Europe needs to prepare for a breakdown of multilateral cooperation with Russia. Yet, in doing so, it should be careful not to provide space for Moscow to justify unilateral action of its own.
Syria / Iraq / Lebanon
Heightened conflict in Ukraine could have serious consequences for European interests in the Middle East and North Africa. It could further disrupt energy supplies, exacerbate food insecurity, and help states in the region gain leverage over the US and Europe.
Europeans who have at heart the sustainable return of refugees, in line with Europe’s core interests and with the will of the Syrian people, should focus on ensuring that conditions on the ground in Syria allow for safe, voluntary, and dignified returns
The August 2020 explosion left Lebanon in disarray, and thus far, the country’s principal political parties have united to delay, impede, and undermine the investigation
How can Europeans more effectively advance their human rights agenda as part of, and while maintaining, their broader relationships with regional states?
European states face accusations of neglecting the matter of human rights in their southern neighbourhood, and even of being complicit. Yet they are failing to maximise the influence they could bring to bear.
Lebanon is home to key strategic interests for the EU, which does not want another failed state on the Mediterranean
Europe should support the recent Iranian-Saudi talks in Baghdad as an opportunity to help stabilise the Middle East, despite risk of that engagement being derailed
An Iraq that has diverse regional relationships is more likely to be stable and secure, in line with European interests in the Middle East