US Elections and their Implications for the Middle East

The deep-rooted institutional system in the US generally means that when policies are drafted, they remain in place for decades to come, regardless of the political background of the president. However, a strong president can change a particular policy, as long as that change does not deviate from the framework of institutional policy. In other words, the policy is fixed, and the only variable is the nature of the strategies employed to deliver policy. A classic example is how both presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, handled the issue of Iran.

There is no doubt that there may be some change in US policy toward Iran, the Gulf countries and Turkey if the Democrats win the US Presidential elections. However, there will not be radical change; the US will continue its strategic relationships with Gulf countries. Obama’s soft policy toward Iran, which saw many concessions made, might see a comeback, albeit to a lesser degree than during the Obama presidency. As for tackling the Muslim Brotherhood group, Trump has not done much in this regard, and this trajectory will likely remain.

It is difficult to anticipate who will win the US Presidential elections, as the country is experiencing a sharp bipartisan and ideological divide. The Democrats’ problem is not Trump, but their own weak candidate. The winning presidential candidate will be determined by the swing states, which number no more than seven. Events could change the balance at any time. What is sure, when looking at elections historically, is that the outcome of the vote will be contested regardless of who wins, whether Trump or Biden.


Sources of International Law: Scope and Application

The speaker said that the sources of international law, according to the traditional understanding, are limited to the list contained in the Statute of the International Court of Justice. However, rapid international developments, over the last few decades, required adding the resolutions of international organizations to this list. He added that the actual practice, at the level of international relations, experienced overlapping sources of international law. Thus, resolving many issues requires referring to most, if not all, of these sources. In addition, there are new cases that entail international organizations to issue resolutions rather than being restricted to the provisions of the international norms; they can be integrated into multilateral treaties, a process known as codification. The speaker also pointed out that developing an international law usually requires relying on the cooperation of a group of countries due to the absence of an effective central legislature. In the same context, the speaker added that developing the international law and drafting new sources for its system will continue to be a major challenge posed on the international community.


The 2000 American Elections

The speaker analyzed the presidential, House, and New York Senate elections, offering a better understanding of the history, personalities, the process and the numbers behind these polls. The 2000 elections are particularly important. They will be a fierce competition for several reasons, notably the policies of President Bill Clinton, and the importance of US foreign policy, especially toward the Middle East. The House of Representatives is controlled by a Republican majority of 223 to 211. Thus, a swing of only a few seats could mean a Democratic majority. The questions are: Would voters bring a new president and a new House of Representatives? And what is the importance of the presidential election campaign for the competition for seats in the House of Representatives?


Media, Internet and National Security

The lecture examined the salient characteristics of the new information age, particularly the Internet revolution, and their impact on modern nation states. Both the benefits and potential risks of these developments were explored, such as aspects relating to national security, fraud and censorship. The speaker concluded by discussing the expected changes in global communications and the experiences of other countries were commented upon, together with the appropriateness of current policy strategies for online communication.


France’s Defence Policy in the Indian Ocean

The lecture focused on the principles governing France’s defence policy, in addition to defence strategy, military equipment and development. It addressed France’s defence policy in the Indian Ocean in terms of its dimensions and modes of implementation, and the usual movements of the French fleet. The French naval fleet’s peacekeeping efforts around Yemen’s Hanish Islands were cited as an example.


The Strategic Importance of the Arabian Gulf Region and the Middle East

General McKenzie, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, will provide his strategic assessment of the importance of the Arabian Gulf Region and the Middle East. General McKenzie will analyze threats to regional stability, such as Iran’s destructive activities in the region, and the ongoing threats of extremism in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, as well as threats to the free flow of energy and commerce through the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The presentation will offer insights into the continued U.S. commitment to regional stability and its partnership with key allies, such as the United Arab Emirates.


Gulf Security and the UAE

The ECSSR concluded the lecture series held to mark the 25th year of the Federation with a lecture on the crucial strategic topic of Gulf security, which has both regional and international implications. The speaker presented legal and technical clarifications of some strategic security concepts and discussed the important strategic balance between the UAE and Iran, the UAE and the other GCC states, as well as the determinants involved in creating this balance.


US Foreign Policy: The Domestic Political Dimension

The speaker looked at the political changes seen in the US in the day following the launch of the 1996 presidential campaign. Focusing on domestic politics, including the roles of the Congress, political parties, media, lobbies and non-government organizations, Doutchi argued that US foreign policy can only be understood in light of domestic affairs—stating that the 1996 elections will not be won through foreign policy issues alone.


Upgrading US Tactical Aircrafts: Alternatives and Limitations

Dr. Serge Herzog presented an overview of upgrading US tactical fighter and offensive aircrafts, discussed the reasons for such upgrades and examined a number of assumptions that have paved the way for such updates. He compared and contrasted the upgrade plans under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, trying to predict the future direction of tactical aircrafts. He also pointed to the issues that impede a proper strategy to upgrade.


Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges

Diplomatic immunities and privileges were historically granted by a king or a ruler (or one of their representatives) to a senior landlord to grant that person greater legal and moral freedom.

Diplomatic immunities and privileges are important pillars of international relations given the fact that they are designed to facilitate the speed and efficiency with which the diplomatic corps can carry out its hugely important, and at times very sensitive tasks. In addition, they contribute to the management of international actors’ foreign affairs and enable such actors to strengthen bilateral, regional and international relations on the basis of equality and international peace and security. The
concept of diplomatic immunity has been the norm, from
the moment in which diplomatic representatives were
initially appointed and diplomatic exchanges originally
began, in view of safeguarding the independence of
diplomats as well as an acknowledgement the sovereignty
of the states they represent.

Throughout history, nation–states have respected the
special status that diplomats command and the nature of
the work they are asked to perform. For example, Roman
law deemed an assault against the ambassador of a foreign
country to be a violation of international law, and that
the perpetrator should be transferred to the country that
the ambassador represented so that its government and
people can hold the perpetrator to account.