The Middle East has experienced growing tensions as a result of competing geopolitical agendas and reciprocal meddling in the internal affairs of states. These dynamics are being reinforced by international trends, creating a vicious cycle of accusatory rhetoric, threats and proxy violence that risk descending into a full-fledged military conflict, the implications of which would extend well beyond the Middle East itself and have dire international repercussions for Europe and the international system at large. The project aims to disentangle these geopolitical dynamics and tensions by researching the necessary steps to contribute to the establishment of a new security architecture in the Middle East on the basis of de-escalation, dialogue, confidence-building measures and cooperation. The project will map actors involved in the geopolitics of the region from the standpoint of key regional and extra-regional states, assessing their respective understandings of ‘security’ and ‘stability’ in the region and producing detailed research into the threat perceptions, priorities and interests of these respective actors. State actors addressed by the project include: United States, Russia, China, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and the European Union.
Launched in January 2020 and running through June 2020, the project is jointly implemented by IAI and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) in Brussels, with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the Compagnia di San Paolo of Turin. Outputs will include a 10-chapter edited volume, an online expert survey and a final dissemination conference tentatively scheduled for late June 2020 in Rome.