Regional report on meso approaches to the study of radicalisation and violent extremism in MENA and the Balkans

13 November 2023

The CONNEKT project, which is implemented in eight countries in the MENA and the Balkan region (Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bulgaria) analyses the contexts of radicalisation and violent extremism at three levels: macro, meso and micro. The meso level research of the CONNEKT project builds on a long process of selection and deliberation of case studies which were identified as important with a combination of actors and emanating from the first level of micro research. As a result, 24 case studies were chosen, covering a wide and diverse range of communities and activities which were seen as being vulnerable to radicalisation.

The authors of the MENA regional report, Tasnim Chirchi and Khaoula Ghribi, highlight a phenomenon they term “the triangle of anger”. In their definition, the triangle of anger is constituted at “the intersection of the lack of economic development, youth unemployment and the ineffective role of education in tackling the consequences of the issues” (Chirchi and Ghribi, 2022:25) that affect youth in the region, that makes them vulnerable to radical ideologies and recruitment processes.

In the Balkans, the picture is different, with religion being seen as one of the main drivers of radicalisation. The driver of religion, however, is often tied in with other drivers, including transnational dynamics, as in the case of Kosovo the global radical networks are considered important. The case of Bulgaria and North Macedonia, on the other hand, also show the increase of the influence of transnational conservative communities, which include conservative Orthodox groups, therefore having a wider interpretation of religion.

What remains highlighted in both regions is the relevance of context, and more particularly the context created by the political volatility that marks both regions, as well as the limited opportunities that are available to youth.

Read the full report on “Meso approaches to the study of radicalisation and violent extremism in MENA and the Balkans” by downloading the PDF.

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