The UCLA Center for Middle East Development hosted the event, "The Impact of the Afghanistan Saga," on October 14, 2021.
In this last of 3 sessions on Afghanistan and MENA, we assess and predict the impact on the country itself, the states it borders, the region surrounding the Taliban victory, and the impact of recent events on the balance between Mideast countries. Is there any chance for improvement for the people whose society has now so radically changed? Can it get worse? How will nearby countries and major powers react to the American withdrawal? And will non-state actors throughout the region now be stronger and more dangerous for those they seek to weaken? A distinguished panel from varied backgrounds provides the basis for explaining the crisis we confront. Brief presentations were followed by audience Q&A.
PANELIST— Ambassador Christian Buck is currently the Middle East and North Africa Director and Acting Director-General for Crisis Management – including Afghanistan – at the German Foreign Office in Berlin. He previously served as German Ambassador to Libya, as deputy head of mission in Abu Dhabi and Kabul, as head of the German Government’s Crisis Center, as deputy head of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Taskforce, and as various other posts in Bonn, Berlin, Brussels, Kunduz, and Tokyo. He holds a PhD in political science from Humboldt University in Berlin, an MA in international relations from Niigata, Japan, and an MA in economics from Basel, Switzerland.
PANELIST— Haroon Azar is a senior fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, where he focuses on research and programming at the intersection of security and religious freedom. Mr. Azar is also a partner at The Rosslyn Group, where he manages the firm’s national security practice. Prior to his current roles, Mr. Azar was the Regional Director in Los Angeles for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and previously, Deputy Director for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia at DHS headquarters in Washington, DC. Mr. Azar also teaches courses on national security and civil liberties at UC Irvine School of Law and sits on the Board of Directors at the Afghan-American Foundation.
PANELIST— Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar. Dr. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. He is also the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. Dr. Dorsey's career has focused on religious and ethnic conflict. As a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and United Press International, Dr. Dorsey has been based in Riyadh, Tehran, Kuwait, Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem, Ankara, Istanbul, Larnaca, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Washington. He has reported over the past four decades from many of the battlegrounds in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Dr. Dorsey first arrived in Kabul in 1979, a day after Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. He was expelled from the country several weeks later and has covered Afghanistan regularly since.
MODERATOR— Dr. Steven Spiegel is the Director of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development. He is also a research professor of political science, focusing on international relations and American foreign policy in the Middle East. He has written over 100 books, articles, and papers. He is the author of “The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict: Making America’s Middle East Policy from Truman to Reagan,” and “World Politics in a New Era,” as well as one of the authors of "The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011."
Picture Descriptions (Left to right): C-17 carrying passengers out of Afghanistan (Credit: Air Mobility Command Public Affairs, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons); Morning in Kabul (Credit: Mohammad Rahmani, via Unsplash); Map of the Middle East (Credit: Getty Images Pro)