News Roundup

Think-In

Bringing you a step closer to the various facets of the region

Iraq will hold its parliamentary elections this Saturday (May 12). The elections will decide the members of the Council of Representatives, who will then elect the President and the Prime Minister. The parliamentary elections will be the first since the defeat of ISIS. Senior Research Fellow Fanar Haddad comments on the elections with guarded optimism; while Iraq has come a long way since 2003, there are still major problems that the next administration will have to deal with.

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This week, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant Aramco announced that it would list its shares on Tadawul, Saudi Arabia’s domestic stock exchange. It is expected to be the world’s biggest IPO ever. The Saudi government is planning to raise US$100 Billion by selling 5% of Aramco’s shares. Read on for Senior Research Fellow Mattia Tomba’s comments on this development.

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This week, Research Fellow Zoltan Pall published a piece in the Carnegie Middle East Center, where he analysed how the Salafi Community established a strong presence in state institutions while expanding its transnational linkages.

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Air strikes conducted by the US, UK and France grabbed headlines this week. NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has also said that all allies gave the military action their full support. While the brutality of the Assad regime deserves condemnation, many questions have been raised about the legality of these air strikes. Currently, only the UK has published a legal argument for its military action against Syria.

A top EU official has voiced concerns about the domestic situation in Turkey, stating that Turkey is taking “huge strides” away from the accession process. The EU published an annual report criticising Turkey for its increasingly tight stranglehold on human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law. It has also voiced concerns about the weakening of democracy as Erdogan’s presidential powers increased.

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On the 7th of April, a chemical attack was carried out in the Syrian city of Douma. Moscow and Washington went toe-to-toe with each other at the U.N. Security Council regarding a chemical weapons probe. Our Senior Research Fellow Victor Kattan spoke with CNA, CNBC Asia and BBC to give his thoughts on what President Trump might do in Syria in the days ahead.

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Violent clashes broke out between Israel and Palestine last Friday. Both sides are now accusing each other of turning the peaceful demonstration into a fiery conflict with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accusing Hamas of provoking Israeli border forces.

Israel is cultivating good relationships with the Balkan states. These partnerships span across military, academic and business cooperation. Read on for Research Fellow Serkan Yolacan’s detailed analysis of this issue.

 

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The growing hostilities between Israel and the Arab nations has manifested itself in recent skirmishes within Syria. Israeli forces have consistently targeted strategic locations that have stockpiled arms, specifically those owned by Iran. What is the background towards such hostilities?

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On the 7th of March, the Syrian Army Tiger Forces successfully captured the town of Beit Sawa in Damascus’s East Ghouta region from Islamist Rebels.

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On the 28th of February, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered a reshuffling of the Saudi Arabian government, signaling a new era of reforms within the conservative kingdom. Reforms are not uncommon when it comes to the monarchy. However, this overhaul alone signals a new wave of developments within the region.

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With the collapse of its caliphate dreams in the Middle East, it is likely that the hotbed of terrorist activity will shift to Southeast Asia as fighters return to their home countries in the region.

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