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23 June 2019  

Strategic implications of the 'deal of the century' and the…

on Palestine-Israel

Aisling Byrne interviews Abdel Bari Atwan Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (DoC) - whether in its actual or conceptual form - is ushering in a new strategic era, providing cov...

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14 June 2019  

Postponed: Unveiling of Trump's 'deal of the century' frozen as…

on Palestine-Israel

Touted by its architects as the ‘deal of the century’, US president Donald Trump’s plan for Palestine and Israel has had to again be kept hidden as Israel heads back to elections a...

Read more

10 June 2019  

Teaching Palestine in South Africa

on Palestine

By Diana Block Reaffirming Internationalism in the Twenty-first Century In March 2019 I traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a conference – Teaching Palestine: P...

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23 April 2019  

India in Kashmir: Risking peace as an antidote to war

on Political Islam

By Ranjan Solomon On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber ...

Read more

17 April 2019  

Bashir falls but the security apparatus maintains control

on Sudan

Since the military ouster of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, early on Thursday, 11 April, after three months of protests, different military factions have been jos...

Read more

16 April 2019  

Haftar's march on Tripoli

on Libya

Khalifa Haftar’s 4 April announcement declaring his march on Tripoli, and the subsequent attack on the Libyan capital by his forces, threaten to gravely impact the a...

Read more

23 June 2019  

Strategic implications of the 'deal of the century' and the…

on Palestine-Israel

Aisling Byrne interviews Abdel Bari Atwan Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (DoC) - whether in its actual or conceptual form - is ushering in a new strategic era, providing cov...

Read more

14 June 2019  

Postponed: Unveiling of Trump's 'deal of the century' frozen as…

on Palestine-Israel

Touted by its architects as the ‘deal of the century’, US president Donald Trump’s plan for Palestine and Israel has had to again be kept hidden as Israel heads back to elections a...

Read more

10 June 2019  

Teaching Palestine in South Africa

on Palestine

By Diana Block Reaffirming Internationalism in the Twenty-first Century In March 2019 I traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a conference – Teaching Palestine: P...

Read more

23 April 2019  

India in Kashmir: Risking peace as an antidote to war

on Political Islam

By Ranjan Solomon On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber ...

Read more

17 April 2019  

Bashir falls but the security apparatus maintains control

on Sudan

Since the military ouster of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, early on Thursday, 11 April, after three months of protests, different military factions have been jos...

Read more

16 April 2019  

Haftar's march on Tripoli

on Libya

Khalifa Haftar’s 4 April announcement declaring his march on Tripoli, and the subsequent attack on the Libyan capital by his forces, threaten to gravely impact the a...

Read more
More from this category

23 June 2019  

Strategic implications of the 'deal of the century' and the…

on Palestine-Israel

Aisling Byrne interviews Abdel Bari Atwan Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (DoC) - whether in its actual or conceptual form - is ushering in a new strategic era, providing cov...

Read more

14 June 2019  

Postponed: Unveiling of Trump's 'deal of the century' frozen as…

on Palestine-Israel

Touted by its architects as the ‘deal of the century’, US president Donald Trump’s plan for Palestine and Israel has had to again be kept hidden as Israel heads back to elections a...

Read more

10 June 2019  

Teaching Palestine in South Africa

on Palestine

By Diana Block Reaffirming Internationalism in the Twenty-first Century In March 2019 I traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend a conference – Teaching Palestine: P...

Read more

08 April 2019  

Turkish local election outcome signals disillusionment with Erdogan

on Turkey

Turkey’s local election concluded with the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) incurring heavy losses in major cities, and the opposition Republican People’s ...

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10 February 2019  

As Abbas Ages, Fatah Moves to Consolidate Power

on Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud Five years after spearheading what is inaptly referred to as a ‘government of national reconciliation’, Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, has finally&nbs...

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07 February 2019  

Neopatrimonialism, corruption and the Palestinian Authority: Pathways to real reform

on Palestine

By Marwa Fatafta (This article was first published by Al-Shabaka - The Palestinian Policy Network) Palestinians recently ranked corruption as the second largest pr...

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23 October 2018  

Jamal Khashoggi, small spark for a large fire

on Saudi Arabia

By Hassan Aourid Until last Saturday, I was hopeful that the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country’s consulate in Istanbul was not more than a case of c...

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19 October 2018  

Khashoggi murder: Killing dissent even from within

on Saudi Arabia

The gruesome murder of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was designed to be a clear and firm message for Saudi dissidents, and reflected th...

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08 July 2018  

As Hudaida falls to Saudi-Emirati coalition, peace for Yemen seems…

on Yemen

The recent and ongoing Saudi-Emirati offensive on the Yemeni port city of Hudaida will render UN special envoy Martin Griffiths’s ‘new’ solution to the five-year-long Yemeni crisis...

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18 May 2018  

Beyond Tradition and Modernity: Dilemmas of Transformation in Saudi Arabia

on Saudi Arabia

By Madawi Al-Rasheed Introduction The dominant narrative through which many observers understand Saudi Arabia depicts a progressive and modernist leadership struggling to gra...

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27 April 2018  

Chaotic Yemen: The deconstruction of a failed state and regional…

on Yemen

by Helen Lackner Yemen remains in the grip of its most severe crisis ever: the civil war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbuh ...

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12 December 2017  

How the Saudis Escalated Yemen Struggle Beyond All Control

on Yemen

By Justin Podur Yemen is a small, poor country in a region empires have plundered for centuries. This civil war is a local struggle that has been escalated out of control by the a...

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17 April 2019  

Bashir falls but the security apparatus maintains control

on Sudan

Since the military ouster of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, early on Thursday, 11 April, after three months of protests, different military factions have been jos...

Read more

16 April 2019  

Haftar's march on Tripoli

on Libya

Khalifa Haftar’s 4 April announcement declaring his march on Tripoli, and the subsequent attack on the Libyan capital by his forces, threaten to gravely impact the a...

Read more

16 February 2019  

Uncertainty follows Moroccan-Saudi spat

on Morocco

By Hassan Aourid Moroccan-Saudi relations have never been as cool and strained as they have become in the past week, following a report on the Western Sahara disputebroa...

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28 January 2019  

Bashir's eroding domestic legitimacy

on Sudan

The large-scale and wide geographic spread of protests in Sudan over the past few weeks pose a greater threat to the regime of President Omar Al-Bashir than ever before in his thir...

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25 June 2018  

The need for Algerian-Moroccan dialogue

on Algeria

By Hassan Aourid An astute observer of Algeria and Morocco will notice that relations between the two countries have taken a dangerous turn and tensions have visibly increase...

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10 April 2018  

Scripted electoral victory for Egypt's Sisi

on Egypt

The Egyptian government’s need to artificially increase voter turnout in the presidential election at the end of March through a combination of enticements and threats indicates a ...

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12 October 2018  

Ethiopia, Eritrea: An unlikely peace deal in a fractious region

on Ethiopia

The recent peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea, signed 16 September 2018, is set to have lasting consequences for both countries and for the Horn of Africa ...

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06 April 2017  

Ensuring Somalia remains in conflict: Trump’s expanded ‘war on terror’

on Somalia

By Afro-Middle East Centre The 29 March decision by the administration of US president Donald Trump declaring Somalia an ‘area of active hostility’ will likely ensure an escalatio...

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10 October 2016  

South Sudan: Beyond the logjam of UNSC Resolution 2304

on South Sudan

By Majak D’Agoôt and Remember Miamingi No country is entirely self-contained or lacking in interdependencies. These interlocking interests form the critical part of any country’s ...

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28 April 2015  

Nigeria’s elections and future challenges

on Sub-Saharan Africa

By Afro-Middle East Centre The election of General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president will see a renewed focus by the government on domestic challenges posed by endemic...

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26 September 2013  

Kenyan hostage crisis: The desperation of al-Shabab

on Sub-Saharan Africa

By Afro-Middle East Centre The hostage drama at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi over the past week has raised a number of questions about the Somali organisation al-Shabab. After the...

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23 January 2013  

French military intervention will add to Mali’s problems

on Sub-Saharan Africa

By Afro-Middle east Centre   The north of Africa was plunged into yet another international conflict with France’s invasion of Mali on Friday, 11 January. Without im...

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28 August 2015  

Does Pakistan’s refusal to join Saudi Arabia in Yemen indicate…

on Pakistan

By Afro-Middle East Centre Allegedly, the current Saudi-led onslaught on Yemen has already caused destruction that resembles the destruction wrought in Syria over the la...

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31 March 2012  

The feasibility of a continued United States presence in Afghanistan

on South Asia

By Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn Recent events in Afghanistan have fuelled speculation over the ability of international forces to continue their presence in the coun...

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28 February 2012  

Dangerous uncertainty in Pakistan

on South Asia

By Junaid S. Ahmed With relations between Pakistan's civilian government and military incredibly tense, speculation is rife in the Pakistani and international media of a looming m...

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30 May 2011  

Pakistan-USA relations in the post-Usama era

on South Asia

By Junaid S. Ahmad The assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by US Special Forces was supposed to have been a landmark triumph that would bring peace and stability to the r...

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13 December 2010  

Kashmir and Obama's Indian appeasement

on South Asia

By Mohammad Abdullah Gul Obama's recent jive with school children in Delhi symbolises the nature of the new relationship that is emerging between India and the United States of Am...

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13 September 2010  

Pakistan’s floods: Pressing problems and potential risks

on South Asia

By Najam Abbas Pakistan's recent floods have left eight million people dependent on aid for their survival, and washed away huge swathes of the rich farmland on which the country...

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23 April 2019  

India in Kashmir: Risking peace as an antidote to war

on Political Islam

By Ranjan Solomon On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber ...

Read more

11 August 2018  

[CONFERENCE] Between state and society: (r)Evolution of non-state actors in…

on Political Islam

Conference Concept NoteBetween society and state: (r)Evolution of non-state actors in the MENA region Since the beginning of the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa that...

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26 April 2017  

IS reorganising to face new challenges

on Political Islam

Reports in January 2017 that the leader of the Islamic State group (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed, reports that he had been captured by Russian troops in Syria, and th...

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07 March 2017  

IS in Africa: Containment and fragmentation

on Political Islam

By Afro-Middle East Centre With the Islamic State group (IS) losing territory in Syria and Iraq, many believe that the group will use the territory it controls in Africa as a fall...

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14 May 2016  

The Paradox of Survival and Expansion: How the Islamic State…

on Political Islam

Omar Ashour This paper examines the reasons for the military steadfastness of the Islamic State group (IS) in the face of local and international forces that are larger in numbers...

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19 December 2015  

ISIS in Africa: Reality far different from IS propaganda

on Political Islam

By Afro-Middle East Centre The revelation that the alleged mastermind of the 13 November Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group (IS) was of Moroccan descent, the tur...

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18 February 2018  

Africa and the problem of foreign military bases

on 'War on terror'

At the establishment of the African Union (AU) in May 2001, discourses about human security and counter terrorism were ubiquitous both globally and on the continent. In Africa, the...

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21 November 2015  

The Paris attacks: Aftermath and the Islamic State group’s future

on 'War on terror'

By Afro-Middle East Centre The terror unleashed on Paris streets on 13 November reverberated throughout the world. From the G20 summit in Antalya to social media debates about how...

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28 May 2010  

Al-Qaeda in the New National Security Strategy

on 'War on terror'

By Mark Lynch The Obama administration's new National Security Strategy has been released today. It goes a long way towards providing a coherent framework for American foreign pol...

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16 February 2010  

Pakistan’s attitude towards Obama’s plan to negotiate with the Taliban

on 'War on terror'

By Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan has generally been welcomed in Pakistan. It is being seen as a vindication...

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07 February 2010  

Mission Absolute: American hegemony in space

on 'War on terror'

By Sourav Roy Come April 2010, officials from the sleepy Polish municipality of Morag will be gearing up for perhaps their most critical assignment in the new decade. Their job wi...

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2013 Conference concept note

In whose interests: Exploring Middle East involvement in South Africa

Burgerspark Hotel, Tshwane, South Africa

4-6 November 2013

The Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) will convene an international conference from 5 to 6 November 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa, which aims to examine the nature and extent of the penetration of Middle Eastern states into Africa. The conference is framed within Africa’s history of colonialism and of African states and non-state actors being used as proxies on an African battlefield during the Cold War. It will explore the nature of the relationship that exists between both that of state and non-state actors on the continent and the Middle East.  Aside from responding to the paucity in research around the penetration of the Middle East into Africa, and what this means for the continent, the conference further looks to explore ways of enhancing balanced and mutually beneficial relations between Africa and the Middle East region. 

Brief historical background

Africa has a long and painful history as a site of colonial and imperial exploitation, mainly by western states. The continent has also been a site for ideological and other battles during the Cold War, making its state and various non-state actors proxies in the struggle between the USSR and USA. Certain European countries and the USA continue to assert their influence through political, military, economic and development mechanisms.

Africa’s colonial past and the implications of a postcolonial world defined by neoimperialism and neoliberalism continue to manifest in the socioeconomic reality of the majority of Africans. The recent assertiveness of Africa on the global stage, growing markets, diverse geography, geostrategic importance, and vast natural resources continue to attract the attention of global powers. China, for example, in its unquenchable quest for resources and global partners, turned its focus on Africa, and has succeeded in becoming the continent’s largest trading partner. The past three decades have, however, also seen the entry of new players into Africa, such as India and Brazil. Some of these states share experiential colonial histories as well as similar development experiences and challenges with countries on the continent. This interaction has facilitated the emergence of South coalition blocs such as the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum, to promote cooperation amongst these states.

In a postcolonial era, however, the attention that Africa attracts is uneven, sometimes paternalistic, and often under the guise of development, aid and humanitarian assistance. This has often seen the evolution of asymmetrical political and economic relations between African states and these external powers.

Of course, Africa is not a singular monolithic and homogeneous entity.  On the whole, however, it has often been the disadvantaged partner in exploitative relationships.

 The Middle East in Africa

Apart from states that are well-known for their involvement in Africa, such as the USA, China, Brazil and India, the continent has also been targeted by a number of states whose role has garnered relatively little attention. These include states from the Middle East whose strategic involvement in, and outreach to, Africa range from extending their sphere of influence to pursuing ideological interests, and includes economic, business, political, military and religious relations. In particular, Israel, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Gulf states have set their sights on Africa. Certain non-state actors from the Middle East have also looked to Africa to export their ideologies. This manifests in diverse forms: from religious and ideological education projects to involvement in civil or interstate conflict, such as in the Sahel region and Somalia.

Relations between the Middle East and Africa have a long history going back centuries. This has seen beneficial as well exploitative exchanges for Africa. Due to their geographical, cultural and religious proximity to Africa, there is a centuries-old flow of people, ideologies, and sociopolitical undercurrents from countries in the Middle East into Africa, particularly North Africa, East Africa and the Sahel region.

The objectives of the various Middle Eastern countries involved in Africa are numerous, diverse, yet also converge as they jostle to increase their dominance over each other. Due to Iran’s global isolation, Iran sees resonance in Africa, with the continent’s own experience of marginalisation. Africa thus holds the potential to reduce the isolation forced on Iran by western sanctions. Turkey’s revitalised foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has seen it extending its global influence. Since 2002, Africa has become part of its revamped foreign policy that looks to see Ankara develop and strengthen ties with countries which Turkey previously had neglected. Today, Turkey has the largest foreign diplomatic and business components in Somalia compared to any other state. With the world’s attention drawn to Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands, Israel has attempted to win favour from African countries through its use of soft power under the guise of development, and the sharing of agricultural and technological expertise.  Israel has also recently agreed to provide certain African states with assistance in exchange for the transfer of African refugees from Israel. Tiny Qatar, aside from seeing the opportunities that the continent’s physical expansiveness offers, hopes to extend its global clout and sphere of influence through Africa. This has seen it involved in mediation in African conflicts, for example between Sudan and Darfur rebels. It has also attempted to insert its influence through involvement in the NATO-led overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

 

Objectives of the conference

  1. The conference will explore the nature and extent of the penetration of Middle Eastern states and non-state actors into Africa. In particular, it will look at Iran, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. The conference will examine whether the Middle East penetration into Africa benefits or harms African states. It will explore ways of enhancing balanced and mutually beneficial relations between Africa and the Middle East region.
  2. The conference will consider the possibility of stronger strategic relationships between the African Union and the League of Arab States.

Target audience

The conference will target key policy and decision makers in South Africa, with a particular focus on government, political parties, civil society and academia.

Date and venue

Conference will be held from 5 to 6 November 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa.

About the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC):

AMEC is a Johannesburg based think tank that looks to understand and enhance relations between Africa, particularly South Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa region.  AMEC seeks to shape public discourse and engage decision makers on issues affecting the region. It further looks to produce and disseminate the highest quality of research on the Middle East, and on issues related to the Middle East and North Africa.

AMEC's recent books

The Battle for Justice in Palestine

January 19, 2014

Buy your copy now Winner of the 2014 Palestine Book Award Efforts to achieve a “two-state solution” have fin...

Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East

January 19, 2014

Buy your copy now While the outcomes of the tumultuous uprisings that continue to transfix the Arab world rem...

Tomorrow's Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa

January 19, 2014

Buy your copy now You won’t see segments about it on the nightly news or read about it on the front page of A...

AMEC insights Volume 1 - 2014

January 19, 2014

Buy your copy now AMEC insights 2014 brings together the series of AMEC briefs and AMEC insights published by...

Media Gallery

14 June 2019  

Conference on Migration that AMEC co-hosted with the…

Throwback to May 15, when IFAS-Recherche had the pleasure to organise a conference hosted by specialists of migrations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle-East.The first panel composed of Tanya Zack ...

Pictures

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03 June 2019  

Ebrahim Deen on Resignation of Algerian President Bouteflika

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has resigned...that's according to STATE TV. The ailing 82-year-old Bouteflika has been clinging to power despite weeks of protests that first erupted in Februa...

Videos

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16 April 2019  

Ebrahim Deen on Sudan

Refilwe speaks to Ebrahim Deen Researcher at the Afro-Middle East Centre. On April 11, the Sudanese military carried out a takeover against President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s dictator for the past 30 y...

Audios

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15 March 2019  

Growth of terrorist attacks around the world: Naeem…

New Zealand has been placed on its highest security threat level following the attack on two mosques in Christchurch which claimed the lives of 49 people and left many injured. Several people are in c...

Videos

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