The Future of Middle Eastern Cyber Warfare

Mediterranean Advisory Group Meeting

Meeting of Mediterranean Advisory Group on developments in cyber security and cyber warfare in the MENA region


The political use of cyber tools is a powerful accelerator of geopolitical confrontation. Combining considerable disruptive potential and quick deployment at low political and economic cost, cyber attacks allow wreaking havoc cheaply, quickly, globally, and with high impact. The past few years have witnessed a cyber awakening in the Middle East that has been overlooked for too long. Existing political tensions and conflicts in the region have gained an additional arena allowing for a much more rapid escalation. The Qatar crisis in June 2017 provided a glimpse of how the pursuit of expansive geopolitical ambitions by means of targeted cyber attacks can generate conflict and trigger political landslides.

How developed are the offensive and defensive cyber capabilities of governmental and non-governmental actors in the MENA region? How do cyber operations change the balance in MENA geopolitics? How will cyber operations shape the relationship between key regional powers such as Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, with their neighbors? How will cyber affect ongoing crises in the Middle East, and how will it generate - or help avoid - conflict in the future?

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Dr. Canan Atilgan

Dr. Canan Atilgan

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