AGSIW – Is Yemen the First Battleground in the Trump’s Confrontation with Iran?

This event is hosted by the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Click here to RSVP.

Thursday February 23, 2017
2:00 – 3:30 pm
1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060, Washington, DC 20036

SPEAKERS Peter Salisbury, Sanam Vakil, (Additional Speakers TBA)
MODERATOR Stephen A. Seche

President Donald J. Trump’s administration and U.S. partners in the region – in particular, Saudi Arabia – see Yemen as an important arena in which to confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior, and to neutralize the threat it is seen as posing to Gulf Arab states. But this confrontational approach carries the risk of triggering Iranian retaliation, or even an armed conflict involving Iran, the United States, and the United States’ regional partners. What role is the United States playing in the conflict in Yemen and is its support for the Saudi-led intervention likely to increase? Is Iran challenging the Trump administration’s resolve by testing ballistic missiles and applauding attacks by Houthi rebels on Saudi targets? Will the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action survive the increased tensions and do the parties involved have the space or the inclination to de-escalate current tensions?

Join AGSIW for a discussion of these issues and other challenges facing the Trump administration and U.S. partners in the Gulf as they push back against growing Iranian influence in the region.

This event will be livestreamed.

Peter Salisbury joined Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme as an associate fellow in 2015. The former energy editor of the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), Salisbury has worked as a journalist and analyst focused on political economy issues in the MENA region since 2008. He writes regularly for The Economist, Financial Times, and Foreign Policy among other publications and has worked as a consultant to the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Between 2011 and 2013, he worked closely with the Yemen Forum at Chatham House on a series of research projects on the political economy of Yemen, which led to the publication of the Chatham House report, “Yemen: Corruption, Capital Flight and Global Drivers of Conflict.” Salisbury holds an MSc in international politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Sanam Vakil is an associate fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. She is also a professorial lecturer in the Middle East Studies department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy. Vakil previously served as an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at SAIS in Washington, DC. She has provided commentary, research, and political risk analysis for Oxford Analytica, Rastah Ideologistics, Gerson Lehman Group, International Republican Institute, Management Systems International, The World Bank Group, PFC Energy, and Dunia Economic Research. Vakil has also published commentary for a variety of academic and media outlets and has been consulted by high ranking government officials in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. She received her PhD in international relations with a specialization in Middle East studies from SAIS.

Stephen A. Seche is the executive vice president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He spent 35 years as a career U.S. foreign service officer. From 2011-13, he served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, with responsibility for U.S. relations with the GCC states and Yemen. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10. At the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria he served as chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission. He additionally served as counselor for public affairs and director of the American Cultural Center in Damascus. Seche also spent two years as director of the Office for Egypt and Levant Affairs at the Department of State in Washington, DC.