On October 19th, the Arabia Foundation, the International Crisis Group, and the Council on Foreign Relations, co-hosted “The Widening Gulf: Saudi-Iran Confrontation in the Trump Era.” The event, which took place at the Council on Foreign Relations’ headquarters in New York City, featured two panels and two breakout sessions.
Justin Vogt (Foreign Affairs) moderated the opening discussion, “Iran-Saudi Confrontation,” which featured Elliot Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations), Rob Malley (International Crisis Group), Frances Townsend (Former Homeland Security Advisor), and Ali Shihabi (Arabia Foundation).
While the panelists agreed that Saudi-Iran relations have deteriorated over the past five years, and may yet deteriorate further, they differed with regard to the causes of this breakdown as well as the historical, political, economic, and ideological dimensions of the ongoing clash between Riyadh and Tehran.
On June 7th, the Arabia Foundation hosted its inaugural event “Wahhabism and Terrorism: Is Saudi Arabia the Arsonist or the Fireman?” to an audience of journalists, academics, researchers, US and international government representatives, and members of the private sector.
The discussion was prompted by the fundamental importance of the US-Saudi strategic relationship and the Arabia Foundation’s desire to hold an open dialogue on the myriad political, economic, and security links the two nations share in the context of the current conflict against terror and extremism.
Moderated by David Ignatius, award-winning columnist for The Washington Post, the event featured a panel of distinguished guests including The Honorable Chris Murphy, junior US Senator for Connecticut and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dr. F. Gregory Gause III, Head of the International Affairs Department at the George H.W. School of Government at Texas A&M University, Dr. Bernard Haykel, Director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia at Princeton University, and Simon Henderson, Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Although our panelists approached this difficult subject from divergent backgrounds and opposing viewpoints, what followed was a spirited, substantive, and frank debate on the complexities surrounding the interrelationship among politics, terrorism, economics, and religion in the twenty-first century.
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The views expressed in this video are those of the panelists and discussants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Arabia Foundation.