Middle East Symposium

On 24th February, 2012, POLSIS hosted a symposium on politics and security in the Middle East entitled: One Year on from the Arab Spring: Has Anything Actually Changed in the Middle East and North Africa and the International Community? The event was sponsored by University of Birmingham’s newly established Institute of Conflict, Cooperation, and Security and the British International Studies Association.

The symposium brought together leading scholars and commentators to reflect on the tumultuous events that have taken place in the Middle East over the last year. Contributors discussed many of the most profound questions facing the region today, including: the outlook for peace and democratic opening after the revolutions in Egypt and Libya; the nature of the regime change in Yemen; why the revolutionary struggle in Bahrain has been comparatively neglected outside of the country; and the likelihood of a period of prolonged instability in Syria. Also discussed were the need for new thinking to overcome the intractable obstacles to peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the changing role of Islamist movements in the revolutions and politics more broadly, and how the events of the last year have influenced EU and US policies towards the region.

Audio recordings of the contributors’ remarks is available by clicking on links below:

Panel 1. Palestine and Egypt

"The Weather season in Palestine" (MP3 24mins 33MB) - Sari Nusseibeh, Al Quds University

"Egypt: prospects for democracy a year after the revolution" (MP3 28mins 38MB) - Hassan Nafaa, University of Cairo

Panel 2. Yemen, Bahrain and Syria

"Yemen’s Arab Spring – Democratic Opening or Regime Maintenance?" (MP3 16mins 23MB) - Vincent Durac, University College Dublin, Ireland

"Bahrain – neglected in the Arab Spring?" (MP3 24mins 3MB) - Sajjad H. Rizvi, University of Exeter

"Which flag? The 2011 uprising and Syrian national identity" (MP3 26mins 36MB) - Christopher Phillips, Queen Mary University of London

Panel 3. Islamism, Libya, and the "International Community"

"The revolution within Islamism" (MP3 14mins 19MB) - Abdelwahab ElAffendi, University of Westminster

"Libya: change or chaos?" (MP3 17mins 24MB)  - George Joffé, University of Cambridge

"The European Parliament’s Approach to the "Spring" and its Impact on the Israel-Palestine conflict" (MP3 20mins 28MB) - Proinsias De Rossa, Labour Party (Ireland) Policy Adviser

"US interests in the new MENA region" - Mark Fitzpatrick, International Institute for Strategic Studies [RECORDING NOT AVAILABLE].