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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 gas),
  • and it has been historically 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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    28February 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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    24January 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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    19December 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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    18October 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?

  • 03October 2013

    On 3-4 October, almost 100 academics and policymakers from over 35 different countries gathered at the Annual EuroMeSCo conference to debate the state of affairs in the Arab world since 2011 as well as Euro-Mediterranean relations.

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    02October 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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    02October 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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    24September 2013

    Analysing recent unexpected developments in the international reaction to the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, this brief examines how the new emphasis on disarmament may actually open up the prospect of a negotiated end to the conflict.

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    06September 2013

    In the wake of the chemical attacks that occurred on 21 August in Syria, and the ensuing international outcry, this alert highlights the dangers of instrumentalising chemical warfare allegations in pursuit of other policy goals.

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    05September 2013

    With the G20 summit underway, this alert explores the reasons for continued Russian intransigence on Syria. If support of the Assad regime is not simply designed to irk the West, what other, deeper considerations are at play in this unlikely partnership?

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    16August 2011

    The West cannot be neutral over Syria. Hesitating and a lack of clarity is making the process of change take longer and become much more costly.

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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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