The Middle East Military Alliance and Coalitions (MEMAC) Conference

The Middle East Military Alliance and Coalitions (MEMAC) Conference examined the critical role that military alliances can play in the region’s collective defence and security. The approach highlighted the nexus between politics, diplomacy and military action and recognized the complexity of securing agreement between multiple states, each with their own unique political strategies. A borderless enemy requires a response that crosses those borders. The conference considered lessons learned from previous alliances and focused on existing alliances such as The Arabic Coalition in Yemen, the recently formed Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, NATO, U.N Peacekeeping Operations, and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS.

As a region of strategic importance, the countries of the Middle East have long been beset with challenges in maintaining their defence and security. The past few decades in particular have seen political instability, wars and extremism threaten to derail the vast progress made towards national development goals. We have seen countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen descend into spirals of violence with devastating consequences.

The 21st century faces a host of non-traditional threats. These threats, global terrorism and extremist ideologies, have no respect for territorial borders as witnessed with the activities of Daesh, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. The potential for violence and extremism to spread throughout the Middle East looms large. Preventing these shared threats is beyond the military capability of any one country and requires a combined response, such as that seen with Operations Decisive Storm, Odyssey Dawn and Inherent Resolve. These operations utilized coalition forces to counter threats posed by a common enemy.

The Middle East Military Alliance and Coalitions (MEMAC) Conference will examine the critical role that military alliances can play in the region’s collective defence and security. The approach will highlight the nexus between politics, diplomacy and military action and recognize the complexity of securing agreement between multiple states, each with their own unique political strategies. A borderless enemy requires a response that crosses those borders. The conference will consider lessons learned from previous alliances and will focus on existing alliances such as The Arabic Coalition in Yemen, the recently formed Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, NATO, U.N Peacekeeping Operations, and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS.

Additionally, the conference will give attention to the challenges facing Joint Operations and Central Command structures and the political and diplomatic constraints to creating an equitable and effective collective defence mechanism. Occurring simultaneously with BIDEC 2017, the military exhibition, the conference will also consider how the latest technologies can improve defensive and offensive capability on the battlefield.

Given the current scope of present day global terrorism and the shared threats to regional stability, the conference will put a spotlight on the essential role military alliances can play in a collective approach to combating extremist violence.

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