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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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    06 February 2015

    This Alert highlights the extraordinary adaptability of the Lebanese group in operational terms. In what way does it make use of hybrid tactics? And how has it evolved from an asymmetric mountain force into a conventional urban one?

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    30 January 2015

    This Brief explains how the internet has increasingly become a tool for extremists to recruit new members, raise funds, and conduct new types of attacks. What can be done to stop the rise of cyber jihadism?

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    16 January 2015

    The first EUISS Brief of 2015 explores the possibility of other jihadi groups evolving along the lines of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). What explains the organisation’s spectacular rise? And what elements are required for other groups to replicate ISIL’s achievements?

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    19 December 2014

    A collaborative project by the entire EUISS research team, this Chaillot Paper analyses changes in the contemporary global environment according to eight distinct but interconnected perspectives. The publication aims to offer a comprehensive background analysis to the policy debates that will inform the drafting of the Report on the international geopolitical environment that the High Representative is due to present in 2015.

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    12 December 2014

    The threat of Islamic State (IS) and a potentially nuclear-capable Iran, as well as protracted instability in Yemen, Iraq and Libya, has led to the conclusion that military cooperation among Arab countries is no longer an option but a necessity. This Alert takes a closer look at how an Arab army might finally become a reality.

  • 06 November 2014

    In partnership with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the EUISS presented the abridged German version of its Yearbook of European of European Security 2014 on 6 November in the Austrian capital.

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    17 October 2014

    This Brief examines the many faces of modern Islamism. What are the main streams of political Islam? And how are they linked to both the Sunni/Shiite divide and the violence plaguing the Middle East and North Africa?

  • 11 September 2014

    The EUISS held its annual conference on 11/12 September in central Paris. This year’s event, entitled ‘European security in a changing global environment’, was an opportunity to convene numerous policy planners and think tankers from across the Europe to discuss European security during a period of major institutional change within the Union.

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    05 September 2014

    Following a particularly bloody summer, this Alert explores the potential existence of a causal link between rising temperatures and aggressive behaviour in the Arab world. But can the heat alone explain the onset of conflict?

  • 30 July 2014

    The Arab Foresight Group was an initiative undertaken by the EU Institute for Security Studies to bring together experts on the Arab World from Europe and the southern neighbourhood to discuss the most pressing issues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region over the next the ten years.

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  • 27 September 2004

    The Institute organised this Conference in Paris to evaluate the potential implications of Turkish membership (or non-membership) for the EU’s security policy. Turkish officials and experts were also invited in order to engage in a common assessment of bilateral relations.

  • 03 May 2004

    The purpose of this seminar was to analyse the current situation in the Middle East and to assess the various Western initiatives to deal with the region. How can the European Union and its member states support the ‘Greater Middle East Initiative’ of the US whilst reaffirming the commitment to their own initiatives.

  • 18 September 2003

    The European Union Institute for Security Studies organised, in cooperation with the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a seminar for the PSC, which was held in Brussels on 18 September 2003.

  • 01 September 2003

    With the current 'big bang' enlargement nearing its conclusion, it has become crucial to assess if and to what extent the European Union can and will widen further. The ISS devoted a seminar to this issue, with participants from both current and future member states.

  • 01 January 2003

    The current Iraqi crisis led the Institute to convene urgently a meeting between experts and representatives to the Political and Security Committee. The purpose of the seminar was better to understand the depth and the historic nature of the crisis. The discussion was organised in three sessions: why Iraq is a divisive issue, what implications for CFSP/ESDP and the future of Europe, and what implications for transatlantic relations.

  • 25 November 2002

    A transatlantic ‘brainstorming’ on Iraq brought together more than 40 officials and experts from both sides of the Atlantic. In the seminar, the options for tackling the Iraqi threat, from UNSC-sponsored inspections to military intervention, were considered. Special attention was paid to the difficulties of the aftermath of a war and occupation, and the implications for the transatlantic alliance and the Middle East region.

  • 20 September 2002

    On 20 September 2002, the Institute organised a seminar to analyse the role of the European Union in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially since the outbreak of violence in autumn 2000.

  • 07 June 2002

    The Madrid conference was organised in cooperation with the Real Instituto Elcano, under the aegis of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union.

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    04 April 2014

    This alert assesses the presidential ambitions of Michel Aoun, and explores the various scenarios that may play out in Lebanon given its history of electing presidents with a military background.

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    28 March 2014

    In the wake of the diplomatic spat between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours, this Alert seeks out explanations for the highly active (and seemingly inconsistent) foreign policy of the energy-rich kingdom. As it shows, every single diplomatic act undertaken by Doha appears to feed into one overarching narrative: pan-Arabism.

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    28 March 2014

    This Alert assesses Iran’s strategic aims in Afghanistan, highlighting how – despite Tehran’s primary goal of achieving stability in the country based on economic development – Iran often acts as a spoiler in the pursuit of protecting its own security interests in its immediate neighbourhood.

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    17 March 2014

    In the wake of the Arab Spring, this Chaillot Paper examines the role played by the different national armies in the Arab world, and their long history of involvement in matters beyond the military realm. As this study shows, the Arab Spring has marked a watershed in how Arab military forces are perceived: one way or the other, they have once again become the political actors they were prior to the 1970s.

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    28 February 2014

    Egypt’s busy week began with the resignation of its government and ended with a further step in the empowerment of Field Marshal al-Sisi, now formally the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. But should al-Sisi become president, how will the Egyptian military position itself?

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    24 January 2014

    The first in a series of alerts scanning what key political events are on the horizon in 2014, this alert highlights the challenges facing the Middle East and North Africa.

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    19 December 2013

    This brief highlights the need for greater security sector reform (SSR) in the Arab world. But in a region where altering status quo often means overhauling the entire system of governance, how can the obstacles blocking the path to reform be overcome?

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    18 October 2013

    As the conflict in Syria rages on, this brief provides a succinct analysis of the causes and consequences of the longest, and bloodiest, of all forms of human conflict. Why do civil wars break out? And more importantly, how can they be brought to an end?

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    02 October 2013

    As the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war approaches and talks between Israelis and Palestinians are set to resume, this alert revisits one of the defining and most intractable issues in the conflict: the status of the Palestinian refugees.

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    02 October 2013

    This alert argues that blaming the historic Sykes-Picot agreement for the current turmoil in Syria is orientalist at best and erroneous at worst. The authors contend that the Syrian state is being challenged primarily because of its inability to deliver economically and socially rather than because of its allegedly ‘artificial’ statehood or borders.

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