The Italian exception and the evolution of Jihadism in the Mediterranean

As everyone working in the Academia knows, trying to write during the teaching semester is always somewhat challenging. Indeed, I have not managed to write as much as hoped during the past few months. However, I have still managed to finish – and publish – a few works. My most recent article deals with “the Italian Exception” in the rather depressing landscape of a Europe under the perennial threat of terrorism. Italy, so far, has managed to weather this danger thanks to a number of peculiar socio-demographic features but also to its rather significant investigative capacities, those that Italy has developed over the past decades and make Italy one of the most efficient countries in Europe in dealing with criminal and security threats. This is part of a more comprehensive research I am doing on Italy and terrorist risks, and the hope is to produce something bigger and more detailed in the coming months. Always on Italy, I wrote an article a few months ago describing the impact of the rising role played by Russia in the Mediterranean, namely in Libya.

Looking at the broader Mediterranean picture, a very important trend to monitor is the re-organisation of the Islamic State (IS) in Libya and the wider North Africa region, as the group continues to be under significant pressure in Syria and Iraq. There are many speculations on the fate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but, as the biographies of other terrorist leaders show, it is always better to wait for official confirmation before declaring someone dead. That being said, it is important to note that the Arab press has published, over the past few months, many interesting articles describing the debates within IS on a potential successor. As such, I have analysed the profile of Mohamed Ben Salem al-Ayouni (AKA Jalaluddin al-Tounsi), the Franco-Tunisian fighter born in M’saken who, according to a number of regional sources, is the designated successor of Al-Baghdadi.

To conclude, I have also returned writing in Italian, with a more theoretically-focused article on the coming crisis of Crisis Management, associated with the powerful rise of Post-Truth and its impact on States’ legitimacy and capacities. I wrote this article for the Italian journal Futuri, the publication of the Italian Institute for the Future, one of the most interesting think tanks created in Italy over the past few years.

Looking forward, I am working – although very slowly – on a book on Maghrebi security that I hope to publish by the end of next year, and am completing a work on the Geopolitics of the Gulf region that should be released – either as a book chapter or academic article – in early 2018.


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