Egypt: Proud and jittery as El-Sisi begins second term
With the Middle East in turmoil, the Arab world’s most populous nation and its biggest army are nowhere to be found. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi believes the path to national greatness begins at home, with economic development – not foreign entanglements. But as trouble builds up in Egypt’s immediate neighborhood, Mr. El-Sisi may not be able to stay out.
After Mosul and Raqqa, risks multiply
As the battle for Mosul concludes, the battle for Raqqa is entering its initial phase. From a military perspective, the fall of these twin bastions of Daesh was never in doubt. But tactical victories can only be turned into long-term strategic gains if a political process is put in place. Otherwise, we will see a “son of Daesh” and worse in Syria and Iraq.
Trump’s options in the Afghan-Pakistan divide
The complicated task of stabilizing Afghanistan is made even more complex by the support Pakistan and other countries give the Taliban. The United States will have to navigate this web of interests and alliances carefully. An increase in American troop levels could deter some of the players in the region from destabilizing the country. For now, that scenario seems likely.
GIS Dossier: Sub-Saharan Africa
The list of challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa is long and daunting. Political instability and violence have led to immense migration flows that countries on three continents are struggling to contain. These problems have exacerbated weather-related catastrophes like famine, creating a vicious circle. Yet, the region has plenty of potential. Can it overcome its hurdles? This edition of GIS Dossier surveys the predictions from our experts on this troubled region.
Opinion: Long-simmering tensions over Qatar come to a boil
Qatar has quarreled with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states before, but this latest flare-up is far more serious. While the cause of the crisis – an allegedly fake news report – seems a flimsy justification for a diplomatic and economic blockade, Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and friendly ties with Iran have put it in this fix. Qatar will have to agree to at least some of the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies, and the U.S. will probably help broker a compromise to end the impasse.
State fragility fuels crisis in Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, nearly half of the country’s 4.7 million people are in dire need of aid. It is one of the world’s most fragile states, with more than half its territory under the control of rebel groups. The crisis reflects poor governance and widespread violence, but also unfavorable geography. Even under a best-case scenario, it will take decades to build a sovereign and functioning state.
Macedonia’s instability has huge implications for the Balkans
A political crisis in Macedonia is turning into a big problem for the Balkans. Economically weak and susceptible to external pressure and internal instability, the country needs strong support. But the United States and European Union may be turning away, leaving a vacuum that can be filled by Russia and China.
Global Outlook 2017: U.S. faces vexing challenges in South Asia
The Trump administration will face major challenges in South Asia in 2017. The Taliban is likely to begin conducting major attacks, potentially making significant territorial gains. Also, India-Pakistan tensions continue to simmer; another terrorist attack could lead to a full-blown conflict. Up to now, President Trump has not made South Asia a foreign policy focus – but that may change quickly.
Global Outlook 2017: Iran, Daesh and the Arab wars
An arrangement between the U.S. and Russia on the Middle East seems to be the last hope for keeping the region from descending into a large-scale conflict. The two powers will have to find common ground on two main challenges: Daesh and Iran. But even under the best of circumstances, stamping out jihadist terrorism groups is a task that cannot be completed this year.
Social unrest undermines Morocco’s stability
Morocco’s elections in October 2016 showed that its democracy is strengthening. But for some, reform has not gone far enough. A fishmonger’s death recently sparked protests that could bring instability similar to that seen in the country’s neighbors in 2011. On top of that, security concerns are increasing. Can Morocco remain North Africa’s success story?