• Post-Vote Iran: Giving Engagement a Chance

    Giovedì, 3 Agosto, 2017

    Annalisa Perteghella

    Paolo Magri

    2017 is a crucial year for Iran. In January, while the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) entered the second year of implementation, in Washington the Trump Administration took office, with the promise to “renegotiate a disastrous deal”. In May, in Tehran, the incumbent president Hassan Rouhani won re-election by a wide margin. 


    The events of the first half of the year draw a clear-cut picture of the current situation. Rouhani's pragmatic government is keeping up with its commitments under the JCPOA, while making an effort to open up its country to new economic and political actors. The same is not true of Washington, where the Trump Administration keeps sending contradictory signals. While the State Department has so far renewed the waivers and certified Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, new sanctions have already been approved in the US Congress and Washington’s comprehensive Iran policy is under review.


    This Report intends to trace what lies ahead for Iran after the May 2017 Rouhani’s re-election. The analysis builds upon the assumption that Iran does not act in a vacuum: the US, as well as the EU actions, will inevitably help define the future trajectory of the country. A trajectory which is set domestically also by the generational transition Tehran is going through. The inter-factional struggle affecting Iran since the early years of the Revolution is now revived by what is actually at stake: the very future of the Islamic Republic.

  • Foreign Actors in Libya’s Crisis

    Lunedì, 24 Luglio, 2017

    Since 2011 the Libyan crisis has moved from being a domestic dispute to assuming increasing importance at the international level. Today it represents a crucial issue affecting global security. The intervention of external actors in the Libyan crisis was mainly driven by a desire to direct the transition towards outcomes that would best meet their own political and economic interests.

    Accordingly, each external player tried to support one specific faction, favoring either the Parliament in Tobruk, upheld by Khalifa Haftar, or the Presidential Council headed by Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli, the latter being legitimized by the UN as well as by local militias in both Misrata and Tripoli.

    This report analyzes the troublesome re-building of Libya with a focus on the specific role played by international actors (neighboring and Gulf countries, European nations, Russia and the US) which make it more of an international rather than a domestic issue.

  • After Mosul. Re-inventing Iraq

    Giovedì, 22 Giugno, 2017

    After 8 months of heavy fighting, it seems that Mosul is next to be liberated. However, this would not mark the complete defeat of IS in Iraq, nor would it signal the end of the crises affecting the country.

    What will be the fate of the city and the other liberated territories? Could a victory over a common enemy re-ignite competition among Iraq’s various ethno-sectarian communities? And could this prompt further demands for autonomy by the Kurds, who played a central role in fighting IS? What are the interests and agendas of the main regional and international players for the future of the country?

    To put all these questions into perspective, ISPI has just published the Report “After Mosul: Re-inventing Iraq,” edited by Andrea Plebani. The volume sketches out possible answers through a multi-pronged approach, bringing to light the complexity of the Iraqi scenario and the influence exerted by a broad array of actors.

  • Fear Thy Neighbor. Radicalization and Jihadist Attacks in the West

    Martedì, 13 Giugno, 2017

    Lorenzo Vidino

    Francesco Marone, Eva Entenmann

    Over the last three years Europe and North America have been hit by an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks perpetrated by individuals motivated by jihadist ideology. Who are the individuals who have carried out these attacks? Were they born and raised in the West? Or were they an “imported threat”,

    refugees and migrants? How did they radicalize? Were they well educated and integrated, or social outcasts? Did they act alone? What were their connections to the Islamic State?

    The answers to these and other questions have large implications for our understanding of the threat facing us and, consequently, help us design sounder policy solutions built on empirical evidence. This study, the first of its kind, seeks to analyze the demographic profile, radicalization trajectories and connections to the Islamic State of all the individuals who have carried out attacks

  • China’s Belt and Road: a Game Changer?

    Mercoledì, 10 Maggio, 2017

    Officially announced by president Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has since become the centrepiece of China’s economic diplomacy. 
    It is a commitment to ease bottlenecks to Eurasian trade by improving and building networks of connectivity across Central and Western Asia, where the BRI aims to act as a bond for the projects of regional cooperation and integration already in progress in Southern Asia.
    But it also reaches out to the Middle East as well as East and North Africa, a truly strategic area where the Belt joins the Road. Europe, the end-point of the New Silk Roads, both by land and by sea, is the ultimate geographic destination and political partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. 
    This report, edited by Alessia Amighini, provides an in-depth analysis of the BRI, its logic, rationale and implications for international economic and political relations.

    But it also reaches out to the Middle East as well as East and North Africa, a truly strategic area where the Belt joins the Road. Europe, the end-point of the New Silk Roads, both by land and by sea, is the ultimate geographic destination and political partner in the Belt and Road Initiative.
    This report provides an in-depth analysis of the BRI, its logic, rationale and implications for international economic and political relations.

  • The Age of Uncertainty. Global Scenarios and Italy

    Giovedì, 9 Marzo, 2017

    Last year’s events further exacerbated and focused global attention on the same uncertainties already weighing on the past decade: from Brexit, and the ensuing uncertainty about the future of the UK-EU relations, to the ever-growing success of populist and nationalist movements across Europe; from the unnerving paralysis of the international community on the war in Syria to the new wave of terrorist attacks in Europe; from renewed political and economic crises in pivot countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, which may turn out to be a new and momentous source of uncertainty, also casting doubts on the remaining resilience of multilateral cooperation.

    The 2017 ISPI report aims to analyze how such uncertainties are spreading from last year’s events, but also to try to fathom deeper trends. The first part of the Report will focus on the overall development of the international scenario, both from a political and an economic standpoint. The second part will shift the spotlight to Italy, where global uncertainties overlap with deep internal uncertainties and vulnerabilities.


  • Latin America at a Crossroads

    Mercoledì, 1 Febbraio, 2017

    Latin America is at a crossroads. The “golden age” inaugurated with the turn of the new millennium seems a faint memory. Economies that had grown at a steady pace are now slowing down, while some are in freefall. Politically, the “pink tide” of populist movements is now ebbing. From Brazil to Venezuela, from Argentina to Bolivia, left-leaning leaders across the region seem to have lost their bond with the people. Their promises of an equitable society through an apparently never-ending redistribution of wealth crashed against the reality of shortsighted and unsustainable policies. Political and social turmoil are heralding an era of changes and – maybe – of new opportunities for Latin America. And this ‘great transformation’ is precisely what this volume is all about. Where is it leading to? Does it mark the beginning of a new age? Which lessons can be learnt from the past? Leading international scholars and experts scratch beneath the surface of Latin America’s current crisis to have a clearer glimpse of what the future holds and draw policy recommendations, especially for the EU. 

  • Beyond Trump. Populism on the Rise

    Martedì, 20 Dicembre, 2016

    Recent political events – from Trump’s election to the outcome of the Brexit Referendum - have somehow caught the world by surprise, and are contributing to a growing sense of concern or even alarm about the future of the Western world and, particularly, Western democracies as we know them.

    When looking at the political landscape in Europe, populism looks like an unprecedented game-changer. Populists parties are in power in Poland and Hungary, they are in the coalition governments in Switzerland and Finland, top the polls in France and the Netherlands, and their support is at record highs in Sweden. Not to mention the recent rise of Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and the successful story of Syriza, Podemos and of the Five Stars Movement in Southern Europe.

    The volume explores the rise of populism in Europe and the US by analyzing its root causes and the rationale behind its success. It also draws some policy recommendations to tackle the populist challenge. 

  • Leaving the Storm Behind: Ideas for a New Mediterranean - MED Report

    Giovedì, 1 Dicembre, 2016

    The Mediterranean is not only an area of conflict and crisis, but also a space for momentous opportunities. Overcoming pessimism and developing a positive agenda for the region is the ultimate goal of Rome MED 2016, the conference organized from 1 to 3 December by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ISPI. On this occasion, ISPI published the MED Report to build upon the four pillars of the conference (shared prosperity, shared security, migration, and culture & civil society) and provide a useful tool to stimulate debate during Rome MED and beyond.

    The Report is meant to launch new ideas to “leave the storm behind” and design a positive agenda for the future building on experts’ insights and policy suggestions. The volume is enriched by infographics and maps depicting the main regional trends. The goal of the Report is not to delve exhaustively into all the questions and the issues that concern the region and on which its future depends, but to provide in-depth insights and to formulate concrete proposals.

  • South Africa. The Need for Change

    Venerdì, 28 Ottobre, 2016

    Has the new South Africa – once an inspiring “rainbow nation” – failed the expectations it had generated? Is the country now in a crisis?

    Two decades after the end of the apartheid regime, Africa’s southernmost state faces multiple political, economic and social challenges.

    A lackluster growth performance is compounded by mounting corruption and political turbulence, as well as by the frustration of many ordinary citizens who expected much more rapid social and economic improvement.

    Labour strikes, student protests and anti-immigrant riots have all been on the rise. As a clear sign of increasing dissatisfaction, uncertainty and decline, the ruling African National Congress recently ran into its worst electoral result ever – if still only at local levels.

    Meanwhile, Jacob Zuma’s embattled presidency, marred by allegations of corruption and political cronyism, sent South Africa’s international image plummeting alongside the Rand, the national currency.

    This volume sheds light on the current difficulties and discusses future prospects. The “new” South Africa is a country in dire need for change.