Afro-Middle East Centre & Al Sharq Forum
ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ
Towards a New Security Architecture
for the MENA Region


18-19 March , Istanbul - Turkey
■ Simultaneous translation will be available in Turkish, Arabic and English
■ Konferansımızda Türkçe, İngilizce ve Arapça simültane çeviri olacaktır
■ الترجمة الفورية ستكون متاحة باللغات: الانجليزيه، التركية، والعربية

 

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Conference Description

The collapse of regional order has made the security failures of the Sharq region ever more apparent. State failures, violent extremism, the emergence of militia groups as prevalent regional forces, chemical warfare, and the arms race are among the security problems, which call for the development of a new security architecture for the MENA region.

The phenomenon of the failed state as witnessed in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya triggered the rise of violent extremism and militia forces as new security apparatuses in the region. The legitimacy concerns surrounding non-state actors, given their prevalent terrorist actions across the region, make determining legitimate actors of the new security architecture even harder.  The long-standing crises the region has been suffering seem to have created support for autocratic regimes and whether the foreign powers favored these regimes is an issue that should be discussed.  In efforts to map the road ahead for establishing the new security architecture, the role of international powers is of paramount importance especially in the issue of implementing economic and political cooperation. Additionally, the regional leadership is needed in consolidating counter-terrorism efforts without resorting to proxies to end sectarian divisions in framing this new structure.

The region witnessed change in the nature of security apparatuses and the nature of conflicts. Energy resources, nuclear efforts, technological developments, and even social media became sources of conflict, let alone the emergence of new characteristics in warfare and type of militarization. In order to determine a well-functioning new security architecture, understanding the nature of conflicts is a must. Yet, amid this surge of conflict, the issue of human rights and its importance in the new security architecture should not be overlooked. Peoples of the region have deeply suffered from the use of chemical weapons, asymmetrical force and continue to be exposed to surveillance that overrides the right to privacy. To find solutions to breach of rights, the integration of human rights into this structure through international and regional conventions should be debated. The new security architecture also needs to lay grounds for law enforcement in complying with human rights and citizenship rights in the region. The role of regional and international multilateral organizations is another point of debate. The new structure need to assess the role that global institutions such as the UN, UN related bodies, NATO, OSCE and regional institutions including the Arab League, the OIC and the GCC should play in the region.

This conference organized by the Al Shaq Forum and Afro Middle East Center (AMEC) partnership will bring together experts, policymakers, and current and former officials, as well as representatives of international agencies, to share new perspectives and provide new insights on the aforementioned security issues in order to suggest frameworks for a new security architecture in the MENA region.

 

Hosted by AMEC and Al Sharq Forum

Date: 18-19 March 2017

Place:  Istanbul, Turkey.

Register: Register here.

Concept:

The collapse of regional order has made the security failures of the Sharq region ever more apparent. State failures, violent extremism, the emergence of militia groups as central regional forces, chemical warfare, and the arms race are among the security problems of the region which call for the development of a new security architecture for the MENA. This conference will bring together experts, policymakers, and current and former officials, as well as representatives of international agencies, to share their perspectives and provide new insights on current security issues and suggest frameworks for a new security architecture in the region.

Programme:

Plenary 1 – Session 1
The collapsing regional order and the need for a new security architecture for the MENA region

 
 
  • The failed state phenomenon, terrorism and the emergence of militia forces as the new security and military apparatus in the region
  • Dictatorship vs. democracy: Are the long-standing crises in the region creating the backing for autocratic regimes?
  • The role of foreign interventions and foreign involvement in the collapsing security order in the region: direct military operations and indirect involvement (e.g. political, financial and military aid)
  • What is the role of military alliances and aid in fueling current military conflicts and security dilemmas in the region?
  • What should be the pillars of the new security architecture?: Economic, military and/or political cooperation?
Parallel Session 1
Determining the actors of the new security architecture
 
  • Who are the legitimate state actors?: Questions of the legitimate use of force and state terrorism in defining actors within the new security architecture
  • Defining legitimate non-state actors:

a) The problems associated with the legalization of non-state militia groups

b) The unlawful characteristics of militias as barriers for legitimization: terrorist acts committed by militia groups across the region

c) What should be the balance between the integration and elimination of militia groups vis a vis the new security architecture?

  • Defining stateless actors: long-term stateless actors as governing bodies
Parallel Session 2
The role of regional and international multilateral organizations in the  new security architecture
 
  • What can the Arab League, the OIC, the Maghreb Union, the GCC and the African Union offerthe new security architecture in the region?
  • What can the UN and other related bodies offer the new security architecture?
  • Can NATO, OSCE or the EU provide frameworks for the new architecture?
  • Can multilateral organizations help prevent the use of armed groups as proxy war and foreign policy tools in the region?
Parallel Session 3
The changing nature of conflicts in the region
 
  • What are the changing characteristics of war and militarization in the region:
  • The impact of the demand for a particular type of military equipment and training due to the increasing threat of civil wars, coups and internal conflicts
  • Porous borders and cross-border military entities
  • Energy resources as war targets and sources of war funding
  • Nuclear military capacity in the region: how to ensure nuclear non-proliferation within the new security architecture
  • How illicit arms trade interests in the region affect current crises and how to bring rules and standards to the arms trade in the region
  • The role of social media in recruitment for terrorism and disseminating the fear of terrorism
  • The impact of the use of unmanned devices (drones, UAVs, etc.) in the region
Parallel Session 4
Human rights and the new security architecture
 
  •  The tragedy of chemical warfare: preventing the use of chemical weapons in regional conflicts
  • How can we integrate human rights into the new security structure?: The role of international conventions and the need for drafting regional conventions
  • What can be the mechanisms to enforce human rights in the new security architecture?
  • How to determine the moral and ethical pillars of the new security architecture in the region?
  • Where is the line between lawful surveillance and the invasion of the right to privacy?
Final Session – Plenary Session 2
Mapping the new security architecture: the road ahead
 
  • Which states, actors and organizations should/could be at the nucleus of the new architecture?
  • How essential are economic and political cooperation as complementary efforts towards the new security architecture?
  • What role can international powers take in the new architecture?
  • What are the ways to end the sectarian divide under this new security framework?
  • How can we prevent the use of non-state actors as proxy war and foreign policy tools?
  • How can we create effective counter-terrorism efforts within the new security architecture?: Consolidating counter-terrorism efforts under regional leadership

President Donald Trump's first few days in office have sparked global shock and outrage following the signing of several executive orders; the one that sparked the most outcries at the weekend was the suspension of refugee arrivals and barring visas for travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. However Israeli ministers have, so far, kept quite over these 'drastic' changes. Trump believes he has the best interests of Americans at heart, however, many say that these political moves are fueling anger and hate, and may even cause severe conflicts... To enlighten us from a Middle Eastern perspective, joining us in studio is Senior Researcher at the Afro-Middle East Centre, Ebrahim Deen

South Africa will attend a Middle East conference in Paris next month to take part in facilitating a two state solution. This emerged from a meeting between President Jacob Zuma and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas in Pretoria.

Buy your copy now

Written while the euphoria of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) uprisings was still palpable, this is a collection by an international mix of respected academics and active political roleplayers who reflect on the changing face of the MENA region since the end of 2010. The book examines the theoretical frameworks within which the uprisings and the movements for and towards democracy in the region might be situated; and chronicles and analyses the uprisings in the various countries where they occurred, their causes, the role of external actors, and the impact of the uprisings on the African continent.AMEC book: MENA uprisings and transformations and their impact on Africa

Carefully focusing on different countries, while not ignoring the regional tapestry which served as a background for the uprisings, this book presents a fascinating and thoughtful look at one of the most exciting – albeit brief – periods in the MENA region in recent times.

Contributors:

Ahmed Abd Rabou, Ashur Shamis, Daryl Glaser, Ebrahim Ebrahim, Ebrahim Shabbir Deen, Francis Nguendi Ikome, Garth le Pere, Hadi Enayat, Houchang E Chehabi, Lutfi Zaitoun, Na’eem Jeenah, Phyllis Bennis, Yahia H Zoubir

Chapters:

Part One MENA UPRISINGS: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES

Transitions, revolutions, and democratisations: Conceptual clarifications - Houchang E Chehabi

The long road from revolution to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa: Challenges and threats facing states in transition - Garth le Pere

Part Two THREE YEARS OF UPRISINGS: POLITICAL ACTIONS AND ACTORS

Springs and winters: Interventions and interferences in the Arab uprisings - Phyllis Bennis

‘Islamists’ above ground and poised to lead: A Libyan Islamist perspective - Ashur Shamis

Islamist re-awakening in Egypt: From opposition movements to ruling parties - Ahmed Abd Rabou

Law and the judicialisation of politics in the Egyptian revolution - Hadi Enayat

Egyptian liberals in the struggle for and against democracy - Daryl Glaser

The Tunisian intifada and the way forward - Lutfi Zaitoun

Consequences of Ennahda’s relative weakness in Tunisia: Problematising negotiated revolutions - Ebrahim Shabbir Deen

The Arab uprisings: Is Algeria exceptional? - Yahia H Zoubir

Part Three MENA AND THE REST OF AFRICA

After Gaddafi and Mubarak: A new role for North Africa in the African Union - Francis Nguendi Ikome

Lessons from South Africa’s reconciliation process for post-uprising states - Na’eem Jeenah and Ebrahim Shabbir Deen

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