The pre-session of this year's Lennart Meri Conference discussed the Middle East. Watch the session again below.
The strategic shift of the U.S. towards East Asia and Europe's preoccupation with Russia have led to reduced Western attention on the Middle East. This may be a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, security in the region depends on a degree of Western engagement, for example, in moving forward the stalled JCPOA deal, and the West's absence may open avenues for other possibly less benign actors, such as Russia and China, to assert their influence.
On the other hand, the West's approach is also far from altruistic, perhaps even hypocritical. For example, it has been ready to ignore the impact of Iranian weapons exports on the Yemen war, but not on the war in Ukraine.
How do countries in the Middle East perceive the U.S. role in their region? What are Russia's interests and actions and how have these changed since the beginning of the war in Ukraine? How will Turkey navigate the complex political relations and security concerns it has in the region? Does the relationship between Russia and Iran have a sound strategic basis, or is it a temporary marriage of convenience? How will the war in Syria be affected by the changing international positions and behavior of Russia and the West?
Featuring: Faisal J. Abbas, Mustafa Aydin, Anna Borshchevskaya, Seth G. Jones, Hanna Notte, Jörg Lau.
Editor: Marcus Turovski, Helen Wright