On December 19th and 20th, 2010, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies undertook to organize a symposium in Doha, Qatar entitled: "Iran and the Arabs: a Review of History and Politics". A selection of Arab researchers, who represent various schools of thought concerned with Iranian affairs, participated.
- Al-Tahir al-‘Amarah: Maghreb-Iran Relations
- Anwar Taha: The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Issue of Palestine: the Dichotomy of Ideology and Interest
- Burhan Ghalyoun: Towards a Strategic Vision of Arab-Iranian Relations
- Hussein al-Zawi: The Arab Maghreb and Iran: Challenges of history and vagaries in political geography
- Talal Atrissi: Iran relations with the Arab Mashreq and Gulf states
- Fehmi Huwaydi: History and Religion in the Relationship between the Arabs and Iran
- Mazin al-Ramadani: Iraq-Iran relation: the Past Present and the Present Future
- Mahjub al-Zuwayri: Iran and the Arabs in the Context of History and Religion
- Muhammad al-Ahmari: Illusions and Realities in Arab-Iranian Relations
- Muahammd al-Sa'id Idris: Iran and Arab national security: a regional perspective
- Musa al-Gharir: Arab-Iranian relations (Case Study:Syrian-Iranian realtions)
- Wajih Kawtharani: The Arabs and Iran: between Memory and History
- Sheikh Rashid al-Ghanushi: Troubled Iran-Maghreb Relations
- Amal Sa'd Gharib: Iran's commitment to the Palestinian cause: Ideology, national security and security of identity
- Abd al-‘Ali Hami al-Din: From Rupture to Openness in Morrocan-Iranian relations: Factors leading to Rapprochement and Future horizons
- Fatimah al-Samadi: Iran and Palestinian Resistance: the Equation of Ideology and Interest
- Nevine Mas'ad: Iran's International and Regional Relations and their Impact on Arab National Security.
The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies organized a symposium and workshop on the Arab-Iranian relations over two days-December 19th and 20th in Doha, Qatar. The aim of the meeting, which was attended by a number of researchers and specialists, was to examine the nature of relation between the two sides, to research the reasons for dispute that shape this relation as well as to explore its historical dimensions in addition to the course of events that have stamped and distinguished the positions of the two sides along with the reasons underlying the discrepancies in the positions of the Arabs towards Iran. Moreover, the symposium sought to comprehend the Arab-Iranian conflict factors, to probe the depths of difference(s) in madhab [i.e., doctrinal schools of Islam] without ignoring or overlooking the role of the geo-political factor in enhancing or aggravating this relation.
The need for the like of this symposium derives from the shortage of Arab specialists on Iran and its affairs, despite the abundance of those discussing it, in addition to the preponderance of a stereotypical perception of Arab-Iranian relations and the dominant preconceived concepts. These concepts engender the belief that circumstantial events are those which govern these relations instead of factors of geography, history and religion--spanning across many centuries.
It is for these reasons that the need for undertaking a meticulous objective review of relations between the Arabs and Iran emerges, without bias towards any particular point of view, but rather which re-examines the components of this relation in a scientific framework.
The symposium proceeded along three panels. The first one explored the reality of relations between Arabs and Iran in the modern era. The focus was on analyzing the prevailing conceptions and definitions over the course of these relations, where also undertaken was the assessment of the few extant schools in the study of these relations as well as the authoritative references on which such rely in their analyses of relations between the Arabs and Iran.
The second panel dealt with analyzing the discrepancies between the Arabs and Iran and the role of history and politics--in their internal and external dimensions--in intensifying these divergences. Herein, the factor of converting to Shi'ism was mentioned as well as the role of Arabs from Jabal ‘Amel in Lebanon and al-Ahsaa' in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in inculcating and disseminating Shi'ism in Iran contrary to the prevailing view that Shi'ism is a pure Iranian phenomenon. It is in this context that the participants juxtaposed the path of this relation after the establishment of the Arab state in the post-Colonial period and its dealings with a secular Iran before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and similarly its dealings with Iran after the Revolution. In this context, analyzing the form of Iran's relation with the United States and with the West in general, will be undertaken along with the relation of the Arab state that emerged after independence with the West and how this factor affected -in form and development-relations between the Arabs and Iran.
The third panel tackled the future of the relation between Iran and the Arabs in the wake of rapid regional and international transformations and the emergence of regional and international players such as Turkey, China and India, as well as the potentials for changing the map of political alliances and linkages. During this panel, the analysis of internal transformations in Arab societies was undertaken, especially in those which are proximal to Iran as well as the changes that are transpiring in the Iranian political scene.