The countries of the Middle East and North Africa are undergoing tumultuous change. The Arab uprisings in 2011 have challenged the state’s legitimacy, leading to the emergence of various forms of local leadership from local clans and tribes to armed groups and formally elected municipal councils. Despite growing decentralisation of power, however, remaining authoritarian states continue to close spaces for political opposition and retain control over the population. Also, among the trends that are emerging as alternatives for political legitimacy across the region is political Islam, which has taken on a variety of forms across the region, from armed groups to peaceful opposition.
This Towards MED, organized by ISPI and the Atlantic Council, in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, will engage scholars and journalists to analyze the current dynamics fuelling instability in the MENA region. In particular, the event is structured around two panels: the first will analyze the role of external and regional actors and the different MENA crises, the second will be focused on the resilience of extremism as a product of this instability.