Middle East & North Africa

4449 Items

President-Elect Joe Biden

AP/Susan Walsh

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

How Will Biden Intervene?

| Jan. 05, 2021

Broadly defined, intervention refers to actions that influence the domestic affairs of another sovereign state, and they can range from broadcasts, economic aid, and support for opposition parties to blockades, cyber attacks, drone strikes, and military invasion. Joseph Nye asks: Which ones will the U.S. president-elect favor?

View from the Arab World

Fall 2020

In the fall, the Middle East Initiative (MEI) launched a new event series titled USA 2020: The View from the Arab World. Co-hosted by MEI Faculty Director Tarek Masoud, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman Professor of International Relations, and MEI Visiting Fellow Karim Haggag, Professor of Practice at The American University in Cairo, the series features dialogues with Arab thought leaders on the 2020 US elections and America’s changing role in the Middle East. Here we focus on Mina Al-Oraibi, Editor-in-Chief of The National, an English language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. 

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

You Don’t Miss International Cooperation Until It's Gone

| Dec. 02, 2020

As Joni Mitchell sang, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”   Classroom education was often deemed boring by students and obsolete by tech visionaries.  Then the coronavirus made it difficult or impossible to meet in person.  The result:  We yearn for the irreplaceable in-class experience.
Perhaps the same is true of international economic cooperation. It was never especially popular. The theory, first formulated in a 1969 paper by Richard Cooper, said that countries could agree to coordinated bargains that achieved better outcomes, relative to the “Nash non-cooperative equilibrium.”  But economists thought of plenty of reasons to be skeptical.  The multilateral institutions of cooperation such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations agencies, were downright unpopular among the public.  Many Americans regarded them as invading US sovereignty, while other countries viewed them as an invasion of their sovereignty by the US.

Joe Biden and his special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, will take a more multilateralist approach than Donald Trump.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Analysis & Opinions - The Guardian

Joe Biden Will Lead the US Back to International Cooperation

| Dec. 02, 2020

Like the Joni Mitchell song puts it, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” For example, classroom education was often deemed boring by students and obsolete by tech visionaries. Then, Covid-19 made it difficult or impossible to meet in person. Now we yearn for in-class experiences.

Perhaps the same is true of international economic cooperation. Multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the UN agencies have long been unpopular among much of the public for supposedly encroaching on national sovereignty. But then Donald Trump came along and made international cooperation well-nigh impossible. While other G20 leaders discussed pandemic preparedness at their recently concluded summit, for example, Trump evidently tweeted more false accusations of electoral fraud and then played golf.

President-elect Joe Biden and his climate envoy, John Kerry, at The Queen theater.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

What Does Success Look Like for a Climate Czar?

| Dec. 02, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to create a new cabinet-level position for climate-related issues — and to choose so prominent a figure as former Secretary of State John Kerry to fill it — demonstrates Biden’s sincerity over putting climate at the very center of U.S. foreign policy. It is easy to understate the importance of this appointment, given the flurry of czars created by most new administrations.

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Paper - SOAS University of London

From dysfunctional to functional corruption: The politics of reform in Lebanon’s electricity sector

    Authors:
  • Neil McCulloch
  • Muzna Al-Masri
  • Marc Ayoub
| December 2020

Corruption in the electricity sector has been a major constraint to economic and social progress in many countries. In Lebanon, the electricity sector’s dysfunction and inefficiency mask deeper political economy challenges, including rampant rent-seeking, captured institutions and a fractured state. Over decades, corruption and mismanagement in Lebanon’s electricity sector has contributed to the draining of public finances and has deprived the Lebanese people of their right to reliable and affordable electricity. When Lebanon witnessed an uprising in October 2019, electricity (or the lack thereof) was a focal point of public grievance and it remains a central concern amidst the economic crisis that the country currently faces.

US President Elect Joe Biden and the European Council

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Analysis & Opinions - The Wall Street Journal

Here’s Where Biden Will Face Early Foreign-Policy Decisions

| Nov. 30, 2020

When it comes to president-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy in Asia, Europe and Latin America, he is likely to focus on issues like transatlantic cooperation, U.S.-China relations and immigration. Ambassador Nicholas Burns and WSJ journalists examine the impact a Biden administration could have on U.S. allies around the world. 

Protesters demonstrating against the killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, Iran on Saturday.

Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

Assassination in Iran Could Limit Biden’s Options. Was That the Goal?

| Nov. 28, 2020

The killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist is likely to impede the country’s military ambitions. Its real purpose may have been to prevent the president-elect from resuming diplomacy with Tehran.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (Tasnim News Agency/Wikimedia Commons)

Tasnim News Agency/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Overview: Nuclear Scientists as Assassination Targets

| Nov. 27, 2020

Since 2007, international media have reported the violent deaths of four scientists and engineers connected with Iran’s nuclear program and an attempt on the life of a fifth. The news reports on such killings are murky, incomplete, and, in some instances, likely inaccurate. The motivations and identity of the persons behind the killings are also obscure,1 but the fact that they are taking place is undeniable.