Analyses
Middle East
In the Iranian presidential elections, the moderate reformist Masoud Pezeshkian and the hard-line conservative Saeed Jalili are heading to a runoff. This is the result of the first round of elections held to designate Ebrahim Raisi’s successor, who died in a plane crash in May. The elections require a candidate to secure 50 percent of the votes to be elected in the first round.
  • Renzo Guolo 24 May 2024
    The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, almost certainly the designated heir of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has exposed the contradictions at the heart of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Said contradictions lie both in the country’s institutional denomination – a true political oxymoron – and in its constitutional architecture, formed in 1979 when the revolution was still developing, and not yet wholly wedded to its Islamist matrix.
  • The Gaza war is a reminder that the Europeans left behind an unstable status quo a century ago. Absent a Sunni consensus, Iran is making an indirect power play. Iran’s weakness is also a strength: as non-Arab, Shiite Muslims, Iran’s leaders can’t trace their ancestry to the prophet Muhammad’s qureysh tribe—as can Jordan’s and Morocco’s monarchs, and as ISIS’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claimed. Though around 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni, the demography of global Islam has long favored much larger non-Arab populations. The dynamic might be resolved with a Vatican City-style solution for Al Aqsa.
  • Renzo Guolo 27 February 2024
    Benjamin Netanyahu’s consistent refusals pose a challenge to those seeking to quell the Middle East conflict. Despite global pressure, Netanyahu remains steadfast in his decision to advance the fighting towards Rafah. In this area, millions of Gazans find themselves trapped between the Israeli Defense Force’s Merkava tanks and Egypt’s increasingly fortified barrier, which serves as the final obstacle preventing further dispersal of Palestinians from the Strip.
  • Claudia De Martino 10 January 2024
    Qatar is a small Gulf state that has recently returned to the spotlight as a mediator in the hostage crisis between Hamas and Israel. This is due to its good relations with both Washington and Tel Aviv, as well as its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movements in the Arab world. Doha serves as the main sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. To date, Qatar has successfully facilitated the only prisoner exchange between Israel and Gaza, resulting in the release of 121 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian political prisoners. In addition, a seven-day truce was achieved, which benefited Hamas and facilitated the entry of much-needed humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. However, Doha remains an unscrupulous player in international relations, detached from the logic of inter-state loyalty and multilateral alliances, and continues to act as a free agent (or, if anything, aligned with Erdogan’s Turkey), lacking any normative approach in the international community.
  • Seyla Benhabib 15 November 2023
    October 7, 2023 is not just a turning point for Israel and the Jewish diaspora; it must be a turning point for the Palestinian struggle. The Palestinian people must free themselves of the scourge of Hamas. The acts of violence by Hamas do not only constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity; they also reveal that Islamic Jihadi ideology, which revels in the imagery of violence, which has overtaken the movement.
  • Simone Disegni 6 November 2023
    Almost a month after the Hamas attack on Israel, the Middle East is on the verge of a political, military and social explosion. Europe and the West are not immune; very serious, high-risk lines of tension are slowly reappearing. If this happens, it will be because precise political wills have constructed and disseminated for decades a distorted and poisonous rhetoric to which millions of people are enslaved, often in spite of themselves. So much so that the power of these narratives can easily overwhelm the objectivity of facts, even their relevance.
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