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MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a fragmented region: in spite of its relative cultural and historical homogeneity, it has some of the lowest levels of intra-regional trade, political cooperation and legal migration in the world. This is largely due to the fact that, since the end of the Second World War, it has experienced the full spectrum of political violence. Conventional, hybrid, and civil wars, revolutions, and terrorism have hindered political and economic development, and created fertile ground for further violence. Breaking this ‘conflict trap’ is imperative for the states of the region, as well as those actors who have a stake in it.

For the EU, the MENA is of strategic importance for three reasons: it is an immediate geographic neighbour, a crucial passage for goods traveling to and from Europe (including oil), and it is notoriously unstable. The region’s security and economic situation is consequently closely intertwined with that of Europe. This explains the Union’s desire to contribute to regional stability through different means such as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Barcelona Process and the Union for the Mediterranean. The EUISS seeks to contribute to the EU’s overall effort in the MENA by providing in-depth analyses on a number of key issues affecting the region.

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    03 May 2017

    The third edition of the EUISS Security Monthly Stats (SMS) illustrates data linked to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). How has the region changed since the 2011 Arab Spring? And what has been the Union’s response in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA)?

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    12 April 2017

    As the Syrian conflict grows in complexity, so too do the flows of people inside the country and into the neighbouring region. This Alert identifies three major shifts which will affect migration flows.

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    12 April 2017

    A criminal past is a common, yet often overlooked, characteristic of many European jihadists. This Brief examines the link between petty crime and terrorism, as well as the ways in which criminal experiences shape terrorist actions.

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    22 March 2017

    This Chaillot Paper analyses how Arab states strive to achieve strategic, economic and symbolic goals through indigenous armaments production, with some countries in the region showing a new determination to become more self-reliant in this domain. The paper focuses in particular on how efforts undertaken by Arab states to develop national defence technological and industrial bases (DTIBs) entail new relationships with defence suppliers.

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    08 March 2017

    To step up the fight against terrorism, the EU is looking to forge closer ties with strategic countries in its Southern Neighbourhood. The Union’s initiatives to set up counter-terrorism dialogues in the region have, however, been met with a hesitant response. How can the EU overcome different interpretations of what effective counter-terrorism should look like?

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    21 October 2016

    This Chaillot Paper examines the flaws and failures that have so far impeded a more functional and balanced relationship between civilian and military authorities in the Middle East and North Africa. The paper also highlights the importance of security sector reform (SSR) in consolidating the rule of law and, more generally, sustainable systems of governance.

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    14 October 2016

    This Brief examines the overlooked role of the women in the organisation, and argues they are every bit as dangerous as their male counterparts. But how should European security forces address this issue?

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    29 July 2016

    Both Russia and ISIL/Daesh have engaged in aggressive messaging and deceptive media campaigns, albeit with distinct narratives, targets and audiences. This Report analyses the ‘what’ and the ‘how’; and also draws attention to strategic communications efforts undertaken by the EU.

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    29 July 2016

    This Brief seeks to explain why (and when) coups happen. What conditions are needed to persuade the military to attempt to topple a government? And what elements increase the likelihood of success or failure?

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    13 July 2016

    As the US solidifies its position in the Pacific through the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) agreement, China is striving to rebalance to the West. The ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative is now driving the promotion of loans, investments and high-technology in the Middle East. But what are Beijing’s wider strategic goals?

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    29 July 2016

    This Brief seeks to explain why (and when) coups happen. What conditions are needed to persuade the military to attempt to topple a government? And what elements increase the likelihood of success or failure?

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    13 July 2016

    As the US solidifies its position in the Pacific through the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) agreement, China is striving to rebalance to the West. The ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative is now driving the promotion of loans, investments and high-technology in the Middle East. But what are Beijing’s wider strategic goals?

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    01 July 2016

    This Brief shows how, despite the distinct lack of regional integration, the MENA is a continuous space when it comes to conflict. What does the emergence of this ‘conflict Schengen’ mean for wars – and long-suffering civilians – in the region?

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    28 April 2016

    In the arid region of the Levant, water is a growing driver of instability and conflict. This Brief examines the role water plays in local and regional instability, its place in international aid in the past and present, and ways in which the matter may be addressed in the future.

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    15 February 2016

    This Alert examines the adverse economic conditions which Egypt is facing: in addition to mounting political pressures in the form of protests and labour strikes, the risk of a currency crisis is running high. What has gone wrong since President Sisi came to power?

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    05 February 2016

    Over the years, Saudi-Iranian relations have seen numerous ups and downs. This Brief tells the story of their rocky relationship in their own words, starting with the crowning of Saudi Arabia’s first king in 1924 and continuing up until today's latest developments.

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    05 February 2016

    The first EUISS Brief of 2016 looks at the newly created Saudi-led Islamic military alliance, and explains how its purpose is threefold: counter-balance Iranian influence in the region, restore Saudi Arabia’s somewhat tarnished Muslim reputation and create military synergies between signatories.

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    29 January 2016

    One common assumption has been that refugees are leaving camps in Jordan and Lebanon due to difficult conditions and moving on through Turkey into the EU. But because of the northward shift of the Syrian conflict, the reality is somewhat different.

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    29 January 2016

    With the suspicion that two newly-registered refugees carried out the November Paris attacks, this Alert explores – and debunks – fears that refugee flows from the Middle East have become a backchannel for terrorists entering Europe.

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    17 December 2015

    This Chaillot Paper charts the changes that have taken place in the countries and regions adjacent to the EU over the past two decades, and analyses how the upheavals of recent years have altered the EU’s relationship with and approach to its eastern and southern neighbours.

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