The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the MENA region in a moment where the region is marked by political and military conflicts. This is the case with the ongoing civil wars in Libya and Syria, but also with the growing tension between Iran, the US, and Gulf countries, tensions which have repercussions in Iraq and other countries. Calls by the UN Secretary General and other international figures to freeze all conflicts and focus on the fight of COVID-19 have been ignored. Some actors have seen the pandemic as opportunity to achieve military victories or strategic advantages on the ground. Once the COVID-19 is over, how much different would these conflicts look like? This roundtable seeks to understand how the pandemic has affected conflict dynamics in the region.
Luigi Narbone (Speaker and moderator) | Director of the Middle East Directions Programme and Peace and Security cluster coordinator at the School of Transnational Governance. His research interest is in Gulf and Iran politics and security as well as broader MENA security and political economy.
Virginie Collombier | Part-time Professor at the Middle East Directions Programme. Her main research interests are in social and political dynamics in Libya, with a focus on processes of mediation and reconciliation; the political economy of conflicts; security issues.
Joseph Daher | Part-time Professor at the Middle East Directions Programme. His main research interests are in the political economy of Syria and Lebanon.
Abdolrasool Divsallar | Programme Associate at the Middle East Directions Programme and Adjunct Professor at Università Cattolica. His main research interests include Iranian military-security policy, comparative threat perception, and Persian Gulf security order.
Tamer Badaawi | Programme Associate at the Middle East Directions Programme. His research is mainly on Iran’s foreign policy towards the neighbourhood. He is currently focused on Shia non- and sub-state actors, especially Iraqi Shia paramilitaries
Everyone is welcome to participate.
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