Free public forum on Persian Gulf crisis Nov. 2 at Veterans Memorial Hall in Santa Cruz

The public is invited to a free panel discussion about the Persian Gulf Crisis with an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, an expert on international terrorism, and a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who has covered wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.

Alan Richards (Photo: Jim MacKenzie)
The town hall forum, "The Persian Gulf: Situations & Strategies," will take place Thursday, Nov. 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Hall Ballroom in downtown Santa Cruz. The panel is being sponsored by the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies (CGIRS) at UC Santa Cruz.

"With the Bush administration zig-zagging and Democrats saying we can't stay and we can't pull out, it's hard to know what's actually going on in the Persian Gulf today," said CGIRS director Ronnie Lipschutz, a professor of politics at UCSC. "This panel discussion will bring together three highly accomplished people with varied expertise to help us understand what's taking place in the Middle East."

Each panelist will make a 20-minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, said Lipschutz.

Panelist Alan Richards, a professor of environmental studies at UCSC, is an expert on the politics of the Middle East and a critic of Bush administration policy, which he says is inflaming widespread despair and anger among young Arabs and Muslims. A frequent consultant to the U.S. government on Middle Eastern affairs, Richards has briefed top Pentagon officials about the sources of instability in the Middle East and cautions that current policies are contributing to rampant anti-Americanism in the region.

Panelist Anna Badkhen has been a staff reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle since 2001. She has reported extensively on the Iraq war, as well as wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, and the Middle East. Currently based on the East Coast, Badkhen is an astute observer of domestic and international politics. Before joining the Chronicle, the Russian-born Badkhen was a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times and the Moscow Times.

Panelist John Arquilla is an associate professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where he teaches courses in the history of special operations, international political theory, the revolution in military affairs, and information-age conflict. An expert on terror and transnational criminal networks, Arquilla is a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism but a critic of the war in Iraq. He is coauthor with David Ronfeldt of the 2001 book, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy, which analyzes the rise of global terrorism and criminal networks and considers strategic options for waging the current war on terrorism.

"These panelists are the experts who can tell us what's really going on in the week before the midterm elections," said Lipschutz.

For more information please contact the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at UC Santa Cruz by calling (831) 459-2833.