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January 07 2014


No Neutral Ground in a Burning World

The news of the past few years is one small ripple in what is a great wave of culture and history, a generational clash of civilizations. If you want to understand why governments are acting and reacting the way they are, and as importantly, how to shift their course, you need to understand what they're reacting to, how they see and fail to see the world, and how power, money, and idea of rule of law actually interact. Our relationships with work and property and with the notion of national identity are changing rapidly. We're becoming more polarized in our political opinions, and even in what we consider to be existential threats. This terrain determines our world, even as we deal with our more individual relationships with authority, the ethics imposed by our positions in the world, and the psychological impact of learning that our paranoia was real. The idea of the Internet and the politics it brings with it have changed the world, but that change is neither unopposed nor detatched from larger currents. From the battles over global surveillance and the culture of government secrecy to the Arab Spring and the winter of its discontent, these things are part of this moment's tapestry and they tell us about the futures we can choose. The world is on fire, and there is nowhere to hide and no way to stay neutral. http://events.ccc.de/congress/2013/Fahrplan/events/5491.html Day: 2013-12-27 Start time: 23:00 Duration: 01:00 Room: Saal 1 Track: Ethics, Society & Politics Language: en

December 19 2013


A Discussion and Book Signing with BBC's Paul Danahar, Author of The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring | Middle East Institute

The Middle East Institute is proud to host Paul Danahar, BBC's North America bureau chief, for a reading and discussion of his book, The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring (Bloomsbury Press, 2013). In his latest book, Danahar highlights the historic changes taking place in the Middle East, as the countries engulfed by the Arab Spring continue along their paths to democracy and tensions rise between the religious and the secular in Israel. Danahar will discuss how these factors are producing a new regional and global order, focusing on the implications for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, emerging democratic societies, and the new power narrative taking shape in the Middle East. Afterwards, Danahar will sign copies of his book. Bio: Paul Danahar served as the BBC's Middle East bureau chief between 2010-2013. During that period, he ran the organization's entire news operation in the region, which won an Emmy in 2013 for its coverage of the conflict in Syria. Previously, Danahar served as the BBC's East Asia bureau chief and the BBC's South Asia bureau chief, where he covered the rise, fall, and eventual return of the Taliban. He was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in 2003 for his work as the Baghdad bureau chief during the American-led invasion. In 2013, he was appointed the BBC's North America bureau chief. He is now based in Washington, DC. http://www.mei.edu/events/discussion-and-book-signing-bbcs-paul-danahar-author-new-middle-east-world-after-arab-spring#audio

October 28 2013


Saudi Arabia, Iran And A Region In Flux

Saudi Arabia, Iran , and the new geo-political calculus of the Middle East, with America awkwardly in the middle.

Ever since FDR famously sailed into the Suez Canal to meet with Saudi King Ibn Saud in 1945 on the American destroyer the USS Quincy, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been deep strategic partners in the Middle East.  Plenty of stresses, as the US allied with Israel and the Saudis flexed their massive oil power and exported Wahabi Islam.  But the Saudi monarchy had also been an American bedrock in the region.  Now the talk is of potential crackup in the partnership.  That’s big.  Up next On Point:  Saudi fury as the US charts a new course in the Middle East.

– Tom Ashbrook


Stephen Kinzer, professor on International Relations at Boston University and a former New York Times correspondent. Author of “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War” and “Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future.” (@StephenKinzer)

Dr. Abel Aziz Aluwaisheg, Assistant Secretary General for Negotiations and Strategic Dialogue at the Gulf Cooperation Council. (@abuhamad1)

Dan Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, columnist at Foreign Policy Magazine and senior editor at The National Interest. (@DanDrezner)

From Tom’s Reading List

Arab News: Saudi move highlights need for UN Security Council reforms — “The timing of the Saudi decision on Friday appeared to be related in particular to the failure of the UNSC to stop the carnage perpetrated by the Syria regime. Over the past 30 months, the Syrian regime has killed over (100,000) of its own people, while forcing seven million Syrians to be either refugees outside their country, or displaced inside it. UN human rights agencies and special commissions have documented crimes committed by the Syria regime, including mass killings, torture, rape, collective punishment and wholesale destruction of towns and neighborhoods. They have also named key officials who are believed to be behind crimes against humanity committed in Syria.”

Foreign Policy: On Syria, You Say Bureaucratic Politics, I Say Realism — Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off – “Clearly, a lack of consensus among Obama’s top foreign policymakers buttressed his own stated reluctance to get too deeply involved in Syria.  That said, the policymakers with the most influence over the president were articulating a rationale for why continued conflict might not be a bad thing.”

The Guardian: New President Hassan Rouhani make the unimaginable imaginable for Iran — “Finding a way to bring Iran back into the world’s mainstream will be Rouhani’s principal challenge. His power is limited, though in the fluid world of Iranian politics, he is likely to accumulate more. His adversaries, most notably supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and the United States, ridicule him as a puppet of repressive mullahs.”

August 21 2013


Aug 20, 2013 — Matthew Duss & Michael Hanna

May 10 2013


The Arab Spring: Have We Missed the Real Story? - This...Is Interesting on KCRW

Matt Miller talks to economist Hernando de Soto about the causes of the Arab Spring, and how not being able to own things can lead to revolution. http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/in/in130508the_arab_spring_have

February 10 2012


Transition in Libya: The Next Steps

The Libyan transition has entered the difficult phase of creating a new political system, which will be shaped by both formal and informal processes. February 2, 2012 http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/02/02/balancing-political-powers-in-libya-s-transition/95pt

Lebanon on the Margins of the Arab Spring

One year after the Arab Spring began, Lebanon reflects on its own experience with popular protests during the Cedar Revolution. February 3, 2012 http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/02/03/lebanon-on-margins-of-arab-spring/96s6

January 28 2012


Audio: Understanding The Arab Spring: Public Opinion and the Roots of Revolution in the Arab World | Center for Strategic and International Studies


Russia's Strategy in the Middle East

Russia's approach to the Middle East is at a turning point, as the changes associated with the Arab Spring continue to destabilize regimes and alliances and Iran appears to be moving ahead with its nuclear program in defiance of Russia and the West. January 26, 2012 http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/01/26/russia-s-strategy-in-middle-east/92mr

January 17 2012


Dispatch from Port Said: An Observer’s Perspective on Egypt’s Pivotal Elections | Atlantic Council

January 10 2012


Iran's Hand in the Levant | Atlantic Council

"Panelists examined Iran’s changing role in the Levant, challenges posed to local armed forces, and the political future of the region. They also discussed how Iran's relations with Syria and Lebanon have been impacted by the Arab Spring."
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