Working Papers

Jihadist Groups in North Africa and the Sahel: Between Disintegration, Reconfiguration and Resilience

This paper, based on extensive interviews and fieldwork conducted in North Africa and the Sahel, considers the recent evolution of jihadi organizations in this region, and offers analysis of patterns of competition and violence among different jihadi groups. We argue that while there is a clear division between Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and those linked with the [...]

The Libyan Security Continuum: The Impact of the Libyan Crisis on the North African/Sahelian Regional System

This paper analyses the impact of the Libyan crisis on the regional environment in North Africa/the Sahel. More specifically the paper shows that, despite international attempts to resolve the crisis, the situation remains very difficult in Libya with the persistence of instability and radical militancy and a dramatic increase in illegal trafficking, particularly human trafficking. [...]

New Trends in Identity Politics in the Middle East and North Africa and Their Impact on State–Society Relations

State–society relations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been deeply impacted by the dynamics around collective identities in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings and of other domestic and regional far-reaching developments, such as the failed coup attempt in Turkey or the ramifications of the Syrian conflict. It is therefore of utmost [...]

The Implications of the Syrian War for New Regional Orders in the Middle East

This paper argues that the impact of the eight-year war in Syria will reverberate across the region for years to come, and explores, in particular, four noteworthy legacies. First, it examines the series of interventions in Syria by regional and foreign powers (including Russia, Turkey, Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab [...]

The Governance of Migration and Border Controls in the European-North African Context

Against the backdrop of the growing leverage that MENA states have been acquiring vis-à-vis Europe on the issue of migration and border controls over the last decade, this paper identifies a number of trends in the responses of MENA states on these issues. By providing examples from the western Mediterranean, especially North African countries, it [...]

Regional Powers and the Production of Insecurity in the Middle East

What impact have regional powers had on shaping regional order in the Middle East? What role will they play in the future of the regional system? Following the US-led invasion of Iraq and the failure of the USA to establish regional order, the area has witnessed a series of attempts by regional states to project [...]

The Gaza Equation: The Regional Dimension of a Local Conflict

The paper provides historical and political context to current diplomatic and humanitarian developments in the Gaza Strip, and investigates the present and the future of the area. Special attention is given to the political, economic and security dimensions, as well as the relationship between this area and the broader region. The conclusions linger on whether [...]

Russian Policies Towards the MENA Region

Russia wields its influence in pursuit of important state interests. As in the Soviet era, contemporary Russia declares ambitious goals and pursues them in a desperate effort to play a decisive role in world politics. The overall objective of Russian foreign policy is to become a world power, and gaining influence over the MENA region [...]

Embeddedness of the MENA in Economic Globalization Processes

MENA countries’ integration in processes of economic globalization has trailed behind many emerging markets in Asia, but also Latin America. This applies especially to the “bunker states” and “bully praetorian states” of the Arab republics and Iran, less so to Lebanon and the “globalizing monarchies” of the GCC, Morocco, and Jordan and even less to [...]

Religion and Politics. Religious Diversity, Political Fragmentation and Geopolitical Tensions in the MENA Region

Motivated by the need to inform the enduring and unresolved debates about religion and politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, this report focuses on the relation between social change and religious diversity and the challenges this poses for the state–religion relationship. It also draws attention to the pluralization of the religious [...]