Dr. Jones is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, and executive director of the Ottawa Dialogue, a university-based organization that runs Track 1.5 and Track 2 projects around the world.
For many years, there has been discussion of the idea of creating an inclusive regional cooperation and security system in the Middle East. This discussion is gathering increased interest today as several events and trends have focused attention on the rapid changes in the region and how they may be dealt with. These include profound socioeconomic and political pressures in the region; the violent breakdown of governing authority in places like Syria and Yemen; the Iran nuclear issue; perceptions that the regional roles of major external powers, most notably the United States and China, may be changing; and the evolving relationship between Israel and certain Arab countries. This article outlines the ideas and concepts that arose from a multi-year series of studies on this issue by regional experts as to how such a system might be established and what its key provisions and structures might be. The article describes and proposes a model of an inclusive, multi-tiered regional process that will encourage regional dialogue on key social, economic, security, and political issues.
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