Lunchtime TALK The Current Struggle for the Middle East: Regional Dimensions Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, President of Gryphon Partners SYNOPSIS • The Middle East today is the world’s most unstable region. It suffers from a wide range of complex crises that are caused by a combination of many underlying factors: 1. Domestic factors inside states. These include economic problems and population issues such as high rate of youth unemployment; absence of consensus among key communities on fundamental issues; the rise and politicization of ethnic and sectarian identities; the decline of Arab nationalism and rise of Islamic ideologies including extremist ones; the proliferation of armed groups including terrorist groups; and erosion of support for current borders in the face of transnational sectarian conflicts. 2. The unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its ramifications. 3. Big power policies and rivalries. 4. Globalization and the rise of social media. The ability of ordinary individuals to spread information quickly and mobilize networks and public opinion means communities are more likely to react energetically when oppressed, but also allows violent and radical groups to have access to global audience and recruits. 5. The competition among key regional players for influence, preeminence and even hegemony; the instruments these powers use to achieve their goals and their effect on the region; and their changing relative power, influence and effectiveness of different players and prospects for mutual accommodation and regulation of their rivalry. The talk will focus on factor number 5 and the possible options for restoring order and stability in the region. There are three main possible ways in which this could happen. 1. One major state, like Iran, could emerge as a regional hegemon. 2. A new balance of power among several key regional powers. 3. Mutual acceptance and accommodation between the key Sunni and Shia regional powers. Some of these option are not mutually exclusive and one could lead to another. SPEAKER • Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is President of Gryphon Partners, a global advisory firm based in Washington, DC. He has been involved with US policy makers at the White House, State Department and Pentagon since the mid-1980s, and was the highest-ranking Muslim American in the Administration of US President George W. Bush. Amb. Khalilzad's previous assignments in the Administration include US Ambassador to Afghanistan (2003 - 2005), US Ambassador to Iraq (2005 - 2007), and US Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2007 - 2009). CHAIR • Prof Kanti Prasad Bajpai, Vice-Dean (Research) and Wilmar Professor on Asian Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy WHEN • Wednesday, 15 April 2015, 12:15pm-1:30pm WHERE • Seminar Room 3-5, Manasseh Meyer Building, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy 469E Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259774 View on Google Maps: http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/mm-3-5 RSVP • Admission is free. Please register at [email protected] This is a brown bag session and you are most welcome to bring your own packed lunch.
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