What Role for Europe?

The Syrian civil war has become a regional conflagration which may well overturn the traditional post-Ottoman order in the Levant (“Sykes-Picot”). Borders are losing their significance, and new (proto-)state entities are coming into existence. Destabilization and a power vacuum, which is partly filled by the “Islamic State” (IS), constitute daunting threats to the region. Moreover, the geo-strategic and sectarian rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia has helped to exacerbate regional tensions.

Not only the arrival of a large number of refugees has shown: Germany and Europe are directly affected by the collapse of the traditional order in the Middle East. Civil wars, failing states and terrorist militias in Europe’s Southern neighborhood pose a threat to its security.

With our events and publications we would like to contribute to a better understanding of the geopolitical upheavals in the Middle East. We would like to discuss the consequences of these developments and to outline possible perspectives – with both political decision-makers and the general public. Over and above this we are trying to make a contribution to promoting dialogue between important political actors from the region, to confidence-building and to finding constructive ways of resolving the problems at hand. One example is the Körber Dialogue Middle East, which took place between 2007 and 2016 and which brought together foreign policy experts from the Middle East, the European Union and the United States on a regular basis to foster an open and policy-oriented exchange of ideas. Read the summarized results of each session.

The project “A Westphalia for the Middle East?”, which was launched in 2016, is a joint endeavor of the Forum on Geopolitics of the University of Cambridge and Körber Foundation to open new perspectives on creative approaches to conflict resolution in the Middle East by looking at the Peace of Westphalia.

more information, media and downloads

  • “A Westphalia for the Middle East?”
    163rd Bergedorf Round Table, Berlin, 11-12 November 2016
    report (PDF)

  • Interview with Nora Müller
    Executive Director International Affairs at Körber Foundation, Nora Müller, spoke with Deutsche Welle on the Middle East peace conference held in Paris, June 2016
    Interview (Audio, French)

  • “Old Conflicts – New Alliances? Crisis Management in the Middle East”
    16th session of the Körber Dialogue Middle East, Berlin, 9-10 October 2015
    Conference Report (PDF)

  • “After the nuclear deal: perspectives for the Middle East”
    What are the final steps towards the nuclear agreement with Iran? What will be the regional and international consequences of the agreement? What role does the conflict in Yemen play? And how can a sustainable solution be found with regard to Syria, Iraq and IS?
    15th Körber Dialogue Middle East in Berlin, June 2015
    Conference Report (PDF)

  • “Containing the Crises? A New Quality of Disorder in the Middle East“
    Political, economic and social causes have to be addressed in order to prevent further expansion of the conflicts in the Middle East. Does containing IS constitute the lowest common denominator for an agreement between actors in the region? Which role do the US and Europe play and how are they perceived in the region? What can be visions for a new regional order in the Middle East?
    Conference report of the 158th Bergedorf Round Table in Amman, April 2015
    report (PDF)

  • Speech and discussion with Haider Al-Abadi
    At the occasion of his visit to Germany, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi gave a speech on foreign policy in Berlin upon invitation of Körber Foundation and answered questions by Thomas Paulsen, member of Körber Foundation’s executive board, and about 200 invited guests, among them politicians, government representatives, experts, journalists, and members of civil society organizations. February 2015
    report and video

  • Speech and discussion with Ahmet Davutoğlu
    At the occasion of his visit to Germany, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu gave a speech on foreign policy in Berlin upon invitation of Körber Foundation and answered questions by Thomas Paulsen, member of Körber Foundation’s executive board, and about 200 invited guests, among them politicians, government representatives, experts, journalists, and members of civil society organizations. January 2015
    report and video

  • “The Islamic State and the Future of the Middle East”
    What is the Islamic State able and willing to do? How can it be fought? How will the nuclear talks with Iran continue? And what trends can be expected in the Middle East in 2015?
    Conference report of the 14th Körber Dialogue Middle East in Berlin, November 2014
    conference report (PDF)

  • Interview with Jamal Khashoggi
    Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi journalist and General Manager of the Al Arab News Channel in Manama, comments on Saudi Arabia’s perspectives on the current crises in the region. He analyzes the Saudi participation in the anti-IS coalition, prospects for the nuclear talks with Iran and the recent debates about the falling oil price. November 2014
    video

  • Political Breakfast with Hossein Mousavian
    After a background talk with members of the German Bundestag, representatives of government agencies and selected think tanks Hossein Mousavian, former Iranian ambassador to Germany and former spokesman of the Iranian nuclear negotiation team, comments on the progress on nuclear negotiations between the E3+3 states and Iran. November 2014

  • “The Middle East in Disarray”
    Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014 panel discussion with Christoph Heusgen, Najib Mikati, Alireza Moayeri and Abdulaziz Sager, chaired by Souad Mekhennet, November 2014
    video

  • Interview with Najib Mikati
    In an interview on the Körber Sofa at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014 former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati talks about ways of dealing with the war in Syria and the ensuing refugee crisis. November 2014
    video

  • “Iran and the West: Prospects for Cooperation”
    Relations between Iran and the West have improved. But significant differences remain – not only with regard to Syria and Iraq. Will a solution of the nuclear conflict open up new fields of cooperation?
    Conference report of the 156th Bergedorf Round Table in Tehran, July 2014
    report (PDF)

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