By Maplecroft’s Mena Practice
A turbulent 2013 for the Middle East is expected. Two years after the Arab Spring uprisings began, the political and economic landscapes in the region remain extremely fragile, and the prospects of medium-term improvement are slim. The political transitions that started in 2011 are far from complete or certain, with significant challenges to stability expected in 2013. Political problems are also hindering economic reforms urgently required to improve ailing economics and avert further social unrest. Crucially, the conflict in Syria continues to impact the surrounding countries, increasing the risks of insecurity and terrorism spilling over Syria’s borders, and posing serious threats to those economies.
President Morsi’s government attempts to secure Islamist control over state institutions at the expense of much-needed political consensus continues to elevate political risk. The political acrimony that accompanied the passing of the controversial constitution in December 2012 entrenched an ever-widening political divide between liberal-secular groups and Islamists, and parliamentary elections due to be held in February 2013 are unlikely to improve political stability in the medium term. (more…)