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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,
WHERE • Seminar Room 3-5,
Manasseh Meyer Building,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469E Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259774
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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.