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  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This paper scans the interests and activities of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Egypt in the Mediterranean Basin – their varying and competing interests, their points of convergence and cooperation, and the challenges and opportunities for Israel. The paper is based on the main points raised at the third meeting of the working group on Israel in the Mediterranean, held in September 2019 in the Herzliya offices of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung at the initiative of the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center. The paper shines a spotlight on key elements in regional relationships and significant activity taking place in the Mediterranean Basin, which Israel must consider in formulating and executing policy. It is based on the presentations and discussions conducted at the event and does not reflect agreement among all participants.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Haim Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Since President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi’s rise to power in 2014, Israeli-Egyptian ties have been marked by defense-strategic cooperation. This is based on the shared perception of Iran and radical Islamist terror organizations as a threat, and the common interest in managing the Palestinian issue, in general, and specifically the Gaza arena. In the inherent tension between ideology and national interests, Egypt continues to strive for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians (Fatah, Hamas and the other Palestinian factions) and seeks to bring about internal Palestinian reconciliation beforehand (between the leaderships in Ramallah and Gaza). Its role as a key mediator between Hamas and Israel is crucial, and is in line with Egypt’s international standing as an important regional leader.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Barak
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Since mid-June, there have been growing social media protests by residents of the city of Port Said, Egypt against the mayor's intention to reposition the statue of de Lesseps (1805-1894), a French engineer and statesman who initiated and led the Suez Canal excavation project. In their view, the statue symbolizes European colonialism and denigrates the blood of the Egyptian people who scarified their lives in a war against the oppressive colonialist enemy. The discourse reflects an ideological struggle over the interpretation of symbols and monuments in the public sphere and corresponds with similar protests that have taken place recently in several Western countries, with the resumption of riots against the murder of George Floyd, which highlights the phenomenon of tearing down statues identified as symbols of oppression.
  • Topic: History, Social Media, Colonialism, Protests
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, Port Said
  • Author: Joshua Krasna
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the latest edition of Tel Aviv Notes, Joshua Krasna examines the regional implications of Chevron's purchase of Noble Energy for Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Gas, Economy, Business
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Alex Walsh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The 2011 Egyptian protests started in earnest nine years ago on National Police Day on 25 January, a holiday that Hosni Mubarak had introduced to commemorate Egyptian police officers killed and wounded by British colonial forces in 1952. Protesters upended the original meaning of the holiday to turn it into a symbol of police brutality and corruption under Mubarak. In the drama of the 18 days that followed, Egypt’s internal security apparatus fought the protesters in the streets, delivering one shocking provocation after another, galvanizing the protest movement and ultimately contributing to the removal of Mubarak. Since 2011, the police and internal security forces of many countries in the Arab world have been at the centre of the conflicts and struggles that shape the region for better and for worse. Recent and ongoing encounters between protestors and police in the streets of Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan are a stark reminder that the police are more than just a proxy target for a protestation of the state. They are also the object of much anger both as a grouping, and in terms of the concept of policing and social control they embody. The impact of this sustained contestation of police behaviour and doctrine in the region deserves reflection. Has the police and policing changed in the Arab world? And if so, in what ways? This paper maps out some of the main modes in which the police and policing have been contested since 2011, and provides a preliminary assessment of its impact. It argues that mass mobilised contestation has only been successful in the instance where institutional reform followed. It notes that hybridisation of policing – where informal security actors cooperate and challenge formal security actors – has spread in many countries but that the concept of state security – with its emphasis on the state over citizens – continues to prevail across the region. Indeed, almost a decade after that fateful 25 January 2011, many of the aspirations of citizens protesting the police are far from realised, even while there are some promising developments.
  • Topic: Protests, Repression, Police, Police State
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Nadine Abdalla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Various forms of local activism in Egypt are challenging the shortcomings in local governance and the lack of any developmental urban vision. This paper examines three examples from different neighbourhoods in Giza and Cairo. All three share the goal of resisting exclusionary policies while trying to overcome the absence of political means to register their frustrations given the absence of local councils since 2011.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Urban, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo, Giza
  • Author: Defne Günay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: According to the International Panel on Climate Change, climate change will affect the rivers leading to the Mediterranean, desertification will increase, rise in sea level will affect coastal settlements, and crop productivity will decrease in the region. Therefore, climate change is an important issue for the Mediterranean region. The European Union (EU) is a frontrunner in climate change policy, committing itself to a decarbonized economy by 2050. The EU also promotes climate action in the world through its climate diplomacy. Such EU action in promoting the norm of climate action can be explained with reference to EU’s economic interests. In this paper, I analyse whether the EU serves its economic interests by promoting climate action in its neighbourhood policy towards Egypt. Based on documentary analysis, this paper argues that European companies benefitted from the market-based solutions adopted by the Kyoto Protocol in Egypt, exported renewable energy technologies to Egypt and face a level-playing field in terms of regulations promoted for them by the EU in Egypt.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, European Union, Regulation, Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Children, Women, Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Burundi, Eritrea, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A surge of attacks in the Sahel coupled with declines in activity by Boko Haram, ISIS, and al Shabaab reflect the constantly shifting threats posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Sahel
  • Author: Thomas Renard
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The conflict in Syria and Iraq has mobilised an unprecedented number of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). More than 50,000 individuals travelled to the Levant to join jihadi groups. While fighters have flocked from virtually every corner of the world, a significant contingent came from North Africa. This has created an unprecedented challenge for individual countries, as well as for the broader Maghreb and Mediter- ranean regions. The ‘Caliphate’ has now been defeated with the loss of its remaining territories. While many people were killed, thousands of fighters and family members are either in detention in Syria or in Iraq – or still on the run. Authorities worldwide are contem- plating – or should be contemplating – the possible return of these fighters in the short to medium term and how to deal with them. In fact, more than a thousand North African fighters have already returned home since 2012. Following this unprecedented number of jihadi volunteers, countries must now handle an unprecedented number of jihadi veterans who present a multi-faceted security and societal challenge from prosecution to detention and rehabilitation. Arguably, whether they return or not, some of these fighters are likely to have a lasting effect on the global jihadi movement and on local dynamics in their country of origin. As highlighted in this report, history is a reminder that even small numbers of veteran fighters can have a significant impact on local, regional and global security. There has been a growing amount of research into (returning) foreign fighters recently.1 This research was needed to better understand the phenomenon, either in general terms or at a country-specific level. Most of this research focused on departures rather than returns, and it focused often more on the individual dynamics and motivations rather than on governments’ debates and responses. Yet, as most governments still grapple with returnees, it is important to look into governments’ responses, with a view to opening a discussion and possibly making some recom- mendations. In this report, we have therefore decided to focus on governments’ responses to the issue of returning foreign fighters in North Africa, in light of the unprecedented regional mobilisation. Tunisia, notably, has often been described as the largest provider of foreign fighters to the Levant, or certainly one of its top purveyors. Egypt and Morocco have also seen a significant mobilisation for jihad, justifying their inclu- sion in our study. We offer a comparative analysis of the situation in these three North African countries: Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Such an approach, using similar guidelines for all contributing authors, allows for interesting comparisons between the circum- stances that led to the departure of fighters and the responses to dealing with their return. Contributors were asked to look into domestic perceptions and debates related to the threat from returnees, and the specific policies developed to handle them. They were also asked to compare current perceptions and responses with previous jihadi mobilisations.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia