The collapse of the regional order in the aftermath of the Arab Spring has transformed the Mediterranean into a basin of persistent instability, negatively affecting the fragile balance between the Allies’ internal and external security. Instability in the southern neighbourhood of the Alliance is indeed linked on the one hand to the terrorist threat and on the other to the migration crisis affecting Europe. NATO is already engaged in several ways in its southern neighbourhood: the capacity-building activities with partners such as Jordan or Tunisia; the maritime security operation Sea Guardian launched in November 2016 in the Mediterranean Sea; the recent establishment in the Joint Force Command Naples of a “hub” to coordinate intelligence, counter terrorism and defence capacity building activities. Against this background, a step forward would be to use the whole NATO toolbox as a politico-military alliance to address two key factors of instability, which are intimately interlinked. On the one hand, the clash of regional powers which use force, covertly or openly, to protect their interests and extend their influence. On the other, the lack of state control over certain countries, because of civil war and/or the collapse of the statehood, such as in Syria, Libya, Yemen.
Report of the international conference “NATO and the Crises South of Europe: Projecting Stability on NATO Southern Neighbourhood”, Rome, 14 March 2017. Published also in Italian: Proiettare stabilità nel vicinato a sud della Nato (Documenti IAI 17|14).
NATO and its Southern neighbourhood: struggling between consensus and coherence
Scenarios of instability in the Middle East and North Africa
The deteriorating situation in the MENA region and the position of key players
The phenomenon of radicalization and returnees
What role for NATO to project stability in the Southern neighbourhood?
The current role of the Alliance: an ensemble of different and limited activities
Elements for NATO strategic thinking to project stability
The capability and industrial aspects of Allied action in the MENA region
Conclusions: long term challenges, open questions