Recent developments show that regional configurations and alliances within the Arab world cannot be taken for granted. While in the not so distant past the Maghreb and the Gulf were put in competition against each other, these last years have witnessed a greater involvement of Gulf countries in the Maghreb through an array of mechanisms and shifting patterns depending on specific contexts. Clear cases in point are the conflicting interests invading Libya’s politics and the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel in line with the so-called Abraham Accords. In spite of cultural and historical links, and notwithstanding a shared Arab identity, both geography and conflicting geopolitical and economic concerns have kept these subregions apart from each other.
However, the Gulf and Maghreb states share interests and concerns. Dynamics throughout the Mediterranean nowadays encompass events at both the subregional, regional and transcontinental level. States are confronted with a number of transnational and cross-regional phenomena, both at the macro and the micro-level. The international relations and economies of Maghreb countries are becoming more multifaceted, with more assertive African policies and the expansion of new trade relations as well as diversification of allies. Will they emulate the Gulf’s regional and global endeavors, leading to a showdown, or will pragmatism and conflict fatigue prevail? Will traditional fault lines shift and adapt to new threats and opportunities? How can domestic politics shape future events?
Will the Maghreb become an arena for power competition and Gulf Arab rivalries? How will the GCC’s irregular dynamics affect the balance of power? Have other external powers a role to play? Will potential partnerships be able to translate into deeper strategic ties providing with new opportunities for institutions and societies? The seminar will gather analysts with vast experience and insight from both sides of the Mediterranean, providing a platform to analyze the increasing importance of relations between the GCC and the Maghreb states.
16.00 – SESSION I. GULF-MAGHREB RELATIONS: INTERCONNECTIVITIES, DIVERGENCES AND OPORTUNITIES
Moderator: Karim Hauser, Casa Árabe
Cinzia Bianco, ECFR
Fatiha Dazi-Heni, Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’École Militaire
Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Conclusions: Irene Fernández-Molina, University of Exeter
17.15 – SESSION II. REGIONS IN TRANSFORMATION: ADJUSTING TO NEW SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL REALITIES
Moderator: Itxaso Domínguez de Olazábal, Fundación Alternativas
Yasmina Abouzzohour, Brookings Doha Centre
Youssef Cherif, Columbia Global Centers
Luciano Zaccara, Qatar University
Conclusions: Haizam Amirah-Fernández, Real Instituto Elcano
18.30 – CLOSING REMARKS. WHAT ROLE FOR EUROPE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN?
Ambassador James Moran, Centre for European Policy Studies
Yahia Zoubir, KEDGE Business School
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