Can the New Prime Minister of Iraq Solve the Country’s Enduring Problems?

Iraq is a rich country plagued by bad governance, political and sectarian divisions, and foreign interference. Mustafa Al-Kadhimi – journalist, activist, intelligence chief and now Iraq’s Prime Minister – is a new kind of political leader who must face all of Iraq’s old challenges.
Disenfranchised Iraqis are demanding the government provides services and jobs. A stressed health system struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Sectarian militias continue to operate beyond the control of the state. The latest OPEC+ agreement cut Iraq’s production quota, as oil prices plummeted. ISIS is re-forming and attacking security forces. And, through all of this, street protests that at times turn violent call for a complete overhaul of the system and the removal of the old political class.
How should the new prime minister navigate these troubled political waters? Can the Gulf Arab states help Iraq become a source of stability in the region?


The Importance of Preserving Biodiversity Post COVID-19

The UAE is home to unique biodiversity encompassing a wide variety of terrestrial and marine fauna and flora. The country has gone to great lengths to protect this diversity and preserve endangered species. It has worked to propagate, rehabilitate, and return these species to their original habitat. The UAE has also launched international initiatives, programs and projects that have contributed to the preservation of countless species. This process began with the achievements of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (may God rest his soul in peace), and continues to develop locally and globally under the wise leadership.


Radical Groups in Europe: A Focus on the Muslim Brotherhood

The lecture explores the danger that extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood group and the Lebanese Hezbollah, pose in Europe. It also sheds light on the online activities of these groups, as well as the Terrorism Index in Europe during 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Moreover, the lecture outlines the effect of the efforts of intelligence services that have succeeded in curtailing the abilities of these groups to advance their initiatives, thus rendering their threat limited and insignificant.

Furthermore, the lecture highlights the risks of the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts in building parallel communities in Europe, and addresses its operational tools and methods, including the Islamic councils that flourish under its umbrella, as well as its prominent figures and strongholds in Europe.

The lecture also touches on the warnings issued by the European intelligence services against extremist groups. It has become apparent that Europe has recognized the extent of dangers posed by these groups. Therefore, it has adopted security-based plans, strategies and policies that have often proven successful in reducing the dangers they pose. However, European intelligence services all agree that the risks associated with these extremist groups still persist.


Branches of Benevolence

The lecture discusses the idea of benevolence, which encompasses the act of worshiping God as though we see Him; while we may not see Him, He surely sees us. It will touch on various aspects of benevolence, including humanity’s religious observances and relation to God, and our interactions with others in society through words and deeds, beginning with the relationship we have with our family members, spouses and children, including close and extended relatives.


The Values of Crisis and the Crisis of Values

The crisis the world experiences today has cast a shadow over all aspects of life, and we are still being impacted by it. This is a time of hope and fear, while the future will bring transformations and new eras. In light of this crisis, our individual and national values shield us. They alone allow us to maintain capabilities and adapt to any situation. We were raised on these values before crises; they accompany us during crises and, afterwards, they will lead us to a successful future.


To Read and Love What We Read

The lecture aims to encourage the Arab reader to find the joy in reading and reflect on Arabic texts, to delve into their content, and even criticize and assess them in the context of an Arab cultural background and not Western standards. Traditionally, Arab critics read Arabic literature through a Western lens that failed to fully interpret the aesthetic and social values of the text, while their meaning also suffered distortion during translation. This lecture is a call for greater Arabic critique and for pioneering Arab critics to create suitable reading tools for our literary products, where due attention is given to the culture of the creative text and the nature of its readers.


Responsible Use of Innovation and Technology to Ensure Sustainability

This lecture discusses what institutions are doing to ensure they are not left behind in the digital era and examines how innovation and technology can be better leveraged to provide maximum benefit to companies and society at large. The lecture will frame this within the broader question of how we can do this in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Even today, the world is witnessing several governance failures, which stand in the way of change for the better. Ethics and governance need to be embraced in spirit and not just in letter. Unfortunately, thus far we have seen technology misused on several occasions. The onus is on all stakeholders to ensure that technology can be leveraged strategically and responsibly.

Today, we see regulators endeavour to regulate this domain and keep pace with the quest for more and more data while simultaneously seeking further business opportunities for using and monetizing that data. Herein, lies the problem.


Media in the Thought and Vision of Sheikh Zayed


The Arab World: Precarious Paths and the Plight of Fate

This lecture examines the current political environment in the Arab World and tracks the ongoing regional dynamics impacting it. The lecture aims to achieve two goals. First, to explore the current situation in the Arab world through its intersecting regional and international bilateral relations. Second, to examine the potential positive and negative results of ongoing change in the region, in order to anticipate the fate of the Arab world. This will be considered separately from the impact of the current situation, which means addressing the present through future perspectives.

Analysis in this lecture draws upon Arab political achievements that have revealed many significant issues, in particular the notion of nation state and the goals it seeks to achieve. It will also examine the collapse of the political Islam trend, in terms of its political project and ideological discourse, as well as attitudes to coexistence and regional concerns. Benguega will also discuss disregarding the recent past, different perceptions of shared issues, and our changing perspectives of fate.


The US-UAE Defense and Security Relationship

Mr. Sebright will share his unique perspectives on the U.S.-U.A.E. defense and security relationship from his three decades of experience in the U.S. intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Defense, a prominent geostrategic advisory firm, and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council. He will review the evolution of the bilateral relationship from the first Gulf War through the present as a result of regional developments such as the War in Afghanistan, the Conflict in Yemen, the GCC Crisis, and recent tensions with Iran.  He will detail the current pillars of this relationship, from the stationing of thousands of U.S. military personnel in the U.A.E., to joint exercises and training between American and Emirati troops, as well as elaborate on the major U.S. arms sales to the U.A.E.