Washington DC - Course Information



Bullets, Ballots, Bureaucrats and Balances: the Arab world and its Tough Neighborhood  


Paul Sullivan, ’86 PhD, Professor of Economics at the National Defense University, Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University

Saturdays, March 11th - April 15th  10:00 - 11:30 am

Location: Chevy Chase Pavilion, 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 440 Washington, DC 20015

Course Description:

We will focus on some of the most important security, political, inter-religious and international relations issues facing the Arab World. We will discuss the make-up, budgets, weapons systems and strategic foci of the most prominent Arab militaries, and how these have changed over the years. Civil-military relations in the region will also be looked into. We will then discuss the chances for real democracy in some Arab countries, and what might be holding this back. The connections between militaries, dictatorships, monarchies and democracy in the region will be analyzed. Then we will look into the very complex and fascinating issues related to the Shia-Sunni divide, including an explanation of what this is, how it started and where it might be heading. The last three classes will focus on Arab relations with Israel, Turkey and Iran in the past, present and possible futures.

Class 1: Arab militaries and war

Class 2: Arab governments, their militaries, and their people

Class 3: The Sunni-Shia divide

Class 4: Turkey and the Arab world

Class 5: Iran and the Arab world

Class 6 Israel and the Arab world

These can be emotionally-laden issues with many viewpoints. This class will be run in a seminar fashion. The class will start with the basics of the issues then follow into a series of questions and discussions to delve more deeply into them.

If any important events happen during the period of the class we may have to shift some of the discussions to look into those events. Some extra news reading may be sent out for certain classes.

Dr. Paul Sullivan has been a professor of economics at the National Defense University (NDU) since July 1999. He has been an adviser to flag officers from the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and East Asia while at NDU. He has been part of the leadership and faculty of the NDU Energy Industry Study for 12 years. Dr. Sullivan has run field studies related to the energy, environment and agribusiness industries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, and the United States as part of his duties at NDU. He was part of the initial point team to help establish a National Defense College in the UAE. Dr. Sullivan is an Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University, where he has taught classes on global energy and security (which include analyses of energy issues for the EU, Russia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, Japan, the United States, Canada, and the Arctic.) for over 12 years. He is a Senior International Fellow at the National Council of U.S.Arab Relations and an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Future Global Resource Threats at the Federation of American Scientists. Dr. Sullivan has been involved in the energy work at the UNCTAD with a focus on Africa. He was a senior fellow at the EastWest Center and a VP at the UN Association of the National Capitol Area. He is an internationally recognized expert on the political economy and economic development of the Middle East and North Africa. He taught classes on the economics of Egypt, the economic development of the Middle East and the economic history of the Middle East at the American University in Cairo for six years. He has been advising senior leadership on economic, energy, water, the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia, South Asia and other economic and security issues for decades. Dr. Sullivan obtained his Ph.D. from Yale University with highest honors and graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University. Dr. Sullivan is a graduate of the Seminar XXI Program at MIT. He has a certificate of completion from the ethoarchaeology field study run by Flinders University in Barunga, Australia. He is a member of Chatham House and the IISS.  A selected list of his publications and other activities can be found at  https://www.linkedin.com/in/drsullivenergy.