North Africa


Will COVID19 accelerate the process of reform within Egypt’s Coptic Church?

The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, has been leading a process of reform since he assumed the papacy in 2012. His reformist approach includes both internal measures related to religious rituals and an external one linked to rapprochement with the Catholic and Protestant churches. However, his reformist ideas […]

Has Covid-19 put an end to the wave of popular uprisings in the MENA?

The spread of Covid-19 to the MENA region has coincided with a heightened period of popular mobilisation for political change in a number of countries, namely Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria. In response to the initial impact of the virus, all types of popular gatherings were put to an end in an attempt to contain its […]

Tunisia’s 2019 Elections: Beyond the Islamists vs. Secularists Cleavage

Tunisia’s 2019 legislative and presidential elections have drastically reshuffled the country’s highly contested political system. Incumbent parties have suffered heavy electoral losses, with Ennahdha losing 17 MPs and Nidaa Tounès only keeping 3 seats following a series of internal splits (Machrou’ Tounès, Tahya Tounès). Neither of the presidential candidates officially endorsed by Ennahdha (Abdelfattah Mourou) […]

Is the Middle East running out of water?

The drums of water wars have been banging in the Middle East for decades. From local journalists to taxi drivers and heads of state, many see these wars as inevitable. The argument runs that with climate change and booming populations, there isn’t going to be enough water for everyone. What follows is intuitively simple: when […]

What’s new about this second wave of Arab Uprisings?

Protests in Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq bring to mind images of the Arab Spring that shook the MENA region in 2011. Thousands of demonstrators in different Sudanese, Algerian, Lebanese and Iraqi cities have taken to the streets calling for political change and chanting the famous 2011 slogan “the people want the fall of the […]

Why the reformist Sheikh of al-Azhar is now labelled conservative/ G.Fahmi

Many Egyptian intellectuals celebrated the appointment of Ahmed Al-Tayeb as head of al-Azhar in March 2010. With his Sufi background and his career in education as a professor of philosophy who studied in France, Al-Tayeb was presented as a reformist scholar who could lead a renewal process in Egypt’s oldest religious institution. This image was […]