Camille Lons / Jon Alterman / Chas W. Freeman, Jr. / Jim Moran
The following is an edited transcript of the 107th in a series of Capitol Hill conferences convened by the Middle East Policy Council. The event took place on January 21, 2022, via Zoom, with Council President Richard J. Schmierer moderating, and Council Executive Director Bassima Alghussein serving as discussant.
Mohmad Waseem Malla
This article critically examines the configurations of China's approach to the Middle East, in general, and the Iran-Saudi Arabia axis, in particular. China's traditional practice has been to secure its national interests in economic terms while maintaining a critical distance from the domestic affairs of its partner countries. But lately, with changing geopolitical dynamics in the region, the scope of Beijing's engagement with these states has transformed as well.
Degang Sun / Haiyan Xu / Yichao Tu
Nuclear energy, the new frontier of China's cooperation with the Middle East, carries both geoeconomic and geopolitical implications. The development of civil nuclear energy is conducive to the diversification of the energy structure of Middle Eastern countries, meets their increasing needs for electricity at home, and improves their seawater desalinization.
Seyed Masoud Mousavi Shafaee / Vali Golmohammadi
This article analyzes the logic of recent instability and disorder in the Middle East. It offers two interrelated arguments. First, the region has turned into a battle zone in the aftermath of US retrenchment. The United States and other external powers refrained from direct engagement in shaping Middle Eastern order and, therefore, aspirant regional powers were prompted to redesign that order.
For many years, there has been discussion of the idea of creating an inclusive regional cooperation and security system in the Middle East. This discussion is gathering increased interest today as several events and trends have focused attention on the rapid changes in the region and how they may be dealt with.
Bassant Hassib / James Shires
While the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are not alone in their increasing exposure to the negative side effects of greater digital dependency, their status as technological leaders—not just in the region, but also in the world—means that they are vulnerable to a variety of cybersecurity threats.
Tova C. Norlén
This article analyzes the underlying human insecurities and changing geopolitical alliances in the Middle East during the past decade to assess the most likely short- and medium-term impacts of Covid-19 on the global security environment. In particular, it focuses on the “pre-existing conditions” for instability in the Middle East, and the opportunity that the pandemic might have to exacerbate them.
Ideology and interest often contradict each other in the lives of individuals, organizations, and states, but the contradiction ceases when survival is at stake. This study demonstrates that even longstanding insurgencies undergo major shifts when they find it difficult to maintain ideological purity. While ideology plays a significant role for these insurgencies, context makes it imperative to be flexible and put interest first in fluid circumstances. This is certainly the case with Hezbollah.
Namig Abbasov / Emil A. Souleimanov
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, political commentators and students of international relations alike have been puzzled by an increasingly cordial relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan, a Muslim-majority republic in the South Caucasus. Indeed, the unfolding alliance of the Jewish state and a tiny, energy-rich, post-Soviet country sandwiched between Iran and Russia has been by many seen as an anomaly. Particularly puzzled have been constructivists and adepts of geopolitics for whom the shared Shiite identity of Azerbaijan and Iran pre-ordained a close relationship.
Reza Bagheri / Eric Lob
The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI)’s relations with Africa declined to a considerable extent during Hassan Rouhani's presidency. Rouhani pursued a foreign policy that showed little interest in the continent and did not consider it a strategic partner. Some scholars argue this policy exclusively resulted from the IRI's regional involvement in Syria and Yemen, as well as its economic difficulties due to US sanctions.