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Time and again the Middle East has been shaped—and reshaped—by era-defining events. Despite America’s foreign-policy pivot toward Asia and away from the region over recent years, American involvement in the Middle East has become more complex, more dangerous, and more important than ever before.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fluctuating oil prices, can it be said that we are facing a New Middle East? In this series, retired Foreign Service officers with Middle East expertise offer insights on pivotal issues—covering areas from Turkey to Iran and across the Arabian Peninsula—that define the new landscape of American foreign policy in the Middle East.
As part of the first program, Ambassador (ret.) Barbara Stephenson, president of the American Foreign Service Association, offers an overview of the work of the foreign service to provide a context for the issues of diplomacy examined in the series.
Mar. 15 Israel and Palestine
The seemingly intractable conflict between the two nations has simmered for decades and has long been a central issue in the region. Yet, world leaders are increasingly turning their attention and resources to other issues that have flared up in recent years. Where does this generational issue stand, and will we ever see its resolution? Senior Foreign Service officer (ret.) Molly Williamson discusses the past, present, and future of this difficult topic.
Mar. 22 Turkey
The gateway between Europe and the Middle East, Turkey has become an increasingly important player on the world stage. Retired Foreign Service officer Elizabeth Shelton analyzes this significant and often-misunderstood NATO ally, a nation marked by unrest within its own borders, instability among its neighbors, and a long and complicated history with Europe and the West,
Mar. 29 Iran
With recent developments surrounding the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, relations with this large regional power have reached historic levels not seen in generations. Will this be the beginning of a new Iran and, perhaps, a new Middle East? Ambassador (ret.) John Limbert traces the path that led us to our current state and where we might be headed.
Apr. 5 Syria
The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a new wave of humanitarian disasters and escalated tensions between the U.S and Russia. With more than a quarter million dead, millions more displaced, and seemingly no end in sight, will this conflict go on to define this region for years to come? Ambassador (ret.) Kenton Keith examines these and other complex issues at the core of the calamity.