Region facing non-traditional security risks
The fundamental changes in the region and beyond are not transient or temporary and require a robust analysis of their reality and an exploration of their future prospects, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies has said.
“The transformations in the Arab world since 2011 until the present time are not transient or temporary shifts,” Mohammad Abdul Gaffar said. “They have led — and will lead — to a profound impact not only on the regional status quo, but also on the entity of the unified state, and this includes high risks to regional and global security alike,’ he said as he addressed the Gulf Strategic Conference in Bahrain on Tuesday.
The transformations have reaffirmed that the region faced non-traditional security risks that included organisational networks interconnected with each other through ideological links that went beyond the borders of countries and posed a threat to the foundations of the national modern state, he said. “To compound the situation, some of these groups and networks use violence and terrorism in pursuit of their own agendas that do not correspond with the state’s national interests,” he said.
Abdul Gaffar warned that “although the major powers, particularly the United States and Russia, have interacted with these transformations in the region, their positions have reflected signs of obvious anxiety and confusion”. “This suggests that the decision-making institutions in those countries, particularly in the United States, continue to put forward views on how to deal with shifts of the Arab world and the Middle East that do not necessarily take into account the best interests of our countries,” he said.
“The current challenge to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is confronting the attempt by some regional powers to use these transformations to promote policies of hegemony in the region and interfere in the domestic affairs of the GCC and the Arab states, threatening their security and stability. Dealing with this matter requires greater coordination in the GCC countries’ collective stances. In this regard, the conformity of the views of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with respect to Gulf, regional and global issues serves as an exemplar,” he said.
Abdul Gaffar added that the most important challenge in the Arab world after 2011 is the significance of the civil state and the perceptions of Islamic movements for the building of such a state. A major strategic issue is the implications and effects of the regional and international changes on the reality of the Arab and the Middle East regional order in general, the peace process and the conflict in Syria, he said. Other issues include the GCC strategic partnership options at the regional and global levels, the Iranian nuclear programme and its impact on the security of the Arab Gulf region and challenges of electronic terrorism.