Sultan Al Qassemi on The MacMillan Report

This week Sultan Al Qassemi was featured on The MacMillan Report. In this feature, he discusses Modern Middle Eastern art and architecture. As biographied by The MacMillan Report,

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a lecturer and researcher on social, political and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States whose articles have appeared in The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and Foreign Policy, as well as other notable publications. Sultan’s tweets became a major news source during the Arab Spring, rivaling the major news networks at the time, and TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” He is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, 100 works from the collection were hosted on a long-term basis at the Sharjah Art Museum.

To watch The Report on Youtube, click here.

Recalling Turkey’s Peace Process

three Kurdish women hold signs stating Kurds Want Peace; devastation of urban warfare in Suriçi

About 30 million Kurds live throughout the Middle East in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. The ethnic group represents about 13 percent of Turkey’s population and at least 7 percent of Syrians, and the United States has long backed Kurds fighting extremists in Syria. Turkey and its Kurdish PKK rebels had arranged a ceasefire in 2013. Then civil war in Syria and Kurdish demands for self-rule heightened tensions, helping consolidate power for the AKP Party that runs the Turkish government. A crackdown ensued and ever-increasing levels of authoritarianism fail to deliver peace, explains Ronay Bakan, a 2018-2019 Fox International Fellow at Yale’s MacMillan Center. Bakan offers two recommendations: First, the Turkish state should create more democratic and inclusionary space for all citizens, including the 72 percent who are ethnic Turks and the 28 percent that represent minorities. Second, the country could decentralize some health, education and social services, allowing greater local control. Increasing democratic participation could reduce the need for authoritarian measures and stabilize the country. – YaleGlobal

Mechanical Horses, Galactic Sinbads and Other Unexpected Tales: Exploring the Astonishing Wonders of Classical Literature of the Middle East

Mechanical Horses, Galactic Sinbads and Other Unexpected Tales: Exploring the Astonishing Wonders of Classical Literature
of the Middle East

Presented by: Abdul-Rehman Malik, Postgraduate Associate at the Yale MacMillan Center Council on
Middle East Studies

Saturday December 8th 10:00am – 12:00pm
10:00 – 11:00 Student workshop (grades 7 – 12)
11:00 – 12:00 lecture open to all!
location: 53 Wall Street, New Haven

free parking available in the lot across from the whitney humanities center on wall street

register
Fantasy, science fiction and superheroes have never been more popular! Did you know the classical literature of the Middle East was the source of much early European Sci-Fi writing! In Arabic and Persian, we find stories of mechanical horses that fly, galactic explorations and underwater civilizations. In this workshop and lecture, you will explore some of these astonishing stories by making connections to more modern narratives and hearing a special presentation about some of the historical roots of today’s fantasy and Sci-Fi craze.
To register click here or visit onhsa.yale.edu/MOSAIC

In Post-Khashoggi Saudi Arabia, Business Leaders Have a Chance to Fill a Moral Void

With the U.S. government slow to respond to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, business leaders took the lead by pulling out of Saudi Arabia’s investor conference. Yale SOM’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and journalist Roya Hakakian write that continued business activism can help bring about positive change in the Middle East.

https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/in-post-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-business-leaders-have-chance-to-fill-moral-void?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=In%20Post-Khashoggi%20Saudi%20Arabia%2C%20Business%20Leaders%20Have%20a%20Chance%20to%20Fill%20a%20Moral%20Void&utm_campaign=insights-newsletter-nov-long2018

Charting the rise of modern Iran with Yale historian Abbas Amanat

Abbas Amanat

Abbas Amanat, the William Graham Sumner Professor of History at Yale, poured decades of research into “Iran: A Modern History,” his new book charting five centuries of Iranian history and its encounters with the neighboring lands and the Western world.

Amanat guides readers through multiple dynasties, revolutions, civil wars, and foreign interventions, culminating in the rise of the Islamic Republic. He provides a detailed examination of Iranian politics, society, and culture that seeks to understand how the religious establishment seized control of the Iranian state and has maintained power for nearly 40 years.

The book, published by Yale University Press, has drawn positive reviews in the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Review of Books, and The Times and Sunday Times of London.

https://news.yale.edu/2018/10/30/charting-rise-modern-iran-yale-historian-abbas-amanat

Across disciplines, Yale forges rich ties to Middle East

A photograph of archaeologist Frank Brown and his crew during a 1934-1935 excavation in Dura-Europos, Syria.

Last spring, Kishwar Rizvi, professor of the history of art, led a group of eight graduate students to Dubai as part of her seminar “Museum and Nation.” Rizvi’s students conducted fieldwork there and later hosted a symposium on their research.

The students belong to a community of scholars across Yale engaging with the Middle East. Faculty and students are examining the region’s history, art, cultures, conflicts, and politics. They are forging relationships at universities and institutions from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. They are bringing leading scholars and artists from the Middle East to campus to share their work and ideas with new audiences.

Yale’s Council on Middle East Studies is the hub for this scholarship and outreach. The council, based at The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, supports research projects and language instruction, sponsors public programming, and provides opportunities for Yale students to work throughout the Middle East in places like Morocco, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

https://news.yale.edu/2018/10/19/across-disciplines-yale-forges-rich-ties-middle-east

 

US Ends Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

No more back to school? UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl condemned cut in US aid that threatens to send Palestinian schoolchildren in the Occupied Territories back to the streets

The UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East began operations in 1950, funded by volunteer contributions from UN member states, to provide relief for Palestine refugees after the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA provides education, medical care and emergency assistance to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and since the agency’s beginning, the United States was the largest bilateral donor. The Trump administration has now announced an end to that support, calling UNRWA “irredeemably flawed” and “unsustainable,” due to support for the descendants of original refugees. About three-quarters of UNRWA staff are teachers, and experts warn program cuts could push hundreds of thousands of students into the streets. The United States seeks a new definition and limits for the term “refugee.” Palestinians and Israelis are still in conflict over territory and other issues, and the peace process is stalled. The United Nations expresses hope that other member states increase their contributions. – YaleGlobal

 

US Policy on Russia Aims for Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in 2015; US National Security Adviser John Bolton meets Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in 2018

Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. Foreign leaders and members of Congress have since focused their attention on Donald Trump’s Russia policies and may be neglecting other national security challenges. “The intense scrutiny placed on Trump and collusion has created a political atmosphere in which Russia has effectively become a boogeyman for domestic political ends,” writes Nicholas Trickett, research scholar and editor-in-chief of BMB Russia. “The Russia story provides political cover for the much scarier prospect of war with Iran.” Trump appointed hawks on Iran for two key positions: national security advisor in March and secretary of state in April. By May, the United States withdrew from the deal on containing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So far, no policy shifts signal that the United States is going easy on Russia. Trickett analyzes the Trump administration’s subsequent moves with Russia on Syria and concludes that the Iran hawks may have figured out how to manipulate the president for their own political ends. – YaleGlobal

Rethinking Belt-and-Road Debt

Transport trouble: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticizes China’s “new colonialism” at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, and Chinese-built railway connects parts of Africa

More than 75 nations participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, launched in 2013 to develop trade and connect Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe with ports, roads and railways. But some countries worry about adding to already heavy debt burdens, and some projects have become an issue in local politics. Among the most vocal critics is Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who has warned about a “new colonialism,” explains veteran journalist Philip Bowring. Mahathir questions infrastructure costs and strategic purposes relating to contentious issues like control over the South China Sea. Many emerging economies can certainly benefit from the infrastructure investment, explains Bowring, but cautious leaders also recognize the value of assessing project purposes and priorities. China, wanting to avoid heavy losses or criticism at home about wasteful spending, has launched a publicity campaign to promote benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative. – YaleGlobal