“Pluralistic Middle East” Lecture Series | Tim Niblock: Towards Conflict or Peace in West Asia? New Prospects and Possibilities, New Dimensions of Instability
On the evening of November 17th, 2020, Prof. Tim Niblock, Member of the Academic Committee of Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) and Emeritus Professor of Exeter University, delivered an online lecture focusing on the theme of “Towards Conflict or Peace in West Asia? New Prospects and Possibilities, New Dimensions of Instability”, which is the last session in a series of lectures on “Pluralistic Middle East” hosted by IIAS. Prof. Wang Tingyi, Research Assistant Professor of IIAS and postdoctoral researcher of Oxford University, presided over the event.
In the context of the Abraham Accord signed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel on September 15th this year, Prof. Niblock elaborated UAE’s political goals and strategic plans in the new stage and the potential political restructuring in the Middle East. Prof. Niblock pointed out that although some hail the signing of the Abraham Accord as another “game-changing moment” in the Middle East, many “changing moments” in history have not eventually and significantly changed the landscape in the region. Therefore, the impact of the Abraham Accord on the security and political situation across the region remains to be seen. Prof. Niblock also reviewed the formation and characteristics of the UAE regime and compared it with Sparta, the ancient Greek city-state. By reflecting the history, he illustrated the rise and fall of martial Sparta. Finally, Prof. Niblock predicted the possible future effects of the Abraham Accord on the security and social dynamics in the Middle East, stating that other world powers beyond the United States shall not align their strategies in the Middle East immediately.
During the Q&A session, Prof. Tim Niblock had a wonderful interaction with the audience, who enthusiastically raised questions about the topic, including the future trend of Saudi Arabia’s relations with UAE, the impact of Arab-Israeli diplomatic relations on China, the stability of Egypt’s relations with UAE, the impact of the US presidential election results on the Middle East during the post-Abraham Accord period and the feud between the Muslim Brotherhood Emblem and the UAE regime.
Prof. Tim Niblock is Member of the Academic Committee of Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) and Emeritus Professor of Exeter University. His research interests cover the politics and economics of Arab and Islamic countries, international relations in the Middle East and civil society and political power in the Arab world. He is the author of The Political Economy of Saudi Arabia (2007, Routledge), Saudi Arabia: Power, Legality and Survival (2004, Routledge) and other publications.
Text by: Zhang Yuan
Edited by: Wang Tingyi