Anna L. Jacobs

Non-Resident Fellow, AGSIW

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.

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Qatar Diplomacy Spotlights Active Role in Global Security

Qatar’s emir has made a flurry of diplomatic visits to Iran, Turkey, the UAE, and Europe to bolster regional relations, energy cooperation, and the Iran nuclear deal.

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The Ukraine Crisis Deepens Food Insecurity Across the Middle East and Africa

Supply chain interruptions and rising food and fuel prices are hitting countries in the Middle East and Africa particularly hard, given the heavy reliance on Russian and Ukrainian staple food imports.

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Qatar and Iran Expand Ties Amid Broader Gulf De-escalation

Recent diplomatic outreach shows varying degrees of momentum toward improving relations between Gulf Arab states and Iran. But is the momentum of this Gulf rapprochement dependent on the success of the Vienna nuclear talks?

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Libya Backslides as Two Governments Vie for Power, Again

Since the postponing of Libya’s presidential election, political uncertainty and institutional divisions have intensified, making it more difficult to hold elections in the future and increasing concerns of a return to armed conflict.

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Qatari Emir’s Visit Points to Deepening Cooperation With Washington, Despite Differences

The strengthening of U.S.-Qatar cooperation points to a Doha moment in Washington’s bilateral and regional relations, shaped by current crises.

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What’s Next for Libya’s Electoral Process?

Libya’s first major election since 2014 is scheduled for December 24. However, with just a week left, the list of presidential candidates has not been finalized and campaigning has yet to officially begin.

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The Generals Take Back Power, Derailing Sudan’s Fragile Democratic Transition

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, because of their ties to key military leaders, will play a major role in what comes next in Sudan.

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Morocco's Islamists Voted Out, Another Blow to Region's Islamists

Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE see the decline of Islamist groups in North Africa as a win for regional stability and cooperation; but even if Islamist parties may be slowly fading from the picture, this by no means suggests they are disappearing.

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Another Morocco-Algeria Rupture Jeopardizes Gulf Outreach, Regional Connectivity 

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.

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Tunisia’s Political Crisis Reverberates Across the Region

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.