Mark Hanson came to speak to the Geographical Society this week.The title of the talk was ‘The Political Geography of the Middle East- A Region in Decline?’, which Mr Hanson was very well placed to give, being a partner at Hakluyt and Company, where he advises companies on their Middle Eastern Policies. It was also particularly well timed given the Khashoggi murder and the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran by Trump.

The evening began at 8:45pm with a 30-minute talk from Mr Hanson about the Middle East in general. He focused mainly on Saudi Arabia, covering areas from the Khashoggi murder and its implications for the reputation of Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salmen, the ‘Cold War’ with Qatar, the War in Yemen and how the Crown Prince is trying to diversify the economy as he realises the danger of the reliance on oil. He then went on to discuss Iranian policy towards Saudi Arabia, the effect of Trump’s Sanctions and the Muslim Brotherhood.

An engaging 30 minutes of Q&A then followed, featuring questions on the future of the region and why the political climate had become so unstable.

Fergus Trower