MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

MENASource
MenaSource logo

Follow MENASource:

TwitterRSS


Internet censorship around the world, including in the Middle East, is not a new phenomenon. Freedom of expression facilitated by the internet can pose a threat to authoritarian leaders around the world who seek to maintain strict control over both the content their citizens consume and the content they post. A clear pattern of authoritarian use of the internet to limit citizens’ freedoms can be viewed across the Middle East. Yet most recently, it is in Egypt in particular that this practice appears to be most egregious.  

Read More

The F-35 is the next generation fighter jet designed to ensure NATO’s air superiority for the next twenty to thirty years. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development program is a nine-country international consortium, which includes a tiered system of states that collectively contributed to the aircraft’s development and manufacture. Turkey is a Level III partner, meaning it invested an initial $125 million in the program. This investment affords Turkey a program office staff member in the F-35 office, but also means that Turkey has no direct vote on the F-35’s basic engineering and mission requirements. Ankara has invested $1.25 billion in the program since 2002, and Turkey manufactures several key components of the F-35. Despite these investments, Turkey’s future involvement in the F-35 program is no longer certain.

Read More

Recently the World Bank published its annual world income categorization of 189 countries and 28 other economies. Jordan, Syria, and Yemen were among the nine countries whose status climbed or fell to reflect changes in gross national income (GNI). Jordan progressed from a lower-middle income to an upper-middle income country ($3,896–$12,055 per capita). The effects of the civil wars in Syria and Yemen unsurprisingly caused the two countries to drop from lower-middle income countries ($996–$3,895 per capita) to the lowest rung on the ladder: low-income ($995 or less per capita). The deterioration of the economies of Syria and Yemen is significant. Mass displacement of populations, large reductions in production, and physical destruction have caused billions of dollars in damages. In both countries, industries that once gave people a livelihood are absent due to ongoing fighting.

Read More

Protests raging in southern Iraq foretell the potentially dire consequences if political leaders in the country are unable to form a government in the coming months. Unrest has culminated, after subsequent summers with widespread power outages and frustration in a government widely perceived as corrupt, in at least fourteen demonstrator deaths since early July and protester clashes with Iraqi security forces.

Read More

For the past seven years, this writer has viewed the Syrian uprising largely through the lens of civilian protection, because civilian slaughter has defined the conflict and dictated its dire political consequences. Although one may ascribe vastly different motives to the President of Syria on the one hand and the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the other, war in Yemen is producing similar slaughter that may, if left unaddressed and untreated, haunt the combatants and their external supporters—led by the United States—for decades to come.

Read More

China’s overall strategy to increase its role in world affairs indicates further engagement in its global investments in Asia, Africa, and beyond. It holds the most foreign reserve assets in Asia and is the largest trading partner in Africa. However, China is also continuing to diversify its portfolio by adding investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Although these investments are significantly smaller, Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the MENA region is growing rapidly. Since 2010, China invested billions of dollars in nearly every MENA country and in 2016 eclipsed the United Arab Emirates to become the leading investor in the region.

Read More

Tension continues to escalate along the Israeli-Syrian border with the recent regime southern offensive to oust opposition in the area and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria. Continued activity along the border is expected as Iran continues to solidify its hold on Syria. Yet Israeli's strategy is less clear as Iran continues to test the boundaries pushing Israel to act in Syria; among other actors like the Islamic State. We asked our nonresident senior fellows former Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, and Mona Alami about Israeli’s current and potential involvement in the Syrian conflict as it develops.

Read More

As the conflict in Yemen continues and the country’s humanitarian crisis deepens, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is attempting to negotiate a ceasefire for the port of Hodeida, a vital port for bringing aid and food into the famine-struck country. Earlier this month, the Saudi-led coalition began attacking the port city in response to missile attacks from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Taken against the recommendation of its allies such as the United States, this attack endangered the lives of many Yemenis who rely on the port for 70 percent of their food, fuel, and medicine imports. Aid organizations are struggling to deliver to the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” As Yemen’s war continues into its fourth year and the death toll reaches over ten thousand, Griffith’s negotiation may not only provide relief to the humanitarian crisis, but might also offer hope for a future settlement to end Yemen’s civil war.

Read More

The leaked language for the final version of the forthcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) suggests that the US Congress will hold the delivery of Turkish F-35 fighter aircraft, until a report is drafted that assesses Turkish industry participation in the F-35 consortium, and how best to replace Turkish manufactured components in the supply chain. The potential Congressional action comes after the Turkish government reached agreement with Russia for the delivery of the S-400 missile system. The Russian made surface-to-air missile system poses a unique threat to American aircraft: the S-400’s radar is able to act as a platform to collect electronic and signal intelligence from the F-35. If the radar operates in Turkey, alongside the F-35, Moscow could potentially gain useful knowledge about the jet and be able to detect the jet at greater ranges, potentially giving Moscow useful data about NATO’s future frontline fighter.

Read More

As most headlines continue to focus on US President Donald Trump’s recent meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and fallout from the NATO summit, Iraq is witnessing some of the largest and most prolonged protests in years. The protests began last week, triggered by water and electricity shortages, unemployment, and government corruption. Despite the growing unrest in a country where the United States has significant interests and forces deployed, there has been little mention of current events in Iraq by American officials or the mainstream media.

Read More