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Rebuilding Security in Fragmented Societies


Paris – Over 25 experts in security in the Middle East and representatives of donor organizations met in Paris last Friday to discuss the way forward from the fragmentation witnessed by the security and political orders in the region’s countries in conflict.

The workshop was organized by the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) following the launch of the e-book, Out of the Inferno?, on ways to stabilize and bring security back to Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen as part of its wider project on “Rebuilding Security in Fragmented Societies”.

Drawing on earlier work by ARI on Arab “securitocracies” and transitions, this project analyses the governance and behaviour of security institutions, the link between security and politics, and the basis on which these institutions can be rebuilt in post-conflict transition.

During the one-day meeting, experts sought answers to questions on the fragmentation of the central security systems, the implications of the emergence of local security arrangements, the multiple players involved, and new avenues for the rebuilding of security in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Participants also discussed the role regional actors play as a hindering or enabling force in the rebuilding of security and their interest in doing so. They examined the extent to which societies in the region can develop a vision and capacity to construct home-grown security systems and through which processes.

The discussion emphasized the importance of developing coherent national frameworks for the construction of more inclusive security structures and the need to consider militias and armed groups as full actors with important leverage during any political negotiations. While the notion of sequencing security and political arrangements was seen as crucial, it was felt that it needed further deconstruction in order for these arrangements to become mutually reinforcing and to set up schemes allowing for political arrangements to emerge. Such arrangements, including the organization of the state, namely the question of decentralization or federalism, remain central to any future attempts to rebuild security in the Middle East.

List of participants :
Abdelnasser Al-Ayed, expert on Syria, Syria
Arthur Quesnay, NORIA, France
Aziz Al-Azmeh, Central European University, Hungary
Azza Gharibeh, Sky News Arabia correspondent, France
Bassma Kodmani, Executive Director, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Bruno Tertrais, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France
David Chuter, security expert, France
Emile Hokayem, International Institute for Strategic Studies, United Kingdom
Fatiha Dezi Heni, expert on Saudi Arabia, France
Florence Gaub, expert on Security Sector Reform, France
Frederic C. Hof, The Atlantic Council, Washington DC
Hana Jaber, Senior Fellow, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Isam Khafaji, expert on Iraq, Netherlands
Jean-François Daguzan, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France
Karim Mezran, The Atlantic Council, Washington DC
Lori Hinnant, International Security Correspondent, Associated Press, France
Maha Assabalani, Communications Officer, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Mark Freeman, Institute for Integrated Transitions, Barcelona
Michel Duclos, Director of the Institut Diplomatique International, France
Munqith Dagher, Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies, Iraq
Myriam Benraad, expert on Iraq, France
Nafissa El Souri, Research and Programme Assistant, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Nayla Moussa, Researcher, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Patrick Haenni, Special Advisor Middle East, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Switzerland
Raed AlBdour, Security sector reform expert, Jordan
Roula El Rifai, Senior Programme Specialist, MENA Governance and Justice, IDRC, Canada
Said Haddadi, Head of Communications, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Salam Kawakibi, Deputy Director, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Sarah Rennick, Deputy Director and Researcher, Arab Reform Initiative, France
Virginie Collombier, Research Fellow and Coordinator, Middle East Directions Programme, European University Institute of Florence, France