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Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia: Transitional Justice and the Fight Against Corruption

Middle East and North Africa Report N°168, 3 May 2016

Tunisians hold placards during a protest against a controversial draft law on amnesty for corruption offences in the capital Tunis in September 2015. AFP/Sofienne Hamdaoui

Polarisation over transitional justice after the 2011 fall of Tunisia’s old regime is obstructing basic progress. Accounting for past actions cannot include the early idea of “revolutionary justice”, but can become a tool to reconcile citizens, tackle corruption and give the economy a much needed new impetus.

Recent Reports

Tunisia: Transitional Justice and the Fight Against Corruption, Middle East and North Africa Report N°168, 3 May 2016

Polarisation over transitional justice after the 2011 fall of Tunisia’s old regime is obstructing basic progress. Accounting for past actions cannot include the early idea of “revolutionary justice”, but can become a tool to reconcile citizens, tackle corruption and give the economy a much needed new impetus.

Steps Toward Stabilising Syria’s Northern Border, Middle East Briefing N°49, 8 Apr 2016

On both sides of the Syria-Turkey border, the uncompromising strategies of Ankara, Turkey’s insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and its Syria-based affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are propelling a dangerous conflict toward escalation. The lone force able to head it off is the United States, and if it fails, Islamic State is ready to exploit any new disorder.

How to Preserve the Fragile Calm at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, Middle East Briefing N°48, 7 Apr 2016

A deceptive calm on Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade is unlikely to hold under pressure from the ongoing “third intifada”, widespread dissatisfaction among Palestinian youth and growing Jewish Temple activism. Bolstering the 1967 Status Quo arrangement remains crucial, but immediate attention must be on maintaining more recent understandings on access to the Esplanade as the religious holiday season begins.

עברית

Russia’s Choice in Syria, Middle East Briefing N°47, 29 Mar 2016

Many questions surround Moscow’s surprise announcement of a force reduction in Syria. Yet it clearly enhanced Russia’s leverage over the regime and provided a much-needed dose of credibility to the nascent political process. Avoiding further regional unravelling and spiralling radicalisation, however, and pushing the conflict toward an initial settlement will require further adjustments in Russia's strategy, including addressing the Assad conundrum.

Arsal in the Crosshairs: The Predicament of a Small Lebanese Border Town, Middle East Briefing N°46, 23 Feb 2016

The fate of the border town Arsal mirrors Lebanon’s many policy failures. The government applies heavy-handed security at the expense of basic services and fair economic opportunities. It should change its policies to become more flexible, accountable and supportive of Syrian refugees – and receive more international help in return.

Yemen: Is Peace Possible?, Middle East Report N°167, 9 Feb 2016

Yemen's outlook is bleak. It is crucial that the opposing blocs and their regional allies commit to a political process to resolve the conflict, but there is no end in sight. The immediate priority should be an agreement on humanitarian aid and commercial goods for areas where civilians are under siege.

Iran After the Nuclear Deal, Middle East Report N°166, 15 Dec 2015

Some in the West hope the nuclear deal with Iran will empower the country’s moderates. But playing Iranian domestic politics directly could backfire. The West should recognise that any change will be gradual, best supported by implementing the nuclear accord, resuming trade, and diplomacy that balances Iranian and Arab interests in the Middle East.

The Prize: Fighting for Libya’s Energy Wealth, Middle East and North Africa Report N°165, 3 Dec 2015

The imminent collapse of Libya’s economy could impoverish millions, foster chaos and more radicalisation. At the heart of Libya’s misery is frenzied competition for control over the country’s oil resources. Ongoing UN-led talks should urgently prioritise economic governance, local ceasefires and armed defence of oil facilities.

Algeria and Its Neighbours, Middle East and North Africa Report N°164, 12 Oct 2015

Algeria has emerged as an indispensable broker of stability in North Africa and the Sahel. But, especially as it enters a generational transition in domestic politics, it needs better strategies to deal with financial pressures, a neighbourhood in turmoil, cross-border jihadi threats, and ongoing tensions with France and Morocco. It should also resolve a presidential succession that is paralysing institutions.

New Approach in Southern Syria, Middle East Report N°163, 2 Sep 2015

Syria’s civil war is stuck in a vicious cycle, and the U.S. is best placed to change the appalling status quo. Washington should take advantage of opportunities in southern Syria to launch a new policy to improve the chance of a political settlement, chiefly by deterring regime aerial attacks on rebel-held civilian areas.

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Latest Translations

Russia’s Choice in Syria
Middle East Briefing N°47
Now available in Arabic
How to Preserve the Fragile Calm at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade
Middle East Briefing N°48
Now available in Hebrew
Arsal in the Crosshairs: The Predicament of a Small Lebanese Border Town
Middle East Briefing N°46
Now available in Arabic
Yemen: Is Peace Possible?
Middle East Report N°167
Now available in Arabic