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  • Author: Tayeb Amegroud
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the only North African country with no own oil resources, Morocco is the largest energy importer in the region. The country is faced with the challenging task of meeting rising local demand while keeping its import bill under control. Against this backdrop, Morocco is pursuing an ambitious, cost- effective energy transition aimed at endowing the country with a sustainable, competitive and secure energy sector. This paper assesses the achievements and constraints facing the Moroccan energy system with a focus on the power sector, which is responsible for the transformation or production of more than half of the country's primary energy. It also dwells on existing policies aimed at integrating the Moroccan energy market into the regional and Euro-Mediterranean energy systems by exploiting its strategic position at the crossroads between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Francesco Cavatorta
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The survival of the Moroccan monarchy during the Arab revolts did not come as a surprise. Once the King reclaimed political leadership through the launch of a constitutional reform, the protest movement faded and whatever challenge to the pre-eminence of the monarchy in the political system might have existed ended quickly. A number of different and interlinked explanations have been advanced for the survival of authoritarianism in Morocco, but they generally rehash conventional wisdoms about Moroccan politics that may not be as valid as they were in the past. This paper looks beyond such traditional explanations, focusing on less obvious factors that contributed to the survival of the monarchy. A more sophisticated explanation for the survival of the regime can serve as a more insightful guide to what Morocco might look like in the future and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Authoritarianism, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-67-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maryam Ben Salem
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Tunisia is the only Arab Spring country which has succeeded so far in its democratic transition. Now that all the democratic institutions have been put in place, and after the legislative and presidential elections of 2014, the chances of democratic consolidation remain to be seen. Yet the regime faces serious challenges that cast doubt on its survival capacity. The political dynamics at play after the 2014 elections, which allowed Nidaa Tounes to come to power, cannot be understood without taking into account the conditions surrounding the political transition itself. The National Dialogue, hosted by the Quartet who were recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is key to understanding the ongoing process of democracy consolidation. Taking into account both contingent and structural factors, this paper analyses how the current context is likely to shape the choices of the presidency of the Republic and of the Essid government, as well as the implications in terms of their legitimacy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-65-1
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Algeria today faces a triple crisis. The collapse in global oil prices during 2014 and 2015 has meant that its economic future is potentially extremely sombre. In political terms, the regime faces a complex and uncertain transition as the Bouteflika era comes to an end. Moreover, Algeria’s security environment is threatening, given the chaos in Libya, the emergence of extremism in Tunisia and the ongoing violence in northern Mali because of the extremist groups located there. This situation is further complicated by the persistence of “residual terrorism,” as the government terms it, inside Algeria itself and the chronic crisis with Morocco over the latter’s annexation of the Western Sahara in 1975. This paper analyses each of these factors in turn before seeking to outline short- to medium-term scenarios for the future.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Islam, Oil, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-62-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mohammad Haddad
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the nineteenth century, North Africa’s religious life has witnessed a slow and uncertain metamorphosis. It is still unable to settle into a constant and sustainable model. The traditional order could not resist the emergence of the nation-state, modern education and new forms of social organisation. However, religion has remained on the margins of these developments. Although used in the anticolonial struggle, religion was then abandoned during the formation of the postcolonial state. Yet the difficulties faced by governments since the 1970s have entrusted religion with a predominantly opposition function, which is negative and sometimes violent. This paper argues that only neo-reformism can give a positive spin to religion’s role in politics and can serve as the basis for a new religious order.
  • Topic: Islam, Post Colonialism, Non State Actors, Reform
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-60-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If Morocco appears to be Africa's gateway to Europe, it is a gateway that until today has been used primarily by Moroccans – more than 3 million Moroccans currently live in EU countries such as France, Spain and Italy. The number of other nationalities entering Europe through Morocco has seldom exceeded 20,000 annually and was no more than 7,300 in 2014. Thus, while Morocco is a country of migrant departure, it is only a minor host/transit country for migrants in search of better living conditions outside of their region of origin. Such a configuration has been the basis of recent Moroccan migration policy.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-54-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Silvia Colombo, Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy is a key factor shaping relations between Europe and North Africa. Due to the Maghreb's strategic role for European energy security, in the last two decades the EU has attempted to promote deeper energy cooperation both with and within the region. The success of the EU's bilateral and multilateral initiatives, however, has been hindered by diverging interests between European countries and their North African counterparts. The upheaval in the region unleashed by the Arab awakening, along with critical socio-economic challenges like population growth and urbanization, are altering this picture. In this context, the EU should urgently rethink its energy cooperation models with the southern partners, seizing the opportunities engendered by the current moment of change in the region.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Kristina Kausch
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Middle Eastern and North African region is in flux, while attempts to identify a new dominant structural logic have been limited so far. For the time being, the new “order” appears to consist of the absence of any one clear-cut organising principle and in overlapping, dynamic, often contradictory geopolitical developments. Among many other features, the geopolitical equation in the Middle East is being altered by a number of larger structural shifts regarding the position and relative weight of specific actors. Notable instances include the relative loss of influence of the United states and Europe; the game-changing regional roles of Russia and China, respectively; the resurgence of the IranianSaudi rivalry; the emergence of a number of regional “swing states”; and the increasing role of non-state actors in shaping regional developments. the complexity of this outlook makes policy choices by regional and external actors ever more difficult.
  • Topic: Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Vanessa Ushie
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the framework of the IAI-OCP Policy Center project this paper offers a conceptual framework to examine natural resource management in Turkey, Morocco and Italy and its implications for social and economic development. It recognizes the multiplicity of actors involved in natural resource management at the local, national and global level. It then proceeds by 1) advancing a definition of natural resources to be used in the context of this project; 2) highlighting relevant emerging issues in the empirical debates on natural resource management within economics and politics; 3) developing a series of indicators aimed at assessing the dimensions of the management and use of natural resources. In general, this conceptual framework adopts a flexible and plural approach that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of natural resource management, and recognizes the importance of country-specific factors in the relationship between natural resource management and socio-economic development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Natural Resources, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, North Africa, Italy, Morocco
  • Author: Mohammed Hashas
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Compared to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Morocco's political development looks like an oasis of tranquillity. "Moroccan exceptionalism" is often drawn on as a positive status, the result of at least one decade of reforms implemented by the monarchy, long before the Arab Spring events. An alternative view is offered by some civil society movements inside the country and by the 20 February Movement, born amidst the waves of the Arab Spring, which are critical of this exceptionalism and call for more reforms. By making reference to the constitutional reforms undertaken by the country since 1908 and by assessing the most recent reform efforts, this paper argues that "Moroccan exceptionalism" is yet to go through the test of the implementation of what is often referred to as a "promising constitution" that should in its intentions pave the way for a genuine constitutional monarchy in Morocco. "Moroccan exceptionalism," as the paper concludes, is not the description of a "final" political situation; rather, it is merely "a phase" in the political life of a country undergoing transition. It is then the outcome of this "phase" that will determine whether "exceptionalism" takes on a positive or a negative meaning and whether the two contrasting narratives about "exceptionalism" can ultimately be reconciled.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Silvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China's assertiveness is growing. While in the past China's foreign policy kept a low profile in international affairs, global developments, prime amongst which in the Middle East, highlight China's growing influence in world politics and its ensuing role in shaping global norms. Within the liberal peace discourse, China's reinterpretation of international norms can be seen as the result of a mixture of prior local norms - sovereignty and non-interference - and changes within the international environment - namely conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. Particularly, in terms of intervention and peace-building practices, China insists that a number of preconditions - which are encapsulated in the notion of Responsible Protection (RP) - have to be met in order to consider intervention in sovereign states. This paper argues that in order to achieve a full picture of Chinese foreign policy and its normative underpinnings, it is necessary to explore the debate within non-state actors beyond the government apparatus, such as think tanks and research institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Emerging Markets, International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Libya, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Rym Ayadi, Maria Cristina Paciello, Silvia Colombo
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Owing to its macroeconomic achievements, for decades Tunisia projected an image of stability to the world and distinguished itself from other Arab countries for its progress in the areas of economic growth, health, education and women's rights. This widely held view of apparent stability was shattered on January 14, when President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country after high levels of unemployment and inequalities resulted in widespread chaos and social unrest. Events in Tunisia raise sharp questions regarding the country's current situation and its future prospects and, more generally, the often taken-forgranted sustainability of many regimes of the Middle East and the policies of the European Union towards the region.
  • Topic: Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the fall of Ben Ali on 14th January 2011, Tunisia has been going through a process of transformation and reconfiguration of the manifold relationships between the state and society. So far, a series of legal amendments and policy provisions have been considered to respond to immediate political demands in the run-up to the next elections. However, the numerous policy steps that have been achieved so far should not conceal resilient challenges pertaining, among others, to the structure of the economy and to its capacity to tackle youth unemployment, poverty in depressed areas, unfair competition, and corruption. The interim government will need to address these deeper challenges lest its credibility be jeopardised and the overall reform process compromised.
  • Topic: Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Philippe Droz-Vincent
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Arab armies are closed and secretive actors. Yet they have been propelled to the fore in 2011, acting as midwifes and active participants in the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. Their posture vis-à-vis incumbent regimes is crucial in other Arab countries too - Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria - as the wave of popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes has spread. In view of this, there is an essential need to understand what kind of actors Arab armies are. The nature of armies in authoritarian settings shapes the pattern of resilience or of breakdown for regimes facing popular uprisings, and the prospect for various transition countries in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Nicole Koenig
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU's reaction is slow, the EU is divided, the EU is unable to deliver: time and time again, newspapers depict the image of an incoherent and uncoordinated EU foreign policy. This time, the topic under discussion is the EU's response to the Libyan crisis. Many have compared the EU's internal divisions over Libya with those over the Iraq war, an often-used example to illustrate the limits of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). This paper aims to assess the coherence of the EU's short- to medium-term response to the Libyan crisis. It distinguishes between the horizontal, interinstitutional, vertical and multilateral dimensions of EU coherence. The analysis shows that unilateral actions or inactions of the member states mainly account for the EU's incoherent response. The post-Lisbon institutional structure has done little to compensate for these internal divisions. While the EU cannot change the course of national foreign policies, it should increase its 'leadership for coherence', communitarize its crisis response in the medium term and aim at preventing incoherence in the longer term.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Valérie Vicky Miranda
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: To what extent is foreign policy driven by norms and/or by interests? Considering the main trends of Italian foreign policy after World War II and two case studies, the Balkans and Libya, this paper investigates the role played by norms and interests and the interconnection between the two in Italian foreign policy. In the Balkans, norms and interests have neatly dovetailed: supporting democratization and the rule of law has also meant furthering Italian security and economic interests in the region. By contrast, Libya was the theatre of an essentially interest-driven foreign policy. Nevertheless, the Italian government's response to the Libyan crisis between March and May 2011 has interestingly marked a rupture from the recent past.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Libya, Kosovo, Balkans, North Africa, Italy
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The revolts sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 have shaken long-held truths about the region. Most strikingly, the sustainability of these regimes has proved a chimera. The events in the region and the many truths they uncovered call for a serious rethink in Western policies towards the region. The aim of this paper is to explore what such a rethink might entail for the European Union. Reviewing the European Neighbourhood Policy by revamping the benefits on offer, reconsidering the effective use of conditionality, establishing adequate monitoring mechanisms and engaging with a plethora of partners both within and beyond the region is imperative. Such a review is contingent on the recognition of a reversed hierarchy of priorities, induced by the force of historical events unfolding in the region. To reverse policy priorities is no small feat, considering the entrenched logic that has sustained Euro-Med policies so far. Nonetheless, various dynamics press for a new way of thinking. The proposals contained in this study constitute concrete steps to rethink the EU's Mediterranean policies in line with the fundamental rights and principles which the Union seeks to advance in its external action.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Andrea Dessì
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Algeria is the only country in North Africa which seems to be relatively immune to the so-called “Arab spring”. Popular protests did erupt in Algeria at precisely the same time as they were enveloping neighbouring countries, but the demands of the protesters never reached a popular consensus calling for the demise of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Drawing on the country's extensive monetary reserves, the Algerian authorities have responded by implementing a series of economic and social reforms, which have further weakened the resolve and unity of the protesters. After repealing the emergency laws in late February 2011, the government appeared to have regained the upper hand, but strikes and demonstrations have continued. Algeria still faces the real prospect of future popular unrest if the government fails in its promise to enact wide ranging political and economic reforms by early 2012. Given the country's geostrategic importance at both regional and international levels, the international community and in particular the EU must do more in order to ensure that Algeria is set on a sustainable path for the future.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Algeria, North Africa
  • Author: Natalino Ronzitti
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: On August 30 2008, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi flew to Benghazi to sign the Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation between Italy and Libya, concluding the long negotiating process that began under previous Italian governments and was accelerated by the current administration. The Treaty was meant to put an end to the dispute between the two countries and Libya's claims relating to Italian colonialism. In greeting Colonel Muammar Gheddafi, Berlusconi expressed his regret for the colonial period in very strong terms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Post Colonialism, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya, North Africa, Italy
  • Author: Silvia Colombo
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in cooperation with the International Affairs Institute (IAI) of Rome, held the second seminar of the Mediterranean Strategy Group in Genoa on May 10-12 2009 under the title “Is Regional Cooperation in the Maghreb Possible? Implications for the Region and External Actors”. The meeting is part of a multi-year project of dialogue and analysis exploring critical Mediterranean issues in a transatlantic context. The Mediterranean Strategy Group is conducted with the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo, ENEL, OCP Group, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Luso-American Foundation. The decision to convene the meeting in Genoa was in keeping with the city's identity and role as a “gateway to the Mediterranean,” and the discussion benefited from both the setting and the assistance of the municipality.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Germany, North Africa