IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsIPI Panel Discusses Expectations for Middle East, North Africa

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IPI Panel Discusses Expectations for Middle East, North Africa

On August 28, IPI hosted a panel entitled “Arab Spring: A Revolution of Expectations” at the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach (in Tyrol, Austria). The panel, chaired by IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen, discussed expectations for the future of the Middle East and North Africa after the dramatic uprisings of early 2011, as well as ongoing turmoil in Syria. 

While panelists were optimistic for the region in the long term, the danger of counterrevolution was raised, as was the need for a regional mechanism to promote security and cooperation.

Panel members included Amr Nabil Hamzawy, Egyptian academic and Member of Parliament; the Jordanian journalist and analyst Lina Ejeilat; Faisal Bin Muaammar, Acting Secretary-General of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural dialogue in Vienna; as well as IPI Senior Fellow Abdullah Alsaidi, the former Permanent Representative of the Republic of Yemen to the United Nations.

The President of IPI began with a PowerPoint presentation, highlighting some of the trends in the post-revolutionary period, recent opinion polls, and socio-economic indicators that show the current fragility of the situation.  

In a lively and open exchange in front of an audience of around two hundred people, panelists discussed how the former “autocratic stability” of the region has been replaced by a much more fluid and unpredictable situation. While there is still hope for the future, several participants noted a certain post-revolution fatigue and expressed concern that expectations that had been so high just eighteen months ago had not been fulfilled.

Concerns about regional instability as a result of the spillover of the conflict in Syria were raised. The panel also discussed the role of regional powers like Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as the impact of external powers.

The precedent of past revolutions was debated. It was noted that unlike in 1848, in 1989/90 there were strong Euro-Atlantic institutions (like the EU, NATO and CSCE) to assist the process of post-revolutionary transition. The need for a regional mechanism in the Middle East and North Africa was highlighted.

Participants stressed the need for dialogue between ethnic and religious groups and among political parties. Creating a more effective balance between religion and politics was also underlined.

The general conclusion is that the road ahead will be bumpy, but, as one participant put it, “There is no turning back”.

Related media coverage:

In English:
European Forum Alpbach News, August 28-29, 2012

In German:
Tiroler Tageszeitung, August 22, 2012
Tiroler Tageszeitung, August 29, 2012
Der Standard, September 1, 2012

 

 

 

The Global Observatory

Can Election Winner Rousseff Mend a Divided Brazil?
President Rousseff’s challenge will be to boost Brazil’s economy while maintaining national unity.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 27, 2014
Peacekeeping and the OSCE
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deployed a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of some 250 civilian international observers.

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

View More