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Expert conference

Russia in the Mediterranean: Strategies and Aspirations

Expert workshop on geopolitical shifts and Russia's strategic role and aspirations in the Mediterranean

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In recent years, the balance of power in the Mediterranean has been decisively altered by a set of new regional and international players who aim to further their strategic aspirations in the region by bolstering ties with a range of state and non-state actors, and by intervening – directly or indirectly - in conflicts in Syria and Libya. The deepened Russian involvement in the Mediterranean region in the political, commercial and security domains, and the restoring of its military presence can be seen as one of the major shifts in the regional balance of power and comes at a time of rising uncertainty regarding US commitment to the region.

To contribute to the ongoing debate on Russian aspirations and involvement in the Mediterranean the workshop aims to discuss the recent power shifts and their implications on the balance of power in the Mediterranean region and to explore Russian strategic interests motivating the country’s deepened engagement in the region. To this end, the Russian involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Libya will be discussed. The workshop will also try to answer the question to what extent the Russian engagement in the region is motivated by its interest in the region itself and to what extent it is an indication of and means for larger global power aspirations. It furthermore aims to address transatlantic policies and strategies towards the Russian involvement in the region.


Monday, 25 September 2017

09:00 Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Canan Atilgan, Director Regional Program South Mediterranean, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

09:30 Panel 1: The Changing Security Environment in the European Neighborhood

What are recent power shifts in the European Neighborhood and what are their implications for the region and neighboring countries? What new ties are forming across political, security and commercial dimensions?

Moderator: Dr. Canan Atilgan, Director Regional Program South Mediterranean, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

  • How Regional and Global Conflict Lines Play Out in North Africa

    Issandr El Amrani, Project Director North Africa, International Crisis Group

  • Russian Strategic Political and Military Interests from East to South

    Dominik Jankowski, Head of OSCE and Eastern Security Unit, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland

  • Recurring Patterns or New Trends in the European Neighborhood?

    Dr. Michael Romancov, Head of Geopolitical Studies Program, Institute of Political Science, Charles University, Prague

11:15 Coffee break

11:45 Panel 2: The Russian Presence in Syria and the Future of the Levant Region

Will the Russian presence in Syria develop into a permanent one? What are the implications of Russia’s presence in Syria for the broader Levant region?

Moderator: Namik Tan, Former Ambassador of Turkey to the United States, Turkey

  • Moscow's Strategic Objectives in Syria and the Middle East

    Anna Borshchevskaya, Ira Weiner Fellow, Washington Institute, USA

  • Implications for Regional State and Non-state Actors

    Ercan Çitlioğlu, Expert, Baskent University Center for Strategic Research, Turkey

  • Rising Russian Military Footprint in the Mediterranean

    Dr. Can Kasapoglu, Defense Analyst, EDAM, Turkey

13:30 Lunch

15:00 Panel 3: Russia’s Engagement in North Africa

How can Russia’s actions be assessed in the framework of the UN peace process in Libya? In how far does the Russian engagement in Libya differ from its intervention in the Syrian conflict? What are the effects of the Russian intervention in Libya on stability and balance of power in North Africa?

Moderator: Dr. Can Kasapoglu, Defense Analyst, EDAM, Turkey

  • Perceptions of Russia’s growing presence in North Africa

    Dr. Ahmed Driss, Director, Centre of Mediterranean and International Studies, Tunis

  • Russia in Libya: Modesty of Strategy, Diversity of Tactics

    Dr. Vasily Kuznesov, Head of the Arab and Islamic Studies Center, Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow

  • A Lasting Role for Russia in North Africa?

    Dr. Mohamed Eljarh, Non-Resident Fellow, Atlantic Council, Libya

16:45 End of the first conference day

20:00 Dinner

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

09:30 Panel 4: New Alliances in the Mediterranean

Can the alliance between Russia and Iran in Syria be assessed as tactical short-term alliance or rather as indicator for a more sustainable coalition? How will efforts to contain Iran’s role in the region and a possible new alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in this regard affect Russia’s role in the Mediterranean region? How is Russia’s engagement in Libya influenced by Russian-Egyptian relations?

Moderator: Sven-Joachim Irmer, Director, KAS Office Turkey

  • The Mediterranean: A Region of New Coalitions

    Dr. Valeria Talbot, Head of the Mediterranean and Middle East Program, Italian Institute for International Political Studies, Milano

  • Iran-Russia Alliance in Syria and its Prospects: Iranian Perspective

    Dr. Davood Kiani, President, Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies (IRAS), Tehran

  • Prospects for Russian, American, and European Cooperation in the Middle East

    Dr. Mark N. Katz, Visiting Senior Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, USA

11:15 Coffee break

11:45 Transatlantic Reactions and Strategies

What is the outlook for US engagement in the region under the Trump administration? And how will it shape US-Russian relations/co-operation, particularly in the field of counterterrorism? What are the implications for the EU and NATO respectively in the Mediterranean?

Moderator: Dr. Mark N. Katz, Visiting Senior Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, USA

  • A Middle East without the US – Is Europe Able to Fill the Vacuum?

    Dr. Sylke Tempel, Editor in Chief, Internationale Politik, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin

  • Faltering US-Russia Relations and the Ramifications for the Middle East and North Africa

    Boris Zilberman, Deputy Director of Congressional Relations, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

  • US Engagement in the Mediterranean under the Trump Administration: A Regional Perspective

    Namik Tan, Former Ambassador of Turkey to the United States, Turkey

  • Can We Unite Europe Around the Engagement in the Mediterranean?

    Márton Ugrósdy,, Deputy Director Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT), Hungary

13:30 Closing of the workshop

14:00 Lunch

15:00 Guided visit of Bardo Museum and walk through the Medina

19:30 Dinner

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Russia in the Mediterranean: Mediterranean Dialogue Series 12
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Russia in the Mediterranean: Strategies and Aspirations
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Dr. Canan Atilgan

Dr. Canan Atilgan

Head of the Department Middle East and North Africa +49 30 26996-3201

Veronika Ertl

Veronika Ertl bild

Head of the Regional Program Energy Security and Climate Change Middle East and North Africa +212 537 6704 13-10