Kuwait’s security chief receives NATO official – Bleak assessment of Mideast by think tank

KUWAIT: Chief of the Security Bureau Sheikh Thamer Al-Ali Al-Sabah receives Nicola de Santis the head of NATO’s Middle East and North Africa affairs. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Chief of the Security Bureau Sheikh Thamer Al-Ali Al-Sabah receives Nicola de Santis the head of NATO’s Middle East and North Africa affairs. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Chief of the Security Bureau Sheikh Thamer Al-Ali Al-Sabah yesterday received Nicola de Santis, the head of NATO’s Middle East and North Africa affairs, discussing bilateral ties and mutual cooperation between the State of Kuwait and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The security bureau said in a statement that the discussions between the two sides dealt with preparations for inaugurating NATO’s training center, due in Kuwait late this year. The talks also dealt with activating on a broader scale the mutual cooperation partners’ program.

Bleak assessment
In the year to mid-2016, much of the Middle East continued to be affected by state-driven and jihadist violence, political turmoil and worsening economic and social conditions, according to a leading think tank. In its “Strategic Survey 2016: The Annual Review of World Affairs”, the UK-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank said that a sense of frustration and despair pervaded the region, as hoped-for de-escalation on various battlefields failed to materialize and no genuine effort at political reform was made. Instead, tensions grew and public space was tightened, with regimes strengthening their hold on power.

The wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya led to no decisive victories nor political settlements, while their humanitarian toll and security repercussions increased. Progressively losing territory in Iraq and Syria, Daesh gradually reverted to its role as an insurgent group, and mounted attacks outside the Middle East, the independent research centre said. However the report made it clear that Daesh is “shrinking and its power has weakened.”

It underscored that: “Importantly, the Russian intervention in Syria opened a new chapter in the internationalization of Middle Eastern crises. This and the accompanying retrenchment by the US, ahead of the country’s 2016 presidential elections, raised the prospect of greater brinkmanship.” In the end of its chapter on the Middle East, the study stressed that as Syria “remains the fulcrum of regional competition in the region, it also emerged as flashpoint for conflict between international powers.” The 2016 Strategic Survey analyses the trends that shaped relations between global powers in the past year.

This edition contains an expanded chapter of thematic essays to give broader insight into these important world trends, focusing its analysis of domestic events on those that affect relations between countries. Meanwhile IISS noted that 2016 was characterized by a “bad-tempered roar against political arrangements seen to be unfair, concocted by others, and out of touch with the current realities of international power or the prevailing winds of domestic sentiment.” In this environment, foreign policy became, and will continue to be overshadowed by the prospect of “greater brinkmanship”, the study suggested.- Agencies

This article was published on 28/09/2016