The International Spectator, Vol. 53, No. 2, June 2018

Special cores: Youth in the South and East Mediterranean; Security in the Cyber Domain

Free The Rise of Referendums: A Death Sentence for Multilateralism? View this article online

Open access The Invisible Hand? Critical Information Infrastructures, Commercialisation and National Security View this article online

Issue: 
53/2
Publication date: 
30/05/2018

The Rise of Referendums: A Death Sentence for Multilateralism?
Matthew Willner-Reid
Perhaps the most notable development of the second half of the twentieth century, and its greatest achievement, is the rapid global spread of two institutions: democracy and multilateralism. These institutions have collectively made us safer and more prosperous than any previous generation in history. But could the two now be coming into conflict? Recent experience regarding the EU suggests both that referendums as a tool of foreign policy decision-making are likely to become more common in the future, and that they pose major risks for multilateralism and international cooperation.
Keywords: Referendums, direct democracy, multilateralism, European Union, populism
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Youth in the South and East Mediterranean

The In-securitisation of Youth in the South and East Mediterranean
Emma Murphy
The securitisation of youth as a social category has been well-documented. For the South and East Mediterranean (SEM) countries, moral panics over demographic youth bulges, Islamist radicalisation and protracted conflicts have placed youth centre-stage as a threat to the security of states and societies. Rejecting such assertions as themselves being what Foucault might have termed ‘technologies of power’ in a neoliberal order, and instead taking a critical approach to security, the spotlight is turned towards youth themselves as the referent object of study. This reveals the multidimensional hyper-precarity and insecuritisation of young peoples’ lives which derive from that same neoliberal economic order and the political structures that sustain it in the SEM countries. The finding resonates with other studies of new, insecure, formats for adulthood in Africa and suggests that we should look at the insecurity of young people today to understand global neoliberal futures in countries beyond the post-industrial ‘core’.
Keywords: Security, South, Mediterranean, Arab, precarity
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Youth as Actors of Change? The Cases of Morocco and Tunisia
Maria Cristina Paciello and Daniela Pioppi
In the last decades, ‘youth’ has increasingly become a fashionable category in academic and development literature and a key development (or security) priority. However, beyond its biological attributes, youth is a socially constructed category and also one that tends to be featured in times of drastic social change. As the history of the category shows in both Morocco and Tunisia, youth can represent the wished-for model of future citizenry and a symbol of renovation, or its ‘not-yet-adult’ status which still requires guidance and protection can be used as a justification for increased social control and repression of broader social mobilisation. Furthermore, when used as a homogeneous and undifferentiated category, the reference to youth can divert attention away from other social divides such as class in highly unequal societies.
Keywords: Youth, employment, mobilisation, Morocco, Tunisia
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‘Blocked’ Youth: The Politics of Migration from South and East Mediterranean Countries Before and After the Arab Uprisings
Françoise De Bel-Air
Migration from South and East Mediterranean (SEM) countries has been considered a growing security threat in the EU and Gulf states following the 9/11 attacks and the Arab uprisings. Since 2011, the economic slowdown, regime changes and socio-political instability have spurred growing migration pressure from SEM countries. However, the securitisation of migration of young citizens from these countries in the EU and the Gulf states is manifested in the drastic limitation of migrants’ inflows, and in the selection of prospective migrants on demographic, socio-economic and political grounds. Today’s ‘governmentality’ of youth migration from SEM countries poses ethical and development-related issues.
Keywords: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, migration, youth, politics, security, political demography
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New Forms of Youth Activism in Contested Cities: The Case of Beirut
Mona Harb
Lebanese youth are constructed through fragmented lenses, and are recipients of partial, unresponsive, and often irrelevant policies. Despite these constraints, many youth have become actively engaged in political life, especially since 2005. Three types of youth engagement can be identified: i) the ‘conformists’, who privilege their sectarian belonging, ii) the ‘alternative groups’, who engage in professional NGOs, and iii) the new ‘activists’, who prefer loose organising centred on progressive and radical issues. New forms of youth activism in the contested city of Beirut have been able to exploit interstitial openings for seeds to grow into potentially “disruptive mobilizations”. While these resistances may have been limited up to now in time and space, youth activist groups still embarrass, hold accountable and constrain hegemonic politics. They may be generating seeds of collective action that still have to be further structured and organised.
Keywords: Youth, cities, urban activism, Beirut
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Army and Monarchy in Morocco: Rebellion, Allegiance and Reforms
Brahim Saidy
The study of the complex relationship between army and monarchy in Morocco provides support for the argument that coup-proofing and institutionalisation enable civil leadership to enhance and maintain civilian control over the military. Through a strategy of coup-proofing implemented by the monarchy to protect itself from coups d’état, the army had been depoliticised. Through institutionalisation the Moroccan army is now governed by a clear set of constitutional and legal norms, principles and procedures with a system based on meritocracy. This approach is helping to stabilise relations between state and society and avoid power struggles between civilian leaders and the armed forces.
Keywords: Civilian control of armed forces, coup-proofing, defence reform, institutionalisation, loyalty, military coups, monarchy, Moroccan army
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Security in the Cyber Domain

Considerations on the Cyber Domain as the New Worldwide Battlefield
Gian Piero Siroli
The convergence of telecommunication and computer technologies that has evolved in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the last two decades has had very important effects on new war technologies and the ongoing process of battlefield digitisation. The Stuxnet worm, uncovered in 2010 and responsible for the sabotaging of a uranium enrichment infrastructure in Iran, is a clear example of a digital weapon. The incident shows what is meant by cyber war and what the particular features of this new warfare dimension are compared to the conventional domains of land, sea, air and space, with relevance both at the operational and strategic levels. But cyberspace also extends to the semantic level, within the complimentary field of information warfare involving the content of messages flowing through the Internet for the purposes of propaganda, information, disinformation, consensus building, etc. The overall cyber warfare domain needs to be put into perspective internationally as many countries are developing strong cyber capabilities and an ‘arms race’ is already taking place, showing that these technologies can potentially be used to undermine international stability and security. What is needed is a public debate on the topic and its impact on global stability, and some kind of regulation or international agreement on this new warfare domain, including an approach involving confidence building measures (CBMs).
Keywords: Cyber war, information warfare, Stuxnet, battlefield digitisation, cyber strategy
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The Invisible Hand? Critical Information Infrastructures, Commercialisation and National Security
Lindy Newlove-Eriksson, Giampiero Giacomello and Johan Eriksson
Corporatisation of critical information infrastructure (CII) is rooted in the ‘privatisation wave’ of the 1980s-90s, when the ground was laid for outsourcing public utilities. Despite well-known risks relating to reliability, resilience, and accountability, commitment to efficiency imperatives have driven governments to outsource key public services and infrastructures. A recent illustrative case with enormous implications is the 2017 Swedish ICT scandal, where outsourcing of CII caused major security breaches. With the transfer of the Swedish Transport Agency’s ICT system to IBM and subcontractors, classified data and protected identities were made accessible to non-vetted foreign private employees – sensitive data could thus now be in anyone’s hands. This case clearly demonstrates accountability gaps that can arise in public-private governance of CII.
Keywords: Critical infrastructures, public-private partnership, privatisation, computer networks, outsourcing, remote management, Swedish ICT scandal
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Book Reviews

What Strategy to Counter the Crisis of the EU as a Global Player?
Roberto Orsi
Review of: Europe as a stronger global actor : challenges and strategic responses, by Simon Duke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017
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The Rise of China in Antarctica and the Arctic
Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen
Review of: China as a polar great power, by Anne-Marie Brady, Cambridge University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2017
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