The delivery of the remaining funding is expected throughout this year.

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  • Egypt's Options in the Development of the Ethiopian Dam

    For decades, Egypt focused primarily on its foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the process neglected its Horn of Africa policy. Meanwhile, Ethiopia began construction on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River. Problems along the Nile continue for Egypt as droughts, rising temperatures, and general effects of climate change demand a response to Egypt’s growing water needs.

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  • What Do The Renewed Protests in Iraq Mean?

    Civilian unrest in Iraq has refocused its attention on Haider al-Abadi and the Islamic Dawa party. Ongoing demonstrations this month in the southern city of Basra indicate trouble ahead for the Iraqi federal government and foreshadow an end to Haider al-Abadi’s run as prime minister, as he does not seek a second term.

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