(11:00-12:00) Opening session and main speeches
(12:00-13:30) Session 1: A year since the start of the Gulf crisis: outcomes and potential courses
Nearly a year has passed since the start of the Gulf crisis on 5 June 2017 with a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar initiated by a media campaign executed by the besieging countries. Despite Kuwait’s concentrated diplomatic efforts and the support of regional and international positions, the crisis still faces a standstill, continues to drain inter-Gulf relations and lowers the capital of the Arab Gulf both regionally and globally. The crisis between the Arab Gulf countries has affected the whole regional situation and has resulted in the formation of alignments and alliances of differing objectives and opposite agendas. It has created new power relations that will be difficult to surpass in the near future. The objective of this session is to review the outcomes of the Gulf Crisis and forecast developments in light of efforts to resolve it and the challenges hindering these efforts.
- Majed Al Ansari, Professor of Political Sociology at Qatar University and Researcher at the the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI)
- Abdulla Al Ghailani, Professor of Social Sciences at Oman Medical College
- Faisal Abu Sulaib, Associate Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University
- Cinzia Bianco, Senior Analyst at Gulf State Analytics
- Mohamed Si Bachir, Professor of Political Science at the L'Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Sciences Politiques
(13:30-14:30) Lunch break and book signing, Asylum in Islamic Tradition and the System of International and Arab Law
(14:30-16:00) Session 2:Iran and the Gulf between cooperation, competition and confrontation
While Iran has surfaced as one of the main elements of the current Gulf Crisis, its relations with Arab Gulf countries were turbulent and dominated by mutual tension and suspicion rather than cooperation and common action for many decades. Crisis in various parts of the Middle East have exposed the features of the tension, which has escalated at times to military conflict. Due to the amount and scope of regional crises, the possibility of resolution is unforeseeable. Troubled relations between Iran and its Arab neighbours will remain an essential factor of instability and a source of threat to the region’s security, development and prosperity. Will it be possible for the hostile relations and power struggle to become friendly relations based on cooperation, coordination and work toward common regional destiny? This will be discussed and analysed during the second session.
- Kayhan Barzegar, Director of the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies (CMESS) in Tehran
- Abdullah Basil Hussein, Deputy Director of the Iraqi Center for Research and Strategic Studies in Amman
- Abdul Karim Aslami, Yemeni parliamentarian
- Fatima Alsmadi, Senior Researcher at Al Jazeera Center for Studies and the Head of Iranian Studies
- Boris Zala, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament
(16:00-16:30) Coffee break and book signing, Covering the Stories of Refugees
(16:30-18:00) Session 3: Will socio-economic difficulties in the Arab world explode into a new wave of change in the region?
More than eight years have passed since the beginning of the Arab Spring revolutions. The main demands of these revolutions were employment, development and social justice. However, despite the rapid changes witnessed by the region during these past years, social and economic conditions are worsening continuously with warnings of new waves of popular movements and protests. This is also the case in countries in which the movement of change continued to develop, even if it did so at a rough pace, and countries that experienced counter-revolutions in the form of military coups, the spread of chaos and sectarian and tribal conflicts through repeated attempts to restore the status quo. Even the countries that were not part of the first wave of revolutions seem to be prone to spontaneous social eruptions. Is the region really advancing towards a new wave of change? What are the political and geopolitical reflections of this wave of change should it happen?
- Mohamed Mahjoub Haroon, Professor of Social Science at the University of Khartoum
- Hmoud Al-Olimat, Professor of Sociology at Qatar University
- Abdullah Baabood, Omani academic and researcher and the former director of the Centre for Gulf Studies at Qatar University
- Niccolò Rinaldi, Vice-President for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA)
Parallel session: Covering Refugee Stories : Immersive Storytelling (organised by Al Jazeera Media Institute)
(20:00-22:00) Gala dinner and keynote speeches by Dr. Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Network, and Clare Short, Former UK Secretary of State for International Development
(9:00 - 10:30) Session 4: The Middle East amid changing regional and global alliances
The crises and conflicts that erupted during the past number of years – with the Gulf crisis being the most recent – cover almost the entire Middle East, creating a high level of political and strategic liquidity. Accordingly, relations between the region’s countries have witnessed great changes, thus reshaping the features of the general scene and forming regional and global alliances that will not settle on a final form in the near future. Rapid changes rocking the Middle East hinder stability, increase sources of threat and make current regional and global alliances temporary and fragile arrangements open to all options. Where is the Middle East heading amid these transformations and changing alliances?
- Abdullah Al Shayji, Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Kuwait University
- Galip Dalay, Research Director at Al Sharq Forum and Senior Associate Fellow at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies
- Mohamad Hosam Hafez, Assistant Professor at the College of Law at Qatar University
- Elahe Kolaie, Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Central Eurasia Research Department Centre at the University of Tehran
- Leonid Issaev, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the National Research University Higher School of Economics
(10:30-11:00) Coffee break
(11:00-12:30) Session 5: The Palestinian cause following US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the “deal of the century”
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel led to a wave of popular resentment, provided a new push in diplomacy and reintroduced the Palestinian cause to debate on the Arab and Islamic fronts and at the level of regional and global organisations and agencies. The Palestinian cause has always been the central cause for Arabs and has dominated Arab policies and shaped Arab relations with others for decades. It seemed that interest in this cause had deteriorated amid the Arab Spring and the various regional crises. However, it has now returned to the surface under the title “the deal of the century”. With it, all of the portfolios that had not been resolved by negotiations since Oslo and Madrid have been reopened. What are the ramifications of the U.S. decision on Jerusalem? How will this decision affect the issues of peace, Jerusalem, refugees and the two-state solution? What are the nature and limits of the roles played by the parties involved in the arrangements of this “deal of the century”?
- Ilan Pappe, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter
- Mohsen Saleh, Director General of Al-Zaytouna Center for Studies in Beirut
- Hani Al-Masri, Director General and Co-Founder of the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies (Masarat)
- David Martin, British Labour Party politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland
(14:00-15:30) Session 6: The media during times of crisis and transitional stages
While the media covers crises, conflicts and wars; narrates events and puts their developments and trajectories into frameworks; and relays the perspectives of the parties involve in them; it also sheds light on the human dimension. This is the core of humanitarian work.
The politicisation of media usually exacerbates crises and conflicts, especially if news fabrication is applied to create an artificial political situation that conflicts with reality in order to impact political positions, decisions and courses. This in turn threatens security, peace and stability, and negatively affects human conditions.
What are the key purposes of the media during crises, conflicts and wars? What are the values that govern media and humanitarian work?
- Yehia Ghanem, Managing Editor of Al-Ahram International and Supervisor of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism Network (ARIJ)
- Purnaka de Silva, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Democracy (ISSD) in Malta
- Elsadig Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim, President of the Sudanese Journalists General Union
- Abdulwaheed Odusile, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ)
- John Yearwood, Director of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI) and President and CEO of Yearwood Media Group
(15:30-16:00) Coffee break
(16:00-17:30) Session 7: Prospective scenarios facing the Middle East
This session will review the key ideas discussed in prior sessions from a futuristic perspective. Where is the Gulf Crisis headed to? Could the ‘deal of the century’ be a fair solution to and a permanent settlement for to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
On what basis will the countries destroyed by wars and internal conflicts like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, be rebuilt if the current regional and international enterprises persist? Could the countries that witness crises and social tension maintain their political stability or we are headed toward a new wave of change?
How can the expected scenarios be dealt with? Will the region develop its own vision for the future or will the region continue to be directed by foreign interests and agendas?
- Basheer Nafi, Professor of Middle East History and Senior Researcher at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies
- Mohamed Jemil Ould Mansour, Chairman of the National Rally for Reform and Development in Mauritania (Tawassoul)
- Abdul Aziz Al Ishaq, Qatari journalist at Al Raya and Columnist at Saqr Magazine
- Saif Eddin Abdel Fattah, Professor of Political Science specialising in Political Theory and Islamic Political Thought
(17:30) Closing session