The outbreak of COVID-19 in conflict zones was regarded by many as an opportunity for peace. But today, the stark reality in many conflict zones has shown that the opportunity may have been missed. Cease-fires are being ignored, and the politics of the pandemic have enabled conflict and violence rather than deterred them. The past few months have shown that while the COVID-19 health crisis will eventually subside, its economic, social, and political implications will unfortunately outlive it. In the face of these challenges, how are local peacebuilding efforts in the Middle East coping with the far-reaching effects of the pandemic in both the short- and long-term?

Arabic

English

On October 14, USIP and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) held a panel discussion featuring peacebuilding experts and practitioners from the Middle East. The online conversation looked at the implications of COVID-19 on peacebuilding at the local level in three particular Middle Eastern contexts—Yemen, Syria, and Iraq—as well as how regional and international actors should engage in the Middle East to support local peace actors as they try to preserve the gains they’ve made over the past few years.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #COVIDInMiddleEast. 

Please note: this event will be broadcast live at 9:30am EDT. The event will be streamed in Arabic on YouTube and in English on USIP's LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Both the English and Arabic versions will be available during the event on this webpage. 

Speakers

Dr. Elie Abouaoun, opening remarks
Director of Middle East and North Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Dr. Sultan Barakat
Founding Director, Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies

Dr. Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou, opening remarks
Director of Politics and Governance, ODI

Mrs. Nadwa Al-Dawsari
Non-resident Fellow, The Middle East Institute

Mrs. Noor Qais
Program Officer, Sanad for Peacebuilding, Iraq

Dr. Sherine Taraboulsi-McCarthy, moderator
Interim Senior Research Fellow, The Politics and Governance Program (ODI)
 

Latest Publications

Pakistan’s New Government Struggles to Consolidate Control

Pakistan’s New Government Struggles to Consolidate Control

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

By: Cyril Almeida;  Colin Cookman;  Adnan Rafiq;  Tamanna Salikuddin;  Jumaina Siddiqui

Pakistan’s current government, an unwieldy multi-party coalition led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party, faced a new setback in July after losses in mid-month special elections for 20 constituencies in the country’s heartland province of Punjab. Although the PML-N coalition attempted to retain control of the provincial government through manuevers in the provincial assembly, a Supreme Court ruling on July 26 overturned earlier precedent and ordered the election of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, an ally of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, to the position of chief minister.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceEconomics

China’s Engagement in Latin America: Views from the Region

China’s Engagement in Latin America: Views from the Region

Monday, August 8, 2022

By: Henry Tugendhat;  Lucy Stevenson-Yang

China’s economic and political engagement in Latin America grew significantly in the first part of the 21st century. And yet, Latin American reporting on China has not grown apace. Too few Latin American journalists cover Chinese activities in the region and even fewer foreign correspondents from Latin America report on developments in China. This knowledge gap means journalists struggle to provide proper context for major trade and investment deals and are unprepared to investigate when scandals erupt. Latin American media outlets often lack the capacity or resources to cover foreign affairs in general, much less the geo-political repercussions of China-Latin American relations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EconomicsGlobal Policy

One Year Later, Taliban Unable to Reverse Afghanistan’s Economic Decline

One Year Later, Taliban Unable to Reverse Afghanistan’s Economic Decline

Monday, August 8, 2022

By: William Byrd, Ph.D.

Afghanistan’s economy was already deteriorating before the Taliban takeover of the country on August 15, 2021, suffering from severe drought, the COVID-19 pandemic, declining confidence in the previous government, falling international military spending as U.S. and other foreign troops left, human and capital flight, and Taliban advances on the battlefield. Then came the abrupt cutoff of civilian and security aid (more than $8 billion per year, equivalent to 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP) immediately after the Taliban takeover. No country in the world could have absorbed such an enormous economic shock — exacerbated by sanctions, the freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves and foreign banks’ reluctance to do business with the country.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceEconomics

Philippines: Seizing the Opportunity Offered by the Bangsamoro Transition Extension

Philippines: Seizing the Opportunity Offered by the Bangsamoro Transition Extension

Friday, August 5, 2022

By: Mary Ann M. Arnado

On October 28, 2021, Rodrigo Duterte, then president of the Philippines, signed into law a three-year extension of the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The region’s first parliamentary elections are now scheduled for May 2025, alongside the national elections. In 2021, the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) actively campaigned for the extension of the transition period to provide more time for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and the Philippine government to fully implement and deliver the commitments they made in the 2014 peace agreement between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The agreement grants greater political autonomy to the southern Mindanao region.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

View All Publications