Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Associate, Middle East Program
Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings
Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for Interantional Peace, Middle East Program
Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014
4:30pm | Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall
The spillover of Syria’s war into Lebanon and Iraq, combined with the widening involvement of Iran and Saudi Arabia, has spawned dire predictions of sectarian conflict engulfing the entire Middle East. But Shi’a-Sunni tensions are only one layer of a multi-dimensional conflict, often masking deeper political and economic dynamics. And although the Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays a role in aggravating Shi’a-Sunni identities, the real roots of sectarianism are found at the local level—in the weakness of political institutions, economic disparities, and in the elite manipulation of Sunni-Shia differences. Nowhere is this more evident than in the three Gulf Arab states most affected by sectarianism: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
Carnegie Endowment scholar Frederic Wehrey will discuss these dynamics at length, providing insights from his new book, Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings, named one of the best Middle East books of 2013 by Foreign Policy magazine. Drawing from extensive interviews in the Gulf from 2006 to 2013, Wehrey will analyze how Gulf governments, opposition figures, clerics, and media—as well as regional forces like the wars in Iraq and Syria--have all contributed to a “sectarianizing” of political life in the Gulf. He will offer conclusions for what this means for the future stability of the Gulf, the prospects for reform, and U.S. interests.
Wherey's, research focuses on political reform and security issues in the Arab Gulf states, Libya, and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
His most recent Carnegie publications include: The Struggle for Security in Eastern Libya (2012); The Precarious Ally: Bahrain’s Impasse and U.S. Policy (2013); The Forgotten Uprising in Eastern Saudi Arabia (2013); Perilous Desert: Sources of Saharan Insecurity, co-edited with Anouar Boukhars (2013); and Building Libya’s Security Sector, co-authored with Peter Cole (2013).
Prior to joining Carnegie, Wehrey was a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. He is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and has completed tours throughout the Middle East and North and East Africa. He routinely briefs U.S. and European governments on Middle East issues and has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Libya.
His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Washington Quarterly, Current History, the International Herald Tribune, Survival, Sada, the Journal of Democracy, the Christian Science Monitor, Financial Times, and the Chicago Journal of International Law. He has been interviewed by major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, PBS NewsHour, NPR, BBC, and CNN.
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