Analysis by: Erzsébet N. Rózsa and Viktor Marsai.
In the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has never played a crucial role. During the Cold War NATO focused its attention on Eastern and Central, and partly Southern, Europe. After the collapse of the bipolar world order and the dissolution of the big enemy, the Soviet Union, the Alliance had to re-orient its tasks, and while according to its strategic concept accepted in Washington in 1999, NATO has remained the main guard of Euro-Atlantic security, the Organization has found its new function in crisis management operations. It must be underlined, however, that by these steps NATO had not discovered any new instrument, and the Alliance legitimised its running operations in the Balkans only. The participation in the termination of the 1991–95 war and the Kosovo crisis has contributed to the strengthening of Euro-Atlantic security, and it meant no radical change in NATO’s Europe-centred security perception.