Mediterranean 2020: The Future of Mediterranean Security and Politics
The Arab transformations have already radically altered the strategic landscape of the region, with significant implications for all local actors and external players, starting with the United States and Europe. The two papers included in this report are focused precisely on the nexus between the domestic transformations in many of the Middle Eastern and North African countries and the evolution of the strategic outlook of the region. They also put most recent strategic developments into the larger context of “Mediterranean security,” developing a debate that was already lively before the advent of the Arab Spring. The paper by Dr. Eduard Soler i Lecha analyzes developments in the Western Mediterranean whereas the one by Dr. Thanos Dokos focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean. They both take the long view, speculating on what the Mediterranean region will look like by 2020.
The authors seem to agree that the security challenges emanating from the disintegration of the old regional order are at least as many as the opportunities for political and economic development. The region seems set to become more multipolar with a growing role of some re-emerging actors, such as Turkey, and the possible reassertion of traditional ones, such as Egypt. The traditional division between Eastern and Western Mediterranean is partly blurred and partly redefined by the ongoing transformations, but the authors tend to agree that the Middle East may remain comparatively more unstable and conflict-prone than North Africa. At the same time, the Maghreb’s growing interconnectedness with adjacent regions, such as the Sahel, may mean negative spillovers in terms of security. The situation of Libya, which went through a protracted civil war, and Algeria, which for now has not embarked on significant internal reform, further complicate the assessment.
In order to take into account new future shocks and dynamics of change, both papers explore different scenarios, and provide policy relevant recommendations to guide transatlantic actors in their definition of the new strategies toward the region. In so doing, they help delineate the future(s) of Mediterranean security.