The 2021 Middle East Directions (MEDirections) Annual Conference: “Where Do We Start? Designing Steps Towards a Regional Security System in the Persian Gulf” (20-21 May 2021) brought together scholars, researchers, practitioners, policymakers and a distinguished group of international experts to discuss options to design a cooperative security system in the Gulf region.
In response the conference's discussion, MEDirections released a series of seven videos dedicated to its Regional Security System Initiative, which endeavors to rethink security system in the Persian Gulf. "The Regional Security Initiative has the ambition to become a platform for research and a laboratory of ideas on fostering engagement between stakeholders and promoting gradual de-escalation and regional cooperation." Scroll below to learn more about each of the videos in the series:
1.) Why the Persian Gulf needs a regional security system | Luigi Narbone
In the first video of the series, Professor Luigi Narbone (Director of the Middle East Directions Programme) explains why there is a new window of opportunity to develop a concrete and sustainable regional security system in the Persian Gulf.
2.) How a cooperative security system building process should look like? | Abdolrasool Divsallar
Dr. Abdolrasool Divsallar (Co-Lead, Regional Security Initiative, Middle East Directions Programme), stresses three key points: 1) the need for the international community to build an agenda setting upon a comprehensive rationale for dialogue; 2) the frustrations and fears from demands of fundamental changes in defense and security policies; 3) the relevance of the domestic dimensions of regional policies, and the need to engage people through non-traditional security instruments such as cultural and religious talks, etc.
3.) How can the rationale for cooperation be created in the Persian Gulf? | Gawdat Bahgat
In this video, Professor Gawdat Bahgat (US National Defense University), discusses how the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) can represent a model to achieve the peace in the Middle East together with track-2 diplomacy.
4.) What would be the role of Europe in security system building in the Persian Gulf? | Silvia Colombo
Silvia Colombo (Research Fellow, Italian Institute of International Affairs - IAI), explains how Europe should work incrementally in security system building in the Persian Gulf region and follow the so-called 3 Cs: Coordination, Confidence-building, and Cooperation.
5.) Where & how can track-2 efforts play a role in regional security building attempts? | Riccardo Redaelli
Professor Riccardo Redaelli (Director, Center for Research on the Southern System and the Wider Mediterranean - CRiSSMA), exmaines how track-2 programs, despite their shortcomings and their limits, offer effective tools to foster channels of communication and create confidence.
6.) What’s the Russian view on obstacle to crisis management? | Andrey Kortunov
Andrey Kortunov (Director, Russian International Affairs Council - RIAC), points out the fundamental challenges related to integrating Iran in the multilateral security system without endorsing Iranian domination in such a system: the role the US might or might not play in the Gulf, and the lack of trust and communication between local actors as well as great powers who have stakes in the region.
7.) How are recent developments in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis impacting the Gulf? | Ross Harrison
Prof Ross Harrison (Director of Research at Middle East Institute - MEI), explains how the civil wars in the Middle East have turned the region into a conflict trap, which makes cooperation seem a distant and 'quixotic' dream. He contends that the degree to which recent developments in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis will impact prospects for cooperation in the broader Middle East will depend on whether the protest by Palestinians in the West Bank, and the Arabs living in Israel, become a repeated pattern, and whether violence between Hamas and Israel and Gaza recurs anytime soon.
Watch the full videos below.