Wars and political conflicts have changed dramatically in the twenty-first century, and the Middle East stands at the heart of these changes, as it has since the dawn of history. The collapse of nation states in the Middle East (Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq) as one of the results of the Arab spring, the emerging role of non-state violent actors, the diminishing role of the EU in Middle East peacemaking, new political dynamics in US–Russia relations, the looming Israeli–Arab stalemate, as well as information and cyber warfare have brought about a dramatically unstable and violent reality in the Middle East. Conflicts are intensifying and exhibiting new patterns which the international community has not seen in decades.
Yet, despite these immense changes in the face of wars, the “face of peace” has stagnated. An irrelevant “Conference on Syria,” failed and illegitimate US-led mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, expressive United Nations Security Council resolutions demonstrate that while war has changed dramatically during the last decade, peace efforts and international negotiations are still using outdated structures, processes, and instruments. Classic peacemaking instruments which were relevant during the twentieth century are hardly of use today. This “relevance gap” is the focus of the Processes of International Negotiations (PIN) 2018 conference. The conference is being organised by PIN, a leading network of scholars in the field of international negotiations, and the GIGA.
The conference will result in a PIN book, which will outline a comprehensive approach for addressing the necessary paradigm shifts in international negotiations in the decades to come, with an immediate focus on the Middle East (Mashreq). The volume will define and examine five important dimensions of this re-thinking:
- The changing nature of current complex conflicts
- The changing nature of international negotiation and mediation
- The global powers’ perspectives and interests
- Suggested structures and processes for international negotiation for the upcoming decade, focusing on the element of “regionalism”
- The application of the approach to current conflict areas, notably the Mideast
Markus A. Kirchschlager