Africa

  • Al-Azhar’s Role Abroad: Signs of Escalation and Efforts to Undermine

    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.

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  • The Potential for Decentralization in Libya

    Libya today is close to being considered a failed state. The political system is stalled and authority is divided between an internationally recognized government, the Presidential Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) in Tripoli and the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk. Power is fragmented among myriad militias and armed groups, each one controlling limited territory. The internationally recognized government in Tripoli is unable to extend its authority beyond its immediate compound, while the HoR’s authority is limited under the influence of eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). So far, all attempts failed to reach an agreement at a national level between the major factions despite efforts by UN-led international mediation efforts.

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  • Mezran Quoted in Libya Herald on the Origins and Evolution of ISIS in Libya


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  • Hellyer Quoted in Reuters on Saudi Arabia's Acquisition of Red Sea Islands


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  • Defeating ISIS in Libya

    While the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has been routed out of its Libyan stronghold in the city of Sirte, the 2017 Manchester bombing, which was perpetrated by a duel British and Libyan citizen, demonstrated that Libya remains a fertile ground for ISIS and other extremist groups. On June 20, 2017, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East launched a new report, The Origins and Evolution of ISIS in Libya, authored by Jason Pack, Rhiannon Smith, and Karim Mezran. The report examines ISIS’s pre-history, birth, expansion, consolidation, and dispersal in Libya, as well as the broader political context of the country.

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  • How to Root Out ISIS from Libya

    True national reconciliation and inclusiveness are necessary ingredients for ending the cycle of statelessness and radicalization that has created a fertile ground for terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), to flourish in Libya, according to a new Atlantic Council report.

    “People who fought in Syria, we call that the undergrad for jihad, they went to Libya to get their post-grad degree in jihad,” said Jason Pack, founder of Eye on ISIS in Libya and executive director of the US-Libya Business Association.

    “By coming from what they gathered in Syria to their post-grad in Derna and Sirte they founded their own brigades,” said Pack referring to mostly Tunisian jihadis who initially trained in Syria where a civil war has raged for the past six years. “The porosity of the Tunisian-Libyan border has been a real plague for Libya, and it has been a plague for Tunisia,” he added, pointing to high-profile terrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015 at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis and on British holidaymakers in Sousse.

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  • Libya: A Political and Economic Trainwreck

    Libya is in a Catch-22 situation—political agreement cannot be reached without economic improvement and political stability is necessary to revive the economy. Turning the economy around is contingent on oil production and exports coming back on line, at least in its initial phase. In order to produce and export at full capacity, the country requires peace and security that allows for the resumed functioning of its oil wells and terminals.

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  • Why Inflation is So High in Egypt

    Over the past decade or so, Egypt has consistently experienced relatively high rates of inflation. But since the advent of the Arab Spring in 2011, the increase in consumer prices steadily accelerated. During 2011-2015, the average rate of inflation was close to ten percent a year, which was well above the corresponding rate of six to seven percent a year in the MENA region as a whole. Many factors are at play here in causing inflation to rise: increased oil prices worldwide, food price increases, growing fiscal deficit, and rapid increase in the money supply.

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  • Miller in the Arab Weekly: Libya Is in Dire Need of a National Reconciliation Effort


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  • Hruby in Financial Times: African Private Equity Must Rise to Job Creation Challenge


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