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NSD-S Hub Publications

The NSD-S HUB was established at Allied Joint Force Command Naples in order to improve NATO awareness and understanding of common global challenges in the area of interest and to identify opportunities for cooperation with selected Partners, while contributing to the overall coordination of NATO activities and efforts. NSD-S HUB products are developed with open-source information from regional actors and experts, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, academic institutions, media sources and military organizations. By design, NSD-S HUB products or links to open-sourced and independently produced articles do not necessarily represent the opinions, views or official positions of any other organization.

Women's Roles in Terrorist Groups in the Middle East and North Africa

Women's Roles in Terrorist Groups in the Middle East and North Africa

Sep 13, 2021

This study contributes to a more comprehensive and strategic understanding of the potential security threats associated with women's current and future participation in terrorism. Failure to account for how and why women radicalise, enlist and operate, both offline and online, cedes the initiative to extremist groups, ultimately influencing the effectiveness of efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism. Overlooking the involvement of women in terrorism or downplaying their influence is not only an analytic but also a strategic blind spot.


Mapping the Terrorist Threat in the South

Mapping the Terrorist Threat in the South

Sep 2, 2021

During the past decade, the central Sahel - a region encompassing Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger – has become the scene of one of the most complex security crises on the African continent. In a complex environment where a plethora of armed groups operate at large, it is the terrorist organisations which continue to pose the most significant challenges to the regional security. Following a long series of defections, rebranding and changes in allegiances, the terrorist landscape has become more consolidated in the recent years with the merger of the AQ-affiliated groups into the JNIM coalition and the emergence of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, the first and only Daesh offshoot in the central Sahel to date.


China's Engagement in Africa and the Middle East

China's Engagement in Africa and the Middle East

Jul 22, 2021

There has been an increase to unprecedented levels of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) initiatives in Africa and the Middle East, both bilaterally and multilaterally, over the past decade. The push in Africa has been spreading since the establishment of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Through the BRI, China has similarly strengthened its foothold in the Middle East. In fact, the Heads of State in the Euro-Atlantic area have labelled the stated PRC ambitions and assertive behaviour as a "systemic challenge" to the global order.


Migration in the Greater Mediterranean Region

Migration in the Greater Mediterranean Region

Jul 22, 2021

While Mediterranean sea-crossings have partially decreased in recent years, mass flows of people towards European countries remain of strategic concern. In this context, migration, especially when undertaken through irregular and disorderly channels, has emerged as both a national security and a human security issue.


On-line Study Day: "Women's Role in De-Radicalization and Rehabilitation in the MENA region"

On-line Study Day: "Women's Role in De-Radicalization and Rehabilitation in the MENA region"

Jul 4, 2021

The Hub organized a study day to discuss best practices regarding women's roles in de-radicalization & rehabilitation in the MENA region. There has been an increasing awareness of the importance of roles that women play in de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes both within the public and private spheres. The study day investigated such roles, including the role of women in programmes for returnees, especially women who have participated or supported terrorist violence.


The Challenge of Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East Workshop Report

The Challenge of Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East Workshop Report

Jul 2, 2021

A workshop related to The Challenge of Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East was organized by the NATO Strategic Direction South (NSD-S) Hub on 31st March and 1st April 2021. This complex and cross-cutting project was organized in partnership with the NATO Defence College (NDC).


Joint Report on Terrorism in the Sahel

Joint Report on Terrorism in the Sahel

May 11, 2021

Following the complete analysis of a two-year period, a broader and more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of terrorism over time has been achieved, identifying new TVEO trends, capacity building and strategies in the Sahel region.


The spread of Al Shabaab. From Somalia to Kenya and beyond

The spread of Al Shabaab. From Somalia to Kenya and beyond

Apr 16, 2021

The international community has identified Al-Shabaab (AS) as a major threat to international security. The particular focus is on its established links to Al Qaeda (AQ) and the question of an AS expansion of its area of activities beyond Somalia into Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda and beyond. The widespread assumption within the international community has long been that, if left unchecked, AS would expand across the region and as such extend the global reach of its ally, AQ. The primary aim of this research project is to interrogate this widespread assumption.


The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Education and Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Education and Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Apr 15, 2021

This paper deals with the challenge of education, job skills development and youth unemployment over the next 30 years in Africa and the Middle East with a specific focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While this focus does not imply diminished importance of the youth bulge across Africa and the Middle East as a whole, it is intended to highlight the phenomenon where, for the next three decades, it is likely to be the most extreme and creating the greatest cause for concern, therefore being the most relevant for NATO.


The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Empowerment and Radicalisation

The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Empowerment and Radicalisation

Apr 15, 2021

The NSD-S Hub and The Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division of the African Union developed this paper to address the fact that, although the "Youth Bulge" is not a new phenomenon, over the past decade the youth population has demonstrated the power to reshape the political and security landscapes in Africa and the Middle East. The population growth, in combination with globalisation, and digitalisation in particular, has the potential for negative impact on the security environment in these regions and beyond. This is of growing importance since it has been assessed that by the end of the century the number of young people in Africa will be double the size of the entire European population.


The Challenge Of The Youth Bulge In Africa And The Middle East - Migration And The Brain Drain

The Challenge Of The Youth Bulge In Africa And The Middle East - Migration And The Brain Drain

Apr 15, 2021

This paper deals with indisputable fact that a Youth Bulge exacerbates the issues of migration and the brain drain, as unemployment threatens African youth and rampant poverty and inequalities still cloud the perspectives of those living where sound structural change has yet to take place. The lack of good quality job opportunities represents a severe challenge for Africa and the Middle East and, since many states fail to absorb the increasingly large youth population, more and more young people are resorting to migrating abroad permanently, since intra-Africa migration is often hindered by regional regulations on worker mobility. As many young people migrate towards Europe and America in search of better prospects, the "brain drain", namely the migration of engineers, physicians, scientists and other very highly skilled and educated professionals, becomes a particularly compelling issue.


Gulf of Guinea: Improving Maritime Security

Gulf of Guinea: Improving Maritime Security

Mar 1, 2021

The Gulf of Guinea (GoG) is an important geopolitical chokepoint for the shipping and transportation of oil extracted in the Niger delta, as well as for goods to and from central and southern Africa. Piracy, armed robbery at sea, illegal fishing, smuggling, and trafficking, pose a significant threat to maritime security in the GoG, and ultimately to the economic development of the entire region.


Counter-Terrorism - Best Practices in North Africa and the Sahel

Counter-Terrorism - Best Practices in North Africa and the Sahel

Feb 22, 2021

NATO Strategic Direction-South Hub ("the Hub") hosted a live online Webinar on 24 November, 2020 at which it engaged and learnt from African experts sharing regional experience and audience comments. The discussion examined the root causes of terrorism and radicalization, the challenges of dealing with them at domestic and regional levels and the best practices in the region.


WEBINAR: How do emerging and disruptive technologies shape the security agenda in the South?

WEBINAR: How do emerging and disruptive technologies shape the security agenda in the South?

Jan 15, 2021

Technological innovation and digital transformations brought the possibility of improving and change significantly the human condition in a short lap of time. It is expected that the near future will be marked by learning machines, artificial intelligence, edited genomes, autonomous systems , virtual stateless currencies, and private space travel. All this represents an incredible potential for human welfare. Nevertheless, these emerging and disruptive technologies represent also enormous challenges as well to nations and individuals.


Drivers of Radicalisation in the Sahel

Drivers of Radicalisation in the Sahel

Nov 30, 2020

Understanding the intricacies of radicalisation and the complex relationships between it and civilian populations is certainly necessary for the development of a comprehensive approach to it. The question of the role of religion in the radicalisation process is integral to this development, and therefore directly relevant to new and/or improved Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) measures. And the answer is perhaps not as clear as you might think.


5 recommendations for stemming the flow of Small Arms & Light Weapons

5 recommendations for stemming the flow of Small Arms & Light Weapons

Nov 26, 2020

As NATO is committed to addressing the flow of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) through legal and technical means and also via cultural, societal and functional methods, the Hub has collaborated with experts from across North and Sub-Saharan Africa to gain greater insight into this issue. In our discussions, 5 recommendations were identified.


"Victim" or "Security Threat": Gendered Narratives on Women Returnees to the MENA Region

Sep 3, 2020

The complex question of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their families returning from areas once controlled by DAESH is a high priority policy area for NATO members and its partners, particularly in the South. Of the at least 6,900 foreign women – some 3,000 from the MENA region – who are believed to have traveled to join DAESH in Syria and Iraq, it is unclear how many have actually returned to their home countries since the fall of the terrorist group’s last stronghold of Baghouz in 2019. What has happened to these women? Are they trying to return? What awaits them when they arrive?


NSD-S Hub Webinar africa's response to COVID-19

NSD-S Hub Webinar africa's response to COVID-19

Jun 15, 2020

NATO Strategic Direction South Hub (NSD-S Hub) and Three Stones International (TSI) collaborated to conduct a live online webinar on the 28 April, 2020, supplemented by secondary data review and an online survey, to better understand Africa’s response to COVID-19, and relative successes, challenges and recommendations for NATO’s contribution. The webinar dialogue and audience comments allowed the NSD-S Hub to engage and learn from African experts sharing regional experience from eight different countries. The discussion addressed COVID-19 preparedness and response across the African continent, including the overall impact on political, economic and social stability. While the panellists touched on matters related to the immediate impacts on health and wellbeing of citizens, they also addressed the long-term implications to trade, national and regional economies, political stability and regional cooperation. Additionally, the dialogue explored recommendations for support which African nations and NATO could employ both in pandemic response and post-pandemic recovery.


China's Relevance in the Security Domain in Africa and the Middle East

China's Relevance in the Security Domain in Africa and the Middle East

Jun 12, 2020

China’s involvement in Africa and the Middle East region is not new but it has significantly increased since the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. Globally, even though China remains behind other historical partners such as the USA or Europe, the growth rate of its engagement is far higher. The gradual erosion of the Chinese principle of non-intervention has led China to change its posture vis-à-vis other developing countries, shouldering its responsibilities to help and, in some cases, to act as a model.


NSD-S Hub Webinar Report Local Solutions to Combatting Human Trafficking

NSD-S Hub Webinar Report Local Solutions to Combatting Human Trafficking

May 21, 2020

On February 11, 2020 NATO’s Strategic Direction – South Hub (NSD-S Hub), in collaboration with Three Stones International (TSI), facilitated a webinar dialogue on the condition of trafficking in persons (TIP) and human smuggling in Africa. This live webinar, in conjunction with a secondary data review, and an online survey supported the NSD-S Hub’s research agenda regarding the promotion of political and economic stability in Africa. The webinar panelists were subject matter experts in the fields of human trafficking, smuggling, migration, and human rights. Additionally, data was collected via surveys from an additional 20 subject matter experts from 13 different African countries, which provided the NSD-S Hub with well-informed insight into the realities of TIP and human smuggling in Africa.


NSD-S HUB Migrations, Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking

NSD-S HUB Migrations, Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking

May 20, 2020

Over the last decade, mass and unregulated migration has sparked significant concerns in public opinion, particularly in Europe. While the number of new arrivals of migrants has sharply declined from its high of over one million in 2015, the movement and integration of those from across the Mediterranean remain today of major concern for Europe and, by extension, the Atlantic Alliance. Nonetheless, the development of a collective understanding among NATO members of the security implications of such migration for the wider Mediterranean region (including North Africa and Sahel) has not yet been achieved. Making the topic even more complex is the inclusion of the question of direct connections between migrants and terrorists in its framing of the issue.


NSD-S Hub Webinar Report Digital Technology in Africa - Opportunities and Obstacles

NSD-S Hub Webinar Report Digital Technology in Africa - Opportunities and Obstacles

Feb 25, 2020

A digital technology revolution has swept across the African continent over the last two decades, facilitating new business ventures and connecting the African people in ways never before possible. NATO Strategic Direction South Hub (NSD-S Hub), in collaboration with Three Stones International, arranged an online video conference with various subject matter experts from across Africa to discuss the challenges and opportunities of digital technology on the continent.


Regional Dynamics in the Gulf of Guinea

Regional Dynamics in the Gulf of Guinea

Feb 20, 2020

The Gulf of Guinea is one of the World’s richest yet still under-developed regions. It produces about 5 million barrels of oil per day and about 600 thousand tons of fish are caught every year. There are 1.2 million hectares of mangroves, large reserves of minerals and other natural resources such as gas, diamonds, gold and uranium as well as a very rich rain forest, accounting for 20% of the world’s total, which provides shelter and protection to a large portion of the World’s biodiversity. The region is also a major maritime highway for world trade which, considering the abundance of raw materials, further increases its relevance for rich and industrialised countries.


Russia’s Course of Action in Africa and the Middle East

Russia’s Course of Action in Africa and the Middle East

Jan 22, 2020

Russia’s increasing assertiveness in Africa and the Middle East can be seen both as a reaction to the economic and political containment regime enforced by western countries after the annexation of Crimea and as a further effort to improve its geopolitical standing, well beyond the near abroad where Moscow has been consistently advocating the idea of a "Russian world".


Energy Security in MENA: Challenges and Opportunities

Energy Security in MENA: Challenges and Opportunities

Jan 21, 2020

Until very recently, energy security had been considered a purely economic issue, whereas it is now understood to be a multi-dimensional concept made up of technical, economic, social, environmental and geo-political aspects. The absence of protection from or adaptability to threats caused by or having an effect on the energy supply chain’ is a commonly accepted definition.




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