Scenarios for the MENA-Region

Bernhard Richter


In the autumn of 2013, a scenario-project for the future development of the MENA-Region (the region fromMoroccotoIran) was realised with the Bureau for Security Policy in charge. This scenario-project was supposed to develop the possible future developments of the MENA-Region, and consequently to analyse deductions and courses of action for the security policy ofAustria. In this essay the relevant steps of the project as well as the results of the analysis are presented. As a seminal-analytical method, the concept of “thinking in scenarios” was chosen. This scenario-project „MENA-region“ was realised in the framework of an interministerially composed project team, where the Bureau for Security Policy of the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports acted as project manager. The group of experts consisted of the security-relevant departments from BMLVS, BMI, BMeiA and Bundeskanzleramt as well as of external experts and research scientists. In the framework of this task force led by the Bureau for Security Policy of the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports five scenario workshops took place. In the course of these workshops “influencing factors” and “key factors” as the bases for the scenarios were identified. Thereupon “projections towards future” were developed for these key factors, which were then pooled into consistent scenarios by means of a morphological analysis. On the whole, six possible scenarios for the MENA-Region were developed by the scenario team. A scenario assessment for these scenarios was performed, followed by a consequence analysis in another workshop. The scenarios, however, do not represent strategies or decisions; they are supposed to be tools for decision support and for the development of sustainable strategies. In addition to systemizing processes of decision-finding and to making future-proof decisions, the concept of “thinking in scenarios” - in terms of recognition contiguity - is a major instrument for developing orientation knowledge and establishing a forum for strategic dialogue. From the author’s point of view the objective project has contributed to this aim. In addition to the actual purpose of this project - developing scenarios for the MENA-Region - this project, together with all former scenario-projects in the framework of the national situation picture process, has fostered some kind of “community building” for strategic future analysis on the national level.