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  • Author: Gonul Tol, Philip Breedlove, Iulia Joja, Yoruk Isik, Mamuka Tsereteli
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Russia’s largest military buildup since the 2014 annexation of Crimea is taking place along the Ukrainian border and in the Black Sea. Moscow has resorted to escalatory measures, announcing the closing of the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea to foreign ships and cutting off Ukraine’s ability to export. In response, the West has reacted with warnings and invitations to dialogue while Turkey is trying to walk a fine line between Russia and Ukraine. To prevent further escalation of the crisis, much will depend on the Biden administration’s response. What are possible conflict scenarios of Russia towards Ukraine and the Black Sea? What options does the West have in deterring Russian aggression in the region? In what ways is this significant to the long-term US regional strategy? How is Russian military buildup significant not only for Ukraine, but also for the broader stability of the Black Sea region?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs, Navy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Black Sea
  • Author: Syed Mohammed Ali, Gerald Feierstein, Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, Marvin G. Weinbaum
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The relationship between Pakistan and the United States has never been easy or stable, and in recent years has come under increasing strain. Yet both countries have a vital stake in the maintenance of a working relationship. Several factors have complicated prospects for bilateral cooperation in the past, leading to a growing strategic divergence in how both countries view one another, and their interests vis-a-vis other regional players. Perhaps the biggest shortcoming in the Pakistan-US relationship has been that both sides have tried to address the issues between them without common frames of reference, resulting in differences of perceptions and policies. An expert group of academics, policy analysts, and retired government officials have recently convened at the Middle East institute to study the Pakistan-US relationship. The product of their discussions is a paper that explores a range of ideas and concrete proposals designed to move the relationship in a positive and stable direction. With support from the Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, and hosted by the Middle East Institute, we are pleased to invite you to this presentation by a team of former government officials and analysts, and other experts involved in this effort. This event will take place over a light lunch on March 3rd from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm at the Middle East Institute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Przemysław Osiewicz, Alex Vatanka, Suzanne Kianpour
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The relationship between the European Union and the Middle East is facing a critical period of change, given the changing leadership in key European Union bodies, rising tensions with regard to Iran, and increasing confrontation between the United States and Iran. The Middle East Institute is pleased to invite you to a conversation with MEI scholar Przemysław Osiewicz, who will discuss his recently released paper series on the impact of leadership changes in key EU bodies such as the EU high representative for foreign and security policy, the European Commission, and the European Council on EU-MENA relations. He will be joined by MEI Senior Fellow Alex Vatanka and moderator Suzanne Kianpour to explore divergences between the United States and the EU approaches in their policies toward Iran, internal divisions within the EU on engagement with Iran, the role of economic factors, and the future of the JCPOA.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Ivan Safranchuk, Michal Meidan, Gonul Tol, Michael Gunter
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East Institute’s (MEI) Frontier Europe Initiative has recently launched a report, A Sea Change?: China’s Role in the Black Sea. The report seeks to address China’s policy vis-a-vis the countries of the Black Sea from several angles. What is the nature of China’s presence in the Black Sea? Is China a significant player in the region’s energy scene? What is the state of Chinese-Russian relations?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Black Sea
  • Author: Alex Vatanka, Hannah Kaviani, Behnam Ben Talebiu, Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The looming arrival of the Joe Biden administration in January 2021 provides the leadership in Tehran with an opportunity to seek a qualitatively different relationship with the United States. President-elect Biden has already expressed a desire to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2018. While Tehran awaits to see what, if any, conditions the Biden team has for the resumption of the diplomatic track and removal of US-led sanctions, a policy fight is already under way inside the Iranian state about the future of US-Iran relations. The American question in Tehran is not just a foreign policy file but ultimately linked to the question of whether the Islamic Republic opts to continue a revolutionary and militant foreign policy or settles for a path of de-escalation with Washington and other rivals. How much of this policy competition in Tehran will shape Washington’s next steps vis-à-vis Iran? To discuss these matters and other key challenges in the path of US-Iran relations in the coming Biden administration, we are delighted to host a panel of experts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Darin LaHood, Paul Salem, Edward M. Gabriel, Jean AbiNader, Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon is on the brink of collapse due to its domestic economic and political crises, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another failed state in the Middle East would negatively impact strategic US interests. Lebanon requires a thorough reorientation towards stability and renewed socio-economic sustainability, which entails fundamental domestic reforms and targeted international support led by the US. The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) are pleased to co-host the public launch of a joint policy paper, Recommendations for a Sustainable Bilateral Relationship. What are the strategic interests the US has in Lebanon’s stability, and how can the US support Lebanese prosperity? Is the Lebanese government’s new financial recovery plan sufficient for the US to initiate support for the government? In what ways can the US best support a strong future for Lebanon?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Tarek Osman, Ariane Tabatabai, Morad Vaisibiame, Alex Vatanka
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The January assassination of Qassem Soleimani shocked the leadership in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had not expected the United States to escalate tensions between the two countries in such a manner. The assassination of Soleimani was an effort to change Tehran’s strategic calculations and policies for the Middle East. With continued sanctions imposed by the United States, regional tension, and the loss of a key decision maker, Iran is facing intensified challenges to achieve its goals at home and in the region. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome a group of experts to assess Iranian policy towards the Arab world following the death of Soleimani and to discuss how Arab states are reacting to Iran’s actions. How has Iran’s strategy in the Arab world performed following Soleimani’s death? In what ways have proxy forces in the Middle East that operate under Tehran’s command been affected? Who is left to make key decisions about the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the Arab states, and are we faced with a weaker IRGC Quds force after Soleimani? Finally, what do Arabs think of Iranian policies aimed at them?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sanctions, Qassem Soleimani, Assassination, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries, United States of America
  • Author: Marvin G. Weinbaum, Saad Mohseni, Anthony H. Cordesman, Muqaddesa Yourish, David Sedney, Ali Jalali
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The future of Afghanistan’s constitutionally liberal democratic system is very much at issue. On its survival rests the aspiration of the greatest number of its people, the deep investment of the international community in the country’s stability and wellbeing, and ultimately the security of the region and beyond. Negotiations are beginning in what is certain to be a lengthy process that may in the name of a compromise trade away social and economic gains realized over nearly two decades. Afghanistan has additionally to cope with the disengagement of foreign forces just at a time when their leverage militarily and diplomatically could be critical. In the absence of a verifiable ceasefire, the country confronts a prospect of exploding violence and possible descent into chaos. Can Afghanistan pull itself together to not only protect its achievements but to overcome past errors? Should Afghans and their international partners think about formulating a Plan B to save the republic while striving for true reconciliation with the insurgency? The Middle East Institute is pleased to host a panel of experts to discuss these questions and more.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political stability, Domestic politics, Violence
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States of America
  • Author: Stephen Walt, Bilal Y. Saab , Barry R. Posen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Of all the internal obstacles and external challenges the United States is likely to face in its pursuit of its new foreign policy priority of great power competition, the Middle East might prove to be the biggest. If the region continues to command U.S. attention and resources, Washington will struggle in its efforts to effectively pivot and counter Chinese and Russian ambitions in Asia and Europe, respectively. How does or should the Middle East fit in America’s new grand strategy? Does the great power competition necessitate an entirely new U.S. approach toward the Middle East? Which U.S. approach best serves Washington’s new global plans? To answer these questions and many others, the Middle East Institute (MEI) is honored to host a conversation with Professor Barry Posen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor Stephen Walt from Harvard University.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Grand Strategy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Douglas London, Scott Modell, Alex Vatanka, Mohsen Sazegara
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s unprecedented “maximum pressure” campaign has so far failed to result in a breakthrough in the long-running US-Iran standoff. This simple reality leaves the US with very few fresh policy options as Washington looks to navigate the various challenges it considers the Islamic Republic to pose to American interests. Among remaining untested policy options is the idea that the United States should commit to pursue a policy of regime change in Tehran. This should be led by a combination of efforts spearheaded by American intelligence services. Advocates of such a policy course favor this path as they see no realistic chance for any kind of deal with the Islamist ruling class in Tehran. How would such a US-led covert action agenda against Iran look like? What are the key components of such a policy of “regime change”? Would it really represent a risk-free transition from the militant theocracy that is the Islamic Republic to a democracy? The Middle East Institute (MEI) is delighted to host a panel of experts to address these questions
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regime Change, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Michael Waltz, Marvin G. Weinbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East Institute (MEI) hosted U.S. Representative (FL) Michael Waltz to address U.S. policy priorities for Afghanistan. In conversation with Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies at MEI, Rep. Waltz will discuss the many complicated challenges facing Afghanistan, key regional challenges to consider, and policy prescriptions given the fallout of the deal with the Taliban.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Taliban, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Avner Gvaryahu, Daniel Seidemann, Celine Touboul, Bashar Azzeh
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: While some corners of Washington and the international community are waking up to the reality of Israel's de facto annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and recurrent crisis in Gaza, few policymakers understand how the policies that have created this brutal and often tedious reality look like on the ground. This panel of seasoned Israeli experts will untangle the mess of occupation and annexation facing Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as the decisions required to address Gaza’s chronic problems.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Occupation, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Gaza, West Bank
  • Author: Omar Baddar, Rula Kort Bawardi, Nizar Farsakh, Muna Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The American public and policymaking circles all too often reduce the “Palestinian perspective” to a single, monolithic viewpoint, both in terms of historical experience and yearning for the future. The oversimplification glosses over key complexities that directly result in a varying answers to the question “what do Palestinians want?”. This reduction of the Palestinian perspective contributes to a distortion in how the American policy world, as well as public, view Palestinians. The panelists explore the multiplicity of Palestinian perspectives and narratives looking back on the events since 1948 and looking forward on the future of the Palestinian people.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, History, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Randa Slim, Philippe Lazzarini
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon is facing overwhelming socioeconomic, security, and demographic challenges as the civil war in neighboring Syria enters its seventh year. Since the start of the crisis, Lebanon has received $4.9 billion in assistance, but demands on the country's resources, services, and civil order remain heavy. Without a political solution to the Syrian conflict, humanitarian and development aid cannot deliver and sustain sufficient results for the refugees or for the Lebanese people. How will Lebanon continue to deal with these conditions? The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Foreign Policy Institute (SAIS-FPI) were pleased to host Philippe Lazzarini, the United Nations deputy special coordinator in Lebanon. He discussed opportunities and challenges for shifting the international response to Lebanon's Syrian refugee crisis beyond short-term humanitarian and stabilization efforts to a more sustainable economic growth strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, United Nations, Foreign Aid, Refugees, Economic Growth, Syrian War, Development Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria