• Political fragmentation and slow diplomacy: Yemen’s long road to peace?

    In April this year, the Omani-mediated peace talks between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis and Saudi Arabia marked a hopeful move towards finally ending the proxy war in Yemen. This was an expected step following the Iranian-Saudi détente brokered by China a month earlier. Since then, officials from both sides have met for several rounds of talks,…

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  • Counter-Sectarianism in Lebanon at a Crossroads

    Counter-Sectarianism in Lebanon at a Crossroads

    On an early evening in late 2019, bells and sirens sounded throughout Beirut as thousands of Lebanese flooded the streets chanting, “down with the regime.” Simultaneously, buildings and blockades around the city were being spray-painted with calls for revolution alongside satirical caricatures lampooning the nation’s politicians. To many counter-sectarian revolutionaries, it seemed like the longstanding…

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  • Could Emirati hold on Socotra resolve conflict in Yemen?

    Could Emirati hold on Socotra resolve conflict in Yemen?

    The UAE’s strategic consolidation of the island of Socotra will not enhance the prospects for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Yemen. Whilst it may further complicate the process, it will not necessarily stymie efforts either. However, what is likely to stymie prospects is the growing rift between Saudi Arabia and the UAE and…

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  • COVID-19 and Female Labour Force Participation in Jordan

    COVID-19 and Female Labour Force Participation in Jordan

    COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges of female labour participation in Jordan. Female social involvement has significantly decreased by virtue of caring for their children and other familial responsibilities – especially since kindergartens were one of the first common areas to be closed during quarantine. Recent research has concluded that there is a noticeable low rate…

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  • Covid-19 and Egypt’s Informal Economy

    Covid-19 and Egypt’s Informal Economy

    For many Egyptians and policymakers alike, Egypt’s informal sector represents both a blessing and a curse. Through ease of entry, it provides employment for those shut out of the formal sector, but it is also characterised by poor working conditions and weak worker protections. The Egyptian government has shown great ambivalence towards the sector, sometimes trying…

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  • Iran’s Continued Expansion in Southern Syria

    Iran’s Continued Expansion in Southern Syria

    The Syrian regime forces besieged Daraa al-Balad area at the beginning of last August 2021, when the forces of the Iranian-backed Fourth Division brought military reinforcements to the area, and the Military Security Branch set up several checkpoints at the entrances and exits of the area, while closing the rest of the roads. Later, military…

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  • Gulf Energy Set to Win in Climate Action

    Gulf Energy Set to Win in Climate Action

    Climate pressure is tilting the global oil business in favour of the giant state-owned oil companies in the Persian Gulf. As oil demand plateaus and starts to decline, these firms have market advantages that will allow them to dominate shareholder-owned oil companies which face a tougher regulatory and price environment. This dichotomy is emerging as…

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  • Economics Driving China’s interest in Egypt

    Economics Driving China’s interest in Egypt

    On 30 June, a Chinese State Construction and Engineering Company (CSCEC) work crew lifted into place a steel skyway connecting two office buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital – an engineering feat that serves as a fitting metaphor for the two countries’ rapidly developing commercial relationship. In a 27…

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  • COVID-19 and Iraq’s Fractured Healthcare System

    COVID-19 and Iraq’s Fractured Healthcare System

    In July of this year, a fire tore through the COVID-19 isolation ward of Iraq’s al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in the city of Nasiriyah. At least 64 people were killed and dozens more injured, with the cause of the accident still disputed. Initial police reports suggest that the trigger was the explosion of an oxygen tank,…

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  • Libya at a crossroads, again

    Libya at a crossroads, again

    The current strategic and political situation in Libya seems almost unrecognizable from the perspective of just a year ago. For the first time in nearly a decade, Libya appears to have a widely supported transitional administration under recently appointed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. There are also ongoing talks to unify the command structures of…

  • China as a new Gulf mediator?

    China as a new Gulf mediator?

    China’s relationship to the Gulf could be changing. Previously, it avoided conflict and risk, which helped it establish good diplomatic relations and expand its commercial ties in the region. That approach may become harder given the high importance of Saudi Arabia and Iran to Chinese investments and the two countries’ own rivalry and competitive struggles…