POMEPS Studies 47 – COVID-19 in the MENA: Two Years On

Early in the pandemic, POMEPS convened an online workshop with a diverse group of scholars working across the MENA region to discuss the initial impacts and to think through possible trajectories.  That workshop resulted in POMEPS Studies 39, which included twenty-one essays ranging across the MENA region.  Several major themes ran across those essays.  We collectively expected regimes to securitize the pandemic, using the excuse of lockdowns to crack down on a protest wave that had reached multiple countries in 2019 and to further entrench authoritarian rule. We expected variation in state capacity to be a critical variable in terms of the ability of states to effectively respond to the pandemic. And several essays anticipated soft power international competition, as great powers used vaccine diplomacy to sway public attitudes their way.

Two years on, how did those predictions hold up?  In April 2022, POMEPS convened a follow-up workshop with some of the same scholars and a number of new contributors to assess how well those early projections panned out, and to assess the actual impacts of COVID on the region after two years. We are delighted to now publish the results of that workshop and ongoing conversations among a diverse group of scholars of the region.



Introduction: COVID-19 in the MENA: Two Years On – What have we learned?

Marc Lynch

Polarization, COVID-19, and Authoritarian Consolidation in Iran

Vahid Abedini

The Amplification of Authoritarianism in the Age of COVID-19

Yasmina Abouzzohour

Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic for Regionalism and Regional Politics in the MENA Region

Meliha Altunisik

The Impact of Egypt’s Non-Pandemic State on Society-to-Society Relations

Mona Ali

Anti-COVID Volunteers are the New Soldiers: Revisiting UAE’s Militarized Nationalism during the Pandemic

Eleonora Ardemagni

Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for politics in Morocco

Lalla Amina Drhimeur

Is the Arab region ready for the next pandemic?

Ghinwa El-Hayek

The Governance of COVID-19 in Lebanon: Territories of Sectarianism and Solidarity

Mona Harb, Ahmad Gharbieh, Mona Fawaz and Luna Dayekh

Downplaying, Trust, and Compliance with Public Health Measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the MENA

Kevin Koehler, Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl

COVID-19 Responses in the Middle East and North Africa in Global Perspective

Robert Kubinec

Palestinian-Arab students in the Israeli Periphery Following the COVID-19 Crisis

Tal Meler

COVID-19 and Migrant Workers in the GCC Countries: End of the Gulf Dream?

Irfan Nazir

Health, Economic and Social Gender Impacts

Rita Stephan

COVID-19 in the MENA: An Exploration of Gender Sensitive State Responses

Claudia Youakim, Crystel Abdallah

COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence: Pandemic Response and Impact on Civil Society in Tunisia

Maro Youssef, Sarah Yerkes