IPI HomePublicationsPolicy PapersRegionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East: Options and Challenges

 

print print  |  share share back back

Policy Papers - March 29, 2013

Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East: Options and Challenges

Matteo Legrenzi and Marina Calculli

 

 

Today’s changing political environment, fostered by the 2011 uprisings, provides unprecedented opportunities for opening new dimensions of regional cooperation in the Middle East. The disruptive demand for democracy, social justice, unemployment reduction, and job creation is likely to exert greater pressure on the new political actors to explore new ways to foster economic growth. This could provide unprecedented incentives for improving regional cooperation.

This issue brief describes the current initiatives for regionalism in the Middle East from the Arab League to the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, among others, and it analyzes the various political, economic, and security-based challenges they face.  

It concludes that a lack of political coordination among the Arab states, the predominance of rentier economies in the region, and the lack of economic complementarity have all severely hindered regional integration in the Middle East. But it cautiously points to some tentative positive signals coming out of the post-Arab Spring context, with some hope that the need for job creation and higher productivity in the Middle East could lead to greater regional cooperation in the future.

The paper was drafted by Matteo Legrenzi, associate professor of international relations at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, and Marina Calculli, post-doctoral research fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and research fellow at American University of Cairo Forum.

The Global Observatory

UN Strikes Back as Conflict Escalates in Mali
To achieve long-term stability, Mali’s leaders and partners will need to think in terms of years of reconstruction and peacebuilding.

Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.

January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”

December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.

View More