Inside The Middle East
Center for Executive Education, the Brookings Institution (BCEE)
Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS)
March 4-8, 2007
Saturday 3 March 2007
Welcome reception and Dinner by Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies and Center for Executive Education, the Brookings Institution at Cairo Sheraton Hotel, Nefertiti Meeting Room on the 23rd floor at the Nefertiti tower.
Sunday 4 March 2007:
Introduction to the Seminar
Abdel Monem Said, Director ACPSS
Peter Schoettle, Senior Staff, the Brookings Institution
What Is Happening in the Middle East?
The Middle East has been undergoing a strong wave of instability. Wars have erupted and escalating tensions on the state and regional level have splashed through out the region. This session is an overview of the existing crises in the Middle East. The session shall tackle the latest developments and try to understand what and why is this happening in the Middle East?
Dr. Abdel Monem Said Aly, Director of Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies
Regional Security Framework: Challenges and Prospects
The Middle East lacks until now a regional security framework for the region. Although multilateral talks between regional members have taken place, yet parties have failed to sustain these dialogues on security issues. The State of Arab League was not sufficient enough to build this frame work since it isn't inclusive to other regional members. This session will shed light on efforts to develop a security framework for the region and obstacles that still prevent it from coming to existence?
Dr. Mohamed Kadri Said, Military Advisor to Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Failing States and Non State Actors in the Middle East
Failing States have tremendous repercussions on the security and stability of the region. The Middle East today witnesses more than one candidate that falls in the category of the failing states. Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and the Palestinian Authority can all be attached to this category. How does failing states affect the security of the region? The diminishing role of the regional powers and the rising role of non-state actors in the Middle East have been also a major dimension of regional the politics. Leading non state actors like Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, Hizbollah in Lebanon, Courts in Somalia have all been leading political forces in their states and the region in general, challenging the legitimacy of the status quo. Non state actors have been vigorous in the efforts to change the region. This session explores the politics of non-state actors, what is their agenda and how are they pursuing it, who support these forces domestically and regionally.
Dr. Gamal Abdel Gawad, Associate Professor at American University in Cairo and Head of International Relations Unit at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Mahmoud, Editor in Chief of Strategic Papers, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Nuclear Race in the Middle East
The Israeli Nuclear Arsenal and the Iranian policy to pursue nuclear weapon have heated up a race for nuclear technology in the region. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E are considering peaceful nuclear options. What are the implications of the nuclear race on the stability of the region from a geo strategic perspective?
Dr. Sayed Bahey Eldin, Member of Advisory Group for Director General of IAEA for Atomic Safety.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel Salam, Head of Regional Security Program, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Monday 5 March 2007
Regional and Global Terrorism
Al Qaida and the U.S are in a state of war since the September attacks 2001. The session shall explore the latest developments concerning terrorist networks in the region, is it still gaining ground or is it diminishing?
Mr. Diaa Rashwan, Head of Comparative Politics Unit, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies
Iran's Role in the Middle East: An Arab Perspective
No doubt that Iran Nuclear policy has attracted a lot of attention. What are the goals underlying these policies. What does Iran want out of today's Iraq? What is the factual policy of Iran towards the Gulf States and the Middle East in general? Is Iran a threat to the political, social and religious stability of the region or is it a stabilizing factor?
H.E. Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
(This session will take place at the League of Arab States Premises)
The Darfur Crisis: Latest Developments
The Darfur crisis has attracted the attention of the international community. Patterns of intervention from international community have escalated the crisis from a regional level to the international one. The issue of the United Nations military presence has created a political dispute between the government of Sudan and the United States. What are the latest developments concerning the Darfur crisis and what role can regional powers offer to deescalate the crisis.
H.E Ambassador Abdel Halim Mabrook, Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo.
Future Scenarios for Iraq? How does it affect the Middle East?
The session shall explore the results of a U.S withdrawal from Iraq on the region. It will also examine the different scenario for Iraq starting from confederation unity to the strong possibility of dividing Iraq into three states: Kurdish state in the North, Shiite state in the South and a Sunni State in the central part.
Mr. Saleh Nasrawi, Prominent Iraqi Political Writer and Journalist.
Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Post Lebanese Politics
Since the Security Council 1551 resolution and the Assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al Harriri, Lebanon has been undergoing a set of political crises domestically among the political forces and regionally due to the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in July 2006. Different patterns of intervention are taking place in Lebanon on the regional level and on the International level.
Rami Khouri, Director of Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut and Editor at Large at the Beirut based Daily star newspaper.
Prospects for Peace in the Middle East
The Israeli- Palestinian clashes and the confrontation between Israel and Hizbollah in Lebanon have swept opportunities for peace. Is peace and reconciliation still possible? Are their any prospects for peace in the Middle East? Is their a relationship between progress in the Peace Process and the Crisis in Iraq?
H.E Mr. Ahmed Maher, Former Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs
The State of Media and Journalism in the Middle East
This session explores how media and journalism in the Middle East deal with the hot debated issues of the region.
Mr. Hani Shukrallah, Egyptian Journalist and Ex- Editor in Chief of Al Ahram Weekly
Syria in the Context of Regional Polarization.
What is the future role of Syria in the region? Syria as a major pivotal state in the Middle East has an impact on several issues: the stabilization of Iraq, peace process, political disputes in Lebanon, and the Arab Iranian relations. How will Syria face the current turbulences in the region?
Dr. Walid Kazziha Chair of Political Science Department, American University in Cairo.
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
Challenges to Democracy in the Middle East
With all the developments in the Middle East, is democracy still an option? Why is the Middle East still resistant to democratization process?
Dr. Ismail Serag Eldin, Director of Bibliotheca Alexandina.
(This session will take place at the Library of Alexandria Premises)
Pillars of the Arab Mindset
Arab Mindset has been part of the debate of why the Arab world didn't experience a democratic change. Is it true that the Arab mindset has a very different political culture that it is alien to Democratic values or is it only a scapegoat? This session shall overview different variables of the Arab Mindset and its political culture in an attempt to give a cultural analysis on the current events.
Alsayed Yassin, a Famous Arab Political thinker and an Academic Advisor to Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
(This Session will take place at the Library of Alexandria premises)
Thursday, 8 March 2007
The Role of Fatwa and the Mufti in the Middle East.
September attacks and the U.S invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan have caused a great deal of misunderstandings and misperceptions between the United States and Moslem world. Moreover, the Cartoon Crises of Denmark and remarks by Pope Benedict on Islam have all been triggering to the Islamic world. What roles and effects do religious Fatwas have on the Moslem societies on the political and social level?
H.E Dr. Ahmed Altayeb President of Azhar University and Ex-Grand Mufti of Egypt,
(This session will take place at the Azhar University Premises)
Saudi Arabia: Domestic and Regional Politics
Saudi Arabia is going through a process of political change. Domestically, the kingdom is reforming its political system. Regionally, the Saudi diplomacy has been actively involved in regional issues.
Dr. Hasan Abu Taleb, Editor in Chief of the Arab Strategic Report, the major publication of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Energy Security in the Middle East: Dimensions and Challenges
Energy Security in the region is dominantly a strategic commodity. Energy has provided a significantly international importance to the region due to its interrelatedness to the security of the world market. Today and due to the political instability of the region, oil has been the target of terrorist groups and warring parties in the one state. It has also been part of the wealth sharing negotiations between ethnic and political groups in states like Iraq and Sudan.
Eng. Ahmed Al Ashmawy, Assistant to the Director of Central Administration, Office of Minister for Petroleum.