Diplomacy in the Middle East Forum:

"Complexity of Conflicts in the Middle East

28th October 2014

London, UK

Diplomacy and Conflicts in the Region

After the end of cold war, the Middle East and North Africa region has become of the most hostile regions in the world, with conflicts spreading across the territory.  The region is home to one of the longest standing conflicts in the world- The Palestinian/ Israeli conflict. Over 60 years have passed and there is still no agreement between the two parties. Both bilateral and international diplomatic efforts have so far yielded limited results in bringing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to an end. There is an unsuccessful engagement in building a shared vision on the post conflict environment in the region.

The latest conflict in Gaza has taken the lives of almost 2,000 Palestinians (400 of them are children) and 67 Israelis (3 of them are civilians). After a 9 month American led negotiation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, the negotiation has ended with failure.  These two events have brought this conflict back into top priority for the international community.

With the rise of other conflicts and changes in geopolitics of the region, the priority keeps changing in resolving this conflict. Besides this dispute, the province has been a hotbed for other clashes, including; the Iraq- Iran War, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the invasion of Iraq, the Lebanese civil war, the Libyan civil war, the fragile transition in Yemen and Egypt, the Syrian civil war and most recently the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

These conflicts have taken directly or indirectly the lives of millions of people and have cost the region’s economies hundreds of billions of dollars, as well as delaying  the development of the territory by years if not decades. The region is not moving towards more stability but instead is seeing a wave of new clashes emerging and existing ones expanding.

We have identified four elements that could potentially aggravate the current conflicts and can be catalysts for future conflicts in the region:

  • The rise of sectarian and ethnic hostilities
  • Growth of terrorism across the region 
  • Fragile democratic transition and strong  ideological differences
  • The failure of diplomacy and the lack of culture of consensus and compromise 



(Chair) Jon Snow - Journalist and Presenter

(Chair) Andrew Wilson, Sky News Presenter

John Baron MP,  Member of Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Conservative Member of the House of Commons

Dai Havard MP, Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Defence and Diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa, Labour Member of the House of Commons

Sir Bob Russel MP, Member of the Defence Select Committee, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Commons

Elizabeth Dibble ,Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy

HE. Professor Manuel Hassassian, Ambassador of Palestine to the UK

Eitan Na'eh, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to the UK

Daniel Levy, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations

Adel Darwish, Author, Reporter &  Broadcaster. Political Editor: The Middle East Magazine Group/Middle East News

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