As part of its global strategy and forward-looking vision, TRENDS Research and Advisory, in collaboration with the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative of the Atlantic Council, is organising its first annual conference entitled: “Middle East Security in a Changing World: Building a Sustainable Regional Security System”. The conference will be held on Tuesday, November 2 through Wednesday, November 3, at the headquarters of the Atlantic Council in Washington, USA.

The conference comes within TRENDS’ research work plan for the year 2021, and within the framework of TRENDS’ directions and global mission. The conference will host over 35 experts, distinguished personalities and prominent political figures from the Middle East, the United States of America, Europe and Asia.

The Atlantic Council is an influential think tank in the field of international affairs, and provides forums for politicians, businessmen and global thinkers. It also manages ten regional centers and functional programs related to international security and global economic prosperity. Its headquarters is located in Washington D.C., USA.

Six main topics

The two-day conference will address six main topics. The first topic, “Redefining Middle East Security in an Era of Transition: A 20-Year Vision”, will address the main threats likely to affect the region over the next two decades, and review the links between the prospects for collective security governance, state failure, extremist ideologies, regional economic cooperation, energy, and climate change.

The second topic, “Confronting Violent Extremism and Terrorism in the Middle East”, will deal with the persistent threat posed by sub-state groups and transnational ideologies that seek to undermine the current regional and state system. This theme will also discuss efforts to fight terrorism and extremism in the Middle East, key governance challenges confronting the region, the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban, and existing and potential inter-state cooperation on the issue of combating violent extremism.

The third topic, “The Future of Middle East Security: International Priorities”, will discuss shifting global politics and its impact on regional security dynamics, focusing on US, Chinese, Russian, and European responses.

Building a sustainable security system

The fourth topic, “The GCC Perspective on Building a Sustainable Regional Security Order”, will discuss shifting global politics and its impact on regional security dynamics, focusing on regional and local responses.

The fifth topic, “New Diplomatic Initiatives in the Region: The Quest for Stable Alliances”, will focus on recent regional diplomatic initiatives, including taking stock of the Abraham Accords one year since their signing, as well as the trajectories for peace and security in the ever-evolving geopolitical context of the region.

The sixth topic, “Beyond Regional Security: New Perspectives and Future Visions for Human Security”, will examine some emerging themes and trends that may shape future regional security. The intent is to discuss new and original perspectives to further inform policy recommendations for policymakers in the United States and the Gulf states.

Analysis of global developments

Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali, CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory, stressed that TRENDS’ first annual conference, entitled “Middle East Security in a Changing World: Building a Sustainable Regional Security System”, stands as an affirmation of TRENDS’ continuous communication with global research institutions, and comes in line with its global strategy aimed at studying and analyzing global strategic developments and understanding the latest developments in regional and international issues.

Al-Ali added that, by organizing this conference, TRENDS aims to serve as a bridge for knowledge transfer and academic communication between the most prominent research and study centers in the region and the world, as well as predict future international crises and issues and develop perceptions and proposals that will aid decision makers in determining the best course of action to take.

Regional security challenges

Dr. Mohammed Al-Ali emphasized that the conference comes at a time when the Middle East region is witnessing major repercussions in terms of regional security and stability, and that while some of those changes originate from within the region, others are related to broader transformations on a global scale, such as the aftereffects of the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging technologies. He added that in the past years, the region has nevertheless witnessed an improvement in terms of its security situation and its development environment.

Al-Ali also pointed out that with the decline of civil conflicts, the defeat of the Islamic State Organization (ISIS), and the signing of the Abraham Peace Agreement, new opportunities for regional peace and stability have been generated, but that there are still many challenges to achieving sustainable regional security. He added that the conference would be discussing these challenges in detail alongside the effects of rapid technological transformations, obstacles to development, and the various policies of regional and international powers on the future of security in the Middle East.

31 October 2021