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Energy and Politics in the Persian Gulf

The energy-based political economies of the Persian Gulf are entering a period of profound change. The impact of lower oil and gas prices intersects with the rise of younger and more assertive leadership in countries that are strategic American partners, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Along with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, officials in these states are adopting long-term plans to diversify their economies, strengthen their private sectors and create jobs for growing workforces. These initiatives, which are developing amid intensified rivalry with Iran and a full-blown war in Yemen, aim to prepare for a transition in which hydrocarbons assume a smaller — yet still crucial — role in the region.

As the Arab world remains embroiled in conflict and political uncertainty seven years after the Arab Spring, is a “Gulf model” of development applicable to the wider Middle East? How will issues such as climate change, new regional splits and internal economic reforms affect stability and security in a region vital to U.S. strategic interests?

This conference, co-sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for the Middle East and Center for Energy Studies, addressed the impact and implications of these issues for Houston and for U.S. energy and security interests.

This event was part of the 25th anniversary commemorative programs featuring the centers and research of Rice University’s Baker Institute.

Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter and join the conversation online with #Baker25th.

To view the entire conference, please click below:

Panel 1
Panel 2





8:00 am




8:30 am



Welcoming Remarks

The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian
Director, Baker Institute

8:35 am




Jim Krane, Ph.D.
Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies, Baker Institute

8:45 am    

Panel I — Shifting Internal Dynamics in the Field of Oil

Moderator: Nathan J. Citino, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Rice University, and Rice Faculty Scholar, Baker Institute

Shifting Internal Politics and Social Dynamics in the GCC
F. Gregory Gause III, Ph.D.
John H. Lindsey ’44 Chair, Professor of International Affairs and Head, International Affairs Department, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

Iran’s Persian Gulf Policy after the JCPOA
Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, Ph.D.
Fellow for the Middle East, Baker Institute; and Associate Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

Climate Strategy for Producer Countries: The Case of Saudi Arabia
Jim Krane, Ph.D.
Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies, Baker Institute

10:00 am




10:15 am



Panel II — Escalating Regional Rivalries

Moderator: Gabriel Collins, J.D., Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs

Regional Rivalries: The Results of U.S. Disengagement or More Assertive Leadership by U.S. Partners in the Gulf?
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Ph.D.
Fellow for the Middle East, Baker Institute

Washington, Tehran and Rising Tensions in the Gulf
Suzanne Maloney, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Foreign Policy Program, and Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy and Energy Security and Climate Initiative, Brookings Institution

Is There a Future for the Gulf Cooperation Council After the Qatar Blockade?
Abdullah Baaboud, Ph.D.
Former Director, Gulf Studies Center, Qatar University; and Former Director, Gulf Research Center, University of Cambridge  

11:30 am




11:45 am



Shell Distinguished Lecture Keynote Address

Developments in the Gulf as They Pertain to U.S. Interests: How has the Rise of More Assertive Regional Partners Affected U.S. Interests?
The Honorable Gerald M. Feierstein
Director, Government Relations, Policy and Programs, Middle East Institute; and Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen

12:45 pm



Closing Remarks



Wed, Oct. 3, 2018
8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall
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Houston, TX 77005