FocusKSA | Intervention in Yemen: A Conversation with Dr. Joseph Kechichian (Transcript)

Published: March 30, 2015

Editor’s Note:

In the early morning hours of March 26, 2015 (local time) air forces from a Saudi Arabian led coalition launched air strikes against Houthi rebel targets in the Republic of Yemen. In an announcement timed to coincide with the initiation of the campaign the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, said:

“Saudi Arabia has launched military operations in Yemen, as part of a coalition of over ten countries in response to a direct request from the legitimate government of Yemen. The operation will be limited in nature, and designed to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis, a violent extremist militia.”

As part of SUSRIS’ extensive reporting since the opening of the intervention in Yemen, dubbed Operation “Decisive Storm,” we hosted FocusKSA webcast interviews Friday, March 27th with three Gulf specialists to give you their insights and perspectives on the conflict.

Here for your consideration is our conversation with Dr. Joseph Kechichian, who talked with SUSRIS from Beirut, Lebanon while he was on travel in the region. Dr. Kechichian is a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh and a Senior Writer for Gulf News in the UAE. Our conversation focused on the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen but touched on regional issues including the Saudi-Iranian relationship and Saudi Arabia’s emergence as the unquestioned leader of the Arab world.

FocusKSA is a webcast project developed by the Saudi-US Trade Group (SUSTG) and the Saudi-US Relations Information Service (SUSRIS). The webcasts provide an opportunity for specialists to share their insights and perspectives on Saudi-US relations and developments in Saudi Arabia and the region. Check the FocusKSA archive for more at – SUSRIS.com/FocusKSA. To receive notifications of upcoming FocusKSA webcasts sign up for SUSRIS newsletters at – Link.

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Transcribed from the FocusKSA video interview with Dr. Joseph Kechichian conducted via Skype from Beirut, Lebanon on March 27, 2015.

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FocusKSA | Intervention in Yemen: A Conversation with Dr. Joseph Kechichian

[SUSRIS] Good day, my name is Patrick Ryan. I’m the Editor in Chief of SUSRIS.com, the Saudi-U.S. Relations Project, and welcome to another edition of Focus KSA, which is a webcast program produced by SUSRIS and the Saudi-U.S. Trade Group that brings you specialists on Saudi Arabian, U.S.-Saudi relations, and Gulf affairs, an today we’re very pleased to bring you Dr. Joseph Kechichian from his current location in Beirut. He’s on travel and has graciously agreed to talk with us about Operation “Decisive Storm,” the military intervention in Yemen this week.

Dr. Kechichian, welcome, and let me turn this over to you to describe to us what’s been happening in the intervention in Yemen, the implications for Saudi Arabia and the region, and what we should all know for purposes of background and context.

[Dr. Joseph Kechichian] Thank you, Pat. I’m glad to have this opportunity to add a few words of my own.

kechichian-3Obviously this is nothing surprising. The Saudis have been preparing for a response to the developments in Yemen for quite some time now. But the decision was probably made several months ago to actually come to terms with the rapidly disintegrating situation in Yemen.

Clearly the Saudis could no longer tolerate that Yemen would be under the control of a militia that is contravening all of the efforts of the legal president of the country, Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had the backing not only of the substantial numbers of the Yemeni community, tribal community leaders and so, but also had regional legitimacy. He participated both on a domestic level on a very important national dialogue, and regionally with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the peace proposal that the GCC has put forth.

Therefore, the Saudis gave every opportunity possible for Mr. Hadi to find a modus vivendi, if you would like, with the Houthis. And for a while there it looked like there was going to be some kind of an accommodation between the two parties, both sides conceding some interests of theirs in order to maintain the unity of the country and in order to prevent the collapse of the regime.

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Unfortunately, the past year, or year and a half, or so we have seen the Iranians take unprecedented measures inside Yemen, backing the Houthis and probably persuading the Houthis that they no longer have to play the internal game, they no longer have to concede, and positioning themselves to actually take over the entire country, which they did on January 25 where they essentially organized a coup d’etat and put the president under house arrest.

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Yemen President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, March 28, 2015. (SPA)

Watching all of this from Riyadh, the Saudis said enough is enough. We’re going to take matters into our own hands and we’re not going to allow a militia to actually rule on the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, here we are now at the beginning of what probably will be a long-term, Saudi-led coalition to eradicate the Houthis as much as possible.

[SUSRIS] Can you talk a little bit about any of the implications in what’s happening in Yemen to the presence of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh?

[Kechichian] Well, I think that this is something very important. Where do the Houthis come from? Who are the Houthis? How many of them are there?

Houthis represent anywhere between 35 and 40 percent of the population of Yemen. They are Zaydi Shia Muslims. They believe in the “Fifth” – there are not “Twelvers” like the Iranians. They are “Fivers” if you like. They are named after a particular individual by the name of Hussein al Houthi who may have – he and his brother – who may have put together the organization back in 1982. It was an ecumenial movement at that time, a religious movement in a way to kind of mobilize public opinion and get more and more rights if you would like to the tribal community.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former President of Yemen, who also is a Zaydi as is President Abd Mansur Hadi – Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as well. They’re all Zaydis. In 2004 Ali Abdullah Saleh had arrested, had given orders to arrest Hussein al Houthi, and the guy was arrested with a whole bunch of other people. Obviously Ali Abdullah Saleh was very much distraught to realize that the Houthis were using extravagant language, quite violent, anti-Semitic in many ways, but also anti-American and anti-Western in general. Ali Abdullah Saleh all of a sudden now finds the relationship with the Houthis to be particularly useful for him in order to come back to power. And this is obvious.

Ali Abdullah Saleh

Former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Ali Abdullah Saleh incidentally is one of the most chameleon-like leaders of the Arab world. He is the only Arab leader that I had the pleasure of meeting that actually scared me, and someone who was quite violent even in his presence. So you’re not talking about someone who is easily persuaded. Let’s remember that he survived a major assassination attempt. He was heavily injured a few years ago. He went to Saudi Arabia to get medical treatment, which he received, and all of a sudden now he has forgotten all the help that the Saudis have given him over the years. He has forgotten the Saudi medical attention that he has received for free. All of that is now behind us. All of a sudden now he is aligned with the Houthis against a legitimately elected President, or appointed President since the elections have not occurred yet in Yemen, Abd Rabbuh Mansur al Hadi.

Therefore, the Houthis are, although part of the Yemeni makeup, they represent a substantial minority. By no means do they represent the majority of Yemenis. Still, they have a role to play and no one should deny them that role. They have to be part of the political set up that eventually will have to come into Yemen, but it is not going to be through violent means. I don’t think that the rest of the Yemenis will stand for it, and as you have seen since September of 2014 the Houthis have had their share of opposition where you had a lot of demonstrations against Houthi excesses. This is something which we’ll continue to see especially now that you have the coalition led by Saudi Arabia going after these militias with a vengeance.

[SUSRIS] Well let’s talk a little bit more about that, but first let me remind our viewers that this is Focus KSA, a webcast program brought to you by the SUSRIS.com Saudi-U.S. Relations Project, and the Saudi-U.S. Trade Group.

We’re talking with Dr. Joseph Kechichian who is a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research in Islamic Studies in Riyadh and he also is a senior writer for Gulf News in Dubai. His byline is followed by many specialists and others interested in Gulf affairs, and we’re very pleased to have him today to give us context and background on what’s happening with the military intervention in Yemen.

You mentioned the planning and preparation in Saudi Arabia. Can you talk a little bit about the context, the view from Riyadh? We’ve just had a transition in leadership, not just in the Crown Prince Salman assuming the throne on the passing of King Abdullah, but a very large shift in the players, the leaders at the top. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the King’s son, is now the Defense Minister. We now have a new Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef. Can you talk a little bit about the dynamics of what’s happening in Riyadh and the implications for its regional conduct?

[Kechichian] Sure. As you said there are quite a few changes that have taken place in Saudi Arabia with the passing of the great King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, but let us not really mix everything together. I think that Saudi Arabia is such a country that the transition that we’ve seen now is a very natural process. On the fundamentals, the policies have not dramatically changed between Abdullah and King Salman now.

Of course the personalities have changed and you have a younger generation of leaders that have been brought into positions of authority, especially the two individuals that you mentioned, the Deputy Heir to the Heir Apparent, Mohammed bin Nayef, and of course the King’s son, the Minister of Defense Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Crown Prince/Deputy Prime Minister Muqrin, Deputy Crown Prince/2nd Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, Defense Minister/Royal Court Chief Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a Cabinet session chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)

Both of these individuals now face a dilemma because they are to put up – they have to show that they have the mantle to actually assume the responsibilities. So far so good. But at the end of the day this is a monarchy we’re talking about, and although the King takes into account all of the viewpoints within the senior ranks of the family, he makes the final decisions. It is King Salman’s decisions to go ahead and mobilize regional and international public opinion against the Houthis. On that score there is absolutely no difference the way I see it, the way I analyze it between the previous King and the current ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Both of them have been primarily concerned with the influence of regional powers – by that I mean Iran, of course – not only in Yemen, but also in Iraq, and Syria, and Lebanon, and elsewhere. And both of these monarchs have geared the policies of the Kingdom in such a way that they were trying to find a solution, a way out to prevent a confrontation, but both of them have finally realized that in fact there was no way out if King Abdullah was ill and postponed the decision or people around him postponed the decision. King Salman is in good health despite what you might have heard by Washington experts who have never set foot in Saudi Arabia that the man was sick and so on and so forth. Actually he is in great health and he has made all the decisions to go ahead and authorize the use of force against the Houthis.

So therefore I think we should be very careful. It is true that the transition that has taken place in Saudi Arabia brought in new faces but it has not changed the policy, and let us not forget that the King at the end of the day is the individual who makes the decisions, and he has made them.

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[SUSRIS] Well clearly they are acting in their best judgment and best interest. Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir when he made the announcement and interviews and so forth said that there will never be any compromise or negotiation on two things – the faith and the security.

Let’s look at Iran. You mentioned Iran and the security considerations. Saudi Arabia sees itself as facing Iranian influence and determination to put its imprint on developments around the region. Iraq, for example, where there are Shiite militias fighting against ISIS. We’ve got a situation in Bahrain, which has been quiet, but Saudi Arabia has sent troops to support the regime there. Now we have this southern front. Can you put this in context of Saudi-Iranian relations?

[Kechichian] Saudi-Iranian relations during the past decade or so, or two decades has been quite a dilemma really on both sides because every effort that has been made on the part of Saudi Arabia to open a new door has met with confrontation. It was difficult at times and it was good at other times.

When President Rafsanjani in Iran was in power or when President Khatami was in power things were improving, relations were improving. But under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad they went the opposite direction. Now with President Rouhani there is hope that in fact something good must happen, could happen, but as I’m sure your viewers and listeners know very well Iran is a boiling experiment itself.

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King Abdullah welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Riyadh in March 2007. 

The revolution is still not completely consummated. You have opposition forces inside Iran that are going against the moderation, and there are some people in the Iranian body politic who actually believe this is their moment in the Muslim world to actually have the kind of power and influence on the Arab world that would bring this Arab world under their control. They are using the Shia populations in places like Iraq and Bahrain, in Yemen, in Syria as well as in Lebanon to actually use their force, which is fine. Countries do that kind of diplomacy whether it’s military, financial, political – that’s understood. That is acceptable.

What should not come as a surprise is that these kinds of actions will have reactions. People will not tolerate it. There will be opposition to them. And Iranian-Saudi relations have now entered a phase of no return and it is very important for people to understand that there is no difference between what King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and King Salman bin Abdulaziz actually thought and think about Iran. Both of them want to have good, neighborly relations with Iran but not the role of a subservient country. They will not accept to be subservient to Persian influence in the region.

Unfortunately, you notice I did not use the word Sunni-Shia confrontation, but it’s pretty much that when you think about it. At the end of the day you have this blatant confrontation that is now coming up and we will have to wait and see whether or not cooler heads will prevail to prevent an all-out war between the two sides.

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President Assad of Syria welcomed President Ahmadinejad of Iran to Damascus. (File)

Incidentally, what is interesting is that Iran has limited military deployments in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in Yemen. They prefer to use local clients, if you would like, to put forth their policies. They send a few advisors, they send a few commanders, but they have not actually deployed formal troops, the exception being in Syria where there are several hundred Iranian soldiers that are fighting. But that’s the exception and they are actually quite sophisticated trainers, much more than just ordinary soldiers.

But in Iraq they are obviously using the local population. In Yemen they are using the local population, in this case the Houthis, to accelerate the movement against the legitimate President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. So therefore you have this dilemma on the part of the Iranians. They would like to have their cake and eat it too without actually spending much energy to defend their position.

Saudi Arabia historically has always been a very reluctant country to use forth, but the point came where you could no longer tolerate this kind of behavior, especially where the border is said to be quite porous on the Arabian Peninsula, and you have to defend them as Ambassador Al-Jubeir said yesterday in his statement they will not negotiate on security and why should they? Why should any country negotiate on security? If it’s good for the goose it’s also good for the gander. It seems to me that no one should be surprised that the Saudis are taking the matters into their own hands because if they had not intervened militarily to stop the Houthis in Yemen the spillover effects inside the Kingdom would have just been a matter of time.

[SUSRIS] We’re talking with Dr. Joseph Kechichian. This is Focus KSA. I’m Patrick Ryan. Dr. Kechichian is joining us from Beirut and it’s the 27th of March, and we’re on the eve, Joe, of an Arab summit. You mentioned in talking about Iran that it’s a competition not only with Saudi Arabia but with the Arab nations at large. Can you talk – put in context what might be coming from Saudi Arabia’s obvious leadership of the Arab world in response to the Iranian threat?

It seems that Saudi Arabia has exercised a very outsized role in the region and in the Arab world, and this, as specialists have seen over the years, has evolved and Saudi Arabia is clearly at the center of the Arab world’s reaction to these sorts of events.

[Kechichian] If historically the center of the Arab world was Egypt that is no longer the case. Today the center of the Arab world is Riyadh. It’s Saudi Arabia. Not only is Saudi Arabia a member of the G-20, an economic powerhouse in its own right, it is also the home of Islam’s holiest shrines. It is the leader of the Muslim world just as much as it is the leader of the Arab world. Interestingly the traditional Arab countries that have always led — whether it was Egypt, whether it was Iraq, whether it was Syria — have now been mired in internal confrontations and crises that no longer allow them to play the leadership role that they used to enjoy under such leaders as Gamal Abdel Nasser or Saddam Hussein or Hafez al-Assad. Those days are probably permanently gone.

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King Salman, then Crown Prince, here meeting Prime Minister Modi of India for a bilateral session, led the Saudi delegation to the Brisbane G-20 Summit in November 2014. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia is the emerging natural leader of both the Arab and the Muslim world, and in that respect it is also the leader of the Sunni world by definition because the vast majority of the world’s Muslims are Sunni. Even Turkey has acknowledged the important role that Saudi Arabia plays, and although Turkey is a competitor of Saudi Arabia it nevertheless acknowledges that Saudi Arabia’s role is pivotal in the Arab world.

This is something which we’re going to see increasingly take hold especially relative to your question about the transition that has just taken place. There is a new leadership coming about in Saudi Arabia, especially a younger generation of Saudi leaders who no longer have the reticence that perhaps their fathers, their uncles, their cousins may have had. These young people are sure of themselves. They have the capacity to lead and they also have the means to lead.

Of course this is a test. Yemen is – what’s going on right now in the situation in Yemen is definitely a test for Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future.

If the Saudi leadership can demonstrate that in fact they are up to the job, if they can really assume the mantle of leadership then we will see their power increase dramatically and substantially. Hopefully it will be for the good and not leading to crises that will create further tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Make no mistake about it – the Saudis not only will not negotiate their faith and their security, but more importantly they will no longer negotiate from a position of weakness. Those days, I think, are permanently shelved.

Although Iran is a very important country and no one denies Iran’s right to play an important role in the future of the region, Iran cannot be the equal of the Arab world simply for two reasons.

One, it is not an Arab country, therefore it must not interfere in Arab affairs. That’s one issue.

And second, because of the sectarian differences – Sunni-Shia – Iran cannot be permitted to use sectarianism to further divide the already divided Arab world.

The Sunni leaders of the Arab world are very much conscious and aware that they cannot afford to have sectarianism grow amongst the majority-led Sunni populations. The minorities must be protected, but they definitely cannot be allowed to fester into an environment of tension between Sunnis and Shias.

Those are two very critical issues that people in this part of the world are talking about all the time. They are saying Iran should not get involved in Arab affairs, one. And two, that we should not allow or encourage sectarianism to grow more than it is. If we allow sectarianism to grow then we should not be surprised that we have ISIS on one hand and we have Muslim-Sunni extremists on the other, Shiite extremists versus Sunni extremists. This is something obviously to avoid if possible.

[SUSRIS] Last question, and last question doesn’t mean the least important, but can you comment on the implications of all these developments for the United States. We see it, ironically, on the same day it’s supporting, providing airstrikes in Iraq in Tikrit supporting what some see as proxies of Iran, and on the same day providing support to Saudi Arabia who are battling against so called proxies of Iran.

So the United States sees itself on the horns of a number of competing dilemmas. What should Americans make of this?

[Kechichian] Well the prerogatives of major powers are far greater than the prerogatives of small countries. Major powers can afford to have contradictory policies. That will work in the short-term, but in the long-term it’s not wise. It’s better to be consistent.

I think that if the United States has demonstrated a great deal of consistency during the past seven, eight decades in the Muslim world, in the Arab world in particular, as far as I’m concerned U.S. foreign policy has not changed that much in this part of the world for the past century, really. It’s always been to maintain the security and stability of the region and we’re not about to hand over on a silver plate to Iran whether the Gulf or any other country. That’s not going to happen whether it’s Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Yemen, or anything else.

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King Salman bin Abdulaziz hosted President Obama for consultations during the American delegation visit to Riyadh in January to present condolences on the passing of King Abdullah. (SPA)

But we can have contradictory policies. Washington can in fact have one policy vis a vis Saudi Arabia and another vis a vis Iran, and it may appear these are contradictory because that serves our interest in the short-term, but I think over the long-term it is much better to realize that consistency is preferable over everything else.

I think that in the long-term the United States must find a way not to get involved in the internal, nitty gritty politics of these countries. They are grown ups. They can handle their own affairs. They can be masters of their own destinies. They can have relations with each other without foreign interferences. As far as we are concerned, as far as the United States is concerned I think what we should do, we should minimize tensions as much as possible, and the fact that we have remained relatively silent when ISIS was becoming more important in Iraq and Syria speaks for itself. The fact that we have remained silent when the Houthis were gaining more and more interest in Yemen or influence in Yemen speaks for itself.

We should not have tolerated this, and I think the gravest mistake that we have made in my humble opinion is the fact that we have tolerated far, far, far too many excesses in Iraq and Syria, just far too many excesses. What has been happening in Syria, what has been happening in Iraq is just intolerable, and we have tolerated that because of dramatic interests that we have with Iran.

This will come back and haunt us down the line. I hope we will not make the same mistakes with Yemen because if the Houthis are not checked then Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula will appear like a picnic compared with what the Houthis will potentially do to the United States.

[SUSRIS] What do you say to those who see the nuclear negotiations with Iran as opening the door to some grand bargain?

[Kechichian] Perhaps there will be a grand bargain, which is a good thing, but I think that if there is a nuclear agreement that depends what’s in the nuclear agreement, obviously.

If the nuclear agreement is such that Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons then we will not have an arms race. But if the agreement contains such provisions that eventually will allow the Iranians if not now within ten years to have nuclear weapons then obviously we’re going to be in a new arms race. That is not in the best interest of the United States. I think that most people will understand and accept the fact that we do not want a new arms race in the Middle East. Hopefully we will not get to that point.

People Geneva P5+1 Iran Nuclear Hague Zarif Ashton Kerry Lavrov

The November 2013 Geneva agreement between the P5+1 states and Iran paved the way for nuclear program negotiations. 

[SUSRIS] But beyond the nuclear negotiations for the agreement on weapons development, the grand bargain I’m referring to would be a rapprochement or a shift of American attention from the Arab states to an emerging or an evolving Iran and an America that was more tolerant of Iranian hegemony in the region than it has been.

[Kechichian] I understand that. This is essentially a replay of the 1972 Nixon Twin Pillar policy, but Mr. Obama is not Mr. Nixon, and I think that the grand bargain essentially that would allow to have hegemonic influence over Saudi Arabia will no longer work. The Saudis will not stand for it.

[SUSRIS] Do you see any validity in the worries among the Arabs that America has that intention?

[Kechichian] Whenever I talk to Arab colleagues, university professors, decision makers, princes, sheiks throughout the Arab world I think that unfortunately, and I say this with the greatest regret, I think that we in the United States have lost so much of our influence.

People just don’t trust us anymore the way they used to. They just don’t believe us when we say what is it that we intend to do. I think that we have to really regain the trust in not just the leaders of the Arab world but also the populations.

If you read the editorials in newspapers, if you listen to television programs in this part of the world, if you go to think tank presentations the anti-Americanism that you hear is just sickening. To me I’m always in an awkward position having to sit through these kinds of bombardments, intellectual bombardments simply because people don’t trust us anymore.

I hope that we will be able to rekindle the relationships that we had with the Arab world that we used to enjoy in the past and that we will regain the trust that we had established.

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The coalition of American and Saudi forces and international allies in Operation Desert Storm — the liberation of Kuwait — was a high water mark in US-Saudi relations. Here Gen. Normal Schwarzkopf and Gen. Khaled bin Sultan sign the ceasefire with Iraqi officers at Safwan, Iraq. (U.S. Army Photo)

Let’s not forget for 100 years the United States has maintained the friendliest relations on the Arabian Peninsula from our navy deployments in Bahrain to our military deployments in Saudi Arabia, from our special ties with the Omani special access to special facilities and so on and so forth throughout the region. I hope that we will rekindle those relationships and not draw a red flag over everything.

[SUSRIS] Well we’ll have to revisit those questions with you at a future session. Dr. Kechichian, thanks so much. Any last thoughts as we circle back to our original conversation, the intervention in Yemen?

[Kechichian] No, the only thing to add is that I think that what we probably have to do is be quite patient because the Yemen campaign is not going to end quickly. This might be a quite long endeavor and people might be surprised how long it will be. We just have to be patient.

[SUSRIS] Thank you so much. We’ve been talking with Dr. Joseph Kechichian who’s on travel. He’s currently in Beirut. He was kind enough to join us for Focus KSA, our webcast sponsored by the SUSRIS.com Project and the Saudi-U.S. Trade Group. Thanks again, Joe, and safe travels.

[Kechichian] Thank you.

Transcribed from the FocusKSA video interview with Dr. Joseph Kechichian conducted via Skype from Beirut, Lebanon on March 27, 2015.

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About Dr. Joseph Kechichian

kechichian2Joseph A Kéchichian is a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and a senior writer with the Dubai-based Gulf News, which is the top-ranked English-language news daily in the United Arab Emirates. http://www.gulfnews.com. He served as the honorary consul of the Sultanate of Oman in Los Angeles, California between 2006 and 2011.

Dr. Kéchichian received his doctorate in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 1985, where he also taught and assumed the assistant deanship in international studies. In the summer of 1989, he was a Hoover fellow at Stanford University. He has also worked at RAND Corporation as an associate political scientist and as a lecturer at fellow at UCLA.

Dr. Kéchichian has written and published several books, including Legal and Political Reforms in Sa‘udi Arabia, Political Participation and Stability in the Sultanate of Oman, and Oman and the World: The Emergence of an Independent Foreign Policy. He also edited A Century in Thirty Years: Shaykh Zayed and the United Arab Emirates.

The Middle East Institute in Washington, DC welcomed Kéchichian as a non-resident fellow in 2009-2010 and hosted him once again in 2012-2013 to work on a new project on the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Dr. Kéchichian is a frequent participant on radio and television programs and has appeared on The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour to comment on developments in the Gulf crises. He has also appeared on Al Jazeera English, the BBC, and WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. A frequent traveler to the Gulf region, Dr. Kéchichian is fluent in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Italian, Turkish, and is learning Persian.

Source: GlobalPost

Books by Dr. Kechichian

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