President of Emirates Policy Center (EPC), Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi, said that the UAE is working tirelessly to establish stability in the Arab region, specifically in light of the current crises in the Middle East, such as the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the four boycotting countries - UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, and Iran's destructive role in conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Iraq; in addition to its destructive role in Lebanon through its support to “Hezbollah” and weakening the institutions of the country, by strengthening itself through Hezbollah’s militias. She praised the UAE undertaking a leadership role in partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in order to formulate intellectual and political visions for practical solutions to the current crises and to spread security and stability in the Arab region.

Al Ketbi added, in her opening remarks at the fourth “Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate”, held at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi over the course of two days (12-13 November): “the UAE is seeking to offer nations in the Arab region, a model full of hope that promises them stability, development, progress and happiness. A model that can lead them to a promising future, as expressed through UAE Centennial Plan 2071.” She continued: “In the same context, reform efforts of Saudi Arabia in economic and social domains led by King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, came about to significantly contribute to shaping a better future for the region and ensuring the wellbeing of its people.”

EPC President highlighted that “the international and regional orders are still characterized by fluidity, ambiguity and uncertainty, as the last edition of ADSD, held last November, has anticipated.” She continued: “At the international level, the structure of the international order has not changed. The world, however, is struggling to grasp the inclinations of super powers and predict their policies.” Al Ketbi then listed international crises such as, the state of “confusion and contradictions” amongst US institutions under the administration of President Donald Trump, and the predicaments which shook Europe, such as “Brexit”, and the issue of Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Al Ketbi went on to discuss current regional affairs, saying: “the Arab region is still suffering from the fallout of the Arab Spring. Wars are still raging in Yemen and Syria, Libya is still suffering from struggles and divisions, and while it seems that Iraq is on its way to defeat ISIS, the issue of Iraqi Kurdistan region’s independence has imploded.” She went on to add that these events are taking place at a time when "Iran’s ongoing policies are aiming for hegemony and undermining the Arab nation-state by supporting armed militias and fueling sectarian discourse.”

EPC president stressed that this year’s edition of “Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate” aims to approach various shifts in regional and global politics through employing decoding and geostrategic analytical tools. “Topics to be addressed in this gathering’s sessions will include Gulf Security: Issues and Scenarios, How Iran’s Internal Crises Reflect on its Regional Policy, Turkey: a Rebirth or Decline of a Nation, Competing Futures of Arab War-Torn Nations, the US Policy in the Gulf: Troubled Cruise, Russia: Old Lenses for a New World, Asia’s Return to the Global Order, and Extremism, Terrorism and the Future of Political Islam. Finally, it will be the first time at ADSD to address Soft Power in International Politics: UAE as a Model,” she added.

This year’s edition of ADSD will include, for the first time, a presentation titled: “Decoding the Future”. This presentation will be centered around a model for geostrategic analysis and predictions, as well as political and economic risk assessment, which EPC adopts and employs in its analyses and recommendations.

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