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Thursday, January 5th, 2012. 9:30am - Noon
Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room (Room 2168)
WASHINGTON, January 5, 2012 – Analysts at the Middle East Policy Council’s 67th Capitol Hill Conference today titled “Israel, Turkey & Iran in a Changing Arab World” addressed how the national interests of these three nations have been affected by the ongoing political upheavals in the broader Middle East, particularly the challenge to the Syrian regime.
The event was a part of the Middle East Policy Council’s quarterly Capitol Hill Conference Series where experts convene at the nation’s capitol to address timely policy debates related to U.S. national interests in the Middle East. The event was live-streamed globally on the Council web site and accessible to a live audience on the organization’s Facebook page.
“The increasing importance of Arab popular sentiment and opinion during the Arab Awakenings will increase Israel and Iran’s isolation from the Arab world and will even challenge and diminish Turkey’s new found influence,” said Thomas Mattair, the Executive Director of the Middle East Policy Council.
Other speakers at the event - including Robert Malley (International Crisis Group), Karim Sadjadpour (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and Omer Taspinar (Brookings Institution) – agreed that the Arab Awakenings affected each nation in significant ways. However, these impacts differed when considering Israel, Iran and Turkey more carefully, and each speaker offered insight about the diverse calculations being made by leaders in Jerusalem, Ankara and Tehran.
Robert Malley argued that the uncertainty and unpredictability of the upheavals in the Arab World have made Israel more cautious about pre-empting perceived threats there, but may enable Israel to act more boldly in pre-empting Iran’s nuclear program.
Karim Sadjadpour noted that the loss of Assad in Syria would be a huge blow to Iran’s regional influence, as is Hamas’ potential relocation from Damascus to Doha. He also argued that Iran will face competition not only from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but from an increasingly proud and assertive Egypt.
Omer Taspinar explained that while Turkey may appear to be the biggest regional “winner” from the Arab Awakenings, increasingly assertive neighbors backed by more vocal public opinion on sensitive issues like the Palestinian question may actually diminish Turkey’s influence in the next few years as its recent rise was in some sense due to the vacuum of leadership from its neighbors.
For further press inquiries related to this event, please contact Rebecca Leslie at (202) 296-6767 or email@example.com.
Middle East & North Africa Program Director, International Crisis Group
Middle East Program Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Nonresident Senior Fellow and Director of the Turkey Project, Brookings Institution