The Shaikh Group: Middle East Strategic Dialogue

In September 2018, The Shaikh Group has launched its Track II initiative "The Shaikh Group: Middle East Strategic Dialogue". Supported by the Institut Montaigne in Paris, the OCP Policy Center in Rabat, as well as the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this project’s novel contribution consists in taking an “outside-in” approach to regional dialogue, by facilitating a series of consultations initially among former officials and senior experts from international powers - the United States, Russia, China, India and Europe - who are subsequently joined by regional actors. 

Since the difficulties in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have reached an unprecedented level of complexity and concomitant corrosive effect in the international system, there is today a need for global powers to find common ground and greater understanding between themselves first, before engaging regional parties on a long-term framework for the future. The dialogue series aims to produce tangible policy recommendations for key capitals and international stakeholders on improved governance mechanisms to address the spread of insecurity and conflict in MENA. 

The initiative will run for up to three years and consist of three phases, which will cumulatively build on each other and are focused on: Phase 1) a strategic dialogue on the interests and approaches of global powers to the MENA region; Phase 2) dialogue among these powers and key regional actors, and Phase 3) arrival at conclusions and recommendations for key international stakeholders.

The Middle East Strategic Dialogue has been selected to be represented at the Paris Peace Forum, which will be held from 11-13 November 2018 in Paris.