Trending Events Issue 22
Monday, October 16, 2017
Future for Advanced Research and Studies in Abu Dhabi published the 22nd issue of its periodical Trending Events for July-August 2017 with a focus on controversial issues regionally and globally. These issues include “the waves of lone wolves’ attacks,” “ISIS alternative havens,” “rehabilitation of areas liberated from terrorist groups,” “problems of securing major cities,” “policies of refugees’ resettlement in war-torn countries,” “increase of cyber threats against military institutions” and “rising features of regional crisis in the Middle East in 2017.”
In the opening editorial entitled “The region’s wolves: Conflicts and attempts to control the ’Arabs’ of the Middle East,” FARAS’ Director Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Salam discussed the phenomenon of bragging during regional and international interactions. He stressed that such behavior can be perceived evidently in the orientations and policies of some regional countries (like Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia and Israel), as well as Qatar, towards Arab countries. These policies do not take into account the rules on which the international order was formed. Some major powers understand this behavior, and thus making it necessary to expand the current Arab quartet alliance, not to possess more capabilities, but to agree on a joint vision for the region’s future. Accordingly, the alliance will act as an alternative to Arab vacuum and regional bragging during this most difficult phase the region is witnessing.
In the Future study entitled “Unstable alliances: The complications of managing relations between allies on the regional and international levels,” Doctor Ali Jalal Moawad (Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science in Cairo University) sheds light on the problems of managing alliances. He explained how managing alliances can be as complicated as managing conflicts, particularly that some alliances pose a real security threat to their regional surroundings and in some cases they even turn at a certain point to become rivals. The study focuses on monitoring problems related to alliances and their regional and global management. It also discusses the reasons these problems increased and the most important strategies for confronting them.
The segment of Future Opinions aims to answer the most controversial questions on the regional level. Within this context, Doctor Mohammed Safi Youssef (Professor and Head of the International Law Department at the Faculty of Law in Ain Shams University) answered the question “What is left of international law?” He aimed to respond to the criticism made against international presuming that it fails to find a solution or a settlement for international disputes. He refutes the debates of those who oppose international law by citing some countries’ withdrawal from international agreements or doubting its role in resolving international disputes.
Doctor Abdullah Al-Awadi (Editor-in-chief of the ‘Views’ section of the UAE’s Al-Ittihad newspaper) tried to answer the question “Why is the Qatari behavior still confusing?” He interpreted Qatar’s behavior while dealing with the current crisis with the quartet countries and the reasons it adopted policies, which disrupted the harmony among GCC countries although the latter has been a rare example of a successful sub-regional institution in the Arab region for decades.
Doctor Abdullah al-Shammari (Expert in Turkish affairs) analyzed “What is the future of Erdogan’s regime?” and sought to answer this via reviewing the most important Turkish opinions regarding Erdogan’s future and whether there is an alternative from the Turkish opposition. He also addressed Turkish domestic stances regarding Erdogan’s policies towards the Qatari crisis.
In another opinion piece, entitled “What if Iraq’s Kurdistan becomes independent?” Doctor Abdul Hakim Khusro (Professor of Political Sciences at the University of Salahaddin in Erbil and researcher at the Center of Strategic Studies and Development in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region) clarifies why the political command in Iraq’s Kurdistan held the referendum at this time. He further analyzed the consequences of Kurdish separatist attempts on neighboring countries, specifically on Turkey and Iran. He also addressed the possible scenarios, which they may adopt to deal with the referendum’s results and the US’ stance, which was confused due to the Kurds’ insistence on holding the referendum as planned, while ignoring its domestic and regional consequences.
The Future Analyses section includes a number of rising trends and phenomena in the Middle East and the world. In an article entitled “The terrorism of one attack: The rise of consecutive terrorist attacks in Europe,” Doctor Ayman al- Desouki (Associate Professor of Political Sciences at Abu Dhabi University) sheds light on the rise of attacks carried out by sympathizers with terrorist groups in Europe. He analyzes the terrorist attacks, which happened in Britain, France, Spain and France during short intervals although those planning them are not organizationally linked to one another.
In an analytical piece entitled “Alternative havens: Possible options for ISIS outside Syria and Iraq,” Orhan Gafarli, (Political Analyst specializing in Central Asian affairs at Jamestown Foundation) sheds light on the consequences of ISIS’ collapse in Syria and Iraq especially regarding its organizational structure or its foreign fighters. Gafarli also explores the possible alternative havens, which the organization may move to whether in Caucasia or Central Asia.
In an analysis entitled “Worrying models: The reasons and repercussions of institutional exposure in the world,” Doctor Khaled Hanfy Ali (Researcher specialized in African affairs at Al-Ahram Foundation) discussed the exposure of some state institutions and apparatuses resulting from urgent transformations. Such transformations include changes in the political leadership or the nature of the political system and the rise of threats to the state. The study also discusses how these transformations can negatively affect the institutions’ capability to confront crises.
On the level of cyber interactions, Ehab Khalifa (Head of Technological Developments unit at FARAS) discussed “Cyber Defence: The growth of cyber threats against military institutions.” Khalifa addressed the concept of electronic defense pertaining to military strategies and goals and mechanisms adopted by countries to achieve cyber security.
In the analysis entitled “Mysterious Future: Limited opportunities for the growth of oil shale in the world,” Ali Salah (Head of the Economic Studies unit at FARAS) discussed the future of oil shale, which was one of the main reasons that led to decrease of oil prices in the past phase. He confirmed that the chances of oil shale growth confronts several difficulties, anticipating that traditional oil producers will once again control oil prices unless a future development leads to the decrease of oil shale prices or significant discoveries are made pertaining to its reserves.
In an analysis entitled “Post-ISIS: The challenges of rehabilitating areas liberated from terrorist groups,” Doctor William Guéraiche (Lecturer at the American University in the UAE) discusses the challenges facing rehabilitation of territories liberated from ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The most important challenges of which are: terror groups’ revenge attacks, domestic divisions, deployment of armed militias, massive cost of reconstruction and transitional justice.
Mohammad Izzat Rahim (Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Economy and Political Sciences at Cairo University) discusses “The threats to centers: The increase of problems pertaining to securing major global cities.” Rahim discusses threats to urban centers such as: terror threats, activity of gangs’ organized crime, managing cultural plurality and securing big events. The piece reviews international expertise in securing cities and addresses the challenges, which hinder the efficiency of security.
As for media-related topics, Basma Eterby (Researcher in the Political Transformations unit at FARAS) discusses “Media Wars: Untraditional methods of media wars between Moscow and Washington.” The research focuses on the rise of conflict over media domination, changes in the global media scene and tactics of the Russian media war using the model of “Russia Today.” It also discusses the proposals of American research centers to confront the Russian media’s war, such as blocking or closing news channels supported by Russia.
Ahmad Zaki Othman (Researcher in international relations) focuses on “The paths of return: The policies of resettling refugees in countries war-torn conflicts.” Othman discusses the increase of campaigns calling to send refugees home and some countries’ policies to limit asylum, especially after the situation changed in some countries, where there are conflicts particularly with the establishment of “safe zones” and “de-escalation zones.”
The Future Workshops section addresses the major trends discussed during some workshops and the meetings organized by FARAS. The workshop entitled “ISIS 2.0: Scenarios post ISIS defeat in Iraq” focused on what will specify ISIS’ future and the possible scenarios pertaining to the organization’s structure. It also discussed the problems, which may arise following ISIS’ defeat in Syria and Iraq.
The issue includes a report about the panel entitled “The Final scenario: Prospects of escalation in Qatar Crisis.” The panel discussed the theoretical context, which may contribute to analyzing the orientations of the crises in the region and the general features of the Qatari crisis. It also addressed the options of the different involved parties, including escalation.
The workshop “Qatar’s situation: The economic dimensions of the Arab region’s crises” answers complicated economic questions about the Qatari crisis, particularly questions pertaining to the crisis’ repercussions on Doha’s economy and to the transformations, which Qatar adopted on the economic level following the crisis. It also discusses the crisis’ possible future repercussions on major sectors of the Qatari economy.
In a workshop, entitled “Current transformations in South Asia,” Doctor Syed Munir Khasru (Chairman of The Institute for Policy, Advocacy, and Governance in Bangladesh) discussed the current situation in South Asia and the most important threats that influence the Middle East.
The Other World
The How does the Other World Think? segment analyzes the most important political and security developments, which Russia, Venezuela, Central Africa and Southeast Asia witnessed. In an analysis entitled “The absent alternative: Retreating chances of devolution of power in the upcoming Russian elections,” Ekaterina Finokurova (Correspondent for the Russian website Znak) says that the Russian opposition still suffers from domestic conflicts and rifts, amid the severe dispute between its most important symbols in terms of who dominates the political scene. This resulted in exchanging accusations that they fear the Kremlin. This led to the absence of a credible alternative to current Russian President Vladimir Putin, who seems to be the most likely of finalizing the elections in his favor in the upcoming elections in 2018.
In an analysis entitled “Limited options: The constituent assembly and a new chapter of conflict in Venezuela,” David Covelli (Researcher at the European Union Commission office in Italy) discusses a chapter of the Venezuelan crisis as represented by President Nicolás Maduro’s continuous policies to consolidate his powers and defeat those opposing him. Covelli addresses the most important regional and international stances and clarifies why they failed to influence the Venezuelan domestic situation.
In a piece entitled “Mindanao Archipelago: The gate of terrorism and extremism in Southeast Asia,” Joseph Franco (Researcher who specializes in combating terrorism and violent extremism at the Center of Excellence for National Security at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore) clarifies why the Mindanao Archipelago embraces terrorism and extremism in Southeast Asia. He also writes about the environment, which helped ISIS to situate in South of Philippines for months.
In an analysis entitled “Religious cover: The rise of conflict over wealth and power in Central Africa,” Kamaleddine Mohammed Arab (Expert specializing in African affairs) focuses on the factors that led to the eruption of conflicts over wealth and power. He further addresses how religion was utilized to mobilize people of different religions to participate in the conflict in Central Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The State of the World section discusses the political and security transformations, which Eurasia is witnessing. An analysis entitled “Competitive Connectivity: The rising features of a new world order in Eurasia” was written by Karen Abul Kheir (Consultant editor of the magazine Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya of Al-Ahram Foundation in Cairo). Abul Kheir discusses the indicators of Eurasia’s rise, the transformations of world powers’ balances, the axes of regional competition and the features of the new world order, which is being formed from this region.
The section of the State of the Middle East focuses on “Containing pressures: Iranian escalation in confronting domestic and foreign transformations” as Raghida al-Bahi (Assistant lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University) discusses the stances of global think tanks regarding the transformations which Iran witnessed. That includes the controversy regarding the presidential elections, the rise of terrorist threats, renewing American sanctions, the repercussions of Tehran’s development of its military capabilities and the future of the Iranian nuclear deal.
The Future Concepts supplement was entitled “Crisis Management: The new directions of crisis management in international relations.” At the beginning of the supplement, Ahmad al-Shura Abu Zeid, (Assistant Lecturer at the Political Sciences Department at Assiut University) wrote a piece entitled “Complex repercussions: Trends in defining international crises and their basic characteristics.”
In an analysis entitled “Limited efficiency: Managing international crises amid third parties’ and international organizations’ intervention,” Doctor Hiba Jamaleddine (Lecturer of comparative politics at the National Planning Institute) discusses the forms of mediation in international crisis, whether by states or organizations. She also discusses the essential conditions for the success of mediation efforts and the different roles, which a mediator can play.
In a piece entitled “Crises’ leaders: The role of decision makers during times of complicated crises,” Doctor Amal Sakr (Deputy Director of Executive Affairs at FARAS) discusses the role of political leadership in managing crisis and how the leader’s personal characteristics affects his management of crises. She also addresses the most important theoretical contributions, which sought to provide guidance to decision makers during crises.
In the piece entitled “Three paths: How do international and regional crises end?” Mohammad Abbas Nagi (Editor-in-chief of the periodical “Iranian selections”) discusses the alternative paths to ending crises. Nagi presented three scenarios for ending crisis, the first of which is in finalizing the crisis in favor of one of the conflicting parties. The second scenario entails reaching a middle ground solution by having conflicting parties make concessions. The third scenario is not being able to resolve the crisis, which develop it into an extended conflict. This latter scenario will have repercussions on international and regional stability and security.
Middle East Crises
The Future Report supplement entitled “Open conflicts: Rising features of regional crises in the Middle East in 2017” was prepared by Mohammed Abdullah Younes (Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University). It discusses the most important trends, which the region has witnessed during 2017 in terms of domestic transformations, regional interactions, security and military changes, major economic trends and the region’s options to confront rising threats.
The issue includes a review of major trends such as: increased divisions, rifts in domestic alliances, rise of polarization among regional axes, growth of Iranian and Turkish threats, increased threats of armed militias’ integration, expansion of instability to neighboring countries, spread of institutions that combat extremism in the Arab world, increased cyber security threats in the region, increased settlements to domestic conflicts in the region, increased gas-related conflicts, relative improvement of economic indicators in the Arab world and limited stability to global oil prices.
Finally, the issue includes an info-graphic entitled “The features of terrorist operations from international databases.” It includes detailed data about the maps of terrorist operations, the used weapons, the categories targeted and the most prominent terrorist organizations. The periodical include also reviews of the latest books published by global publishing houses in the past phase.