A New Cold War in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)?

The collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of the Cold War, ushering in a more unipolar global order, including US hegemony in the MENA region. Over the subsequent twenty years, the unchallenged role of the US has been steadily declining, mirrored in the growth of other international players, especially China and Russia, towards a more multipolar political landscape. This is reflected in a diversification of external players in the region. Who are the key external powers in the region, and their main strategies? To what extent are the Cold War policies of the twentieth century comparable to the contemporary great power competition? In other words, may competition over regional alliances lead us into another Cold War in the region? This workshop will bring together scholars to examine these themes, with particular focus on the major powers of the US, China, and Russia. What might their multi- faceted competition hold for the future of the MENA region?

5.00 -5.10             Introduction

Moderator: Dr Michael Willis (Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford and King Mohammed VI Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies)

5.10 – 5.25            Biden’s ‘America back’: Does it foreshadow a new Cold War in the MENA?

Speaker: Dr Christopher M. Davidson (Associate fellow, RUSI)

5.25 – 5.40            Can Chinese investments win any new Cold War by buying the MENA?

Speaker: Dr Guy Burton (Adjunct Professor, Brussels School of Governance)

5.40 – 5.55            Putin’s strategy for Russia in the MENA: Has it led to new Cold War confrontations in the region?

Speaker: Dr Diana Galeeva (Academic Visitor to St. Antony’s College, Oxford University)

5.55 – 6.10            Q&A

6.10 – 6.15             Concluding Remarks

Speakers’ Biographies

Dr Michael J. Willis is Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford and King Mohammed VI Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies. His research interests focus on the politics, modern history and international relations of the central Maghreb states (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco). Before joining St Antony’s in 2004, he taught politics at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco for seven years. He is the author of Politics and Power in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from Independence to the Arab Spring (Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2012) and The Islamist Challenge in Algeria: A Political History (Ithaca and New York University Press, 1997) and co-editor of Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and disasters (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Dr Christopher M. Davidson is an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute and the Henry Jackson Society.  Educated at Cambridge and St. Andrews, he is a former reader in Middle East politics at Durham University and a former assistant professor at Zayed University in the UAE.  His books, most recently, include From Sheikhs to Sultanism: Statecraft and Authority in Saudi Arabia and the UAE (Hurst / OUP, 2021) and Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East (Oneworld, 2016).  Working on new projects, he is currently in the midst of an intensive period of fieldwork and language-training.

Dr Guy Burton is Adjunct Professor at the Brussels School of Governance. He has previously held research and teaching positions at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, Nottingham University’s Malaysia Campus, the University of Kurdistan-Hewler in Iraq and Birzeit University in Palestine. His research interests concern the role and behaviour of emerging external powers in the Middle East, with particular focus on their response towards conflict and its management. He is the author of China and Middle East Conflicts (2020) and Rising Powers and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (2018).

Dr Diana Galeeva is currently an Academic Visitor to St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Dr Galeeva is the author of two books, Qatar: The Practice of Rented Power (Routledge, 2022) and Russia and the GCC: The Case of Tatarstan’s Paradiplomacy (I.B. Tauris/ Bloomsbury, 2022). She is also a co-editor of the collection Post-Europe and UK: Policy Challenges Towards Iran and the GCC States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). Dr Galeeva completed her bachelor’s degree at Kazan Federal University (Russia). She holds an MA from Exeter University (UK) and a doctorate from Durham University (UK). Beyond academia, she was an intern at the President of Tatarstan’s Office for the Department of Integration with Religious Associations (2012) and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan (2011) (Russia).

Registration essetial: us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TS9paMBcTrK4Y71IQasKlw