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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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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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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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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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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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In September 2017, on the sidelines of a gathering of global leaders at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Libya Ghassan Salame presented an “action plan” for Libya that aimed to surmount Libya’s political stalemate and address persistent instability. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed optimism at the General Assembly regarding the crisis in Libya, calling on all parties to “seize” the moment to move the country forward. However, one year later the situation in Libya is characterized not by progress, but by further deterioration and insecurity.

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The Saudi government shelved plans in late August for an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Saudi Aramco, the state’s mammoth oil company. King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman had intended the proceeds from the sale of a portion of the company’s stock to underwrite their “Vision 2030” program, an ambitious roadmap to move the Kingdom beyond its dependence on oil by building a more diversified economy, more robust society, and a more effective government.

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There is no denying that Libya is in a far worse state than at any time since the 2011 revolution. In a country of vast oil and gas wealth, basic services are frequently interrupted as armed gangs control the capital in the west. In the east, once feared leaders like Khalifa Haftar find their forces cornered in an uneasy truce with militias that were the corner stone of his quest for power. Meanwhile, southern Libya is now overrun by Touareg and Toubou migration as well as African mercenaries. In short, Libya is not one failed state, but more closely resembles three failed states with dozens of groups vying for control.

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On the night of September 2nd, most of the personnel from the Italian embassy in Libyathe only operating embassywere quickly evacuated on a ship bound for Malta. Only a handful of diplomats remained to ensure minimum efficiency. The fate was the same for most of ENI’s technicians, the Italian oil giant that has been active in Libya for decades and one of the few remaining private companies in Libya after 2011. These are clear indications of the increased perception of danger that members of the international community felt after the clashes that have occured in the Libyan capital after August 27th when a militia from the city of Tarhouna launched an attack against the cartel of militias that control Tripoli in order to assure for itself a controlling position in the city.

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The American alliance with Turkey is in crisis. The two NATO allies have divergent interests in the Middle East, stemming from differing policies towards non-state actors. The United States, as the dominant external power in the Middle East, has made counter-terrorism the focal point of its Middle East strategy. American policy is linked to pervasive beliefs about the causes of the 9/11 attacks and the idea that Sunni jihadist groups are most effective when they have safe havens to plan and then execute plots against the US homeland. For Turkey, the threat of Sunni Jihadist non-state actors is secondary to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is a Kurdish insurgent group that has been active in Turkey since 1984.

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