The Westphalia for the Middle East Programme is a template for us to think differently about the means and ways in which a durable peace may be achieved in the Middle East. It seeks to draw lessons and themes from an earlier period when many of the assumptions of international relations had yet to be established and when Europe was itself a complex tapestry of competing sovereignties, both state and non-state, secular and sectarian. The purpose of the Westphalia Programme is to rethink and challenge our assumptions about the development of the state and international relations so that we can better understand a world that is complex and fluid.

Conflict in the Middle East today is deeply rooted in historical relations between the various states, ethnicities and sectarian groups. Bearing in mind the deeper historical tensions, current conflicts can be traced to disruptive events in the recent history of the region. The Westphalia Programme believes that historical experience and example can help us to better understand our own problems and how to solve them outside the constraints of international relations theory which is quintessentially a product of the ‘modern’ state-centred understanding of international politics. As such, it is an exercise in applied history.

Latest

In the press

Are Iran’s leaders losing their grip on reality — and the country?

Sunday 21st April, 2024

Are Iran’s leaders losing their grip on reality — and the country?

Director of our “Westphalia for the Middle East” programme, Prof. Ali Ansari, pens an opinion piece in the Sunday Times about the Iranian people’s reaction to their government’s missile strike on Israel. Note: paywall protected.

In the press

How an ‘uncontrollable’ full-scale conflict sparked by Israel and Iran could look

Wednesday 17th April, 2024

How an ‘uncontrollable’ full-scale conflict sparked by Israel and Iran could look

Our Middle East specialists, Prof. Ali Ansari and Sir John Jenkins, contribute to this article on rising tensions between Iran and Israel, and the dangers of it escalating to war.

In the press

In the United Kingdom, pressure is increasing to strengthen sanctions against Iran

Tuesday 16th April, 2024

In the United Kingdom, pressure is increasing to strengthen sanctions against Iran

Sir John Jenkins, our Middle East joint strand leader, is quoted in this article on the UK debate around naming Iran’s IRGC a ‘terrorist organisation’.

In the press

‘We have been living in a warm war between Israel and Iran for decades’, says Professor of Iranian History

Saturday 13th April, 2024

‘We have been living in a warm war between Israel and Iran for decades’, says Professor of Iranian History

Our Middle East North Africa programme director, Prof. Ali Ansari, speaks to Channel4 News about rising tension between Iran and Israel and the danger of escalation to a full-scale war.

In the press

The spirit of Nowruz is the real Iran

Tuesday 2nd April, 2024

The spirit of Nowruz is the real Iran

Our Middle East programme director, Prof. Ali Ansari, writes that for Iranians, increasingly suffocated by the cultural austerity of the Islamic Republic, the equinoctial celebration of Nowruz is a stubborn reminder of who they really are.

Hamas, Israel and Britain: an interview with Sir John Jenkins.

Thursday 29th February, 2024

Hamas, Israel and Britain: an interview with Sir John Jenkins.

The international impact of the war in Gaza is explored in ‘TheArticle’

In the press

Panorama’s ‘Hamas’ Secret Financial Empire’

Monday 19th February, 2024

Panorama’s ‘Hamas’ Secret Financial Empire’

Sir John Jenkins contributes to and appears in this BBC Panorama documentary on ‘Hamas’ Secret Financial Empire’.

Peace building

The changing geopolitics of the Middle East and the prospects for peace

Commentary

Women, peace and security in the Middle East

Announcement

A fond farewell to Dr Thomas Peak

Monday 25th October, 2021

A fond farewell to Dr Thomas Peak

In the press

Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East

Friday 19th June, 2020

Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East

Prof. Brendan Simms explains how a 17th Century peace settlement in Europe could provide a template for exploring peace in the Middle East in the 21st Century.