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Sisp Conference 2019

Paper Room

Section 13 - Lo scenario Mediterraneo (The Mediterranean scenario)

Managers: Fabio De Nardis (fabio.denardis@unisalento.it), Federico Russo (federico.russo@unisalento.it)

Panel 13.1 Relazioni euro-mediterranee, tra passato e nuove prospettive

Chairs: Silvio Labbate

Discussants: Ester Sigillò

"Il Gattopardo": cambiamenti istituzionali nel Marocco post primavera araba
Luigi Cino
Abstract The paper analyses the developments of the institutional and political environment of Morocco in the framework of the Arab Uprising. Through qualitative methods, it reconstruct and interprete the recent changes happened in Morocco. The Arab Uprisings had very different consequences from one country to another. The common feature of all those events is that “whole world was surprised not only for the desire for political change and the elimination of permanent authoritarian rule and corruption, but because this event was a unified phenomenon on its goals, slogans and scenarios, which represents in the same time a unique event in world history and the history of the Arabs” . Definitely, Arab Uprisings have represented a period of significant change for the countries concerned and has produced different effects across countries. Among the most relevant changes there are institutional developments who brought to new institutional arrangements for many Arab countries. For example, Tunisia saw a Revolution who brought to a new democratic constitution and free and fair elections; after a first period of democracy Egypt has turned back to authoritarian rule; Libya and Syria are in a divided by civil wars in their territories. A particular case study is represented by Morocco, a quite stable country at the edge of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Here, the demonstrations against the authoritarian rule have been promoted by the Mouvement 20 Février and brought the King to the decision of conceding some changes to the Constitution. However, these changes leave the debate open whether they represent a substantial change or a merely esthetical one. Which kind of institutional change took place in Morocco after the Arab Uprisings? This is the question that this paper aims to answer. Building upon a model of gradual institutional change, coming from the New Institutionalism field of theory, this paper analyses the characteristics of the Moroccan institutions, its political context and the type of dominant change agents in order to answer this question understanding the features of the change occurred in the country. The claim is that the change occurred has represented just a formal revision of the Constitution, without contributing to change the dynamics and equilibria of the distribution of power of the Moroccan political system. As Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in his book The Leopard, “if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change” . L'abstract è fornito in inglese ma la presentazione dell'articolo può essere fatta sia in inglese sia in italiano.

La Turchia e l’Unione Europea, un dialogo possibile.
Emanuela Locci
Abstract La relazione che si intende presentare sarà incentrata sul tema dell’ingresso della Turchia nell’Unione Europea, sarà posto in evidenza il dialogo, o la mancanza di esso tra le parti. Dal punto di vista storico ricostruire le vicende che hanno caratterizzato l’adesione della Turchia all’Unione Europea, più che una ricostruzione lineare si presenta come un ginepraio, tante sono le vicissitudini, gli accadimenti, che hanno interessato le due parti, anche in considerazione del lungo periodo passato dal primo passo mosso dalla Turchia in direzione dell’Europa e dell’Unione. La relazione si muove su due direttrici: in primis con la descrizione cronologica delle diverse fasi del processo di adesione, e successivamente ci si inoltra nell’analisi delle cause che hanno portato ad un unicum nella storia dell’Unione Europea, infatti, ad oggi la Turchia è l’unico paese che malgrado il lungo iter seguito non è ancora stata ammessa nel consesso dell’Unione. In particolare ci si soffermerà sulle ragioni per cui il processo si è più volte arrestato, senza per altro giungere ad alcun risultato definitivo. La repubblica di Turchia ancora oggi aspetta sull’uscio dell’Unione Europea. Interessanti , anche se non storicizzati i recenti sviluppi che mostrano un certo allontanamento della classe politica turca dalla prospettiva dell’ingresso nell’Unione.

the impact of the mediterranean migration on the euro-mediterranean relations: a geopolitical contribution
Safa Benaissa, Mohamed Seddik Benzatat
Abstract Migration movements are a global phenomenon due to socio-economic reasons that show common elements. If migrations are not a new phenomenon, they see important transformations in their characteristics, globalization and diversity in relation to the country of origin, transit and access, and to the causes of various "displacement" or "attraction". Which have a consequential decrease in the importance of traditional and historical ties between the countries of origin and countries of residence. In the near future, the persistence of serious wars and economic gaps between countries and regions, as well as the activities of clandestine networks of trafficking in persons, are increasingly complex, all predicting the exacerbation of migratory flows over the coming years. The Euro-Mediterranean region is characterized as one of the most important geographic regions in terms of the importance and intensity of migratory movements. It also embodies the new characteristics of migrations on a global scale, but at the same time, those factors identified by decades of common history continue to retain considerable weight with deep cultural and human ties between the countries of the two shores. The strategic importance of the Euro-Mediterranean space, as long as a region of civilization and exchange, is a common bet among all countries, presents a series of common challenges in terms of political, security, economic, social and cultural relations, all of which are historically and geographically. If the common goal is to establish a stable region in which peace and progress prevail, the foundations of lasting partnership and cooperation must be laid in the spirit of inclusiveness and solidarity. This great goal - the desired goal and designed by the Euro-Mediterranean countries - can be achieved only through agreements of friendship, good-neighborliness and cooperation. Is gradually developing a policy of integrated cooperation on migration in the Mediterranean aimed primarily at facilitating migration arrangements, addressing the hidden and illegal causes of migration, providing migrants and their families with opportunities for social and economic integration, and consolidating socio-economic links that contribute to greater prosperity in both shores This should be based on the consideration of the common policy frameworks and partnership policies that are currently taking place between the two shores, which may allow for a common and more integrated approach. From a regional perspective and from the perspective of migration and cooperation policies. 1-euro mediterranean area: a geopolitical framework. 2- evolution of immigration in the mediterranean sea 3-migration in the new euro mediterranean policies: from EMP to ENP 4-migration in the mediterranean area future perspectives.

Unione europea e regimi in transizione: il caso tunisino tra resilienza, assistenza securitaria e promozione democratica.
Giulia Cimini
Abstract Il contesto regionale ed internazionale in cui le relazioni euro-mediterranee trovano spazio è profondamente mutato dalla dichiarazione di Barcellona del 1995, così come la visione strategica europea a riguardo. A fronte degli sconvolgimenti dell’ultimo decennio, le ambizioni dell’Unione nella regione appaiono ora di gran lunga ridimensionate. Al contempo, hanno perso rilevanza sia il suo potere normativo che la meta-narrazione di un modello di sviluppo basato sull’idea di una “Europeizzazione come modernizzazione”, approccio che ha dominato le relazioni con la sponda sud del Mediterraneo, incorporate poi nella Politica europea di vicinato (PEV). A partire da una riflessione più generale sul concetto di “resilienza”, nuovo pilastro sia della PEV (e non solo nella sua dimensione mediterranea) che della Strategia di Sicurezza, questo contributo si propone di esplorare le linee di continuità e discontinuità nell’azione europea all’indomani delle primavere arabe in termini di assistenza securitaria e promozione democratica. Nello specifico, guarderà alla misura in cui tale azione si è rimodellata nei confronti della Tunisia, considerato da sempre partner strategico nella sponda sud ed ora esempio emblematico di regime in transizione. Attraverso documenti chiave ed interviste in profondità con la delegazione europea a Tunisi ed altri attori istituzionali (e non) sia tunisini che europei, si analizzeranno modalità, criticità e prospettive delle iniziative intraprese, anche alla luce del problematico nuovo accordo commerciale che sta per vedere la luce. Tali iniziative sollevano questioni cruciali sulla capacità dell’Europa di (ri)adattarsi e interagire efficacemente con contesti in continuo cambiamento, e in fase di transizione come la Tunisia.

Panel 13.2 Human rights and the right to socio-political research in the Mediterranean area.

Chairs: Michele Carducci

Discussants: Stefano Cristante

The Gender Dimension of the ENP Trough the Case of Tunisia: A fragile bottom-up approach.
Clara Della Valle, Serena Giusti
Abstract The paper looks at how the gender dimension has been incorporated in the European neighborhood policy (ENP) in its Mediterranean dimension, where the issue has been seen as strategic move for the regional development and security. Gender mainstreaming has been promoted through the practice frequently used in recent enlargements: norm diffusion. This method does not allow for a reconceptualization of the policies issued and largely neglects the recipients’ perspective and diversity. The article seeks to outline what the EU diffuses and how. Whereas the literature has mostly focussed on the content of gender mainstreaming, stressing its modest sensitivity for the context and cultural diversity, this article tries to shift the attention to the ‘post-normative’ phase that deals with the implementation of the policy through specific programmes and actions, which management mainly rests on EU delegations, which are the local executors. We are interested in ascertaining how the actions implemented locally impact the process of gender mainstreaming, and with which implications. Towards this end, we have selected a case study: Tunisia. By relying on a number of interviews answered by representatives of local associations, international organisations and EU delegates to the country, we have therefore investigated how the EU’s sponsored policies are transmitted and received by local actors; how the policies respond to the actors’ ideas, needs, and expectations; and which potential benefits and limitations these policies exhibit. The analysis is conducted in a diachronic perspective, in order to investigate whether the 2011 awakening has produced a substantial revision in the way the EU conceives and implements gender policies. Our research points to the fact that the phase of implementation has been underestimated. Bureaucratic constraints and lack of flexibility are reported by local stakeholders as sources of inefficiency and blamed even before policy content.

The Necropolitics of the Mediterranean sea: constructing indifference in the management of European borders.
Nadine Innocenzi
Abstract In recent years the Mediterranean Sea has becoming the deadliest border in the world. The policies of European governments regarding the management of mobility have gradually transformed the Mediterranean space into a spectacle of death, a submerged cemetery that grows with each passing year irrespective of the growth or contraction of the rate of arrivals. The regularity and intensity of the violence inflicted upon migrants and refugees along the European frontier cannot be considered an accidental phenomenon, but rather, it is the product of European political choices. The Mediterranean functions as a necropolitical space in which European power is manifested in determining the life or death of migrants. Building upon post-structuralist and post-colonial theory, the present contribution aims to reflect critically on the social construction of indifference in the face of mass suffering and death. Drawing upon the concept of “discourse,” the paper analyses the discursive construction of the European space. The solidification and absolutization of ethnonational cultural values has generated a pathological relationship with those that arrive from the exterior, reproducing an ethno-national framework on a larger scale. The racialization of migrants and the reproduction of the civilized/barbarian dichotomy serves to legitimize the attribution of an asymmetry in the value of human life. Meanwhile, the bureaucratization of decision-making acts to depoliticize the moral weight of political choices, casting such actions as merely technical decisions in which the possibility of choosing between different options is negated. In conclusion, the European Frontier functions as a double-edged instrument. On the one hand, it serves a biopolitical aim and assumes control of the bodies of migrants, who then become objects for relocation or redistribution. On the other hand, it operates as a necropolitical instrument by which European power is expressed through abandonment and letting die.

The role of human rights in the evolution of EU Mediterranean policy
Pietro De Perini
Abstract This paper aims to investigate the reasons for vagueness and inconsistency in EU Mediterranean policy-making vis-à-vis human rights and the different understandings of their role that the EU has developed since the end of the Cold War in the pursuit of its milieu goals in this area. While the EU has tried to promote human rights through both a ‘political dialogue’ and a ‘engaging society’ method, European policy-makers never managed to integrate these into a consistent and straightforward human rights policy. On the contrary, EU policy-makers have shown different preferences for one or the other method from time to time, and a varying understanding of the role human rights could play in their Mediterranean policy framework. Adopting an FPA standpoint, the paper argues that the vagueness and inconsistency of EU’s human rights efforts have primarily been determined by how the different and at times competing views vis-à-vis human rights held by the actors affecting EU Mediterranean policy-making, from within and outside the EU, were conciliated in facing the emerging challenges and opportunities of an evolving regional milieu. The analysis is focused on the periods that followed three ‘turning-point’ events which acted as contextual enablers for EU policy-makers to periodically revise the priorities, means and objectives of their Mediterranean policy, including human rights: the end of the Cold War, the 9/11 attacks and the outbreak of the Arab Uprisings.

Panel 13.3 Violent Extremism in the Mediterranean: a critical approach

Chairs: Alessandra Bonci, Fabrizio Cuccu, Guendalina Simoncini

Discussants: Fatemah Alzubairi

Derailed Political Transition in Libya and the Rise of Jihadism as Protracted Social Conflict
Anas Fassih
Abstract This paper investigates both proximate and root causes of the rise of political violence and jihad-ism in the post-Arab Spring Libya. Drawing on Edward Azar’s Protracted Social Conflict Theory (PSC), the study concludes that these causes are not merely proximate, i.e. Libyan uprisings and NATO intervention to topple the regime leaving the country entrenched in security vacuum, but also deep-seated tracing back to the early tribal and ethnic divisions in the Qaddafi era. Azar’s four preconditions which transform a situation from non-violent to violent prove relevant and useful to decipher the conflict dynamics in Libya. The study looks at the conflict retrospectively by tracing the proximate causes of the initial eruption of the Arab revolts and subsequently excavating how the security vacuum served as a fertile opportunity for jihadist Islamist groups to thrive leading to an intractable conflict between political and civil actors in the country. Consequently, the security void has exacerbated the regional instability and precipitated transcontinental insecurity through the rise of transnational jihadism across the Mediterranean. Keywords: Arab Spring, jihadism in Libya, Intractable conflict, Islamism, security, political transition, protracted social conflict.

The Tunisian specificity: political hegemony and the habitus of commitment in contemporary public Islam
Domenico Copertino
Abstract I interpret the quest for an Islamic understanding of such ideals as democracy, pluralism and freedom, carried out by the Tunisian Islamic movements after the 2011 Revolution, as part of a discursive tradition (T. Asad, The idea of an anthropology of Islam, Georgetown University, Washington D. C., 1986) about the Tunisian specificity. Such tradition entails the interpretation of Islamic sources – both classical and modern – by religious and secular authorities, with the aim to legitimate the social and political commitment in the name of Islam. The Tunisian specificity is a discourse that draws on the local interpretations of Islamic practices (such as Sufism and saints worship), on the work of modern Islamic thinkers, and on the reasoning about democracy and human rights, to construct a theoretical framework aimed at deepening the concepts of moderation, toleration, pluralism and political activity from an Islamic vantage point. My contribution is part of an ethnographic research pursued from 2012 to 2015 among Tunisian Islamic activists. In my view, such category covers both the Islamists (namely the actors engaged in movements and parties directly involved in the political arena) and the du‘at (the activist of civil society and pious associations, engaged in spreading the Islamic message ‘from below’). The observation of interrelationships between the two groups, and of the sharing of the same framework (the Tunisian specificity) and vocabulary (freedom, dignity, human rights, and the like), suggests that the sharp distinction between political and social activism inspired by Islamic ideals is to be blurred.

From security to securitization: Islamic charities and the politicization of counter-terrorism measures in Tunisia.
Ester Sigillò
Abstract In January 2014, after the period of national dialogue that followed the institutional and political crisis in Tunisia, a technocratic government was installed under new Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa. The new government, not favorable anymore to Islamist political forces, launched a campaign to restore state control over mosques and all those activities which had been accused of be political related to Ennahda and of causing the ‘wahabization’ of Tunisian society. Islamic associations, in particular became the target of police operations, which intended to verify the legality of their activities. In particular, after terrorist attacks in March and July 2015 several charities have been shut down with the accusation of having funded jihadist activities with Qatar money. According to the majority of people interviewed, accounting procedures were used as the primary mechanism of pressure and control, with many associations accused of hiding illicit funding linked to militant activities. They faced sanctions that included a one- to three-month suspension, the freezing of the assets and even the definitive ban of the association. This paper, based on an ethnographic research conducted in four regions of the country, aims at analyze narratives and practices concerning the ‘criminalization’ of Islamic charities from 2014 to 2019. On the basis of IR theories on securitization, this study ultimately aims at discussing the process of politicization of security issues occurred in Tunisia by disentangling the variety of actors involved and their relational dynamics.

Radicalisation and The Social Space: A critical and empirical analysis based on the case of Jordan
Dareen Al-Khoury
Abstract This working paper investigates the radicalisation phenomenon in Jordan and brings value in the sense that it offers a strong domestic perspective aiming to compensate the insufficient efforts in analysing national specificities and domestic factors in radicalization studies. The paper is divided into two sections, the first synthesizes our current academic knowledge and identifies gaps and instabilities in research findings on definitions, drivers and models from an international perspective and in relation to those who decided to join radical groups from Jordan. The second presents the results of empirical field-based exploration, utilising the semi-structured interview method, which provides in-depth domestic insights regarding the local understanding, attitudes, and opinions of local experts and activists in the field. The paper demonstrates the inevitability of acquiring contextual information to understand and fight the phenomenon at an early stage, it pinpoints key practical gaps in the methods used to examine radicalization and advocates a comprehensive theoretical model able to consider the neglected temporal element and provide a framework for the process and the phenomenon. With Jordan being positioned as a country with one of the highest per-capita contributions of foreign fighters in the Islamic State organization, the government has expressed its commitment to preventing extremism. Yet, the practical interventions which included changes in the anti-terrorism law, and a pure militaristic approach and border security measurements. The restrictive and steep punishment enforced on those identified as being connected to extremist violence was perceived conventional. The failure of this security-based approach is evident because Jordan has witnessed an unprecedented surge of home-grown terrorism since 2015 showing that fighting the phenomenon at a much earlier stage can be more important. The paper identifies four key issues that have precluded conclusive empirical evidence about radicalization in countries like Jordan. First, despite numerous recent research contributions, a confusing and vague understanding of radicalisation persists and is evident in the absence of consensus regarding its definition. This lack of clarity has imposed limitations on the continuous efforts to form strong policies and security strategies, which are key to countering the phenomenon. Second, the paper reveals that the lack of comprehensive social, cultural, political, economic, geographic and religious contextual considerations has frequently led to conflicting findings and weak evidence. Several studies on drivers have been debunked at a later stage by new researchers, who have examined the variables within countries of different contextual backgrounds. Furthermore, it reveals that studies have largely neglected some contextual factors such as the role of family, the teachers and the tribes that are considered essential to the culture and society of the Middle Eastern region. Third, the paper clarifies that researchers have intensively investigated a wide range of factors in an attempt to reveal ‘push’ and ‘pull’ drivers that can increase the vulnerability of individuals towards making radical choices. However, such efforts have reached mostly the same conclusion: there is no single cause; rather, there is an indeterminate, complicated and – at best – a tenuous combination of internal and external elements as well as triggers that can lead to the radicalisation of individuals. The paper emphasizes that researching social causality by exploring ‘pure factors’ has faced several methodological and scientific challenges and it has proven to be inadequate. Finally, the paper argues that the currently established radicalization models proposed by researchers from inter-disciplinary fields such as psychology, social psychology, and criminology who have competed to explain the process behind the phenomenon are inconclusive. The paper uncovers a lack of a comprehensive structured framework that includes and differentiates between the process from the phenomena, the cognitive ideology from the behaviour, the temporal process of transformation, the action, the pre-radical contextual conditions, and the elements of exposure that may enhance the possibility for an individual to start and advance in the process. The second section of the research presents an exploratory empirical analysis and discussion. The field-based semi-structured interviews capture domestic insights of local experts including representatives from non-governmental organisations, public policy experts, youth activists, media professionals, school curricula experts, and religious leaders who are requested to voluntarily answer a set of questions aiming to reveal their own understanding of what is radical and to capture their experts’ opinions about the different faces of radicalization in society today. While our current academic knowledge demonstrates disputed findings of the role of religion, the initial findings of this research reveal unanimity about the need for a proper understanding of religious principles to fight radicalisation. The interviewees shed light on contextualized issues of concern in society such as the role of the tribes, the gap between the old and new generation, and of the role of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in creating feelings of grievance, stating that this is an area that has been intentionally disregarded due to its significant political connotations.