Security & Stability In The Levant - Paris - 12 January 2017 - ParisRound Tables - Past
On 12th January, the Aramea Foundation organised a round-table event in Paris with leading analysts and journalist to discuss and debate political and security issues in the Middle East.
The event, titled ‘Security and Stability in the Levant’, was held at the Press Club Paris.
The meeting was opened with a presentation about the Aramea Foundation and its goals and aims. The highlighted fact was that the objective of the Foundation is to gather together Middle Eastern political and security specialists in order to provide an objective view of the current situation in the Levant. It was outlined that there is a need to better understand current dynamics in the region and to articulate them to relevant decision-makers. It was also explained that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the question of stability in the Levant and put into perspective the impact that Western intervention has had on the region.
The discussion that followed was held off-the-record as to foster genuine debate and enable guests to speak freely. Much of the debate focused on the historical context of the Syrian conflict. Participants discussed how the historical actions of world powers played a role in a number of the problems that countries in the Middle East now face.
On Syria, the role of Kurdish factions was discussed at length. There was recognition of the important role that the Kurds will play in the future of Syria, both politically and as a security actor. A number of the attendees went on to discuss the role France in the conflict and how it may best position itself. There was agreement that France could expand its role as a mediator in the conflict, given its historical ties to Syria. This may assist the effectiveness of ongoing negotiations and their impact on the ground. This was seen to be of significant importance to France and other Western European countries given the threat of international terrorism. Improving the situation in Syria was seen to directly impact the national security of France and other European countries.
The participants then continued to the role of the new US administration in Syria. While aspects of US policy seem unpredictable, there was agreement that the Middle East was not a priority for this administration, beyond combatting Islamic State. It was highlighted that President Trump was more focused on internal issues in the US and that it is unlikely for there to be any significant policy changes in regard to Syria.
This round-table discussion was the second in a series of meetings and events to discuss specific policy issues and identify pragmatic solutions to a wide array of issues that the Middle East is facing.
Amongst those attending this initial meeting were: Mr Khaled Issa, Kurdish Democratic Union Party; Mr Chems Akrouf, Intelligence Expert; Mr Frédéric Crotta, Journalist; Mr Thomas Puijalon, Historian; Mr Antoine-Joseph Assaf, Philosopher; and Mr Azeddine Ould Daddah, Ould Daddah Foundation.