Geopolitics of the MENA Region in a Post-Western and Post-Covid World
6 hour course by Eduard Soler (CIDOB-IBEI)
- Schedule: 20, 21 & 22 June (11:30 - 13:30)
Which are the implications for the Middle East and North Africa of the relative decline of the West, Russia’s return, the rise of China and Africa’s potential? Has COVID19 modified cooperation and conflict dynamics within the MENA region and between these countries and the main global powers? The purpose of this course is threefold: to help students understand the priorities of global powers in this region, to discuss the impact on global shifts in regional dynamics and to explore which actors in this region are better placed to take advantage of these changes.
In the early 2000s, one of the theatres where Washington projected its unilateral moment. It is no longer the case. In the post-2011 context Russia has manoeuvred to fill this vacuum. In a more subtle but gradual manner, China is also becoming a relevant actor. Mega-infrastructure projects suggest that this is a long-term investment. More broadly, relations between the MENA and Asia are growing and are multifaceted, including Iran’s economic links with major Asian economies or the presence of South-Asian diasporas in the Gulf. The irruption of the pandemic has only reinforced the role of Russia, China and India both in the global stage but also in the MENA region.
Finally, Africa’s demographic and economic growth in the next decades will be a global game-changer but the effects will be felt more strongly in the MENA because of geographic proximity. While many may look to Africa as a source of threats, countries in the MENA tend to perceive it as geopolitical opportunity. By analysing these trends and assessing the role and strategies of different MENA countries, this course will provide students with an innovative approach to the region’s embeddedness in global trends and will invite them to “de-westernise” their reading of the MENA’s position in global affairs.