No. 20

The Middle East: Shifting Roles, Interests and Alliances

  • 31 - 1 April 2015

Under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), and pursuant to the ECSSR’s mission to discuss the most important contemporary strategic issues at the local, regional and international levels, the Center convened its 20th Annual Conference under the title, “The Middle East: Shifting Roles, Interests and Alliances.” The Conference was aimed to offering a platform from which an integrated approach can be established to set priorities regarding the challenges facing the region. It also provided opportunities to explore future strategic trends and develop a comprehensive view of events at all levels in light of the rapid pace of current developments.

The conference hosted experts on domestic, regional and international issues, including officials, academics, strategic experts, media representatives and diplomats from the UAE and abroad. They exchanged ideas and opinion with a view to establishing common findings.

The conference was an ideal platform for conducting in-depth discussions during the course of its five specialized panels. The first panel explored the current political and strategic landscape in the Middle East, focusing on the changing interests and alliances among regional powers and those Arab countries which have recently witnessed major internal transformations; the present situation in these Arab countries; and the opportunities and challenges facing the international coalition against terrorism.

The second panel examined security threats in the Middle East; the future of the Arab nation-state in the face of non-state actors; the evolving thought and strategies of terrorist organizations; and the issue of religious and sectarian polarization in the region.

The third panel discussed regional and international balances in the Middle East; international relations and coalitions, and their implications for the region; the role of energy issues in shaping the strategy of regional and external powers; and Chinese influence on the balance of power in the Middle East.

The fourth panel explored the future political scene in the Arab world, opportunities and prospects for stability in Arab countries that have recently witnessed change, the role and future of collective Arab institutions and prospects for intra-Arab relations.

The fifth and final panel discussed the role of the GCC states in regional and international transformations.