The Fallout of Escalating Iranian-Israeli Tensions
Programmes
17 Apr 2024

The Fallout of Escalating Iranian-Israeli Tensions

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Air Force made a historic move by launching a direct assault on Israel in an operation dubbed "The True Promise," marking the first instance of such an attack originating from Iranian territory. Late on Saturday, April 13, 2024, Israeli cities were subjected to a relentless barrage of drones and ballistic missiles, signalling a significant escalation in tensions between the two nations. This offensive action follows Iran's earlier pledge to retaliate against Israel for its targeting of the Iranian consulate in Damascus, an incident that resulted in the deaths of seven Revolutionary Guard members, including two high-ranking leaders, on April 1.   This calculated escalation underscores Iran's unwavering commitment to defending its sovereignty and national interests while bolstering regional security. The global spotlight now shifts to the scale, sophistication, and broader implications of Iran's strike against Israel.   The Iranian assault on Israeli soil marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing conflict between the two adversaries, thrusting their hostilities from the shadows into the open arena of direct confrontation.   Against this backdrop, the Israeli response hinges on several key factors. Firstly, the extent to which Iranian proxies, such as the Houthis and Hezbollah, may actively participate in the conflict will influence Israel's strategic calculus. Secondly, the response will be shaped by the presence or absence of casualties among Israeli forces, as well as the effectiveness of its defence systems, bolstered by support from the United States, in mitigating potential damage. Lastly, how Israel opts to retaliate will be of paramount importance in determining the trajectory of the conflict.   Consequently, this analysis aims to elucidate the attack's ramifications and its economic repercussions on the parties involved in the conflict.
Netanyahu and the Art of Storytelling
Programmes
27 Sep 2023

Netanyahu and the Art of Storytelling

Since its emergence, Zionism has been an ideology of strategic and ambitious imagination. In his address to the UN General Assembly's 78th session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes every opportunity to confirm the effectiveness of this strategy and ensure the fruition of his vision for a “New Middle East.” Although the address was very much consistent with the Prime Minister’s record of flamboyant public speaking and Israel’s usual public image projection, it was equally revealing of a certain political desperation lurking in the shadows.
What to Expect at COP28
Programmes
17 Apr 2023

What to Expect at COP28

The stakes are high at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be hosted in the United Arab Emirates in November 2023. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest publication on the state of climate in the world, the Sixth Assessment Report, warns that countries are way off track to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The science clearly shows it is no longer a question of “if” human activities are the main cause of the disruption to nature - they certainly are - but there is also explicit evidence that we also have affordable and effective solutions that require immediate action and a serious commitment to changing our energy system. While past COP summits have attempted to reach consensus and binding international agreements on emission reduction strategies and goals, previous IPCC reports have repeatedly stated that climate plans need to be more ambitious. Despite this, countries are still lagging behind, even on the goals that are considered insufficient. With this, a number of pressing issues are expected to be at the forefront of the Dubai COP.
Restoring Balance: Impacts of Automation on UAE Labour Force
Publications
2 Apr 2023

Restoring Balance: Impacts of Automation on UAE Labour Force

According to the McKinsey Global Institute report between 400 million and 800 million people worldwide could be displaced by automation and need to find new occupations by 2030, with 75 million to 375 million of those affected need to move to another new jobs and learn new skills.   Over the last two decades, there has been a surge in interest in automation and digital technologies, as well as their implications for our societies. Several writers have calculated experimentally the impact of automation technologies on employment and people by examining technology adoption at the business or industry level in previous years and related this to labour market outcomes, but their conclusions have been mixed. Some studies find that automation technologies positively impact employment, while others show that they have a negative impact.   Our study examined the impact of automation on UAE in terms of demographics, employment and economic sectors by implementing several scenarios of automation. These scenarios revealed that, in most cases, automation will positively impact UAE in terms of some macroeconomic indicators, and will lead to its economic growth and stability. Finally, we provided some recommendations that will enhance and facilitate the transition to automation in the UAE.
Sports Diplomacy: How Do Sports Events Enhance the Reputation of Countries?
Programmes
29 Mar 2023

Sports Diplomacy: How Do Sports Events Enhance the Reputation of Countries?

The FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar garnered more attention from the international community due to Qatar's ability to change perceptions of it as a nation capable of hosting the biggest sporting events. Many countries have recently sought to host international sports events in an effort to enhance their posture diplomatically, improve their reputation as well as shore up their position within the international community. To that end, “Sports Diplomacy” has been used to achieve understanding and peace among nations and promote the countries’ political and ideological goals. On the other hand, countries exploited sports as an approach aiming at asserting the superiority and strength of the state; for instance, the 1936 Olympic Games were held in Germany, and the 1934 FIFA World Cup was held in Mussolini’s Italy. In other cases, sports played a more constructive role in the 1990s, representing an opportunity for South Africa to surpass the apartheid era and look forward to a better future. For China, sports have played a role in introducing an open policy and a more influential economy.   A state’s reputation is one of the key factors affecting its international relations, as it reflects its global image, influencing its recognition and interaction with other countries. With sports diplomacy, states could carry out several interests, such as boosting diplomatic ties with other states, raising the degree of understanding and cooperation among people and governments, and improving the state's public image globally. In other words, sports diplomacy is an effective tool for attaining diplomatic goals and promoting the state’s reputation worldwide. This analysis seeks to shed more light on the link between sports diplomacy and the state’s reputation and how the state’s stance in the international community is enhanced by sports diplomacy.
Rise of GCC Sovereign Wealth Funds: Magic Wand?
Programmes
26 Mar 2023

Rise of GCC Sovereign Wealth Funds: Magic Wand?

A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund comprised of money generated by the government, often derived from a country's surplus reserves. Over the last decade, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have sharply grown; this is particularly the case of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) SWFs who have invested worldwide with a special focus on developed countries, and whose accumulated assets have dramatically increased in the last ten years due to several factors. Therefore, it is necessary to study the characteristics of GCC SWFs, as well as to assess the factors behind their growing role and their future trends.
The Future of Youth in the Post-Oil Era: The Case of the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Publications
12 Jan 2023

The Future of Youth in the Post-Oil Era: The Case of the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

One of the most critical issues currently facing the Middle East is the changing composition of its demographic structure. A massive cohort of young people — known as a youth bulge — is challenging policymakers, with youth policies affecting security, education, the labour market, and welfare programs, among other areas. Given the relative stability and wealth of the Gulf states, this is an issue that is not often associated with the region. However, handling a growing young population is just as challenging in the Gulf.   The Gulf is one of the wealthiest regions worldwide; in terms of GDP per capita, it is distinctive due to its unique hydrocarbon reserves compared to a relatively small national population. Gulf states rely on oil revenue — to varying degrees — to attract private investors and provide extensive public services and subsidies to nationals. With not enough diversification in their economies, government spending in the Gulf states will continue to be a barrier to economic diversification. To sustain the high standard of living attained by Emirati and Saudi societies to the youth and the coming generations, the two countries must set strategies and plans to integrate youth while continuing to diversify their economies away from oil. This study explores the impact of the post-oil reforms and strategy on the youth, including education, employment, social contract, and identity.   The study applies Late Rentier State Theory to analyse the relationship between youth, the Emirati and Saudi states, the post-oil reforms, and their future trajectories. The analysis is guided by some of the characteristics identified by Late RST which focus on the impact of globalization, modernization policies, diversification, the state’s encouragement of entrepreneurship, and the sustainability of their strategies with regards to the extent to which they accommodate youth’s needs and account for changing societal structures and expectations.   While the study does not refute the youth bulge hypothesis, which contends that states where young adults constitute a large proportion of the population are expected to face an elevated risk of political violence and interstate conflict, widely used in the literature; it adds to it by proposing that while those risks exist, they can be alleviated under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include policies and strategies to be taken by governments that are relevant to youth needs and the surrounding environment. Namely, taking into consideration both agency and structure.   The study finds that, for the United Arab Emirates, the results of education and Emiratisation policies are likely to shape the shifting social contract between young Emiratis and the government, and could lead to a range of outcomes, from the promising- a population of empowered, educated, and skilled Emirati youth- to the stagnant- disappointed and apathetic youth persistent in their preference of the public sector- to the more worrisome- yet unlikely- active opposition by dissatisfied youth.   With regards to the Kingdom Saudi Arabia, the study finds that while the government is investing massively in educational and employment reforms, young Saudis need to adopt entrepreneurial values and work ethic to ensure the success of “Neo-Saudism". This in turn requires a certain level of responsiveness from the government and possibly more opportunities for youth to participate in decision making in the near future. The speed of change and the extent to which youth’s values and perspectives may clash with those of older generations is yet to be determined. The real challenge for Saudi decision makers and strategists will be in maintaining balance and stable relations between different societal groups.
Securing the Future Generation: A Road Map for Arab Nuclear Cooperation
Publications
22 Dec 2022

Securing the Future Generation: A Road Map for Arab Nuclear Cooperation

Nuclear cooperation attracts international and regional attention, many Arab countries have aspired to produce clean nuclear energy and have either begun or are seeking to join the nuclear energy club. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) , Egypt, and Jordan, are the frontrunners in the Middle East and therefore will be the focus of this paper. Nuclear power is an international industry in terms of operation, supply chains, and vendors, as well as nuclear safety, non-proliferation and waste management, therefore, there is an ongoing need for cooperation and collaboration between states. This cooperation can include sharing technical expertise and nuclear technology, establishing agreements that facilitate nuclear exports, agreements on nuclear safety and standards, and collaboration with regulatory frameworks.   The paper employs horizontal or environmental scanning to analyse the current position of nuclear energy in each country and their preparedness for nuclear cooperation, as well as existing models of nuclear cooperation in other regions. Thereafter, the paper explores the different incentives countries may have for engaging in nuclear cooperation, including the potential benefits to be gained. A SWOT analysis is used to structure the environmental scanning, evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within each country with regards to their potential role and contribution to nuclear cooperation in addition to an overall SWOT analysis of the countries as a whole with regards to the prospect of ongoing collaboration.   The paper is divided into three chapters; the first chapter provides an overview of nuclear energy in each of the selected countries, the second chapter examines existing models of nuclear cooperation and analyses the different enabling factors which will later be used to identify opportunities for Arab nuclear collaboration, and the third chapter analyses the various economic, political, and security incentives that would drive countries to seek cooperation or that can be used to advocate for greater collaboration among policymakers.   A cooperation model is produced as a result of this analysis, highlighting key characteristics of the ideal regional partnership. Three scenarios for Arab nuclear cooperation are evaluated to demonstrate what could occur if this proposed cooperation occurs, how it would happen, and the scenarios of no collaboration or limited cooperation.