More than 500 personalities of diplomats, politicians, specialists and academics from more than 45 countries around the world, including the United States, Britain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, participated in the symposium, which was held via the “Zoom” technology.
The symposium included 3 sessions, the first entitled “Threats facing the security of the Arab Gulf region: what is their nature? What is their source? How dangerous are they?”, while the second was entitled “The security of the Arab Gulf region and the world: What is the importance of security in the region? What are the implications of targeting the security of the region? Region?”.
The third and final session was entitled “The security of the Arab Gulf is part of the security of the world: How can the security of the Arab Gulf be protected? What is the role of the Arab Gulf states? What is the role of the international community?”
The imperative of cooperation
At the beginning of the symposium, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Nayef Al-Hajraf, indicated that the Corona crisis that the world experienced in the past period was an important and basic indicator of the trend towards facing crises in a collective way, not individual.
Al-Hajraf also stressed the need to develop collective solutions in the region, the need for all parties to sit at one table to solve all problems, and the number of some important files for the Gulf countries such as the Renaissance Dam and the Palestinian cause.
He talked about some of the issues facing the region, such as regional threats, the Iranian nuclear file, targeting shipping lanes and Houthi militias.
As for the Yemeni dialogue announced by the Gulf Cooperation Council, Al-Hajraf stressed that it is a “pure Yemeni consultation platform”, where all parties in Yemen were invited to participate in it, including the Houthi group, which has not yet responded to this invitation.
Al-Suwaidi said that the security of the Gulf region has long been threatened by some “bad neighbours,” adding that “this is still going on by trying to export their extremist ideologies through their sectarian militias, ballistic missiles and drones.”
The Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi stressed that the threat to the stability and security of the Arab Gulf has significant repercussions not limited to the countries and peoples of the Gulf region only, but also to the region and the world. Hence, we stress the importance of full Gulf solidarity in this matter to prevent its security from being infiltrated from within. Hence, it is the responsibility of the international community and the major countries negotiating in Vienna.”
Al-Suwaidi concluded his speech by saying: “We are with dialogue and agreement with everyone, but that this dialogue is not at our expense and at the expense of our security. We are with dialogue and agreement that they lead to the establishment of security and stability in our region.”
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies, Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, said that the nature of the challenges facing the Gulf region is no longer traditional in light of proxy wars through terrorist militias, cyber threats, targeting energy facilities, and obstructing maritime navigation, which led It is a threat to the security of the entire world.
Al Khalifa explained that Iran represents a major source of threats to regional security in light of its interference in the affairs of countries in the region, and its support for armed militias in neighboring countries, in financing, training and arming, as well as Tehran’s efforts to develop new generations of ballistic missiles, adding that the continuation of regional crises casts a shadow over the security of the region. Gulf states, and lead to an imbalance in the balance of power in the region.
Biden administration error
As for the former assistant secretary of state for Middle Eastern affairs, David Schenker, he considered Iran the main source of instability in the region, through its support for militias, such as Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization and the Houthis. “Tehran is working to provide these militias and allies with drones and ballistic missiles to target the Gulf states.”
Schenker stated that the threats launched by these militias have become routine, and that targeting civilians and oil installations has become a routine matter. He added that there is a feeling in the region that the United States is moving away from them and that they have lost confidence in Washington, considering that the countries of the region should look into this matter temporarily.
The former Assistant to the US Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs said that the Biden administration is making a mistake, because it wants an agreement at any cost with Tehran, and he expected that Iran’s behavior would become worse after the signing of the nuclear agreement, and this would affect the countries of the entire region and not only the Gulf states.
On the other hand, French Senator Natalie Goulet stressed the need to combat maritime piracy, protect water straits and freedom of navigation to preserve energy sources that feed global economies.
She also referred to the Brotherhood’s threat as a real threat to the Gulf states, as well as to France and European countries.
Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said that Iran remains the first destabilizing factor in the region, describing it as a “terrorist state through its army and forces and its support for terrorist attacks launched by its militias, which target not only the Gulf states, but Western and European nationals who are there.”
He stated that Gulf security is fundamental to European economic security, adding that the current Ukrainian crisis will push Tehran to adhere to its nuclear program, and it will try to benefit as much as possible from this crisis to increase its nuclear arsenal.
On the other hand, Kenneth Katzman, an expert on Gulf affairs at the US Library of Congress, stressed that Iran’s progress in its missile programs is a threatening and destabilizing factor for the region.
As for the American security advisor, Adam Roosevelt, he stressed the need to achieve comprehensive security and protect security in the Gulf region, because of its commercial and economic importance, and its repercussions on global economies.
The former foreign minister of Yemen, the Yemeni ambassador to France, Riyad Yassin, said that protecting the security of the Gulf region is not the responsibility of the people of the region only, but it is a collective and global responsibility, including the neighbors on the opposite side of the Red Sea.
He added that any turmoil in the Gulf region will have repercussions on the whole world.
While the former Chief of Staff of the US National Security Council, Frederic Fleitz, said that the security of the Gulf region is vital to the world, and added that there is volatility in the American system and the Gulf countries should deal with this matter in this way and not stop their strategic partnership because of the administration of a president that will change in the future.
The head of the Gulf Research Center, Abdulaziz bin Saqr, said that the current problem is one of guarantees, as there is no longer a guarantor of the security of the Gulf states, and therefore those countries are looking for alternatives, knowing that they were fully committed to the United States in the past years.
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