Asan Plenum

Session: Session 4
Date/Time: April 25, 2018 / 13:30-15:00

Diederik Vandewalle, Dartmouth College

Jang Ji-Hyang, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies
Joseph A. Kéchichian, King Faisal Center
Mesut Özcan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey
Siavash Saffari, Seoul National University

Panel Description
After the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the apparent winner of the Syrian civil war has turned out to be Bashar Assad, with the backing and support of Iran and Russia. Not surprisingly, the post-war regional order is being shaped by the winners and becoming remarkably illiberal and contrary to international norms. However, the U.S. and other liberal states have been hesitant to respond. Saudi Arabia’s charismatic new leader has promised moderating reforms, but liberalization is facing resistance in the deeply conservative country. Meanwhile, Turkey’s reaction against the Kurdish issue and Israeli support for Kurdish independence has placed the Kurds in an increasingly untenable position in the region. With Iran’s economy slowly revitalizing, rivalries between the reformist Rouhani and the hardliner IRGC over energy, security, and economic issues will intensify. How can the international community resolve the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and react to the rise of illiberal Middle East order? Where does the Middle East go from here?