The Gulf region has had a tense year. Long-simmering tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar exploded in a blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain. Intensifying rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia drives military conflicts in Syria and Yemen and political turbulence in Lebanon and Tunisia, as Iran and Turkey assist Qatar withstand the blockade. A short time later, the Saudi Crown Prince initiated a purge of the Saudi elite under the official rubric of an anti-corruption campaign. Media have played a central role in this geopolitical turbulence. Hackers allegedly planted contrived stories on Qatari news websites that started the Saudi-Qatari scuffle. The war of the airwaves between Qatar’s Al-Jazeera and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya intensified. An animated video of a Saudi invasion of Iran made the rounds of social media. In the meantime, critics and comics took to social media to spoof, criticize, and celebrate their leaders, countries and causes. Panelists will discuss these developments and take questions from the audience.
Hebah Bukhari is an Arab American of Uzbek descent. She earned her Bachelors degree with honors from Portland State University and is currently earning her Masters degree in Political Science with focus in International Relations and Comparative Politics from San Diego State University. She is particularly interested in the study of authoritarianism and gender inequality.
Dr. Lina Khatib is head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. She was formerly director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and the co-founding head of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, Islamist groups and security, political transitions, and foreign policy, with special attention to the Syrian conflict. She is a research associate at SOAS, was a senior research associate at the Arab Reform Initiative and lectured at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published seven books and also written widely on public diplomacy, political communication, and political participation in the Middle East. She is a frequent commentator on politics and security in the Middle East and North Africa at events around the world and in the media.
Dr. Marc Lynch is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs; Director, Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) at George Washington University. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. He teaches courses on Middle Eastern politics and international relations. He is the director of the Project on Middle East Political Science, a contributing editor for The Washington Post's Monkey Cage political science page, editor of the Columbia University Press series Columbia Studies on Middle East Politics, and a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The panel will take place from 4:00 - 5:30 pm, followed by a short reception. Space is limited, RSVP to email@example.com.