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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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    26 June 2015

    When it comes to counterinsurgencies, violence merely begets violence. So what exactly is needed to successfully tackle insurgents? And why is it that Arab governments and militaries have such a poor track record in this domain?

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    26 June 2015

    With law enforcement agencies pooling resources to counter ISIL's online propaganda, this Alert seeks to raise awareness of the jihadists’ use of the so-called ‘Dark Web’, the hidden underbelly of the little explored Deep Web.

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    12 June 2015

    At first sight, Arab parliaments seem to have reverted back to their pre-2011 role as empty shells, rubber-stamping the government’s decisions. This Alert, however, reveals a more nuanced state of affairs whereby Arab parliamentarians in some countries are – slowly – growing into their roles.

  • 22 May 2015

    On 22 May, the Atlantic Council hosted the European Union Institute for Security Studies for the latter’s annual transatlantic conference in Washington DC.

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    17 April 2015

    This Brief takes a look at the implosion of Yemen’s armed forces, and how this has exacerbated the already dire security situation in the country. It seeks to underline the complexity of the dynamics on the ground, proving that the causes of Yemen’s woes go beyond over-simplistic explanations based on sectarian antagonisms.

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    10 April 2015

    It is now four decades since the outbreak of Lebanon’s civil war. But with similar conflicts spreading across the Middle East, the country’s tragic history can still provide useful lessons on how to end such violence.

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    20 March 2015

    Algerian decision-making circles have come to the conclusion that the country is once again facing a protracted war with Islamist terrorism. But unlike the dark decade of the 1990’s, Algiers is now combating jihadists which operate across borders and threaten its entire neighbourhood.

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    27 February 2015

    This Alert examines the effects of the country’s Political Isolation Law (PIL). Although part of a necessary process of political transition, does this ‘deqaddafication law’ go too far?

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    27 February 2015

    Four years after the toppling of Qaddafi, Libya is perilously close to economic collapse. Growing political factionalism and the prevalence of security vacuums have facilitated the proliferation of armed militia groups, while the destruction of the country’s oil infrastructure poses a serious risk to any chance of future economic prosperity.

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    17 February 2015

    This report, the outcome of a series of meetings of the Arab Foresight Group, an initiative undertaken by the EUISS, presents three alternative scenarios for the Arab world in 2025. These take into account those ‘megatrends’ which are unlikely to change, and outline three different ways in which policymakers can respond to the crises that currently beset the Middle East and North Africa.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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    24 July 2014

    How do states transit to democracy, and why does it seem such a difficult endeavour in the Arab world? This brief explains the conditions required for democratic transitions to succeed, and highlights the many pitfalls that cause states to revert to authoritarianism.

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    27 June 2014

    As Islamic extremists continue their advance across Iraq, this Brief takes stock of terrorism-related developments in the Middle East and North Africa. What factors explain the escalation in terror attacks? And what steps – legal or otherwise – are governments taking to counter the ‘jihadi highway’ that now spans the region?

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    16 May 2014

    Exploring the effects of the high levels of military spending in the Arab world, this Alert seeks to underline the importance of the security-development nexus. What can military expenditure tell us about the likelihood of both intra- and inter-state conflict breaking out?

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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 June 2005

    In the run up to the 2005 presidential elections in Iran, the EUISS held a seminar with objective of providing a comprehensive analysis of Iran: its strategic geographical position, nuclear policy and the consequences for the transatlantic dimension.

  • 14 February 2005

    The newly created EUISS Task Force on the Middle East met for the first time in Paris to evaluate the situation in Iraq after the elections. This Task Force, which consists of leading European experts on the Middle East, was established with a view to monitor current events in the Arab and Persian speaking regions.

  • 25 October 2004

    Ce séminaire, organisé le 25 octobre 2004 à Paris, a fait le point sur le dialogue existant entre l’UE et les pays du Maghreb, et notamment la politique de voisinage de l’Union et le processus de Barcelone.

  • 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.

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