Blogging the Manama Dialogue

Manama Dialogue 2006

updated 1431 with speaker agenda below the fold
A major event is starting in Bahrain today and continues to Sunday. This event brings together several countries’ foreign ministers, national security personnel, analysts, academics and others who are interested in the security and stability of this region. It is the annual International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Regional Security Summit, or the Manama Dialogue for short, and I have been invited to blog it.

The countries participating have increased year-on-year, with this year garnering participation from Australia, Bahrain, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE, UK, US, and Yemen, all under one roof, sequestered in the same location to enable these officials to conduct bi- and multi-lateral meetings behind closed doors and in open sessions in order to arrive at an understanding of what needs to be done to pour oil on the turbulent waters of this region. Where else would you gather together the highest ranking officials from normally antagonistic countries but events like this?

So what exactly is the Manama Dialogue? Well, let me borrow from their official site this explanation:

The IISS Regional Security Summit is the primary security forum for the Persian Gulf. Convened annually, it brings together all elements of the national security establishments from the countries in the region – Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen – with the key external powers – Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The IISS Regional Security Summit provides a forum where the most senior authorities responsible for defence, foreign policy and security issues from the participating states can exchange views on the security challenges of the region. The inaugural meeting in 2004, and the second summit in 2005, proved that there is a need for an informal mechanism for regional security consultation involving all the relevant actors. Recent developments have demonstrated that such an institution is now a necessity.

The IISS will host the third Regional Security Summit (The Manama Dialogue) from 8–10 December 2006 in Bahrain.

Since its inception, the IISS Regional Security Summit has evolved rapidly into an essential component of the regional security apparatus, uniquely involving all the states and key personalities responsible for Persian Gulf security. The IISS has no agenda of its own in convening this summit, apart from facilitating meetings of government leaders in circumstances that they could not so easily organise for themselves. Now fully established as the primary vehicle for security diplomacy, it continues to involve government leaders at the highest levels so that regional security strategy can be developed.

See the extended summary for the IISS Regional Security Summit

The agenda for the conference is quite inclusive of a plethora of security issues faced by this region, and the plenary sessions are especially interesting:

The Manama Dialogue 2006


Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa, Manama, Bahrain

Friday 8 December

All day Delegates arrive in Manama; registration
All day Bilateral Meetings between Ministers and Officials

20:15 Opening Reception
21:00 – 23:00 Keynote Address and Opening Dinner

HRH Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Chief of General Intelligence, Saudi Arabia

Saturday 9 December

09:00 – 09:05 Opening of the Summit

Dr John Chipman
Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS

09:05 –09:40 First Plenary Session

Dr Zalmay Khalilzad
Ambassador of the US to Iraq

09:45 – 11:15 Second Plenary Session

Manouchehr Mottaki
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iran

Hoshyar Zebari
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iraq

Sh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain

Sh Mohammed Al Abdallah Al Sabah
Director, Citizens Services and Governmental Bodies Assessment Agency

11:15 – 11:45 Coffee break

11:45 – 13:15 Third Plenary Session

M. K. Narayanan
National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, India

Yuriko Koike
National Security Adviser, Japan

Sun Bigan
Special Envoy to the Middle East, China

13:15 – 15:00 Private Lunch for Delegation Leaders
Lunch for all other Delegates

15:30 – 17:30 Simultaneous Break-Out Groups


Chair: Professor François Heisbourg
IISS Chairman; former IISS Director

Vice Admiral David Nichols
Deputy Commander, Central Command, US

Vice Admiral A K Singh
Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, India

Zainul Abidin Rasheed
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Singapore


Chair: Ellen Laipson
President and CEO, The Henry L. Stimson Center, US

Dr Saadoun Al Dulaimi
Adviser to the Prime Minister; Iraq

Wafaa Bassim
Deputy Foreign Minister, Egypt

Mohammed Abdulla M Al Rumaihi
Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar


Chair: Field Marshal The Rt Hon Lord Inge
Former Chief of the Defence Staff, UK

Dr John Hillen
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, US

Jean de Ponton d’Amécourt
Director, Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Defence, France

Dr Hossein Mousavian
Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme National Security Council; Vice President, International Issues, Center for Strategic Research, Iraq

20:30 – 23:00 Reception and Dinner
Hosted by His Highness Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa

Sunday 10 December

08:45 – 10:00 Fourth Plenary Session

Jawad Al Bolani
Minister of Interior, Iraq

Mehmet Vecdi Gonul
Minister of Defence, Turkey

Carl Bildt
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee break

10:30 – 11:45 Fifth Plenary Session

Maurice Gourdault-Montagne
Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the Republic, France

Rt Hon Adam Ingram
Minister of State for the Armed Forces, UK

Christian Schmidt
Parliamentary State Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Germany

11:45 – 12:15 Coffee break

12:15 – 13:30 Sixth Plenary Session

Muhammad Ali Al Anisi
Chairman, National Security Agency and Head of the Presidential Office, Yemen

General Ehsan Ul Haq
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Pakistan

Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie
National Security Adviser, Iraq

13:30 – 13:45 Conclusions and Envoi

13:45 – 15:30 Closing Working Lunch for Delegation Leaders

Farewell Lunch for all other Delegates

Press Conference

Rest of afternoon Further bilaterals


As you can see, there are a lot of sessions to cover, and I will do my best to attend as many sessions as possible to learn more about the issues we are surrounded with and shall cover them as best I could.


  1. Post

    I thought my back would be okay for tonight. It’s rebelling at the moment, I’ve got a patch on it and I hope, deeply hope, that I will be able to attend this fantastic gathering. I have never experienced one of these gatherings before and am so looking forward to it… but being sane about my back is more important, I really don’t want to extend this recuperation more than the absolute necessary. I’ll let you know if I do make it.

  2. Political Grind

    We are also blogging this event, All of us at political grind look forward to reading your (and the other bloggers taking part in this event) analysis of the many security issues.

  3. Ibn

    Hmmm…. interesting….

    If this is a speech on security on the middle east, how come half of the countries arent middle eastern?…

    I dunno. Ill watch this with a grain of salt…


  4. milter

    For your info.

    Here are the conclusions of the meeting last year.

    I wonder if there will be any changes but I’m looking forward to following it. I hope your back will get better.

  5. Post
  6. jasra jedi


    Thats because security in the Middle East is governed by non Middle Easterners … everyone wants to come and play ..

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