ORIENT IV 2021: External actors’ role in the MENA region
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Dear readers of ORIENT,
Regional developments have again occupied a major share of global news of late. Most prominently, Afghanistan fell back into the hands of the Taliban much more quickly than anticipated after the withdrawal of international troops. Meanwhile, in Tunisia the president dissolved parliament, furthering a domestic political crisis, and in Morocco the latest parliamentary elections dealt the ruling PJD a defeat. The MENA region continues to be dynamic – and as important to us here in Germany as it is to Europe and the world at large. In this new issue we take a closer look at the role that external actors play in the region, including China, the US, Russia and India. Heinrich Kreft begins by shedding light on China’s growing influence in the region overall, before Yahia H. Zoubir zooms in on the Maghreb states and how Beijing in particular has sought to enhance its standing there. Radosław Fiedler shifts the focus to the role of the US, examining the case of Egypt. In their three respective contributions, Roland Dannreuther, Chiara Lovotti and Ekaterina Stepanova gauge the role, ambition and increased regional influence of Russia. Debasish Nandy elaborates on India’s MENA relations and its strategic approach.
After nearly 15 years serving as the Director of the German Orient-Institute, this issue will be the last one in which I have the honour to welcome you as readers. While I have always appreciated your loyalty, it is time for me to introduce to you my successor, Dr. Andreas Reinicke. I am certain that I leave this journal and the institute overall in his very competent hands. We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and in good spirits.
Dr. Gunter Mulack
Former Director of the German Orient-Institute
and Member of the Board of the German Orient-Foundation