- Patryk Pawlak, Brussels Executive Officer, European Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)
- Kristina Kausch, Senior Resident Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF)
- Joost Hiltermann, Program Director Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group (ICG)
- Ian Lesser, Vice President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
The Middle East is yet another region where cyberspace is becoming a principal front line. Since June 2017, when a hack on a Qatari government website triggered the Gulf Cooperation Council’s deepest diplomatic crisis since its inception, the Gulf states have been stepping up efforts to enhance their cyber reach. A "cyber arms race" is underway as countries like Iran and Israel consolidate their gains as full-fledged cyber powers while other powers in the region attempt to catch up. The political use of cyber tools works as a powerful accelerator of geopolitical confrontation in the region as existing political tensions and conflicts gain an additional arena for faster escalation. The Qatar crisis not only escalated long-simmering tensions in a region key to U.S. and EU interests and put in question its regional security arrangements; it also provided a glimpse of how the pursuit of expansive geopolitical ambitions by means of targeted cyber-attacks can generate conflict and trigger political landslides in the glimpse of an eye.
This event is organized by The German Marshall Fund of the United States, with support from the EU Commission.
If you have any questions, please contact Amal Bourhrous at +32 2 238 5282 or ABourhrous@gmfus.org.