The countries that make up North Africa — Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya — are defined as much by the broad desert expanses of the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains as they are by the waters of the Mediterranean. Wedged between the coastline of the
southern Mediterranean and an ocean of sand, the populations of North Africa have a long history of interaction with Southern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the broader Middle East. Current trends within North Africa — challenges to political stability, regional militancy, changes in energy production and in the economy — given their proximity to Europe and to former European colonial holdings in Africa, and the continued economic and security relationships between these regions, makes events in North Africa resonate in regional and Western capitals.
Since the last Report sent to the President Council last November 2016, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa is not showing any signs of improvement. It continues to deteriorate and at the same time is in a permanent flux. The roots of this instability can be found first, in a broader participation of some
external actors to this region and second, to the decrease of activities from countries of the region, mainly due to the worsening of their economic situation as an outcome of lower oil prices added to the realisation that the rebel groups they are helping to fight in
Syria are leaning towards the Al Qaeda ideology and praxis.
Four years after the rebels and NATO air campaign overthrew Kaddafi, the cohesive political entity known as Libya does not exist as such anymore. The Central government is only a name and tribal and different religious factions are struggling for the power and above all to own and manage the country’s oil wealth.