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The War in Yemen: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?


September 13, 2018
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Upcoming Event – Save the Date!



Often mythologized as the birthplace of the, “the original Arabs,” a place called Yemen has existed in one form or another since time immemorial.  However, despite such longevity, various factors have prevented Yemen from thriving in today’s system of independent nation-states. Rocked by civil wars, heavily armed non-state groups, and calls for secession, the ongoing tragedy facing the people of Yemen stands in stark contrast to the opulence citizens of the neighboring Arabian Peninsular states of the GCC often enjoy. While a US-supported GCC Initiative signed in Riyadh in 2011 by quarreling Yemeni parties initially made their iteration of the “Arab Spring,” appear successful, the various factions failed to honor the agreement’s specifics, leading to a still-ongoing civil war between the international recognized Hadi government and Houthi rebels. Meanwhile, the Yemeni playing field has become something of a chessboard for the likes of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, each of which has used the conflict as a theatre to project hegemony. Ultimately losing amidst this apparent “Game of Thrones” are the Yemeni people, who have been forced to adjust to life amidst widespread famine, epidemic diseases  and the seemingly random violence characteristic of living within a war-zone. While international coverage concerning the humanitarian disaster in Yemen is oft overshadowed by an equally saddening conflict in Syria, the tragedy in Yemen has been underscored by political debates concerning the culpability of the American and European arms-deals that provide the, “Prone-to-Mistake” Saudi and Emirati armies with the ballistics used in costly airstrikes that have on more than one occasion resulted in tragic miscalculations. How did Yemen come to this? What are the current prospects for a resolution? Is there reason to be hopeful about the expected negotiations in Geneva?  How might the attention given to American weapons in Yemen affect the US’s domestic politics?


Featured Speakers:

Professor David Des Roches (moderator), Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Dr. David Ottaway, Dr. Nabeel Khouri …and more to be announced!



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Speakers Bio:


Professor David Des Roches
Associate Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies
David Des Roches is currently Associate Professor of at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies. Prior to this, he was the Defense Department director responsible for policy concerning Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Prior to this assignment, he has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Liaison to the Department of Homeland Security, as senior country director for Pakistan, as NATO operations director, and as deputy director for peacekeeping. His first job in government was as a special assistant for strategy and later as the international law enforcement analyst in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and obtained advanced degrees in Arab Politics from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, in War Studies from Kings College London, and Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. He has also attended the Federal Executive Institute, the German Staff College’s Higher Officer Seminar, the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School and the US Army Command and General Staff College


Ambassador Barbara Bodine
Former United States Ambassador to Yemen
Ambassador Bodine is the Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy where she directs courses on negotiation and mediation, and a graduate task force on Yemen. Her more than 30 year career in the US Foreign Service was spent primarily in or working on Arabian Peninsula affairs, including two tours in Iraq, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait and, from 1997 through most of 2001, as US ambassador to Yemen. Ms. Bodine also served as Country Officer in the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs, responsible for Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and returned as Deputy Office Director. She was Coordinator for Counterterrorism Operations and later overall Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department, as well as Director for East Africa. Since leaving the Foreign Service, Ms. Bodine has held positions at the Kennedy School of Government, MIT’s Center for International Affairs, and Princeton’s Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She is the recipient of the Award for Valor for her work in Occupied Kuwait.



Dr. David Ottaway
Middle East Fellow, The Wilson Center
David B. Ottaway received a BA from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1962 and a PhD from Columbia University in 1972. He worked 35 years for The Washington Post as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe and later as a national security and investigative reporter in Washington before retiring in 2006. He has won numerous awards for his reporting at home and abroad and was twice nominated a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Ottaway was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1979-80 and again in 2005-06 and is currently a Middle East Fellow at the Center. His most recent book, published in 2017, was The Arab World Upended: Revolution and Its Aftermath in Tunisia and Egypt. He is also the author of The King’s Messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America’s Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia published in 2008.  He is currently working on a book regarding the changes underway in various regions of the Arab world following the 2011 Arab Spring.



Dr. Nabeel Khoury
Senior Fellow – Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center
After twenty five years in the Foreign Service, Dr. Khoury retired from the U.S. Department of State in 2013 with the rank of Minister Counselor. He taught Middle East and US strategy courses at the National Defense University and Northwestern University. In his last overseas posting, Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Yemen (2004-2007). In 2003, during the Iraq war, he served as Department spokesperson at US Central Command in Doha and in Baghdad. Khoury earned his BA in political science from the American University of Beirut and his MA and PhD in political science from the State University of New York at Albany. Before his Foreign Service career, Khoury was an assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, and earlier, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Jordan in Amman. Dr. Khoury has published articles on issues of leadership and development in the Arab world in The Middle East Journal,Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and The International Journal of Middle East Studies. His most recent articles on the regional impact of the Arab uprising and on U.S. policy in Yemen appear in the summer 2013 and summer 2014 issues of Middle East Policy.

More Panelists to Be Announced