Eurasia Group | The Middle East: A Shift in Regional Equilibrium presents new opportunities, says the WEF Global Agenda Council 

The Middle East: A Shift in Regional Equilibrium presents new opportunities, says the WEF Global Agenda Council 

07 October 2011

Although the Arab Spring has decisively broken the regional status quo, a new equilibrium has yet to emerge. According to a report published today by the Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Geopolitical Risk of the World Economic Forum, this shift presents new roles for regional players as well as strategic opportunities for the US and Europe. "Established players have seen their roles change dramatically," the report announces. "In a context where new actors have the capacity to make an impact, big players like the US and Europe become policy takers rather than policy makers on key issues."

This regional shift presents the following opportunities:
- for Saudi Arabia to be the driver of leadership and oil talks in the Middle East
- for Egypt to broker a reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah
- for regional monarchies such as Morocco and Jordan to join the Gulf bloc
- for Turkey to stand as a political model to Arab reformists
- for individual powers like France, Italy and the UK to act as counter-balances to the US in Middle Eastern governments
- for open trade agreements to increase European influence in the Middle East

There is, however, a handful of events that could generate severe and significant shocks in the region, including a potential reversion to revolution in Egypt, further regime collapse in Syria, or possible military confrontation between Turkey and Israel. 

Ian Bremmer, vice chair of the GAC on Geopolitical Risk and president of Eurasia Group, says, "As the world's most renowned thought leaders gather at the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda in Abu Dhabi, we find ourselves at a crossroads in Middle Eastern history. While the US and Europe have reduced capacity and willingness to shape events in the Middle East, they are nonetheless drawn into the region's developments unlike ever before." 

Nader Mousavizadeh, member of the GAC and CEO of Oxford Analytica adds, "The economic imbalances that once drove the Arab uprisings may soon become the impetus for forging new ties between key European players and the Middle East via strategic open trade agreements."

The full report may be found here:

Part of the Network of Global Agenda Councils, the GAC on Geopolitical Risk is comprised of thought leaders from academia, government, business and other fields to capture the best knowledge in geopolitics and integrate it into global collaboration and decision-making processes. 

The members are: 
Kanti Bajpai, Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore
Katinka Barysch, Deputy Director, Centre for European Reform (CER), United Kingdom
Ian Bremmer (Vice Chair), President, Eurasia Group, USA
Steve Clemons, Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation, USA
Sumit Ganguly, Professor of Political Science, Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, Indiana University, USA
James F. Hoge, Counsellor, Council on Foreign Relations, USA
Jia Qingguo, Professor and Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University, People's Republic of China
Jin Canrong, Professor and Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Renmin University of China, People's Republic of China
Bobo Lo, Independent Scholar and Consultant, United Kingdom
Nader Mousavizadeh, Chief Executive Officer, Oxford Analytica, United Kingdom
Gideon Rachman, Associate Editor, Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Financial Times, United Kingdom
Douglas A. Rediker (Chair)*, Member, Executive Board, US, International Monetary Fund (IMF), USA
Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs, USA
Shen Dingli, Professor and Executive Dean, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, People's Republic of China
Dmitri Trenin, Director, Carnegie Moscow Center, Russian Federation
Nasim Zehra, Director, Current Affairs and Host, Policy Matters, Pakistan

*This report was created prior to when he assumed the chairmanship of the GAC. 

Contact: Martin Nagele, [email protected]
Alexsandra Lloyd, [email protected]