Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi at a press conference, Rome, Italy, Nov. 24, 2014 (AP photo by Alessandra Tarantino).

Earlier this month, Italy cooperated with Libyan military commander Gen. Khalifa Haftar to ensure the delivery of 700,000 barrels of oil from eastern Libya, despite the fact that the Italian government officially supports the United Nations-backed national unity government in Tripoli that Haftar opposes. In an email interview, Silvia Colombo, a senior fellow at the Institute of International Affairs, discusses Italy’s policies in North Africa and the Middle East. WPR: Who are Italy’s main partners in North Africa and the Middle East, and to what extent do hydrocarbons drive relations? Silvia Colombo: Italy’s foreign policy has always had a distinct […]

Demonstrators of the Berber community stage a protest in front of a walled area where Algier's newspapers are headquartered, Algiers, July 8, 2015 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss Africa’s presidents for life, the need to rethink U.S. relationships with the Arab world, and political stagnation in Indonesia under Jokowi. For the Report, Vish Sakthivel joins Peter Dörrie to talk about the outlook for Algeria when the Bouteflika era comes to an end. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: Why Africa’s ‘Presidents for Life’ Are So Afraid to Lose Power Why the U.S. Should Prioritize Iraq and UAE Ties Over Egypt and Saudi Arabia Why Indonesia’s Apparent Stability Under […]

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika applauds after taking the oath as President, Algiers, April 28, 2014 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

The ailing health of Algeria’s aging president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, commonly leads Algeria-watchers to assess the prospects for regime continuity and the risks of political instability in what amounts to an interregnum. Both make up chapters of the country’s recent history. Over the past 25 years, Algerians lived through 10 traumatic years of insurgency and counterinsurgency, sometimes called the Dark Decade that shook the country to its foundations from 1991-2002, followed by a decade and a half of peace under Bouteflika. Bouteflika, along with his predecessor Liamine Zeroual, negotiated the laying down of arms and reconciliation—albeit an imperfect one—among armed groups […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Cairo, Egypt, April 8, 2016 (AP photo by Mohamed Abd El Moatey).

Last week, commodities traders noticed something unusual in the spot oil markets. Representatives of Egypt’s state oil firm were suddenly making more aggressive buys, entering uncommonly large orders. Traders for the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation reportedly purchased 560,000 tons of gas oil, more than double the September amount. And the orders required almost immediate delivery. Since Egypt gets most of its fuel from Saudi Arabia, it wasn’t difficult to trace the cause of the sudden scarcity. The Saudis, it became apparent, had suspended deliveries of highly subsidized fuel to Egypt. Riyadh had just fired a shot across Cairo’s bow. Fortunately […]

Supporters of the Islamist Justice and Development Party at a campaign rally, Rabat, Morocco, Sept, 25, 2016 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).

On Friday, Oct. 7, Morocco will hold parliamentary elections that are an important barometer for the broader Middle East, since it is the only Arab country to organize regular elections with an acceptable level of competition among parties. It is also the only Arab country where Islamists have gotten consistently better results at the ballot box without stoking domestic unrest and instability. Competitive elections in Morocco reflect the monarchy’s ostensible commitment to the political reforms ushered in by the new constitution passed in 2011, during the Arab Spring. That commitment is most evident in the behavior of the powerful Ministry […]