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Afghanistan and the Middle East

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Duration: 1:04:06 | Added: 06 Dec 2021
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Duration: 1:00:06 | Added: 06 Dec 2021
This is a recording of a live webinar held on Thursday 25th November 2021 for the Middle East centre.

Dr Ibrahim al-Marashi (Associate Professor of Middle East history at California State University San Marcos and Visiting Professor at the IE University School of Global and Public Affairs in Madrid, Spain) and Kate Clark (Co-Director and Senior Analyst, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org ) present ‘Afghanistan and the Middle East’.

Dr Michael Willis (St Antony’s College, Oxford) chairs this webinar.

Ibrahim Al-Marashi - Contesting the "Graveyard of Empires" Trope: Situating Afghanistan within Middle East History". First, this talk will examine the relevance of history, particularly Middle Eastern history for understanding the current crisis in Afghanistan, from antiquity to the Soviet invasion of the nation. This talk will examine the relevance of history, particularly Middle Eastern history for understanding the current crisis in Afghanistan. The fall of Kabul has been compared to the 1975 fall of Saigon or the British and Soviet defeats, hence the epitaph of the "Graveyard of Empires." While historical context is crucial, the aforementioned historical tropes are misleading, denying agency to Afghanistan as a nation and people

Kate Clark - Killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg: How overnight Afghanistan became a rentier state with no rent. The capture of the Afghan state by the Taliban was an economic calamity. The foreign assistance which had made up 43 per cent of GDP was cut. UN and US sanctions applied to the Taliban as an armed group suddenly applied to the whole country. Afghanistan’s foreign reserves and World Bank funds were frozen and the banking sector was paralysed. The repercussions are already catastrophic: only one in 20 households now have enough to eat. With such shaky economic foundations, will the Taliban’s new Islamic Emirate prove any more sustainable than the old post-2001 Islamic Republic?


Kate Clark has worked for AAN, a policy research NGO based in Kabul, since 2010. Her research and publications have focussed on the conflict, including militia formation and investigations into breaches of the Laws of War, detentions and the use of torture. She has written extensively on Afghanistan’s political economy, as well as its wildlife and the environment. Kate experienced both of the most recent falls of Kabul, in 2021, and in 2001, when she was the BBC correspondent (1999-2002). During the last years of the first Taleban emirate, she was the only western journalist based in Afghanistan.

Kate has also worked at the BBC Arabic Service, on Radio 4 news and current affairs programmes, and has made radio and television documentaries about Afghanistan, including on the insurgency, weapons smuggling, corruption, the opium economy and war crimes.

Kate has an MA in Middle Eastern Politics from Exeter University in Britain and has also lived, studied and worked in the Middle East.

Ibrahim Al-Marashi obtained his doctorate in Modern History at St Antony's College, University of Oxford, completing a thesis on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. His research focuses on 20th century Iraqi history. He is co-author of Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History (Routledge, 2008), and The Modern History of Iraq, with Phebe Marr (Routledge 2017), and A Concise History of the Middle East (Routledge, 2018).

If you would like to join the live audience during this term’s webinar series, you can sign up to receive our MEC weekly newsletter or browse the MEC webpages. The newsletter includes registration details for each week's webinar. Please contact mec@sant.ox.ac.uk to register for the newsletter or follow us on Twitter @OxfordMEC.

Accessibility features of this video playlist are available through the University of Oxford Middle East Centre podcast series: http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/middle-east-centre

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