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  • Author: Michael Knights, Hanin Ghaddar, Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Charles Lister
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Iran’s influence throughout the Middle East has grown dramatically in the past decade, in large part due to its expanding regional network of militias and their assertion of influence in unstable environments. Through the IRGC’s Quds Force and Iranian allies such as Lebanese Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen, Iran’s pursuit of regional hegemony through the removal of Western influence threatens stability. What are the main challenges and threats posed by Iran’s regional network? How best should they be dealt with? Can diplomacy remove the incentive for Iranian proxy aggression? How must the United States and the wider international community respond to Iran’s direct and proxy involvement in conflicts across the Middle East?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Transnational Actors, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Lebanon
  • Author: Ruba Husari, Samantha Gross, Gerald Feierstein, Jean-Francois Seznec
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: One of President Biden's most ambitious campaign promises is centered around American energy policy. Biden has vowed to shift away from a traditional focus in oil toward investments in renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, the oil industry in the Middle East is already facing severe repercussions from the coronavirus pandemic. States like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon are struggling to replace oil revenue, cutting social benefits and worsening social unrest in the process. Oil has been the economic backbone on which the U.S. and nations in the Middle East have built diplomatic relationships and maintained mutual security interests. How will these crucial bonds be affected by a greener Biden presidency?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Oil, Pandemic, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United States of America
  • Author: Joey Hood, Elise Labott
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: At the end of Joe Biden’s first 100 days as President of the United States, The Middle East Institute is pleased to host a special event to assess progress on key priorities and set new policy goals in response to newly emerged challenges. With political turmoil in Jordan, upcoming Palestinian elections, and an opportunity to rebalance engagement with Iran and Gulf partners, many questions remain as to the key priorities for the Biden administration’s agenda. Last month, MEI released The Biden Administration and the Middle East: Policy Recommendations for a Sustainable Way Forward on key geopolitical and strategic areas in the MENA region. This event, which will be opened with a keynote conversation with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood, will convene key authors of the briefing book in a series of panels to reflect on the recommendations and explore opportunities to change course.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, American Presidency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • 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: 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: Khaled Elgindy, Martin Indyk, Nour Odeh, Shibley Telhami
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: As Americans head to the polls in November the results will have far reaching implications for Americans and the global community alike—perhaps none more so than Israelis and especially Palestinians. Insofar as Israelis and Palestinians are concerned, the differences between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden could not be more stark. While Trump has upended one sacred pillar of the peace process after another Biden has pledged to reverse the most destructive of these policies in the hope of salvaging what remains of a two-state solution and to restore U.S.-Palestinian relations, now at an all-time low. Even as the Trump administration has worked to preempt virtually all issues of concern to the Palestinians—from Jerusalem and refugees to the prospect of self-determination—Palestinians are themselves beset by a host of internal and external challenges. Internal political division, institutional paralysis, and a chronic economic crisis, have brought the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the verge of collapse and sapped its legitimacy. Meanwhile, the recent normalization deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and the possibility further normalizations, have underscored the marginalization of the Palestinian cause, both in the region and in the global policy discussion. What is—or should be—the Palestinian national strategy in light of these unprecedented challenges? Can the PA survive another Trump term? Would an ostensible return to the status quo ante by a Biden administration be enough to save the two-state solution?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Elections, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Iulia Joja, Ryan Olson, Mamuka Tsereteli, Ian Birzezinksi
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Three Seas Initiative has been dubbed a new Marshall Plan for Central and Eastern Europe. Promising buy-ins from Three Sea Initiative members, including Poland and Romania, will be matched with up to 1 billion USD by the United States. The aim of the Three Seas Initiative is to contribute to the economic development of Central and Eastern Europe. The Black Sea is partially covered by the initiative through the membership of Romania and Bulgaria, but the region's strategic importance as the connection point between Europe, Asia and the Middle East remains largely unaddressed. While Ukraine has recently expressed its interest in joining, US strategic allies and EU partners, Georgia and Ukraine as well as NATO member Turkey, are essential for the economic development and critical infrastructure that the Black Sea needs. What role does the Black Sea play for Eastern European economic development and security? How can the Three Seas Initiative make a difference to the Black Sea region in terms of economic development? How can non-3SI members like Georgia and Ukraine buy in and benefit from the Three Seas Initiative?
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Integration, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, 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: Khaled Elgindy, Sam Bahour, Tareq Baconi, Mustafa Barghouti, Noura Erakat
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Part 1 – Reviving Palestinian Political Life Former Vice President Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump is likely to produce a major reset in American-Palestinian relations as well as in Washington’s role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. No U.S. president had done more to isolate Palestinians and delegitimize Palestinian national aspirations than Trump. Meanwhile, Biden has pledged to reverse the most destructive aspects of Trump’s policies and restore U.S.-Palestinian relations in the hope of salvaging what remains of a two-state solution. Yet even as the Palestinians breathe a collective sigh of relief at Trump’s departure, the Palestinians’ internal house remains in a state of disarray and decline. The Palestinian national movement, now at one of the lowest points in its history, continues to be racked by political division, institutional stagnation, and a lack of strategic clarity.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Negotiation, Peace, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Khaled Elgindy, Dana ElKurd, Yousef Munayyer, Mustafa Barghouti
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Part 2 – Toward a Palestinian National Strategy Former Vice President Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump is likely to produce a major reset in American-Palestinian relations as well as in Washington’s role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. No U.S. president had done more to isolate Palestinians and delegitimize Palestinian national aspirations than Trump. Meanwhile, Biden has pledged to reverse the most destructive aspects of Trump’s policies and restore U.S.-Palestinian relations in the hope of salvaging what remains of a two-state solution. Yet even as the Palestinians breathe a collective sigh of relief at Trump’s departure, the Palestinians’ internal house remains in a state of disarray and decline. The Palestinian national movement, now at one of the lowest points in its history, continues to be racked by political division, institutional stagnation, and a lack of strategic clarity.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine