Middle East


The PYD-PKK Relationship Under Scrutiny

Introduction The leadership of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has recently amplified its critique of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), and in particular of the commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi. The old guard in the PKK are also increasingly demonstrating a clear inclination towards co-existence with the […]

Understanding Syria’s Enduring Crisis

As part of its efforts to provide a nuanced understanding of the conflict’s dynamics and trends, the ‘Wartime and Post-Conflict in Syria’ (WPCS) team of the Middle East Directions Programme has collectively reflected on the mass of research on Syria produced in the past decade. For the purposes of this blog, we defined ‘research’ in […]

Universities as vehicles of regional de-escalation: Unpacking the Potential of Cultural Diplomacy

The role played by Universities in forging networks of non-state intercultural partnerships can be a significant long term de-escalation mechanism in the Persian Gulf region. First, it facilitates the establishment of social contact points and fosters relations between communities experiencing a hostile intergovernmental environment. Second, University networks offer a viable platform for dialog – an […]

Another Peace treaty that will not bring peace to the Middle East

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed the Abraham accords peace agreement to normalise relations with Israel last week in Washington. With this agreement, the two countries joined Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively. Mauritania also established diplomatic ties with Israel in 1999 but froze relations […]

The political dimension of the Covid19 epidemic in the Middle East

Even if as a general rule authoritarian regimes might be more politically resistant than democratic ones to a high level of mortality due to the Covid-19 epidemic, they cannot prevent information from spreading, not only because of social networks but also because the population will have concrete and personal experiences of the losses. The argument […]