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