Joost Hiltermann (International Crisis Group), gives a talk for the Middle East Centre Friday Seminar Series on 25th January 2019. Professor Eugene Rogan chairs.
In many places in the Middle East, and in various ways, the region’s people continue to thrive: in business, art, music and other fields. Yet Middle Eastern states are undergoing a profound social and political transformation in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings and the civil wars these sprouted. The region has seen the collapse of state systems and, in some cases, the return of inherently brittle 'fierce' states, while others are merely trying to stay afloat. Never coherent as a cultural, much less a political, entity, the region is coming apart at the seams. External actors, in Europe and elsewhere, are substantially affected by what is happening. But is there a role for these actors in halting and even reversing the downward slide, given the enormity of the challenge and a history of destructive external intervention? And if so, how should they go about doing so?