The 10th AlJazeera Forum: Regional and International Struggle in the Middle East
Session 1: Regional Struggle and its Sectarian, Political & Geopolitical Implications
The Middle East is experiencing conflict at various levels with an unprecedented struggle between regional powers and agendas. Several states are on the brink of collapse, unable to extend their authority and maintain territorial integrity, with new sub-state and super-state actors competing with them over sovereignty and control of territories, borders and resources. In light of escalating struggle, the regional balance of power will be altered according to changing alliances and interests. In this context, the region is being reshaped after a century of relative stability. This session will address the different forms of regional struggle across the Middle East, and will examine their multiple dimensions as well as sectarian, political and geopolitical implications.
Session 2: International Struggle over the Middle East: 100 Years after Sykes-Picot
The regional crisis is becoming more intense and complex as the region marks one century after the Sykes-Picot Agreement that produced the first draft map of the post-World War I Middle East. The change movement of the Arab Spring, along with the ebbs and flows of revolution and counter-revolution, uncovered this crisis and pushed it to the surface after decades of invisibility. However, in contrast to the era in which the fate of the region and its peoples was determined in closed Western negotiation rooms, today the Middle East is an open arena for conflict between regional and international powers as well as non-state actors. This session will address the nature of the international powers involved in the Middle East struggle and examine their roles and plans a hundred years after Sykes-Picot.
Session 3: Where is the Middle East Headed in Light of its Current Situation?
In this turbulent, chaotic and uncertain regional context, the absence of a shared vision for the future that liberates the Middle East and its people from internal tyranny and foreign dependence seems to be the only prevailing reality. Conflicting agendas and priorities of national, regional and international powers compete at all levels. Those who call for a continued war on terrorism support authoritarian regimes under the pretext of stability and the reinforcement of state authority. Other powers support peoples’ demands for freedom and democracy, and still others suppress and impede change. All of this provides fertile ground for continued crisis and the outbreak of ethnic, cultural and sectarian conflicts. This session addresses where the Middle East is heading in the context of its current state.
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