The second Manama Dialogue- Sherpa Meeting was convened 5-7 October 2012 in the IISS-Middle East offices in Bahrain. Participants included senior officials and military leaders from those states which participate in the annual Manama Dialogue summit. This was the final Sherpa Meeting in preparation for the 2012 IISS Manama Dialogue, which will be held 7-9 December 2012 in Bahrain. Discussions included the crisis in Syria, enhancing security cooperation in the Gulf, lessons from the Libyan conflict and how to draw Iran into talks on curbing its nuclear programme.
The first Sherpa meeting was held 10-12 February 2012. Panel discussions addressed US and European Regional Security Policy, GCC Security Cooperation, the Changing Regional Security Dynamic, and the Role of Outside Powers in Regional Security. Other topics included Iran; freedom of navigation and maritime security; ballistic missile defence; Syria; the global financial crisis; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Delegates engaged in numerous bilateral and multilateral private meetings.
The meetings provided a unique opportunity for delegates who have high-level responsibility for foreign and security policy to engage in an off-the record, substantive exchange of ideas and information about regional security
The Sherpa sessions strengthened the Manama Dialogue community by building support for effective ministerial engagement at the summit, including recommendations for the Manama Dialogue Summit in December 2012 These recommendations included greater attention to the role of human security in economic development and regional security; participation of civil society actors and parliamentarians in the Manama Dialogue; the role of security sector reform in enhancing regional security; greater Asian participation in regional security; the relationship between geo-economics and security, including between Asia and the Gulf; and policies to enhance anti-piracy measures, including a specialized international piracy court.
It was the strong view of the participants that the Manama Dialogue is an essential part of the regional security infrastructure. Since 2004 the IISS has held annually the Manama Dialogue in the Kingdom of Bahrain, bringing together heads of state, prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, national security advisers and armed forces chiefs, strategists and commentators from over 20 countries to engage in high-level international defence diplomacy on regional security issues.