First Wednesday: Foreign policy, diplomacy and the new world order

Talk April 6, 2011 7:00 PM

With people movements rising up across the Middle East and North Africa the US, the UK and other European powers have had to think fast, abandoning old friends and allies and attempting to form new alliances with emerging leaders.

In contrast to prime minister David Cameron’s claims last year that he would pursue a “more hard-headed” foreign policy focused on boosting business, Britain and France both spearheaded NATO plans to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.

Join us with Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House to discuss the rules of engagement and the new political landscape: How much of an influence can the West expect to have in the Middle East and if they do intervene, what is the criteria? Why Libya but not Bahrain and Syria? And what of Saudi Arabia – how much of a game-changer would it be if its people were to push for regime change?


Barak Seener, Research Fellow, Middle East Studies at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies;
Dr Noel Brehony CMG, research associate at the London Middle East Institute at SOAS and author of Divided: The Story of a Failed State in South Arabia. Former British diplomat and former chairman of the Middle East Association and the Council for British Research in the Levant and President of the British Society of Middle East Studies;
Dr Faraj Najem, Libyan writer and historian;
Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.