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Cold wars going hot? Rising tensions around the Persian Gulf

Cold wars going hot? Rising tensions around the Persian Gulf

What does the arms race in the Middle East tell us – is there a risk of cold wars going hot? Are there any ways to de-escalate tensions? Will Trump blow up the Iran deal on May 12? And if so, what might happen next?

The deep and dangerous divide between Iran and Saudi Arabia is often fought via proxies. But since Donald Trump became the U.S. president these tensions have escalated. In this seminar we will discuss SIPRI’s new data on military expenditure which show a big increase in the Middle East, which is mainly driven by military spending in Saudi Arabia, already at war in Yemen.

The panel discussed what the standoff between Trump and Iran might lead to, and we will take a deeper look at the rifts between some of the monarchies in the GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council.


Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher, SIPRI
Rouzbeh Parsi, UI Associate Research Fellow, Historian at Lund University
Dina Esfandiary, Fellow at War Studies Department at King's College, London

Bitte Hammargren, Head of UI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme


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