Today's era is characterized by constant rearrangements and changes, which have always happened in the past as this is a natural progression of events. However, now it seems to have acquired a reckless speed of change similar to that of the development of technology, which is undoubtedly judged as one of the most important game changers of international reality. The ambiguity and multipolarity that characterizes contemporary events and international developments tend to become a constant among the maze of variables, making it increasingly difficult to properly and qualitatively analyze and design an effective plan of action at the nation-state level.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues in full gear, contrary to the steadfast reactions of the western world, the regional responses from the Middle East paint a different picture. Having initially been caught off-guard with the intensifying tag between Russia and the west, most ‘heavyweight’ MENA countries have adopted a ‘sit tight and assess’ approach. Longstanding partners of the west are balancing their reactions in order to minimize the risks stemming from overtly picking sides in a conflict that they increasingly see as not their own. On the region’s eastern flank, Iran too, walks a thin line.
This analysis aims at underlining the economic and political crisis in Iraq that led to widespread protests around the country since October 2019. The government’s inability to deliver basic services to society has created a series of protests with demands for better living conditions. The Iraqi security forces and armed militias are using extreme force to tackle the demonstrations with many protesters injured or killed. Hence, the question that presents itself is how foreign interventionism affects the country’s society and sense of security, as well as its economy.
Recently, Israel has improved its relations with the Gulf. This development was formalized via the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain and the silent approval of Saudi Arabia. The normalization between Israel and the Gulf is the result of a process some 20 years in the making, as 27 years have passed since Rabin, Arafat and Clinton signed the Oslo Declaration of Principles, which for the most part is now inactive. The questions that arise are how these accords can potentially affect the regional balance and whether more accords are likely to come.
Famed for its charitable non-profit work in war-torn and poverty-stricken parts of the world, the Aga Khan Development Network funds, amongst others, a plethora of cultural initiatives coordinated under the umbrella of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Albeit guided by Islamic ethics and a focus on redeveloping cultural heritage in areas with Muslim populations, the organization brings together financial and technical resources to revitalize local communities regardless of their faith, and build cultural bridges between the Islamic and non-Islamic world.
During the past few weeks, it seems that the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on January 3, 2020, should have sent Middle Eastern relations and the fragile regional equilibrium into a spiral. Nonetheless, the repercussions of the US administration’s decision have not yet been observed on a larger international scale, but rather on the domestic one.
Despite speculations of a rocky transition of power, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said’s succession at the Omani throne was swift and according to the wishes of the late Sultan. While he declared that he will follow the principles set by Qaboos in terms of foreign policy, the new ruler will have to prove Oman’s commitment to neutrality and its position as intermediary in negotiations, at a time of great regional turmoil. Meanwhile, Oman has to tackle its economic and social challenges at home, in order to continue to project its international soft power.
The US House of Representatives and US Senate have both recently adopted resolutions formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide, expressing that it is the sense of both chambers of Congress that the policy of the United States is to “commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance.”The resolutions also set the historical precedent for such a move, stating: “Whereas the United States has a proud history of recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, the killing of an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians.”
The recent assassination of general Soleimani, has to be viewed as the latest phase within the framework of the ongoing game that goes back to 2001, or 1979, or 1953 depending on your historical perspective.
As the war in Syria is coming to an end, it appears that the US have been attempting to rebalance the region and create a new equilibrium. The Trump Doctrine is being forged by a series of unorthodox unilateral actions, from the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to unquestioned support of Saudi Arabia, regardless of the latter's actions. In addition, President Trump has supported the formation of an energy axis among Israel, Cyprus and Greece, effectively blocking Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and has chastised Turkey's decisions and association with Russia, while he has allowed Turkey to invade, occupy and set a zone within Syria. Last but not least, the US administration has been trying to put Iran “back in the box”, as Iran has benefited from US interference in the region since 2001, especially following the war against the Islamic state.
Το Κέντρο Μεσογειακών,Μεσανατολικών και Ισλαμικών Σπουδών φιλοξενεί πληθώρα διαφορετικών απόψεων στα πλαίσια του ελεύθερου ακαδημαϊκού διαλόγου. Οι απόψεις αυτές δεν αντανακλούν υποχρεωτικά τις απόψεις του Κέντρου. Η χρήση και αναπαραγωγή οπτικοακουστικού υλικού για τις ανάγκες της ιστοσελίδας του ΚΕΜΜΙΣ γίνεται για ενημερωτικούς, ακαδημαϊκούς και μη κερδοσκοπικούς σκοπούς κατά τα προβλεπόμενα του Νόμου 2121/1993 (ΦΕΚ Α' 25/4-3-1993) περί της προστασίας της πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας, καθώς και του άρ.8 του Νόμου 2557/1997 (ΦΕΚ Α' 271/1997).