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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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    05February 2016

    The first EUISS Brief of 2016 looks at the newly created Saudi-led Islamic military alliance, and explains how its purpose is threefold: counter-balance Iranian influence in the region, restore Saudi Arabia’s somewhat tarnished Muslim reputation and create military synergies between signatories.

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    05February 2016

    Over the years, Saudi-Iranian relations have seen numerous ups and downs. This Brief tells the story of their rocky relationship in their own words, starting with the crowning of Saudi Arabia’s first king in 1924 and continuing up until today's latest developments.

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    29January 2016

    One common assumption has been that refugees are leaving camps in Jordan and Lebanon due to difficult conditions and moving on through Turkey into the EU. But because of the northward shift of the Syrian conflict, the reality is somewhat different.

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    29January 2016

    With the suspicion that two newly-registered refugees carried out the November Paris attacks, this Alert explores – and debunks – fears that refugee flows from the Middle East have become a backchannel for terrorists entering Europe.

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    17December 2015

    This Chaillot Paper charts the changes that have taken place in the countries and regions adjacent to the EU over the past two decades, and analyses how the upheavals of recent years have altered the EU’s relationship with and approach to its eastern and southern neighbours.

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    08December 2015

    There are around 5,000 EU citizens currently fighting for ISIL. How are they recruited? What is reality like for them under the rule of the so-called caliphate? And, perhaps most importantly, how and why do they return?

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    17November 2015

    Following the horrific attacks in Paris, this Alert shows how ISIL is, in fact, a cult: an authoritarian organisation which brainwashes its members to the point where mass murder and self-annihilation become not only logical, but desirable.

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    28October 2015

    The last in a mini-series of EUISS publications on hybrid warfare, the Alert assesses the tactics employed by terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) such as ISIL. How do they differ from those of state actors in other parts of the world?

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    22October 2015

    This Alert takes a look at the successes and failures of Turkish refugee policy. What domestic factors are driving the debate in Ankara? And what do Turkish policymakers want and expect from the EU?

  • 12October 2015

    This Brief explores the failure of the Arab League to make good on its desire to create a Joint Arab Force (JAF). What went wrong with the proposal? And is the project now doomed?

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    10April 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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    20March 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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    27February 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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    27February 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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    17February 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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    06February 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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    30January 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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    16January 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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    19December 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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    12December 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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  • 29June 2007

    The seminar was organised in order to evaluate the current situation in the country (especially in view of the recent mass demonstrations and the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections) and to explore the question of whether the EU has a role to play.

  • 26March 2007

    On 26 March 2007, the Institute held a seminar to analyse the current situation in Lebanon and the potential contribution of the EU and of its member states to the stability of that country in the larger context of the Middle East.

  • 19January 2007

    This conference was organised in order to get a clearer view of Iranian foreign policy, in particular concerning Iran's regional role and EU-Iranian relations.

  • 03April 2006

    This seminar sought to analyse the new political environment following elections in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and reflect on possible courses of action for the European Union as an external actor that has declared support for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

  • 17March 2006

    Following other seminars on Iraq ('Iraq after the Elections'; 'Federal Aspects of the Iraqi Constitution' and 'The Kurdish Issue and the EU'), the EUISS once again brought together international renowned experts to discuss the present state of affairs in Iraq.

  • 17June 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.

  • 14February 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.

  • 25October 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.

  • 27September 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.

  • 03May 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.

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