U.S. Army War College -Strategic Studies Institute Carlisle United States
Two features have been consistent in the Middle East and North Africa since the era of independence ongoing violence of all sortsand the absence of a collective security structure, which could tackle this violence. Since the end of World War II, the region has seen multiple attempts to organize collective and cooperative security, all of which failed. Since the so-called Arab Spring, movement has come again into regional security. From joint exercises and combat operations to an attempt to create a joint Arab force, the trend seems to be going toward more collective action in the region. As this study shows, however, challenges remain on the way to a true collective defense or security body issues of sovereignty and distrust will have to be overcome before Arab states can truly move beyond mere alliances and integrate their forces. A successful Arab security system needs to address security in a comprehensive manner. First, it would have to cover security challenges that are not only regional and of interstate nature, but also domestic such as civil wars. Second, it would have to be able to manage aggression not only from outsiders e.g., the attack on Egypt in 1956, but also among member states such as Iraq and Kuwait. Internal here, therefore, has two meaningsinternal to the member states, and internal to the alliance. These are both dimensions that a classical alliance e.g., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO is not concerned withalthough any security system seeks the reduction of the possibility of organized violence both within and between states, but preconditions differ. Alliances, or even collective defense systems, will not be enough for the Arab world, because they focus solely on the regional aspect of security. Instead, a more holistic system is necessary that could reduce the likelihood of violence altogethersuch as a collective security system, which later could become a security community.