Observers nonetheless hope that MBS will succeed in curtailing the influence of Wahhabi clerics. Then again, his foreign policy does not appear to offer an effective means to combat terrorism. Saudi Arabia’s devastating bombing campaign in Yemen is a case in point. With the country now completely fragmented, extremists have thrived.
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Despite his failings, Essebsi deserves credit for holding the country together after multiple terrorist attacks. Contrary to his own beliefs, however, mounting corruption, nepotism and a culture of impunity may be larger threats to Tunisia’s democracy than the one posed by jihadists. To address these issues, Essebsi will have to hold himself, his son and his political allies accountable.
There are around 2.5 million Syrian children displaced by the war living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Host countries have taken steps to increase school enrollment, such as offering free public education and introducing ‘second shifts’ in the afternoons to accommodate more children. Yet barriers such as onerous documentation requirements, language difficulties and a lack of affordable transportation are continuing to keep children out of the classroom, according to HRW.
With a 6 June vote to amend the election law, parliament ousted the electoral commission and replaced it with a panel of judges tasked with overseeing a manual recount of the 11 million ballots cast. Al-Abadi endorsed the recount and alleged problems with electronic vote counting devices that had been used for the first time in the country. Al-Sadr’s camp, meanwhile, painted the recount as a delaying tactic to undermine al-Sadr’s victory and prevent the formation of the new government.
Neither Iran nor Hezbollah has ever deterred or even spoke about deterring Israel on behalf of Syria. Therefore, while Israel is focusing on degrading the ‘axis of resistance’ threat on its Syrian border, its adversaries are drawing red lines that once crossed could lead to an all-out war. The risk of this happening can be contained if both parties at least agree not to cross the other’s red lines. But if the situation escalates, as the recent case of south-western Syria suggests it might, international mediation – like the Russian one – will be needed to prevent a war.
North Africa countries have adopted an overwhelmingly legalistic approach to returning foreign fighters. In line with the 2014 UNSC Resolution 2178, which required countries to take steps to address the foreign fighter phenomenon, most countries (with the exception of Libya) now have legal frameworks for prosecuting returning foreign fighters, for the most part for having joined a terrorist group abroad. Therefore, returning foreign fighters who are detected at official ports of entry will face arrest.
Egypt’s strategy to combat these groups has primarily relied on a security crackdown – specifically on the Muslim Brotherhood – and large-scale military operations against IS in North Sinai. At the same time, the state has set about ‘renewing religious discourse’. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly called for a more moderate version of Islam, although the efficacy of the approach to prevent and counter radicalization has been questioned.
Whenever the war comes to an end, this challenge will become particularly difficult to manage. The shabiha will not disappear once their military purpose has ended. Instead, they will likely linger as organized crime groups, further eating away at the state’s legitimacy and slowing the country’s economic and social recovery.