Panel 1. “The Middle Eastern Paradigm of Conflict: Only One Solution is Impossible”

Panel 1. “The Middle Eastern Paradigm of Conflict: Only One Solution is Impossible”

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is witnessing the simultaneous development of several differing conflicts, with a number of external actors involved. In Syria, perhaps the most visible conflict in the region, territorial integrity remains fragile, and a de facto fragmentation of the country has already taken place. Regaining IS-held territory does not equal victory over that organisation. Longer-term solutions are also needed to prevent the emergence of new terrorist groups based on similar ideologies. The dynamics of Shia-Sunni relations, both at regional and national levels are key to many of the conflicts in the MENA region. The development of the ‘Kurdish issue’ continues to raise issues of sovereignty and the principles of building stable inter-ethnic relations within different groups. The international community is struggling with how to respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Across the region, foreign actors play central roles ranging from economic support to direct violation of state sovereignty. Panel participants will discuss possible development scenarios and alternatives in MENA countries.

Main points for Panel Discussion

  1. What are the red lines for interference in MENA states’ internal affairs?
  2. Can external actors cooperate?
  3. What is the future for the Kurds in Syria and Iraq?
  4. What can be done to prevent the spread of Islamic extremism?
  5. Can Shia-Sunni differences be settled through inter-faith dialogue alone?
  6. What are prerequisites for a new round of attempts to address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?
  7. What needs to be done to see a consensus governance model develop in Syria capable of leading reconstruction, ensuring stability and effecting sustainable development?