Mali’s two wars
Mali, aided by France and several other countries in the region, is waging a war against jihadist terrorists based in the north of its territory. But Bamako is also conducting a political, social and economic war against ethnic populations in the north who want more autonomy. Though France’s involvement has kept the Malian government stable, more and more officials are asking why it should continue, given Bamako’s and Paris’s seemingly divergent goals.
GIS Dossier: Saudi Arabia’s transforming role
Over the past five years, Saudi Arabia has had to make some big adjustments, as geopolitical shifts have put it in a precarious position. After the oil price slump of 2014 and Iran’s rise to regional prominence in 2015, the kingdom made strategic changes both at home and abroad. It decided to make a stand against Iranian attempts to forge a Shia crescent and moved to diversify its economy. This dossier reviews our analysts’ predictions for how successful these moves will be.
Cameroon’s ‘anglophone crisis’ offers a bleak outlook
In Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, forces advocating secession from the rest of the country are gaining clout. Violent clashes are increasing, dragging down the country’s economy and displacing thousands of people. President Paul Biya, now Africa’s longest-serving leader, is still likely to win a seventh term in office this year, but his eroding legitimacy will make it even more difficult to bring stability back.
Duterte’s impact at the two-year mark
When President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in the Philippines, his plan to reorient the country’s geopolitics toward Beijing and away from Washington was a shock. But reality has set in – although Manila now takes a more neutral line, the U.S. still plays a crucial role in the Philippines’ security. The public is also wary of China, whose aggressive moves in the South China Sea could cause an uproar and force Mr. Duterte to realign with Washington.
Mozambique’s economic recovery faces tough challenges
Despite the untimely death of the leader of its opposition movement, Mozambique has managed to implement changes that will end years of political violence. The country is rich in natural gas and has plenty of agricultural potential, but a financial scandal and terrorism in its northern provinces are holding it back. Until these lingering problems are resolved, its much-anticipated economic boom will never materialize.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have diverging goals in Yemen
The United Arab Emirates is part of a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen. But recently, it has become clear that Abu Dhabi’s and Riyadh’s goals are diverging. While both the Emiratis and Saudis want to roll back Iran’s growing influence in the region, the UAE wants to divide Yemen, so it can gain more control around critical access points to the Red Sea. The tensions that will arise will further complicate the Yemen conflict.
Spain and Morocco: trouble or potential?
The burden of controlling irregular immigration, terrorism and drug smuggling has fallen disproportionately on the European Union’s southern members, including Spain. Ensuring stability on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, one of the world’s key waterways, is particularly tricky. If the new government in Madrid can’t find ways to work more closely with Morocco, the problems both countries are facing could get worse.
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.
Turkey and the West – distant yet inseparable
Turkey’s growing estrangement from the West stems from its domestic and regional ambitions, as well as from a feeling of being unwanted in the European Union. There is also a deeper undercurrent, present since the founding of the Turkish Republic, that questions the Kemalist strategy of a radical alignment with Europe. Even so, a total break with its Western partners is not on the cards.
Strategizing the European Union
The European Union has a meager track record of anticipating and containing external threats. The bloc’s 2016 Global Strategy is an attempt to rectify this situation by devising an integrated security approach that avoids the extremes of isolationism and interventionism. But if member countries insist on a multispeed approach instead of true cooperation, the attempt to build EU-based security structures will crumble.