Political Institutions

Lebanon: divided politics, shared discontent

The explosion at the port of Beirut killed at least 150 people, and the subsequent massive protests led to the resignation of the government. However, the protests are not about replacing the figureheads, but about addressing the ‘bankruptcy’ of the political pact that was intended to keep the religious groups in balance. The fear is great that giving up on…

The Second Libyan Civil War and the Russia Connexion with Mohamed Abufalgha

ABOUT THIS EPISODE Tom and Matt have the great opportunity to speak with Libyan national Mohamed Abufalgha and expert on the conflict that has been going on for several years now in this oil-rich, war-torn country. Mohamed helps us unpack the Russian-Libyan connection and exactly how many countries have their fingers–and fighters–in Libya.

Playing Politics: International Security Sector Assistance and the Lebanese Military’s Changing Role

Following the August Beirut port explosion, the Lebanese Armed Forces must rebuild trust with the civilian population. The LAF can serve as a critical pillar in Lebanese government efforts to strengthen national security and identity in the midst of the crisis, in light of security sector assistance from the United States and other Western partners. INTRODUCTION The Lebanese Armed Forces…

What Has Changed in Policing since the Arab Uprisings of 2011? Challenges to Reform and Next Steps

Since 2011, the police have been at the centre of the contestation rocking the Arab world. Part 1 mapped out some of the main modes of contestation and provided a preliminary assessment of their impact on police practices. This paper examines what is still holding up police reform attempts, presents possible future scenarios for policing practices in the region, and…

Egypt after the Coronavirus: Back to Square One

Egypt’s recent security and macro-economic stabilization has been built on weak foundations and Covid-19 has further exposed this fragility. Egypt is now back to a situation broadly similar to that before the 2011 revolution: stable on the surface, but with deep structural problems and simmering social grievances, and little buffers to mitigate them. This paper argues for a major shift…

The Lebanese Government is right about mandatory (military) service

The Lebanese Minister of Defense has recently announced plans to reinstate mandatory military service 13 years after its abolition in 2007. More details are expected to follow in the coming few weeks. Once considered essential to bring together a deeply torn society after 15 years of civil war, mandatory service, also known as conscription or flag service, consisted of one…

What lies ahead as Jordan faces the fallout of COVID-19

On June 28, Jordan’s Health Minister, Dr. Saad Jaber, boldly declared that the coronavirus had “dried up and died in Jordan.” Dr. Jaber backtracked days later by renewing calls to adhere to necessary safety measures. Amid fears of a second wave, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan continues to stand out among its neighbors, as it exhibits an impressively low rate…

Why are most Arabs so prepared to trust the military?

Do people in the Arab region tend to trust transparent and corruption-free institutions more than others? That is what you would expect, but the opposite appears to be the case. According to the Arab Barometer from 2018-2019, 49.4% of people in Algeria, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen put a huge amount of trust in their…

Why do Arabs trust the military?

Do people tend to trust non-corrupt and transparent institutions more than others in the Arab region? The logic says so, but the findings show the opposite. According to the Arab Barometer from 2018-2019, 49.4% of people in Algeria, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen have a high level of trust in their armed forces, while…

Protests in North Africa: The Arab Spring Was Just the Beginning

2011 was not the end, but the beginning, and maybe it wasn’t even that. Perhaps the deep crisis of the traditional social contract that underpinned most of the MENA region’s ruling regimes since independence had begun even before. The first cracks could be already be heard by sensitive ears in the 2000s, when the liberal reforms introduced by several Arab…