The Department of International Affairs at Qatar University’s College of Arts and Sciences hosted the former United States ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner, to talk about the US foreign policy in Syria, Egypt and Iran.
A panel of international policy experts provided commentary on Wisner’s remarks, including Dr Husam Mohammad of Qatar University, Dr Mehran Kamrava of Georgetown University, and Dr Ibrahim Sharqieh of Brookings Institute. The presentation was attended by over 100 students and faculty of QU, and members of the public.
Wisner stated that this is a critical time in not only the Middle East, but in the world, especially after the Arab Spring. Such changes have had tremendous impacts on social, economic, and political life in the Mena region, which then impacts the US and the world at large.
Wisner said that the US will not abandon its commitments and obligations to this region and its allies. The United States has major national and core interests in the Middle East region in terms of hydrocarbon products, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the need to provide support for nations seeking political balance and economic growth.
In terms of the US-Iranian relationship, the two countries are now attempting to overcome the mistrust which has developed over the past few decades on many issues. “This mistrust must be addressed in order to ensure that Iran maintains a peaceful nuclear programme and capabilities.”
Wisner also talked about the US relationship with Egypt. He informed the audience that Egypt had been a good strategic partner for many years and it is one of the political pillars of the US in the Middle East. “There have been two revolutions: one that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and the second overthrew Mohamed Mursi. But the second one was unclear in terms of international criteria and standards. Some people believe that it was a kind of military “coup”, which is of concern to the United States. In the US culture and democratic principles, the US doesn’t support taking power through military takeovers.”
Frank Wisner speaking during a lecture at Qatar University.