The Middle East today, much of it broken and bruised, is at a crossroads, battered by a degree of uncertainty unprecedented since the fall of the Ottoman Empire one hundred years ago. As a new US Administration assumes control of both domestic and external affairs, the uncertainty grows. What will be the likely course of US foreign policy in the region and how will possible changes in established policy effect the strategic alliances that have long underscored political/economic/and military multilateral relationships?
Focusing on the shifting landscape that characterizes the region in the 21st century, this course will attempt to bring clarity to some of the most intractable issues of our time. While the objective of "Current Issues" is to focus on breaking news and recent events as they unfold in the Middle East, among the topics considered for the new term are the continued disintegration and massive humanitarian consequences in the "failed states" of Syria, Yemen, and Libya, the shifting of political alliances (including the re-emergence of Russian influence in the region), growing authoritarianism in the Turkish republic, the future of Kurdish nationalism, prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli modus vivendi, and the continued battle for regional hegemony between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
During these five, short sessions we will endeavor to shed light on a variety of select themes and issues confronting the peoples of this beleaguered, but all-important, region through historical perspective, personal anecdotes, and expert analysis. Incorporating traditional classroom techniques, selected readings, films, guest speakers, and group discussion, the instructor will attempt to bring some degree of clarity to the "back stories" behind today's headlines in an area of the world that continues to mystify even the most astute observer.