Event / Intelligence Squared

Madawi Al-Rasheed: Should The West Should Cut Ties with Saudi Arabia?

4 Feb 2019 – 19.00

With friends like these, who needs enemies? Saudi Arabia is out of control. After the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, most likely on direct orders from the Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed Bin Salman, it’s time for the West to sever ties with this regime of criminal despots.

That’s the high-minded reasoning of the Saudi-bashers. But no matter how much we abhor the behaviour of the Saudi government, shouldn’t we consider our own interests before ending a hugely beneficial decades-old partnership? After all, as more pragmatically-minded people point out, Saudi Arabia is a crucial bulwark against the dangerous influence of Iran, which threatens the region with its expansionist ambitions.

Join the debate on February 4th, when the BBC’s star international correspondent Lyse Doucet will be chairing a line-up of Middle East experts, including Hurst author Madawi Al-Rasheed.  Who’s right and who’s wrong? Hear the arguments and decide for yourself.

Standard Tickets: £30.00
Students: £15.00

Speakers for the motion


Mehdi Hasan

Journalist, broadcaster and prominent critic of the Saudi government. He is the host of UpFront and Head To Head on Al Jazeera English, as well as a columnist for The Intercept and Contributing Editor for the New Statesman.

Madawi al-Rasheed

Saudi Arabian professor of social anthropology at the Middle East Centre at LSE. She has written extensively about the Arabian Peninsula, Arab migration, globalisation, religious transnationalism and gender. She is the author of Salman’s Legacy: the Dilemma of a New Era in Saudi Arabia.

Speakers against the motion


Crispin Blunt

Conservative MP for Reigate, and Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee from 2015 until 2017. He is widely regarded as one of the most experienced foreign policy voices in Parliament.

Mamoun Fandy

Egyptian-born Middle East expert. He is president of the think tank London Global Strategy Institute, a former senior fellow at the Baker Institute, the United States Institute of Peace, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He is the author of Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent. His research focuses on the politics of the Arab World, terrorism and radical Islamic politics, and regional security issues in the Middle East.



Lyse Doucet

The BBC’s award-winning chief international correspondent, who has reported on the Arab Spring and all the major wars in the Middle East since the mid-1990s.

Salman’s Legacy
The Dilemmas of a New Era in Saudi Arabia
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