​​​​The Future of the "Islamic State" Provinces and Affiliates: Decline or Continued Impact after the Fall o​​f t​he "Caliphate" in Iraq and Syria?

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About

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Conference at the American University of Beirut
Organized by AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Date: March 20 - 21, 2017




Concept ​Note

The “Islamic State” (IS) has increasingly come under pressure on the battlefields in its core territories in Iraq and Syria. Although the Mosul offensive is still ongoing, a conventional military defeat of the organization has never been more likely. However, IS is not just a highly efficient terrorist organization that occupies certain territories and their populations – it is a phenomenon with multiple dimensions, which include terrorist attacks in Europe, a highly successful propaganda machinery, the ability to exploit both regional power vacuums and the refugee situation, and, last but not least, the creation of franchises or offshoots in the so-called provinces (wilayat) of their self-declared “Caliphate”. 

In 2014 and 2015, the organization claimed a total of 20 new provinces in areas of Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia, however, the incorporation of these provinces into the core structure of IS varies greatly. While the majori-ty of the groups that have joined IS are local jihadist organizations such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, which existed before the rise of IS in 2014 and have their own distinct identities and histories and operate largely independent of the core IS leadership, a few organizations are more closely connected to IS, such as the cells in Libya and the Wilayat Khorasan in the Af-ghan-Pakistani border region. Even though these branches only exert marginal territorial con-trol, the nominal existence of provinces outside Syria and Iraq is crucial, as it supports IS’s claim of global domination. In addition, these branches present a danger for Europe due to their geographical proximity and their function as safe havens, where terrorists can plan and prepare attacks on European targets. In Western Africa, an increased presence of IS-affiliates could further encourage larger refugee flows from the region to Europe. An expansion of IS in Afghanistan would be particularly critical, as Western nations have spent millions to stabilize Afghanistan over the past 15 years. Its destabilization could lead to a disastrous spillover into Pakistan and Iraq. Likewise, Egypt’s destabilization due to an IS takeover of the Sinai Penin-sula could also have negative consequences for the region, as it is one of the few pillars of stability, hosts key trading routes and shares a border with Israel. 

With the imminent defeat of IS in the conventional sense, the question about the future of these provinces arises. This conference’s aim is to discuss this future and the potential impact of the provinces on the local countries after the military defeat of IS in Syria and Iraq. How will the provinces develop, and will they manage to hold on to power? What are the potential influences that these franchises can exert upon the countries that host them? Special focus shall be put on the views that young academics, journalists and professionals from the coun-tries concerned hold on the possible influence of IS on their generation. How attractive do IS and its offshoots seem to young inhabitants? Do they see the offshoots in their countries as posing a real threat, or do they rather think that their influence will vanish once the core of IS is defeated? 

​ The conference aims to cover hotspots with a significant IS presence all over the Islamic world, as well as countries in the immediate proximity of the core territories, and will include the Wilayat Khorasan (Afghanistan, Pakistan), West Africa (Niger, Nigeria, Mali), the Maghreb (Libya, Egypt, Tunisia), the Mashreq (Lebanon, Jordan, GCC), and Europe (Germany, France/Belgium, United Kingdom). The conference will be designed as a two-day event, with three panels of 90 minutes each per day, and three speakers plus a chair per panel. The second day will also feature a wrap-up session, held by one speaker, who will summarize the main points and give their thoughts on them. 


Speakers​

Dr. Tarek Mitri 
Dr. Tarek Mitri is the Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs since 2014 and Former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Libya. Mitri has also been a minister in four Lebanese governments: Information, Environment, Administrative Development, and Culture; and Acting Foreign Minister. He is also a member of the Strategic Board of Lebanon’s Universite Saint-Joseph; the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Palestine Studies; and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. He has lectured in a number of universities in Lebanon, Europe, and North America. He holds a doctorate from Paris X – University.  

Nils Wörmer
Nils Wörmer has headed Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Syria and Iraq office since September 2015, which was established under his management. He is in also in charge of projects based in Baghdad, Erbil and Sulimaniyah. Previously, he was in charge of the Foundation’s Afghanistan program in Kabul for two years. He arrived there with extensive knowledge of the country due to his time as a Senior Associate in the Middle East and North Africa Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP). From 2005 to 2010, he held leadership positions at platoon and company levels in the German Federal Armed Forces through which he was deployed to the ISAF headquarters in Kabul and PRT Kuduz as a human intelligence officer for 15 months. He obtained his degree in political science and Islamic studies in 2005, after studying at the Helmut Schmidt University of the German Federal Armed Forces and the University of Hamburg (Germany). Prior to this, he was trained as an army infantry officer (Fallschirmjäger) in the airborne infantry of the German Bundeswehr. 

Ali Al-Mawlawi
Ali Al-Mawlawi is head of research at Al-Bayan Center, an independent Iraqi think tank based in Baghdad. His work focuses on Iraqi foreign policy and economic reform. Al-Mawlawi ​spent several years working for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Middle East before serving as an advisor to the Iraqi ambassador to the United States. Al-Mawlawi graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with a master’s degree in international studies and diplomacy.

Mara Revkin
Mara Revkin is a fellow with the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School, from which she received her JD. She is pursuing a PhD in political science at Yale University, focusing on governance and state-building by armed groups in the Middle East. Her work has been published in the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law, the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and the UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law, among others. She has conducted fieldwork most recently in southeastern Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Sinai Peninsula. After receiving her BA in Political Science and Arabic from Swarthmore College, she served as a Fulbright Fellow in Jordan and Oman (2009-2010) and as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2010-2011).

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi researches violent non-state Islamic and Middle Eastern groups for the Middle East Forum. He is a 2016-2017 Rubin Research Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA). A graduate of Oxford University, with ancestry tracing back to Baghdad and Mosul, al-Tamimi's articles have been published, among other places, in Foreign Affairs, the American Spectator, The Daily Star (Beirut), and the Huffington Post. He has been widely cited for his insights in international media outlets such as The New York Times, Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, the Daily Telegraph, and the Washington Post.

Dr. Guido Steinberg
Dr. Guido Steinberg is a senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin, specializing in Middle East and Gulf Affairs and Terrorism. An Islamicist by training, he has worked as a research coordinator at the Free University Berlin (2001) and as an advisor on international terrorism in the German Federal Chancellery (2002-2005). He has published widely on the Middle East, Saudi Arabian and Iraqi History and Politics, the Wahhabiya, Islamism and Terrorism, and most recently: German Jihad. The Internationalization of Jihadist Terrorism, New York: Columbia University Press 2013. 

Dr. Bashshar Haydar
Dr. Bashshar Haydar received his PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1996. He currently is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut. He works in the areas of aesthetics, ethics and political philosophy, with particular research interests in moral philosophy.

George Fakhry
George Fakhry completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In between his studies, Fakhry worked as an advisor with the Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York, during which Lebanon was serving its non-permanent tenure in the Security Council. Fakhry has spent the last 15 months studying extremist trends in the Middle East. More specifically, his most recent study depicts waves of rising extremism in Lebanon, its root causes and trajectory. 

Dr. Umut Koldas
Assistant Professor Dr. Umut Koldas is a lecturer at the Near East University, Department of International Relations and Director of the Near East Institute. He earned his PhD at the Middle East Technical University. His research interests include: democratization, state-minority relations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region, and representation of minorities in the media.

Dr. Abdullah bin Khaled al-Saud
Dr. Abdullah bin Khaled al-Saud is a visiting research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, King’s College London, and a non-resident fellow at both King Salman Centre for Local Governance in Riyadh and Trends Research and Advisory in Abu Dhabi. He is an assistant professor at Naif Arab University for Security Sciences in Riyadh. He holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London, and a BA in Law from King Saud University. His PhD thesis investigated the drivers and factors contributing to the process of radicalization and violence in Saudi Arabia from the early days of the 1980s until the outbreak of the terror campaign in the Kingdom in 2003. His research interests include radicalization, political violence and the ideology of political Islamist groups, with a special focus on Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Canan Atilgan
Dr. Canan Atilgan is the Director of the KAS Regional Program Political Dialogue South Mediterranean based in Tunis. She has worked for KAS since 2001 and has over 15 years of experience in the field of program directorate in various countries and regions (Palestine, Jordan, Thailand, South Caucasus) with a focus on peaceful conflict resolution and reconciliation, democratization processes as well as policy dialogues. She holds a PhD in political science.

Jasmine El-Gamal
Jasmine El-Gamal is a resident senior fellow with the Atlantic Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, where she focuses primarily on the role of narratives in the cycle of radicalization and violent extremism. El-Gamal holds an MS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a BS in Marketing from Clarkson University. In 2003, she served in Iraq as a translator and cultural advisor during the initial stage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she facilitated dialogue and cooperation between the US military and the local Iraqi population in Southern Iraq. She joined the Department of Defense in 2008 as a policy advisor on Middle East issues. As the Country Director for Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, respectively, El-Gamal regularly briefed Secretaries of Defense Gates, Panetta, Hagel and Carter as well as foreign counterparts on issues pertaining to her portfolio. She also served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy, and from 2013 to 2015 was the Special Assistant to three Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy, where she advised on a range of issues related to defense and national security.

Mohamed Eljarh
Mohamed Eljarh is a non-resident fellow with the Atlantic Council. He was the Libya contributor for the Foreign Policy Magazine’s Democracy Lab from 2013 to 2015. Eljarh writes and comments extensively on developments in post-revolution Libya for various international media outlets. Some of his recent work on Libya include the Libya chapter for the Washington Institute series: Beyond Islamistsand Autocrats. Eljarh's latest work is Between a civil war and Western intervention (Chapter in Alkebsi, Brown, Sparre (eds.), Reconstructing the Middle East: Political and Economic Policy, UCLA Center for Middle East Development (CMED) series, Routledge, 2017).

Dr. Emna Ben Arab
Dr. Emna Ben Arab holds a PhD in Culture Studies and is currently an assistant professor at The University of Sfax, Tunisia. Her main research interests are in international relations and security issues. She is author of a book entitled A Future Made Perfect? The Image of the Coming Millennium in American Science Fiction, and a number of articles on security issues ("The Making of a Foreign Terrorist Fighter: Tunisia as a Case Study", "The Impact of Syria’s War on the Security Environment in the MENA Region", "Foreign Fighters: the new security threat"). She previously served as Member of the Tunisian Parliament (2004-2011)".

Matthias Riesenkampff
​ Mr. Riesenkampff is currently the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation’s representative for Afghanistan in Kabul. Previously, he worked for more than seven years as Operational Archivist in HQ ISAF/ Kabul. His previous positions include among others placements at the German Army Medical Command, ISAF Headquarters as well as at the Bundeswehr Joint Forces Operations Command. Prior to that, he was stationed as a Commander at the Joint Visitor Bureau of the 9th German ISAF Contingent in 2005/06. Mr. Riesenkampff looks back on 14 years of military service in the German Armed Forces and is a Lieutenant-Colonel (res.) with a German Parachute Regiment. He holds a Master of Letters (MLitt) from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and is also a chartered banker​

Said Intizar Khadim
Mr. Said Intizar Khadim holds a double Masters from India and the US, respectively. He is a key-note speaker, international political analyst and author of six books including International Political Chess. Khadim has been teaching International Security, Globalization and State Building at different universities in Afghanistan and heavily engaged in promoting human rights with a focus on women and minorities’ participation at the national political processes. Khadim is the founder of Voice Welfare Foundation and managing Larleed Media Family including Larleed magazine, newspaper and website: larleed.com. 

Khalid Gharanai
Khalid Gharanai has been working with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Afghanistan since August 2013 in various capacities and is currently working there as a project officer. He has also worked as a research associate for a team of senior researchers from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan from 2007-2012. Gharanai has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dawat University. 

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Director and Associate Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, where he teaches various aspects of Strategic Studies; International Security; Nuclear/Missile Proliferation; Terrorism including CBNR Terrorism and Countermeasures; Arms Control/Disarmament and Domestic and Foreign Policies of the country. He holds a PhD and M. Phil in International Relations and MA in Political Science. Jaspal is also a widely published scholar with over 85 academic research papers. He regularly contributes in Hilal Magazine, a weekly column in Pakistan Observer, and frequently provides expert commentaries to international and local TV channels.​​ 

Tinko Weibezahl
Tinko Weibezahl is the Director of Konrad Adenauer Foundation's Security Policy Dialogue in Sub-Saharan Africa based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. He previously served as the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Head of Office in Afghanistan (2011-2013) and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2001-2009). He has worked as legislative advisor in the German Army where he obtained the rank of Major. He holds a Master's in history and political science from the University of Potsdam in Germany. 

Maman Aminou Amadou Koundy
Maman Aminou Amadou Koundy is a magistrate since 15 years and comes from the Republic of Niger. He currently holds the position of vice-president in the Niamey "tribunal de grande instance" (Middle court) and judge in the counter terrorism specialized court of Niger. He is specialized in a few areas of law, specifically in human rights and national and international criminal law. He is currently writing his PhD on the topic of "Human Rights obligations in combating terrorism in the Sahel" which include the activities of different terrorist groups affiliated either to IS or Al Qaida. He is also the author of a number of papers related to his field of specialization. 

Lieutenant Colonel Souleymane Sangare
Lieutenant Colonel Souleymane Sangare is the Chief of the 26th battalion of the Corps of Engineers in Mali since 2015. He is responsible for the bridges design and calculus courses in the Malian School of Engineering in Bamako since 2014. Lieutenant Colonel Sangare was an officer cadet at the French Military Academy of Saint Cyr from 1999 to 2002. He was also a junior officer at the French Professional School for Military Engineers from 2002 to 2003. He worked as an instructor in the Malian Military Academy from 2003 to 2007. Lieutenant Colonel Sangare studied civil engineering in the German Military University of Munich from 2008 to 2012. He also served as the Private Secretary of the Malian defense minister in 2014.

Yaya Bio Bawa 
Yaya Bio Bawa is Training Coordinator for the African Centre for Peace and Security Training in the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa. Before joining the ISS, he was Programme Officer for Security Policy Dialogue at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for West Africa. His work there focused on enhancing regional cooperation between Parliaments and security forces in order to deal with major security challenges. He also helped build civil society capacity for post-conflict reconstruction and development in the region. His areas of interest include youth de-radicalization and countering violent extremism in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has a Master of Arts in Peace Education from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace. 

Dr. Kristina Eichhorst
Dr. Kristina Eichhorst is Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Conflict Management at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). Joining KAS in 2009, she started as Desk Officer for South and Central Asia at KAS headquarters in Berlin. In 2012 she became Head of the Domestic Programmes Division at the Department of European and International Cooperation. Prior to joining the foundation, Eichhorst was the Managing Director of the Institute for Security Studies of the University of Kiel (ISPK). In her research work, lectures and PhD thesis she focused on terrorism, ethnic conflicts and institutional conflict management. She has also been co-founder and co-editor of the German “Yearbook of Terrorism”. Eichhorst studied at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel as well as at the Institute d'Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is a fellow of the Association for Canadian Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Society for Security Policy – German Strategy Forum. 

Dr. Florence Gaub
Dr. Florence Gaub works on the Arab world with a focus on conflict and security, with particular emphasis on Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. She also works on Arab military forces more generally, conflict structures and the geostrategic dimensions of the Arab region. Previously employed at NATO Defense College and the German parliament, she wrote her PhD on the Lebanese army at Humboldt University Berlin and holds degrees from Sciences Po Paris, Sorbonne and Munich universities.

Florian Wätzel
Florian Wätzel is a researcher at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University, where he focuses on security affairs in the Middle East. Currently, he is working on a PhD project on the organizational dynamics of Jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria. He served as an analyst for a political risk consultant firm, supporting projects in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for clients from business, and the GO and NGO sector. Wätzel studied political science at Universities in Kiel and Copenhagen, and Arabic language in Damascus and Sana’a. Prior to his university education, he served in the German Army and participated in a reserve officer training program.

Mubaraz Ahmed
Mubaraz Ahmed is an analyst at the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics with an academic background in Arabic and Islamic Studies from SOAS, University of London whose current research focuses on Islamist extremism online and pathways to radicalization. Ahmed has written for the Independent, Newsweek, and the New Statesman, as well as appearing on BBC News, BBC World Service, and China Global Television Network to provide expert commentary on matters relating to Islamist extremism. He co-authored a ground-breaking report into the accessibility of extremist content via the Google search engine which he has briefed to government audiences in London, Brussels, and Washington DC. Ahmed​ has also published research looking at the networks, interactions and activities of prominent jihadists from the Middle East and North Africa.

Dr. Nelly Lahoud
Dr. Nelly Lahoud is Senior Fellow for Political Islamism at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Middle East. She completed her PhD in 2002 at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. Lahoud’s recent research has focused on the ideology and evolution of al-Qa‘ida and the group that calls itself the ‘Islamic State.’ She was the lead author of Letters from Abbottabad (CTC: May 2012), the report that analyzed de-classified documents captured in Usama bin Ladin’s compound. Other recent publications include The Evolution of Modern Jihadism (ORE, August 2016) and The Group That Calls Itself a State: Understanding the Evolution and Challenges of the Islamic State (CTC: December 2014). 

Dr. Ole Schröder
Dr. Ole Schröder is a member of the German Bundestag since 2002 and is currently working as state secretary for the German Ministry of Interior. Prior to studying law at Hamburg University, Schröder served one year in the German air force. From 1998 to 1999 he then proceeded with LLM studies at the University of Stellenbosch/ South Africa before becoming a doctor of laws in 2000. After his second legal exam he practiced law until 2009.

Program

​The Future of the "Islamic State" Provinces and Affiliates

Venue: Issam Fares Institute - Auditorium (Green Oval) - American University of Beirut, Lebanon


Monda​y, March 20, 2017
8:30 – 9:00
Registrati​on
9:00 – 9:30
Welcoming Remarks:
Dr. Tarek Mitri, Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International AffairsAmerican University of Beirut
Nils Wörmer, Head of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Syria (KAS)/Iraq Office
9:30 – 10:00
Keynote speech
Dr. Ole Schröder, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of the Interior
10:00 – 11:30
Panel 1: The Islamic State’s Core: Syria and Iraq
Chair: Ali Al-MawlawiAl-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies, Baghdad 

Overview of the CurrenMilitary Situation in Syria and Iraq
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Middle East Forum, Philadelphia 

IS’s Administration of Offshoots and Branches
Mara Revkin, Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization, Yale Law School, New Haven 

The Organization and its Ideology
Dr. Guido Steinberg, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin
11:30 – 12:00
Coffee Break
12:00 – 13:30
Panel 2: IS Threat to the Neighboring Countries
Chair: Dr. Bashshar Haydar, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Why Did IS Fail in Lebanon?
George FakhryUniversity of Massachusetts, Boston

IS Impact in Turkey
Dr. Umut Koldaş, Near East Institute, Nicosia

IS Activities on the Arabian Peninsula
Dr. Abdullah bin Khaled a​l-Saud, International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, London
13:30 – 15:00
Lunch Break
15:00 – 16:30

 

Panel 3: IS Footprint in Northern Africa
Chair: Dr. Canan Atilgan, Head of KAS Regional Programme Political Dialog and Regional Integration South Mediterranean (PolDiMed), Tunis

The Wilayat Sinai in Egypt
Jasmine El-Gamal, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council, Washington D.C.

The IS Libya Province
Mohamed Eljarh, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council, Washington D.C.​

The Attractiveness of IS in Tunisia
Dr. Emna Ben Arab, Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies, Tunis




Tuesday, March 21, 2017
8:30 – 9:00​

Registration
9:00 – 10:30
Panel 4: The Khorasan Province: Afghanistan and Pakistan
Chair: Matthias Riesenkampff, Head of KAS Afghanistan Office, Kabul

The Emergence and Structure of IS in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Said ​Intizar Khadim, Voice Welfare Foundation, Kabul

Evaluation of IS’s Current and Future Potential in Afghanistan
Khalid Gharanai, Research Associate, KAS Afghanistan Office, Kabul

Evaluation of IS’s Current and Future Potential in Pakistan
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, School of Politics and International Relations at Quadi-i-Azam University, Islamabad
10:30 – 11:00 

Cofee Break
11:00 – 12:30
Panel 5: IS Affiliates in West Africa
Chair: Tinko Weibezahl, Head of KAS Regional Programme Security and Political Dialogue Sub-Saharan Africa (SIPODI), Abidjan

Boko Haram in Niger and Nigeria
Maman Aminou Amadou KoundyMagistrate, Niamey 

The ISGS in Mali 
Lt Col Souleymane Sangare, Military Engineer, Bamako

IS’s Influence on the Future of West Africa and its Conflicts 
Yaya Bio Bawa, Institute for Security Studies, Addis Ababa
12:30 – 14:00 
Lunch Break
14:00 – 15:30
Panel 6: IS Terror Network in Europe
Chair: Dr. Kristina Eichhorst, Coordinator Crisis and Conflict Management, KAS Berlin

IS Attack Network in France and Belgium
Dr. Florence Gaub, European Union Institute for Security Studies, Paris 

IS Footprint in Germany
Florian Wätzel, Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University, Kiel

IS Cells’ Structure in the UK
Mubaraz Ahmed, Center on Religion and Geopolitics, London
15:30 – 16:00
Wrap-Up
Dr. Nelly Lahoud, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Manama