Analysing Security Complexes in a Changing Middle East

The conference was made possible through a partnership between Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark, and Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II School of International Studies, University of Jordan, funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danish Arab Partnership Programme).


This conference took up perspectives, which, with the focus on the Arab states following the revolts in 2011, to some degree have been overlooked in recent research, namely the role of non-Arab state actors and non-state actors in connection with the changing security environment in the region. Iran, Israel and Turkey are significant foreign policy and security actors in the MENA-region, and located in geographical proximity to Iraq and Syria they are affected by the ongoing crisis there, at the same time as they in different ways contribute to the highly problematic development there. Related to, but not necessarily interconnected with, the complex role of the non-Arab states in the region a number of important non-state actors are also influencing the recent turmoil in MENA. This is the case for well-known actors like Hezbollah and Hamas, but also for organisations, which more recently entered the political scene like Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Taking its point of departure in theoretically informed analyses of the recent role of non-Arab state actors and non-state actors, the conference discussed security aspects of the ongoing crisis in the MENA. During the conference it was discussed how changes in the MENA-region are appearing in different contexts in the creation of new local, sub-regional, or regional security complexes in which Arab states, non-Arab states, and non-state actors enter into new conflicts, alliances, and other political relations with and against each other.

The conference consisted of three interrelated panels. From the perspective of non-Arab state actors and non-state actors, the panels discussed theoretical challenges related to the understanding of how ongoing transformation processes in the Middle East have affected existing security complexes, thereby maybe even laying the foundation for changes of the existing state system in the Middle East and its social, economic and ethnic foundations.

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