Opening Remarks by Dr. Dania Thafer, Gulf International Forum Executive Director
It comes as no surprise that the past year has been a remarkable one for the Gulf region. The sheer change in circumstances for the region compared to this time in 2018 is staggering. While last year’s conversation was unduly concerned with the ramifications of the still-ongoing ‘Gulf Crisis’ the apparent institutionalization of the rift has seemingly killed the bloc’s original purpose. Arising within this void have been the proliferation of new questions related to the War in Yemen, deepening inter-Gulf tensions, a post-JCPOA Iran, and an Iraq precariously fending off a resurging ISIS. Meanwhile, the region has brought about renewed skepticism from the United States and other Western nations, leading to questions concerning the Gulf’s place in the world order. In both hemispheres, a once-quiet region has been vaulted into the spotlight for reasons related to conflict, economics, geopolitics, and human rights. Given these complex dynamics, GIF is looking forward to our Second Annual Gulf International Conference “Complex Puzzle, Shifting Pieces: The Domestic, Regional & International Forces Reshaping the Gulf.” Please join us for a day of panel discussions and presentations that seeks to offer clarity concerning inter-Gulf dynamics, conflict scenarios in Iraq and Yemen, the looming presence of Iran and possible changes to the U.S-Gulf relationship.