Short Interviews: Geopolitics in the Middle East

On October 10-14, 2018 the International Institute for Peace (IIP) in cooperation with the the Bruno Kreisky Forum, Directorate for Security Policy, Federal Ministry of Defense and Sports, the Institute for Global Studies, Rome-Brussels and the Al Sharq Forum, Istanbul hosted a series of events, public debates and workshops, on the topic “Resilience and escalation” in the MENA region.

The MENA region does not lend itself to quick analysis. Widening and increasingly intersecting conflicts are having deleterious impact on the region’s social fabric and its people. As a result, what happens in the region is no longer confined to it: radiating crises have started to infect relations between regional and global powers, forcing policymakers in world capitals to respond in pursuit of their nations’ strategic interests. The challenge is to untangle the knot of conflicts analytically: to understand how various historical strands have interacted to create the bewildering composite of conflict drivers and actors that pose a myriad of threats to local, regional and even global stability, and then to articulate policy responses that chart paths toward de-escalation and, eventually, more sustainable arrangements for states’ and communities’ peaceful coexistence. 

During the event we had the chance to address questions to the experts present, discussing topics such as the role of the U.S. in Syria and broadly in the MENA region; identity issues; the role of Iran and the future of the nuclear deal; as well as the Palestinian-Israeli situation and the role of other international actors, such as Russia and the EU.

Find below the videos with the interviews.

Interview with Ellen Laipson, a Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus of Stimson Center, Washington D.C. :


Interview with Nicola Pedde, Director of the Institute for Global Studies in Rome and research director for the Middle East at the Military Centre for Strategic Studies, Ministry of Defence, Italy:

Interview with Erzsebet Rozsa, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences:

Interview with Hassan Ahmadian, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Iran Project, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Assistant Professor of Middle East and North Africa studies at the University of Tehran:

Interview with Joost Hiltermann, Program Director, Middle East and North Africa at International Crisis Group, Brussels:

Interview with Nadja Hijab, a Palestinian political analyst, author and journalist. She is co-founder and board President of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network:

Interview with Guido Steinberg, a senior associate on the middle east and Africa at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, German Institute for International and Security Affairs: