Politicised organised crime is well hidden in Egypt, but the weak imposition of effective law enforcement outside of major cities facilitates the growth of informal economies and entrepreneurial gangs.
Without a source of dependable income, the political independence of an Emirate is beholden to its creditor. Layers of socially constructed understandings and obligation determine elite interaction, where relationship hierarchies can be replicated on the macro-level of state, or the micro-level of family.
Ministries have manipulated legal and political institutions to create highly independent decision-making bodies with almost zero oversight, facilitating large-scale embezzlement of state finances
Roughly a month after the legislative elections held in February 2016, the Guardian Council was still in validating the results. Votes were recounted in several provinces and hardliners, who suffered a significant loss in the elections, used the process to eliminate moderate or reformist figures in an attempt to influence the political makeup of the new assembly and offset their electoral defeat.
Rouhani's strength in enlisting the support of popular Khatami and influential Rafsanjani supporters may also become his weakness, as he will need the full range of his diplomatic skills to keep his wide-ranging coalition of supporters together.
Despite President Rouhani’s promise to strengthen the private sector, state and so-called ‘quasi-state’ organisations continue to dominate the Iranian economy.
The on-going challenge for the UAE remains how to respond proactively to the challenges of low oil prices. Reforms are underway, driven by consolidation of elite control.
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The importance of Iran’s elections held on the 26th of February 2016 was demonstrated by an unprecedented high number of registered candidates - but hardliners remain influential.
Less than a month after the nuclear deal, Rouhani challenged the Guardian Council’s ability to disqualify candidates to elected positions. Risky given the conservative camp use the Council to assert political control.
Understanding how elite networks react to the potential empowerment of newly prominent groups and their respective interests will be key in unravelling the dynamics of power in President Sisi’s administration.
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Egypt shows little sign of improvement for 2016. Its political and social status quo has been built on layers of patronage networks; the challenge for predicting economic and political opportunity in Egypt comes from assessing how these informal networks are being reconfigured.
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As investment potential looks ahead to 2016, it is clear that several of the most pressing issues that have weighed upon decision-makers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will continue to have an effect on domestic and regional stability.