The “Regional and International Scope of Conflict in the Arab World” panel session started promptly after the third key note speech of the morning.
Tawakkul Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from Yemen, spoke of the importance of organisations like Al Jazeera in giving voice to the voiceless. Karman also underscored the determination of Arabs for success and the ways in which success is accomplished in all aspects of the region.
The idea of the Arab Spring came up in Karman’s speech. She said, “When people ask if there is ever an Arab Spring, our answer is always yes! There is an Arab Spring.” She went on to say that the Arab Spring is testing who has the strongest resilience and durability to achieve the full Arab Spring. Karman added that the region must work together to put an end to conflict.
“The Arab Spring or more the Arab Awakening is about justice,” said Nikolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Mladenov spoke about the false sense of stability that the Arab regimes demonstrated in the past. Mladenov added that people fail to recognise that the Arab region in itself is a key player in the power game and not the countries in it necessarily. “To help the Arab world, we need to fix or strengthen the institutions of the regions,” he said.
Ayman Nour, founder of El Ghad Party in Egypt, started his speech challenging the title of the forum, saying that in the Arab world, change comes first and then comes the conflict and struggles of dealing with it. He spoke about the change being the vehicle and not the goal using the romanticism of the Arabs to the idea of revolutions. “We did not realise that our romanticised dreams were hit with reality” in approaching the “new east” that we wanted to believe in.”
Khalid Salah, the head of media relations for the Syrian National Coalition, said that the essential problem lies in the mentality of the country that believes in the change that will magically happen rather than being actively achieved.
Hassan Ahmadian, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research in Iran, talked about four pillars important to this region: reducing regional dynamism; preserving the status-quo in the Middle East; creating a win-win situation in the Middle East with a constructive cooperation plan for the entire region; and diffusion of “Iranophobia”.