Thousands rallied outside the Prime Minister’s office in Tunis on Saturday, protesting the worsening living standards, spurred by a call from Tunisia’s main trade union confederation.

Noureddine Taboubi, the head of the confederation, addressed the protesters, highlighting the deepening economic and social challenges. “The economic and social situation continues to deteriorate,” he declared.

Taboubi pointed out that in 2023, the state’s ability to manage its foreign debt had directly impacted the people, leading to shortages of essential goods. He criticised the prioritisation of “diktats from the International Monetary Fund” (IMF) over the welfare of ordinary Tunisians.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, the Tunisian economy stagnated, showing a mere 0.4 percent growth in 2023, while the unemployment rate soared to 16.4 percent. This marked a significant increase from the 15.2 percent unemployment rate recorded at the end of 2022.

Since his power grab in July 2021, President Kais Saied has governed by decree. Last year, he pushed through a constitution granting his office sweeping powers while significantly diminishing the role of parliament.

Amidst a severe economic downturn, Tunisia secured a two billion dollar loan facility from the IMF in October 2022. However, the disbursement of loan tranches stalled as the president refused to implement reforms demanded by the IMF.

In the intricate dance of geopolitics, Egypt finds itself delicately poised between the gravitational pulls of Western and Eastern superpowers. Its strategic location, historical ties, and economic dependencies make it a pivotal player in the global arena. Yet, as the tides of international relations ebb and flow, Egypt faces the challenge of balancing its alliances, safeguarding its security, and satisfying the needs of its populace.

At the heart of Egypt’s diplomatic calculus lies its dependency on Russian wheat. As the world’s largest importer of this strategic commodity, Egypt’s reliance on Russian and Ukrainian wheat underscores its vulnerability to shifts in global dynamics. The conflict in Ukraine served as a stark reminder of the fragility of Egypt’s food security. With traditional suppliers facing turmoil, Cairo turned to Moscow and other nations to secure its wheat needs. This dependency not only highlights Egypt’s susceptibility to external forces but also underscores the intricate web of interdependence that characterizes modern geopolitics.

Simultaneously, Egypt navigates the treacherous waters of American security ties. Historically, Egypt has been a key ally of the United States in the Middle East, receiving significant military aid and assistance. However, the dynamics of this relationship have been marked by periods of tension and divergence, particularly in the aftermath of political upheavals such as the Arab Spring. The ousting of President Mohamed Morsi and the subsequent crackdown on dissent strained relations between Cairo and Washington, prompting Egypt to explore alternative alliances.

Enter Russia – a longstanding player in Egypt’s political calculus. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s overtures towards Moscow reflect Cairo’s strategic realignment in response to shifting global dynamics. The inauguration of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant, financed primarily by Russia, symbolizes the deepening ties between the two nations. As Egypt seeks to diversify its alliances and reduce its reliance on traditional partners, Moscow emerges as a formidable player in its quest for strategic autonomy.

The recent inclusion of Egypt in the BRICS economic bloc signifies a bold step towards economic diversification and independence. By embracing alternative frameworks outside the traditional Western-dominated order, Cairo seeks to assert its sovereignty and insulate itself from external pressures. The BRICS membership offers Egypt access to new markets, investment opportunities, and avenues for cooperation, providing a counterbalance to the hegemony of Western institutions.

Yet, Egypt’s diplomatic tightrope walk is not without its perils. The spectre of internal dissent looms large, exacerbated by economic instability and social unrest. The country’s burgeoning population, coupled with soaring inflation and unemployment rates, poses a formidable challenge to its leadership. As the gap between the haves and have-nots widens, Egypt grapples with the urgent imperative of addressing socio-economic inequalities and ensuring inclusive growth.

Moreover, Egypt’s delicate balancing act comes under scrutiny in the wake of global conflicts and crises. The Russian invasion of Ukraine sends shockwaves across the international stage, testing Cairo’s resolve and resilience. As pressure mounts from Western powers to condemn Moscow’s actions, Egypt finds itself at a crossroads, torn between loyalty to its traditional allies and the imperative of preserving its strategic interests.

In the face of mounting challenges, Egypt must chart a course that safeguards its sovereignty, enhances its security, and promotes the well-being of its citizens. A nuanced approach that balances competing interests and leverages diverse partnerships is essential to navigate the complex currents of international relations. By fostering dialogue, promoting cooperation, and pursuing policies that advance its national interests, Egypt can assert its agency on the world stage and carve out a distinct role in the evolving global order.

In conclusion, Egypt’s position as a linchpin in the geopolitical landscape underscores the complexities of contemporary diplomacy. Caught between Western and Eastern superpowers, dependent on Russian wheat, American security ties, and grappling with internal challenges, Egypt stands at a critical juncture in its history. As it seeks to navigate the turbulent waters of global politics, Egypt must forge a path that reflects its aspirations, values, and interests, ensuring a future of stability, prosperity, and dignity for its people.

Image credit: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

In a significant development, King Mohammed VI of Morocco has extended a formal invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to visit the North African kingdom. This invitation comes as a gesture of gratitude following Israel’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the contentious Western Sahara territory.

The royal summons, issued this Wednesday, warmly invites Mr. Netanyahu to visit Morocco at a mutually agreeable time, to be determined through diplomatic channels.

The Israeli Prime Minister announced his decision regarding the mineral-laden desert region via a letter which was subsequently referenced by the Moroccan royal office on Monday.

Economic, security, and tourism ties between Israel and Morocco have been strengthening progressively. This forthcoming meeting is expected to “open new possibilities in the bilateral relations between Morocco and Israel,” as per King Mohammed.

The Moroccan monarch praised Israel’s decision, affirming that the issue of Western Sahara represents “the national cause of the kingdom and the priority of its foreign policy”.

Around 80 per cent of the vast 266,000-square-kilometre desert region is currently administered by Morocco. The remaining portion of this sparsely populated area is controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a breakaway state supported by Algeria and not internationally recognised by the United Nations.

Several Arab and African nations, along with the US, back Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. The ongoing territorial dispute has led to the closure of land borders between Algeria and Morocco since the early 1990s due to security apprehensions.

Earlier this year, an attempt to mollify the strained relations was made by King Mohammed when he invited Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for discussions in Rabat. However, the King chose not to attend the first Arab League summit in three years, hosted by Algeria in November.

A thaw in Israel-Morocco relations was observed as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords, with encouragement from the then-US President Donald Trump, who acknowledged Morocco’s rule over the Western Sahara region.

Image Credit: Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

In the aftermath of a deadly attack on Israeli civilians, an incensed mob of settlers launched a violent retaliation in the Palestinian town of Turmus Ayya on Wednesday. The onslaught, which included the torching of homes, vehicles, and fields, left a trail of destruction and terror among the local populace. The assaults extended to the West Bank village of Urif, marking a severe escalation of violence in the region.

A day of violence began in the wake of the burial service for Israeli victims of a recent Palestinian terror assault. A subsequent rampage by Israeli settlers left one Palestinian dead, identified as Omar Qattin, a 27-year-old father of two, and a further twelve injured. Four of those were casualties of gunfire, one of whom is critically wounded, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry.

Residents maintain that Mr Qattin, an electrician by profession, was unarmed and distant from the scene of conflict when he was shot. The identity of his assailant remains undetermined.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) criticised the violence but neglected to mention any incidents of Palestinian casualties. Despite the devastating impact on Turmus Ayya, the IDF claimed that their forces had managed to disperse the settlers and that an inquiry was underway. Meanwhile, the police force is investigating a shooting incident involving their officers, who returned fire after reportedly being targeted during the riots.

In the aftermath of the settlers’ attack, Turmus Ayya’s mayor reported that around 60 cars and 30 homes had either been partially or entirely burned, with approximately 400 settlers implicated in the assault.

Repercussions of the settlers’ rampage reached international audiences, eliciting strong reactions. Both Egypt and Jordan’s foreign ministries condemned the violence, calling for international intervention to protect Palestinians, and immediate cessation of attacks on Palestinian settlements.

The violence continued later on Wednesday when settlers from the Yitzhar area launched an assault on the nearby village of Urif. Palestinian media documented these instances of violence, adding to the rising tensions in the region.

The surge in hostility between Israelis and Palestinians is following a year of escalating tensions marked by frequent military raids in the West Bank and recurrent deadly Palestinian terror attacks. This year alone, 24 people have fallen victim to Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank, with the death toll on the Palestinian side reaching 129, according to The Times of Israel.

Image Credit: Majdi Mohammed/AP

As the country’s economic heart, Doha is a thriving metropolis that offers a rich cultural tapestry for visitors and residents alike. Here, we’re unveiling the top five attractions you simply cannot afford to miss while exploring Qatar’s capital. As the country’s economic heart, Doha is a thriving metropolis that offers a rich cultural tapestry for visitors and residents alike.

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA): A Crown Jewel of Doha

An architectural masterpiece designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Museum of Islamic Art is a homage to Islamic artistry and craftsmanship spanning over 1,400 years. This striking museum houses a vast collection of ceramics, manuscripts, textiles, and precious stones from across the Islamic world, all displayed within the elegance of the museum’s geometrically inspired architecture.

Souq Waqif: A Walk Through History

Step into a bygone era at Souq Waqif, a century-old marketplace exuding traditional charm. With its labyrinthine alleyways, aromatic spices, handcrafted wares, and bustling cafés, the Souq presents an authentic slice of Qatari life. Be sure to visit the Falcon Souq, a testament to Qatar’s longstanding falconry tradition.

The Pearl-Qatar: The Shimmering Island

The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island spanning nearly four million square meters, is Doha’s most glamorous address. Luxurious residential towers, high-end retail boutiques, and gourmet restaurants line its picturesque marinas. The Venetian-inspired Qanat Quartier, with its pastel-coloured buildings and charming canals, is an unmissable highlight.

Katara Cultural Village: The Epicentre of Art and Culture

Immerse yourself in Qatar’s rich cultural heritage at Katara Cultural Village. As the hub of Doha’s arts scene, Katara hosts international art exhibitions, film screenings, and theatrical performances within its amphitheatre, art studios, and galleries. Don’t forget to check out the stunning Golden Mosque, an architectural marvel in its own right.

The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ): A Journey Through Time

Symbolizing the Qatari national identity, the NMoQ narrates the story of Qatar from prehistoric times to the present day. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, its unique desert rose-inspired design sets it apart as an architectural landmark. With immersive displays and cutting-edge technology, a visit to NMoQ is a journey through the nation’s history and evolution.

Visiting Qatar’s capital, with its intriguing blend of traditional charm and futuristic ambition, is a journey into the heart of the Middle East that leaves you with memories for a lifetime.