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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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    05September 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?

  • 30July 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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    24July 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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    27June 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?

  • Keynote speech by John McCain
    20May 2014

    The annual transatlantic event of the EUISS – organised this year in collaboration with the Middle East Institute – brought together over 100 participants from both sides of the Atlantic to debate current pressing issues in the MENA region.

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    16May 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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    04April 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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    28March 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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    28March 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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    17March 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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    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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    01July 2013

    Following negotiations that lasted over a decade, on Friday 28 June, the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) was chosen over Nabucco West to transport Azeri gas to the European markets. In light of the on-going debate on energy security, this alert explores the motivations behind the decision and its implications for the EU.

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    01July 2013

    The 23rd EU-GCC ministerial meeting held on 30 June in Bahrain served as a reminder of the - seemingly forgotten - on-going internal crisis of the host country. This alert draws attention to how Bahrain remains paralysed by ongoing protests due to the lack of reform and, worse still, continues to contribute to the exacerbation of Shia/Sunni tensions within the region.

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    01July 2013

    After 23 years of punitive measures put in place under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, Iraq has finally cleared the way to end its pariah status in the international system. Although tensions remain with neighbouring Kuwait over a variety of outstanding issues, as this alert proves, a painful chapter in Iraq’s history has nevertheless been closed.

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    24June 2013

    With the security situation in Libya rapidly spiralling out of control, this brief analyses the challenges faced by the country in its attempts to establish an effective internal security apparatus since the fall of Qaddafi, the dangers of the current security vacuum and the difficulties in disbanding and reintegrating the plethora of powerful militia groups.

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    24June 2013

    In recognition of a centenary of Arabism, this alert explores the historical notions of a political union between Arab states and demonstrates, despite the geopolitical antagonisms of the MENA region and the rise of Islamism, that this unifying force is not yet dead.

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    17June 2013

    The election of Hassan Rouhani has confirmed the vibrancy and necessity of the electoral process in Iran. But if the new president-elect is to now embark on a course correction of Iranian politics, he will have to contend with formidable and complicated elements within the state structure: the security establishment, a parliament dominated by various conservative factions, and the supreme leader himself.

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    03June 2013

    This brief explores the presidential campaign underway in Iran, examining the chosen candidates and the internal power struggles of a divided country and highlighting how the tight control of the electoral process is posing a serious challenge the regime’s own commitment to the notion of popular sovereignty.

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    03June 2013

    Whilst Lebanon has long faced a multitude of challenges, the inability to agree on necessary electoral law reform has resulted in parliament extending its own term, further undermining the democratic process and leaving the country unable to adequately address the spillover of the crisis in neighbouring Syria.

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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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