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an audience of around two hundred people, panelists discussed how the former “autocratic stability” of the region has been replaced by a much more fluid and unpredictable situation.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

India-US Cooperation Grows With Obama Visit
The visit is particularly important for efforts related to stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

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

2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, 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

January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.

January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”

December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.

View More