The 12th Middle East Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club. Programme
Valdai Discussion Club Conference Hall, Tsvetnoy Boulevard 16/1, Moscow, Russia

Programme of the 12th Middle East Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club 

The New Middle East and the Security Crisis in Europe: Effects of Mutual Influence

Moscow, February 28 – March 1, 2023

February 28, Tuesday

11:30 Opening of the Conference (live broadcast: in Russian, in English, in Arabic)

11:30–13:15 Session 1. The Middle East and International Order: Towards a New Regional Security System? (live broadcast: in Russian, in English, in Arabic)

The Middle East continues to be burdened by long-standing problems – the settlement in Syria, the Yemeni conflict, the civil standoff in Iraq, and the aggravating Kurdish question. Apart from them, new ones have emerged: the interconnection between the South Caucasus and the Middle East instability, the problems in food and energy supplies, the echoes of the hostilities in Ukraine. As the US presence in the region is diminishing, China and India are taking the lead in the economy. What impact do these processes have on regional dynamics? Is there a prospect for an inclusive regional security system?

14:30–16:00 Session 2. The Ukrainian Crisis and Its Implications for the Middle East

The crumbling of international order is accelerating in Eastern Europe, which has seen a clash of interests of Russia and the West. Having originated in Europe, the crisis has significant economic implications for the Middle East, caused by the disorganization of transport, energy, production chains and food security. Although the countries in the region are under the US pressure, they are in no hurry to assign the sole responsibility for what is happening on Russia and see it as another phase in its confrontation with the West. How deep and lasting will the impact of the international crisis on regional processes be?

16:15–17:45 Session 3. Logistics of the 21st century: Prospects for a New North-South Transport Corridor

Along with the problems, the crisis also brings opportunities: the opening of new forms of economic cooperation in Eurasia, the transition to trade in national currencies, the creation of new transport corridors along the North-South route and others. Under these conditions, Russia’s pivot to the East, a new, much more substantive interest in the South as well as the process of creating a full-fledged economic community in Eurasia have gained a significant impetus. How have transport routes changed amid the crisis and what opportunities are emerging for new logistics projects on the continent?

March 1, Wednesday

10:30–12:00 Session 4. Key Energy Trends: OPEC+, Russia’s Role, Reformatting the Global Market (live broadcast: in Russian, in English, in Arabic)

The West’s economic war against Russia is stimulating a repartition of the global energy market. An attempt to introduce non-market mechanisms to regulate energy prices is met with a harsh reaction from all producing countries. While the US is focused on forcing Russia out of the European market, the Asian states are becoming the main source of demand. This is where the interests of Moscow and the OPEC+ states coincide. What do the main trends in global energy look like and how sustainable are they in crisis conditions? How likely are dramatic changes in the global market structure, such as its actual fragmentation by suppliers and consumers?

12:30–14:00 Session 5. The Age of Sovereignty: Key Middle Eastern Countries’ Foreign Policy Priorities (live broadcast: in Russian, in English, in Arabic)

International order in the Middle East is once again in the hands of the states of the region, rather than external forces. The main regional centres of influence, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Algeria, and others are participating in the process of creating a new security system. They rely on national sovereignty and withdraw from the old (mainly post-colonial) formats of interaction with the West. What are the strategies of the states in the region? What role do they see for themselves in the emerging polycentric world order? To what extent might the Middle East become a consolidated pole?