A Decade of The IISS Manama Dialogue

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A Decade of The IISS Manama Dialogue: Premier Regional Security Summit in the Gulf


Manama Dialogue


A Decade of The IISS Manama Dialogue: Premier Regional Security Summit in the Gulf



Ten years of the IISS Manama Dialogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Chapter one

1st Regional Security Summit, 3–5 December 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Chapter two

2nd Regional Security Summit, 2–4 December 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Chapter three

3rd Regional Security Summit, 8–10 December 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Chapter four

4th Regional Security Summit, 7–9 December 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Chapter five

5th Regional Security Summit, 12–14 December 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Chapter six

6th Regional Security Summit, 11–13 December 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Chapter seven

7th Regional Security Summit, 3–5 December 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Chapter eight

8th Regional Security Summit, 7–9 December 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Chapter nine

9th Regional Security Summit, 6–8 December 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

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Manama Dialogue

Ten years of the IISS Manama Dialogue

For all of its long history the IISS has been a facilitator of

Manama in 2004. It was clear that a gap in the defence dip-

strategic discussion and debate in the service of better public

lomatic marketplace had been filled with that first meeting,

policy. In 2002, with the first IISS Shangri-La Dialogue Asia

and within a few years we saw it confirmed as a much-

Security Summit held in Singapore, the IISS began directly

respected and needed annual summit, which we re-styled

to inspire intergovernmental defence diplomacy. Our anal-

the Manama Dialogue.

ysis of the Asia-Pacific security landscape suggested that

The Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,

it was necessary for a regional security architecture to be

Prince Saud al-Faisal, laid out at the first Dialogue his vision

developed that would invite direct dialogue between the

of a secure Gulf which would require: ‘a unified GCC, an

defence ministers of the region. While presidents, prime

integrating Yemen, a stable Iraq and a friendly Iran.’ Those

ministers, foreign ministers and finance ministers met

four conditions appeared uncertain then, and remain fleet-

regularly, defence ministers rarely consulted each other,

ing now. However, the Manama Dialogue over its first ten

and certainly not in formations that involved more than

years has played a central role in regional security consulta-

a couple of governments at any given time. Rather than

tions. It has provided a platform for ministers to announce

merely advocate the creation of an Asian defence minister

policy initiatives; an occasion for bilateral and multilateral

consultative structure, the IISS decided to create one and

meetings between government leaders; an opportunity to

encourage defence diplomacy at a multi­lateral level. Now,

engage all relevant countries in regional security consulta-

the Shangri-La Dialogue is seen as an integral part of Asia’s

tions simultaneously; and a place at which senior officials

regional security structures, recognised as such by govern-

could ‘off-the-record’ discuss policy options for challenges

ments, and indeed it has made it easier for defence ministers

of the day. All of these discussions engage opinion-formers

subsequently to meet in formations of their own invention.

and analysts from both the region and outside. As a result,

That success inspired the IISS to consider how it could

it is at the Manama Dialogue that the strategic pulse of the

contribute to wider national security discussions in the

region is most accurately taken.

Gulf region. Here, the ministers of the Gulf Co-operation

After ten years of development and growth the

Council (GCC) countries met regularly. However, there

Manama Dialogue in this 2014 anniversary year is now set

was no available institutional forum where they could

to grow further as a recognised informal regional security

meet with other immediate neighbours such as Iran, Iraq

institution. The Manama Dialogue has become a process,

and Yemen, or do so at the same time as consulting leaders

not just an event. Constant contact throughout the year

from other regions, including North America, Europe and

between the IISS and participating governments helps to

Asia, who had security interests in the Gulf. When large

establish the agenda and range of countries to be invited.

conferences were held involving Westerners or others on

Preparatory ‘sherpa’ meetings involving senior officials

Gulf security, these tended to be held outside the region.

strengthen the lines of communication between the IISS

The need was for a summit that convened within the

and governments and help to ensure that the broad agenda

region, giving voice to the governments and opinion-form-

is in keeping with the needs of the region. While the IISS

ers of the area, and which was inclusive, engaging all those

arranges the Manama Dialogue and chairs the plenary and

with a stake in regional security. And so it was that in late

special sessions on the broad range of topics set each year,

2003, following discussions held with the Crown Prince of

it is the delegates of the Manama Dialogue who in fact

Bahrain and consultations with other GCC states that the

shape the agenda by the nature of their interventions and

IISS began preparations for the first Gulf Dialogue held in

the priority they give to certain issues.

4 | The 10th IISS Regional Security Summit

Each Manama Dialogue has had its impact. At the 2006

the intent not just of sending certain public messages, but

Dialogue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia delivering the key-

also to more deliberately co-ordinate and consult with col-

note speech spelled out its likely response to a confirmed

leagues from other countries. The Manama Dialogue in its

Iranian nuclear programme. The 2007 Dialogue saw the

tenth year is now at the stage when the governments partic-

first appearance of the US Secretary of Defence with a

ipating in it can frame the strategic issues they face across

very large delegation that inspired, as in subsequent years,

a number of areas, and try to work towards a more collec-

a good deal of debate as to the nature and shape of US

tive approach. The Manama Dialogue now is established

engagement with the region. In 2008, the debate on sectar-

sufficiently for it to be used as an instrument of regional

ian politics and transnational threats became more intense;

security. To that end, the IISS will continue to strive hard

in 2009 Iran’s relationship with the region was again the

to offer the most congenial environment for constructive

main theme; while in 2010 with the fullest participation

defence and security consultations to take root. We thank

ever of all relevant powers, there was a very palpable sense

the Kingdom of Bahrain for its support to this summit

of the Manama Dialogue serving as the platform for balanc-

process and to all the participating governments for their

ing the initiatives from the region, with those from outside.

active engagement.

As the Dialogue moved to its 8th and 9th editions in

Dr John Chipman cmg,

2012 and 2013, the governments attending deployed with

Director-General and Chief Executive

Ten years of the IISS Manama Dialogue | 5

6 | The 10th IISS Regional Security Summit



The Manama Dialogue 2004

Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa AlKhalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain

The rationale for the Gulf Dialogue was articulated most

such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in pursuing

eloquently and powerfully by the backdrop against which

common interests and fending off common threats that

it was convened: an intensifying insurgency in Iraq, with

included, but were not limited to, terrorism and the prolif-

elections scheduled for January 2005; a crisis over Iran’s

eration of weapons of mass destruction. The Gulf Dialogue,

nuclear programme, put into temporary abeyance by a deal

too, he hoped, had its part to play in the formation of a

reached in late November between Tehran, London, Paris

durable regional security structure.

and Berlin; the death of Yasser Arafat and the prospect of

But security and stability, he cautioned, would also

elections for a new Palestinian leader; and, at the close of

require nimble and adaptive policies at home. Diversifying

the conference, terror attacks in Saudi Arabia that further

economies away from an over-reliance on energy sectors

underlined the prevalence of threats to Gulf security. Many

would be key to sustaining the prosperity on which social

of the diplomatic, military and intelligence practitioners

ease largely depended. Stability would be further enhanced

whose decisions bear directly on these matters, and a good

through more inclusive and consultative political systems.

number of the opinion-formers who help governments to

Bahrain had been a pioneer in this last regard. Yet the Gulf

frame policies towards them, were present in Bahrain.

consisted of ‘young states and old civilisations’, which

It was with this in mind that Sheikh Mohammed Bin

needed to move towards reform at a pace consistent with

Mubarak Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister and

individual local conditions; nor should change be imposed

Foreign Minister, noted in his welcoming dinner address

from outside. Turning to the wider strategic dimension of

that the Gulf Dialogue represented a ‘unique opportunity

Gulf security, he stressed the primary importance of a sta-

for open debate and private discussion’. Drawing on the

ble Iraq, but also looked to allies in the West for ‘a more

Bahraini saying ‘we all live around the same courtyard’, he

balanced approach’ towards the Israeli–Palestinian dispute

stressed the importance of developing regional institutions,

– the cause of much animus and militancy in the region.

8 | The 1st IISS Regional Security Summit

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Terrorism was so pernicious, he concluded, not only

In weighing up the magnitude of the threat of inter-

because of the risks posed to physical security, but because

national terrorism, he assessed that it was in its potential

of its tendency to fuel a climate of distrust that led to ‘bar-

destructive implications less severe than the Cold War,

riers of perception’.

which was defined by a raw sense of nuclear antagonism.

Commenting on these remarks in his capacity as leader

Yet terrorism tended to provoke a fear that that was all too

of a US Congressional Delegation – also including Senators

much in evidence, and which needed to be controlled if it

Dianne Feinstein and Lincoln Chafee – that had come to

was not to lead to rash action and poor policy. Following

Bahrain fresh from high-level meetings in Rahmallah, Tel

his speech, the Crown Prince entered into a lively debate

Aviv, Amman and Baghdad, Senator Chuck Hagel spoke

regarding Bahrain’s strategy for economic modernisation

of a moment of ‘historic and dramatic possibilities’ for Iraq

and political reform; the Israeli–Palestinian dispute and

and the wider region. If it was not to be squandered, more

what the Gulf states have to contribute to an eventual solu-

committed and visionary leadership from the US and the

tion; and on whether and in what circumstances terrorists

Gulf states would be required. The IISS Gulf Dialogue, he

ought to be engaged in a dialogue.

said, was ‘part of recommitting to a sense of urgency’ about

The first two plenaries in effect took the form of a

these matters. ‘As mighty as America is’, he went on, ‘we

discussion between officials from within and outside the

cannot field enough armies to deal with these problems’,

Gulf on the practical and political dimensions of the cam-

and a ‘new sense of diplomacy’ was required.

paign against terrorism. Maj.-Gen. Dr Rashad Muhummad

Formally opening the conference, which he described as

Al-Alimi, the Interior Minister of Yemen, argued that his

an exercise in the promotion of collective security, Sheikh

country’s experiences in this regard had broad applica-

Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s Crown

bility, combining domestic law-enforcement and fulsome

Prince and the Commander-in-Chief of its defence forces,

participation in international anti-terrorism efforts with

talked fluently about the tactical and strategic dimensions

preventative measures to reintegrate into society and the

of the counter-terrorism campaign. Tactically, for exam-

political system jihadist elements who had, perhaps, fought

ple, the manpower of the terrorist networks would have to

the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan and were prone to

be captured or killed; strategically, it was vital to prevent

sympathise with other radical causes.

further recruitment of terrorists through the resolution

Iraq’s National Security Advisor, Dr Kassim Daoud,

of political conflicts that spawn radicalism. It was just as

turned his attention to the importance of fostering con-

important, in religious terms, that ‘outcasts’ should not be

sultative democracy in efforts to stamp out the Iraqi

allowed to ‘define what it is to be a Muslim’: extremism

insurgency. In the debate that followed, he gave a detailed

would have to be combated through the active advance-

account of technical preparations for January’s elections,

ment of a positive ‘counter-idea’.

arguing that there were no practical grounds, nor any The Manama Dialogue 2004 | 9

US Senator Chuck Hagel

legal justifications, for further delay to a timetable that was

was in all its specifics not necessarily applicable to the pre-

well-established and formally prescribed. He described the

cise circumstances of the Gulf, but in setting it out he felt it

security situation inside Iraq by noting that 15 of 18 prov-

did provide a useful example of the scope and forms of col-

inces were essentially stable, and went on to comment on

lective and individual action which might be contemplated

the steady progress being made by Iraq’s own security

by Gulf states. Domestically, Singapore’s strategy involved

forces. Some of Daoud’s conclusions were challenged in a

capacity-building and the facilitation of interagency coor-

spirited way by another Iraqi present at the conference, but

dination. Abroad, it comprised multilateral cooperation on

the National Security Adviser welcomed the fact that it was

maritime security, intelligence exchanges and data collec-

now possible for a minister of state to be held to account by

tion, and a dialogue between law-enforcement and police

a private Iraqi citizen in such a public manner.

agencies throughout Southeast Asia.

Singapore, as a country that has been a target of the

A British perspective was provided by Sir Nigel

al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiah, has evolved a com-

Sheinwald, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister

prehensive counter-terrorism strategy. Dr Tony Tan Keng

and Head of the Overseas and Defence Secretariat of the

Yam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating

UK Cabinet Office. British counter-terrorism policy, he

Minister for Security and Defence, argued that this strategy

said, was guided by the need to pursue terrorist at the

(l–r) Maj.-Gen. Dr Rashad Muhammad AlAlimi, Yemen’s Interior Minister; National Security Advisor of Iraq, Dr Kassim Daoud; and IISS Director Dr John Chipman

10 | The 1st IISS Regional Security Summit

Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Security and Defence

operational level; protect the homeland, for example

The conference then divided into three simultaneous

through enhancing aviation security; prepare for the con-

break-out groups. The first focused on regional border

sequences of possible attacks; and prevent the rise of new

controls and produced a lively and constructive discus-

generation of terrorists by addressing terrorism’s underly-

sion, chaired by Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of

ing causes.

The Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington DC. The

Stephen Hadley, US National Security Advisor-

discussion embraced a diverse range of issues, includ-

designate, characterised US policy towards the region as

ing technical considerations, trade-offs between security

both practical and idealistic. Its immediate focus would

and commerce, and the social dimensions of counter-ter-

be to confront terrorists and the states that support them;

rorism policy. There was a consensus that while formal

its long-term objective was to advance freedom and

boundary disputes in the Gulf had been substantially

democracy. The lack of participatory and accountable gov-

resolved, enforcing borders remained a serious problem.

ernment was linked to poverty and at the heart of many of

Some national officials aspired to ‘total security’, includ-

the region’s problems. The difficulties of the Middle East,

ing robust post-entry monitoring and inter-governmental

moreover, were the result of faulty policies rather than an

data-sharing, in the GCC. Discussants also cautioned that

inevitable product of cultural and religious impulses and

the GCC was not amenable to a European Union-type solu-

traits. A striking political transformation was now being

tion of open internal borders, especially because common

achieved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

tribal areas often traversed legal borders, rendering their

Hadley dwelt at length on the Israeli–Palestinian con-

strict enforcement all the more important. Border security

flict, reaffirming Washington’s commitment to a two-state

enforcement, it was noted, would be eased by more effec-

solution, and stressing that it stood ready, along with the

tive economic policies that kept populations relatively

EU and multilateral financial institutions, to work with a

sedentary. Nevertheless, officials from the region acknowl-

reforming and accountable Palestinian leadership. Israel

edged that physical restrictions were only a single limited

would have to support the emergence of a viable Palestinian

ingredient of counter-terrorism, given the recruiting func-

state. Hadley noted that the Gaza pullout amounted to an

tion that the internet and indigenous groupings performed.

important ‘down-payment’ on that prospect. Yet Israel also

Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa region were identi-

needed to help by facilitating the forthcoming Palestinian

fied as sources of terrorists, and several proactive remedies

elections, ensuring greater freedom of movement and ceas-

were put forward for stopping them. These included the

ing further settlement activity in the occupied territories.

use of more advanced monitoring and tracking technology;

In his concluding remarks, Hadley said in referring to the

improved training for border troops; and close military and

Gulf Dialogue: ‘I hope it becomes a permanent feature of

law-enforcement coordination among GCC countries. The

the regional scene’.

need to secure Iraq’s border, especially jihadist infiltration The Manama Dialogue 2004 | 11

Break-out group one: Border Controls

routes from Syria, drew comment. But Iran’s border chal-

the discussion focused on efforts to resolve the Iranian

lenges emerged as arguably the most acute in the region, in

nuclear issue, especially negotiations between Iran and

light of the large number of countries that are contiguous

the EU-3 scheduled to begin in mid-December 2004. This

with it and their lack of political stability.

included an exploration of different potential ‘objective

The second break-out group, on counter-prolifera-

guarantees’ that might serve to demonstrate that Iran’s

tion challenges, was chaired by Thérèse Delpech, IISS

nuclear programme was intended for purely peaceful

Council Member and Senior Research Fellow at the

purposes, and a consideration of how regional security

Center for International Studies in Paris. Presentations

discussions and arrangements could be part of a final

were made by William Ehrman, Chairman of the UK

diplomatic agreement. In addition, the group discussed



broader measures to combat proliferation, including the

Mousavian, Foreign Policy Chairman of the Supreme

importance of effective domestic controls over sensitive

National Security Council of Iran; Senator Robert Hill,

materials and equipment, and proposals to strengthen

Australian Minister for Defence; and Shigeru Nakamura,

international norms and treaties to prevent the spread of

Director General of the Intelligence and Analysis Service

nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their deliv-

of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Much of

ery vehicles. An issue of particular importance discussed


Committee; Ambassador

(l–r) General John Abizaid, Commanderin-Chief, US Central Command; Dr Kassim Daoud, Iraq’s National Security Advisor; and General Sir Michael Walker GCB, CMG, CBE, ADC Gen, Chief of the UK Defence Staff

12 | The 1st IISS Regional Security Summit

Stephen Hadley, US National Security Advisor-designate

by the group was the danger that non-state actors might

military presence, and denial of ‘safe haven’ to insurgents,

seek to acquire and use biological weapons.

were not sufficient to bring stability to troubled coun-

The challenges of dealing with terrorism and insur-

tries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. It was important that

gency, particularly in Iraq, dominated a break-out group

national security forces were able to assume control for

on ‘Military Trends and New Security Threats’. The ses-

elections to be successful and for domestic political resolu-

sion was chaired by General Sir Michael Walker, Chief

tions to be reached. The outside world needed to provide

of the UK Defence Staff, and included among its speak-

not just mili tary support, but political, economic and other

ers General John Abizaid, Commander, US Central

civil assistance. A European delegate expressed the view

Command; Iraqi National Security Advisor Dr Kassim

that a strong US role was required to bring stability to the

Daoud; Admiral Bernard Merveilleux du Vignaux of the

world’s crises, because America’s partners could not by

General Staff Headquarters of France; and Major General

themselves ‘keep the lid on the cooking pot’.

Mike Hindmarsh, Special Operations Commander of the Australian defence forces.

The third plenary, which was introduced by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, considered the

While approaches to counter-terrorism and counter-

impact of political and economic reform on Gulf security.

insurgency were the primary topic, other regional threats

In his presentation, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdulla, the

such as nuclear proliferation were also mentioned. Armed

Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of Oman, concen-

forces were adjusting themselves to deal with new, glo-

trated exclusively on the contribution of economic policy

balised threats. The need for good intelligence, and for

to stability. Extremism and terrorism, he felt, would best

coordination at every level in both the gathering and

be fought through economic development and increased

sharing of information, was stressed by several delegates.

prosperity. Deeper and wider trade relations with pow-

It was stated that intelligence on Iraqi insurgents had

ers outside the region would be crucial to this effort. The

improved considerably since the end of the combat phase

Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar,

of the war in April 2003, but that there was still room for

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabber Al Thani, argued that


neglect of economic and political reform would present

The nature and strategy of the Iraqi insurgency was

the region with major challenges. Change should not be

debated. Several delegates believed the media was giving

imposed from outside, he said, but driven organically by

an unbalanced – even a distorted – picture of Iraq, and

conviction and consensus. While this implied variations

regional media in particular were not adequately portray-

in the speed of progress, there was a need for a timetable

ing the true nature of the insurgents. One delegate referred

for action and clarification of objectives. In the discussions

to a ‘huge disconnect’ between media coverage and reality.

that followed, a number of delegates questioned whether

A further strong theme of the discussion was that coalition

ruling elites in the region would in fact be willing to cede The Manama Dialogue 2004 | 13

Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

powers as part of a programme of political reform; others

argued that Iran had a right to security, and in this regard

argued that the emergence of greater pluralism would be

Israel’s advanced nuclear capabilities were a source of par-

frustrated by an intolerance of political parties who might

ticular concern. Ali Reza Moayeri, Iran’s Deputy Foreign

represent sections of society.

Minister for Research, speaking on behalf of Foreign

The final plenary was devoted to the crafting of new

Minister Kamal Kharrazi, expressed his hope that the Gulf

frameworks for regional security. Leading off the discus-

Dialogue would ‘contribute to the promotion of peace

sion, Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia,

and security through open exchange of ideas’. Describing

described this session as providing a ‘timely opportunity to

the Gulf as an object of competition between great pow-

exchange views on a current and important topic’. Turning

ers, whose interventions had detracted from the sum of

to the GCC states, he called for greater efforts to enhance

regional security, he advanced a plan for a ‘Persian Gulf

defence capabilities in an integrated manner, including

Collective Security Framework’. All states of the region

exploring the scope for joint command-and-control mecha-

would participate in it, and none would form new alliances

nisms and logistical arrangements. GCC states that had

with non-members. A ‘Regional Security Assembly’ would

defence or economic agreements with third parties should

be estab lished, which would handle pacts and treaties

not give these precedence over accords with fellow mem-

while avoiding interference in the internal affairs of mem-

bers; there was a need to uphold the collective spirit and

ber states. It would define the goals of regional interaction,

combined bargaining power of the GCC. In the same vein,

and its mandate would include crafting policies to combat

he argued for the expansion of the GCC to include Yemen.

terrorism and its causes, and to pursue a Middle East free

The GCC’s main regional priority in the short term was

of weapons of mass destruction. In the question and answer

to define its relations with Iraq and Iran. As far as former

session, attention focused in particular on the criteria that

was concerned, the recent Kuwait–Iraq accord provided a

Yemen would have to fulfil in order to be admitted to the

model for how the GCC as a whole might come into asso-

GCC. Other presentations on this panel were given by

ciation with Baghdad. Iran, meanwhile, needed to build

Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Diplomatic Adviser to the

relations in the region on the basis of a policy of non-

President of France, and Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad

interference, and through more active participation in the

Al-Sabah, President of the National Security Bureau of

campaign against terrorism. Yet Prince Saud Al Faisal also


14 | The 1st IISS Regional Security Summit

Read a more detailed report online



The Manama Dialogue 2005

His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa

An array of senior figures from 19 countries attended the

be discussed both publicly and privately, in a unique

second IISS Regional Security Summit, The Gulf Dialogue,

format that would be difficult for participating govern-

in Bahrain from 2–4 December 2005.

ments to organise for themselves.

There was intense discussion about counter-terrorism,

To give the discussion more enduring form and value

on means to deal with other regional security issues and, in

– and in response to requests from delegates – the IISS

particular, about Iraq and the relationships between Arab

will circulate in early 2006 a substantial report on the Gulf

states and Iran. The conference featured vigorous debate

Dialogue’s content and lessons. (The report will be much

in the plenary sessions and break-out groups. Officials

longer and will do better justice to interventions, both from

engaged in many private bilateral meetings and delegation

the podium and from the floor, than is possible in the lim-

leaders also attended a multilateral lunch.

ited space of this Newsletter.)

Dr John Chipman, IISS Director, said in his opening

Delegations, with leaders of cabinet rank or sen-

remarks that the summit was designed to bring together

ior level, attended from the six GCC members: Bahrain,

the national security establishments of Gulf Cooperation

Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab

Council (GCC) members, Yemen, Iraq and Iran and key

Emirates; three important regional states: Iran, Iraq and

outside powers that had a role to play in Gulf security.

Yemen; and ten non-regional countries: Australia, China,

The conference, held in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, built on the success of the first Gulf Dialogue, held in the

France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

same place a year earlier, as well as on that of the Asia

The King of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa

Security Conference, the Shangri-La Dialogue, convened

Al Khalifa, welcomed delegation leaders at his palace. All

annually by the IISS in Singapore. The Dialogues pro-

delegates were entertained at a reception and dinner by

vide an informal setting in which security issues can

the Crown Prince and Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain

16 | The 2nd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Sheikh Ghazi Al Yawer, one of Iraq’s two Vice Presidents; and Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism

Defence Force, His Highness Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad

out an agenda for co-operative action by regional countries

Bin Isa Al Khalifa.

on two levels: practical measures such as sharing informa-

The King, in remarks to the delegation leaders, stressed

tion, securing borders and stopping the flow of terrorists’

the importance of ‘information sharing through mean-

funds; and on four fundamental policy issues: confronting

ingful dialogue’ in defeating terrorism which, he said,

the ideology of violent extremism, halting state sponsor-

‘threatens freedom as it threatens life itself’.

ship of terrorism, supporting the development of a stable

The need for such dialogue was emphasised by Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign

and peaceful Iraq, and helping the Palestinian Authority to follow the ‘road map’ towards peace with Israel.

Affairs, in remarks at the opening dinner. ‘In the past we

The second plenary featured regional, European

have not had a forum that brings together interested parties

and Asian views on ‘Perspectives on GCC International

to address both individual issues and strategic challenges

Security Relationships’. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber

in a detailed yet frank manner. I believe the Gulf Dialogue

Al Thani, Qatar’s Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime

can be such a forum’.

Minister, noted the many challenges facing GCC states,

Iraq was inevitably a recurrent theme of the Dialogue. Sheikh Ghazi Al Yawer, one of its two vice-presidents, said

including establishing political and economic re­-form and fighting terrorism in a globalised world.

in a keynote address at the opening dinner he hoped the

Michèle Alliot-Marie, France’s Defence Minister, said

elections due in December would create a balanced par-

that to many people, the Gulf appeared to be the ‘exclusive

liament that would allow the political process to develop

preserve of the United States’. She enumerated a number of

further. Iraq faced abnormal and difficult conditions,

ways in which France and Europe could contribute to the

including terrorism, the influence of regional states, the

region’s security, including crisis management tools such

heritage of injustice under the former regime and the emi-

as European Union battlegroups and a gendarmerie force.

gration of skilled people. Foreign forces, he said, would

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Professor S.

continue to be needed (subject to signature of a status-of-

Jayakumar, who is also Co-ordinating Minister for National

forces agreement), while Iraq’s militias must be disbanded

Security, urged countries fighting terrorism to look beyond

and integrated into the security forces.

the ‘operational aspects’. While it was important to tighten

The US delegation was led by Frances Fragos Townsend,

aviation and maritime security and to disrupt terrorist

Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland

cells, Professor Jayakumar said: ‘If we do not tackle ideo-

Security and Counter-terrorism. Addressing the first ple-

logical aspects, we are only tackling half the problem’.

nary session on ‘The US and Regional Security’, she said

Only Muslims could do this, since non-Muslims had no

international terrorist attacks were the work of a ‘diabolical

locus standi. Muslim leaders in Southeast Asia were mak-

enemy’, fuelled by an ideology that distorted Islam. She set

ing efforts in this direction. The Manama Dialogue 2005 | 17

(l–r): Sheikh Ghazi Al Yawer, one of Iraq’s two Vice Presidents; IISS Director Dr John Chipman; and Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minster of Foreign Affairs

Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, President of

of hydrocarbons and, in some cases, a strategic interest in

the National Security Bureau, Kuwait, picked up this theme

assured naval access. Conflict in Iraq and increasing energy

in the third plenary session, ‘The Nature of the Regional

demand, particularly from China and India, had accentu-

Terrorism Challenge’. ‘Many countries have been seared

ated the critical importance of access. However, maritime

by the flames of terrorism’, he noted before declaring that

crime, notably piracy and trafficking, together with the

‘Islam is innocent of such activities’. He listed measures

spectre of maritime terrorism, increasingly threatened to

Kuwait had adopted, in education, religious training and

undermine freedom of maritime communication.

democratic and social reforms, to stop young people from being led towards extremism.

The increased incidence of piracy posed a particularly serious threat to shipping, contributing to concerns that esca-

The Interior Minister of Yemen, Maj.-Gen. Dr Rashad

lating maritime crime was entrenching a lawless environment

Al Alimi, spoke of his country as the ‘strategic back garden

in which the potential for terrorism at sea was growing. This

of this area’, and said it needed stronger co-operation with

threat was especially pronounced in the northern Gulf close

GCC members in order to halt terrorism, organised crime

to Iraq, where unresolved territorial disputes may allow for

and arms trafficking, so that Yemen would not be used as a

the exploitation of gaps in security coverage.

safe haven. He agreed with suggestions for heightened coordination, including in the exchange of information.

The US in particular was concerned that terrorist adversaries inspired by al-Qaeda would exploit regional waters

On Saturday afternoon the conference split into three

to move personnel, weapons and finances and use the sea

break-out groups, under the rules of which no participant’s

as a vector of asymmetric attack against US vessels and

remarks can be publicly quoted.

those of friendly states. In response, the US and UK navies

A discussion on ‘Maritime Security in the Region’

were seeking to heighten co-ordination with regional and

was chaired by Admiral Jacques Lanxade, former Chief

international partners, notably in terms of intelligence-

of Defence Staff in France. Opening remarks were given

sharing aimed at creating a more comprehensive and

by Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of US Naval

accurate regional maritime picture.

Forces, Central Command, and Commander of the US Fifth

At the same time, more conventional maritime security

Fleet, Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, Commander-in-

concerns persisted. Western powers with naval forces in the

Chief Fleet, UK Royal Navy and Maj.-Gen. Ahmad Yousef

Gulf, as well as Arab states in the region, were concerned

Al Mulla, Chief of Naval Forces, Kuwait.

over Iran’s potential maritime response if international

The break-out group heard that the Gulf and the west-

sanctions were imposed owing to its nuclear programme,

ern Indian Ocean were a ‘maritime crossroads’, where

and accidental naval clashes were a worrying possibil-

maintaining freedom of sea communication was vital both

ity. Some regional states feared a naval arms race. In this

for littoral states and for extra-regional stakeholders. The

unstable maritime environment, bilateral confidence-

latter had a huge economic interest in the unimpeded flow

building exchanges between major naval players would

18 | The 2nd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, Qatar’s Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister; and France’s Minister of Defence, Michèle Alliot-Marie

be invaluable. However, inter-state tensions seemed likely

Iran’s nuclear programme, clandestine support for terror-

to rule out an over-arching multilateral regional security

ism and a desire to have a controlling hand in Iraq, Arab

arrangement in the foreseeable future.

participants seemed more anxious over Iran’s ascendant

A break-out group on ‘Regional Military Strategies

power. Iranian participants, however, saw the problem as

and Counter-terrorism Challenges’ was chaired by Field

groundless and best addressed by direct contacts between

Marshal The Lord Inge, former UK Chief of Defence Staff.

Iran and regional actors, without the participation of

Introductory remarks were made by Lt-Gen. Fahd Al Amir,

Europe or the US.

Chief of Staff of the Kuwait Armed Forces, and Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Bin Faisal Abo Sak, Saudi National Guard.

A fourth challenge revolved around the domestic institutions of regional states. Some saw the need for more

The group heard that the security challenges to the

democracy and popular legitimacy, others for integrating

region had altered considerably over the past decade. State

the region into the global marketplace of ideas and com-

weakness and transnational terrorism were at the apex

merce, and still others for shoring up state security in the

of security concerns. Consequently, strategies adopted

face of untethered communications, porous borders, and

by regional actors were undergoing a period of reflection,

political violence.

debate and change. Participants concentrated on five issues.

Finally, the region was challenged by external actors:

Instability in Iraq posed the most immediate security

many wanted a responsible role for the US but few were

challenge. Clashing forces challenged a fledgling govern-

happy with the status quo. Many welcomed Europe’s partic-

ment still in transition. Foreign forces were at once part

ipation but were sceptical about how vibrant that role would

of the solution and the problem in the eyes of Gulf states,

be, while others were interested in linkages with rising

which agreed on the objective but not necessarily the

Asian powers, especially China and India as well as Japan.

means of stabilising Iraq. No-one expected an early end to Iraq’s insurgency and sectarian political violence.

Solutions to handling these diverse – and diversely viewed – challenges centred on either new security struc-

A second challenge was posed by terrorism. Whereas

tures or specific actions. Many favoured a broader Gulf

most saw this as a vital common threat, group members

regional forum linking the six GCC states with Iraq, Iran,

differed on specific threats or remedies. Clearly required

Yemen and perhaps Jordan. Others worried that inclusiv-

was a multi-faceted set of national and regional policies,

ity was premature and that like-minded nations ought to

in which military intervention was only one policy instru-

coalesce around steps to stabilise Iraq and to stem terror-

ment. There could be wider co-operation among Muslims

ism. Others preferred dealing with specific issues and put a

on confronting the false narratives of those using a dis-

premium on bilateral relations, from intelligence sharing to

torted version of Islam to justify indiscriminate killing.

combined military exercises. Virtually everyone agreed on

Iran’s growing influence and regional role posed a third challenge. Whereas external participants worried over

the value of the IISS Gulf Dialogue for improving understanding and fashioning solutions. The Manama Dialogue 2005 | 19

(l–r): Maj.-Gen. Dr Rashad Al Alimi, Yemen’s Interior Minister; President, Kuwait’s National Security Bureau, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah; and Professor S. Jayakumar, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Co-ordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Law

A third break-out group discussed ‘Gulf Cooperation Council Relations with Iran and Iraq: Energy Security

the region might be heading towards another extended period of instability.

and Defence Implications’. It was chaired by Georg

The group discussed the sources of this potential insta-

Boomgarden, Secretary of State in Germany’s Ministry of

bility. The belligerent rhetoric that some states chose to

Foreign Affairs, and introductory remarks were given by

deploy in regional diplomacy was identified as a barrier

Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdulla, Minister Responsible for

to good relations. However, participants from the GCC

Foreign Affairs, Oman; Dr Abbas Maleki, Head of Iran’s

states identified Iranian actions and possible motives as

International Institute for Caspian Studies; and Labid

the major source of concern. The nuclear issue dominated

Majeed Abbawi, Under Secretary for Policy Planning in the

their thoughts with Iran’s approach to negotiations over

Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

the issue raising fears of a US military strike. In addition,

The discussion began with participants agreeing on the global importance of the Gulf region for the stability and

Iran’s influence and motives in Iraq were seen as a potential source of instability.

growth of the world economy. Against this background,

The break-out group considered a range of confidence-

the aftermath of regime change in Iraq and the conflict that

building measures that could be undertaken to reduce

Iran was currently engaged in with the international com-

mistrust and to build stability. These should take the form

munity over its nuclear programme gave rise to fears that

of a continued dialogue between regional states on the

BREAK-OUT GROUP I: Maritime Security in the Region

(l–r): Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, C-in-C Fleet, UK; Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander, US Naval Forces, Central Command and Commander, US Fifth Fleet; and Maj.-Gen. Ahmad Yousef Al-Mulla, Kuwait’s Chief of Naval Forces. The group was chaired by Admiral (Retd) Jacques Lanxade, former Chief of Defence Staff, France

20 | The 2nd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Dr John Reid MP, UK Secretary of State for Defence; and Abdul Karim Al Anazi, Iraq’s Minister of State for National Security Affairs

pressing issues of mutual defence, energy security and pro-

Situation in Iraq’, Abdul Karim Al Anazi, Iraq’s Minister

liferation. Such a dialogue should be aimed at balancing

of State for National Security Affairs, said Iraq needed

the interests of individual states with those of the region as

international and regional support to fight the threat of

a whole. It was suggested that in addition to the European

terrorism, which was not a national but a regional phenom-

Union and the US, Pakistan and India should be brought in

enon. He attacked the media – and he was not the first at

as dialogue partners. Energy security, it was argued, would

the Dialogue to do so – for what, in his view, was the provi-

only come from continuing discussion between producers

sion of support to terrorism through coverage in the press

and consumers to regulate demand. Ultimately, energy

and on satellite television.

security could not be exclusive to individual states but was, by its very nature, the work of multilateral institutions.

Dr John Reid, Secretary of State for Defence of the UK, quoted Napoleon in arguing that endurance was required

The group concluded that long-term stability in the

to prevail in the struggle against terrorism in Iraq. The

Gulf would only be achieved when states put aside military

effort would require not just force, but aid, trade, political

and political rivalries and concentrated on the economic

will and an understanding that not all opponents ‘should

and social development of their own populations.

be lumped together under the heading of international ter-

On Sunday, attention continued to be focused on Iraq

rorism’. Many people, he said, had genuine grievances and

and Iran. In the fourth plenary session, ‘Perspectives on the

felt let down by unfulfilled promises. Progress was being

BREAK-OUT GROUP II: Regional Military Strategies and CT Challenges

(l–r): Field Marshal Lord Inge KG GCB DL, former Chief of Defence Staff, UK; Lt-Gen. Fahd Al Amir, Chief of Staff of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces; and Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Bin Faisal Abo Sak of the Saudi National Guard

The Manama Dialogue 2005 | 21

Mohamed Reza Bagheri, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister

(l–r): Ambassador Chinmaya Gharekhan, India’s Special Envoy for West Asia; IISS Director Dr John Chipman; Mikhail Margelov, Head of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee; and Ambassador Wang Shijie, China’s Special Envoy to the Middle East

made in Iraq, in building democracy, in restoring basic ser-

had a vital stake in stability in the Gulf and believed a strong

vices, in the economy and in training the security forces.

web of international links would best ensure regional secu-

But there would still be challenges. ‘As things get better,

rity. Ambassador Wang Shijie, China’s Special Envoy for

sometimes the activities of the terrorists will get worse’.

the Middle East, said China favoured an international con-

In the fifth plenary session, ‘Regional Relations: Iran

vention to enhance cooperation against terrorism. Mikhail

and Iraq’, Mohamed Reza Bagheri, Iran’s Deputy Foreign

Margelov, Head of the Russian Federation Council’s

Minister, said regional countries should set up a structure

Foreign Affairs Committee, noted that the establishment of

that would allow security to be ‘indigenised’. The Persian

a security structure in the Gulf was in a ‘very preliminary

Gulf should be free of weapons of mass destruction: Iran

stage’ and that there was not unanimity among regional

was committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

states. Moves such as sharing intelligence data would be

and the legal obligations it entailed. Iraq, he said, could be

helpful steps.

a pillar of peace and security in the region.

In conclusion, Dr Chipman paid tribute to the

In the sixth and final plenary, ‘Regional Security and

Kingdom of Bahrain for its support for the Dialogue and

International Cooperation’, speakers from three external

to the IISS staff who took part in its organisation. He

powers presented their views. Ambassador Chinmaya

announced that the next Gulf Dialogue would be held on

Gharekhan, India’s Special Envoy for West Asia, said India

8–10 December 2006.

BREAK-OUT GROUP III: GCC Relations with Iraq and Iran: Energy Security and Defence Implications

(l–r): Labid Majeed Abbawi, Under Secretary for Policy Planning in Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Georg Boomgarden, Secretary of State in Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Dr Abbas Maleki, Head of the International Institute for Caspian Studies, Iran

22 | The 2nd IISS Regional Security Summit

Read a more detailed report online



The Manama Dialogue 2006

Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chief of General Intelligence, Saudi Arabia

The pressing security challenges of the Gulf and its sur-

about Iran’s nuclear programme; the Israel–Palestine

rounding region were intensively addressed at the 3rd IISS

dispute; the travails of Lebanon; the threat of extrem-

Regional Security Summit, The Manama Dialogue, held in

ist terrorism; sectarian divisions; and the challenges of

Bahrain from 8–10 December 2006.

Afghanistan. Speakers noted the growing importance of

At the close of the Dialogue, Dr John Chipman,

energy security and maritime security as issues for the

IISS Director-General and Chief Executive, said it had

region, as well as the continuing need for an overarching

demonstrated the value of creating an informal, inclu-

security apparatus that would help regional countries to

sive mechanism for discussing regional security issues.

address common issues.

Delegation leaders had requested that the IISS develop

The worsening violence in Iraq was a particular focus,

and institutionalise the Dialogue. He warmly thanked the

with the Dialogue commencing two days after the publica-

Kingdom of Bahrain for its commitment to and support for

tion in Washington of the report of the Iraq Study Group

the Summit.

(ISG), comprising eminent former US officials led by James

Delegates were addressed at a dinner at King Hamad’s

Baker and Lee Hamilton, who recommended significant

palace by Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa,

and controversial shifts in US policy. The Dialogue was

the Crown Prince, who praised the Manama Dialogue

addressed by Iraq’s national security adviser, its interior

and provided a clear and frank assessment of regional

and foreign ministers, as well as a former defence minister.

security issues.

It was clear that Baghdad’s reaction to the report was far

The topics discussed by the Crown Prince and other

from enthusiastic.

speakers at the Dialogue underlined the multiplicity of

The Dialogue was attended by ministers, senior offi-

problems facing the region and the need for high-level dis-

cials and military officers from 22 countries, including

cussions about them: the troubles of Iraq; apprehensions

Pakistan for the first time. As well as the six states of

24 | The 3rd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): William Cohen, former US Secretary of Defense; and Richard Armitage, former US Deputy Secretary of State

the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iran, Iraq and

the Prince later qualified this remark by saying he did not

Yemen, there was strong representation from the Asia-

believe American forces should withdraw from Iraq yet.

Pacific region, Europe and North America. For example,

Saudi Arabia was investing heavily in border security in

India and Japan were represented by their national security

order to prevent infiltration into Iraq.

advisers, Australia and Turkey by their defence ministers and Sweden by its newly-appointed foreign minister, Carl

First Plenary Session: The United States and the region

Bildt, a member of the IISS Council.

The first plenary session, on ‘The United States and the Re-

Chipman told the opening dinner: ‘Precisely because

gion’, was addressed by William Cohen, former Defense

this in an informal institution, a good deal of real diplo-

Secretary and Senator, and now Chairman and Chief Ex-

macy can happen during its course.’ As at the Shangri-La

ecutive Officer of the Cohen Group, and Richard Armit-

Dialogue, the IISS Asia Security Summit held annually in

age, former Deputy Secretary of State and now President

Singapore, delegations took the opportunity to hold bilat-

of Armitage International. Though a strong delegation of

eral or multilateral meetings over lunch or dinner, as well

US officials and military officers attended the Dialogue, no

as to attend the plenary and break-out sessions.

serving member of the Bush administration was able to ad-

The keynote speaker to the opening dinner was Prince

dress delegates in plenary session.

Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Chief of

Cohen noted that the mood had changed in the United

General Intelligence. Introducing him, Professor François

States since the invasion of Iraq, which President George

Heisbourg, Chairman of the IISS Council, remarked that

W. Bush had undertaken without much domestic chal-

the Prince’s position was not one that normally lent itself

lenge. It was clear that things had not gone as he had

to the public expression of opinions. However, Prince

planned. Following the November 2006 Congressional

Muqrin delivered a frank account of regional challenges,

elections, there was a short window of perhaps four or

focusing first on Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons,

five months to formulate a new US policy before the issue

which he described as a ‘dangerous threat’ to regional

became engulfed and fragmented by the politics of the

security because proliferation by others would lead mod-

2008 presidential election.

erate countries to initiate nuclear programmes. At the root

As to the elements of a possible policy, Cohen asserted

of this problem, he said, was the tension caused by the

that there was no military solution, but that support must

Palestinian issue, and he noted that King Abdullah’s 2002

be given to a unified state. However, the view that the

peace plan still provided a basis for resolution. Sectarian

new US focus should be on training Iraqi security forces

violence and terrorism in Iraq was affecting regional

would be challenged by some in Washington. Cohen

security. Other countries needed to help Iraq without

supported engagement with Iran, provided this had the

interfering in its internal affairs. The presence of foreign

backing, through the United Nations Security Council, of

forces would help fuel instability and terrorism – though

China and Russia. The Manama Dialogue 2006 | 25

(l–r): Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iran; and Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iraq

Armitage said the Bush administration was trying to

on more responsibilities, Cohen said that US criticism of

work out an overall regional policy rather than treating

Bush’s approach would diminish if there were signs of

the issues separately as it had before. America was nor-

measurable progress.

mally an exporter of hope and enthusiasm, but since the 11 September 2001 attacks had exported fear and anger.

Second Plenary Session: Regional security perceptions

It was now time to step away from this mood, and to try

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was the

to be more open and welcoming. It was unfair to place

first of three foreign ministers to address the second

the same expectations of democracy on Iraqis as on post-

plenary session on ‘Regional Security Perceptions’. He

war Germany and Japan, both of which had professional

called for collective security arrangements among re-

administrators and a democratic heritage. Armitage

gional countries, without intervention by foreign forces.

reminded delegates that success in Afghanistan had to

On Iran’s nuclear programme, he said it was pursuing its

be achieved, or else the world would be ‘in a whole new

‘indisputable rights only within the framework of the Nu-

ball game’.

clear Non-Proliferation Treaty’. The issue could be solved

Of the questioners, Lord (Charles) Powell, former

through dialogue and there was no basis for involving

adviser to Margaret Thatcher as UK Prime Minister, was

the UN Security Council. Iran was willing to remove any

dismissive of the ISG report as unrelated to the real situa-

ambiguity on the issue and had already done much to do

tion and as a ‘plan for getting the President out of trouble’.

so. On Iraq, Mottaki stated that it was vital that foreign

To Powell, the implication was that the United States

troops be pulled out, and Iran was ready to help the Unit-

did not have the ability to see things through to the end.

ed States to do so.

Another challenge to US policy came from Sir Malcolm

Answering questions, Mottaki insisted that his coun-

Rifkind, former UK Foreign Secretary and Defence

try’s nuclear programme was peaceful and that it was not

Secretary. He suggested that the US should offer full nor-

seeking to make weapons. All its activities were moni-

malisation of bilateral relations to Iran.

tored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Armitage agreed that there were ‘lots of reasons to sit down with Iran’, which wanted ‘correct’ relations with

and there was no evidence of divergence from their peaceful purpose.

Washington. Cohen said there was a ‘grand bargain’ to be

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari agreed that Iraq’s

struck with Iran, but bemoaned the current American lack

difficulties in restoring stability – for which he blamed

of leverage to achieve this. ‘They are reaping the benefit of

Saddam’s ‘henchmen’ – were affecting its neighbours. He

our lack of success’, he said. Both speakers agreed that the

saw it as one of five key regional security issues, the others

ISG was a result of US politics. While Armitage asserted

being rising sectarianism, the spread of nuclear weapons,

that it was common sense for the Iraqi government to take

terrorism and the lack of a regional security system.

26 | The 3rd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain; and Sheikh Mohammed Al Abdallah Al Sabah, Director of the Citizens Services and Governmental Bodies Assessment Agency, Kuwait

Like Cohen and Armitage, Zebari argued that the ISG

Third Plenary Session: Asia’s role in the region

was mostly to do with US politics. Iraqis, having begun

In the third plenary session, on ‘Asia’s Role in the Region’,

their political process with international support, would

delegates heard from senior officials from India, Japan and

fiercely resist any backward steps. Iraqi security forces

China. M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser to In-

needed to be empowered, trained and equipped. Iraq

dia’s Prime Minister, underlined the bonds of trade, cul-

needed to talk to its neighbours, as it had begun to do so

ture and religion that tie India to the Gulf. Issues such as

with Iran and Syria, and would do with Jordan, Saudi

energy security, terrorism and conflicts were of common

Arabia and Turkey.

interest because together they threaten regional and inter-

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed

national security. India was involved in the reconstruction

Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said the region faced four

of Afghanistan, but these efforts were threatened by the re-

inter-linked challenges: demographics, extremism, sec-

surgence of the Taliban ‘made possible by the existence of

tarianism and terrorism. On the first of these, there was

support structures across the border’.

a danger that extremism and terrorism could find a







favourable environment if countries failed to provide

Palestine and Lebanon. Iran’s security concerns needed

employment, infrastructure and social services to keep

to be addressed: non-engagement was not an option.

pace with growing populations. It was necessary to

He expressed doubt about Iran’s intention to weapon-

ensure that expatriate populations did not displace local

ise, though he said India would oppose this. Terrorism

workforces. Bahrain was addressing the issue through

was ‘one of the greatest scourges that the world has ever

labour-market reforms ‘to ensure that Bahrainis are given

known’, and terrorist groups had ‘common operating pro-

all necessary skills and opportunities to find employ-

cedures, common funding structures, common training

ment, without losing the flexibility to fill short-term gaps

facilities, and a degree of cross-cultural compatibility’.

through recruitment of expatriates’.

Yuriko Koike, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for

Sheikh Mohammed Al Abdallah Al Sabah, Director,

National Security Affairs, Japan, said the Gulf and the East

Citizens Services and Governmental Bodies Assessment

were bound together by four key issues: energy, stability,

Agency, Kuwait, told the session that the withdrawal of US

trade and climate. On the first of these, the GCC countries,

troops from Iraq should not be an option as Washington

Iran and Iraq supplied 90% of Japan’s oil imports, and

reassesses its policy. This would only increase violence

Japan bought 27% of GCC output. Steps had been taken

and instability. Expressing concern about the situations

to improve maritime security, but more could be done to

in Lebanon and Palestine, Al Sabah called on Iran to build

promote dialogue between producer and consumer and in

international confidence about its nuclear programme by

terms of investment cooperation. On peace and stability,

dealing transparently with the IAEA.

she expressed Japan’s grave concern about North Korean The Manama Dialogue 2006 | 27

M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser, India

and Iranian nuclear programmes and called for greater

Participants heard that irregular challenges from both

cooperation to meet these challenges. Japan had pledged a

states and non-state actors had escalated over the last dec-

large amount of assistance to Iraq and was concerned about

ade: the threat to shipping, oil and gas installations, and

the deterioration of security there. On trade and economic

ports was now pervasive. Any substantial disruption of

security, Japan had commenced negotiations with the GCC

seaborne energy supplies or more general maritime trade

on a free-trade agreement. On climate, Koike, who was

could have global economic and political repercussions.

previously Environment Minister, said the GCC could not

Particular concern was expressed over the vulnerability of

afford to be indifferent to global warming.

chokepoints such as the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca,

Sun Bigan, China’s Special Envoy for the Middle

though there was little consensus on how feasible it might

East, expressed his country’s concern about the Israel–

be for conventional armed forces or terrorists to block these

Palestine conflict, Iran’s nuclear programme and Iraq.

vital trade routes.

Speaking in Arabic, Sun said that to build a harmonious

States in the Gulf region were already implementing

Gulf it was necessary to build mutual trust, to settle the

national measures to manage these threats, but only effec-

hotspot issues through dialogue, to promote economic

tive international cooperation involving extra-regional

and social development, and to build exchanges between

stakeholders, as well as regional states, could deal effec-


tively with the widening array of contemporary maritime

On the afternoon of 9 December, delegates broke into

security challenges. There was already substantial inter-

three groups for off-the-record discussions. While remarks

national maritime security cooperation in the Gulf region,

may not be attributed to the participants who made them,

where US-led but thoroughly multinational naval task

the IISS records the sense of the discussion.

forces operate in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

A session on ‘Energy and Maritime Security’ was

and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

chaired by Heisbourg. Opening remarks were made

The US proposal for a global ‘1,000-ship navy’ and

by Vice-Admiral David Nichols, Deputy Commander,

interest in creating a global maritime operating picture



provided visions for intensified international cooperation

Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, India;





in the future. However, experience in Southeast Asia dur-

and Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for

ing the current decade pointed to the value of littoral states

Foreign Affairs, Singapore. The group focused on the

taking the initiative, and establishing regional maritime

nature of contemporary threats to maritime security,

security mechanisms in conjunction with user states.

and particularly seaborne energy supplies, in the Gulf

There was broad consensus in the group that maritime

and further afield. It discussed the modalities of regional

security was a global as well as a regional concern, and that

and international collaboration that might mitigate these

inter-regional cooperation was important. Notably, the


Gulf states should be concerned not only with maritime

28 | The 3rd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Yuriko Koike, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs, Japan; and Sun Bigan, China’s Special Envoy to the Middle East

security in their immediate region, but also further afield,

On Iraq, debate was sparked by two contrasting rep-

and particularly in Southeast Asia, through which a high

resentations of the situation in Iraq. One portrayed the

proportion of their energy exports passes.

situation in Iraq as far better than that depicted by the

A break-out group on ‘Demographics, Sectarianism

Western and Arab media; 80% of Iraq was stable and 14

and Gulf Security’ was chaired by Ellen Laipson, President

out of 18 provinces were places where people lived a

and Chief Executive Officer of the Henry L. Stimson Center.

normal life; and the issue of sectarianism was driven by

Opening remarks were made by Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie,

fringe groups on both sides of the Sunni–Shia divide. Iraq,

Iraqi National Security Adviser; Dr Sadoun Al-Dulame,

according to this view, was likely to recover and would

Adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister and former Defence

neither disintegrate nor descend into civil war. However,

Minister; Wafaa Bassim, Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister;

the group was also presented with a vision of corruption,

Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Rumaihi, Undersecretary of

which was said to be at the heart of the American and

State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar; and Dr Abdel

Iraqi failure to establish strong security forces. For exam-

Aziz Al Shaibi, National Security Agency, Yemen. The

ple, it had allegedly cost $100 million to build a camp that

group focused on two main themes: the situation in Iraq

should have cost no more than $6m. The heart of the secu-

and the movement of people, whether foreign workers into

rity problem in Iraq was said to be the fact that terrorists

the Gulf or migration out of Iraq, and the impact of these

were better armed and better financed than the Iraqi secu-

trends on regional security.

rity forces.

BREAK-OUT GROUP I: Energy and maritime security

(l–r): Vice Admiral A.K. Singh, Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, India; Professor François Heisbourg, IISS Chairman; and Vice Admiral David Nichols, Deputy Commander, US Central Command; and Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Singapore

The Manama Dialogue 2006 | 29

It was argued that migration created imbalances in

played a helpful role in moving East and West towards

communities and put tremendous strains on Iraq’s neigh-

reconciliation and the end of the Cold War. Another illus-

bours, which were likely to evolve into a security threat.

trative system was that of the Association of Southeast

Participants debated whether the failure of GCC laws to

Asian Nations, through which countries slowly overcame

help migrants to settle as residents or citizens, and local

differences by focusing first on economic cooperation.

populations being far out-numbered by immigrant labour

Issues on which cooperative security might be based

forces, were indeed generating a long-term security threat.

ranged from countering proliferation and terrorism to mar-


itime security, energy and the environment. A few argued

Guarantees and Regional Stability’, under the chairman-

for building on specific convergent interests, such as the

ship of Field Marshal Lord Inge, former UK Chief of the

requirement of averting the collapse of the fledgling Iraqi

Defence Staff. Opening remarks were made by Dr John

and Afghan governments. Iraq consumed much attention,

Hillen, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military

amid widespread concern that sectarian strife could spill

Affairs; Jean de Ponton d’Amécourt, Director, Strategic

over into the region. The issue of Iran was more divisive:

Affairs, Ministry of Defence, France; and Dr Seyed Hossein

while Iran accused the United States of destabilising the

Mousavian, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme

region, participants from other states encouraged more

National Security Council, Iran.

active engagement and diplomacy with Tehran.






The group heard that security guarantees from the United States remained important in the Gulf region, but

Fourth Plenary Session: The situation in Iraq

no one country could bring or keep the peace. Participants

The fourth plenary session focused on ‘The Situation in

contrasted a traditional, state-centred, balance-of-power

Iraq’. Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Al Bolani said a demo-

system of security against a potentially emerging coopera-

cratic country could not build oppressive systems or start

tive and common security framework. The former system,

wars against its neighbours. The government had em-

defended by some American participants, underscored the

barked on a national reconciliation programme, but the

disproportionate burdens of security either placed on or

greatest danger came from al-Qaeda and jihadist organisa-

assumed by the United States. Some voices from the region

tions which, against religious principles, targeted civilians

expressed concern over the deleterious effects of an expan-

and infrastructure. The media gave too dark a picture of

sive American military presence in the region. One blamed

Iraq, failing to highlight the many reconstruction projects,

the United States for the current troubles.

the revival of the southern marshes and improvements in

More optimistically, others called on all countries to

security systems.

migrate towards a cooperative, common security sys-

Turkish Defence Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gönül com-

tem. Such a system might perhaps be modelled on the

mented, however, that ‘the violence in Iraq has reached a

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which

level that causes great pain for all of us’. Terrorist, sectarian

BREAK-OUT GROUP II: Demographics, sectarianism and Gulf security

(l–r): Ellen Laipson, President and CEO, The Henry L. Stimson Center; Wafaa Bassim, Deputy Foreign Minister, Egypt; and Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie, National Security Adviser, Iraq

30 | The 3rd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Jawad Al Bolani, Interior Minister, Iraq; Mehmet Vecdi Gönül, Minister of Defence, Turkey; and Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister, Sweden

and criminal violence seemed to have engulfed the coun-

army; a constitutional compromise was essential; the

try. Reflecting Turkey’s long-standing concerns about

economy needed to be rebuilt; and reconstruction efforts

Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq, Gönül said Iraq’s oil

demanded ‘strategic patience’. Meanwhile, the efforts to

resources, including those from around the northern city of

stabilise Iraq and Palestine were interdependent: if one

Kirkuk, should be fairly used for the benefit of all the peo-

failed, so would the other.

ple of Iraq and not any particular group. Iraqis needed to set aside ethnic and sectarian interests, but political parties

Fifth Plenary Session: Europe’s role in the region

had been cultivating them instead. Allowing the country to

The fifth plenary dealt with ‘Europe’s Role in the Region’.

divide on ethnic and sectarian grounds would create prob-

Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Diplomatic Adviser to Pres-

lems that would ‘engulf the entire region’.

ident Jacques Chirac, said France favoured efforts to build

Bildt sought to draw lessons for Iraq from his exten-

ties through dialogue, such as the long-running negotia-

sive knowledge of nation-building. He asserted that the

tions to forge a free-trade agreement between the European

territorial integrity of Iraq was vital, because ‘all par-

Union and the GCC. The Israel–Palestine issue, as well as

titions are written in blood’; the role of neighbours in

the troubles in Lebanon, must also be resolved through di-

preventing instability was important; internal security

alogue. A solution in Iraq could come only from Iraqis and

was key and police forces were more important than the

the task of other countries was to foster dialogue.

BREAK-OUT GROUP II: Demographics, sectarianism and Gulf security

(l–r): Dr Abdel Aziz Al Shaibi, National Security Agency, Yemen; Dr Sadoun Al-Dulaime, Adviser to the Prime Minister, Iraq; and Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Rumaihi, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar

The Manama Dialogue 2006 | 31

(l–r): Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic, France; Adam Ingram, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, UK; and Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defence, Germany

Adam Ingram, Minister of State for the Armed Forces,

Germany and the UK in their bid earlier in 2006 to make

UK, focused on terrorism, arguing that those who claimed

progress on the nuclear issue. He was disappointed that

that terrorist acts were part of a holy war were wrong:

Iran had neither accepted nor published the offer.

there was no such war. Terrorist attacks had repeatedly made the lives of Muslims worse, not better. Partnerships

Sixth Plenary Session: The future shape of regional

between Muslim and non-Muslim communities and gov-


ernments were the best means of avoiding the schism the

The sixth plenary session considered ‘The Future Shape of

terrorists sought to create. It was also necessary to resolve

Regional Security’. Muhammad Ali Al Anisi, Chairman of

the region’s troubles, such as Israel–Palestine, Lebanon and

the National Security Agency, Yemen, stressed the need for

Iraq; the UN, EU and NATO were all reforming themselves

a comprehensive approach to the region’s security, paying

so as to be more effective. A peaceful region would mean

particular attention to economic development. The prob-

that terrorists had failed.

lems of the Horn of Africa needed to be taken into account.

Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary,

General Ehsan Ul Haq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Ministry of Defence, Germany, agreeing with other speak-

of Staff Committee, Pakistan, underlined the close bonds

ers on the need to resolve many regional issues, said Iran

of civilisation, history, ethnicity, culture, faith and econ-

had been offered far-reaching cooperation by France,

omy that tied Pakistan to the Gulf. He highlighted the

BREAK-OUT GROUP III: Security guarantees and regional stability

(l–r): Dr John Hillen, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, US; Jean de Ponton d’Amécourt, Director, Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Defence, France; Dr Hossein Mousavian, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Supreme National Security Council; Vice President, International Issues, Center for Strategic Research, Iran; and Field Marshal Lord Inge, former Chief of the Defence Staff, UK

32 | The 3rd IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): General Ehsan Ul Haq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Pakistan; Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie, National Security Adviser, Iraq; and Ali Muhammad Al Anisi, Chairman, National Security Agency and Head of the Presidential Office, Yemen

international issues at stake and the fact that foreign

But there was plenty of good news in Iraq: in most parts,

military intervention could have both stabilising and desta-

people were leading normal lives.

bilising effects. There was also a need for regional states to

Violence was being generated by extremist Sunni and

create a better consensus among themselves. The Manama

Shia elements and was fuelled by regional states. Rubaie

Dialogue represented a step in this direction.

agreed with some elements of the ISG report, including the

Rubaie said his country was going through a paradigm

acceleration of the capabilities of Iraqi security forces and

shift from the old to a new order and demanded patience

engaging with neighbouring countries. But he described

while Iraq endured the sacrifices that were necessary for

other recommendations as ‘half-baked’ and deplored any

this to be completed. The country was developing a new

tendency of the US to ‘cut and run’. The way forward

identity. While al-Qaeda was an immediate threat, the real

for Iraq was internal reconciliation, including a general

long-term threat came from elements of the former regime.

amnesty and a review of de-Ba’athification.

The Manama Dialogue 2006 | 33

34 | The 3rd IISS Regional Security Summit

Read a more detailed report online



The Manama Dialogue 2007

Dr Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense

A forthright address by Robert Gates, US Secretary of

represented. In spite of its absence, Iran was inevitably one

Defense, was the highlight of the fourth IISS Manama

of the Dialogue’s dominant themes.

Dialogue, held in Bahrain from 7–9 December 2007.

John Chipman, IISS Director-General and Chief

The Regional Security Summit took place just a few

Executive, kicked off the Dialogue by emphasising the rel-

days after the US Director of National Intelligence had

evance of IISS research work to the security issues affecting

issued a National Intelligence Estimate concluding that

the Gulf region. He said: ‘We are keen to bring the perspec-

Iran had been conducting a nuclear weapons programme,

tives of this region into the mainstream of international

but that this had been suspended in 2003.

strategic debate; involve regional analysts in our work;

The week, Gates told delegates, had marked a water-

help to connect the debates here to those of other regions;

shed. ‘Astonishingly, the revolutionary government of

and ensure also that IISS analysis is organically part of the

Iran has this week, for the first time, embraced as valid an

region’s deliberations.’

assessment of the United States intelligence community.’

The Manama Dialogue is continuing to develop as the

He hoped that Tehran would also accept its conclusions on

only forum that brings together national security estab-

Iran’s support for Hizbullah in Lebanon and insurgents in

lishments of the Gulf states with key outside powers.

Iraq, its uranium enrichment programme, its development

Chipman thanked the Kingdom of Bahrain for supporting

of ballistic missiles, and other activities.

the event, and for the logistical and other assistance pro-

Iran had committed itself to sending a strong del-

vided by its government.

egation to Manama. However, it notified the Institute

The speaker at the opening dinner, Sheikh Khalid Bin

on 7 December that it would not attend – thereby, in the

Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of

eyes of many delegates, missing an important opportu-

Foreign Affairs, was introduced by François Heisbourg,

nity for engagement with the many countries that were

Chairman of the IISS Council. The minister said that in

36 | The 4th IISS Regional Security Summit

Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

recent weeks two events had built momentum towards a

unhelpful to the policy objectives we were seeking to pur-

new era of compromise in the region: the Annapolis sum-

sue? ... It has annoyed a number of our good friends. It has

mit, which had launched a new set of negotiations between

confused a lot of people around the world in terms of what

Palestinians and Israelis; and the Gulf Cooperation

we are trying to accomplish.’

Council (GCC) summit in Qatar, at which Iran’s President

Fleur de Villiers, chairman of the IISS Executive

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had proposed security, economic

Committee, responded that in spite of Gates’ call for inter-

and scientific cooperation between the GCC and Iran.

national pressure and sanctions to be maintained, ‘is the

Iran’s relations with the region and the world could

dominant sound … not one of slamming doors and bolt-

become a source of stability, rather than conflict, he said,

ing horses, and has the likelihood of that international

if no regional country was confrontational, and if Iran pur-

pressure … not been totally destroyed?’ Gates did not

sued its nuclear programme in full cooperation with the

think so. However, he did indicate that Washington’s

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

focus was on diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran, rather than on military action. Answering concerns of del-

First Plenary Session: The United States and the

egates from the Gulf that they could be marginalised by

regional balance of power

direct Washington–Tehran engagement, he gave assur-

Addressing the first plenary session on 8 December, Gates

ances that ‘the United States is not going to cut any kind

said of Iran that ‘you cannot pick and choose only the

of a deal with Iran’ and that ‘we value the views of all of

conclusions you like of this recent National Intelligence

our friends’.

Estimate’. It was, he said, Iran’s policy ‘to foment instabil-

Gates, who had just visited Iraq, said the level of violence

ity and chaos’. He argued that the international community

had recently been reduced and there had been ‘the return

should demand that Iran come clean about its past illegal

of a semblance of daily life in many cities and communi-

nuclear weapons development, and should insist that Iran

ties’. While pointing to a number of positive developments,

suspend enrichment and agree to inspection arrangements.

he said progress was fragile and urged the Iraqi govern-

Answering questions, Gates expressed his frustration

ment to push forward grassroots conciliation, to improve

– and that of President George W. Bush – at the diplo-

government services, and to make life for all Iraqis better.

matic confusion caused by the release of the intelligence

Underlining the consequences of failure, he urged regional

assessment. Because of the independence of the Central

countries to help Iraq. He added that although US troop

Intelligence Agency, he said, ‘the government of the United

levels in Iraq would start to fall, the staying power of the

States has virtually no say over the content of these esti-

United States should not be questioned.

mates or the timing of when they are issued … What were

Questioned on how the US would achieve a cohesive

we thinking of to put out something that was apparently so

stance on the contentious issue of Iraq, Gates said he had The Manama Dialogue 2007 | 37

(l–r): Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS; and François Heisbourg, Chairman of the IISS Council

been trying to create a bipartisan agreement on future

our problem through trying to seal Iran off from the

strategy. ‘I do not care how we arrived at where we are; the

region … Yes, there are some issues, there are some dif-

fact is we are here. Now how do we move beyond where

ferences between us on some ideas, we know that, and

we are?’ There was a growing appreciation in the US of the

we always tell them this. What is very important is that

need to keep a residual force in Iraq, with the Iraqi govern-

nobody tries to dominate the region.’ Washington and

ment’s agreement.

Tehran should engage in direct dialogue, but Gulf states should not be left out.

Second Plenary Session: GCC security and economic development

Third Plenary: Energy and regional security

The second plenary session took the form of a dialogue be-

The third plenary session tackled energy and regional se-

tween delegates and Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber

curity. M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser, India,

Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

emphasised his country’s growing need for energy because

of Qatar.

of its rapid economic growth. The country, he said, would

Among the themes were:

rely on a mix of energy sources, including nuclear power,

• the role of GCC states in Iraq: he did not believe

but was also investing in the Gulf. In return, India sought

enough was being done. ‘Part of the problem in Iraq is to

GCC investment in Indian energy infrastructure. This un-

find jobs for the people. If the people are busy then it will

derlined India’s already strong ties to the Gulf, where near-

put them away from thinking of other ways.’ However,

ly 5 million Indian citizens live. Amid the growing impor-

for Qatar to take a greater role, stability and safety were

tance of energy security, peace in the Gulf was in India’s

important, and ‘we would like to see all the Iraqi peo-

vital interest. The Indian Ocean carries 66% of the world’s

ple treated the same … It has been promised that part

oil supplies, 50% of containerised cargo, and 33% of bulk

of the constitution of Iraq will be reviewed, and that is

cargo. Wide-ranging regional partnerships and common

something that is very important for us.’ Challenged on

approaches to problems, including terrorism, were cited as

this point by Mowaffak Al Rubaie, National Security


Adviser of Iraq, Sheikh Hamad said that while a strong

Sheikh Mohammed Al Abdallah Al Sabah, Director

Iraq was very important for regional stability, ‘to be

for Government Delivery, Kuwait, said energy security

frank, the unity of Iraq is still not there … Some parties

required protection of oil facilities from sabotage, and

feel that they are not being taken as full citizens.’

this meant more broadly that it was necessary constantly

• GCC relations with Iran: he stressed the neccessity

to try to neutralise regional tensions and conflict. For

to work together. ‘We have to acknowledge that Iran

this reason, the GCC summit had reaffirmed the impor-

is a very important country in the region. We cannot

tance of preserving Iraq’s unity and sovereignty, and the

avoid dealing with Iran … I do not think we can solve

need for other countries not to destabilise it or interfere

38 | The 4th IISS Regional Security Summit

Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar at the second plenary session

in its internal affairs. At the same time, leaders stressed

gap between haves and have-nots. She added that rising

the importance of full cooperation between Iran and the

demand for oil increased the dangers of global warming –


an issue on which Japan is active. ‘As Japan imports 90% of

From Kuwait’s perspective, energy security was based

its oil from the Middle East, stability of the region is vital,’

on providing oil and derivatives to consumer countries at

she said. Securing sea lines of communication was identi-

adequate prices, in a way that permitted the country to con-

fied as an important goal.

tribute to international economic growth. It was noted that

After the third plenary session, four separate break-out

prices were influenced not only by supply and demand, but

groups met simultaneously for off-the-record discussions.

by security factors. More refining capacity was also neces-

The first was on inter-community relations and sectarian

sary, and Gulf states, including Kuwait, were investing in

conflict, chaired by Mamoun Fandy, IISS Senior Fellow for

it. Meanwhile, consumers needed to diversify their energy

Gulf Security. Opening remarks were made by Muhyideen

sources – the world’s dependence on the Gulf meant that

Al Dhabi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yemen;

any threat or security disruption in the region affected

Mevlut Cavusoglu, member of parliament and Vice-

international security and economic growth.

President Foreign Affairs Department, AK Party, Turkey;

Yuriko Koike, recently Defense Minister of Japan,

Sadoun Al Dulame, former Defence Minister, Iraq; and

noted the recent sharp rise in the price of oil, which was

Bandar Al Aiban, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee,

creating a highly charged atmosphere and widening the

Majlis Al Shura, Saudi Arabia.

BREAK-OUT GROUP I: Inter-community relations and sectarian politics

(l–r): Muhiddeen Al Dhabi, Deputy Foreign Minister, Yemen; Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Adviser; Dr Sadoun Al Dulame, Former Defence Minister, Iraq; and Wafaa Bassim, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt

The Manama Dialogue 2007 | 39

M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser, India

The focus of the discussion was on the Sunni–Shia divide in Iraq and its possible knock-on effects in the wider

secular party ruled, things improved. A Turkish delegate said the solution in Turkey was the secular state.

region. But there was some dispute about whether it made

The second break-out group tackled regional armed

sense to look at clashes in Iraq and its region in terms of

forces and security policy. The chairman was Lord Guthrie,

this Sunni–Shia paradigm. At times of crisis, said one par-

former UK Chief of Defence Staff, and opening remarks

ticipant, people went back to basic identities. In this sense

were made by Maj.-Gen. Issa Al Mazrouie, Director of Mili-

the return to sectarian identity was artificial. Even the

tary Intelligence, United Arab Emirates; Lt.-Gen. Sheikh

Arab–Israeli conflict, he argued, was not essentially a con-

Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of State

flict between Muslims and Jews, but a conflict over land.

for Defence Affairs, Bahrain; General Babakir Baderkhan

Since sectarian lines were not new, the question arose as to why they were sharpening now. An Indian partici-

Zibari, Chief of Staff, Iraqi Joint Forces; and Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, United States.

pant recalled that when India became independent, no one

The group heard that military establishments in the

thought it could survive – it was expected to fragment along

Gulf region had a wide array of roles. Most importantly,

ethnic and sectarian lines. But this did not happen. The

they acted as the ultimate guarantors of state authority,

democratic state played a basic role, as did secular politics.

while deterring threats to national sovereignty in an area

In general, he argued, whenever a religious party came to

beset with territorial disputes and challenges from regional

power, the threat of fragmentation increased. Whenever a

powers on its periphery. At the same time, the Gulf was

BREAK-OUT GROUP I: Inter-community relations and sectarian politics

(l–r): Dr Mamoun Fandy, Senior Fellow for Gulf Security, IISS; Dr Bandar Al Aiban, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee, Majlis Al Shura, Saudi Arabia; and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, member of parliament, and Vice President, Foreign Affairs Department, AK Party, Turkey

40 | The 4th IISS Regional Security Summit

Sheikh Mohammed Al Abdallah Al Sabah, Director for Government Delivery, Kuwait

part of a wider Middle East in which the Israel–Palestine

Nigel Inkster, IISS Director of Transnational Threats

conflict continued to be a major source of insecurity. Iran’s

and Political Risk, chaired the third break-out group

nuclear programme and overall strategic stance were of

on transnational threats. Opening remarks were made

major concern to other Gulf states.

by Admiral William Fallon, Commander, US Central

Delegates noted that governments in the region had

Command, United States; Gunter Gloser, Minister of

increased their defence spending, and major equipment

State, Federal Foreign Office, Germany; and Zamir Akram,

procurement programmes were under way. Iraq’s armed

Foreign Policy Adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister.

forces faced acute challenges in reconstituting a national

Initial presentations encompassed a wide-ranging

defence capability while simultaneously taking a greater

definition of transnational threats going beyond the more

share of the burden of fighting a multi-faceted insur-

familiar challenges of terrorism, narcotics and interna-

gency that still seriously threatened national cohesion.

tional crime to include energy and water security, climate

Multinational military cooperation was an essential com-

change, financial and banking systems, and the misuse

ponent of efforts to improve security, and the presence of

of cyberspace. Many such threats could be exacerbated

US and coalition forces in Iraq and the region as a whole

by conditions in failing states, by poor governance, lack

would remain important. At the same time, developing and

of border controls and corruption, and by destabilisation

strengthening the GCC’s ‘Peninsula Shield’ force would

arising from natural disasters. All agreed that such threats

help to synergise national defence efforts.

needed to be tackled in a comprehensive manner and

BREAK-OUT GROUP II: Regional armed forces and security policy

(l–r): Maj.-Gen. Issa Al Mazrouie, Director of Military Intelligence, Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates; Lt.-Gen. Sheikh Dr Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Bahrain; General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, Former Chief of the Defence Staff, UK; General Babakir Baderkhan Zibari, Chief of Staff, Iraqi Joint Forces, Iraq; and Mark T. Kimmitt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Middle East, United States

The Manama Dialogue 2007 | 41

Yuriko Koike, former Defense Minister of Japan

across a broad front by means of military action, capacity

The fourth break-out group, on economic security,

building, the fostering of collective awareness, dialogue

sanctions, and regional stability, was chaired by Swedish

and enhanced cooperation. More specifically, the issue of

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, and featured presenta-

terrorism needed to be addressed in a historical context,

tions by Patrick O’Brien, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist

not as a snapshot.

Financing at the US Treasury Department, and Sheikh

Discussion focused on the effectiveness of international and national institutions in dealing with the issues. Some

Mohammed Bin Issa Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain.

advocated a ‘ground up’ approach, making the best use of

Discussion centered on how sanctions could most effec-

the simplest mechanisms available or ones that might be

tively be applied. It was noted that sanctions had evolved

created. Others favoured better use of the United Nations

over the past decades from broad embargoes against entire

and the development of a ‘one-stop shop’ for dealing with

economies such as in the case of apartheid South Africa,

UN agencies. There was also scope for better use of existing

to targeted ‘smart’ sanctions designed to prevent specific

regional organisations, specialist institutions and non-gov-

activity, as in the case of action against terrorism financing

ernmental organisations. At the domestic level, there was a

by non-state actors and nuclear and missile proliferation

need better to coordinate the different objectives and val-

by Iran. It was emphasised that smart sanctions must have

ues of government departments dealing with, for example,

clarity as to the targeted activity and entities. Transparency

defence, foreign policy and development cooperation.

and predictability were vital to regional development,

BREAK-OUT GROUP III: Transnational threats

(l–r): Günter Gloser, Minister of State for Europe, Federal Foreign Office, Germany; Zamir Akram, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pakistan; Nigel Inkster, Director, Transnational Threats and Political Risk, IISS; and Admiral William J. Fallon, Commander, US Central Command, United States

42 | The 4th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Mehmet Vecdi Gönül, Turkey’s Minister of Defence; Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Adviser; and Bob Ainsworth, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, UK

especially in the Middle East, where the private sector was

and that nationwide political reconciliation was needed

the engine of growth. Sanctions needed the widest possible

between all Iraqi political groups. Turkey was maintaining

application, hence the utility of adopting them through the

a dialogue with Iraqi leaders and groups, and was train-

UN, although comprehensiveness often came at the price

ing Iraqi officers as part of the NATO training mission. But

of effectiveness. Developing trade links would help pro-

Turkey was concerned that Iraq should not be fragmented

vide for better regional security.

along ethnic and sectarian lines. It was worried about the

On the evening of 8 December, delegates were hosted at

future status of the city of Kirkuk, and particularly about

dinner by His Royal Highness Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad

Kurdish PKK infiltration into Turkish territory. ‘We will

Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Commander-in-Chief

not tolerate the use of Iraqi soil for the purpose of launch-

of the Bahrain Defence Force.

ing terrorist activities,’ Gönul declared. Mowaffak Al Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Adviser,

Fourth Plenary Session: Iraq and the neighbourhood

delivered an eloquent address in which he said: ‘From

Addressing the fourth plenary session on Iraq and the

where we sit in Baghdad, … the region looks like this:

neighbourhood on 9 December, Mehmet Vecdi Gönül,

competition turned into conflict between Saudi Arabia and

Turkey’s Minister of Defence, welcomed improvements in

Iran, on the soil of Iraq.’ The region had been in conflict

Iraq’s internal security, but said this remained of concern

with the West, and its countries had been fighting amongst

BREAK-OUT GROUP IV: Economic security, sanctions and regional stability

(l–r): Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden; Patrick M. O’Brien, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, Department of the Treasury, US; and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Development Board, Bahrain

The Manama Dialogue 2007 | 43

(l–r): Zhai Jun, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister for West Asian, North African and African Affairs; and Tariq Al Hashemi, Vice President of Iraq

themselves. ‘The choice is ours: either regional reconcilia-

would be no regional security without a peaceful and

tion, or regional pettiness.’

stable Iraq. The country needed national political agree-

To counter meddling by regional countries in Iraqi inter-

ment, as well as economic, social and judicial policies

nal affairs, Iraq had been building up its security forces in

that were integrated with national security require-

order to reach self-reliance and had embarked on political

ments, and modern, professional armed forces. At the

reconciliation and regional engagement. Iran and Syria had

regional level, it was necessary to ensure non-interfer-

tightened border controls, and Saudi Arabia had taken steps

ence of regional and international parties in Iraqi affairs.

to stop the flow of jihadists and their funding to Iraq. It was

Outstanding disputes needed to be resolved, coopera-

in the interest of GCC countries to engage more with Iraq. But

tion enhanced, and contributions to Iraq’s development

if they ‘continue to be imprisoned by their paranoia or scepti-

stepped up.

cism of an Iranian-influenced central government of Iraq, or

Zhai Jun, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister for West

of a Shia-Kurd‑dominated government in Baghdad, how long

Asian, North African and African Affairs, stressed that

is this going to last? Centuries?’ Iraq, Rubaie insisted, had a

regional confrontation would produce no winners and

democratic, parliamentary, constitutional system. A regional

underlined that China was willing to play its part in the

security pact was necessary: ‘We will continue in this sectar-

resolution of regional problems.

ian conflict and religious extremism if we do not join forces.’

Concluding the Dialogue, John Chipman noted that it

Iraq, he said, was ‘heading West’, building a strategic

had been convened at a difficult time and that the security

partnership with the United States. It was feasible, he said,

picture in the region remained ‘extremely murky’. While

for Iraq to have the US as a strategic ally, while also having

there had been advances over the past year in inter-state

a good relationship with Iran.

security, it had to be remembered that for many in the

Bob Ainsworth, Minister of State for the Armed Forces,

region, the state was not a key point of reference, and not

UK, said Britain remained committed to Iraq’s develop-

necessarily the paramount influence on their lives. The

ment even as security improved and the British troop

Dialogue, he said, had helped to shape understanding of

presence was reduced. It was important that Iraq’s neigh-

how enlightened leadership could enable people to have

bours helped to counter insurgent groups. Diplomatic

pride in their cultures and nations.

efforts needed to be kept up to get Iran to comply with its international obligations.

Chipman said the experience of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore had shown that it took about five years for a Dialogue to become a regional institution. The

Fifth Plenary Session: Regional framework for Gulf

Manama Dialogue was 80% there, he said, and the IISS


would spare no effort to make the fifth summit, from 5–7

The final plenary session was addressed by Tariq Al

December 2008, a success. He thanked the IISS team who

Hashemi, Vice President of Iraq, who stressed that there

had worked so hard to stage the 2007 Dialogue.

44 | The 4th IISS Regional Security Summit

Read a more detailed report online



The Manama Dialogue 2008

Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

Iran’s nuclear programme, piracy at sea and the future

especially in the Middle East’. The transition had been

of Afghanistan were among the themes extensively dis-

very extensively planned. ‘Anyone who thought that the

cussed at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain from 12 to 14

upcoming months might present opportunities to test the

December 2008.

new administration would be sorely mistaken.’

Opening the Fifth IISS Regional Security Summit, John

The conference heard addresses from the Deputy Prime

Chipman, IISS Director-General and Chief Executive,

Minister of Iraq, Dr Barham Saleh, and Afghanistan’s

noted that this was a time of transition to the adminis-

National Security Adviser, Dr Zalmai Rassoul, on the situ-

tration of US President-elect Barack Obama. Rather than

ation in their respective countries. General David Petraeus,

waiting for his policies to emerge, other countries needed

Commander, US Central Command, who previously com-

to adopt an imaginative and extrovert approach. ‘Staying

manded the multinational force in Iraq, offered proposals

silent or diffident and then complaining when the United

for regional defence cooperation.

States or others adopt ill-suited strategies for regional

Bahrain’s Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Salman

security is a diplomatic formula whose attractiveness

Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, entertained delegates to

and effectiveness is low’, he said. The Manama Dialogue

dinner, and Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al

offered Gulf states the chance to take the initiative and to

Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered the

influence the United States and others on their approach

conference’s opening keynote address.

to regional security.

The conference took place weeks after the attacks in

Robert Gates, who is to remain US Defense Secretary

Mumbai, which were linked to a Pakistan-based group

under Obama, addressed the Dialogue for the second suc-

and were a reminder of the continuing threat from terror-

cessive year and advised participants that ‘a change in

ism. Dr Sanjaya Baru, former official spokesman and media

administration does not alter our fundamental interests,

adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, told

46 | The 5th IISS Regional Security Summit

Professor François Heisbourg, Chairman of the IISS Council

the conference that terrorism was not divisible. ‘There are

Dealing with Iran

no good terrorists and bad terrorists. They keep changing

The question of how to deal with Iran preoccupies regional

their name and their identity, but there are so many links

neighbours and larger powers alike. As UK Defence Minis-

between one group and another, cutting across national

ter John Hutton said: ‘The combination of Iran’s ambition

boundaries, that unless states act against non-state actors,

to create an indigenous enriched uranium capability and

states have nothing to claim for themselves. This argument

its constant refusal to abide by five separate UN Security

about non-state actors cannot go to a point where states

Council resolutions on nuclear technology proliferation

pretend to be helpless. Why then do they exist?’

gives the international community every justification in

Three defence ministers gave plenary addresses: John Hutton of the UK, Vecdi Gönül of Turkey and Teo

saying that Iran’s stated aim to contain its nuclear programme for civil use cannot be taken seriously.’

Chee Hean of Singapore. Other speakers were Carl Bildt,

President-elect Obama indicated during his election

Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikhail Margelov,

campaign that he was willing to have discussions with Iran

Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of Russia’s

without preconditions. But his precise approach remains to

Federation Council, Yoshimasa Hayashi, Member of

be seen, and Tehran’s attitude is also not yet known. Gates

Japan’s House of Councillors, Ali Muthna Hasan, Yemen’s

noted that the George W. Bush administration had been

Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Pierre Lellouche,

willing to talk to Iran if enrichment was halted. ‘Whether

member of the French National Assembly and its rappor-

the new administration will broaden that aperture remains

teur on Afghanistan.

to be seen.’ All countries needed to exert economic and

The conference featured a televised debate for Al

diplomatic pressure.

Arabiya news channel, in which Sheikh Khalid Bin

It was unfortunate that the Dialogue was denied the

Ahmed and Dr Saleh took part, as well as Mark Kimmitt,

opportunity to hear an Iranian view. Chipman told the

US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military

conference that he had held lengthy discussions in Tehran

Affairs, William Hague, British member of parlia-

on Iran’s attendance ‘at the highest level’; three officials in

ment and ‘shadow’ foreign secretary for the opposition

turn had confirmed that they would come ‘and all have

Conservative Party, and Dr Mamoun Fandy, IISS Senior

failed to attend’.

Fellow for Gulf Security.

Chipman raised the issue of how Gulf Co-operation

As is customary at IISS Dialogues, delegates met in off-

Council (GCC) members could best ensure that their inter-

the-record break-out group sessions and private bilateral

ests were advanced. Could they become part of the formal

meetings, as well as in plenary sessions. Sheikh Khalid Bin

negotiating structure, just as Asian powers were part of the

Ahmed hosted a private lunch for delegation leaders.

Six Party Talks on North Korea? Even if not, they should be The Manama Dialogue 2008 | 47

(l–r): Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS; and Dr Robert Gates, US Defense Secretary

clear on what security arrangements would fit their inter-

a series of Security Council resolutions declaring Iranian

ests, so as to avoid being simply ‘part of the package’ in

enrichment activity to be illegal. Was there not something

some future settlement with Iran.

more that Russia could do to back that up? Dr Frederick

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign

Kagan, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise

Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, agreed it was impor-

Institute, said that since Russia held Iran to be in viola-

tant that as Gulf states were asked to shoulder more

tion of Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Treaty obligations and

responsibilities within the region, they ‘should also be

International Atomic Energy Authority inspections, it

fully in the picture with regards to incentivising Iran,

would seem natural for Russia to refuse to assist its civilian

whatever incentive there is’.

nuclear programme.

Lively debate on Iran was sparked by Mikhail

Margelov responded that ‘you can hardly find any

Margelov. The chairman of the foreign affairs com-

responsible politician in Russia who will support the idea

mittee of the upper house of Russia’s parliament said

of granting the nuclear bomb to Iran. It is a nightmare even

Washington would keep up the pressure on Tehran,

for our radicals.’ Moscow was ready to cooperate with

but Moscow opposed further tightening of sanctions.

Washington in sponsoring ‘a comprehensive and realis-

For Russia, war was the worst-case scenario. But if Iran

tic resolution’. But proposals so far had lacked realism.

became a nuclear power, its neighbours would also want

Sanctions had not worked in former Yugoslavia or Iraq, and

to go nuclear, and this would set the stage for nuclear ter-

American plans to site missiles in Europe to defend against

rorism. If the Iranian threat could be dealt with through

Iran aroused bad memories of the Pershing missile crisis in

negotiation, this would remove the issue of the missile

the 1980s. ‘We think that if we seriously talk with our part-

defences that the US wished to place in Europe, the sub-

ners about common threats we should together work out

ject of bitter dispute between Moscow and Washington

mechanisms to combat those threats.’ Washington should

and mutual accusations of fuelling an arms race.

consider alternative sites that Russia had offered, since

Margelov’s remarks prompted many comments: if

Russia itself would be threatened by Iranian missiles. ‘I do

Moscow favoured neither sanctions nor military action

not know if Iranian nuclear warheads can be delivered to

against Iran, how did it imagine Tehran might be per-

the US by DHL’, Margelov said.

suaded to abandon its nuclear ambitions?

Beyond Iran’s nuclear programme, dealing with Tehran

Abdulaziz Al Sharikh, Director-General of Kuwait’s

poses challenges for regional neighbours. American offi-

Diplomatic Institute, said Moscow’s position was perplex-

cials referred repeatedly to Iran’s support for Hizbullah

ing. ‘So okay, we support negotiation and we are against

in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. General Petraeus,

military action, but then what, if you are also against

Commander, US Central Command, said Iraqi Prime

increasing sanctions?’ Dr Dana Allin, IISS Senior Fellow

Minister Nuri al-Maliki had gone to Tehran and provided

for Transatlantic Affairs, noted that Russia had supported

evidence of the flow of weapons into Iraq and training

48 | The 5th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Dr Barham Saleh, Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq; and Yoshimasa Hayashi, Member, House of Councillors, Japan

of Iraqi militias. There had recently been less evidence of

marks were off the record in accordance with normal prac-

Iranian-influenced violence, but this could have been due

tice at IISS Dialogues.

to losses suffered by militias in fighting rather than to an Iranian decision to reduce training or weapons supply.

The break-out group heard that pirates operating from areas of Somalia outside the writ of that country’s tran-

Lord (Douglas) Hurd, former UK Foreign Secretary,

sitional government had attacked more than 120 ships

asked Barham Saleh, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, to

during 2008 and had hijacked 40 vessels. At mid December,

describe how Baghdad assessed its day-by-day relation-

15 ships (including the Sirius Star, a fully laden very large

ship with Tehran. Saleh said Iran had long-standing

tanker owned by Saudi Aramco), and 300 crew members

relationships with Iraqi political parties that had been in

were being held to ransom. In response, states including

opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime, and ‘there is no

France, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, the UK and

denying that Iran has influence and ways and means by

the US had stepped up naval patrols and had engaged

which it can deal with the situation in Iraq’. Iran has ben-

pirates, preventing some attacks. On 10 December a six-

efited from the removal of Saddam, and it was in Tehran’s

ship European Union naval force under British command

interest to support Iraqi stability and sovereignty.

commenced anti-piracy operations in the affected waters.

Lara Setrakian of ABC News noted that Washington

This was the EU’s first naval operation.

and Tehran had a shared interest in a stable Afghanistan.

In plenary session, Yoshimasa Hayashi, a member of

To help move towards better US–Iranian relations could

the upper house of Japan’s parliament, highlighted the

they work together to achieve a new security architec-

issue’s importance, saying that around 90% of Japanese

ture in Afghanistan? Zalmai Rassoul, the Afghanistan

crude oil imports came from the Gulf. ‘Japan has great

National Security Adviser, said Iran had been very coop-

concerns about the instance of pirates flagrantly operating

erative during the 2001 war which ousted the Taliban

off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.’ A law to

regime, and had ‘understood that the presence of interna-

enable Japan to tackle piracy cases was being advocated by

tional forces in Afghanistan is useful for Afghanistan’. But

some Japanese politicians.

while Afghanistan and Iran had good relations, these were affected by the tension between Washington and Tehran.

Gates noted that the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, had established patrols in the Gulf of Aden. But the coastal areas of Somalia and Kenya covered more than a million square

Piracy and maritime security

miles, so there were limits to what patrols could do. General

The Dialogue took place against the background of escalat-

Petraeus suggested combined maritime security operations

ing piracy off the Horn of Africa, particularly the Gulf of

as one of five activities in which regional countries could

Aden, and the international response to this. This was the

pool their efforts in order to improve defence capabilities.

subject of energetic discussion both in the on-the-record

However, Frank Gardner, Security Correspondent

plenary sessions and in a break-out group in which re-

of the British Broadcasting Corporation, pointed out The Manama Dialogue 2008 | 49

(l–r): John Hutton, Secretary of State for Defence, UK; and Dr Sanjaya Baru, Former Official Spokesman and Media Advisor to the Prime Minister of India

that confused messages were being given. The US was

Piracy and maritime security have been a particular

sponsoring a UN Security Council resolution calling for

focus of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, which takes place

authorisation to attack pirates’ land bases. However, the

annually in Singapore. That country’s defence minister,

Commander of the Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral William

Teo Chee Hean, said multilateral cooperation, including

Gortney (also present at the Dialogue) had been quoted

air and sea patrols, had contributed to a sharp reduction

saying this would not be a good idea because of the dif-

in piracy in the Malacca Strait. Littoral states had acted to

ficulties of identifying pirates and the risk of killing

eliminate coastal staging areas. But there were important

innocent civilians.

differences with the Gulf of Aden: the Somali government

Gates said better intelligence was needed about Somali

lacked the capacity to act.

clans that were behind the piracy before attacks could be

India’s navy has been active in the anti-piracy opera-

launched on land without endangering innocent people.

tions. Vice Admiral DK Joshi, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff,

Success could only be achieved by a combination of meas-

pointed out a key difference from the Malacca Strait: the

ures, and ship-owners had to play their part. They should

entire corridor of concern was in international waters,

‘give instructions to their captains to do minimally intel-

beyond territorial limits of littoral states. This raised a

ligent things, such as speed up when the pirates come

problem of what to do with people who were detained in

along... The truth of the matter is that most ships can do

naval operations. During the Dialogue, the Indian navy

that. However, too many ships simply stop. Another piece

apprehended a pirate ship and arrested 23 suspects, who

of advice is to pull up the ladders. This is not rocket sci-

were now on board ship in the port of Aden. Would Yemen

ence!’ They could also take defensive measures. ‘I know

accept them to be tried under its laws?

there is a concern among ship-owners about putting armed

Yemen came under pressure from other delegates,

people on their ships. However, my suspicion is that many

several of whom also suggested that the problem needed

of these people in the business also have land-based ware-

to be addressed more broadly. General Khalid Jamil Al

houses with fences and guards on them. They might want

Sarayreh, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Jordan,

to think about that for their ships as well.’

suggested Yemen should lead an Arab effort to find a solu-

Commodore Simon Williams, Head of the International

tion to the Somali problem. Fighting piracy at sea would

Plans and Policy Division (Military) in the UK Ministry of

not solve this. ‘While the Arab states are the most affected

Defence, agreed that industry had to play its part. An attack

by this problem, they have not done much until now on

by pirates was ‘a very low probability incident but very high

the regional or inter-Arab arena to find a solution’, he

profile when it occurs and industry can do a great deal to

said. Nasser Al Jaidah, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar

address the issue.’ Piracy could not be eliminated: ‘Getting

Petroleum, said nobody was discussing what to do about

to a minimal acceptable level is probably the closest that one

Somalia itself. ‘The issues of a country which has basically

can get.’

disappeared from the map as a state are major issues that

50 | The 5th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Mehmet Vecdi Gönül, Minister of Defence, Turkey; and Ali Muthna Hasan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yemen

need to be addressed rather than simply dealing with a few

piracy. Hasan said Yemen had hosted many negotiations

naval boats.’

between Somali factions, and had done all it could, but ‘the

On this point, Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the European Union was ‘heavily engaged in

question of Somalia is a concern for the entire international community and the UN’.

efforts to bring peace to Somalia itself ... That has not been a

In the break-out group session on piracy, there was a

smashing success so far, to put it mildly, but we now have

clear consensus that collaboration was key to successful

the Djibouti Peace Agreement and we must do whatever can

naval operations, and that the EU initiative, which was

be done to support the implementation of that agreement.’

open to other states’ navies, was a highly positive develop-

Ali Muthna Hasan, Yemen’s Deputy Minister of

ment. However, the role of international naval forces raised

Foreign Affairs, said Somalia could become ‘a magnet for

difficult legal questions – most importantly, that of what to

terrorist groups and radical groups of all kinds’. The inter-

do with captured pirates. Agreements with littoral states,

national community’s failure to give it sufficient attention

such as that recently negotiated by the UK with Kenya,

had led to chaos, which in turn had laid the foundation for

seemed the best way forward.

the rise in piracy. He called on the international commu-

Naval patrols could not provide a comprehensive solu-

nity to help Yemen to absorb 700,000 Somali refugees, and

tion, the group heard. The pirates took cover amongst

proposed the creation of a regional centre in Yemen to facil-

legitimate fishing vessels and within 15 minutes could seize

itate exchange of information between countries fighting

vessels and take hostages. Navies were then effectively

BREAK-OUT GROUP I: Demographics, Labour and Security

(l–r): Dr Gregory Gause, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Vermont; Dr Toby Dodge, Consulting Senior Fellow for the Middle East, IISS; Dr Majeed Al Alawi, Minister of Labour, Bahrain; and Dr Sanjaya Baru, former Official Spokesman and Media Advisor to the Prime Minister of India

The Manama Dialogue 2008 | 51

(l–r): Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, Singapore; and Mikhail Margelov, Chairman, Committee for Foreign Affairs, Federation Council, Russia; Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on Sudan

powerless to take action. There was agreement that the

did not omit discussion of Iraq, the tone was entirely dif-

shipping industry needed to assume greater responsibility

ferent, especially in light of the just-signed Status of Forces

by equipping ships with passive defences and by appropri-

Agreement under which all American forces are due to

ate responses, such as speeding up. More fundamentally,

depart by the end of 2011. Deputy Prime Minister Saleh

piracy was a land-based problem and in this case was a

devoted much of his speech to the country’s economic re-

direct result of the collapse of the Somali state and econ-

generation. US Defense Secretary Gates heralded the dawn

omy. Intelligence-gathering was revealing more about the

of a new era, though he also warned that the reduction of

organisation and scale of clan-based pirate enterprises.

violence was reversible.

Attacking pirates on land might become operationally feasible, but would be legally dubious.

However, as security has improved in Iraq, international attention has switched to the worsening Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Considerable concern was

The challenges of Afghanistan

expressed at the Dialogue about the flow of insurgents

Previous Manama Dialogues had been heavily overshad-

across the Durand Line from Pakistan into Afghanistan

owed by the situation in Iraq, where coalition and Iraqi

and about Pakistan’s efforts – actual and desired – to stop

forces were battling a complex insurgency following the

this. There were increasing worries that a true solution for

US-led invasion in 2003. While the 2008 Dialogue certainly

Afghanistan would require a broader regional settlement.

BREAK-OUT GROUP II: Transnational Problems of Afghanistan in the Context of Regional Security

(l–r): Professor Ali Jalali, Distinguished Professor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University; Lt.-Gen. Muhammad Mustafa Khan, Chief of General Staff, Pakistan; Nigel Inkster, Director, Transnational Threats and Political Risk, IISS; Yousuf Bin Alawi Al Ibrahim, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Oman; and Lt.-Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, Deputy Chairman, Military Committee, NATO

52 | The 5th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): General David Petraeus, Commander, US Central Command; and Dr Zalmai Rassoul, National Security Adviser, Afghanistan

Chipman said NATO was struggling in Afghanistan,

never had the support of the Afghan people’. After the cur-

and that more troops and money would not be enough to

rent round of troop increases, ‘we ought to think long and

turn the situation around. The United States is significantly

hard about how many more go in’. The important thing

increasing the size of its forces there. Professor François

was to improve Afghan capabilities – a huge challenge in

Heisbourg, Chairman of the IISS Council, asked Gates

a country where the $2bn annual cost of maintaining a

what he was expecting from European partners, and what

national army of 134,000 was three times total government

was the correct balance between military, political and eco-

revenues. International efforts to boost development and

nomic efforts.

Afghan institutions needed to much better coordination.

While Gates welcomed increases in European commit-

Mehmet Vecdi Gönül, Turkey’s Defence Minister,

ments, he said ‘the reality is that the European members

agreed that ‘a military approach alone cannot solve the

of NATO have approximately 2.5 million people under

problems in Afghanistan. All instruments – political, diplo-

arms ... and so I must admit to some frustration in trying

matic, economic – need to be utilised together for a lasting

to get some few thousand more to help us in particular


to train the Afghan national army and national police’.

Ahmed Rashid, Pakistani writer and journalist, noted

Significantly, however, Gates also indicated that he saw

that extremist groups based in Pakistan could launch ter-

a limit to the size of foreign forces. The Soviet Union had

rorist attacks around the world and were also attacking

120,000 troops in Afghanistan, but had lost ‘because they

US and NATO convoys going through Pakistan. Pierre

BREAK-OUT GROUP III: Sectarian Politics

(l–r): Dr Thuraya Arrayed, Advisory Board Member for Saudi CIT (Commitee of International Trade); Egemen Bagis, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister; Vice Chairman, AK Party Foreign Affairs; and Member of Parliament, Turkey; Dr Mamoun Fandy, Senior Fellow for Gulf Security, IISS; Professor Ebtisam Al Kitibi, Professor, Department of Political Science, UAE University; and Dr Sadoun Al Dulame, former Defence Minister, Iraq

The Manama Dialogue 2008 | 53

(l–r): Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden; and Pierre Lellouche, Rapporteur on Afghanistan, French National Assembly

Lellouche, the French National Assembly’s Rapporteur on

to be built and corruption was a problem. Development

Afghanistan, believed that if militants continued to have

was urgently needed to provide employment, as well as

sanctuaries in Pakistan, there was no way to solve the

education, so that young people would not be attracted by

Afghan problem, which he saw as part of a very gloomy

terrorist groups. Full regional cooperation was required

regional picture – one that other delegates disputed. ‘The

to win the conflict, including a joint anti-terrorist strategy

NATO taxpayer’, Lellouche said, ‘is bankrolling the largest

and good relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

producer of heroin in the world.’

A break-out group on Afghanistan heard that stability

Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser, Dr Zalmai

would depend partly on the behaviour of outside powers,

Rassoul, pointed out that there had been considerable

including Pakistan. It was essential to improve governance,

progress: a free country; an elected government; a free

since although most Afghans did not support the Taliban,

press; five million returned refugees; five million children

they were not prepared to oppose them in the cause of a

in schools, 40% of them girls; more roads than ever in the

weak government. The current military priorities were to

country’s history; primary medical care. But the Taliban’s

provide security for elections due in 2009, build the capac-

return to a country without institutions, police or a judicial

ity of the Afghan National Army, and to improve security

system had caused chaos and had boosted production of

on the Durand Line.

narcotics. While the Afghan National Army had been built

Two other break-out group sessions were held. A group

and police training has begun, other institutions were still

on ‘Demographics, Labour and Security’ found that issues

BREAK-OUT GROUP IV: Piracy and Regional Maritime Security

(l–r): Vice-Admiral Gérard Valin, Joint Forces Commander, Indian Ocean, France; Vice Admiral D.K. Joshi, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, India; Rahul RoyChaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia, IISS; and Mark Kimmitt, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs; and Vice Admiral William Gortney, Commander, US Naval Forces, Central Command and Commander, US Fifth Fleet

54 | The 5th IISS Regional Security Summit

of identity and social cohesion and the role of expatriate

identities was a serious challenge to the Gulf region as a

labour were of vital importance in light of their potential

whole. Countries’ varied experience illuminated the range

security implications. Bahraini moves to ensure labour

of instruments available and the varying chance of success.

rights and improve expatriate workers’ conditions were

The growth of sectarian politics was an unwelcome and

noted, and Gulf nations were looking to reassess legislation

negative development which seemed likely to aggravate

on expatriate labour. The proportion of expatriate workers

tensions and divisions in states and the region. There was

in the Gulf varied from 40% to 90% of the population, and

a risk of threats to regional security, regression to primitive

posed a possible challenge to national and regional iden-

concepts of identity, and a halt in progress towards equal-

tity. Expatriates often lived in areas effectively cut off from

ity. Policies which might be worthy of consideration across

indigenous inhabitants geographically, socially, culturally

the region included a regional focus on the corrosive effects

and linguistically. Security concerns were felt by nations

of sectarian politics on civil societies; refusal by political

of origin as well as residence, and the Gulf was vulnerable

parties to be associated with religious labels; applying the

to fluctuations in the stability of countries of origin; vio-

benefits of economic and social progress without regard

lence could also arise from labour disputes. But another

to religious or ethnic identity; countering efforts to fos-

participant stressed that this was not an international secu-

ter grievances between Sunni and Shia groups; greater

rity issue, rather one that could be dealt with nationally,

efforts to integrate Shia communities into economic and

bilaterally and on the police level. The group also noted

social development programmes; discussion about how oil

the economic benefit that expatriate labour brought to the

wealth could best be exploited for the benefit of all; empha-

Gulf, and to countries of origin in the form of remittances.

sis on shared historic and religious experiences common

A break-out group on ‘Sectarian Politics’ noted that

to Sunni and Shia communities; and greater emphasis in

the complex legacy of ideological, religious and group

educational systems on social responsibility and cohesion.

The Manama Dialogue 2008 | 55

56 | The 5th IISS Regional Security Summit

See videos and transcripts online



The Manama Dialogue 2009

The Al-Arabiya debate (l–r) Dr Mamoun Fandy, Jeffrey Feltman, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, and Ali Muhammad Al Anisi

Pressing threats to regional security, including Iran’s

John Chipman, IISS Director-General and Chief

nuclear programme and the conflict in Yemen involving

Executive, announced that the Institute would establish

Houthi rebels, were vigorously discussed at the 6th IISS

a regional office in Bahrain in 2010. As well as undertak-

Regional Security Summit, held in Manama, Bahrain from

ing research activities, the office would help to ensure the

11 to 13 December 2009.

annual IISS summit ‘serves the evident needs of the region

Iran sent a strong delegation to the Manama Dialogue. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki addressed the first

for a more wide-ranging, trans-regional and inclusive regional security dialogue’.

plenary session and caused a flurry of media stories when

‘Current institutions and organisations do not serve that

his answer to a question was interpreted as making a new

purpose, and current freelance ad hoc diplomacy does not

offer in the long-running international confrontation over

provide the necessary coherence to advance wider regional

the country’s nuclear facilities.

stability’, Chipman said. ‘A forum that requires the regular

The Yemen conflict was the subject of lively argu-

assembly of parties who are often in dispute or at conflict

ment in a televised debate recorded at the Dialogue by

creates the possibilities for the planned discussions that are

the Al-Arabiya network. As Saudi Arabian fighter aircraft

a pre-condition to potential diplomatic reconciliation.’

continued a campaign of air strikes against guerrillas in the

Giving the Keynote Address to the opening dinner,

region bordering northwest Yemen, the main question was

Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Kuwait’s

whether Iran was providing support to the Houthi rebels.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Ministers, military chiefs, officials and experts from

expressed the hope that the Manama Dialogue would pro-

many countries again took part in the Manama Dialogue.

vide such a forum ‘for many years to come’. Members of

The Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, hosted a

the Gulf Cooperation Council must, he said, join forces to

dinner for official delegates on 12 December.

contain threats to their national security. Their concept of

58 | The 6th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS; Professor François Heisbourg, Chairman, IISS Council; and Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait

preventive diplomacy involved peaceful, transparent, good-

was proposing a ‘middle way’ to allow the exchange to

neighbourly relations that avoided the use of ideologies.

take place on the Iranian island of Kish in phases of 400kg.

Sheikh Dr Muhammad was particularly concerned about

‘Is not that a response?’ he asked. ‘Why are you pleading

the challenge posed by demographic changes, including rapid

ignorance?’ Sanctions, he said, were illegal and ineffective,

population growth, the increase in migrant worker numbers,

and Iran would not give up its rights to develop nuclear

and the fact that the children of migrant workers were enter-

capabilities. While Washington soon indicated that it saw

ing the competition for jobs. He added that it was essential for

nothing new in Mottaki’s remarks, it remained to be seen

Gulf countries to preserve their cultural identities.

whether a deal such as that tentatively agreed in Geneva might still be possible.


The concerns of other countries about Iran were evi-

With the United States and other countries considering

dent. Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa,

new sanctions against Iran because of lack of progress

Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the biggest

in discussions on its nuclear programme, the country

threat to the region was the possibility of conflict between

provided a major focus for the Dialogue. Some Gulf

Israel and Iran over the nuclear programme. ‘Lives will be

countries, in particular the United Arab Emirates, have

lost, vital resources will be put in jeopardy, the world econ-

been stepping up purchases of military equipment,

omy will undoubtedly suffer and all our efforts towards

apparently because they perceive a heightened threat.

regional development and prosperity will be significantly

In his speech, Mottaki said Iran opposed nuclear weap-

hindered,’ Sheikh Khalid said.

ons. Questioned on the nuclear programme, he noted that

Relations between Iran and its neighbours needed

the Tehran research reactor had been built with American

to be improved. Sheikh Khalid proposed several confi-

help, and the Bushehr nuclear power plant with French

dence-building measures: coordination of responses on

and German support. But because all this help had been

disaster risk reduction, for example on severe dust storms;

withdrawn, Iran had determined to be self-sufficient – it

a regional development programme providing expertise

needed ten–15 nuclear plants for electricity generation.

and assistance in areas lacking basic resources; and regional

‘Once bitten, twice shy’, Mottaki said.

consultations to prevent a future regional nuclear disaster.

Responding to a question from Mark Fitzpatrick, IISS

Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Dr Muhammad

Senior Fellow for Non-Proliferation, Mottaki objected to

said Iran’s programme needed to follow the guidelines

suggestions that Iran had not responded to a proposal

of the International Atomic Energy Agency. If the United

discussed in Geneva in October, under which Iran would

Nations Security Council agreed on a new round of sanc-

ship 1,200kg of enriched uranium out of the country, to

tions, he said, ‘this region is going to enter into a period of

be further enriched into fuel for the Tehran reactor. Iran

tension. Iran is a major player in the Gulf. Any tension with The Manama Dialogue 2009 | 59

(l–r): Manouchehr Mottaki, Foreign Minister, Iran; Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain; and Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iraq

Iran would reflect on the relationship between the GCC and

Saudi Arabia denies its bombing raids in the mountainous


border area have hit targets across the border. Meanwhile,

General David Petraeus, Commander, US Central Command, said Iran’s posture had prompted a warmer

Iran denies Yemeni government accusations that Iran is providing support to the Houthis.

regional embrace of the United States. Far from encountering

Al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based television network, made

a ‘credibility gap’ in the region – as one questioner sug-

the conflict the subject of its televised debate on the first even-

gested – the US was strengthening its partnerships with Gulf

ing of the Dialogue. Ali Muhammad Al Anisi, Chairman of

countries. The recruiting officer for such partnerships was

Yemen’s National Security Agency, said foreign intervention

Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, Petraeus said.

had contributed to the outbreak of violence. Jeffrey Feltman,

Over the past year, the United Arab Emirates had ordered

Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs in the US State

$18bn worth of American defence equipment, including

Department, said Washington did not have independent

Patriot missile batteries. He suggested that the UAE’s fleet of

information to support allegations of Iranian interference,

F-16s would be able to ‘take out’ the Iranian air force.

but supported the government in its efforts against the insur-

Calling Iran a ‘thugocracy’, Petraeus said that follow-

gency. Mamoun Fandy, IISS Senior Fellow for Gulf Security

ing the ‘hijacked elections’, Iran’s Supreme Leader had

and Corresponding Director, IISS–Middle East, made fun

resorted to using the Revolutionary Guard and Basij mili-

of the tendency to allege foreign intervention without spe-

tia to contain protests. This ever-growing control over the

cifically naming Iran; he referred instead to intervention by

levers of power made it ‘difficult to reach out to Iran and

Martians. An Iranian official denied his country was helping

find a willing partner at the other end’.

the Houthis, and quoted love poetry to emphasise the close ties between Tehran and Sanaa. Sheikh Khalid, the Bahraini

Regional conflicts

Foreign Minister, said Yemen’s stability was vital and it was

The region is beset by several ongoing conflicts. Since 2004,

necessary to support the government there. The other pan-

the Manama Dialogue has provided an annual snapshot of

ellists agreed: in Fandy’s view, there was a risk of Yemen

the war in Iraq, where the situation is now much improved

becoming a failed state, and the situation posed a real chal-

but still fragile. The 2009 Dialogue took place days after US

lenge to the security of the entire Gulf region.

President Barack Obama set out a new strategy to deal with

The worsening conflict in Afghanistan has been of

the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. While the Dialogue

primary concern to policymakers and military chiefs in

discussed this situation in depth, it was the flare-up of conflict

all Manama Dialogue participant nations throughout the

in Yemen that first caught the attention of delegates.

year. Karl Eikenberry, a frequent participant in IISS events

Sporadic fighting has occurred for five years between

as a general and now US Ambassador to Afghanistan,

Yemeni government forces and the Shia Houthi rebels.

intervened from the floor to explain aspects of President

60 | The 6th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Mehmet Vecdi Gönül, Minister of Defence, Turkey; Kazuya Shinba, Senior Vice Minister for Defence, Japan; and M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser, India

Obama’s December announcement that 30,000 more






American troops would be sent. There were several aims:

Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the past eight years had

to break the momentum of the Taliban-led insurgency, to

seen an inordinate focus on military solutions, with recon-

signal American resolve, and to move towards the com-

struction efforts not improving the lot of ordinary Afghans.

prehensive strategy – integrating military and civilian

Pakistan welcomed Obama’s recent announcement and his

efforts – that NATO had embraced. While the mid-2011

reaffirmation of partnership with Islamabad. However, he

date for the beginning of the US troop withdrawal was

said clarity and coordination was needed on implementa-

firm, the drawdown would depend on conditions and on

tion of the strategy and he looked forward to engagement

the growing aspirations of Afghan security forces. To the

ensure there was no adverse effect on Pakistan.

‘clear-hold-build’ approach had been added the crucial

Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary to the

word ‘transfer’, and efforts were focused on creating condi-

Minister of Defence, Germany, said much progress had

tions in which this could be done. The new policy would

been made in Afghanistan since 2001, but the security situ-

thus have a ‘forcing function’.

ation had deteriorated considerably, including in the North

Masoom Stanekzai, adviser to President Hamid Karzai

where Germany had responsibility. Based on the outcome

on Home Security, said the government’s new approach

of the international conference planned for January in

put stress on taking more responsibility for the security of

London, Germany and other European countries would

Afghanistan, building the capacity of the Afghan institu-

reconsider their levels of civil and military commitment.

tions, and fighting corruption. He welcomed the strategy

Amid the renewed efforts to end the conflict in

of General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander,

Afghanistan, there were continuing worries about the sus-

to protect the population. But he drew attention to severe

tainability of hard-won progress in Iraq. Hoshyar Zebari,

problems such as drugs and endemic poverty, which drew

Minister of Foreign Affairs, recalled that before the era of

young unemployed men towards extremism. Regional

Saddam Hussein, Iraq had a positive impact on the Gulf,

cooperation was essential: ‘There is a lot of discussion and

flourishing culturally and economically as a ‘regional

lot of good will, but there is a need for improved action

trendsetter’. ‘We are now working hard to return Iraq to

on the ground’, he said. An increasing number of youths

the stability and prosperity it enjoyed before its down-

from the border region with Pakistan were finding jobs

ward spiral, so that it can play the role we want it to play

in the Gulf. Using their income to support their families,

in promoting stability, security and prosperity in the Gulf’,

they gradually distance themselves from extremist groups

Zebari said. Out of conflict had come new skills, such as

and ‘contribute to the well-being of the population in those

the expertise of special operations forces in combating ter-

areas’. This showed scope for regional cooperation to

rorists and insurgents. These, he said, were key elements

change the dynamics of the insurgency.

in expanding security in Iraq: following the American The Manama Dialogue 2009 | 61

(l–r): Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan; Masoom Stanekzai, Adviser to the President on Home Security, Afghanistan; and Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Minister of Defence, Germany

withdrawal, there would be ‘no security vacuum to be

of attacks and violent civilian deaths in November 2009 was

filled by any external players’. The coming elections in

the lowest of any month since the US-led invasion in 2003.

March 2010, he said, would ‘determine Iraq’s future, fate

Violent incidents had fallen by over 90% since spring 2007. As

and course for years to come’.

the US drew down its forces in Iraq, it was working to fos-

Mehmet Vecdi Gönül, Minister of Defence, Turkey,

ter closer relations between Iraq and other Arab countries. ‘I

agreeing that the Iraqi elections were of paramount impor-

would remind my Arab brothers that if there is concern about

tance, said Kirkuk was a source of concern, and a settlement

certain influences in Iraq, then it would be wise to increase the

acceptable to all groups there was essential to ensure stabil-

Arab influence in that critical country’, Petraeus said.

ity. Zebari said relations with Turkey were improving, with

A plenary session was devoted to plans for nuclear

various agreements reached, but ‘we get sensitive when we

power. M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser to the

see our neighbours trying to interject ourselves on how this

Indian Prime Minister, said the world was embarking on

country could be run or elected or governed’. Kirkuk was

a ‘nuclear renaissance’ and that much of the new activ-

an Iraqi city, and the Iraqi people had to decide its future.

ity was taking place in the Middle East and Asia. Nuclear

Answering a question, Zebari said there had been seri-

energy was the only way to fill India’s projected energy

ous problems in supply of water to Iraq from both Turkey

deficit of 412MW by 2050. Indian scientists were working at

and Iran. New agreements were necessary between Turkey,

the cutting edge on fast breeder reactors and thorium-based

Iraq and Syria. On a recent series of car bombs in Iraq,

technologies. International cooperation was needed to shape

Zebari said these were aimed at paralysing and embar-

the growth of nuclear power and to ensure security and

rassing the government, and further eruptions of violence

safety needs were met. ‘The possibility of terrorists gaining

should be expected before the elections. However, it was

access to nuclear materials and technologies and the shadow

clear that terrorists were relying on ‘spectaculars’ and were

of nuclear terrorism is perhaps the gravest threat to global

no longer able to sustain their attacks. Asked about Syria,

security and mankind at this moment’, Narayanan said.

Zebari said relations were problematic and Baghdad had

Kazuya Shinba, Japan’s Senior Vice Minister for

intelligence that former members of Iraqi security forces

Defence, noted there was increasing momentum for

who were living there had strong connections with the

nuclear disarmament. While there were worries Japan

Syrian authorities. Recent bomb attacks, while not the

might acquire nuclear weapons in response to North

work of foreign fighters, had required the kind of logisti-

Korea’s nuclear development, he said ‘there is no way that

cal support that could only be found among such people.

Japan will possess nuclear weapons’. Japan would con-

Talks with Damascus on the issue had led nowhere.

tinue to pursue disarmament through the Six-Party Talks

Petraeus said progress in Iraq was ‘fragile and reversible’ but emphasised the sharp reduction in violence. The number 62 | The 6th IISS Regional Security Summit

and hoped all nuclear weapon states would undertake multilateral or bilateral reduction efforts.

(l–r): General David Petraeus, Commander, US Central Command; Ali Muhammad Al Anisi, Chairman of National Security Agency, Yemen; and Dr Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar, Adviser to the King of Bahrain on Diplomatic Affairs

Among other issues raised was the need for improved

exercises, and bilateral and multilateral arrangements.

security frameworks in the Gulf region. Petraeus said the past

Interaction with partner countries had helped to develop the

year had seen an increase in the number of joint operations,

concept he described as ‘multi-bilateralism’ – the integration

BREAK-OUT GROUP 1: Military Transformation, Intelligence and Security Cooperation The central question for the group was how to move from con-

education and healthcare systems and greater agricultural expertise.

flict resolution into a much broader mode of conflict prevention

This entailed enhancing civilian authorities and development of a

and post-conflict consolidation. The Gulf region faced threats in-

regional structure overcoming the problems of distance, difficult ter-

cluding conflicts between nation states, communal disturbances,

rain and patterns of regional and tribal loyalties. Aid programmes

illegal trafficking, piracy, terrorism, insurgency and resource de-

worked better if decentralised, but funds needed to be injected di-

pletion. While the strategic role of the Gulf was based on its oil

rectly and linked with stringent execution targets and performance

resources, society was undergoing rapid change, economic and


demographic developments were intensifying, and there was a growing awareness of human rights issues.

The approach of the United States would be conditioned by the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review which would examine

The security environment was now a major focus for discussion

both state and asymmetric threats and the capacity of partners to

at Gulf Cooperation Council summits – involving redefinition of the

meet them. In the Gulf, strengthening partnerships, dealing with

role of the armed forces, development of military equipment and

daily threats such as improvised explosive devices, state support

capabilities, new concepts of joint operations and, politically, joint

for non-state actors, cyber and maritime threats required not only

defence policies.

funding for key programmes but reinforcing national synergies

A similar effort was needed in Afghanistan to recalibrate coali-

and capabilities. In Afghanistan, a ‘whole of government’ approach

tion efforts so as to meet the objectives of local control of security

would be pursued, drawing in civilian professionals so as to create

forces, development of the police force, judiciary and court system,

long-term stability.

(l–r) Alexander Vershbow, Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, US Department of Defense; Brigadier-General H.R. McMaster, Chief, Concept Development and Experimentation, Training and Doctrine Command, US Army; Consulting Senior Fellow, IISS; Brigadier Abdulrahman Al Hadoud, Director of Military Intelligence, Kuwait Armed Services; and Karl W. Eikenberry, Ambassador of the US to Afghanistan

The Manama Dialogue 2009 | 63

of bilateral activities to achieve multilateral effects. This was

inclusive architecture meeting the concerns and interests

occurring in shared early warning, air and missile defence,

of all parties. However, for the time being the region

and achievement of a common operational picture.

would have to make do with what he called ‘the Realist

Dr Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar, Adviser to the King of

Perspective’ – ‘making the best of what we have, rather than

Bahrain on Diplomatic Affairs, and Chairman of the Bahrain

striving for an unreachable goal’. He outlined steps towards

Centre for Strategic International and Energy Studies, said

the eventual goal, including the building of mutual confi-

the Gulf should aspire to ‘logical’ security arrangements

dence and ensuring the region had ‘a credible voice in its

which would involve the GCC countries, Iran, Iraq and

own security’. The GCC needed a new strategic concept set-

influential outside powers. This would produce a stable,

ting out a vision of its role in regional security.

BREAK-OUT GROUP 2: Iraq and the Region The session agreed that Iraq had travelled a

government with a five-year term and a

backed regime change in Baghdad in 2003,

long way in a positive direction over the last

democratic mandate.

but is uneasy that Iraq has been unwilling unambiguously to agree to the demarcation

two years. There had been a marked decline

Relations between the United States and

in violence and instability as well as sectari-

Iraq are now shaped by the Status of Forces

an or sub-national identities. Iraq had passed

Agreement passed by the Iraqi parliament

Iraq is one of Turkey’s top foreign policy

through occupation and civil strife and was

in November 2008. The fact that Iraq did

issues and forms a central part of its aim

heading towards a position where it could

not face a security vacuum when US troops

to have zero problems with its neighbours.

completely reclaim its own sovereignty.

withdrew from the cities in June 2009 indi-

Turkey kept its embassy in Baghdad open

cates the capacity of the Iraqi armed forces to

throughout the post-war violence and man-

control the country.

aged to keep an equal distance from all Iraq’s

With the completion of the current round for foreign bids to invest in the oil industry,

of borders.

Iraq was poised to make the shift from eco-

Relations with neighbours have in the

communities. Turkey continually urged

nomic backwater to regional powerhouse.

past been volatile and unstable, driven by

Iraq’s Sunni population to take part in the

The next stage would be national elections

fear, economic competition and sectarian

reconciliation process. Overall, the break-

in March 2010. While the aftermath may see

rivalries. Even today some regional pow-

out group was optimistic about the future

a messy and prolonged process of govern-

ers are apprehensive. For example, Iraq’s

of Iraq but it indentified continuing tensions

ment formation, the result should be a new

relations with Kuwait are mixed: Kuwait

between Iraq and its neighbours.

(l–r) Sheikh Thamer Ali Al Sabah, Vice President, National Security Bureau, Kuwait; Murat Ozcelik, Ambassador of Turkey to Iraq; Sadiq Al Rikabi, Political Adviser, Prime Minister’s Office, Iraq; Dr Andrew Parasiliti, Executive Director, IISS–US and Corresponding Director, IISS–Middle East; and Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, US Department of State

BREAK-OUT GROUP 3: Piracy and Maritime Security Because of the geo-strategic importance of

cern has prompted unprecedented multina-

the region to trade and energy flows, and

tional naval intervention, with contributions

the continued high frequency of attacks on

from 17 states.

authority in Somalia. Nevertheless, the group heard that international naval patrolling combined

merchant vessels there, piracy has continued

The group heard that in Southeast Asia,

with defensive measures on the part of

to constitute a significant security concern

closer cooperation among littoral states

merchant vessels had significantly dis-

in the Gulf of Aden, and indeed the wider

helped to reduce the problem of piracy in the

rupted and deterred piratical activities:

western Indian Ocean, over the last year.

Malacca Strait to negligible levels. But in the

in 2008, the success rate for pirate attacks

Maintaining free access through the Strait

Somali case, naval action can only address

was approximately 30% for all attempted

and ensuring unimpeded transit remain vi-

the symptoms and not the causes of piracy,

boardings; by late 2009, the rate had been

tal for global well-being. International con-

which are rooted in the collapse of political

reduced to 15%. However, only half of ves-

64 | The 6th IISS Regional Security Summit

sels attacked successfully in recent months

There was agreement in the group that,

current anti-piracy efforts, multinational na-

had adhered to International Maritime Or-

while Somali piracy continues to pose a

val forces are engaged in an unprecedented

ganisation (IMO) guidelines.

serious menace to shipping, wider mari-

level of diplomatic, military collaboration

Efforts to coordinate national maritime

time security challenges should not be

and coordination. This cooperation may

contributions take the form of the Shared

ignored. These challenges include traffick-

have wider consequences in terms of build-

Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE)

ing, smuggling and the spectre of maritime

ing confidence among the navies of states

Committee and UN-IMO contact groups.

terrorism. Concern was expressed over the

that are not all formal allies or even secu-

Improved maritime situational awareness

vulnerability of submarine fibre-optic ca-

rity partners, which could be useful in the

is necessary: this will require better intelli-

bles to disruption.

future. As one participant pointed out: ‘You


While there are weaknesses and flaws in

can surge forces, but you cannot surge trust’.

(l–r) Vice-Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, Chief of Personnel, Indian Navy; Vice-Admiral William Gortney, Commander, US Naval Forces, Central Command; Commander, US Fifth Fleet; Lt.-Gen. Desmond Kuek Bak Chye; Chief of Defence Force, Ministry of Defence, Singapore; Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia; Editor, Adelphis; Corresponding Director for Military Information and Analysis, IISS; and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy, UK

BREAK-OUT GROUP 4: Non-State Actors in Regional Security The group heard that the phenomenon of

several supportive MPs. Its new manifesto

the difficulty of dealing with NSAs in Paki-

Non-State Actors (NSAs) was of increasing

placed more emphasis on its Lebanese con-

stan. Military operations in Swat and North

importance as such groups were proliferat-

text and underplayed its relationship with

Waziristan had proceeded well: the return of

ing, with greater inter-action between them

Iran. It possessed a strong military arsenal

2.6 million displaced persons in 4½ months

and implications for relations between coun-

including anti-ship missiles, with rumours

was without parallel. A distinction had to be

tries and within wider regions. For example,

of anti-aircraft missiles. There was little sign

made between the Pakistani Taliban – which

concerns about insurgency in Yemen could

that it would disarm, as required by UN

started by supporting the Afghan Taliban

affect relations between Yemen and Saudi


and were now opposing the Pakistani state

Arabia and between Saudi Arabia and Iran,

In Pakistan, new NSAs had emerged in

in opposition to what they saw as a Western

which could in turn impinge upon regional

the last five years, with limited objectives

agenda – and the Afghan Taliban, a product

security. Such effects could be exacerbated if

but having links with international NSAs,

of the anti-Soviet mujahadeen which the

NSAs were serving a foreign agenda.

especially al-Qaeda. A wave of terrorism

West had helped create in the 1980s. Alli-

In Lebanon, Hizbullah was the domi-

had killed about 2,000 civilians and 2,250

ances between them had allowed the Afghan

nant Shia party but had links with non-Shia

military personnel and had caused massive

Taliban to gain sanctuary in Pakistan. For the

groups, and worked patiently to a long-term

damage. It was suggested that the actions

time being, Pakistan’s main focus was direct-

timescale with wide political appeal. It had

of the United States, the NATO-led forces

ed against the Pakistani groups.

two ministers in the new government and

in Afghanistan and possibly India enhanced

(l–r) Professor Aboumohammad Asgarkhani, Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Tehran; Dr Michael C. Williams, Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator for Lebanon, United Nations; General Mansour Al Turki, Spokesperson, Interior Ministry, Saudi Arabia; Dr Mamoun Fandy, Senior Fellow for Gulf Security and Corresponding Director, IISS–Middle East; and Lt.-Gen. Muhammed Mustafa Khan, Chief of the General Staff, Pakistan

The Manama Dialogue 2009 | 65

66 | The 6th IISS Regional Security Summit

See videos and transcripts online



The Manama Dialogue 2010

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, US

The drivers and dynamics of regional security in the Gulf

and the linkages between security and development were

region and their links to global strategic affairs were once

the main themes of these debates, which attracted consid-

again the subjects of intense debates at the 7th IISS Regional

erable attention.

Security Summit: The Manama Dialogue held in Manama, Bahrain, from 3–5 December. The largest number to date

Opening dinner

of top government officials, military officers and seasoned

In the presence of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince

analysts of international and regional affairs from the

of Bahrain Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and His Majesty

Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America discussed

King Abdullah of Jordan, John Chipman, IISS Director-

the main sources of instability in the region, detailed

General and Chief Executive, opened the proceedings

existing responses to cope with and counter them, and

by noting that privatised defence diplomacy in fora such

shared ideas for greater security cooperation and dialogue.

as the Manama Dialogue allow for a candid exchange of

The summit took place against a backdrop of significant

views in a world increasingly defined by the ‘fluidity

processes and events, including the ongoing formation of a

and dynamism of contemporary strategic realities’. He

government in Iraq, massive arms sales to the Gulf states,

explained that ‘the IISS has no agenda in mounting the

the WikiLeaks disclosures and a nuclear meeting between

Manama Dialogue, other than to create a forum where the

Iran and the P5+1 grouping. This provided a rich context for

agenda can be set by those responsible for security and

the discussions but also for the well-established Al-Arabiya

foreign policy and to have those perspectives seriously and

televised debate and for the new ABC-Bloomberg televised

un-polemically debated with top analysts and experts’.

debate that preceded the official conference proceed-

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, gave the

ings. The situation in Yemen, Iran’s nuclear programme,

opening address. She reiterated the US commitment to the

regional security cooperation, transnational security issues

stability and development of the region and to the security

68 | The 7th IISS Regional Security Summit

Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Professor François Heisbourg and King Abdullah of Jordan on their way to the opening dinner

of its allies, stressing that the US has ‘invested blood and

was ‘still committed’ to President Obama’s offer of engage-

treasure to protect those stakes, those friendships and

ment with Iran, adding that Iran had ‘the right to a peaceful

those vital national security interests’ and will continue

nuclear programme’. She urged Iran to make the choice to

doing so. She also called for a broader definition of security

‘restore the confidence of the international community and

that included development, diversification, and investment

live up to [its] obligations’ as a peaceful nuclear power.

in human resources and human security.

Responding to a question on US democracy policy by

Secretary Clinton elaborated on the key principles of US

Dr Alanoud Al Sharekh, IISS Senior Fellow for Regional

engagement in the region: respect for national sovereignty,

Politics, Secretary Clinton argued that the US continued

security partnerships, freedom of navigation, commit-

to advocate democracy but was adopting a comprehen-

ment to human security and nuclear non-proliferation. She

sive approach that valued institution-building as much as

welcomed Iraq’s progress towards full sovereignty and

elections. Professor François Heisbourg, IISS Chairman,

forming an inclusive cabinet, saying the US was committed

asked about the significance of the WikiLeaks disclosures

to help Iraq achieve stability and self-reliance, and call-

and other cyber-security issues for diplomacy and national

ing on the Gulf states to upgrade their relations with Iraq

security. Secretary Clinton explained that such breaches

to help its regional integration. She envisioned ‘a future

were a regrettable downside of the need to share infor-

in which Iraq does not pose a threat to regional security,

mation more broadly, because information stove-piping

but instead a strength to it’. Secretary Clinton hoped that

could lead governments to miss gathering threats, as hap-

current efforts to improve defence cooperation against

pened with the 11 September 2001 attacks. In response to

conventional and unconventional threats, including in the

a question from Mark Fitzpatrick, IISS Senior Fellow for

areas of missile and air defence and maritime security,

Non-Proliferation, about US expectations for nuclear talks

would be sustained. She noted that such help goes both

with Iran, Secretary Clinton said that ‘Iran is entitled to

ways, praising the roles of Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan and

the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy’, but she stressed

Egypt in dealing with Afghanistan, Iraq and other humani-

the concerns of the international community. She warned

tarian crises. She urged continued commitment and focus

that ‘if anyone in Iran believes that either acquiring nuclear

on Yemen and reaffirmed America’s commitment to a two-

weapons or the break-out capacity for nuclear weapons

state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.

will make Iran stronger and more dominant in the region,

Secretary Clinton directly addressed the Iranian del-

that is an absolutely wrong calculation. It will trigger an

egation led by the Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki,

arms race that will make the region less stable and more

which had considerable significance given the nuclear talks

uncertain, and will cause serious repercussions far beyond

that were occurring three days later. She said that the US

the Gulf.’ The Manama Dialogue 2010 | 69

King Abdullah II, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Keynote speech

Defence, King Abdullah responded that Jordan maintained

King Abdullah of Jordan delivered the keynote speech

strong bilateral relations with the GCC states but also with

on Saturday morning. He made an impassioned plea for

NATO countries. Joint training and exercises were impor-

peace between Israelis and Palestinians and reiterated the

tant to create confidence between soldiers in real-time

terms of the Arab Peace Initiative that offers full peace in

conflict, not simply as a continuation of existing relations.

exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal. ‘This opportunity

Military integration was key to achieving faster deployment

cannot last forever’, he cautioned, noting that geographic

and better performance on the battlefield. He deplored the

and demographic changes ‘are threatening the essence of

lack of multilateral defence cooperation in the Middle East,

the initiative: a two-state solution, which will guarantee

despite good bilateral relations, but saw this as a reflection

the Palestinians the freedom and statehood they have long

of the lack of regional peace, which also constrained other

been denied, and will ensure for Israel the security it seeks’.

important forms of integration and development.

He warned that radical forces would prevail if peace is not attained, dragging the Middle East into greater turmoil.

First plenary

Expressing support for the US-led efforts to jumpstart

The first plenary session, entitled ‘Regional Security

peace talks, he noted that Israel’s refusal to extend a

Cooperation’, offered three visions for achieving regional

moratorium on settlement building had undermined


existing good will. ‘We do not need new solutions. We

Bemoaning the fact that the Gulf region was being taken

need will, we need commitment and we need courage to

advantage of because of its natural wealth, Manouchehr

make hard decisions,’ he argued.

Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, considered

Lord Powell of Bayswater, IISS Council Member, asked

that external actors were sowing discord and spoke of

about the consequences of not reaching peace. ‘Absolute

‘evil intentions of planned mischief’ to create instability in

disaster,’ King Abdullah responded, adding that there

the Gulf region. Iran instead believed that the best way to

could be a time when the two-state solution would not be

ensure stability was to engineer trust among local nations

viable anymore but stressing nonetheless that the window

and ‘indigenise’ regional security. To Iran, power and poli-

of opportunity was still open. He saw linkages between the

tics was not a zero-sum game. He insisted that Iran was no

Arab–Israeli conflict and a host of other issues that were

threat to its neighbours because of their Muslim character,

exacerbated by the failure to reach peace. ‘Fortress Israel’,

and instead supported the development and stability of its

he said, was a mindset that prevented Israelis from project-

Arab neighbours. ‘Your power is our power. Our power

ing themselves into the future and realising the benefits of

is your power,’ he told them. Countering accusations that

peace and regional integration.

Iran was seeking a nuclear military capability, he asserted

In response to a question on military cooperation by Lord Astor of Hever, UK Under Secretary of State for 70 | The 7th IISS Regional Security Summit

that Iran was exercising its rights under the NPT to support its own development.

(l–r): Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iran; Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain; and Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamed, Minister of Foreign Affairs

example the complete turn-around in Syrian–Turkish rela-

of Bahrain, portrayed Bahrain as ‘an active, reasonable,

tions in recent years. Echoing King Abdullah’s speech, he

responsible player in the international arena’ in an oth-

asserted that ‘the core of regional peace in our region is the

erwise unsettled region. He stressed its commitment to

Arab–Israeli conflict ... We do not want a new roadmap; we

its GCC partners and its allies beyond the region. Sheikh

want to see the end of the road’. Recognising the GCC as a

Khalid called the deteriorating situation in Yemen the

central actor in the Middle East, Davutoğlu pledged that

most immediate challenge facing the Gulf region, saying

Turkey would continue to deepen the strategic relationship

‘we simply cannot afford to have it succumb to extrem-

with its members. The complexity of current security issues

ism and continued unrest’. He also underlined the threat

and their linkages to global affairs required new thinking.

of piracy, and welcomed international efforts to counter it.

Hoping that the nuclear negotiations between Iran and

In addition, he noted that concerns over Iran’s nuclear pro-

the P5+1 group would be fruitful, Davutoğlu reaffirmed

gramme were a cause of tension and instability and called

Turkey’s opposition to nuclear weapons in the region and

for a successful outcome to the nuclear talks. He suggested

its support for peaceful nuclear energy.

that an international civilian nuclear-fuel bank would best

Responding to a question from Raghida Dergham,

meet the interests of Iran and the international community.

Senior Diplomatic Correspondent and Columnist of Al

Echoing Hillary Clinton’s speech, Sheikh Khalid called for

Hayat, Mottaki indicated that Iran supported the establish-

‘incorporating Gulf security within a broad comprehen-

ment of a multilateral nuclear-fuel bank and that, given

sive regional picture’ that acknowledged the positive and

Iran’s recent nuclear achievements, it would want to host

adverse effects of globalisation and economic development

a branch on Iranian soil. Davutoğlu agreed but warned

on stability. For the Gulf states, these range from trans-

about a new monopoly on alternative energy resources.

national security issues to economic diversification and nurturing human talent.

Second plenary

Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of

The second plenary, ‘Regional Conflicts and Outside

Turkey, detailed Turkey’s vision for regional security. He

Powers’, offered an opportunity to examine the conflicts

too favoured a broader definition of security not limited to

that plague the Middle East and the role of outside actors

military and defence matters. Instead of a reactive approach

in fuelling or resolving them. Franco Frattini, Minister for

to security problems, he argued for a ‘visionary’, upstream

Foreign Affairs for Italy, noted that the region’s security

one based on four principles: security for all, political

architecture remained fragmentary, even as security

dialogue, economic interdependency, and multicultural

challenges have grown in number and complexity.

existence. The solution to the region’s crises necessitates

Traditional bilateral cooperation was no longer enough

applying this methodology, Davutoğlu argued, using as an

to progress and must evolve into genuine partnerships The Manama Dialogue 2010 | 71

(l–r): Dr Abu Bakr Al Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yemen; General James Mattis, Commander, US Central Command; and Franco Frattini, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Italy

built on trust and shared interests. Italy too approached

sanctions and engagement fail to convince Iran to stop its

regional issues from a holistic perspective, Frattini said.

nuclear pursuits, General Mattis urged that more time be

‘Security is not only about military capacity; it is also

given to the current track before considering the use of

about institution building, ownership, social cohesion,

force. Responding to a question from Dr Chipman, Dr Al

rights and partnerships.’

Qirbi detailed the economic and development assistance

Dr Abu Bakr Al Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of

that Yemen was receiving through the Friends of Yemen

Yemen, urged the audience not to assume that regional

grouping and bilaterally from the GCC states. Such help

conflicts were necessarily the doing of local actors and that

reflected a growing global and regional awareness of

outside powers were necessarily doing good by insert-

Yemen’s multi­dimensional needs. He insisted ‘Yemen is

ing themselves in them. Today’s conflicts were no longer

not weak. The government is in control.’

geographically or strategically contained: Yemen may be suffering from internal woes but it was also affected by

Third plenary

the Arab–Israeli conflict, piracy and other security chal-

The third plenary, ‘Strategic Reassurance and Deterrence

lenges. Dr Al Qirbi prescribed three principles to deal with

in the Region’, showcased the various security strategies

conflicts in the Middle East: respect for the sovereignty

that states can employ to defend themselves.

and independence of states; no foreign imposition of solu-

Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister

tions but rather support for indigenous ones; and a broad

for Defence, Singapore, explained that his country’s

understanding of conflict that considers economic and gov-

interest in the Gulf stemmed from ‘the recognition that

ernance factors.

the complex security challenges we face today require

General James Mattis, Commander, US Central

multinational and cooperative responses that involve

Command, sought to redefine what an external power was.

all the stakeholders’. Hoping to inspire his audience,

Rather than focus on geography in the age of globalisation

he proceeded to explain how Singapore and other

and interdependency, he urged the audience to focus on

Southeast Asian nations built a security architecture

values and norms and call ‘external’ a power that sought to

amid a complex international and regional picture. By

sow instability and division. He too believed that partner-

enshrining the principles of national sovereignty and

ships were the best mechanism to ensure stability. Using

non-interference without over-formalising their security

naval cooperation as an example, he detailed how navies

cooperation, ASEAN has allowed its members to focus

from several nations were working together to counter

on their national development. Teo Chee Hean explained:

piracy off the Somali coast.

‘Apart from deterrence and diplomacy, the story of

Asked by Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, Professor of Political Science, UAE University, about a Plan B should 72 | The 7th IISS Regional Security Summit

ASEAN would not be complete without a third ‘‘D’’, and that ‘‘D’’ is development.’

(l–r): Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence, UK; Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Singapore; and HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, UAE

HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE

Fourth plenary

Foreign Minister, provided the perspective of a small but

The fourth plenary session, entitled ‘The Changing

rapidly growing nation eager to protect its development.

International Framework and Regional Security’, was an

‘The best guarantor of security is sustainable economic and

opportunity to examine the global context that defines

social development’, Sheikh Abdullah said. Referring to

contemporary power dynamics.

Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 Football World Cup,

Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah,

he explained that the UAE and other Gulf states adopted

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

a positive and alternative vision of the Gulf’s place in the

of Kuwait, insisted that the main constant in interna-

world. Commenting on the challenges to world order and

tional affairs was the permanent state of change in the

to Middle East security, he insisted that ‘we cannot win an

fundamentals and dynamics of power. Global power has

ideological war except through changing mindsets’.

shifted dramatically in recent years with the rise of new

Outlining his government’s commitment to the Gulf,

powers and the impact of the global financial crisis. The

Liam Fox, the UK Secretary of State for Defence, stressed

new multipolar reality has tangible aspects, ranging from

that the UK took the interests and security of its regional

Qatar’s successful bid to stage the 2022 World Cup to the

partners seriously. While detailing the UK defence regional

UAE beating Germany to host the International Renewable

involvement, he pledged that the UK would continue to

Energy Agency. Sheikh Muhammad also noted the chang-

‘work closely with our Gulf allies and the United States’,

ing nature of threats, from war-centric to more diffuse yet

and ‘maintain the political will and military capabil-

more pernicious forms like environmental degradation

ity required to deter regional aggression’. Turning to the

and transnational challenges. New actors, from NGOs

Iranian nuclear programme, he affirmed that ‘an Iranian

to non-state actors, increasingly influenced international

nuclear-weapons capability will not be tolerated by the

affairs as well. Another change on the horizon comes from

international community’.

the divergent demographics of the North and the rest of

In response to a question from Jean-Claude Mallet, IISS Council Member, about the meaning of Western reassur-

the world, which will pose challenges in terms of income, integration and migration.

ance in the Gulf, Liam Fox explained that lack of resolve on

Kevin Rudd, the Foreign Minister of Australia, found

the part of the Western powers regarding Iran would send

that the geopolitical and economic rise of Asia had pro-

a negative message to their local allies. To a question about

found consequences for the world and the Middle East as

regional security by Hayfa Ali Al Mattar of the Foreign

relations deepen between new power centres. Describing

Ministry of Bahrain, both Teo Chee Hean and Sheikh

Australia as a middle power with global interests, he

Abdullah believed that the Gulf region can learn some les-

called for a more sophisticated understanding of the

sons from Asia.

new security dynamics. He urged Iran to reflect on the The Manama Dialogue 2010 | 73

(l–r): Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait; and Kevin Rudd, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia

impact of its nuclear programme on global security and

that Saudi Arabia should become a shareholder rather

supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free

than a mere consumer in such a scheme. He concluded by

zone in the Middle East. Finally, he advised Gulf nations

welcoming the consensus that emerged throughout the

to derive lessons from the ASEAN experiment to build a

conference on the need for a broader understanding of

stable regional order.

security. Responding to a question by Ali Al Shihabi, Chairman,

Fifth plenary

Rasmala Investment Bank, Prince Turki asserted that for-

In the final plenary, ‘The Changing Nature of Regional

eign troops posed a problem in countries like Iraq where

Security Issues’, broad lessons about the interplay of global

they forced themselves upon the local population, but not

politics and regional security were outlined.

in the Arabian Peninsula where agreements governed their

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs,

presence. To Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, Professor of Political

insisted that ‘globalisation is truly the megatrend of our

Science, UAE University; and an IISS member’s concern

times’. In an age where ‘there is no longer any national

about the possible militarisation and nuclearisation of the

security that is purely national’, the challenge was to man-

Gulf, Prince Turki stressed the Gulf’s commitment to non-

age flows of people, goods, capital, ideas and threats. In

proliferation and argued that making the Middle East a

the absence of reformed and better world governance,

region free of nuclear weapons was an overriding priority,

however, regional security arrangements are getting

one that must embraced by all players.

increasingly important in this regard. Asia and Europe

After Khalid Fahad Al Khater, Director of the Strategic

are good examples of that. In the Middle East, he believed

Dialogues Department of the GCC Secretariat, raised a

‘the GCC countries will be the core of the coming regional

question about the status of Arab–Israeli peace, Minister

cooperation structure of the wider region’. This should one

Bildt reaffirmed the Western commitment to reaching a

day lead to ‘the full integration of both Iran and Israel with

peaceful solution. He added that ‘the reality of the Arab

the entire region’ since regional prosperity was closely

Peace Initiative has not yet sunk in, in Israeli society’, and

linked to peace.

urged Arab states to do more to convince the Israeli popu-

Prince Turki Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,

lation of the benefits of peace.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the King Faisal

To a question about Turkey’s future role by Mohammad

Center for Research and Islamic Studies, agreed with

Al Sager, Chairman, Council for Arab and International

Bildt’s concluding point, saying that Israel had a choice to

Relations, Minister Bildt affirmed the country’s importance

make between democracy and peace or apartheid and con-

in today’s world, adding that ‘I do not think we will be able

flict. Welcoming the idea of a nuclear-fuel bank, he recalled

to think of the global role of the EU some years down the

a conversation with Manouchehr Mottaki, who suggested

road without Turkey.’

74 | The 7th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden; and Prince Turki Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman, Board of Directors, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION I: Securing Yemen’s Future The challenges facing Yemen were high-

the security dimension. A possible full Ye-

government must be able to achieve politi-

lighted in this break-out group. Yemen

meni integration into the GCC could help

cal compromise, especially with regards to

has long dealt with issues concerning al-

tackle the high unemployment rate, while

the Houthis. The only viable solution to

Qaeda, the instability in the south, and

investing in modern education and prom-

this conflict and other internal crises is a

the Houthis. However, the core of those

ising sectors in the economy such as tour-

Yemeni solution.

problems was described as stemming

ism could alleviate the dire situation in

from economic and governance failures.

the country.

Despite the challenges confronting Yemen, the country is not a failed state. It is

Yemen is a rugged and barren country

Another delegate pointed to the fact

still an important member of the interna-

whose population is constantly growing

that many of the issues facing Yemen also

tional community. It is, nevertheless, still

but whose natural resources are in con-

stemmed from political factors that must be

facing a rising tide of new challenges in the

stant decline, especially when it comes to

addressed. In particular al-Qaeda should

forms of piracy, insurgency, and immigra-

oil production, still a main source of Ye-

not be portrayed as a Yemen-based group,

tion from neighbouring Somalia. Yemen is

men’s income. Stability in Yemen is de-

but a global problem that is not exclusive

in acute need of global and regional aid,

pendent on development. Thus the inter-

to Yemen. The solution is to maintain co-

and only through the help and support

national community as well as Friends of

operative efforts not only domestically,

of the international community will it be

Yemen must all strive to help the country

but also to maintain international com-

able to overcome its problems and secure

overcome its challenges and look beyond

mitment and involvement. Also, Yemen’s

its future.

(l–r): Professor Vitaly Naumkin, Director, Institute of Oriental Studies, The Russian Academy of Sciences; Michael Crawford, Consulting Senior Fellow for the Middle East and South Asia, IISS; Prince Turki Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman, Board of Directors, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies; and Abu Bakr Al Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yemen

The Manama Dialogue 2010 | 75

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION II: Maritime Security Operations and International Cooperation The importance of maritime security to the

were being held on 27 hijacked ships, the

weeks in Bahrain and bilaterally, even

Middle East was well described in the sec-

group heard. One delegate noted that ‘pi-

between ostensible rivals such as the US

ond break-out group. Some 90% of all glob-

rates are adapting as we adapt’.

and Iran.

Combined Task Force 151, which

While other maritime security issues,

comes under the command of NAVCENT

such as environmental protection and

Yet, the difficulty in maintaining the

and is currently commanded by Kuwait,

fishing rights, were mentioned, piracy

security of this trade was also highlight-

is deployed to deal with the problem,

dominated the group’s attention. The well-

ed. Between 23,000 and 25,000 ships pass

while NATO, the EU and independent

rehearsed argument that the solution to

through the Internationally Recommended

deployers India, China, Russia, Iran and

the problem ultimately lay on land was

Transit Corridor annually, a thin strip of

Malaysia continue to patrol and convoy.

widely agreed upon, with the group con-

ocean that commercial shipping is encour-

This has led to regular interaction be-

curring that a comprehensive approach to

aged to use, but piracy continues to flour-

tween the various navies and practitio-

Somalia would be the most effective rem-

ish in the Gulf region. Piracy has reached

ners, both through multilateral fora such

edy. However, in the meantime the prob-

record levels this year: 127 piracy incidents

as the Shared Awareness and Deconflic-

lem persisted and the navies would retain

have occurred in 2010 and 538 hostages

tion group (SHADE) that meets every six

their presence.

al trade travels by sea; for India, the group heard, that figure rises to 95% by value.

(l–r): Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, India; Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Commander, US Naval Forces, Central Command; Dr Tim Huxley, Executive Director, IISS–Asia, Director for Military Information and Analysis, IISS; Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, Canada; and Rear Admiral Bruno Nielly, Commander, French Forces in the Indian Ocean

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION III: Iraq and the Region The challenges facing Iraq were discussed

Many of the participants argued that sec-

Relations between Iraq and Iran were

in detail in the third special session. While

tarianism remains a hindrance to a unified

discussed in detail. Iran was cited as en-

violence has largely declined, Iraq remains a

government in Iraq. Strong governance is

couraging sectarian division to ensure a

fragile state.

necessary to ensure Iraq’s sovereignty. The

weak Iraq, in order to destabilise the re-

The current political instability stems

group called for an inclusive government

gion. An Iranian delegate refuted these

from the prolonged, messy process of form-

that incorporates all ethnic and religious

claims, and stressed that Iran sought to

ing a government. While a tentative power-

groups in Iraq. Some argued that this would

uphold the Iraqi Constitution. Iran was

sharing agreement was reached in Novem-

require the revision of the Iraqi Constitution,

called upon by some of the Arab Gulf par-

ber 2010, the eight-month political impasse

which was drafted in 2005 without the full

ticipants in the group to play a more con-

has threatened regional security. The es-

support of Sunni groups. Several partici-

structive role in Iraq.

tablishment of a unity government in Iraq

pants said the constitution is a foundation

The group was hopeful for the future of

is therefore essential to the maintenance of

for sectarianism in Iraq and does not pro-

Iraq, but cautioned that rising sectarian ten-

regional stability.

mote political reconciliation.

sions could destabilise the country.

(l–r): Dr Andrew Parasiliti, Executive Director, IISS–US, Corresponding Director, IISS–Middle East; Murat Mercan, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Commission, Grand National Assembly, Turkey; HRH Prince Naef Bin Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Adviser to Crown Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia

76 | The 7th IISS Regional Security Summit

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION IV: Military Cooperation in the Region During this special session, security experts

defence. Speakers emphasised the impor-

Military strategy and tactics were also

and delegates discussed Military Coop-

tance of enhancing defence capabilities of US

discussed at the session, with a speaker not-

eration in the Gulf, emphasising its impor-

partners in the Gulf through early warning

ing that the absence of a ‘grand strategy’

tance amidst renewed threats in the region.

of sale and transfer of defence equipment, as

made it difficult to translate goals into effec-

Speakers noted that while there has been

GCC states were also encouraged to take on

tive military plans. The absence of a unified

progress in recent years in terms of regional

a more active role in defence.

vision between ISAF members in Afghani-

engagement in multilateral missions, as

Speakers at the session also highlighted

stan was raised as an example of the costs of

well as regional progress in command and

the importance of deterrence as a tool of ac-

a fragmented vision. This led to a discussion

control (exemplified by Bahrain’s imminent

tive conflict-prevention, stating that Gulf

on the importance of setting out clear goals

assumption of the command of Combined

states should remain equipped with en-

prior to war and an agreement that a com-

Task Force 152 for the second time), these

hanced and advanced weapons capabilities

mon understanding of such goals was neces-

developments have tended to take place

in order to drive up the cost of potential

sary for successful military cooperation.

through non-regional frameworks or with

aggression. It was also noted that the com-

The growing threat of cybercrime was

outside partners. This is due to several fac-

mon purpose of the United States and its

also discussed, with a speaker stating that

tors that effectively impede multilateral de-

Gulf allies to protect state sovereignty and

it was time to look beyond military coop-

fence cooperation. These factors range from

national freedoms is also a deterrent against

eration and towards a more holistic form of

the historical to the bureaucratic and politi-

future threats. Enhanced peacetime coopera-

security cooperation that took into account

cal, and lead to a lack of movement towards

tion and tactical training were also cited as

threats stemming from new technology.

more seamless military cooperation – partic-

important towards ensuring swift military

The vulnerability of GCC states was raised

ularly in the areas of air- and ballistic-missile

victories in the event of a future attack.

in this regard.

(l–r): Lt.-Gen. Waheed Arshad Chaudhry, Chief of the General Staff, Pakistan; General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, UK; Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, US Department of State; Dr Toby Dodge, Consulting Senior Fellow for the Middle East, IISS; and Lt.-Gen. Sheikh Dr Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Bahrain

The Manama Dialogue 2010 | 77

78 | The 7th IISS Regional Security Summit

See videos and transcripts online



The Manama Dialogue 2012

Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain

The impact of Arab revolutions on the Middle East’s

picture. In several countries, the transformations have exac-

regional order provided the backdrop for the 8th Manama

erbated existing faultlines, including sectarian and political

Dialogue, held in Bahrain on 7–9 December 2012. The

ones. They have increased demands on governments at a

Regional Security Summit, convened after a one-year

time when they are under pressure from budget problems

hiatus, attracted an attendance of senior government

and lagging economic growth. Egypt’s internal problems

officials, military officers, national-security practitioners,

have adversely impacted its regional influence, despite its

political analysts and journalists from the Middle East,

central role in solving the recent Gaza conflict.

Asia, Europe and North America.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman Bin

Participants reflected on a fast-changing regional secu-

Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, addressed the Dialogue’s open-

rity agenda, which has significantly broadened in recent

ing dinner, giving a very personal speech which was his

years. Indeed, the Arab transformations, while carrying

first public address to a local or international audience in

hope for better governance and greater political participa-

over a year. He called for face-to-face dialogue with oppo-

tion in the medium term, have also engendered an even

sition parties – a call that they welcomed.

more uncertain regional security landscape. Fierce domestic

The escalating Syrian crisis and its profound regional

competition over identity and power in transitioning coun-

ramifications attracted particular interest. Beyond the fate

tries is reshaping their politics in often unpredictable ways.

of the Assad regime, attention focused on the competition

The fragility of burgeoning democratic systems, the rise

for power inside Syria and its human and other costs; the

of Islamist movements across North Africa, the weakening

concern about a security vacuum and growing radicalisa-

of once-dominant state security services, and a recognition

tion; the potential use of chemical weapons; and the role of

that the transformational process will be long and bumpy

external actors in fuelling the conflict and sponsoring spe-

have added layers of complexity to an already volatile

cific groups and ideologies. As importantly, the audience

80 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

William Hague, Dr John Chipman and the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa

focused on the potential of the already existing spillover on

there can be no true security.’ He rejected the sectarian and

Syria’s immediate neighbours to balloon and result in an

political polarisation that poisoned the Kingdom’s politics:

even greater destabilising impact.

‘I am not a prince of Sunni Bahrain; I am not a prince of

The concern over Iran’s nuclear programme and its suspected ambitions among participants and the related

Shia Bahrain. I am a prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain and all mean a great deal to me personally.’

potential for conflict remained acute. The re-election of US

He called for direct talks: ‘I soon hope to see a meet-

President Barack Obama and positive signals from Iran

ing between all sides – and I call for a meeting between all

suggested that the prospects for war had been reduced

sides – as I believe that only through face-to-face contact

and that a window remained opened for diplomatic

will any real progress be made.’ The Crown Prince’s call

engagement. Given the failed diplomatic attempts of 2012,

for dialogue was welcomed by Bahrain’s main opposition

however, a sober sense of what can be achieved hovered.

parties, including Al-Wefaq.

The role of the United States in regional security was

Prince Salman offered thanks to Saudi Arabia and the

also hotly debated. A sense that the US, motivated by the

United Arab Emirates, which had sent troops to ensure

pivot to Asia, domestic constraints and general fatigue

security in the face of any possible aggressor, and to people

with the Middle East, was reducing its commitment to Gulf

who had supported his efforts to promote dialogue with

security was palpable among regional participants. US

the political opposition. He praised the UK which, he said,

speakers strongly rejected this notion, although differences

had stood ‘head and shoulders’ above others, engaging

over the current US approach to Syria indicated a tense

with all stakeholders.

debate in Washington over the right degree and form of involvement in the Middle East.

‘There is more work that we need to do,’ the Crown Prince said. Reform and capacity-building were necessary for the judiciary, so as to create a legal system that was fair,

Opening Dinner

just and inclusive. Laws that went against the protections

In his address to the opening dinner, the Crown Prince

of the constitution needed to be changed. Selective applica-

directly addressed the problems faced by his country since

tion of the law must stop.

the Arab uprisings of 2011. During the protests in Bahrain,

Addressing the opposition, Prince Salman said lead-

the country had been divided, he said, and many wounds

ers and ayatollahs must condemn violence. He added

were still to be healed. He stressed the importance of

that the silent majority, including people who lived in

dialogue to overcome Bahrain’s traumatic divide. ‘Security

mixed Sunni/Shia communities, felt insecure and their

is not the only guarantor of stability,’ he said. ‘Without

voices unheard. Responsible leadership was needed. The

justice there can be no freedom, and without freedom

majority of people wanted a solution that put the events The Manama Dialogue 2012 | 81

Special Opening Session: Global views on Syria

of last year firmly in the past. Political groups must be

would be needed in the immediate aftermath of the end of

reconciled in face-to-face meetings. ‘So we have our work

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It was conscious of the

cut out,’ said the Crown Prince. ‘Wishing for peace never

need for regional stability and good relations.

works, but peacemaking does.’

Sabbagh called on Russia and Iran to cease their sup-

Introducing him, John Chipman, IISS Director-General

port for the ‘killing machine’ of the regime, and on Gulf

and Chief Executive, thanked the Kingdom for its support

countries to provide humanitarian relief, especially to

for the Manama Dialogue, which was, he said, ‘not just an

address the huge challenge created by the displacement of

annual summit, but a continuous effort by the IISS to pro-

3 million people. Responding to a question from Dr John

mote international cooperation on matters of security and

Chipman, he expected the United States to recognise the

stability in this region’. He hoped for a ‘transparent and

coalition as have some European and all GCC countries,

influential debate on all matters affecting the future of the

and said the Higher Military Council soon to be formed

Gulf and the wider Middle East region’.

would embrace most of the opposition forces now ranged

Chipman explained that the 2012 summit was pre-

against the regime.

ceded by two Sherpa meetings in Bahrain, in February

However, American reservations were plainly in view

and October, at which officials from many countries

in remarks from Mike Rogers, Chairman of the US House

discussed the issues for the Dialogue to debate. In addi-

Intelligence Committee. While noting that the ‘dangerous

tion, the Institute had strengthened its regional office in

days of desperation’ are starting to take hold, he expressed

Manama and had held numerous international confer-

concern about what might happen on the fall of Assad.

ences, seminars and lectures in Bahrain on geo-economic

Citing the experience of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, he

issues ranging from currency wars to trade and security

feared that extremist elements of the opposition would

matters. ‘The IISS–Middle East office housed here will

take advantage of a power vacuum and would get control

cover regional issues from the Levant to North Africa, and

of both chemical and conventional weapons. He called for

thematic questions of geo-economics, geostrategy, demo-

transparency about the opposition.

graphics and cyber security amongst others. It will develop

Rogers also said the problem of loose weapons could

further programmes and activities while always support-

be quickly handled with American help and training, and

ing the Manama Dialogue process.’

that there was a debate in Washington about the level of intervention that the US should undertake in Syria. He per-

Syria forum

sonally opposed giving weapons to ‘elements that we don’t

A pre-Dialogue discussion forum tackled the Syrian

understand just yet’, but noted that Washington had pro-

uprising. Mustafa Sabbagh, Secretary-General of the

vided humanitarian aid. Russia, he noted, ‘was in a unique

National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition

place to be helpful, but has not been helpful’. Sabbagh

Forces, said the coalition was building the institutions that

acknowledged that the opposition contained extremist

82 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): William Burns, US Deputy Secretary of State; US Senator John McCain; and US Congressman Charles Ruppersberger

elements, but said they were ‘small and weak’.

democratic reforms; after touching on difficulties in Egypt,

Naci Koru, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister, saw a

Libya, Morocco, and Jordan, he addressed the situation in

grave situation resulting from the regime’s repression,

host-nation Bahrain. Burns emphasised Bahrain’s continued

with a particular effect on Turkey, which had received

importance to the United States as a strategic partner and

135,000 refugees and was being armed with Patriot missiles

long-time friend, and he gave credit to the government

to guard against the risk of attack by missiles armed with

for having begun to implement the recommendations of

chemical warheads. However, Turkey still did not seek to

the independent commission of inquiry into the traumatic

impose a no-fly zone over Syria.

events of 2011 in the country. But it was ‘crucial’, he added,

China’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, Wu Sike, said

‘to move decisively down that path, without violence from

he was concerned by the spillover of the conflict into neigh-

any quarter’. Third, he said that no reform processes in the

bouring Turkey, Israel and Lebanon. He urged support for

Middle East more generally could succeed without a sense

UN diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis, saying a mili-

of economic possibility. Fourth, despite frustrations so far, a

tary solution would only bring greater disasters to Syria

two-state solution to the Israel–Palestine conflict remained a

and the region. He reiterated China’s position that only its

key US priority. While Burns insisted that the Palestinians’

people should determine Syria’s destiny.

successful bid for UN recognition as an observer state was not going to help the situation, he also insisted that

First Plenary Session: The US and the Region

continued Israeli settlement activity ‘continues to corrode’

The overarching theme of the first plenary session

prospects for peace.

concerned the effectiveness and staying power of American

Senator John McCain, who was highly critical of the

engagement in the region. William Burns, US Deputy

Obama administration, followed the Deputy Secretary.

Secretary of State, insisted that ‘for all the logical focus on

‘The message I hear again and again’, McCain said of

pivots’ of US strategic attention to the Asia-Pacific, America

his visits to the region, was that peoples and govern-

could not and would not neglect ‘what is at stake in the

ments wanted greater US engagement and leadership.

Middle East’. He added, however, that ‘America’s chief

‘Unfortunately, there is a visceral sense that they are not

foreign-policy challenge is domestic renewal’ and said that

getting as much support as they desire.’ In particular, he

there is a ‘natural…fatigue’ in the American body politic

argued, America’s failure to intervene earlier and more

after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he laid out what he

effectively in Syria was leading to precisely the increase

said would be four continuing US priorities in the Middle

in extremism, brutal regime violence, and now the threat-

East. The first priority was security, and the main problems

ened use of chemical weapons that so many had feared.

concerned ‘Iran’s refusal to meet its nuclear obligations’;

Overall, said McCain, the ‘perception that the United States

Washington was committed to increasing the pressure

is distracted can be very dangerous’, encouraging hard-

‘until it does’. The second concerned political openness and

line elements. Referring to Obama, McCain concluded by The Manama Dialogue 2012 | 83

(l–r): Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain; and Dr Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar

saying that ‘if the President does the right thing and leads,

journalist and blogger for Foreign Policy, asked how the US

and takes greater action to support friends and values in

administration could continue to call for a political solution

Syria, he will have my support’.

in Syria now that it has officially recognised the opposition

The third speaker, Democratic Congressman Charles

council as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Ruppersberger, insisted that the idea of a strategic pivot

In response to the questions, Burns said that events

towards Asia-Pacific did not mean ‘we are leaving the

were clearly shifting against the Syrian regime and that

Middle East’. He surveyed several aspects of that contin-

the US remained committed to a negotiated transition,

ued commitment: containment of an Iran that was ‘flexing

but warned that the longer the bloodshed continued, the

its muscles’; an Egyptian president who had construc-

greater the danger of extremism and spillover. To the

tively conducted negotiations between Israel and Hamas,

more general questions about US commitment, he said

but then moved to consolidate excessive power in Egypt;

there was no substitute for American leadership and that

and the potential threat of the Syrian regime using chemi-

the Middle East would remain at the centre of US focus.

cal weapons. Against that threat, he said that Russia could

But McCain remained critical: ‘Pivot is a word that should

have a positive diplomatic role.

never have been used.’ It was true, he said, that Asia-

During the questions and comments, several Arab del-

Pacific required greater US involvement, ‘but to somehow

egates supported McCain’s contention that US engagement

assume that we can pivot away from this part of the world

appears to be wavering. Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdulla of the

is the height of foolishness’.

United Arab Emirates suggested that constant US affirmations that it was not leaving the region suggested, in fact,

Second Plenary Session: Priorities for Regional

that the opposite was true. Dr Ebtesam Al Ktebi, also of


the UAE, echoed that theme, questioning the US long-term

Three sets of priorities dominated the discussion in the

strategy in the region and asking why it has been unable

second session. Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the

to alter Iranian behaviour. The Bahraini ambassador to

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, discussed external

France warned of one political transformation to which

security challenges facing the GCC states and Bahrain’s

US leaders appeared blind: as a result of ballots in Tunisia

efforts to overcome domestic challenges. Dr Khalid Bin

and Egypt, hardliners appeared to be taking over the Arab

Mohammad Al Attiyah, Minister of State for Foreign

Awakening, just as a hardline clerical regime had hijacked

Affairs of Qatar, focused on the Syria question.

the Iranian revolution in 1979. François Heisbourg,

Sheikh Khalid described the methodical pace that has

Chairman of the IISS Council, suggested that a transforma-

enabled the GCC to grow resilient in the face of external

tion in the US energy supply would logically diminish the

threats such as those posed by Iran’s nuclear and mis-

importance that the US attaches to the region. Josh Rogin, a

sile programmes and threats to the trade routes and

84 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

sovereignty of GCC states. Notions of security must also

Ambassador-at-Large Yashar Aliyev’s question about the

encompass human security, he said, and address long-term

GCC accepting observer states, Sheikh Khalid said the

needs for food, water and energy that have the potential

current structure would not change. Rejecting the assess-

to provoke a regional crisis. On human security, Bahrain

ment by Dr Seyyed Kazem Sajjadpour, from the School

has recommended that the Arab League establish an Arab

of International Relations in the Iranian Foreign Ministry,

Court of Human Rights.

that the GCC countries had miscalculated in supporting

Domestically, he said his government had initiated

Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, Sheikh Khalid,

a new stage of reform, and that ‘while implementation

said, at the time, there had been daily threats from Iran

may not be complete, we are resolute to see it through’.

about destabilising GCC states.

Answering questions from the floor, he said issues of capacity, such as in the judicial system, needed to be over-

Third Plenary Session: Intervention and Mediation

come, but that Bahrain was ‘committed to implementing

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Saud, Deputy Minister

fully all the recommendations’ of the Bahrain Independent

of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, said that the Kingdom

Commission of Inquiry (BICI), and that reconciliation will

was making strenuous efforts to support regional security

require efforts from all players.

and stability. Referring to the Arab Spring, he said that

Dr Attiyah summarised Qatar’s efforts regarding the for-

violence should cease and that changes in the region should

mation of the Syrian Opposition Coalition and preparations

be organic. Turning to Bahrain, he said that the unity and

for the upcoming Friends of Syria conference in Marrakech.

solidarity of GCC states made them stand together in

He described two sorts of groups in Syria: ‘those who seek

response to recent events. ‘The security and destiny of the

total chaos and those who want controlled chaos.’ To him,

GCC states are one and may not be divided,’ he declared.

the latter meant continued gridlock, but Qatar did not seek

‘Collective security has become a reality’ and no state could

total chaos either. The key, he said, was for countries to

enjoy security and stability on its own. Riyadh supported

‘fly in formation’ toward the objective of democratic Syria,

Manama’s efforts to promote dialogue and undertake

because ‘if we fly solo we won’t get anywhere’.

reforms meeting ‘citizens’ desires’, again without allowing

In the ensuing debate, rather than imposing a no-fly

foreign interference in domestic affairs.

zone in Syria, he said, foreign countries should enable

Turning to Syria, he deplored that this crisis had seen

opposition groups to impose a no-fly zone themselves.

many regional and international initiatives and meetings,

When François Heisbourg, Chairman of the IISS Council,

all so far unsuccessful due to a lack of international will.

suggested that this could risk anti-aircraft missiles ending

Riyadh looked forward to the international community

up being used by terrorist groups against civilian aircraft,

‘providing the means to resolve [the situation] through

Dr Attiyah insisted that the supply of such weapons could

utilising all necessary measures, whether political, secu-

be properly supervised, but that such transfers would have

rity or humanitarian in support of the Syrian people and

to be authorised by the UN. He parried the suggestion by

their aspirations’.

Professor Volker Perthes, Director of the German Institute

Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the

for International and Security Affairs, that Qatar was sup-

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, out-

porting only the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. He firmly

lined the lessons from Yemen’s crisis and from the GCC’s

opposed bracketing any rebel group as ‘terrorists’, saying

role in accompanying its transition. Aware of the seri-

that this would create a ‘sleeping monster’ and forego the

ousness of Yemen’s slide, the GCC adopted an inclusive

means of changing their philosophy. With regard to chang-

approach, engaging all parties to the dispute. This inter-

ing Russia’s policy toward Syria, he said it was too early to

vention was based on the principle that there should be

declare diplomatic failure, but he suggested that action be

a smooth transfer of power and no subsequent reprisals.

considered through the UN General Assembly to break the

This Gulf Initiative helped Yemen avoid civil war thanks

impasse in the UN Security Council.

to a sequencing of steps. The first phase ended with the

Sheikh Khalid said the GCC would not be declared a

formation of a national government and military/security

union until a special summit for this purpose to be held

committee. A second one is expected to result within two

at an unspecified date in Riyadh; parties were still work-

years in a new parliament. The Gulf Initiative, he said, is a

ing out the means of integration. Answering Azerbaijan

successful model of mediation. The Manama Dialogue 2012 | 85

(l–r): Prince Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Saud, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia; and Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

In contrast to Prince Abdulaziz’s reference to a lack

answered that the national dialogue in Yemen would deal

of international will over Syria, Al Zayani said that GCC

with all remaining political issues. Amy Kellogg, Senior

leaders played an important role in Yemen by assiduous

Foreign Affairs Correspondent at Fox News, asked whether

attention to the process. They had clear and specific objec-

Saudi Arabia was concerned by the apparent stalling of the

tives, and were conscious of the need to be independent.

P5+1 negotiations on Iran, and Riyadh’s position on this.

Lessons included the need for persistent mediation, and

Prince Abdulaziz stated that there should be a time frame

the importance of trust in the mediator.

on the P5+1 talks; these had been going for some time,

Dr Jon Alterman, Director of the Middle East Program

with no results yet. Dr Abdullah El Kuwaiz, Chairman of

at CSIS, asked Prince Abdulaziz his opinion on the ques-

the Fund Manager of ICD Food and Agribusiness Fund,

tion of arming Syrian opposition groups. Prince Abdulaziz

asked what further efforts must be made to ensure stability

said that the outflow of weapons from Libya was a major

in Bahrain. Prince Abdulaziz said that Bahrain was on the

concern; Riyadh didn’t want this replicated in Syria.

right path and urged all parties to cooperate with the gov-

Alterman also asked Al Zayani what the GCC had learned

ernment. The King and Crown Prince were, he said, ‘open

from the struggle to uproot al-Qaeda elements in Yemen.

to an open and constructive dialogue’.

Dr Abdulaziz Sager, Chairman of the Gulf Research Center, said, in a question to Al Zayani, that there was no

Fourth Plenary Session: The Influence of Sectarian

collective GCC–US agreement. Rather, security agreements

Politics in Regional Security

were bilateral between regional states and the US. Would it

Dr Chipman began the session by noting that when politics

be worth looking instead at a collective NATO–GCC agree-

become sectarian, they risked becoming dysfunctional.

ment? In response, Al Zayani said that the main lesson from

Moreover, because of the communications revolution,

Yemen was rapid action: every time the international com-

domestic issues in one state could cross into another state.

munity was late in reaching agreements, it inadvertently

William Hague, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and

gave groups like al-Qaeda more space. It was essential to

Commonwealth Affairs, began on an optimistic note: there

expedite agreements as happened in Yemen. Responding

was nothing inevitable about sectarian strife, because dif-

to Dr Sager, he noted the bilateral nature of regional states’

ferent peoples could peacefully coexist and so too could

agreements with the US. In relation to NATO, he high-

diverse states. The example of Europe over the past 200

lighted the participation of some states in the Istanbul

years should offer encouragement. He proceeded to make

Cooperation Initiative. Here again, relations were bilateral.

four observations. Firstly, that sectarianism was not a

Khalid Al Haribi, Director of Tawasul, asked whether

driver of the Arab Spring – rather it was the desire for dig-

reports of the resurgence of old guard elements in Yemen

nity, opportunity and freedom that mobilised people from

undermined the success of the Gulf Initiative. Al Zayani

different walks of life. Meeting these aspirations would be

86 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): William Hague, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; and Nasser Judeh, Foreign Minister of Jordan

difficult for societies in transition but it was incumbent on

and so irrevocably damage the social fabric of the coun-

all parties to be peaceful and inclusive, and foreign states

try. It was also important to tackle the Palestinian issue,

should respect the popular will. Secondly, sectarian poli-

which he described as the root cause of regional instability.

tics should not be regarded as the defining security issue

Judeh went on to speak about progress in Jordan, which

in a region where national interests, nuclear proliferation

he described as a Middle Eastern ‘melting pot’ society

and the Palestinian issue also loomed large. It was vital,

featuring a parliamentary system within a constitutional

he went on, that in the next year, negotiated progress was

monarchy. He later added that Jordan’s rotation of gov-

made on Syria, the Iranian nuclear issue and a two-state

ernments was a function of its constitution, but that legal

solution for Israel and Palestine – otherwise, 2013 could

changes and institutional innovations promised to herald a

prove to be a very dark year. Thirdly, all states shared an

new era of more stable governments.

interest in dampening sectarian tensions. Syria was the

From the floor, Dr Barham Saleh, former Prime Minister

most pressing case, as every passing week inflicted further

of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, disagreed with

sectarian wounds on the Syrian body politic. Fourthly,

Judeh regarding the recent triggers of a rise in sectarian

the only way to defuse sectarian tension was by peaceful

identity. He argued that sectarianism has been a feature of

means. This implied a transition towards open societies,

the region for centuries and that it has been strongly felt in

with inclusive systems and equal rights, to ensure the

Iraq for decades prior to the 2003 invasion. He described the

legitimacy of states and governments. The particular path

role of religion in political life as the elephant in the room.

should be a national choice in all cases, rather than one

Faisal Abbas, editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya, asked whether

prescribed from outside.

it was possible to develop western models of democracy

Nasser Judeh, Foreign Minister of Jordan, observed that

that featured debate, compromise and the rotation of power

the region was undergoing fundamental change – by evo-

in political systems that featured actors, such as the Party

lution in some states, and revolution in others. He noted

of God, which asserted that religious imperatives trumped

different interpretations of when sectarianism ignited as

national interests. Hague responded that the experience of

a political issue – the 2003 intervention in Iraq, the 1980s

Europe showed that, over time, the influence of religion on

Iran–Iraq war or the 1970s civil war in Lebanon. While that

politics would decline. Staffan de Mistura, Deputy Foreign

was contested, what was evident was that sectarian and

Minister of Italy, asked whether al-Qaeda and other radical

ethnic factors became more prominent in states undergo-

groups were looking to infiltrate the groups who came to

ing war or revolution, where security institutions have

power via the Arab Spring. Judeh responded that unsta-

collapsed and national identity has been weakened. This

ble situations provided fertile ground for militants, which

was the principal fear across the region about Syria: that the

underlined the importance of establishing stability in coun-

civil war, now of a political nature, could become sectarian

tries that have undergone revolutionary change. The Manama Dialogue 2012 | 87

(l–r): Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia; and Dr Barham Saleh, former Prime Minister, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq

Fifth Plenary Session: Middle East Security in a

twentieth century’. He asserted that the Arab states today

Global Context

were actors and not simply ‘pawns’ caught in a ‘game of

In his opening statement, Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister

strategic power-play’. In spite of the undeniable chal-

of Australia, attempted to address the set of challenges

lenges pertaining to economic development, employment

facing the Middle East. He questioned the significance of the

and education, the region was no longer ‘contained’ in an

region within the wider global context, in terms of foreign-

‘unshakeable control of authoritarian governments’.

policy and security-policy priorities. He emphasised the

He then questioned the significance placed on reli-

importance of understanding ‘the interests and the values

gion and its role in Middle Eastern society in relation to

of the others, and the priority that they attach to them,’

legitimacy and governance. He contended that the import

in order to ‘minimise conflict and manage competition’.

of secularism to the Middle East has ‘failed’. The ‘internal

Rudd explained that given recent global developments

dynamic’ of the relationship between religion, power and

and challenges, the Middle East ‘looms as a significant, but

politics would undoubtedly have a significant impact on

by no means the major, set of priorities that confront the

inter-state relations. He then explored the lessons learnt

US administration right now’. Despite the shifts in power

from the Iraqi experience and developments since the

balances amidst the rise of China, Rudd highlighted the

demise of Saddam Hussein. In the face of sectarianism, he

‘pivot’ of American leadership in the region in relation to the

placed great importance on the constitution, which must

Arab-Israeli conflict, the Syrian crisis and Iranian threats.

‘reflect a genuine pact’ amongst citizens. He concluded

With regards to Palestinian statehood, Rudd asserted

with a reality-check of the significance of the American

that ‘it is paramount that US leadership comes to the fore

commitments to the region. He asserted that no matter

in bringing this peace process to a conclusion consistent

how powerful those commitments were, they would be

with the principles of the Arab peace plan of 2002’. On

superfluous in tackling regional failures in governance.

Syria, Rudd warned of a ‘strategic vacuum’ that could

Questions from the audience addressed a wide range of

emerge in post-Assad Syria in the absence of a clear man-

issues from the role of religion and the question of identity

date and operational plan. He reaffirmed the ‘continuing

to the external role played by global powers in the region.

significance of the region on the global map’, in spite of the

Dr Sanjaya Baru, Director for Geo-economics and Strategy

‘multiple conflicting and overriding priorities’.

at IISS–Middle East, highlighted successful examples of

Dr Barham Saleh stressed the enduring relevance of

creating democratic processes in non-Arab countries with a

the region to global security, even with ‘the prospects of

significant number of Muslims, such as Indonesia and India.

lessening dependency on Middle Eastern oil’. By looking

Nabil Fahmy, Dean of the School of Public Affairs at the

at the historical regional context today, Salih concluded

American University in Cairo, proposed that the dysfunc-

that the recent developments in the region have ‘unleashed

tional dynamic between religion and politics in the Middle

forces of history that have been dormant for much of the

East was a symptom of the Arab world’s ‘search for identity’.

88 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Geoffrey

diplomacy as well and asked whether other alternatives

Tantum, Director of Gulf Consultancy Services, criticised

should be explored. In response to these questions, Rudd

American diplomacy as well as Israel’s settlement build-

stressed the role of diplomacy in dealing with Israel and

ing. Dr Dana Allin, IISS Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy

pointed out the recent Australian abstention in the UN General

and Transatlantic Affairs, questioned the effectiveness of

Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood as an example.

Plenary Session

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION I: Counter-terrorism The challenges of counter-terrorism (CT)

more broadly as a global, rather than purely

communication, and now giving due con-

were addressed from a multitude of angles

local or regional, phenomenon.

sideration to the creation of a National Counter Terrorism Centre.

in the first breakout session. The issue has

Participants noted that the Arab Spring

been at the forefront of policymakers’ minds

has, in certain countries, and particularly in

While domestic responses could now

for at least the past decade. It defined the for-

Yemen, allowed these groups to find fertile

benefit from widely accepted international

eign and security policies of the presidency

ground to pursue their destructive agendas.

best practices on the technical aspects of CT,

of George W. Bush and has transformed

The crisis in Yemen has created instability

international and particularly international-

global approaches to security.

to the point where al-Qaeda in the Arabian

legal mechanisms remained the subject of

With the death of Osama bin Laden in

Peninsula has been able to take control of

dispute. On one hand, international organ-

Abbottabad in May 2011, however, some

some parts of the country and declare sharia

isations (IOs) that were founded to con-

of the key principles and assumptions of

law. Over 8,000 Yemen army and security

front different challenges, such as NATO,

counter-terrorism were being reexamined.

forces have died confronting al-Qaeda in the

were now innovating to take on the terror-

Al-Qaeda as a unified global network had

Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Yemen needed

ist threat and CT partnerships – bilateral, as

faded in importance even before the US Spe-

the international community’s assistance to

well as between states and IOs and among

cial Forces’ raid on bin Laden’s hide-out. But

counter the threat.

IOs – were flourishing. On the other hand,

a loosely linked, fragmented, and leaderless

There was consensus among partici-

legal mechanisms have not kept pace with

web of groups have emerged and/or been re-

pants that terrorism required a comprehen-

developments on the ground. Disparities

inforced throughout the world, particularly

sive approach, both within countries and

in legal approaches to dealing with terror-

in South and Central Asia, the Sahel, and the

globally. In the aftermath of the Mumbai at-

ists – particularly human-rights concerns

Gulf region. Participants grappled with the

tacks, for example, the Indian government

and divergences on the need for an interna-

implications of this shift, and what it meant

overhauled its counter-terrorism toolkit by

tional treaty framework for CT – have often

for international cooperation on counter-ter-

establishing more robust counter-terrorism

become a barrier to full intelligence-sharing

rorism and our understanding of terrorism

response troop units, boosting inter-agency

and cooperation.

(l–r): Nigel Inkster, Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk, IISS; Maj.-Gen. Ali Al Ahmadi, President of the National Security Bureau, Yemen; Latha Reddy, Deputy National Security Adviser, India; and Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary-General, NATO

The Manama Dialogue 2012 | 89

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION II: Strategic Reassurance and Deterrence The fundamental and often testing concerns

will,’ said one participant. It was a worry

recurrent theme, with the implications of

of strategic reassurance and deterrence in

Washington was aware of, and US partici-

preemptive and immediate retaliatory re-

the Middle East were explored in this wide-

pants in the discussion stressed the coun-

sponses by the US and its allies prompt-

ranging and challenging special session.

try’s continuing commitment to ensuring

ing comment. While a pre-emptive strike

regional security and stability.

would be ‘legally difficult’, politicians

Security issues remained of paramount importance as the region and partner na-

The provision of reassurance and deter-

would be faced with a ‘moral policy deci-

tions continued to absorb the ramifications

rence was made all the more challenging

sion as to which is the lesser evil,’ noted

of the Arab Spring, struggle with the im-

by the geopolitical flux that continued to af-

one participant.

mediate challenge of Syria, manage Iran’s

fect the region – a point alluded to by sev-

Beyond the pressing issue of Syrian

nuclear challenge, and face the impasse on

eral contributors, as was the more fungible

chemical weapons use, concerns remained

the Israeli-Palestinian front.

way in which countries were identified as

deep over Iran’s nuclear programme and

‘friends’ and ‘enemies’.

the profound worries of other states in the

The strategic environment was further complicated by discomfort within states in

Deterrence for the region presently was

region that this was intended to provide

the region that looked to the US as a guar-

all too practical a notion rather than theo-

Tehran with a nuclear weapons capability.

antor of security as Washington’s focus

retical, as illustrated by the threat posed

There was also a plea, however, to attempt to

moved to the Asia-Pacific region, and as its

by the cornered Syrian regime’s chemi-

understand strategic perceptions from Iran’s

energy reliance on the region waned then

cal weapons arsenal. The potential conse-

perspective. Washington’s problem with

so would its commitment. ‘There is a clear

quences of a failure of deterrence with Syr-

Iran, said one US contributor, was with the

concern… Part of deterrence is political

ia, and options for a response, were also a

regime, not with its people.

(l–r): Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-proliferation and Disarmament, IISS; Admiral Édouard Guillaud, Chief of the Defence Staff, France; General James Mattis, Commander, US Central Command; and Muammer Türker, Secretary-General, National Security Council, Turkey

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION III: Syria and regional security when the Assad regime fell.

Discussions in this group focused on when

nition, the violence in Syria may reach a point

and how the regime in Damascus might fall;

of no return and political chaos would ensue.

However, a number of opposition weak-

the strengths and weaknesses of the military

The appointment of al-Khatib as its leader

nesses were noted. Firstly, their senior

and political opposition fighting to remove

was seen as a positive step forward as he was

military leadership had little training. Their

it; divisions within the international com-

a moderate centrist politician with strong

campaign to take Aleppo lacked a political-

munity about Syria; and finally, what a post-

credentials. Another source of the National

military strategy, which led to mistakes and

regime Syria may look like.

Council’s legitimacy was the fact that some

civilian dissatisfaction.

The majority of the debate focused on the

of its leaders had only been out of Syria for

Discussion then turned to the destabilis-

strengths and weaknesses of the new opposi-

a matter of months. It was also seen as repre-

ing effect the Syrian conflict was having on

tion alliance, the National Coalition for Syr-

senting Syria’s religious diversity.

Lebanon where 140,000 Syrians had sought

ian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, led

It was expected that the upcoming

refuge. So far, Lebanon had proved remark-

by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. It was recognised

Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakech

ably resilient in its handling of the Syrian cri-

that divisions within the National Council

would see the formation of a government in

sis, with the majority of political groupings

and between it and groups fighting within

exile. The next step would be for it to be rec-

adopting a policy of ‘disassociation’ from the

Syria still existed. However, those who cel-

ognised as the sole legitimate representative

conflict. However, the arrival in Lebanon of

ebrated the formation of the National Co-

of the Syrian people, especially by the US. It

much larger numbers of refugees, driven out

alition argued it was the only way forward

could then rapidly gain capacity to take over

by an increase in fighting around Damascus,

at this late stage in the conflict. If it was not

the running of governance in liberated areas

could result in much greater tensions. To

backed with resources and diplomatic recog-

and avoid the complete collapse of the state

date, the assassination on 19 October of Gen-

90 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

eral Wissam al-Hassan, the head of police

in the conflict. Russia called for a peaceful

in power, with several voices arguing that

intelligence, had given rise to a new peak in

resolution of the crisis – a political transition

2013 would see its removal. It became evi-

political tension.

through dialogue with Syrians themselves

dent that substantial work had already been

It was clear from the meeting that the

working towards a negotiated settlement.

undertaken to create an international trust

UN Security Council remained deeply di-

Only this political solution, it was argued,

fund to pay for post-conflict reconstruction.

vided on the issue of Syria. There was some

could avoid more deaths on the ground.

Once regime change had taken place, it was

suggestion that China’s policy had recently

Finally, the discussion turned to Syria’s

thought that there would be a major role for

begun to change but Russia remained reso-

post-Assad shape. There was disagreement

the United Nations, which should start de-

lute in its opposition to external interference

about how long the current regime had left

tailed planning for this now.

(l–r): Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Middle East Security, IISS; Maj.-Gen. Faris Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, UAE; Sir Derek Plumbly, Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator for Lebanon, United Nations; Eric Chevallier, Ambassador of France to Syria; and Sergei Vershinin, Special Representative on the Middle East Settlement, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION IV: Security in the Strait of Hormuz nian economies would be equally severe.

The importance of the Strait of Hormuz was

Nonetheless, the strait was one of six

widely appreciated in the fourth breakout

strategic chokepoints and there were vari-

Beyond the strait, counter-piracy opera-

session. More than 35% of all seaborne oil

ous ways in which it could be affected by

tions were another area of naval cooperation.

and 20% of all oil traded globally transits

a belligerent country: through greater in-

In late 2011, there were more than 700 hos-

through the strait. It was therefore of strategic

spections of vessels; harassment of civilian

tages and 70 ships held off the coast of Soma-

importance for countries beyond the region,

vessels; covert attacks, replicating the M

lia; by late 2012, these figures had dropped

as demonstrated by the 33 nations that par-

Star terrorist attack of 2010; or mine-laying.

to 137 hostages and five vessels. This was

ticipated in the multinational mine counter-

Mine-laying may not be restricted to the

owing to a variety of reasons: multilateral

measures exercises held in September and

strait; during the Tanker War of the 1980s,

naval operations, Best Management Prac-

the 27 different nations that currently operate

more than 1,000 mines were laid in the Gulf,

tices employed aboard ships, and indepen-

under the Combined Maritime Forces.

but none were in the strait itself.

dent naval escorts (India, for example, has

It was not just oil that made the Gulf stra-

Yet, it was unclear that Iran would under-

escorted more than 2,200 vessels, of which

tegically important: the US presence began

take such actions, as it relied as heavily on the

only 280 were Indian-flagged). Although

in earnest in 1948, when the US was an oil

strait for economic stability as any other coun-

there was disagreement over the morality

exporter and largely energy self-sufficient.

try. Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hor-

of using private-security companies, it was

Therefore, a return to self-sufficiency in com-

muz, as occurred in early 2012, were therefore

also true that they have been very effective,

ing decades alone may not lead to a US with-

a similar strategy to nuclear deterrence: the

with no vessel embarking private-security

drawal from the region.

damage wrought to both the global and Ira-

companies having been pirated.

(l–r): Michael Elleman, Senior Fellow for Gulf Security Cooperation, IISS; Vice Admiral John Miller, Commander, US Naval Forces, Central Command; Vice Admiral Marin Gillier, Joint Commander, French Forces in the Indian Ocean and the UAE; and Vice Admiral Pradeep Chatterjee, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy

The Manama Dialogue 2012 | 91

92 | The 8th IISS Regional Security Summit

See videos and transcripts online



The Manama Dialogue 2013

William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK

A fast-changing regional environment in the Middle East

newly elected President Hassan Rouhani desired better

was the focus of the 9th Manama Dialogue, successfully

regional and international relations, best reflected in the

held in Bahrain on 6–8 December 2013. The Regional

interim nuclear deal reached in November 2013, was bal-

Security Summit once again brought together senior

anced by structural and political suspicions. Even as the

government, diplomatic and military officials as well as

prospect of a war over Iran’s nuclear programme receded,

parliamentarians, senior analysts and journalists from the

there was scepticism that Iran’s regional behaviour

Middle East, North America, Europe and Asia to discuss

(especially in Syria) and commitment to Islamist ideol-

the regional and domestic threats and opportunities

ogy would change. There was also pervasive doubt over

affecting Middle Eastern stability.

whether Rouhani actually had the influence to deliver on

This year’s regional landscape proved particularly chal-

his promises. The Gulf states wondered how to respond

lenging, defined primarily by the escalating civil war in

to Iranian outreach and to American interest in a rap-

Syria, the troubled transition in Egypt, the interim nuclear

prochement with Iran. Several Gulf ministers present

deal between Iran and the great powers, uncertain attempts

at the Manama Dialogue, who had recently met senior

at integrating Gulf foreign and defence policies and ques-

Iranian officials, pledged to take a constructive approach

tions about the intentions and role of the United States in

to solving bilateral disputes.

regional security. Together with the bumpy transitions in

The magnitude and complexity of the Syrian crisis also

North Africa and Yemen, these crises suggested a possible

dominated the discussion. The military advances of the

regional re-ordering whose nature and shape remained,

Assad regime, the fragmentation of the opposition, the

however, very much unclear.

rise of jihadi groups and the absence of any appetite for

In particular, the possibility and contours of a detente

foreign intervention considerably changed the equation

with Iran received much scrutiny. The recognition that

from where it stood in late 2012. The regional competition

94 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

Opening Televised Panel (l–r): Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iraq; Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, former Deputy Prime Minister; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait; Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman, Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, US Senate; Prince Turki Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Board, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Saudi Arabia; Fadila Souissi, Presenter, Sky News Arabia

over Syria remained intense, with the direct involvement

fiscal priorities did not undermine its posture in the Gulf.

of Iranian forces and Shia militias from Lebanon and Iraq

The US pledged to support the defence capabilities of its

balanced by Gulf financial and material support for the

Arab allies, and in particular offer greater cooperation on

opposition. Although the Geneva II conference was sched-

air and missile defence.

uled for early 2014, the feeling was that the prospects for a

Divisions between the Gulf states on crucial matters

quick political settlement remained dim. In the meantime,

complicated regional politics. Qatar, still supportive of the

the humanitarian catastrophe and the related burden on

ousted Muslim Brotherhood, remained at odds over Egypt

Syria’s neighbours demanded urgent action, yet the inter-

with most other Gulf states, who extended support for the

national response continued to pale.

military and the civilian government. While all Gulf states

The role of the US generated interrogations and scepti-

agreed on the objective of removing Bashar al-Assad from

cism which senior US officials sought to address. Tensions

power, each country adopted a different strategy and culti-

between the US and several Gulf states over Egypt,

vated different interlocutors in the Syrian opposition.

Syria and Iran were evident. The US backtracking on its

To cope with regional threats, Saudi Arabia promoted

announcement that it would punish Assad militarily for his

greater Gulf unity, especially in the security and foreign-

use of chemical weapons came under intense criticism, but

policy realms, supported in this regard by Bahrain. Other

was countered by US insistence that the removal of chemi-

states, notably Oman and Qatar, viewed such a move with

cal weapons from the Syrian battlefield was a net security

deep scepticism, primarily out of concern for how it would

gain. The US was also criticised for how it conducted its

affect sovereignty.

diplomacy with Iran and for not involving its Gulf allies, to which US officials responded that future diplomacy look-

Opening Televised Panel

ing at regional arrangements would associate them more

The Manama Dialogue was preceded by an opening

closely. Underlying all this was a concern that the US was

televised panel hosted by Sky News Arabia entitled ‘The

decreasing its regional involvement to the benefit of Iran.

Future of the Middle East: Conflict and Change’. Moderated

Whether Washington desired such an outcome was hotly

by Fadila Souissi, the panel included Hoshyar Zebari,

debated among Arab participants.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Prince Turki Al Faisal, Chairman

To counter such suspicions, senior US officials were

of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic

keen to reiterate Washington’s commitment to Gulf secu-

Studies, Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the US Senate

rity: they stressed the strength of the various military

Subcommittee on Near Eastern, Central and South Asian

relationships and the presence of 35,000 US troops in the

Affairs and Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Sabah Al Salem Al

region, and insisted that the United States’ other global and

Sabah, Kuwait’s former Deputy Prime Minister and former The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 95

Opening Dinner

Minister of Foreign Affairs. The discussion focused on the

Iraq could play a mediating role between Iran and the

implications of the interim nuclear agreement between the

GCC, Zebari emphasised that the Gulf states already have

P5+1 and Iran, and the future of Syria.

strong lines of communication between them and Iran, and

Al Faisal welcomed the recently signed interim deal, but emphasised that any resolution to rid the region of

that Iraq is always open to playing a bridging role between the GCC states and Tehran.

the nuclear threat should be both permanent and include other states in the area in possession of these weapons. For

Opening Dinner and Keynote Address

his part, Kaine described the agreement as an important

Held under the patronage and in the presence of the Crown

confidence-building step between all the involved actors

Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain, Prince

ahead of a final settlement. While remaining cautious,

Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the opening dinner featured

Kaine explained that the deal was a net security gain for

a keynote address by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.

the region as it provides early warning should Iran move

Hague called for making 2014 a year of bringing

towards developing nuclear weapons.

a two-state solution to the Middle East peace process

Discussing the Syrian conflict, Zebari described how it

within reach, turning the corner on the Syria conflict,

undermined Iraq’s security and stability. He stressed Iraq’s

and negotiating a comprehensive settlement with Iran

support for a peaceful resolution of the war and argued that

on its nuclear programme. On the peace process, Hague

no military options are currently available. With regards

said the EU and Arab nations must be ready to play their

to the upcoming Geneva II conference, Al Faisal stated

part in providing incentives needed to reach a settlement.

that neither the Syrian regime nor, to an extent, Russia

If negotiations falter as Israeli settlements continue to

should be involved in this process. Al Sabah reminded the

expand and Palestinian divisions remain, then the possi-

audience that the US has intervened in Bosnia and more

bility of a two-state solution could be gone forever. On

recently Libya for humanitarian reasons and therefore,

Syria, the agreements to eradicate chemical weapons and

he questioned the United States’ rationale for staying out

to set a date for the Geneva II conference have opened

of Syria, especially as the country is becoming a breeding

up a sliver of light to the extraordinarily difficult task of

ground for radical jihadi groups.

ending the conflict. Otherwise a humanitarian crisis of

Following the panel discussion, Baria Alamuddin,

potentially unmanageable proportions beckons, which

Foreign Editor at Al-Hayat newspaper, asked Al Faisal

could see a fifth of the country gain refugee status. Noting

whether the Gulf states lack media and strategic commu-

that the UK has donated £500 million in humanitarian aid,

nication instruments to respond to Iranian propaganda. Al

he called on other countries to play their full part in the

Faisal saw no need to create additional Arab media outlets,

donor conference in Kuwait in January.

saying existing ones provided adequate responses to Iran’s

On the Iranian nuclear issue, Hague said the UK recog-

inflammatory channels. Asked by Alamuddin whether

nised and welcomed the Iranian government’s change in

96 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK; and Dr John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS

tone and substance. Noting the sincerity of Iranian Foreign

Alamuddin, Foreign Editor of Al-Hayat newspaper, asked

Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in reaching a diplomatic

how Hague proposed to effect the ‘change of soul and

agreement, he said the power of diplomacy must now be

mind’ that would be required to bring Iran around on the

tested to the full. It is vital that the interim nuclear deal’s

other issues in the area. Hague replied that changing Iran’s

monitoring and implementation be strictly upheld on all

soul was not an objective at the outset, but that outsiders

sides and that remaining sanctions are enforced so that

can argue with the Iranian mind. Just as Iranian negotiators

Iran has every incentive to reach a comprehensive agree-

themselves contend that it would not be in Iran’s interest to

ment. Hague assured delegates that the interim agreement

develop nuclear weapons, so should it be possible to argue

with Iran does not imply any diminution in the UK’s com-

that it is in Iran’s interests to pursue different policies on

mitment to alliances in the region, to the security of sea

other subjects of concern.

lanes or to the struggle against terrorism. ‘Engagement on

Picking up on the Syria issue, Jamal Khashoggi, General

the nuclear question should not mean a free pass for Iran

Manager and Editor-in-Chief of Al Arab News Channel,

on other issues in the region,’ he said.

asked if the UK parliamentary vote against intervention

Iran was the focus of most of the questions put to Hague.

set a precedent that would prohibit British engagement

In response to IISS Director-General and Chief Executive

if an emergency erupted elsewhere in the Middle East.

Dr John Chipman, Hague said, in the short term, much

Hague said it would be a mistake to derive wider conclu-

could go wrong with the implementation of the huge num-

sions about British foreign policy from one debate and one

ber of detailed steps that need to be taken. For the medium

argument. The UK would continue to be an active player

term, a comprehensive and final agreement would have

in the world and ready to stand by allies. The need to con-

to cover all aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme, includ-

sult Parliament does not constrain Britain’s ability to act in

ing enrichment activities defined for practical and peaceful

an emergency or in defence of allies or to fulfil treaty obli-

purposes. He emphasised that the Geneva agreement is ‘a

gations as soon as possible. In the 2011 intervention with

transaction on the nuclear deal, not a relationship at this

France to save Benghazi, the parliamentary vote was taken

stage’. Whether, in the long term, it can turn into a relation-

afterwards, for example.

ship, depends on changes in policy by Iran on a range of issues that deeply trouble the UK and other countries.

Finally, in response to Yousef Mashal, Chairman of the Mashal Group, who asked if military action might follow

Answering a question by Odeh Aburdene, Senior

next summer if the three goals spelt out for 2014 are not

Adviser at Capital Trust Group, as to whether Saudi

achieved, Hague quipped that he was not about to declare

Arabia and the GCC could be included in negotiations,

war just before dinner. While acknowledging the difficul-

Hague said efforts had been made to ensure that Gulf part-

ties, we must have a positive attitude, he said, noting that

ners were kept well informed and consulted, but that it is

‘sometimes it is amazing what diplomacy and pressure

important to find new mechanisms of consultation. Baria

together can do.’ The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 97

Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense, US

First Plenary Session: Global Security Priorities for

surveillance and reconnaissance assets to provide a continu-

the US

ous picture of activities in and around the Gulf’ and ‘our

Responding to the main concern of the audience, US Defense

most advanced fighter aircraft, including F-22s’. He claimed

Secretary Chuck Hagel opened with an insistent statement

that, ‘no target is beyond our reach.’

of reassurance to the United States’ Gulf Arab partners that

Hagel acknowledged that the US Department of

any rapprochement with Iran would not come at the expense

Defense will face a serious budget problem, but Gulf

of their security. He was ‘under no illusion’ about Iran, and

commitments would have priority, the US would still

acknowledged the ‘daily threats facing this region’ and

‘represent nearly 40%’ of global defence spending, and its

the ‘anxieties’ linked to diplomacy with Iran. In describing

military would ‘remain the most powerful in the world’.

the interim deal reached with Iran, Hagel maintained that

The United States, he intoned, is ‘not retreating from any

‘we have bought time for meaningful negotiation, not for

part of the world’.

deception.’ Moreover, even if further nuclear negotiations

He also emphasised efforts to build up the capabilities of

produce success, ‘I know that Iran’s nuclear programme is

Arab states in the Gulf and elsewhere. Since 2007, he noted,

only one dimension of the threats Iran poses in the region.

the Department of Defense has approved over US$75 billion

I’m briefed virtually every day about these threats.’

in arms sales to GCC states, ‘worth nearly as much as those

He added, however, that ‘no strategy is risk-free’ and

made totally in the previous 15 years’. This included a recent

that diplomacy requires ‘courage’ and ‘vision’. Diplomatic

US$11bn package that included F-15s, F-16s and advanced

success would depend on ‘America’s military power’ as

munitions constituting ‘the most advanced capabilities that

well as the credibility of ‘assurances to our allies and part-

we have ever provided to this region’.

ners in the Middle East that we will use it’. He expressed an

To strengthen GCC cooperation, the Defense Secretary

‘absolute’ commitment to core American interests, includ-

announced three new initiatives. Firstly, he proposed add-

ing ‘defending against external aggression; ensuring the

ing missile defence cooperation to the regular air and air

free flow of energy and commerce; dismantling terrorist

defence chiefs’ conference between the US and GCC coun-

networks that threaten America or its allies; and stopping

tries. Secondly, he suggested coordinating US defence sales

the spread of weapons of mass destruction’.

through the organisation of the GCC. Thirdly, he invited

In arguing for US ability to defend those interests, Hagel

GCC states to ‘participate in an annual US–GCC Defence

catalogued the United States’ formidable assets in the Gulf.

Ministerial’ meeting for the purposes of ‘coordinating our

These included ‘a ground, air and naval presence of more

defence policies and enhancing our military cooperation’.

than 35,000 military personnel’, some ‘10,000 forward-

The first such meeting, he suggested, should take place

deployed soldiers in the region, along with heavy armour,

within the next six months.

artillery, and attack helicopters’, an ‘array of missile defence

To conclude, Hagel reminded his audience that he was

capabilities’, the United States’ ‘most advanced intelligence,

speaking on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl

98 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

Harbour, which brought the US not only into the Second

increase in threats provided an impetus towards reform of

World War, but also ‘ushered in a new era of American

the GCC based on a new consensus and common vision, so

leadership and responsibility in world affairs’. He quoted

that mutual security could be better guaranteed. Instead of

Franklin D. Roosevelt who insisted, after three years of

blaming external powers, Gulf countries needed to face the

global war, that it would be ‘our own tragic loss if we

reality that the region itself was a source of threats. While

were to shirk ... responsibility’. ‘Today,’ Hagel promised,

Saudi Arabia had always been open to resolving disputes

‘as America emerges from a long period of war, it will not

with Iran, and was hopeful that this could be done, any

shirk its responsibilities.’

agreement must be based on mutual respect and on non-

In the ensuing Q&A, François Heisbourg, Chairman of

interference in each other’s internal affairs.

the IISS Council, wondered about the long-term US pres-

Dr Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General

ence in the Gulf, given the rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific,

of the GCC, reminded the audience of the successes that

as well as the possibility that negotiations with Iran might

the GCC had achieved, especially in conflict resolution. For

resolve some of the most acute security challenges. In

example, it helped Yemen to avoid a civil war and create

response, Hagel reiterated that the US would not retreat,

a peaceful transfer of power. It adopted a principled posi-

but also that it would not try to ‘dictate to the world’ – and

tion towards the Assad regime as the conflict developed

that capacity building of partners was a way to square

in Syria, and donor conferences for humanitarian aid had

that circle. Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive

been organised in Kuwait. Gulf countries had helped each

Chairman, Beirut Institute; columnist for Al-Hayat, asked

other, for example in liberating Kuwait after the Iraqi inva-

what kind of security arrangement might emerge between

sion, in the United Arab Emirates’ island dispute with Iran,

the United States and Iran, and alleged that the US turned

and in the activation of common defence arrangements to

‘a blind eye to Iran’s military role in Syria’. Seyed Hossein

assist Bahrain in 2011. Such cooperation had allowed GCC

Mousavian, a former Iranian official and now Visiting

members to ‘cross to the shore of safety and prosperity’.

Research Scholar at Princeton University, asked how the

Nabil Fahmy, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Secretary justified unrelenting pressure against Iran while

reflected on the nature of the threats and conflicts that

ignoring Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Hagel responded, with-

the region was dealing with. In the past, these had been

out specifically mentioning Israel, that it is Iran that has

largely ‘strategic’ and involved outside powers – for exam-

‘been in violation of many United Nations resolutions’.

ple, the Cold War. More recently, conflicts had increasingly become ‘sub-regional’ and some took a sectarian flavour

Second Plenary Session: Evolving Regional Security

in which non-state actors participated. While this was

Architecture, Conflicts and Outside Powers

occurring, regional countries had been reconsidering the

The second plenary session saw a lively discussion on the

role of outside powers who had a presence in the region.

future role and nature of the Gulf Cooperation Council

They did not want to admit that these powers were part of

(GCC) as the region faced up to dealing with multiple

their security system, but they also did not want them to

threats. An activist plan for reform was set out by Dr

leave. Now, they needed to confront new realities: change

Nizar Bin Obaid Madani, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State

would happen and outside powers’ desire to play a role in

for Foreign Affairs. He called for a union between GCC

the region would diminish. Regional countries would need

members, urging them to ‘loosen their grip on traditional

to be more self-reliant and solutions to problems would

concepts of sovereignty’. There was an urgent need to

need to be more regional. Outside powers would not pro-

safeguard the gains that Gulf countries had made in spite

vide security, Fahmy said – a statement in stark contrast

of the risks and threats that they faced. As dangers grew,

with the assurances provided by Hagel in the previous

the GCC should not stand and watch, Madani said; rather

session. However, Fahmy said this change would happen

it should itself be an engine in Gulf affairs, instead of being

gradually and that there needed to be a strategic dialogue

weak and divided. Gulf security would be better guaranteed

involving outsiders and Arabs so that no security vacuum

if they took greater responsibility for it through closer

would develop.

integration. GCC countries, he argued, had a joint destiny

From the audience came a vigorous riposte to the Saudi

and faced similar challenges, but also had differences, both

vision of closer GCC unity. Yousef Bin Alawi Al-Ibrahim,

in political directions and strategic vision. The marked

the minister responsible for Oman’s foreign affairs, rejected The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 99

(l–r): Dr Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf; Dr Nizar Bin Obaid Madani, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia; and Nabil Fahmy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt

the Saudi proposal of a GCC union. If the other five mem-

ahead of winter. He argued that the diplomatic push that

bers agreed to unite, he said, Oman would not be part of

has yielded recent agreements on Syrian chemical weapons

this arrangement. The GCC had failed to develop a unified

and Iran’s nuclear programme should now be directed to

economic system and its members still needed to provide

other aspects of the Syrian conflict, and stated that Qatar was

a secure economic future for its populations, of whom 60%

eager to participate in this endeavour. The minister argued

were young people. It should not take on a military iden-

that Qatar and other Gulf states stood firm in the defence of

tity and it should keep away from regional conflicts.

Syria’s people, including through military aid to opposition

Questions focused on Iran’s negotiations with for-

groups because of the failure of the world community to

eign powers on its nuclear programme, with a specific

protect Syrians. If international action is not possible, then

mention of the absence of a role for GCC countries in the

Arab League or GCC action should be contemplated.

talks. Delegates from both sides of the Gulf sought to

Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign

look beyond any eventual nuclear agreement and asked

Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and

whether Iran could be involved in the region’s future secu-

Central Asian Affairs, shed light on the reasoning behind

rity architecture.Al Zayani commented that trust needed to

the deep reservations in the US Congress about the use of

be built, both among GCC members and with Iran. Given

force to punish Assad for his use of chemical weapons. He

Tehran’s new desire for engagement, the first opportunity

detailed four questions that his congressional colleagues

to build such trust was to deal with the UAE island dispute.

wrestled with; these might inform future decisions over the

Madani said Saudi Arabia was seeking a GCC role in nego-

use of force too. Firstly, would US military action make a

tiations with Iran, and it was premature to judge where the

positive difference? There were doubts as to whether the

current six-month accord between Iran and the P5+1 would

military tool was the most appropriate one in this instance.

lead. He reiterated his call to cement GCC unity. Fahmy

Secondly, would US military action be appreciated and

noted that concern about interference in domestic affairs

valued within the region? The failure to reach a Status of

was common in the Middle East, and asked Iran to make a

Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, and the dif-

commitment to stop doing so.

ficulty on agreeing terms with the Afghan president, has given the US cause to consider the value placed on its mili-

Third Plenary: Syria and the Regional Impact

tary footprint in the broader region. Thirdly, would the

Opening the third session, Qatar’s Foreign Minister,

US have partners in military action? In the case of Syria, it

Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, deplored the inability

seemed to have very few. Finally, what might the ultimate

of the international community to address the deepening

consequence of military action be? Within Congress, there

humanitarian crisis in Syria and called on it to reach an

are considerable reservations over the plausible alterna-

agreement that would ease the plight of Syria’s people

tives to Assad, and the role of extremists in a post-Assad

100 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

(l–r): Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qatar; Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman, Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, US Senate; and Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iraq

government that US military action could help bring to

Responding to a question by Heisbourg, about arms

power. If these criteria were applied to future crises, they

supplies to insurgent groups, Al Attiyah argued that there

would not necessarily rule out the use of force by the US.

were no terrorist groups operating in Syria when Qatar

However, they underlined that in the current political cir-

began to dispense military aid. He suggested that the scale

cumstances it might be more difficult to obtain a political

of the problem had been exaggerated by Syrian govern-

consensus for military action.

ment propaganda.

Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, noted the

Prompted by a question from Dr Toby Dodge,

failure of regional and international diplomacy to settle

Consulting Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the IISS,

the conflict and outlined the negative impact of this on

Zebari conceded that the rise in violence in Iraq in recent

Iraq. Echoing the comments of his Qatari counterpart, he

years was also a result of shortcomings in Iraq’s inter-

bemoaned the fact that it took the chemical-weapons issue

nal security arrangements and policies. Questions and

to get the UN Security Council operating in a unified direc-

comments were also made regarding the democratic aspi-

tion. He was not convinced that the chemical-weapons

rations of the Syrian opposition, the risks of the Syrian

agreement would lead to a political solution to the Syrian

conflict being much more destabilising regionally than

conflict. The minister focused on the rising security threats

Iraq’s civil war, and in particular the threat of sectarianism

to Iraq that emanated from Syria. He said that terrorist

spreading across the region – which could be viewed as

groups had mushroomed, so that today there were thou-

having a destructive potential comparable to Syria’s chemi-

sands of terrorists, including 25,000 in the al-Nusra Front.

cal weapons.

Some Syrian and Iraqi extremist groups have united. He evoked the disturbing possibility that Iraq could become

Fourth Plenary Session: Middle East Stability:

another ungoverned space, as Afghanistan had been.

Intervention, Mediation and Security Cooperation

Zebari recalled that he had warned the Syrian government

The fourth plenary session involved the participation of

in 2005, which he regarded as being complicit in facili-

extra-regional foreign ministers. Børge Brende, Minister of

tating the entry of terrorists into Iraq, that such a course

Foreign Affairs of Norway, outlined his view of regional

invited blowback on Syria. Touching on relations between

stability and his country’s role in it. He insisted that

Baghdad and Damascus, he denied that the Iraqi gov-

regional stability was primarily a responsibility for regional

ernment was helping to arm the Syrian government as a

countries, but that despite this, the effects of insecurity in

matter of policy; indeed, Iraq would respect the will of the

the Middle East are not limited to the region, and that any

Syrian people if they ousted Assad from power. The min-

approach to improve stability must be comprehensive.

ister attributed the failure to interdict supplies as partly a consequence of Iraq’s weak airpower.

This latter point was a defining aspect of Norway’s view of the underlying causes of conflict, which lie in The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 101

(l–r): Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway; Dr Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yemen; and John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada

political-economic structures, particularly the lack of inclu-

John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, struck

sivity in economic growth. In this realm, the region faces

a cautious note on regional stability. While the recent nuclear

significant challenges: 40 million jobs need to be created

agreement with Iran was a positive outcome, Canada

by 2020, while more than 50% of the region’s popula-

remained ‘deeply sceptical’ of Tehran’s long-term ambition

tion is under the age of 20. There is therefore a significant

to de-nuclearise. Baird implored Iran to undertake more

challenge for countries in the region to foster sufficient eco-

comprehensive steps, such as adopting Additional Protocol

nomic growth, and yet make it inclusive enough to ensure

safeguards, in order to build confidence in its intentions.

stability. To aid stability, Norway has demonstrated its

Similarly, while Canada supported the decision to destroy

willingness to commit military assets, through the deploy-

chemical weapons in Syria, Baird noted that Assad should

ment of a frigate to counter-piracy operations in the Indian

be held accountable for the attacks that have occurred thus

Ocean. However, non-military interventions include sup-

far. While a political settlement is the top priority, Assad’s

port for an alternative livelihood programme in Somalia

legitimacy should not be enhanced by the chemical-weap-

and mediation in negotiations in the Israel–Palestine

ons deal. In terms of Canadian support for the region, Baird


noted Ottawa’s support for the GCC as an organisation to

While Brende attempted to portray Norway as a secu-

enhance regional stability and for its recent decision to label

rity exporter, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hizbullah a terrorist organisation. Canada has contributed

of Yemen, was candid in his view of his country as a secu-

CAD100m to assist Syrian refugees in Jordan, comparing the

rity importer, noting that the country currently lacked the

influx in terms of ratio of population to the entirety of the

capabilities to ensure stability overall. Yemen, he noted, is a

Canadian population crossing the border to the US.

potential cornerstone of regional stability, given its position

Questions from the floor focused on Iran and Syria.

astride a major sea line of communication, its control over

Sultan Mohammed Al-Nuaimi, Researcher at the UAE

the chokepoint of the Bab el-Mandeb and its occupation of

Ministry of Defence, noted the differences in perception of

a large area of the southern Arabian Peninsula. However,

the Iranian nuclear agreement among GCC states, the US

it is also key to regional insecurity, given the presence of

and Iran, suggesting this was a fundamental weakness.

al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Syrian refugees in

In response to a question about whether Norway could

Yemen. The primary concern for Yemen, though, is lack of

destroy the Syrian chemical weapons, Brende answered

resources. Some 18m Yemenis are in need of humanitar-

that Norway was unable to do so for capacity and climatic

ian assistance. Al-Qirbi outlined Yemen’s assistance needs,

reasons by the expected deadline of 1 January, but it had

from direct intelligence, security and military support,

pledged US$15m in support of UNSCR 2118.

through equipment and training, to non-military forms of humanitarian assistance. 102 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

Asked whether Norway and Canada would be happy to take in Syrian refugees, Baird pointed out that Canada already

(l–r): Salman Khurshid, Minister for External Affairs, India; Prince Turki Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Board, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Saudi Arabia; Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Associate Research Scholar, Princeton University; former Head, Foreign Relations Committee, Supreme National Security Council, Iran; and Dr Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

accepts the largest number of Syrian refugees, but this was

the Gulf region as ‘India’s extended neighbourhood’, and

not a long-term solution, while Brende stated that Norway

as ‘an important artery for the flow of goods and ideas

had increased the number of Syrian refugees it accepts and

and movement of people’. In addition to trade, energy

was the sixth-largest humanitarian donor to Syria, pointing

and investment, Khurshid emphasised the potential for

out, however, major problems in aid distribution.

increasing cooperation in counter-terrorism, fighting

Seyyed Kazem Sajjadpour, Director of Policy Planning

money laundering and anti-piracy measures.

at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, highlighted

Discussing the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Khurshid

Baird’s failure to mention Israel’s nuclear-weapons arse-

reaffirmed that his country’s position favours ‘democratic

nal even while criticising Iran’s nuclear programme. Baird

pluralism and religious moderation’, but warned against

answered that he did not desire a regional arms race and

radical groups hijacking genuine political demands. He

wanted allies to feel secure.

paid special attention to the unfolding of events in Syria,

Aykan Erdemir, Member of Parliament, Turkey, asked

expressing his country’s condemnation of violence by all

Brende what concrete policies could be undertaken to

sides. He pointed to the brokered deal to rid Syria of its

ensure the inclusive approach to politics outlined by the

chemical weapons as confirmation that ‘global, non-dis-

Norwegian minister. Brende answered that the first step

criminatory regimes on non-proliferation matter’.

was actually any economic growth, which has been lacking

Prince Turki Al Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman

in many countries for several years. Recent trade agree-

of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies,

ments helped, but more was needed to ensure wealth

suggested transforming the Middle East into a zone free

trickles down to individuals.

of weapons of mass destruction. However, the success of

Alamuddin and Amy Kellogg from Fox News asked

this zone hinges upon the five permanent members of the

how Yemen intended to counter terrorism. Al-Qirbi noted

United Nations Security Council providing two necessary

that the GCC had adopted the Gulf Initiative for Yemen,

guarantees. Firstly, these five states must guarantee the

which had now gathered wide support, despite initial divi-

protection of the regional states from any threats that they

sions. In terms of counter-terrorism, the minister suggested

may face, including those of a nuclear nature. Secondly, the

that any approach should be comprehensive.

permanent members of the UN Security Council should guarantee that they will seek to punish economically, polit-

Fifth Plenary Session: International Interests in

ically, as well as militarily, any state in this zone that may

Middle East Security and Non-Proliferation

attempt to develop nuclear weapons.

In his opening speech, Salman Khurshid, Minister of

Al Faisal described the interim nuclear agreement

External Affairs of India, outlined the strong relationship

between the P5+1 and Iran as ‘an important achievement’.

between his country and the GCC states. He referred to

However, he emphasised the need to ensure that Iran will The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 103

not break the agreement and that it will eventually lead to

the discussion on the interim agreement was ‘vastly exag-

guaranteeing the ‘permanence of non-proliferation’. At the

gerated’, highlighting that it is simply a ‘six month truce’.

same time, Al Faisal questioned the sincerity of Iran’s new

Washington is not going to accept anything less than oblit-

diplomatic approach to the region. He asserted that Iranian

erating Iran’s physical ability to produce weapons-grade

statements hold little value if not implemented. Arab states

material quickly, while President Rouhani had already

are prepared to cooperate with their neighbour, according

stated that his country will not dismantle any of its existing

to Al Faisal, but it is time for Iran to stop interfering in their

nuclear facilities.

domestic affairs.

Even though President Obama used some of his ‘bar-

At the beginning of his remarks, Seyed Hossein

gaining chips’ to secure this interim agreement, this does

Mousavian, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton

not necessarily mean that Tehran will accept the final terms

University, declared that the US cannot remain engaged in

of a nuclear agreement. However, in Samore’s opinion,

the region at the same level indefinitely. He pointed to four

neither side would like to see the collapse of negotiations.

key guidelines to guarantee regional security and stability.

Therefore the current interim agreement may only lead to

Firstly, no single country can dominate the Middle East.

another interim agreement.

Secondly, the current hostilities between Iran and GCC

Questions from the audience addressed a wide range

member states should not continue. Thirdly, he cautioned

of issues from the role of the US in the Middle East follow-

against looking at regional developments as a zero-sum

ing its deal with Iran, to the future of regional bodies such

game. Finally, he argued that the region is in need of

as the GCC. Dr Ali Ansari, Professor of Modern History at

paradigm reordering, making sure that all states’ security

the University of St Andrews, asked whether the United

concerns are recognised.

States’ role is crucial to any regional security framework

Mousavian stressed that the interim nuclear agreement

and whether Iran could accept a continued US presence in

carries with it the opportunity to stabilise the region as a

the Gulf. In response to his question, Mousavian stated that

whole. He urged regional states to support the Iran–US rap-

the US should support a regional cooperation system, but

prochement and called for the easing of tensions between

that it should not have a permanent presence in the Middle

Iran and Saudi Arabia. He also pushed for the creation of

East. Asked by Dergham about Oman’s recent threat to

a regional security-cooperation system that incorporates

withdraw from the GCC should it turn into a union, he

GCC states, Iran and Iraq.

affirmed Oman’s right to express its views on the Gulf

According to Dr Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, much of

Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain at the Opening Reception

104 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

union initiative. However, he described the union as inevitable, with or without Oman’s participation.

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION I: Regional Implications of the Syrian War Speakers in this session debated the military,

at the Geneva II talks, and compel Assad

role in Syria. The question of whether, and

humanitarian and diplomatic aspects of the

to negotiate in good faith. If such a shift in

how, to include Iran in the Geneva talks

Syrian crisis. In particular, they examined

power materialises, the opposition might

could prove key to this possibility.

the prospects and modalities of the upcom-

be able to extract significant terms from the

ing Geneva talks meant to devise a political

Syrian regime.

Some speakers warned that the legacy of the intervention in Iraq tainted the policy-

solution to the Syrian crisis. Diplomacy, it

The unfolding of the Syrian crisis

making debate on Syria. Uncertainty over

was agreed, needed to be pursued in order to

changed local perceptions of regional and

potential post-intervention dynamics and

test the Assad regime but many feared that

global actors. The Syrian crisis has eroded

power dispensation was considerable, es-

it could legitimise it and play in its favour.

Russia’s image in the Arab world, and Mos-

pecially with the rise of jihadi groups. At

Some made the case that there was no

cow now has to prove its ability to deliver

the same time, the longer the conflict, the

military solution to the Syrian war because

on a transition. That said, its steadfast sup-

more unstable the region, the more sectar-

of its practical challenges. In response, it was

port of Assad has also enhanced its cred-

ian the conflict and the greater the humani-

argued that a military solution exists, but it

ibility as an ally, as its cunning diplomacy

tarian catastrophe.

is the appetite for intervention that is lim-

contrasted positively with American inde-

Amid this climate, the audience agreed

ited. Some said that there will be no political

cision. Russia, it was argued, supported

that Geneva II provides an opportunity for

solution in Syria without changing the mili-

the principle of a negotiated transition and

all concerned parties to engage construc-

tary balance through strikes and serious ma-

would endorse any arrangement accept-

tively. The international community could

terial support to the opposition. In essence,

able to all Syrian parties.

capitalise on recent diplomatic successes

changing military dynamics will place the

It was also agreed that changing global

opposition in a strong negotiating position

conditions could compel Iran to reduce its

to craft a long-term strategy to stabilise Syria.

(l–r) Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Regional Security, IISS–Middle East; Alistair Burt, Member of Parliament, Former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK; Ambassador Faris Mohammed Ahmed Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, UAE; Lapo Pistelli, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Italy; Sergey Vershinin, Director, Middle East and North Africa Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia; and Wu Sike, Special Envoy to the Middle East, China

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION II: The Dangers of Sectarianism and Extremism in Politics This session began with a candid survey of

sectarianism – encouraged by outside actors

tity was developed not only to combat the di-

the problems faced by states in the Middle

and inefficient government – and a unitary

visive effects of sub-state communal politics,

East when it came to divisive political iden-

national identity anchored in strong and co-

but also to mobilise all groups to unite behind

tity. Sub-state sectarian identities flourished

herent government institutions.

a project of economic development. The re-

when states failed to deliver government

The comparative example of Southeast

sult was a multiculturalism based on a num-

services in an efficient and equitable man-

Asia was then discussed, examining the suc-

ber of government policies that banned polit-

ner. Education was also central to counter-

cess of recent negotiations to end sub-state

ical parties that sought to represent only one

ing the growth of radical politics. An educa-

conflicts in Indonesia and the Philippines.

ethnic group. Government housing policies

tion system that focused on a unitary nation-

In these cases, both the state and insurgent

also sought to deliberately create communi-

al identity and piety, instead of extremism,

groups set aside years of mistrust to reach

ties that mixed Singapore’s different religious

would help.

compromise and end violent conflict. The

and ethnic groups.

Beyond the failures of states, the second

Singapore case study was then examined in

Finally, attempts at countering radical

cause of the increased sectarian identities

detail. Singapore suffered from race riots in

Islamism in Afghanistan were discussed. It

was the negative influence of other states. It

the 1950s, but had then set in place a series of

was argued that education, a vibrant media

was argued that there was a clear difference

policies designed to avoid the dominance of

and an empowered civil society had all been

between a political identity based on divisive

communal politics. A unitary national iden-

essential in reducing the influence of the

The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 105

Taliban after their removal from power. Key

of foreign policy; this was bound to cause

The discussion concluded by focusing

to its continuing success would be the reform

harm to those who sought to encourage it in

on the link between democratisation and

of the security forces and the bolstering of the

other states as ‘snakes cannot be trained only

the rise of identity politics and how best to

rule of law.

to bite other people’. To counter this strategy,

move political mobilisation away from a fo-

the Afghan government had engaged in an

cus on religion, towards a focus on govern-

active policy of regional alliance building.

ment efficiency.

The Afghan case also served to highlight the dangers of fomenting radicalism as a tool

(l–r): Dr Toby Dodge, Senior Consulting Fellow for the Middle East, IISS; and Sheikh Thamer Ali Al Sabah, President, National Security Bureau, Kuwait; Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Minister of State for Defence, Singapore; and Zalmay Rassoul, Presidential Candidate and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION III: The Shifting Regional Balance and Outside Powers Iran was at the heart of discussions in this

ing ties between Washington and its

ventional military capabilities. In particular,

session – specifically, how Tehran’s chang-

traditional regional allies. US allies in the

efforts to build up a more capable missile-

ing relationship with Washington and with

Gulf had been unsettled by the United

defence architecture in the Gulf could be

neighbouring states could reshape the re-

States’ ‘rebalance’ to Asia, by suspicion over

viewed as a security guarantor, in the event

gion. Discussions were framed by the ques-

the motivation for a deal with Iran and by

that the nuclear deal falters.

tion of whether the region actually showed a

concerns that the pending withdrawal from

Broader capacity building within the

tilt in the balance of power, and whether or

Afghanistan presages a wider disengage-

Gulf states remains a goal for the US and its

not perceptions of reduced US commitment


allies. NATO also has a growing interest in

were justified.

Such perceptions and concerns were ac-

supporting capability developments in the

The possibility of recasting relations be-

knowledged, but it was argued by several

region, as some Gulf states begin to partici-

tween Washington and Tehran is facilitated by

participants that they were inaccurate, and

pate – on an ad hoc and small-scale basis – in

the interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear pro-

that Washington would continue to main-

military roles, as part of alliance operations

gramme, which is intended to address wide-

tain a robust military posture in the region.

such as in Afghanistan and Libya. This ca-

spread concern that Iran’s goals for the project

This reflected the United States’ ‘deep and

pacity will be confined to limited areas only

are military, rather than civil. Iran may also be

enduring security interests’ in the Middle

for some time, however, before the region

emboldened by its intervention in Syria’s civil


can become a ‘net exporter’ of security.

However, even if the interim agreement

There emerged a consensus view that any

In parallel to the proposition of an

paved the way to a lasting nuclear deal, there

shift in the regional balance was still only po-

ascendant Iran, was the notion of fray-

remain other areas of concern over Iran’s con-

tential, rather than actual.

war, an action that could yet prove decisive.

(l–r): Steven Simon, Executive Director, IISS–US; Corresponding Director, IISS–Middle East; General Lloyd James Austin III, Commander, US Central Command; General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff, UK; and Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary-General, NATO

106 | The 9th IISS Regional Security Summit

SIMULTANEOUS SPECIAL SESSION IV: Changing Energy Markets and Middle East Security This session focused on changes in the inter-

region have to address – through politically

removed, means that other cartel members

national energy landscape, and what they

difficult measures to reduce subsidies, as

would have to cut back.

mean for Middle East exporters, as well as

well as investment in renewable energy and

energy dynamics in the Gulf Cooperation

nuclear-energy generation.

On the demand side, although there is wide agreement that improving efficiency,

Speakers’ interpretations of global en-

fuel-switching and technological innovation

ergy market developments and their im-

are moving energy systems towards a new

The rapid growth of energy consumption

plications for the Gulf were more diverse.

era, it is unclear to what extent this threatens

in GCC states is now widely perceived as one

On the supply side, the new sources of oil

Gulf energy producers, and when these ef-

of the main strategic threats to the economic

production in North America, especially

fects would begin to be felt strongly.

security of the region. GCC countries have,

‘tight oil’, are perceived by some as a short-

Two other important developments were

until recently, fuelled exponential growth in

term phenomenon bound to recede later in

highlighted in the session. Firstly, that en-

electricity generation with natural gas. Now,

this decade or early in the next, while oth-

ergy markets are rapidly shifting eastwards.

all except Qatar experience severe natural-

ers see it as a structural competitive threat

Asian economies – starting with China – are

gas shortages. Kuwait and the UAE import

to Gulf producers. The growth in Iraqi oil-

now the main energy-trading partners of

growing volumes of liquefied natural gas,

production capacity is potentially a threat

Gulf producers, as Atlantic markets recede in

and Saudi Arabia has to burn ever-larger vol-

to OPEC’s ability to manage the price of oil,

importance. Secondly, Gulf producers are in-

umes of crude oil in power plants to gener-

but some are confident that OPEC mem-

volved in infrastructure investment projects

ate heavily subsidised – and therefore largely

bers will find a compromise to accommo-

(pipeline systems and export terminals) that

wasted – electricity. Panellists agreed that

date Iraqi oil. The potential ramping-up of

will reduce their reliance on the Strait of Hor-

this is a serious problem that countries in the

Iranian exports, if and when sanctions are

muz as an export outlet.

Council (GCC) countries themselves. There was more agreement on the latter.

(l–r): Dr Sanjaya Baru, Director for Geo-Economics and Strategy, IISS–Middle East; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chief Executive, The Oil and Gas Holding Company, Bahrain; Nizar Al-Adsani, Chief Executive Officer, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation; and Dr Mohammed Al Sabban, Former Senior Economic Advisor to the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Saudi Arabia

The Manama Dialogue 2013 | 107















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