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Projecting Stability to the South: NATO’s other challenge

  • 20 May. 2020
  • |
  • Last updated: 29 May. 2020 08:38

NDC Policy Brief 9-20


In the spring of 2020, the Atlantic Alliance’s “large periphery” to the South, which extends from the Sahel to the Asian borders of the Arabian Gulf, remains in a state of dangerous instability. The health and containment measures taken by the authorities against the COVID-19 crisis have put popular claims to rest. The case of Lebanon shows, however, that the urgency of the pandemic has not made the demands of the population disappear. Beyond managing the health crisis, there is no doubt that the future of the region’s leaderships1 will largely depend on their ability to mitigate both the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the political ones.

In this “broader MENA” region, whose confines and internal cohesion are unstable, the challenges are ever more complex. Despite the relative consensus between NATO and its Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) partners on the deep-rooted causes of the structural instability, the potential solutions are much debated. NATO’s “Projecting Stability” concept raises as many questions with the partners, as it does within the Alliance, since a desired end-state has yet to be defined. While all efforts contributing to an increase in stability are a priori welcome, the Alliance and its partners must agree on the conditions of stability in order to identify and implement effective means suited to the local context.



* (back) Researcher and Faculty Adviser at the NATO Defense College. The original version of this Policy Brief was written in French; it was translated into English by Caroline Curta.

1 (back) See M. Kamel, “Amirah-Fernández: cette crise est un moment de vérité pour les gouvernements arabes”, Jeune Afrique, 20 April 2020.

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