Manama Dialogue to debate Syria situation

December 1, 2012

Syria will be given special attention at the Manama Dialogue, a major security conference, to be held in Bahrain on December 7-9.

The special opening session of the three-day event will be devoted to “Global Views on Syria” and one of four special sessions will be on “Syria and Regional Security”, the meeting agenda indicates.

Sectarianism in the region will also receive wide attention with a plenary session on “the influence of sectarian politics in regional security”.

Countries in the Middle East have been badly affected by the seemingly inexorable rise of sectarianism while several analysts have noted it has become the “dominant dynamic in the region today.”

Other plenary sessions at the Manama Dialogue in its eighth year will address “the US and the region”, “priorities for regional security”, “intervention and mediation” and “Middle East security in a global context.”

The other simultaneous special sessions will debate “counter terrorism”, “strategic reassurance and deterrence” and “security in the Strait of Hormuz.”

The Manama Dialogue, co-organised by Bahrain’s foreign ministry and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), an international authority on political-military conflict, has evolved into a pivotal regional gathering.

“The Manama Dialogue offers participating states unparalleled opportunities for security diplomacy,” the IISS said. “As usual there is the necessary blend of involvement from the foreign, defence and interior ministries as well as the national security councils, intelligence agencies and military establishments.”

The conference, in which participation is by invitation only, comprises “a carefully selected group of individuals who can inform, instruct and influence security policy in the region, and of the non-government delegates.”

The Manama Dialogue, an annual event hosted by Bahrain, did not take place last year. In December 2010, King Abdullah of Jordan delivered the keynote address while US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave the opening speech.

A major issue at the opening dinner that brought together political and military leaders, government heads and ministers was whether Clinton would trade words with then Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Clinton tried twice to speak with him once inside the hotel hall and then in the driveway, but each time Mottaki deliberately avoided contact with her.

However, the former Iranian minister later insisted that Islamic traditions demand responses to greetings.


About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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