Our research programme on Peace and Security in the Middle East and North Africa Region examines relevant threats to the region’s security and the role of international diplomacy in improving the prospects for peace in the short, medium and long term.



EDA Working Paper

Yemen: Immediate-To-Short Term Actions to Improve the Humanitarian Situation

Dr. Saskia van Genugten May 2018

This EDA Working Paper looks into ways to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen in the immediate to short term. The focus is on finding solutions in four areas: the increase in food insecurity, the disruption of basic services, the spread of communicable diseases and the needs of those that are internally displaced. It argues for solutions with regard to access and distribution of vital goods throughout Yemen, stabilisation of Yemen’s financial system and ensuring indiscriminate basic service provision and for scaling up assistance and living up to aid pledges.


EDA Insight

Iran’s Missile Programmes: Evolving Strategic Objectives and Capabilities

Dr Victor Gervais, May 2018

This Insight evaluates the current state of Iran’s missile capabilities and assesses their potential evolution towards greater operational efficiency. The insight first provides an overview of Iran’s missile programs. It then examines the military and strategic utility of Iran’s missiles and analyses the impact of emerging capabilities on its military doctrine. Finally, the Insight assesses the implications for regional security and stability of reported transfers of Iranian missiles to non-state forces in the region.


EDA Working Paper

Stabilisation in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: Different Dimensions of an Elusive Concept

Dr. Saskia van Genugten April 2018

Politicians and commentators commonly talk of the need for ‘stability’ and ‘stabilisation’ when referring to the current situation in the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Indeed, stabilisation is what the broader MENA region seems to be in desperate need of, but a lack of consensus around what stability entails and how to get there, might keep fueling instability instead.
This paper is a first of a series that will be published as part of the EDA’s Stabilisation Research Initiative (SRI), led by EDA faculty members dr. Saskia van Genugten and dr. Victor Gervais. In this framing paper, the author offers an initial exploration of the different dimensions of stabilisation as can be found in the existing literature, thereby combining current ideas, approaches and lessons identified by practitioners and academics alike. Along the way, the paper identifies common challenges and areas for further exploration within the EDA’s research initiative.


EDA Working Paper

Consolidating the Iraqi State: Challenges and Opportunities

Dr Victor Gervais, April 2018

Iraq stands at a pivotal moment - once again. The military defeat of Daesh represents a renewed opportunity to reorient the country's trajectory towards long-term stability and economic prosperity. While the task of rebuilding areas liberated from Daesh will require sustained efforts in the coming years, the Iraqi elites must also ensure that problems of a deeper structural nature will be tackled. Without this, the military success again Daesh will soon vanish; This working Paper analyses the broad structural challenges facing the Iraqi state, along with possible solutions, in order to establish clearer priorities and options for dealing with them. In particular, three key elements of structural fragility are identified in three dimensions of the state's capacity and sustainability.


EDA Insight

Increasing the Participation of Women in Peace Processes

Hannah Beswick, April 2018

Qualitative and quantitative data have proven the positive impact that women’s participation in the peace process has on the likelihood of a durable, positive peace – one that goes beyond the immediate absence of violence, and strives to achieve justice for all but despite the recognition of the benefits, women are still massively underrepresented in peace processes. This EDA Insight looks at how women’s participation at the peace table impacts the longevity and durability of the peace, and includes strategies and recommendations on how to bolster women’s participation at the peace table.


EDA Insight

Europe’s New Defence Ambitions: Engagements in the MENA Region

Dr Saskia van Genugten, December 2017

Issues such as Brexit, Catalonia and the rise of nationalism dominate the global headlines on Europe and tend to point towards the disintegrating of the continent. However, at the same time, a new ambition for increased European defence cooperation among the EU member states, is exposing a rather different trend that is bringing Europeans together on one of the most sensitive issues of national sovereignty: security. This EDA Insight looks at the driving factors behind Europe’s renewed assertiveness on defence matters, provides an overview of recently launched initiatives and assesses the potential implications, including for Europe’s civilian and military operations in the wider MENA region.


EDA Insight

Trump’s Proposed Foreign Aid Policies: Potential Implications for MENA

Dr. Elham S. McManus, December 2017

The countries in the MENA region have had different levels of need when it comes to foreign aid. While some countries, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), have themselves long been donors of aid, others have been highly dependent on the financial support received from more prosperous countries. Thus, one cannot but wonder how populism – in the US and Europe – and its implication for foreign aid, might impact the development and security of the MENA region. With this issue in mind, this EDA Insight examines the change in US foreign aid policy and its implications for the MENA region.


EDA Insight

Libya: Building Political Consensus around Economic Objectives

Dr Saskia van Genugten, May 2017

Despite all the political divisions, most Libyans can probably agree on the fact that action is needed to stabilize their country’s economy. The current economic malaise is on the one hand caused by suboptimal oil revenues due to disruptions in production, a lack of investments, and low oil prices. On the other hand Libya suffers from disputes over economic governance and pressure on national economic institutions to take sides in the ongoing political crisis. This EDA Insight provides a background on the Libyan economy and assesses both long term economic challenges as well as the additional complications caused by the civil wars.


EDA Working Paper

Livelihoods For Syrian Refugees: Transitioning from a Humanitarian to a Developmental Paradigm

Lorraine Charles and Dr Saskia van Genugten, April 2017

Several countries that have been hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees since 2011 are changing their policy assumptions with regard to Syrian refugees. Instead of designing policies from a ‘temporary and humanitarian’ perspective, governments are increasingly seeking more ‘developmental and (semi-)permanent’ solutions. Labour market integration is a key aspect of this change and the authors discuss this issue through case studies of Jordan and Turkey.


EDA Insight

Hezbollah Beyond the Syrian Conflict

Dr Jean-Loup Samaan, February 2017

Hezbollah played a significant role in the Syrian regime’s brutal takeover of Aleppo in the last battle of December 2016, albeit at high costs. This EDA Insight evaluates the current status of Hezbollah and assesses its potential evolution after the Syrian war. The Insight looks at the group’s involvement in the Syrian conflict since 2011, assesses the evolution of the Hezbollah-Israel conflict, describes the regionalization of Hezbollah’s agenda and explores two possible scenarios for the evolution of Hezbollah and their implications for regional security.


EDA Insight

External Powers in the Horn of Africa: The Case of Iran

Dr. Saskia van Genugten, with Amna Fikri

February 2017

Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and the Sudan are located along vital shipping routes, including the Red Sea, the Bab el Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. At the same time, many states in the Horn of Africa are faced with institutional, economic and security challenges. Due to the strategic importance and a reliance on external support, many global, regional and local actors contribute to the Horn’s security environment. With a specific focus on Iran, this EDA Insight assesses the interactions and realignments between external and local actors in the Horn of Africa.


EDA Insight

The EU’s External Migration Policy and Implications for the MENA Region

Dr. Silvia Colombo, December 2016

The sharp increase in refugees seeking asylum in Europe has pulled the European Union (EU) into the global humanitarian migration crisis and forced urgent action. This EDA Insight assesses recent developments in the EU’s external migration policy and looks at the implications of these policies for the EU itself as well as for the regional (in)stability of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.


EDA Insight

The MENA Youth Conundrum: Generating Productivity, Preventing Disillusionment

September 2016

The MENA region has, on average, the highest youth unemployment in the world. Educational and professional opportunities in the region remain low and with the number of young adults rapidly increasing, the issue is often not addressed with the necessary urgency. Much more can be done to channel the youthful creative energy into productive livelihoods. This EDA Insight explores the issue and provides a set of policy suggestions.

Stream video


EDA Insight

A Failed Coup in Turkey: What are the Consequences?

July 2016

The attempted military coup in Turkey confirmed the decreased ability of the military to intervene in Turkey’s democracy, the continuous popular support for the democratically elected government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the government’s determination to consolidate its position. This EDA Insight provides context on the coup attempt and explores the implications of its aftermath, both domestically as well as internationally.


EDA Insight

Combatting Daesh in Libya

April 2016

This policy brief focuses on the strength, strategy and tactics of Daesh in Libya and assesses the range of policy instruments the international community could employ to help the legitimate Libyan authorities in their efforts to combat terrorism.


EDA Insight

Post-Conflict Yemen: Early Economic Recovery Initiatives

March 2016

This policy brief focuses on the short-term and long-term challenges to Yemen’s economy and suggests priorities for economic recovery in Yemen in a post-conflict phase.



Roundtable discussion

Roundtable on Kurdistan region referendum

4 October 2017


Public Lecture

New World Order

Speaker: Chuck Hagel, former US Secretary of Defense

25 April 2016