States and societies are in crisis around the world, as questions arise around the nature and quality of existing social contracts. COVID-19 has laid bare profound vulnerabilities within and across societies. The global pandemic is revealing deep failures in policy visions, institutional fragility, and incapacities of states to harness societal compliance where trust and a sense of national belonging is weak. At the same time, our interdependencies have never been so clear, as all countries, developed and underdeveloped alike, confront similar challenges. Crisis, however, offers opportunity to do things better, to build forward better – strengthening social contracts at all levels. How then, can social contracts, and compacting in times of crisis, offer pathways to address inequality and exclusion?

Aug 10, 2021

CIC senior fellow Hanny Megally co-authors an article with Chris Sidoti and Yasmin Sooka to call upon the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish an independent international investigation into human rights atrocities in Afghanistan.

Jul 07, 2021
Hanny Megally
Middle East, Afghanistan
Afghanistan

There is nothing equal about COVID-19. It is now well established that poor and underprivileged social groups have absorbed most of the pandemic’s negative impact. However, the connection between COVID-19 and inequality might run even deeper. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, one additional point of the Gini coefficient correlated with a 1.34 percentage point higher rate of weekly new infections across countries. This difference in infection rates compounds like interest every week.

Nearly two years after the Islamic State’s (IS) fighting forces were dislodged from their final hideout in Baghouz, Syria, the northeast (NE) region remains highly insecure. Numerous state actors with a stake in the future of Syria either maintain a troop presence in the NE or are providing financial and logistical support to proxies or other non-state actors. The resulting conflicts paint a worrying picture for the future of the NE and its residents.

Mar 22, 2021
Hanny Megally , Jasmine M. El-Gamal
Middle East, Syria

The event will discuss the resort to violence and violent extremism in Northeast Syria based on a new report entitled “Preventing the Re-emergence of violent extremism in Northeast Syria.” This report was produced as a joint collaboration by the National Agenda for the Future of Syria Programme (NAFS) at UN ESCWA and the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

Mar 25, 2021
Middle East, Syria

CIC senior fellow James Traub writes about Robert Malley, President Biden's nominee as special envoy to Iran, in his latest column for Foreign Policy.

Feb 16, 2021
James Traub
Middle East, United States

For the Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, CIC senior fellow Barnett Rubin wrote about Doha Agreement and what the May 2021 deadline for the US to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan means for the Biden administration.

Jan 26, 2021
Afghanistan

This paper highlights the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the humanitarian and economic devastation wrought by prolonged conflict in the Arab region. It also provides an overview of recent and forecasted conflict trends in seven countries, which show that conflict dynamics remain largely unchanged, or in some cases worsened, since the outbreak of the virus.

Jan 22, 2021
Horn of Africa, Middle East
Humanitarian Crises

With each new year of data, and each new intergovernmental report, it becomes harder to deny the scale and urgency of the energy transition required to prevent catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges countries to take action to prevent a rise in temperature by more than 1.5°C, and warns of catastrophic consequences of a rise above 2°C. Yet current policies and pledges fall far short of hitting these targets.

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