This event is by invitation only. For inquiries, please email Ms. Lisa Treiling at fes.associate@fesny.org.



Watch the live stream here starting at 9:15AM EST: 


The Changing Middle East - Implications for Regional and Global Politics

The recent turmoil in the Middle East has added an unsettled new dynamic to the long-standing policy challenges in the region. Against the backdrop of perennial concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and capabilities and the Middle East peace process, key regional and international actors are grappling with how to address these new instabilities while assuring regional allies and domestic constituencies that the new dynamic does not need to lead to a further, and possibly irreparable, escalation of tension. And as the U.S. presidential election draws near, President Obama faces a daunting task of balancing election year politics, securing U.S. interests in a shifting Middle East while guaranteeing Israel’s security, and de-escalating tensions with Iran through the framework of the P5+1 negotiations.

Although  the confrontational rhetoric has eased somewhat with the resumption of the P5+1  talks with Iran on its nuclear program, de-escalation – on all sides – will not  come easily. Progress is often fleeting. Domestic politics in key states,  including the U.S., Russia, Israel, Turkey, Iran, and Egypt, further complicate  the search for viable means to lower tensions in the Middle East. These  concerns are likely to continue to consume significant diplomatic energy at the  United Nations across several committees. To help clarify the key issues and  explore policy options in the region, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York and the  EastWest Institute will host a workshop in July 2012 with experts from and on  the region. The objective is to engage the New York policy community and foster  a dialogue that looks beyond the common rhetoric to what the international  community and regional actors might do.
The event is planned as a half-day workshop with three panel discussions. The targeted audience will be UN diplomats and the New York-based academic and policy-making community as well as interested media, some 60-80 people in total. The debate will be on the record.
Workshop Topics
Panel I
Unfinished Transformations in the Middle East and their Effect on the Regional Security Dynamic

For Israel, already facing new tensions with Egypt and Turkey, its two most important regional allies, the wave of domestic unrest in the Middle East meant new security challenges and injected greater uncertainty into the regional dynamics. Continuing Western suspicions about the intentions of the Iranian nuclear program further intensified the sense of urgency that the Middle East was at a tipping point. Moreover, the recent unrest has fed into the historical competition over the strategic balance in the Persian Gulf with possibly dramatic consequences for the U.S. strategy in the region. 

Robin Wright, United States Institute of Peace-Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar 
Gökhan Bacik, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Zirve University, Turkey 
Tamim Khallaf, Diplomat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt
Dan Arbell, Minister for Political Affairs, the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. 
Salman Shaikh, Director of the Brookings Doha Center and fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings
Panel II
The Two-Level Game: How are Current Domestic Politics Affecting Foreign Policy Decision-making?
With  the domestic political environment being a crucial factor affecting foreign policy decision making, the stakes for all governments are high. The speakers will explore the difficulties that policymakers in the U.S., Israel, Egypt and  Iran are having in balancing domestic pressures and expectations with the changing  realities in the Middle East.
Jeffrey Laurenti, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation 
Abdul-Monem Al-Mashat, Dean, Faculty of Economics & Political Science, Future University, Egypt
Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on F
Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council 
Ephraim Sneh, Chair, S.Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue, Netanya Academic College
Panel III
Chances for Rapprochement: What Role for Multilateral Initiatives?
The recently re-started negotiations between Iran and the Permanent 5 members of the  Security Council and Germany have helped to de-escalate tension in the region—but  continued progress is far from certain. And these talks alone are not a  sufficient guarantee of long term security. Alternative and more encompassing approaches  that take into consideration the broader security demands of the wider region  need to be considered. This includes processes affiliated with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation  Treaty in the form of the proposal for a zone free of weapons of mass  destruction in the Middle East. A robust regional agreement could usher in intra-regional  cooperation, ultimately building the foundations of lasting peace in the region.
Ambassador Abdullah M. Alsaidi, Senior Fellow, International Peace Institute
Avner Cohen, Senior Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies
Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Research Scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
Rolf Mützenich, Member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), Social Democratic Party (SPD), and SPD's Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
Ambassador Aapo Pölhö, Personal Deputy to the Facilitator on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction