Al Jazeera’s 14th Forum The Middle East and the Russian War on Ukraine: Growing Crises and Opportunities

22 February 2023

After a three-year intermission brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the 14th edition of the Al Jazeera Forum will take place under the title, “The Middle East and the Russian War on Ukraine: Growing Crises and Opportunities,” on 11 and 12 March 2023 in Doha. The forum will host an elite group of researchers, politicians and experts.

Through discussion and dialogue, this edition will address the Russian war on Ukraine that erupted in February 2022 and examine direct and indirect implications on its main parties and others who were affected by it both negatively and positively. In this context, participants in the forum will present their reading of the distribution of power in the world a year later.

In the first session, speakers will explore whether the war represents a threat to international security and peace, or whether it can be viewed as an opportunity to form a more balanced world order. In this context, they will look into the history of relations between Russia and the West, whether they were relations of cooperation or fear and mutual threats, and how this impacted the development of these relations.

The session will shed light on the likelihood of the use of unconventional weapons, whether in the battlefields in Ukraine or in the case of the war extending to other countries, and the effects that could have. It will also discuss the implications of the war on nuclear, food and energy security.

The session will conclude with a discussion on the prospect of Russia and its allies successfully forming an Eastern bloc equivalent and parallel to that of the West, and the potential strategic and geopolitical implications of that.

From the impact of the war on the structure of the world order to its impact in Russia and the West, the participants will debate in the second session the objectives of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the war and explore to which extent the plans and strategies he set have been executed. Furthermore, they will delve into the mutual sanctions between Russia and Europe and the detriment they have caused for energy, food, security and migration as well as the relationship between all of that and the rise of the extreme right in decision-making circles. The participants will also present the West’s alternatives, after having cut ties with Russia, and whether these alternatives are available and able to compensate for the shortage resulting from the cutting of ties.

Sessions three to five of the forum will discuss the impact of the war on the Middle East, particularly in issues such as armament, the Iranian nuclear file, the Palestinian struggle and the Arab-Israeli conflict. It will also examine the implications of the war on various countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Egypt and the opportunities that countries like Turkey and those of the Gulf could invest in.

The forum will conclude with its sixth session by evaluating the media coverage of the war by both Russian and Western media, following the narratives each side presents to domestic and international public opinion to sway audiences and mobilise support. The session will also present the testimonies of field correspondents that covered the realities of the war and continue to work at its fronts.

Al Jazeera’s 14th Forum will be held at City Centre Rotana Doha on 11 and 12 March 2023. It will broadcast on Al Jazeera Mubasher and live-streamed on AJCS’s social media platforms.