In the Middle East and North Africa, the Arab Spring brought about not only peaceful transformation but also violent conflicts, and it also reignited old disagreements. Whereas the protests were largely peaceful in Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan, they escalated into violence in Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Simultaneously, existing conflicts – for example, in Lebanon, in Iraq, and in the Palestinian territories – continued to develop as a result of their own dynamics. On the whole, the level of violence has increased since 2011, meaning that the institutions responsible for domestic and external security, such as the judiciary, the police, the military, and the security forces, are facing new challenges.
What importance do old institutional structures and new agreements have in the balancing of interests between various political actors? Can the choice of specific rules and institutions, for example, powersharing, prevent violence and secure peace? What role are the influential representatives of the military playing in the transformation? How much influence do religious actors have on whether conflicts unfold peacefully or violently?
The GIGA’s experts closely examine the causes and consequences of both the peaceful and violent progression of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. In doing so, they take into account questions related to public security, security sector reform, and the relationship between military and civil power. They also examine the dynamics of violence as well as the opportunities and challenges of powersharing arrangements.