Is Lebanon at Risk in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

May 25, 2021

Media attention has focused on the loss of life and property in the bombardment of Gaza, the domestic skirmishes between Jewish and Arab Israelis, and Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel. Yet there are unique implications for Palestinian communities in Lebanon, too. In Lebanon, more than 470,000...

Expect an Uneven Rebound in MENA and Central Asia

May 20, 2021

Projections, no matter how well-grounded in analytics, are a messy business. Three years ago, COVID-19 was unheard of and then-US President Donald Trump’s politics caused uncertainty in international relations, with democracy in retreat across the world. Despite the best-informed...

Lebanon Hits a New Milestone

March 05, 2021

On March 2, the Lebanese lira (or pound) eroded even further into becoming a failed currency, if there is such a thing. From an official exchange rate of 3,900 pounds per US dollar for importers and manufacturers of essential food items, the “cost of scarce dollars hit 10,000 Lebanese pounds on...

Not All Quiet on the Western Sahara Front

November 24, 2020

On October 21, groups of Polisario Front’s supporters blocked the highway at Guergarat, in the extreme southwest of the Western Sahara. This is in the buffer zone between territory controlled by Morocco and the land claimed by the Polisario — the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia...

Does Saad Hariri Really Believe He Can Save Lebanon?

October 23, 2020

My parents used to say, “Eat with your mouth and not your eyes.” This may be good advice for newly-minted Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He is clearly unable to resist trying once again to raise Lebanon from its deathbed, and this time the consequences may be more disastrous than just a...

Reworking US Policy in the Middle East and North Africa

October 14, 2020

US foreign policy has shifted dramatically from just a brief 20 years ago. This is not the making of Donald Trump, Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin. Rather, they are symptoms of forces that have been building since the post-Soviet era. With the ascendency of the US as the global superpower and the...

Morocco Looks to a Future After COVID-19

July 29, 2020

Many countries are facing declining growth rates due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Morocco is no exception. Given lockdowns and flight restrictions implemented worldwide from March, the tourism and hospitality sectors — usually the third-largest component of GDP — have suffered enormous...

There’s No Good News for Refugees in Lebanon

June 16, 2020

The Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon is just the latest in a sequence of disenfranchisements that have plagued the Middle East for generations. In 1948, just years after Lebanon was founded, the Palestinians were pushed out of their homeland by the Israelis and the Lebanese granted them refuge....

The New Normal Is Nothing New

June 05, 2020

The phrase “the new normal” has been around, according to CBS News, since the end of World War I. Its use has escalated since the 2008-09 financial crisis and implies that life will never go back to the way it was, although one hardly notices any changes in the way financial markets do...

Morocco Sets Out a Post-Coronavirus Recovery Strategy

May 28, 2020

Morocco is committed to finding opportunities to restructure and redirect its economy to be better prepared for other potential calamities, such as the coronavirus pandemic. The economy is already facing a downturn due to drought, which may result in as much as a 42% decline in cereal...

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