At this pivotal juncture, the MENA region stands at a critical crossroads. The region is experiencing a decisive moment that will shape the future dynamics of inter-country relations and regional security, which has faced significant threats in recent years. This publication, prepared by a team of experienced researchers at the renowned Al Habtoor Research Centre, endeavours to forecast the Middle East's impending challenges. It aims to delineate the region's comprehensive political, economic, and security landscape over the past years.


Through a series of incisive analyses, we address the geo-economic challenges and their profound impact on the future of the Middle East and North Africa. These analyses are situated within the context of the sweeping transformations occurring in the global system, a system characterised by economic conflicts that both influence and are influenced by ongoing security and military escalations. These conflicts have altered the global power map and are anticipated to significantly reshape the current world order, making our research all the more pertinent.


Moreover, we examine the risks engendered by the prevailing state of uncertainty, which threatens nations' economic prospects and disrupts critical and vital trade corridors and routes such as the Suez Canal, Bab El Mandab, and the Strait of Hormuz. These corridors are indispensable to global energy security and international trade. The manifestation of these threats is evident in the tensions and conflicts we have observed in the Red Sea, which have heightened fears of potential disruptions escalating into broader military confrontations.


The publication further delves into the new frontiers of warfare, particularly the transformations imposed by cyberspace on the nature and strategies of conflicts. These changes have redefined armament and deterrence methods, yet the region remains significantly unprepared for these evolving threats. At a time when the Middle East is increasingly becoming an attractive target for cyber-attacks and unconventional warfare, there is an urgent and pressing need to enhance preparedness for such confrontations.


In the region’s prevailing instability and escalating political and security tensions, which have precipitated severe humanitarian crises, the migration challenge has surfaced as a critical determinant of the region’s future. Prominent among these tensions are the civil war in Sudan, the ongoing instability in Lebanon, and the conflict in Gaza. Additionally, the continuous deterioration of internal situations in Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen has posed significant challenges for neighbouring countries. These conflicts have profoundly affected migration dynamics in the region, resulting in substantial security and political ramifications that are expected to unfold in the coming period. The migration issues also present vulnerabilities and potential entry points for external agendas to influence aid-receiving nations.


In this context, the region's climate change challenges also invite external actors to impose their agendas. These actors often condition their support and assistance for addressing climate change on political and security changes, thereby imposing different priorities on the region's countries and threatening its stability.


Ultimately, this publication represents the culmination of extensive brainstorming and research conducted over an extended period by our dedicated team alongside numerous experts and specialists. Our goal has been to produce a structured forecast for the future of a region mired in chaos, which inherently complicates the creation of definitive predictive models for the coming years. At Al Habtoor Research Centre, we are committed to illuminating the often-overlooked areas, especially those pertaining to anticipated crises and potential risks. This publication is part of a series of research outputs aimed at contributing to a more stable and prosperous future for a region beset by threats.

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