Today, Russia is the only country capable of holding talks with all Gulf capitals, and hosting their representatives. This is something those capitals must consider and benefit from, by working with Russia to launch a practical course of action to create the “Gulf Security and Cooperation Organization”, to guarantee the security and cooperation in the gulf countries and among their peoples, writes Amal Abou Zeid, advisor to the President Lebanon; Member of the Lebanese Parliament, Free Patriotic Movement (2016–2018), and participant of the Ninth Middle East Conference of the Valdai Duscission Club.
Amal Abou Zeid
The Middle East broke all records for surprise events in 2019. The unexpected changes of government in Algeria and Sudan, mass protests in Lebanon and Iraq, the sensational election outcome in Tunisia, the never-ending election process in Israel, a new escalation of US–Iran tensions, zigzagging developments in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and many more – the list may be continued. At the same time, this is not the first time it happens. The situation in the region tended to be changeable in the past as well, and surprise and randomness have long become the landmark of the Middle East political process – as may be clearly seen yet again at the beginning of 2020.
Vitaly Naumkin, Vasily Kuznetsov
New UK governments, even when formed by the same political party, often start out by reviewing the policies of their predecessors, with defence and security being a favourite area. So it is with the government of Boris Johnson. One of the first moves he announced after the Conservatives won their 80-seat parliamentary majority in December was the launch of just such a review.
Former Israeli president Peres had a dream of a new Middle East, as a peaceful and successful region. Indeed, we can see currently a very different Middle East, but it came out not exactly according to his vision.
Movements to a de-globalization or “demondialization” of the economy, announced in a 2010 book, referred to various authors. This phenomenon has been widely observed. It is also accompanied by a “de-westernization” of the world. These various phenomena are not only economic; they all have a political dimension as well as a cultural dimension. However, this text will focus mainly on the economic dimensions of these movements.
Many observers will remember the end of the impeachment story. First the Senate’s refusal to hear witnesses in connection with the charges against Trump, and then impeachment supporters were unable to get 50, let alone the 67 required votes; only one senator broke ranks with the Republican establishment: Mitt Romney. Some experts, such as Ian Bremmer, have already suggested that Romney should be considered the leader of the Republican Party, since he advocated the Senate exercising the judicial role assigned to it. The symbolism of Trump’s refusal to shake hands with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, will be remembered, as well as the response of the latter, who publicly tore up the text of the president’s annual message to Congress the day before the Senate voted to acquit him.
The Middle East is either on the eve of a new round of tensions, which threaten to ignite global conflict, or of a transformation into a successful, developing region.
In view of the sorry conditions that the world’s international relations find themselves today, some argue that there may be a case for an upgrade in international diplomacy, perhaps with elements of higher technology in establishing cross-country communication lines. One such area where a technological upgrade is already progressing is the use of AI in international diplomacy. In particular, China has been active in making use of AI in providing insights for its diplomats into the possible scenarios and the evolution of events on the international arena. There is also an increasingly active use of AI in supporting economic diplomacy in trade negotiations. Going forward it will be crucial to ensure greater access of developing economies to the possibilities opened by AI to concluding international accords and boosting international cooperation.
Russia and Turkey are not natural partners in Syria, but share enough overlapping interests to maintain dialogue about the direction of the conflict. Ankara’s position in the Syrian civil war has been shaped by its initial risk averse approach to the conflict and refusal to use military force to try and shape outcomes. In eastern Syria, Ankara was initially unable to upend the American war strategy and its reliance on the Syrian Kurds, a group Turkey has labeled a terrorist organization. In Syria’s West, the Russian entrance into the war directly challenged Ankara’s support for the anti-regime insurgency, which had made considerable gains in Idlib before September 2015.
Donald Trump’s opponents persist in their delusion that his arrival to power was an accident, and if they manage to throw him out of office, history will resume its natural course, and everything will be just like in grandma’s time again. The United States continues its descent into a deep system-wide crisis that in some ways is reminiscent of the developments in the last days of the Soviet Union, especially in terms of the disdain demonstrated by the Washington elite toward the vast majority of the American people. Should the elite further refuse to recognize how serious the crisis has become, and if they will not acquiesce to curtail their ambition and search for compromise, it will be disastrous for the United States and the rest of the world, argues Andrei Korobkov, Professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University.