Working Papers

A Half-Empty Glass: Limits and Dilemmas of the EU’s Relations to the MENA Countries

The decades’ long relationship between the European Union and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has gone through different stages and phases in response to regional events, developments in the EU and broader global geopolitical trends. While navigating through often troubled waters, the EU has fallen prey to three main false dilemmas or perceived [...]

Contested Multilateralism: The United Nations and the Middle East

In the Middle East, multilateralism has often been associated with intervention and creating order (or disorder), rather than being a positive force for integrating the region in an equitable manner. Many of the regional struggles and their attendant multilateral implications that have taken place have played out in international institutions, and particularly in the United [...]

Restoration, Transformation and Adaptation: Authoritarianism after 2011 in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran

Following the push for reform during the popular uprising in 2011, authoritarianism is once again dominating domestic politics and power relations in the MENA region. Drawing on data collected during field trips to Cairo, Tehran, Beirut and Kuwait city, the authors of this MENARA report analyse three distinct ways in which political leaders in Egypt, [...]

Refugee Movements in the Middle East: Old Crises, New Ideas

The MENA region has been dealing with waves of refugee crises for decades. Addressing urban and protracted refugee crises in the region contributed to triggering reflection on the global governance of refugee protection. The Global Compact on Refugees now sets out the parameters for stronger solidarity and responsibility-sharing, based on multi-stakeholder partnerships, inclusive and comprehensive [...]

Exploring Refugee Movements in the Middle East Regional Context: Responses to the Syrian Crisis in Lebanon and Turkey

Refugee movements are not a new phenomenon in the Middle East and North Africa. The history of the region has been shaped by waves of displacement and refugee crises, and the most recent, the dramatic case of Syria, is still in process. This paper investigates refugee movements in the region and their impact on regional [...]

Palestine and the Arab–Israeli Conflict: 100 Years of Regional Relevance and International Failure

This paper asserts that the Arab–Israeli conflict, and in particular the question of Palestine, has been the major issue of regional concern across the Middle East for over a century. It claims that the failure to resolve the question of Palestine will continue to impact on the region’s stability and its geopolitical dynamics and to [...]

Migration Dynamics in Play in Morocco: Trafficking and Political Relationships and Their Implications at the Regional Level

In 2018, Morocco became the first country of departure for migrants from Africa, as Spain became, simultaneously, the most important gateway to Europe during the same year. For Spain, this development revived fears generated by the events of autumn 2005, when hundreds of migrants breached, for the first time, the security fences between its cities [...]

Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is both the source of concern about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the driving force pushing for multilateral arms control. While most states in the region are parties to – or have signed, but not ratified – the multilateral WMD-related arms control treaties, the few outstanding cases [...]

The Links between Jihadi Organizations and Illegal Trafficking in the Sahel

This paper examines the links between jihadi organizations and illegal criminal activities in the Sahel region. Based on extensive interviews conducted in the region, the paper argues that, while radical organizations are linked with activities such as human trafficking and drug trafficking, this is not their main sources of revenue, which in fact generally comes [...]

Technological Trends in the MENA Region: The Cases of Digitalization and Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

In the MENA region the important technological trends of digitalization and of information and communications technologies (ICT) are very diverse due to different levels of development both between and within countries. Aspects like infrastructure, economic conditions, job market, social media are discussed. Adequate governance for innovation and specifically ICT is severely lacking in most of the MENA [...]