> 1, 2011 > NATO Partnerships and the Arab Spring

Isabelle Francois
NATO Partnerships and the Arab Spring


21 2011

In November 2010, heads of state and government at the Lisbon Summit called for a “streamlining” of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partnerships. In early 2011, the Alliance developed a more flexible and efficient partnership policy. It did so in accordance with the Lisbon tasking, and prepared simultaneously for a new mission, with contributions from several partner countries, as events unfolded in Libya. These developments involved significant NATO consultation with partner countries.

This July 2011 paper highlights the synergy between the new policy and NATO’s response to the Libyan crisis. It points to some of the challenges facing the Alliance in the context of Operation Unified Protector, and in further developing NATO partnerships with countries south of the Mediterranean. The paper, written well before fast-moving political and military events significantly altered the situation in Libya, offers recommendations in preparation for the next NATO summit so as to make best use of Alliance partnerships if the Allies decide to build on the Libyan operation and develop a new strategic direction in the face of the tumultuous political transition in the Arab world south of the Mediterranean.