A Different View of Geopolitics in the Gulf

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
The National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, Washington DC

A Different View of Geopolitics in the Gulf:

Do Some Arab States Promote Islamophobia in the Name of Fighting Extremism?

Thursday, February 12th

Beginning at noon

(A banquet-style lunch will be served)

The National Press Club

529 14th Street NW, Washington DC


Elise Labott, Moderator         

Hassan Hassan, Center for Global Policy

Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar, The Arab Gulf States Institute

Fatima Abo Alasrar, Nonresident scholar, Middle East Institute

In the wake of Washington’s assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, all eyes are focused on how the killing might affect Iran’s relationship with its Gulf state neighbors. Less attention is being focused on Arab societies.

For years, some Arab states have claimed that, along with Iran, extremism was a major threat. The result was human rights violations against their own citizens and a campaign in the West that an Islamist threat was endangering the region. The result enhanced a more far-reaching fear of Muslims living in Western societies. Although this strategy has played out over many years, recent instability in the Middle East has raised question marks over whether it is sustainable in the long-term.

What is the status of some Arab states’ policies based on the notion of an Islamist threat? Do recent events undermine this strategy? How are Arab societies responding? Is President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric helping or hurting Arab states’ agendas in the wake of the Iran-Iraq-U.S. crisis?

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