9/11 was a shock that represented a turning point for US foreign policy and grand strategy towards the Middle East. It paved the way for American intervention in Iraq, underlined by liberal foreign policy goals coupled with US hegemonic or unilateral power.
However, far from democracy, the US invasion of Iraq unleashed the consequences of war, including human rights abuses, mass migration, and the failures of states to protect citizens, which continue to harm people across the region.
Later US disengagement in Syria proved to be similarly consequential as the Syrian conflict grinds on, while limited international intervention in Libya was not coupled with a viable stabilization plan.
In all those countries and others in the region, terrorist groups have risen, taking advantage of Washington’s failures, while the US often chose to focus on fighting terrorism in the Middle East but without a comprehensive strategy for addressing the larger political and economic crises at stake. Countries from Libya to Syria have exposed the limits and contradictions of US foreign policy in the Middle East.
Panellists examine the impact and legacy of 9/11 on countries such as Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
How have US interventions impacted the Middle East?
Can the Biden administration or any US leader completely disengage from the Middle East and move past the legacy of endless wars?
Looking at the Middle East today, is the war on terror really over?
This event is part of Chatham House’s ongoing work on the Future of Conflict.
As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.