Regional Crises and the Roots of Instability

indexThe Middle East and North Africa region is currently experiencing a state of turmoil, caused mainly by the rise of terrorists who have sought to capitalize on the political confusion, chaotic lack of security and the economic decline witnessed in a number of Arab countries since the end of 2010. The collapse of a number of regimes resulted in many countries falling into varying degrees of anarchy, civil conflict and internal division. Under these circumstances, some religious currents and groups have taken advantage of the frailty of civil movements and assumed power, allowing the emergence of a new wave of extremism and providing militants with an opportunity to surface and occupy the forefront of politics in several Arab countries.

In light of this confused regional scene, it appears that the traditional concept of state sovereignty has been eroded, and its central role as a point of reference in international relations has suffered a severe setback. It also seems conflict is now revolving around political, religious and national identities in several Arab and Islamic countries.

Extremist religious groups have taken advantage of the declining role of the state and its sovereignty – or its absence, in some cases – in order to consolidate their positions on the ground and to form a threat that is no longer limited to their immediate geographical areas of influence, but rather affects the security and stability of other nations. It is no exaggeration to say that the consequences of these events extend beyond the borders of the MENA to both directly and indirectly threaten other countries—especially in the Mediterranean.

Remarks at the Mediterranean-Gulf Forum, 11 October 2014.