MENA Region

Ukraine War Risks Famine in the MENA Region

cc Nick Savchenko, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_Naval_Ships_%2841560488%29.jpeg

Strangled wheat exports are creating cost-of-living crises and starvation across the MENA region. But for Russia, this might have been the plan all along.

The Wagner Group: Origins and Early Deployments

cc Kremlin.ru, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60797, modified,

First in a two-part series, this backgrounder traces the origins and earliest deployments of Russia’s infamous mercenary outfit: the Wagner Group.

Iran’s Network of Regional Proliferation

cc Fars News, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Assorted_Iranian_artillery_rockets.jpg

Examining the ways in which Tehran utilizes its ‘axis of resistance’ to shore up its overall geopolitical position.

Understanding the ‘Shiite Crescent’ as Iranian Grand Strategy

cc Flickr A.Davey, modified, https://flickr.com/photos/adavey/4952148019/in/photolist-8xB45p-34P8Mn-7psnMi-byQVbn-6xwXRV-cPj3NS-2hZ7e5C-f7ug6o-7pseoH-849TB5-7psnM2-9AYtsG-9E2YEg-8rtmkH-f6kfLy-JLViG-7vW8Bg-a8nGPD-dkrZv-7pseoP-7pseo2-btMbEP-8RxHSd-26Km6Lm-9cf6RX-df8mvc-9z4Xqb-yybQdM-KHdtFW-bnBbKp-7Xgdpt-27RapPa-5d8x8n-aWLfep-v7pXSm-8gKtPL-ekvTAH-6crbbC-x8mAZR-pHYeM-2vBCe1-JYwie-5YSUgt-KveRe-f6kfHG-7o28p5-JDoiL-L7ZC5-KgwjS-pHYeK

Examining the ideological underpinnings, goals, and challenges concerning Iranian grand strategy, as understood by the desire to establish a ‘Shiite Crescent’ across the Greater Middle East.

Iraq: PM Drone Attack Reveals Risk of Political Violence

New M240B machine guns, procured and issued through the Iraq Train and Equip Fund, await Popular Mobilization Program soldiers after a graduation ceremony at Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2015. The Popular Mobilization Program is an Iraqi-led, Operation Inherent Resolve program that trains volunteer tribal forces in leadership, small unit tactics and urban warfare to ultimately serve with Iraqi Security Forces in their battle to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and ensure the safety and security of its citizens. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John Baker / released) Unit: 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&redirs=0&search=IRAQ%20popular%20mobilization%20unit&fulltext=Search&ns0=1&ns6=1&ns14=1&title=Special:Search&advanced=1&fulltext=Advanced%20search#/media/File:Popular_Mobilization_Program_Graduates_and_Equips_Tribal_Forces_150902-M-VZ998-882.jpg

The message sent by the attack is loud and clear: if certain parties don’t get what they want from the new government, they won’t hesitate to advance their interests through violence.

Egypt Looks to Trade, Manufacturing for Future Growth

Cargo-ship-at-Port-Said-Egypt-December-2020-Photo-Credit-ImAAm-Shutterstock.com_.jpg

Cairo is moving to situate itself at the heart of the post-COVID global trade order.

Iran Stirs the Pot in the South Caucasus

cc Meghdad Madadi, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ebrahim_Raisi_in_9th_Day_Rally_03.jpg

Despite claims otherwise, Tehran’s involvement in the South Caucasus is all about Turkey, not Israel.

Census and Consensus in Lebanon: Najib Mikati’s First Step

cc Freimut Bahlo, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protests_in_Beirut_27_October_14.jpg

Though it won’t be easy, a new census would go far in solving the country’s protracted political crisis.

Dissolving the Leviathan in Lebanon

cc Mahdi Shojaeian, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Damages_after_2020_Beirut_explosions_1.jpg

The mismanagement of Lebanon is almost criminally negligent. But perhaps that’s the point.

Qatar Emerges as Power Broker in New Afghanistan

US representative Zalmay Khalilzad (left) and Taliban representative Abdul Ghani Baradar (right) sign the agreement in Doha, Qatar on February 29, 2020. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain], cc US State Department, modified,

Doha has spent years building political capital with the Taliban. Now it will have an opportunity to spend it.

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