Mending US-Russia Relations to Stem the Sectarian Contagion in the Middle East
While the roots of ethno-sectarian conflict in the Middle East are manifold, there is little doubt that the concocted ‘new cold war’ between the United States and Russia has further fanned the flames in Syria and across the region. Conversely, one might be prone to ask to what degree the eruption of the Arab Uprisings and civil war in Syria has invited US-Russian competition over regional spheres of influence, if not hegemony. And how might a revised US-Russian relationship positively contribute to a de-escalation of the (proxy) conflict in Syria and the region at large? Preeminent American scholars including John Mearsheimer, Stephen Cohen, and Stephen Walt have bemoaned the gratuitously bellicose stance of hawks in the US administration towards Russia and argued for reconciliation and security coordination given the shared stakes in the fight against terrorism.
Meanwhile, the spreading contagion of sectarian strife has thus far not led the superpowers to bury the hatchet and fully coordinate actions against militant movements. This lecture will posit that a return to regional stability in the Middle East, and indeed global peace, hinge on a fundamental redefining of foreign policy strategies according to joint long-term security interests. While there have been encouraging recent signs of incipient diplomatic coordination between the US and Russia regarding Syria, given the magnitude of the crisis of sectarianism, much more must be done, particularly in light of the unabated tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Indeed, not least for the sake of the welfare of their own citizens, the two Gulf states, as regional players, must be forced to the same table of negotiations. The lecture will cross-examine the dialectical interplay of global and regional incubators, shedding light on the sources of, and possible remedies to, inter-sectarian and super-power antagonisms.
Moderator: Alexey Malashenko, Chief Researcher at DOC Research Institute
Key- speaker: Mark Farha, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
Attendance is by prior registration only.