The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

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The paper examines the fragility, fragmentation, and crisis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by dissecting the region into three subregions—Maghreb, Mashreq, and the GCC—and elaborating on their complex contours, diverse ideological orientations, and unavoidable outcomes. Politically, economically, demographically, and ethnically heterogeneous, and religiously reasonably homogenous, the MENA records high conflict rates. There is a lack of unity in diversity, hurting regional cooperation and cohesion. We argue that fragility and fragmentation lead to persistent inter- and intra-state conflict, high unemployment, water disputes, deepening poverty, recurrent famine, and growing numbers of refugees and displacement. By referring to examples from Maghreb, Mashreq, and the GCC, the paper shows the interplay between fragility and resilience and thus attempts to offer a nuanced understanding of the factors that trigger and sustain fragmentation and conflict in the region. The insights into the dynamics of fragility, fragmentation, and crisis highlight the imperatives of cooperation and cohesion in regional integration.