The Middle East and North Africa

Who supports Assad?

By Barah Mikaïl (23/05/2014) Commentary
Beshr O/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Although still in the midst of a civil war, Syria will hold presidential elections on 3 June 2014. This will be a sham election, which will not comply with international standards and will almost certainly bring about a victory for President Bashar al-Assad. Most of the international community will (rightly) not recognise the results, but they should not ignore the reality of Assad’s fairly broad-based support.


Fighting the last war? Civil-military relations in Egypt

Jonathan Rashad/Flickr

The military dominates Egyptian politics, which is hindering Egypt’s transition to democracy. Abdelfattah El-Sisi, the former chief of Egypt's Armed Forces, who is expected to easily win the Egyptian presidential elections at the end of May, should shift the military’s focus on preserving state institutions to also enabling reform and creating space for new political actors.


Avoiding Iraq’s fragmentation

By Barah Mikaïl (24/04/2014) Policy Brief
James Gordon/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

As Iraq heads towards a parliamentary elections on 30 April, a combination of political and sectarian divides, poor governance and terrorist attacks continue to add to instability in the country. While facing many political obstacles, progress towards decentralisation could offer the best option to prevent further destabilisation and preserve the unity of Iraq.


Truth and reconciliation? Transitional Justice in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia

Michael Coghlan/Flickr

Transitional justice is an urgent priority in post-revolutionary Arab states. Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have yet to properly embark on inclusive transitional justice processes to address human rights abuses of the past and heal the deep divides caused by turbulent political transitions, thus paving the way for national reconciliation. The record so far has been mixed, with Tunisia making some progress while Egypt and Libya lag very much behind.


Yemen’s creaky compromise

By Ana Echagüe (20/03/2014) Commentary
National Dialogue Conference

Yemen’s political transition process has, against many odds, managed to remain on track. In contrast to some other Arab transitions since 2011, it has been portrayed as a qualified success.


China’s economic engagement in the Middle East and North Africa

By Ted Liu (20/01/2014) Policy Brief
[John]/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Over the past decade, China has been increasing its economic involvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), evolving from its dependence on the energy trade to much broader commercial engagement. With its "going global" strategy as a recipe for growth, Beijing became more active diplomatically in order to advance its interests in the region. In turn, with China's stature growing, some MENA countries progressively see Beijing as an additional partner to the region's traditional ties with the U.S. and Europe.


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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.

Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe’s external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE’s long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE’s emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe’s external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.

The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE’s founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE’s dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE’s work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE’s extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe’s future.

The President of the Board


FRIDE cesó sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones económicas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta difícil decisión dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiación, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.

Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribución al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez más complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperación multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atención prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Unión Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy aún más relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la región. El énfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y más allá. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la búsqueda de una política exterior europea común que sea eficaz y esté basada en los principios fundamentales de la integración europea.

El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos años. También quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comité Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de política exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a través de los años y también damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuará informando el pensamiento y la acción en un momento muy crítico para el futuro de Europa.

El Presidente del Patronato

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