The Gulf Research Center, in its mission to produce high quality research and analysis on the Gulf region, will therefore be holding a closed webinar discussion in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, held under the Chatham House Rule, which will focus specifically on how the COVID-19 pandemic is currently impacting regional security in the Gulf, in addition to ways that it could continue to affect Gulf security in the aftermath of the crisis.
The interactive discussion will address the following topics and questions: The pandemic caused a shift in state security priorities. Will this lead to a relaxation of global priorities for counter-terrorism? The pandemic had significant negative repercussions for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Could the Iranian regime face a popular uprising, more serious before? The pandemic coupled with the collapse of oil prices and caused major economic and financial hurdles for the Gulf states’ armament policies, and arms deals already agreed. The pandemic could increasingly lead to a shift in US security priorities worldwide. A US confrontation with China is not only possible but probable. Will this lead to a relaxation of US security priorities concerning the Gulf region?
The Gulf Research Center, in its mission to produce high quality research and analysis on the Gulf region, will therefore be holding a closed webinar discussion in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, held under the Chatham House Rule, which will focus specifically on how the COVID-19 pandemic is currently impacting the Gulf economy, in addition to ways that it will continue to affect the Gulf economy in the aftermath of the crisis.
The interactive discussion will address the following topics and questions: Fiscal and budgetary challenges: What fiscal and monetary means do Gulf economies have at their disposal? How much do they need to do and for how long can they sustain low oil revenues from a fiscal and budgetary standpoint? Is this a dejavu of the 1990s fiscal constraints or is this different? Labor and unemployment risks: How will labor markets react? Will the private sector be able to cope with job creation challenges? Will unemployment rise over the short to medium term? What can policy makers do? Debt and currency constraints: Debt will inevitably rise for all Gulf economies. What is the impact of rising debt on Gulf sovereign ratings and corporations? Do debt sustainability thresholds matter? Will this impinge on their ability to borrow more in the future. How will their currencies be affected in a low oil price environment? Is the question of devaluation back? Private sector growth and entrepreneurship: How will the private sector fare in this new economic environment? Is the private sector locked in a dependency cycle with government spending or is there deleveraging? Will the private sector be able to grow independent of the government? Will rent-seeking behavior change and evolve into more competitive practices? What is the future of the Gulf private sector? Are the much talked-about SMEs taking off in the Gulf? The future of industry: The impact on industry will be vast in an era of trade retrenchment and de-globalization and localization. What will Gulf industries do and how do they adapt in this new environment? Will some have a head start than others? What is the comparative advantage in industry for Gulf economies? Is this a good time to rethink individual country-industrial strategies?
The Gulf Research Center Foundation with its seat in Geneva is organizing an afternoon roundtable discussion on “Regional Developments in the Gulf Region: Implications for Switzerland and Europe” on June 14, 2012 from 16:30 to 18:30 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva.
For those unaware of the Gulf Research Center Foundation, the foundation is the official non-governmental arm of the Gulf Research Center with the purpose to gather and disseminating knowledge about the critical Gulf region. In 2011, the GRC was rated the second most influential think tank in the Middle East by the annual Think Tank Survey of the University of Pennsylvania. For more information about the GRC, please consult our website under www.grc.net
The Crown-Belfer Middle East Project is an initiative centered at Harvard University"s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. It brings together Middle East experts from all universities in the Boston area (Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Brandeis, Tufts, etc.) for discussions of policy-relevant issues concerning the Middle East.
The limited availability of freshwater in the Gulf region has for decades presented a significant challenge to the people and the governments of the region. Scarce rainfall, together with a high rate of evaporation and consumption, leads to deficits in the water budgets of the countries of the region.
GRC and Asia Society will host a Panel Discussion on Water Scarcity titled “Water and Security: Mitigating Risks through Cooperation”. The meeting will witness the launch of Asia Society’s report on Water Security “
The first presentation will look at political and economic as well as military-economic relations between
The second presentation will discuss the possible local and global consequences of a military attack on
The relationship between the member states of the European Union (EU) and those of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is multifaceted and has over the years taken on a number of dimensions. Most importantly, ties between the two sides are increasingly being defined away from the traditional economic relationship to include a whole variety of security topics. Terrorism, the impact of the US-led invasion of Iraq and its consequences, the engagement of the EU-3 in the negotiations with Iran over that country’s nuclear program are some of the most obvious topics that play a role. Moreover, the debate over energy security has taken on a specific momentum within the member states of the European Union as the continent looks to lessen its dependence on a single source. As a result, the Gulf is being seen within a differentiated light that points towards greater opportunities of better defining the EU-GCC relationship.
The emergence of the European Security Strategy in December 2003 and other initiatives such as NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative unveiled in 2004, underlined that Europe is attempting to define what a potential European role in the Gulf region could look like and to what degree Europe can assist the Gulf States from overcoming their perennial security problem. These initial steps also emphasize however that substantive debate on specific issues is required in order to provide for a better road-map for the impending challenges ahead.
As a contribution to the debate, the Gulf Research Center and the Istituto Affari Internazionali will host a joined seminar entitled “Fostering EU-Italy-GCC Cooperation: The Political, Economic and Energy Dimensions.” This meeting will bring together experts and policy officials from Europe, the GCC States and “interested” other countries to illuminate the problem areas that Europe faces in the Gulf and to put the different approaches on the table into their proper context. Of specific concern will be how to move from the current still vague and largely theoretical notions of GCC-EU cooperation into more policy-applicable and relevant approaches that build on past European experiences.
With globalization on the rise and a multitude of international issues such as migration, new security challenges and environmental degradation at hand, an exponentially growing demand exists for IR related expertise as well as transnational understanding and cooperation. Responding to these imperative needs, the Free University of Berlin (FU) - in cooperation with the Gulf Research Center (GRC) – are offering a Masters of Arts (M.A.) degree program in International Relations (IR) beginning in November of 2006.
The International Relations M.A. is a program of excellence aspires to bring together young professionals from the GCC countries and beyond in order to enhance their career perspectives in IR related fields and to further qualify individuals to work in governmental agencies, private enterprises, international organizations and NGOs. It is a two-year full-time Master of Arts program, comprising 120 credit points according to ECTS standards. The degree is certified by the Free University of Berlin is conjunction with all relevant German academic standards and regulations.
The course consists of different modules divided into the four sections of introduction and international relations theory, the core curriculum, mandatory issues and practical training. The initial courses allow from an introduction into the tools to be used throughout as well as a through understanding of existing and relevant IR theories. The core curriculum involves issues such as globalization, European politics, international law, international political economy and international security. In the third part, specific issues will be focused on including megacities as new sites of governance, the problematic of migration, citizenship and identity and the overall subject of culture and IR. Finally, the modules involve various aspects of practical training and involves intercultural communication, conflict management and simulation exercises.
To assist the students in their work, the program is based on state-of-the-art communication technology with web-based study modules integrating multimedia and providing an exciting, challenging learning experience. The learning management system “Blackboard” gives easy access to a virtual library and web-based data, including relevant course material and multimedia files designed to support the studies. Self-study and interactive elements online are combined with eight weeks of in-house classes in Dubai and Berlin. In addition to attending face-to-face classes with fellow students and tutors, students will join roundtables and networking dinners with IR experts and relevant economic actors to discuss highly controversial up-to-date IR topics.
The seminar would have the following objectives:
- Bring together a group of qualified participants from Europe and the Gulf (and a few from the United States) with the aim of discussing topics of mutual significance and exchanging opinions and ideas with participants from other regions;
- Discuss, first of all, EU foreign and security policies towards the Middle East as well as European Union-Gulf developmental, political and security relations;
- Discuss the impact of U.S. and NATO policies on EU-Gulf relations.
Despite their long-term commercial and economic agreements, EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council-GCC countries are relatively undeveloped and not proportional to the two areas’ importance in the world. True, some European nations, such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France have significant bilateral relations with GCC countries. But Europe as a whole and the European Union in particular, while fully involved in the Mediterranean region through its multidimensional Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, has only minimal relations with the Gulf. On the other hand, the European Security Strategy endorsed by the EU Council at the end of 2003 points to the need of the EU to be present and able to intervene to prevent and manage crises even in areas beyond the Mediterranean.
While EU and European policies towards the Gulf remains economically and politically undeveloped, the new U.S. engagement in the Middle East and NATO’s Istanbul Declaration of June 2004 are raising questions about their engagement there that they can no longer avoid.
On the one hand, the EU has to respond to its own challenges in the Gulf. On the other hand, it has to respond to challenges stemming from the new American and transatlantic initiatives towards the region. While traditional EU policies towards the Gulf remains weak and uneven, the EU is also very hesitant to upgrade its security involvement in the area in the framework of the expansion of NATO policies towards the south. Today, the EU looks divided between those who would like to enlarge EU Mediterranean engagement towards the Gulf and those who would prefer to reinforce the Mediterranean policy and keep aloof of such a distant and complex area as the Gulf. Such a hesitant posture with regard to security policies may have a negative impact on the overdue upgrading of economic and trade relations.
Italy is actively participating in this process, as both a NATO and an EU member state. Thus, the Italian International Affairs Institute (IAI) is interested in promoting an international seminar to bring together a group of distinguished European, GCC and US opinion leaders, officials and analysts to provide an opportunity to debate issues of common interest as well as to contribute to public policy decision-making in their respective countries.
The meeting would take place in Rome, Italy, in Fall 2005, at a date to be established later. The seminar will be co-sponsored by the IAI and institutions from the GCC countries to be identified as soon as possible. It would last no more than a day and a half. Sessions would be introduced by written papers.
The items to be discussed would be as follows:
1. EU-Gulf political and economic relations; assessment and policy recommendations
2. Regional security cooperation in the Gulf; how it should be organised; how Europe and the EU can contribute and cooperate
3. Political reform and stability in the Gulf region
4. EU-Gulf relations in a Transatlantic perspective
The results of the seminar will be disseminated through an ad hoc publication, as well as through the websites of the organisers.