Africa in World Politics
The popular revolts and upheaval of the Arab Uprisings have profoundly changed the politics of the Middle East and North Africa. The Middle East realignment indicates that the foreign policy powers are imagining the Arab Spring as an event that is already scrambling the existing types of networks that link the countries of the Middle East and North African region both with each other and the broader global and international community. In the regard, the scholarly focus on the MENA realignment has been on the United States and its allies and foes such as Egypt, Saudi, Turkey, and Iran. In fact, the radical political changes these countries are undergoing, domestically and regionally, help explain the current political crises in countries like Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya.
However, few studies have examined the radical changes in the foreign policy formulation of the periphery states in the MENA region. Currently, I am preparing a research project that aims to examine the responses of the MENA region periphery states to the emerging political order, political opportunities and threats in the post-Arab uprisings period. In the first part, I provide a comprehensive analysis of the Sudanese regime’s strategies aimed at improving relations and forging alliances with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in general, and Sudan-Saudi Arabia realignment in particular after decades of strained relations. I plan to expand my current research to include other states such as Mauritania, Djibouti and others.
My other research interests and plans include the Syrian refugees in Africa. Thousands upon thousands of migrant and refugees fleeing wars in the MENA region cross the Mediterranean searching for opportunities. The single biggest group are Syrians. During the last four years, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees with their children risked such voyage and arrived at Europe’s borders. According to recent June Poll in the United Kingdom, the refugee crisis has tremendous impact on the future of the European Union. With the Syrian conflict showing no sign of peaceful political settlement on the one hand, and the EU states unwilling to receive more refugees on the other, the question is, how could we find alternative destinations for the Syrian refugees. In this research, I will conduct field research in countries like Sudan and other African countries where considerable number of refugees have chosen to settle. The research will focus on certain issues such as the existence of labor market that match the need of Syrian workers, access to public education, higher education, and healthcare, and the existence of strong and vibrant diaspora communities in these countries.
I view teaching as a privilege. While devoting time and energy to my students, my classes aim to motivate them to think critically so they can see the underlying logic of multiple worldviews and research methods in the study of the Middle East and Africa. The two regions are interconnected that major issues such as internal armed conflicts, the proliferation of arms and the emergence of extremist organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the migrant and refugee crises can be understood through examining the political dynamics and violence that have shaped both the Middle East and North African regions. To this end, the lectures and seminars are designed to help students develop intellectual concepts and theories to describe Middle Eastern and African societies in their complexities.