Security in the Middle East and North Africa in a 5-10 years perspective


  • Samuel Neuman Bergenwall
  • Mikael Eriksson

Publish date: 2015-01-20

Report number: FOI-R--4008--SE

Pages: 85

Written in: Swedish


  • Middle East
  • Arab Spring
  • geo-politics
  • security
  • international relations
  • North Africa
  • civil war
  • Syria
  • terrorism
  • colonialism
  • jihadism
  • ISIL
  • al-Qaeda
  • the Islamic state


This study analyzes the security dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa in a 5-10 years' perspective. The study departs from the geopolitical developments that followed in the region as a result of the so-called Arab Spring, but also analyses the contemporary security dynamics, including the role of non-Arab states such as Iran, Turkey and Israel. In order to analyze the security developments in the region, the study analyzes both conventional factors such as shifts in power-balances between states, intrastate military structures and the role of "failing" states, as well as non-conventional security factors such as democracy, the role of multilateral institutions, impacts of the colonial heritage, economic interdependence and domestic variables. The study discusses how conventional and non-conventional factors could interact and shape the security environment in the MENA region in the next decade. This study is limited to the Levant, the Gulf region and North Africa. In addition to the Arab states it includes Iran, Turkey and Israel. The key conclusion of this study is that the region is heading towards increased instability. Steps towards democratization that followed with the so-called Arab Spring has been replaced by regional tensions and internal conflicts, which in some cases even resulted in civil war. This trend of instability is likely to continue in years to come. This in turn will have direct consequences for both Sweden and the EU.