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POLARITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST:Balance of Power and The Race for Regional Hegemony in 2018


Balance of Power and The Race for Regional Hegemony in 2018

On Thursday May 10 the Young Australians of International Affairs will welcome Prof James Piscatori of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU to present an update on the power politics of the Middle East in 2018.

In 2018 the race for hegemony in the Middle East has reached new heights. Saudi Arabia, under its new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has demonstrated a potential new foreign policy agenda for the Arab superpower. Its regional rivalry with Iran has continued but with a new dimension of a possible Saudi-Israeli alliance. However, its blockade against Qatar and its ongoing bombardment of Yemen demonstrates the volatility of the relationships between the Arab powers in the region. Iran continues to defend its role as a regional power through backing its regional allies including Syrian President al-Assad in order to prevent any threats against its regional interests. Meanwhile, the US administration under President Trump threatens to tear up the Iran nuclear deal which could see Iran build up its defensive capabilities, triggering a potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The unpredictability of the Middle East and its power politics is undoubtedly a contentious issue in international relations.

Professor Piscatori is currently Deputy Director and Professor at the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies. Prior to holding this position he was Chair of the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University, a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford; and Professor of International Politics in the University of Aberystwyth. He has held professorial appointments in the Department of International Politics, the University of Wales, and the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he has been a Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York. He has also been Senior Fellow at two research institutions -- the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has served on several international collaborative committees such as the Committee for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies of the Social Science Research Council, and was co-editor of a series on Muslim Politics for Princeton University Press.


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