06 May 2016

On April 19-20, 2016, the government of Bahrain hosted the inaugural Infrastructure Security Conference, where over 150 regional energy professionals and international experts were invited to discuss the most important challenges in protecting critical energy assets. The conference highlighted the importance of natural resources as a critical component of security in the Middle East and examined the effects of better inter-regional cooperation between countries in safeguarding these essential resources from threats. Bahrain’s Minister of Energy, Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, presided over the conference which took place in Manama.

Strauss Center senior fellow, Dr. Kevin Rosner, was a keynote speaker at the conference, sharing research conducted under the Strauss Center’s Middle East Initiative on the intersection of water, energy, and security. His presentation on Hybrid Warfare and Critical Infrastructure Protection discussed the militarization of natural resources and associated infrastructure. Dr. Rosner believes that all countries can benefit from collaboration in protecting their critical Infrastructure (CI).

The Bahrain News Agency reported on Dr. Rosner’s presentation where he spoke of the problems concerning a current lack of cooperation in researching and responding to Critical Infrastructure protection in the region. Rosner notes that, “The problem has been that efforts to learn and reflect on CI protection have been fragmented at best with often those looking for information and contacts left at a loss of where to turn.” He suggested that, "GCC governments should join with others to better understand the re-emergence of conventional attacks and exploitation of natural resources as a mechanism and weapon for conducting hybrid warfare."

Dr. Rosner closed his presentation with an invitation for others working on these issues to become engaged with the work being done by the Strauss Center. The Strauss Center’s Middle East Initiative seeks to develop a framework for analyzing the intersection of infrastructure, water, and energy security in the Middle East and, in doing so, provide new data and analysis to support strategies that seek to promote human security, interstate cooperation, and stability in the region.

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