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Obama’s Foreign Policy in a Transforming Middle East

AHRC Research Network on the Presidency of Barack Obama

enjoy the revolution

In the aftermath of September 11 2001 the Bush administration declared a “war on terror”. As part of this war, the US pursued a counterterrorism strategy designed to eliminate the threat posed by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, whilst simultaneously seeking to promote democracy in the Middle East and North Africa through the Freedom Agenda.

Over a decade later, with the Obama administration in power, the situation has dramatically changed. In May 2011 Osama bin Laden was shot dead in his Pakistani compound, and the Middle East and North Africa is going through a dramatic period of political change that appears to demonstrate the beginning of a longer struggle of democratisation.

The transformation of the Middle East context raises opportunities and challenges for Obama’s foreign policy. It raises questions of whether the war on terror is over, and what the democratisation of a region means for US national security? These issues will be explored by Marc Sageman, former CIA operations officer in Islamabad in the 1980s and leading counterterrorism consultant for the US government, Thomas Carothers, the world’s most pre-eminent expert in democracy promotion, and host of the UK’s unrivalled experts in US foreign policy.

Thursday 10 May 2012


10.00-10.30: Arrival and Registration

10.30-12.00: Keynote – Marc Sageman – “Turning to Political Violence in Western Liberal Democracies”
Chair: Inderjeet Parmar (Manchester)

12.00 - 13.00: Lunch

13.00 - 14.30: Round Table – Is the War on Terror Over?
Chair: Chris Hughes (Warwick)

Steve Burman – (FCO/Sussex)
Mark Phythian (Leicester)
Toby Dodge (LSE)
Trevor McCrisken (Warwick)
John Dumbrell (Durham)

14.30 - 14.45: Tea and Coffee Break

14.45 - 16.15: Keynote: Thomas Carothers – “The U.S. Response to Arab Political Change”
Chair: Peter Burnell (Warwick)

16.15 - 16.30: Tea and Coffee Break

16.30 – 18.00: Round Table – Democracy Promotion and the Arab Spring
Chair: Stuart Croft (Warwick)

James Renton (Edge Hill)
Lee Marsden (UEA)
Oz Hassan (Warwick)
Nicola Pratt (Warwick)

18:15 – 19:00: Drinks Reception

19:00-21:00: Dinner for Speakers, Network Steering Committee and Guests