Anna L. Jacobs is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and a consultant with the Shaikh Group’s Track II “Dialogue for Mutual Security in the Middle East” initiative. She is a Doha-based political scientist focusing on foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. She specializes in the politics of North Africa, global and regional power competition, U.S.-China relations, and U.S. foreign policy. Previously, she was the senior research assistant at the Brookings Doha Center, where she managed the center’s research and publications. Her own work focused on Chinese and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa as well as governance and political economy in the Maghreb countries.
Prior to moving to Doha, she was the academic director and main lecturer in journalism and new media for SIT Study Abroad in Morocco, where she supported American and Moroccan university students conducting research and reporting on Moroccan politics, culture, and society. She was also an adjunct professor at the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie in Rabat, where she taught courses on media and political economy in the Middle East. She has also worked as a political risk consultant and editor. Her work has been published by the Brookings Institution, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera English, The National Interest, Jadaliyya, Muftah Magazine, and other outlets. She is a contributor to the edited volume The European Union and North Africa: Prospects and Challenges (Brookings Institution Press, 2019) as well as a forthcoming volume on China-North Africa relations.
She received a Master of Philosophy in modern Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University specializing in political Islam and Islamist movements, subaltern studies and history from below, the politics of North Africa, and Arabic. Her graduate thesis focused on the political economy of Morocco and the relationship among business interests, media, and human rights. Prior to her graduate studies she received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2011 to study migration and governance in Morocco in the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests. She was a student in the University of Virginia’s Politics Honors program, where she won the Stevenson Award for Best Thesis for her work on migration between North Africa and Europe. She received a Bachelor of Arts in government, foreign affairs, and French from the University of Virginia in 2010.
Gulf actors will be paying close attention to the dispute to make sure it does not transition to more direct conflict that could further jeopardize regional stability and strategic Europe-Mediterranean-Africa market linkages.
Though Gulf states have different strategic interests and espouse contrasting ideas on how to achieve their goals, their official responses to the events in Tunisia suggest a preference for stability and security.
Divisions among Libya’s political, security, and financial institutions remain a key obstacle to the political transition process, and foreign powers still stoke many of these divisions for their own strategic interests.
Libya’s unity government is restoring ties with international partners and jumpstarting the country’s economy, but with a delicate political consensus will the interim government be able to deliver free and fair elections?