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  • Author: Tayeb Amegroud
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the only North African country with no own oil resources, Morocco is the largest energy importer in the region. The country is faced with the challenging task of meeting rising local demand while keeping its import bill under control. Against this backdrop, Morocco is pursuing an ambitious, cost- effective energy transition aimed at endowing the country with a sustainable, competitive and secure energy sector. This paper assesses the achievements and constraints facing the Moroccan energy system with a focus on the power sector, which is responsible for the transformation or production of more than half of the country's primary energy. It also dwells on existing policies aimed at integrating the Moroccan energy market into the regional and Euro-Mediterranean energy systems by exploiting its strategic position at the crossroads between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Francesco Cavatorta
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The survival of the Moroccan monarchy during the Arab revolts did not come as a surprise. Once the King reclaimed political leadership through the launch of a constitutional reform, the protest movement faded and whatever challenge to the pre-eminence of the monarchy in the political system might have existed ended quickly. A number of different and interlinked explanations have been advanced for the survival of authoritarianism in Morocco, but they generally rehash conventional wisdoms about Moroccan politics that may not be as valid as they were in the past. This paper looks beyond such traditional explanations, focusing on less obvious factors that contributed to the survival of the monarchy. A more sophisticated explanation for the survival of the regime can serve as a more insightful guide to what Morocco might look like in the future and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Authoritarianism, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-67-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maryam Ben Salem
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Tunisia is the only Arab Spring country which has succeeded so far in its democratic transition. Now that all the democratic institutions have been put in place, and after the legislative and presidential elections of 2014, the chances of democratic consolidation remain to be seen. Yet the regime faces serious challenges that cast doubt on its survival capacity. The political dynamics at play after the 2014 elections, which allowed Nidaa Tounes to come to power, cannot be understood without taking into account the conditions surrounding the political transition itself. The National Dialogue, hosted by the Quartet who were recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is key to understanding the ongoing process of democracy consolidation. Taking into account both contingent and structural factors, this paper analyses how the current context is likely to shape the choices of the presidency of the Republic and of the Essid government, as well as the implications in terms of their legitimacy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-65-1
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Algeria today faces a triple crisis. The collapse in global oil prices during 2014 and 2015 has meant that its economic future is potentially extremely sombre. In political terms, the regime faces a complex and uncertain transition as the Bouteflika era comes to an end. Moreover, Algeria’s security environment is threatening, given the chaos in Libya, the emergence of extremism in Tunisia and the ongoing violence in northern Mali because of the extremist groups located there. This situation is further complicated by the persistence of “residual terrorism,” as the government terms it, inside Algeria itself and the chronic crisis with Morocco over the latter’s annexation of the Western Sahara in 1975. This paper analyses each of these factors in turn before seeking to outline short- to medium-term scenarios for the future.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Islam, Oil, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-62-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mohammad Haddad
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the nineteenth century, North Africa’s religious life has witnessed a slow and uncertain metamorphosis. It is still unable to settle into a constant and sustainable model. The traditional order could not resist the emergence of the nation-state, modern education and new forms of social organisation. However, religion has remained on the margins of these developments. Although used in the anticolonial struggle, religion was then abandoned during the formation of the postcolonial state. Yet the difficulties faced by governments since the 1970s have entrusted religion with a predominantly opposition function, which is negative and sometimes violent. This paper argues that only neo-reformism can give a positive spin to religion’s role in politics and can serve as the basis for a new religious order.
  • Topic: Islam, Post Colonialism, Non State Actors, Reform
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-60-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If Morocco appears to be Africa's gateway to Europe, it is a gateway that until today has been used primarily by Moroccans – more than 3 million Moroccans currently live in EU countries such as France, Spain and Italy. The number of other nationalities entering Europe through Morocco has seldom exceeded 20,000 annually and was no more than 7,300 in 2014. Thus, while Morocco is a country of migrant departure, it is only a minor host/transit country for migrants in search of better living conditions outside of their region of origin. Such a configuration has been the basis of recent Moroccan migration policy.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-54-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Silvia Colombo, Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy is a key factor shaping relations between Europe and North Africa. Due to the Maghreb's strategic role for European energy security, in the last two decades the EU has attempted to promote deeper energy cooperation both with and within the region. The success of the EU's bilateral and multilateral initiatives, however, has been hindered by diverging interests between European countries and their North African counterparts. The upheaval in the region unleashed by the Arab awakening, along with critical socio-economic challenges like population growth and urbanization, are altering this picture. In this context, the EU should urgently rethink its energy cooperation models with the southern partners, seizing the opportunities engendered by the current moment of change in the region.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Kristina Kausch
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Middle Eastern and North African region is in flux, while attempts to identify a new dominant structural logic have been limited so far. For the time being, the new “order” appears to consist of the absence of any one clear-cut organising principle and in overlapping, dynamic, often contradictory geopolitical developments. Among many other features, the geopolitical equation in the Middle East is being altered by a number of larger structural shifts regarding the position and relative weight of specific actors. Notable instances include the relative loss of influence of the United states and Europe; the game-changing regional roles of Russia and China, respectively; the resurgence of the IranianSaudi rivalry; the emergence of a number of regional “swing states”; and the increasing role of non-state actors in shaping regional developments. the complexity of this outlook makes policy choices by regional and external actors ever more difficult.
  • Topic: Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, North Africa