How will the longstanding confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran evolve during the Trump administration? Foreign Affairs is partnering with the International Crisis Group and the Arabia Foundation for a half-day conference to examine the challenges of promoting a stable regional order. Government officials, policy experts, NGO representatives, journalists, and corporate leaders will analyze and debate critical issues, including proxy wars in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen; the impact of the current crisis within the Gulf Cooperation Council on the geopolitics of oil and gas; and the future of American foreign policy in the Middle East more broadly.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

1:00 p.m.–6:45 p.m.

1:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m. | Check-in

1:15 p.m.–1:30 p.m. | Opening Remarks

  • Mia Higgins, Interim Publisher, Foreign Affairs 

1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m. | Opening Panel: Iran-Saudi Confrontation

  • Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Robert Malley, Vice President for Policy, International Crisis Group
  • Ali Shihabi, Executive Director, Arabia Foundation
  • Moderator: Justin Vogt, Deputy Managing Editor, Foreign Affairs

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. | Breakout Discussions

Breakout 1: Proxy Wars: Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria

  • Hanin Ghaddar, Inaugural Friedmann Visiting Fellow, Washington Institute
  • Joost Hiltermann, Middle East and North Africa Program Director, International Crisis Group 
  • Peter Salisbury, Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House
  • Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst, Iran, International Crisis Group
  • Moderator: Firas Maksad, Deputy Executive Director, Arabia Foundation; Adjunct Professor, George Washington University

Breakout 2: Geopolitics of Oil and Gas

  • Helima Croft, Head of Commodity Strategy, RBC Capital Markets
  • Robert McNally, President, Rapidan Energy Group  
  • *Additional speakers to be announced

4:00 p.m.–4:15 p.m. | Remarks

  • Robert Malley, Vice President for Policy, International Crisis Group

4:15 p.m.–5:30 p.m. | Closing Panel: U.S. Policy Toward MENA

  • Bernard Haykel, Professor of Near Eastern Studies; Director, Transregional Institute for the Study of the Middle East and North Africa, Princeton University
  • Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution
  • Hisham Melhem, Senior Correspondent, Annahar
  • Karim Sadjadpour, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

5:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m. | Closing Remarks

  • Ali Shihabi, Executive Director, Arabia Foundation

5:45 p.m.–6:45 p.m. | Reception 


Council on Foreign Relations

58 East 68th Street

New York, NY 10065

To register, please visit here and enter code “FALIVE”.

For press queries, please contact Zachary Hastings Hooper, 202.531.2512 or [email protected].