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The Middle East – a region in upheaval

Friday, 10. February 2017

Hardly any other region in this world is currently undergoing political and social changes of the scope observed in the Middle East. The Academy's 2017 Course for Senior Officials is shedding light on today's challenges in this region as well as on the implications for German and European foreign and security policy.

Der Jemen ist einer der zahlreichen Konflikte im Nahen und Mittleren Osten

Yemen is the stage of just one of the numerous conflicts rocking the region.
Picture: tropilux/flickr/scaled down/CC BY-NC 2.0

“The current upheavals in the Middle East go beyond everything that has so far been observed in this already fragile region.” These were the introductory words by Dr Karl-Heinz Kamp, President of the Federal Academy for Security Policy, to the 2017 Course for Senior Officials.

According to Kamp, a tight web of religious, cultural, ethnic or power-driven conflicts has led to a permanent erosion of statehood. In the past few years alone, states disintegrated and entire countries were devastated – from Syria to Iraq and Libya to Yemen. Furthermore, those who wielded influence in the past have lost their status as regulatory powers – there is, de facto, no regional order anymore. Many experts are now comparing these radical changes to the Thirty Years' War in the Europe of the early modern era. “This comparison is disturbing,” Kamp said, “not only because that conflict lasted three decades, but also because it did not produce a winner – the war only ended because of the complete exhaustion of all warring parties.”

First-hand Impressions and Talks with Local Players

Against this backdrop, 18 representatives from politics, economy, the media and civil society will spend the next three weeks of the course discussing how the players in the region are interpreting these fundamental changes taking place around them, what contradictions they are facing and what implications this situation has for German and European foreign and security policy. A study tour of several days to the region will provide the participants with an opportunity to gather first-hand impressions and to have intensive conversations in order to deepen their own understanding.

The Course for Senior Officials is an integral part of the range of programmes offered by the Federal Academy. Its purpose is to enable senior officials from national and regional administrations as well as executive personnel from the economy sector and civil society to gain deeper insight into a topical issue of foreign and security policy and thus gather new information that is relevant to their own work. The Course for Senior Officials also helps create and further develop a security policy network composed of state and non-state players.

Author: Michael Hanisch