Schedule, Panels, Abstracts, and Participants
Sunday, October 14
6:00pm Cocktails and Music
Keynote: Charles Kupchan, Georgetown University and Council on Foreign Relations
Comments: Nadav Eyal, Israel Channel 10
Ayse Zarakol, University of Cambridge
Monday, October 15
8:45am The Western Liberal (Dis)Order and the Middle East
Patterns of conflict and cooperation in the Middle East have always been critically affected by overarching systemic processes such as the “superpower rivalry” during the Cold War or multilateral, mostly Western initiatives aimed at building bridges between conflicting parties in the region. Today, mounting internal problems in Europe and America and worsening EU-US relations in the Trump era pose new challenges for a region in flux. How will the West’s preoccupation with internal matters impact Western resolve and strategic ties and relations within the Middle East and Persian Gulf? Should we expect Russian and China to play a more active and central role in the region’s politics and if so, with what consequences? Will regional powers such as Iran be freer to exercise power and influence in the region? This panel will examine these and other questions concerning the future of the Middle East at a time of Western disorder.
Chair: Peter Trubowitz, London School of Economics
Panelists: Stephanie Hofmann, Graduate Institute of Geneva
Charles Kupchan, Georgetown University; Council on Foreign Relations
Barry Posen, MIT
10:15am Coffee Break
10:45am Authoritarianism and Geopolitics in the Levante
From Israel’s strategic point of view its neighborhood is shaped by more or less authoritarian powers and fairly fluid coalitions – perhaps more so than ever before. Authoritarianism is more clearly visible in Turkey and Egypt, two relatively reliable partners in the old days. What does the rise of authoritarianism mean for the dynamics of war and peace (and coalition building) in the region? How do patterns of intrastate and interstate violence affect domestic stability in key regional states? How is Israel positioning itself vis-à-vis these external dynamics – and to what extent can it influence these events? How do these developments affect the relationship between Europe (and the EU in particular) and Israel?
Chair: Gunther Hellmann, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main
Panelists: Mitat Celikpala, Kadir Has University
Nadav Eyal, Israel Channel 10
Ayse Zarakol, University of Cambridge
1:30pm Identity, Migration, and Diaspora
Europe’s “migration crisis” has re-ignited identity politics and created a backlash across Europe. Has the migration crisis created new impetus for European leaders to back new initiatives aimed at stabilizing the Middle East? Will this backlash accelerate patterns of Jewish out-immigration from Europe to Israel and in turn, dampen the rise in Israeli migration to Germany, France and other European destinations in recent decades? How has Europe’s preoccupation with countering terror shaped political responses to migration across the continent? This panel will explore the political dynamics of migration between Europe and the Middle East and consider their implications for Israel and the Jewish diaspora.
Chair: James Davis, University of St. Gallen
Panelists: Dani Kranz, Two Foxes Consulting, Bergische University Wuppertal, and Carleton University
Kalypso Nicolaidis, University of Oxford
Uzi Rebhun, Hebrew University
3:00pm Coffee Break
3:30pm Bottom-Up Approaches to Conflict Mitigation
As the prospects for an Oslo-style grand bargain recede, attention has again focused on the role that economic approaches might play in conflict resolution. The range of possible nodes around which cooperation could form are numerous, from water and power agreements, public and private investments in the West Bank and Gaza, a deepening of cross-border flows of capital, goods, services and people, and projects designed to effectively strengthen the Palestinian state in order to mitigate economic grievances. As a long liberal tradition in international relations suggests, growing economic interdependence may not only create vested interests in peace but build altogether new constituencies for it. This panel considers the prospects and limits of such approaches.
Chair: Judy Goldstein, Stanford University
Panelists: Anthony Dworkin, European Council on Foreign Relations
Ron Schatzberg, Israel Defense Forces and Economic Cooperation Foundation
5:00pm Leisure Time
Guided Historical Tour of Wilton Park
7:00pm Cocktails and Music
Tuesday, October 16
9:00am Stresses on the International Law System and their Security Implications
Over the past few years, the European Union has seen one of its most powerful members head for the exits and financial crisis among its other members. Europe has also seen a giant influx of refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere, with which its member states have struggled to cope. Major terrorist operations have stressed international law enforcement cooperation. Russia has seized territory by force from Ukraine. And the United States has elected Donald Trump, who has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement and brought into doubt key expectations of U.S. allies and partners. How is the international law system coping with these serial pressures and to what extent will they effect developments in the Middle East? How are they affecting security cooperation between countries whose security is necessarily intertwined? To what extent is the fragmentation of the EU limiting the ability and the leverage of its member states to mount coherent foreign policy, either separately or jointly. More generally, to what extent does entropy in the international system weaken the de facto authority of international law, with implications for adjudicating legal claims or enforcing the laws of armed conflict in the conflicts in Middle East? This panel will examine the legal pressures on effective security cooperation and their likely consequences for countries with weaker legal systems and restive, potentially mobile populations.
Chair: Ben Wittes, Brookings Institute, Harvard University and Lawfare
Panelists: Anders Henricksen, University of Copenhagen
Kimberley Trapp, University College London
10:30am Coffee Break
11:00am The Iranian Nuclear Deal Three Years On
In July 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran, the P5+1, and the EU was announced. Less than three years later, in May 2018, the US withdrew from the Iran Deal. What are the implications of America’s withdrawal in the region and beyond? What are the USG policy goals with respect to Iran now? How will US withdrawal effect Iran’s regional activities and nuclear ambitions? To what extent has this policy change reassured Israel and the Gulf States? This panel will look back on the JCPOA, the US withdrawal, and the road ahead.
Chair: Leslie Vinjamuri, SOAS University of London and QEII Academy, Chatham House
Panelists: Gen (ret.) Eli Ben Meir, Israel Defense Forces, IDC Herzliya and CyGov
Kori Schake, International Institute of Strategic Studies
12:15pm Lunch and Group Discussion
2:00pm Depart Wilton Park