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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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    22May 2013

    On 7 May, Russia and the US agreed to host a conference with an aim to settling the Syrian crisis. This alert examines the agenda, participants and potential ourcomes of meeting that may well lead to the implementation of a credible and lasting ceasefire.

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    26March 2013

    On 19 March 2013 a serious allegation was made concerning the use of chemical weapons near Aleppo. In this context, how could the EU play a role that would assist not only the potential victims of chemical attacks but also the process of eliminating all non-conventional weapons in the Middle East?

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    26March 2013

    Two years after the revolution, the Tunisian transition is in dire need of new momentum. Bogged down in endless discussions about secularism and Islamist ideologies, the government needs to address the fundamental demands of ordinary Tunisians: democracy, economic dignity, and freedom.

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    19March 2013

    Deux ans après les événements qui ont conduit à la chute du régime de Ben Ali, la crise sociale et gouvernementale actuelle amène à poser la question de l’irréversibilité de la révolution tunisienne. Quelles étaient ses demandes ? Quelles réformes substantielles le gouvernement doit-il encore mettre en œuvre pour garantir une rupture définitive avec le passé ?

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    30October 2012

    In recent years, non-state actors (NSAs) have become an important part of the EU’s policy-making process regarding the conflict. This paper examines a group of actors that, although under-researched, play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of EU external policy.

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    18October 2012

    With the tectonic shifts in the political landscape of the Middle East yet to settle, much still hangs in the balance. For Iran, this presents an opportunity to enhance its standing and gain new influence as countries such as Egypt make the transition towards a more democratic system of governance, which inevitably entails greater influence for Islamist groups and parties. The ruling elite in Iran was delighted when the Arab Spring increased the prominence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and even more so when Mohamed Morsi was elected president of Egypt earlier this year.

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    20July 2012

    A crisis of legitimacy has struck Egypt as a trio of competing powers – the military, the Brotherhood, and so-called ‘third way’ liberals - vie for control of the country and its institutions. What can the West do, if anything, to avert the implosion of this fledgling democracy?

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    12July 2012

    As many European governments introduce their biggest defence budget cuts in years, the impact on their collective military capabilities may be lessened by exploiting two directives designed to integrate the EU defence market.

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    13June 2012

    With the presidential elections in Egypt underway, TAPIR Fellow Tova Norlén explores the process of democratic transition following the Arab Spring in a country where advocates of political Islam are currently locked in an electoral struggle with the military.

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    11May 2012

    The EU must develop a better understanding of Israeli domestic political constraints and set itself clearer goals and objectives if it is to have real influence in the Middle East peace process.

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    09June 2011

    The very public disagreement between Iran’s Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, over the sacking of Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, has catapulted the conservatives who currently control all the major institutions of the Islamic Republic into an acrimonious tailspin.

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    27May 2011

    Quand les prémices de la première révolution arabe sont apparues en Tunisie, il y avait déjà un certain moment que l’Egypte allait mal. Non pas à cause des conséquences de la crise financière qui a touché le monde en 2008, mais plutôt parce que le mécontentement général régnait bien avant cette crise.

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    26May 2011

    La révolution tunisienne, aggravée par la crise libyenne, a de graves conséquences pour l’économie tunisienne. On prévoit qu’à la fin de 2011, les chômeurs seront plus de 700 000, taux jamais atteint en Tunisie depuis son indépendance. Les tensions sociales vont probablement s’accroître, alors que les besoins à moyen et à long termes sont gigantesques au vu des ambitions de la révolution et de la nouvelle Tunisie en construction. Des mesures urgentes et à effet immédiat peuvent et doivent être proposées et mises en place.

  • Palestinian reconciliation: a step towards peace and democracy
    05May 2011

    Hamas and Fatah's reconciliation is a crucial step towards peace and democracy. Without it, no agreement on the creation of a Palestinian state has any chance of success. The author explores why.

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    04May 2011

    To date, the Bahraini uprising has resulted in nothing but a return to martial law and the possible end of the participative experiment. This failure was predictable. At least three reasons can be put forward. First, the protestors were divided about the aim of the movement, so al-Wifaq’s attempts to engage in dialogue with the regime were sabotaged by the hard-liners of al-Haqq and al-Wafa. The main loser of the uprising is al-Wifaq, whose efforts to transform into a party that collaborates with the government have been nullified.

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    28April 2011

    The West needs to return to the drawing board over its dysfunctional relationship with Iran. The author argues that there is no convincing evidence of a link between the negative impact of sanctions on the Iranian economy and an inducement of popular discontent and a change in nuclear policy.

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    18April 2011

    The future in Libya is extremely hard to predict and that, too, has been the ultimate triumph of the Gaddafi regime. It ensured that there should be no potential alternative and the legacy it bequeathes to the country it saw as the ultimate political laboratory will be chaos and uncertainty.

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    14April 2011

    La situation politique et militaire en Libye préoccupe actuellement tous les observateurs pour des raisons diverses. Pour les voisins, à cause de leurs compatriotes coincés à l’intérieur de ce pays par une guerre fratricide, et aussi parce que c’est de l’avenir politique de la Libye que dépend en partie l’avenir de la construction démocratique chez eux.

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    08April 2011

    Le discours de Bachar Assad a déçu non seulement la population syrienne mais aussi et surtout tous ses « amis » sur la scène régionale et internationale. Pour certains, ce discours était une déclaration de guerre puisqu’il a insisté sur la théorie de la conspiration dont la Syrie ferait l’objet. Il a ainsi précisé, à la manière de Bush fils, que celui qui ne soutient pas le régime dans toutes ses politiques est incontestablement considéré comme son ennemi. L’ennemi de la politique du régime devient forcément l’ennemi de la nation. 

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    25March 2011

    The potential for things going badly in Yemen after Saleh’s departure is great. There are already many conflicts and problems there. In the South a strong movement has arisen in favor of restoring its independence. In the far north of the country, there has been armed rebellion by the Houthis. In addition, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has a strong presence in Yemen. Finally, the authority of the Yemeni government is weak outside the major cities where the tribes are well-armed.

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