With an increasingly isolationist United States reluctant to commit resources and keen to encourage regional powers to take a more active role, a vacuum has emerged that has emboldened regional actors to undertake a more aggressive foreign policy that has exacerbated regional conflicts and instability. Yemen remains embroiled in one of the worst humanitarian crises of modern times, Syria is mired in civil war, the GCC is riven with divisions that have led to an unprecedented blockade on Qatar, while Libya witnesses the rise of terrorist organisations and illegal migration in the midst of an as yet unsolvable civil strife.
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Where does Europe stand in the midst of these conflicts? What role does it play? Is there currently a unified approach? What role should it play? To what extent can Europe exert influence and encourage the pursuit of political processes conducive to resolving these crises and promoting greater stability and economic cooperation?
Seated dinner will follow
Our Moderator Adnan Tabatabai introducing the discussion: Unresolved crises in the Middle East affect Europe not only on refugee crisis.
Our speaker Sami Hamdi: Europe's 'neutral' approach to achieve peace inadvertently results in a policy of "equating victim with aggressor" which results in "rewarding aggressor" via 'concessions'.
Our speaker Dr Andreas Krieg: Very few people understand the Gulf region in-depth because it’s too far and there is no former colonial links.
Our panelist Julien Barnes-Dacey: The history of interventions in the Middle East made the situation worse. There is a need to use European mediating role to de-escalate crises and get long-term stability in the region.
Q & A session Reacting to our speakers’ interventions: A European pragmatic approach is needed in the Region We need regional solutions to the regional problems.
Sami Hamdi is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Interest. An experienced geopolitical risk consultant, Sami advises blue-chip clients and global entities around the world on highly volatile business environments in the Middle East as well as the geopolitical dynamics.
Sami is a regular commentator on Aljazeera, TRT World, CGTN and RT and other media outlets.
Dr Andreas Krieg
Andreas Krieg is an assistant professor for Defence Studies at King’s College London currently seconded to the UK Defence Academy. In his research Andreas has combined his regional expertise of the Middle East with the wider field of Security Studies. He has looked at violent non-state actors and unconventional means of warfare in the 21st century. As an expert for Middle East security more generally and Gulf security in particular, Andreas has employed his regional and subject-related expertise providing strategic and operational risk consultancy to a variety of commercial and governmental organizations operating in the MENA region. He most recently published a book with Palgrave titled ‘Socio-Political Order and Security in the Arab World’. He has a book forthcoming with Georgetown University Press titled ‘Surrogate Warfare - The Transformation of War in the 21st Century’ and an edited volume with Palgrave called ‘Divided Gulf - The Anatomy of a Crisis’.
Adnan Tabatabai is co-founder and CEO of the Germany based think tank CARPO - Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient. As an Iran analyst, Tabatabai is consulted by European policymakers and businesses on Iran‘s domestic and foreign affairs. He regularly appears in international media to provide commentary and analysis on Iran and the Middle East. Through CARPO and in partnership with other organizations, Tabatabai has conducted various dialogue initiatives on track 2 and civil society levels dealing with the region of West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. He holds an assigned lectureship at the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf and is author of the German book “Morgen in Iran - die Islamische Republik im Aufbruch“ (Oct 2016, Edition Koerber-Stiftung).
Julien Barnes-Dacey is Director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). He was previously based as a journalist in Egypt and Syria, writing for publications including the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. He also headed the MENA practice at Control Risks, a private sector political consultancy.
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