Middle East Symposium: One Year on from the Arab Spring

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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 underplayed 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, and how the events of the last year have forced a reappraisal of EU and US policies towards the region.

Panel 1. Palestine and Egypt

“The Weather season in Palestine”

Sari Nusseibeh, Al Quds University

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn_zh4UVK5g&w=560&h=315]

“Egypt: prospects for democracy a year after the revolution”

Hassan Nafaa, University of Cairo

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBMmsSX3lpg&w=560&h=315]

Panel 2. Yemen, Bahrain and Syria

“Yemen’s Arab Spring – Democratic Opening or Regime Maintenance?”

Vincent Durac, University College Dublin, Ireland

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xQD_ATVEZU&w=560&h=315]

“Bahrain – neglected in the Arab Spring?”

Sajjad H. Rizvi, University of Exeter

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3ILqHTcY&w=560&h=315]

“Which flag? The 2011 uprising and Syrian national identity”

Christopher Phillips, Queen Mary University of London

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT898HJ2dJI&w=560&h=315]

Panel 3. Islamism, Libya, and the “International Community”

“The revolution within Islamism”

Abdelwahab ElAffendi, University of Westminster

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vveTqPDERzQ&w=560&h=315]

“Libya: change or chaos?”

George Joffé, University of Cambridge

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zALMLBzjUvs&w=560&h=315]

“The European Parliament’s Approach to the “Spring” and its Impact on the Israel-Palestine conflict”

Proinsias De Rossa, Labour Party (Ireland) Policy Adviser

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H8IwPSMEGg&w=560&h=315]

“US interests in the new MENA region”

Mark Fitzpatrick, International Institute for Strategic Studies [recording unavailable]

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