Open Forum with Nader Hashemi – Turmoil in the Middle East: How Should the U.S. Respond?
A town hall with the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at University of Denver: Anything you need to know about the Middle East but were afraid to ask
The Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino massacres are widely viewed as a turning point in the war against ISIS. Global attention is now focused on this extremist group and further attacks in major Western cities are expected. Before a coherent strategy against ISIS can be devised, however, a clear understanding of the roots of this organization is required. What is the best framework of analysis to explain the rise and expansion of ISIS? Is the problem with ISIS fundamentally due to something inherent in Islam or Arab Culture?
Richard Haass, the President of Council on Foreign Relations, has argued this point by affirming that this “is a deeply flawed part of the world that never came to terms with modernity.” Similarly, President Obama on several occasions has spoken about “ancient sectarian differences” between Sunni and Shia, suggesting that perhaps today we are witnessing a Muslim version of Christian wars of religion in 16th century. His implication was there was little the international community could do to ameliorate the turmoil in the Arab-Islamic world; it had to simply burn itself out. Or is the problem with ISIS fundamentally about the legacy of US intervention in Iraq in 2003? Did a failed US policy toward the Middle East inadvertently create ISIS as some have argued? What is the best entry point or point of departure to understand this vexed problem?
Nader Hashemi offers an introduction to these core themes and issues surrounding policy in the Middle East, including Iran, Syria and the lingering legacy of the Arab Spring, followed by an informal town hall style Q&A and discussion.
About the speaker
Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is the author of Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies. He is co-editor of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future and The Syrian Dilemma. His research and expertise include the Middle East and Islamic affairs, religion and democracy, secularism, comparative politics and political theory, politics of the Middle East, democracy and human rights, and Islam-West relations. Hashemi is a go-to source for everything from the Arab Spring in Egypt to the ongoing debate between religion and secularism in the Muslim world, appearing in media coverage including “The PBS NewsHour,” Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
Books will be available for sale and author signing courtesy of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.