With the month of March marking the fifth anniversary of the war in Yemen, the devastating stalemate continues. The warring parties have failed both to change the facts on the ground or to agree on any peace plan, whether to implement what was agreed upon 15 months ago in Sweden or to work out a new plan. Instead of a Saudi-UAE supported Arab Coalition ending Houthi control over Sanaa within the projected two weeks, the Houthis have carried the war into the very heart of Saudi Arabia. Houthi missiles have reached Riyadh and Aramco facilities, the world’s largest oil company and exporter. The most disastrous outcome of this war is a divided Yemen. Tragically, after five years, Yemen has become a war-ravaged country with a dismantled state and army, deep divisions within the Yemeni society, and an increased terrorist threat from Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The collapse of any unified political leadership has led to more infighting among rival proxy militias within the war-torn country.
Gulf International Forum invites a discussion on how this war has changed Yemen and the Gulf region after five years of conflict. What are the current positions of the different GCC states? What role can the US play to end this conflict? What will be the future of Yemen as division within the country is deeper than ever? Can Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran reach an agreement in Yemen to end this war? What other possible scenarios can lead to the end of this war?
Ambassador Patrick Theros, Professor David Des Roches, Samuel Ramani, Rasha Jarhoum, and Dr. Nabeel Khoury.
Ambassador Patrick Theros (moderator)
Strategic Advisor, Gulf International Forum
Ambassador Theros has held such positions as Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief, Central Command; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political officer in Amman; Charge D’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; Economic Counselor in Damascus; and U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar. In a career spanning almost 36 years, he also has served in diplomatic positions in Beirut, Managua, Dharan and Abu Dhabi, as well as in the Department of State. During that period, he earned four Superior Honor Awards. After retirement Ambassador Theros served as President of the U.S. Qatar Business Council in 2000-2017.
Dr. Nabeel Khoury
Non-Resident Senior Fellow; Atlantic Council
Dr. Khoury is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Hariri Center for the Middle East. His commentaries appear on the Atlantic Council’s MENA Resource, The Hill, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs and on his own blog, Middle East Corner.
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. 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. In 2019 Dr. Khoury published his book “Bunker Diplomacy: An Arab-American in the U.S. Foreign Service: Personal Reflections on 25 Years of U.S. Policy in the Middle East.”
Co-founder and Director, Peace Track Initiative
Rasha Jarhum is a South Yemeni hosted at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, at Ottawa University. She is a Gender, Peace, and Security Expert. She has more than 15 years’ experience working to advocate women’s, children’s and refugees’ rights with many organisations including Oxfam, UNICEF, ESCWA, UNDP, and JICA, in Yemen and the Middle East and North Africa region. Jarhum was invited among seven women by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen to support the peace talks held in Kuwait in 2016 and has briefed the UN Security Council on Yemen and Women’s Rights to push for peace. She is an affiliated scholar with the American University of Beirut and an alumni of the Executive in Residence Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). She is also a 2016 New Voices Aspen fellow at Aspen Institute, USA. Jarhum holds a master’s degree from the University of Nottingham, in International Business Management. Jarhum is an award winner of the Women Have Wings Award (2016) and Women Rebels Against War: Anita Augspurg Prize (2019). She is a member of the Women Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL). She is also a founding member of the Women Solidarity Network in Yemen, a founding member for the MENA1325 Network, and a member of the MENA regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders and member of the Women, Peace, and Security Network- Canada.
Professor David Des Roches
Associate Professor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies.
Professor Des Roches joined NESA in 2011 after serving the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy in numerous positions, including as Director of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula, the DoD liaison to the Department of Homeland Security, the Senior Country Director for Pakistan, the NATO Operations Director (where he drafted the NATO comprehensive approach directive), the Deputy Director for Peacekeeping, and the spokesman for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Prior to that, he served in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as an International Law Enforcement Analyst and Special Assistant for Strategy. Professor Des Roches has lectured at the Qatari Staff College, the Saudi War College, Sciences Po, and is the author of numerous articles and chapters on Gulf security. He regularly presents at various Washington and international think tanks on Middle East issues.
Professor Des Roches holds advanced degrees from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and Kings College London, which he attended as a British Marshall Scholar. He also holds an advanced degree from the U.S. Army War College, and a bachelor of science degree from the United States Military Academy, West Point, where he was selected to Phi Kappa Phi. He is a non-resident academic fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, and senior international affairs fellow at the National Council on US Arab Relations.
Doctoral Researcher, University of Oxford