Restoring Hope Amid Crisis: Responses to the Economic Collapse in Lebanon

On October 4, 2022, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations joined with Anera to convene a discussion on “Restoring Hope Amid Crisis: Responses to the Economic Collapse in Lebanon.” The program featured three longtime senior staff from Anera’s team in Lebanon who talked about their work, the current crisis facing the Lebanese people, and how civil society can respond.

 

 

Joining the program were:

Context Provider:

  • Dr. John Duke Anthony, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO; Author, inter alia, of Arab States of The Lower Gulf: People, Politics, Petroleum.

Featured Specialists:

  • Samar El Yassir, Anera Lebanon Country Director
  • Leen Ataya, Anera Lebanon Education Program Manager
  • Lama Ghaddar, Anera Lebanon Program Manager

Audio and video recordings of the program are available above and below, and on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere.

“Restoring Hope Amid Crisis: Responses to the Economic Collapse in Lebanon” podcast (.mp3)

Can Lebanon Be Saved?

On March 10, 2022, the National Council convened an online program, “Can Lebanon Be Saved?”, exploring a recent policy brief from the American Task Force on Lebanon and the Middle East Institute, Helping the Lebanese People Move Toward Recovery: Recommendations for U.S. Policy.

 

 

Joining the program were:

Welcome:

  • Mr. Patrick Mancino, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Executive Vice President and Director of Development.

Featured Specialists:

  • Ambassador (Ret.) Edward Gabriel, American Task Force on Lebanon President and CEO; Former United States Ambassador to Morocco (1997-2001).
  • Ms. Mona Yacoubian, United States Institute of Peace Senior Advisor for Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa; Former United States Agency for International Development Middle East Bureau Deputy Assistant Administrator.

Moderator:

  • Mr. Jean AbiNader, American Task Force on Lebanon Vice President for Policy; International Programs and Communications Specialist.

Audio and video recordings of the program are available above and below, and on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere.

“Can Lebanon Be Saved?” podcast (.mp3)

The Lebanese Cause

On October 5, 2021, the National Council convened an online program on “Unpacking Lebanon’s Crisis: Assessing the Leadership Failings Causing the Current Human Calamity.”

 

 

Joining the program were:

Featured Specialists:

  • Ms. Daizy Gedeon, Writer and Director of ENOUGH! Lebanon’s Darkest Hour; Journalist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur.
  • Mr. Ziad El Sayegh, Civic Influence Hub, Executive Director – Lebanon; Specialist in public policy and refugee issues.

Moderator:

  • Colonel (Ret.) Abbas K. Dahouk, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Board of Directors Member; Former Senior Military Advisor to U.S. Department of State; Former U.S. Defense and Army Attaché to Saudi Arabia; HyphenPoint LLC Principal.

Welcome and Context Provider:

  • Dr. John Duke Anthony, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO.

Audio and video recordings of the program are available above and below, and on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere.

“Unpacking Lebanon’s Crisis: Assessing the Leadership Failings Causing the Current Human Calamity” podcast (.mp3)

Regional Dynamics in Context: A Conversation with H.E. Walid Joumblatt

On April 12, 2021, the National Council convened an online program, “Regional Dynamics in Context: A Conversation with H.E. Walid Joumblatt.”

 

 

Joining the program were:

Featured Specialist:

  • H.E. Walid Joumblatt, Progressive Socialist Party (Lebanon) President; Lebanese politician and leader.

Moderator:

  • Colonel (Ret.) Abbas K. Dahouk, Former U.S. Department of State Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Senior Military Advisor; Former Embassy of the United States in Saudi Arabia Defense and Army Attaché; HyphenPoint LLC President; National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Board of Directors Member.

Welcome and Context Provider:

  • Dr. John Duke Anthony, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO.

Audio and video recordings of the program are available above and below, and on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere.

“Regional Dynamics in Context: A Conversation with H.E. Walid Joumblatt” podcast (.mp3)

“Geo-Political Dynamics: Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq” – 24th Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

Session on Geo-Political Dynamics: Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq with Dr. Paul Salem, Mr. Bassel Charles Korkor, Mr. Elias Samo, Mr. Charles C. Chidiac, Dr. Judith Yaphe, and Dr. Michael Hudson from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 24th Annual Arab-US Policymakers’ Conference, “U.S.-Arab Relations at a Crossroads: What Paths Forward?,” on October 14, 2015, in Washington, DC.

Watch on YouTube

Listen to Podcast (.mp3)

Read Transcript (.pdf)

The Consolidation of a New Arab Political Order

Operation Decisive Storm Coalition Forces' spokesman Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri provides a briefing on developments in the campaign.

Operation Decisive Storm Coalition Forces’ spokesman Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri provides a briefing on developments in the campaign. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

While the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm against the Yemeni Houthis and their allies continues and its long-term results are so far unknown, it is not pre-mature to project that a new Arab political order is being consolidated. Its elements include a firm and sustainable commitment to fight extremism and sectarianism, bring order and stability to the heart of the Arab world – namely, Syria and Iraq – and design, chart, and lead an independent course for the protection of pan-Arab national interests.

Such an order has a leader in the collective energies and capabilities of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with Saudi Arabia as a first among equals, and essential assistance from such countries as Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. Indeed, to assure its collective interests, arrive at a hoped-for peaceful stability, and sustain much needed political, economic, and social development, the Arab world must coalesce around a strong political order that can utilize its capacities and permissible international conditions to achieve what it needs and deserves. Importantly, the consolidated new Arab political order appears to emphasize essential principles that require astute judgment, committed resources, and continuous vigilance.

Fighting Extremism and Sectarianism

The status quo states of the new Arab order are cognizant of the threats represented by the plethora of extremist groups operating at the heart of the Arab world. In Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has staked a claim in Hadramawt Province abutting the Saudi Arabian border after it lost its bases in Shabwa and Abyan to the west. In Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State group has erased the borders between the two countries in a mission to re-establish an imagined and borderless Islamic Caliphate while al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front controls strategic areas of Syria. Both organizations are serious threats to Lebanon and its pluralist political society.

In Libya, the Islamic State group, al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar ash-Shari’a, and a sundry of militias have settled, and promise to both keep the country unstable and use it as a base to spread chaos and mayhem elsewhere. In Tunisia and Egypt, jihadist extremists are waging a war of attrition against state security institutions. The actors of the consolidating Arab political order must know full well that they alone can address this threat in a fashion that combines a sense of shared responsibility for common interests and an attempt at forging an independent course that serves such interests.

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Geo-Political Dynamics: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, & Iran – 2014 Arab-US Policymakers Conference

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations23rd Annual Arab U.S.-Policymakers Conference included a session on “Geo-Political Dynamics: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, & Iran” that featured Dr. John Iskander, H.E. Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Dr. Judith Yaphe, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, Dr. Imad Harb, and Dr. Trita Parsi.

An audio and video recording of the session as well as a link to the transcript are available below. Videos of the entire 2014 conference are available on YouTube and podcasts of the conference are available through iTunes and FeedBurner.

 

 

Transcript (.pdf)

Audio only:

 

The Dynamics of Future Saudi Arabian-Iranian Relations in Context

All is not well in Arabia and the Gulf. The further unraveling of security and stability in Iraq has exemplified this and more to the increasingly beleaguered government of Iraqi Arab Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad, the country’s capital. The accelerated breakdown of law and order in the land between the rivers has also rattled the governments and political dynamics of Iran, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, and the six member-countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Among these countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran are of out-sized importance. Greater information, insight, and knowledge about how these two competitors for regional prominence perceive, interact with, and analyze and assess the likely intentions of the other – not just regarding Iraq but also Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon – is essential to understanding key trends and indications in Arabia and the Gulf at the present time and where the region is likely to be headed in the days to come. 

It is in this context that the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations is privileged to present the essay that follows by National Council Distinguished International Affairs Fellow Dr. Imad Kamel Harb. Dr. Harb recently returned to Washington, DC after spending the previous seven years working as a researcher and analyst in the GCC region. 

Dr. Harb previously worked to help rehabilitate the Iraqi higher education sector as a Senior Program Officer for Education at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). There he authored a USIP Special Report on “Higher Education and the Future of Iraq,” published in 2008. 

Since earning his PhD from the University of Utah, Dr. Harb has been an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco State University, the University of Utah, Georgetown University, George Washington University, the University of Maryland, and the Middle East Institute. 

Dr. John Duke Anthony


THE DYNAMICS OF FUTURE SAUDI ARABIAN-IRANIAN RELATIONS IN CONTEXT

By Dr. Imad Kamel Harb

June 12, 2014

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Recent diplomatic overtures emanating from Saudi Arabia about possibilities for a thawing of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran are unlikely to produce their desired results. Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal’s recent invitation to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to visit the kingdom was tepidly received at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

A potential visit by the former Iranian President, and former Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatullah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, itself originating from an invitation by the new Saudi Ambassador to Tehran, Abdul-Rahman bin Ghorman, still awaits the approval of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei.

Myriad contentious issues from Bahrain to Yemen to Iraq, and from Lebanon to Syria have had the two countries’ leaderships at loggerheads and made anentente improbable. Indeed, Iranian-Arab acrimony promises to be the state of affairs for the foreseeable future, negatively affecting regional peace and inter-communal relations between the Gulf’s Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

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