World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies
Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010< Back to SUMMARY OF PANELS
· Date: WED 21, 11.30 am-1.30 pm
· Institution: Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Jordan
· Organizer: Dr. Martin Beck
· Language: English
· Description: When analysing regional security in the Middle East, scholars very often focus on inter-state affairs and US-American interference in the region. Without any doubt, analyses modelling the Middle East as an externally penetrated state system produce important insights. However, since the 1980s other kinds of actors have gained growing influence in the Middle East, and that both on the level above and beneath the state. Thus, the contributors of this panel firstly address the limits of regional states’ influence in the Middle East and, secondly, ask whether and how regional organisations and armed non-state actors shape Middle Eastern security politics. Methodologically, the panel starts with a theoretical contribution and then presents three major case studies. The theoretical analysis presents the concept of region which has gained major scholarly attendance in recent years, thereby focusing on the different levels of security politics and their interplay. Then, the first case study deals with a state which was a regional power back in the 1970s but now faces limits in shaping regional affairs: Egypt. The second and third case studies are analyses of major sub-regional actors and regional organisations: Hizbullah and Hamas as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council, respectively.
Chair: Dr. Martin Beck (Resident Representative, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Jordan)
Discussant: Thomas Birringer (Resident Representative, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, UAE)
Paper presenter: Carlo Masala (University of the Federal Armed Forces, Munich, Germany), “The Concept of Regionalism in Security Studies”
The paper aims to shed light on a growing trend in security politics on a global scale. More and more states are aggregating their capabilities in order to create regional security cooperation arrangement. These arrangements quite often fall short of alliances. The existing literature on regional security cooperation which exists approaches these phenomenon’s either in a traditional realist/neorealist sense, neglecting the fact that regional security arrangements are to be distinguished from classical alliances or in a constructivist manner placing to high emphasis on shared norms and values and thereby neglecting the threat and power dimension which shapes the creation of regional security arrangements. In my presentation I try to combine using Katzenstein’s and Silk’s approach of ‘analytical eclecticism’ rational and reflexive arguments in order to explain and understand why regionalism in security politics occur in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf, where its potentials but also where its limits are.
Paper presenter: Heba Negm (PhD Candidate, London School of Economics, UK), “State Actors. The Case of Egypt”
The Middle East is commonly described as a scene, and often a source, of political and economic turmoil throughout the second half of the twentieth century. This conviction has allied with a dominant premise in Middle East area studies that the systemic attributes are the most substantial level of analysis for understanding Middle East security peculiarities. This trend has under-looked the complex and multidimensional nature of the national security of the Middle East countries. As an important regional actor, Egypt is no exception. Similar to the countries of the region, Egypt adopted a realpolitik approach and engaged in arms build up arrangements. The paper will be divided into two main parts. The first will be a panoramic view of the various theoretical models in the discipline. This section will critically analyze these theories, their vigorous points as well as the critiques directed toward them. The second part will aim at providing a synthesis model that can adequately address the diverse security issues of the region as well as the national security policies of its constituting states, like Egypt. The focus will be on the state level and its empirical application to the case study of Egypt.
Paper presenter: Yasar Qatarneh (Director of the Third Way Institute, Jordan), “Non-State Actors”
In recent years, non-state actors have played an increasingly important role in a region of high insecurity and instability like the Middle East. Governments in the region sought to marginalize, delegitimize, and disenfranchise these non-state actors, thinking that entities such as Hamas or Hizbollah could be defeated through the exclusive use of hard power. This hard-power approach not only failed to defeat these actors, but boosted their popular appeal and decreased the moral authority of these governments. In this paper, the author will argue that it is time for state actors to consider the benefits of engaging with non-state actors in key conflict zones in today's Middle East. In the interest of regional security and the pursuit of a sustainable and constructive regional order in the future, Middle East scholars should lead the way in exploring and developing strategies for 'smart' policy in a region where non-state actors currently hold sway.
Paper presenter: Christian Koch (Research Director for IR at the Gulf Research Center, ÚAE) “The GCC as a Regional Security Organization”
The GCC was established in response to the regional turmoil of the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Security surpassed all other reasons for the coming together of the GCC. Since that time and despite many of its shortcomings, the GCC has been maintained and become an accepted fact. In addition, the GCC has in the near three decades of its existence begun to play an increasing role in political and security-related matters at the sub-regional level of the Gulf. The result has been the emergence of a regional triangle composed of Iran, Iraq and the GCC. This paper will explore the nature of the GCC as a security organization, examining and analyzing its potentials and shortcomings and placing the organization within the broader considerations of regionalism in the current literature. Given the fact that the issue of Gulf security has remained volatile, it is a further aim of the paper to look into the impact that the GCC has had when it comes to regional security issues and whether it could possibly evolve to play a more concerted role in moving the region to building more lasting and stable relationships among its littoral members.