North Africa: A security problem for themselves, for the EU and for the US

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Series Title
Series Details No.2, January 2008
Publication Date January 2008
ISBN 978-87-7605-246-1
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The report is an attempt to answer the question as to why the North African regimes have become a security problem both for themselves, as well as the EU and the US. The basic argument advanced in the report, is that the combination of the 'nature' of the North African regimes, the US 'war against terrorism,' the European fight against illegal immigration and the 'home-grown' North African terrorism, serve to strengthen the North African regimes' mconcerns with regime security at the expense of political pluralism.

The main findings are that the North African regimes' tendency to cling to the status quo results in both depolitisation and Islamisation of the populations. The depolitisation is accompanied by desperate riots that are seen as about the only way to channel socio-economic and political despair. At the same time, North Africa – especially Algeria – continues to be shaken by still more violent suicide bombings carried out by Osama Bin Laden-inspired Islamists. These developments undermine the regimes’ legitimacy and heighten EU and US concerns with security in the region. This leads to the conclusion that while Islamist terrorism is increasing, the 'unholy' alliance between regimes, US and the EU policies, tends to worsen the security situation in North Africa, thereby going against the original American and European goal of exporting democracy.

Hence, the policy recommendation of the report is that the US and the EU ought to stop securitising illegal immigration and analysing terrorism as the main security problem in North Africa. Only then, might there be sufficient space for a kind of controlled political pluralism.

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