All in-depth research & reports


Dec 22, 2023

How to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable in European courts

By Gissou Nia, Celeste Kmiotek, Lisandra Novo, Alyssa T. Yamamoto

While there are no viable domestic routes toward accountability within Iran, national judicial systems in other states present an alternative path to justice. This report examines prospects for initiating prosecutions against IRI perpetrators in European jurisdictions.

Human Rights International Norms


Aug 3, 2023

Egypt’s stability is the GCC’s top priority in the region. Here’s why. 

By H.A. Hellyer

After the 2011-2013 revolution in Egypt, the author discussed the GCC’s relationship with Egypt with a senior minister, who emphasized the importance of Egypt’s stability. This sentiment has been shared by most GCC leaders over the past decade, though the way it has been expressed may have evolved. Political nuances in Cairo were considered less crucial, while the focus remained on the pragmatic and straightforward need for stability in Egypt.

Defense Policy Economy & Business


Aug 3, 2023

Gulf engagement in Tunisia: Past endeavor or future prospect? 

By Sebastian Sons

Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar regard Tunisia as an important foreign policy partner within their regional sphere of influence. They also welcome Tunisia’s current autocratization under President Kais Saïed. However, Gulf states no longer pursue strategic goals there. As the region is undergoing a geopolitical shift toward more conflict management and reconciliation, the Gulf states consider Tunisia as a partner of choice in regional stability but no longer as a partner of necessity in terms of economic investment or development cooperation.

Civil Society Democratic Transitions


Aug 3, 2023

The Western Sahara conflict: A fragile path to negotiations

By Riccardo Fabiani

The long-dormant conflict over Western Sahara has resurged in recent years, challenging regional stability. Diplomatic tensions between the main sides, coupled with the collapse of the 1991 UN-brokered cease-fire and US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in 2020, have complicated the situation. The appointment of UN envoy Staffan de Mistura in 2021 offers hope for the revival of cease-fire talks, while the UN and the United States aim to stabilize the conflict through renewed diplomatic efforts.

Conflict International Organizations


Aug 3, 2023

Libya: Back to the future?

By Karim Mezran and Alessia Melcangi

The current Libyan situation is complex, influenced by numerous factors, including the conditions of the 2011 revolution. The misconception of it being a whole people’s revolution led to a focus on elections instead of national reconciliation, hindering the rebuilding of consensus and a new social contract.

Civil Society Conflict


Aug 3, 2023

Irregular migration from North Africa: Shifting local and regional dynamics

By Matteo Villa and Alissa Pavia

Irregular migration from North Africa to Europe, especially through the Central Mediterranean route connecting Libya and Tunisia to Italy, is increasing once more. Italy has witnessed a surge in irregular arrivals, with approximately 136,000 migrants disembarking between June 2022 and May 2023, almost comparable to the high arrival period of 2014-2017 when around 155,000 migrants landed each year.

Human Rights Italy
Construction in downtown Cairo


Jul 27, 2023

The North African complex: Regional players, global challenges

By Karim Mezran, Alessia Melcangi, Riccardo Fabiani, Sebastian Sons, Hisham Hellyer, Matteo Villa, Alissa Pavia

North Africa is, once again, the theatre of local and global challenges, which makes it a highly unstable regional complex. Unresolved crises like the ones in Libya and Western Sahara create obstacles to regional security, economic integration, and peaceful coexistence.

Middle East North & West Africa

Issue Brief

Jul 5, 2023

The minilateral moment in the Middle East: An opportunity for US regional policy?

By Jean-Loup Samaan

Jean-Loup Samaan analyzes how regional powers in the Middle East are reconsidering the multilateral balance of their foreign policy arrangements.

Middle East Political Reform

Issue Brief

Jun 6, 2023

How monarchies end

By Stephen Grand

Stephen R. Grand flips the analytical script on the spate of notable books covering “How Democracies Die.” Democracies can corrode and crumble, but so can autocracies. Why are there no books being published about how kings and queens, emperors and caliphs, cease to rule—either because their throne is transformed into a more ceremonial post or because they lose power entirely? For Arab monarchs, there are several apparent lessons to be learned.

Middle East Political Reform

Issue Brief

May 30, 2023

China’s subsea-cable power in the Middle East and North Africa

By Dale Aluf

Dale Aluf analyzes China’s campaign to make countries in the region more dependent on Chinese networks, while reducing its own dependence on foreign cables. China’s growing presence in the Middle East and North Africa’s cable industry is significant because Beijing has the power to shape the route of global internet traffic by determining when, where, and how to build cables.

China Middle East