MENA Monitor Articles
The fifth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran took place in late April this year. Previous talks have focused mainly on issues concerning pilgrimage to Mecca and have been led by lower-level officials. The latest talks involve the foreign ministries of both countries, which indicates the willingness of both sides to bring “their own efforts” (without U.S. involvement) to resolve the most difficult conflicts in the region that pose a threat to their economies.
The government of Saudi Arabia (the world’s largest oil exporter) says preliminary estimates indicate that the country’s economy grew by 9.6% in Q1 2022, and if those estimates are confirmed, it will be the highest growth rate since 2011, according to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).
Human Rights Watch concludes from its research that the Israeli government has demonstrated an intention to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In OPTs, including East Jerusalem, this intention has been combined with systematic oppression of Palestinians and acts of violence committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they make up the crime of apartheid. According to the report, Israeli officials also committed the crime of persecution against humanity.
Following a series of socio-political protests in 2011, Tunisia introduced a democratic system, which had been preceded by the departure of the then President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. At the time, few suspected that a decade later the opposite would occur and democracy would be threatened. The actions led by President Kais Saied pose a serious jeopardy to the democracy that Tunisians fought for ten years ago.
More than 100 ISIL (ISIS) fighters launched an attack on Ghweran prison in Hasakah last week, detonating three car bombs. The rebels stormed the compound in an attempt to free thousands of their comrades who were detained after the group’s defeat in 2019.
The conflict in Yemen has been a disaster for millions of its citizens who have fled their homes, many of whom are on the brink of starvation. The United Arab Emirates joined the coalition against the Houthis in 2019. Yemeni non-governmental forces backed by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates have dealt the rebels some very painful blows recently. Three districts in the Shabwa governorate were recaptured. The clashes were only part of a surge in violence taking place in a devastated country where the war is fought on several fronts
On August 24, 2021, Algeria has severed diplomatic relations with Morocco, accusing it of continued hostile actions. A month earlier, the Algerian Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador to Morocco and announced that it may take further steps in retaliation for unfavorable comments made by Morocco’s envoy to the United Nations, Omar Hilal, who dragged the Kabylia region into the decades-old dispute over Western Sahara.
For more than a decade, the Republic of Yemen has been torn apart by multiple armed conflicts involving both domestic militant groups and foreign states. The clashes have weakened Yemen’s central government and divided the country into various local power centers.
In recent months, there have been protests by the Muslim population which have rapidly taken on a tense, aggressive and violent character. Arabs clashed with the law enforcement forces and there have been reports of individual incidents of violence against the Jewish population. On the other hand, a march was organized by Jewish nationalists in Jerusalem, who attacked counter-demonstrators. Over time, the clashes developed into a large-scale incident, with Arab youths confronting the police, resulting in dozens of officers and several hundred young people being injured.
Lebanon has been mired in an economic and political crisis since 2019. The World Bank Lebanon Economic Monitor (LEM) published on June 1 ranked the Lebanese crisis among the top ten most severe global collapses since the mid-19th century.
Tensions between the Afar and Issa tribes date back decades. Issa, supported by the Somali government, wises to become a part of the Sitti Zone, which is a region of Somalia. During the 2014 meeting held in Awash with the then Somali president, a document was signed recognizing the three kebeles (administrative districts) as special areas of the Afar region. However, the agreement was contested by the Issa leader, which led to the resumption of the conflict and the demand for affiliation to the Sitti Zone in the Somali region in 2018.
The ongoing war in Syria is nothing like the revolution that took place 10 years ago. Parts of the country’s territory are controlled by the armed forces of Russia, Turkey, the USA, the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, jihadists and Afghan, Pakistani, Lebanese and Iraqi mercenaries. An agreement between President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents seems impossible to reach. In the perspective of the next few years, the war will continue and the price for the actions of foreign troops in the country will be borne by the Syrian people.
Between January 2020 and April 2021, prices of basic commodities in Lebanon increased by 350%. Taking into account the last two years, the increase amounts to 700%. The value of GDP decreased by about 40% from $55 billion in 2018 to $33 billion in 2020. On July 6, Prime Minister Hassan Diab appealed to the international community and the UN to provide help and prevent a humanitarian disaster and collapse of the country’s economy.
Taliban fighters have taken control of a key district in western Afghanistan where an important border crossing with Iran is situated. Recently the group has been claiming significant victories in key locations across the country. Taliban have captured areas bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Pakistan. Foreign troops are ending their 20-year-long military intervention while the country’s internal security continues to deteriorate.