China’s Emerging Role in the Middle East | Tuesday February 17th | 9:00- 6:00 PM | USIP | REGISTER TO ATTEND | China’s emerging role in the Middle East is expanding in tandem with Beijing’s burgeoning economic, political, and to a lesser extent, military interests in the region. The Asia Conference on China in the Middle East will evaluate China’s nascent regional role, implications for regional security, the reactions of other regional actors and the impact on U.S. policy.
Yemen and Libya: The Middle East’s Other Civil Wars | Wednesday February 18th | 9:00-10:30 AM | Brookings Institute| REGISTER TO ATTEND | The conflicts raging in Syria and Iraq consume most of Washington and the international community’s attention, but civil wars in Yemen and Libya have brought both countries near total collapse. Houthi rebels continue to gain ground in Yemen and the security situation continues to deteriorate in Libya. Thousands have died, and terrorist groups are gaining strength. The United States and its allies have not stemmed this instability even as the violence spreads.Bringing together a panel of experts on Yemen, Libya and the neighboring region, the conversation will raise questions about what can be done to stem the violence and what counterterrorism implementations can be made.
The Escalating Shi’a-Sunni Conflict: Assessing Arab Public Attitudes| Wednesday February 18th | 9:30-11:00 AM | Stimson Center| REGISTER TO ATTEND | Sectarianism has been a driving force of conflict in the Middle East for many years. From Iraq to Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain, conflict and confrontations between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims are on the rise. The emergence of extremist groups such as Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State has further deepened this divide. Each of these groups claims to offer the correct interpretation of Islam. In this tense climate, how do Shi’a and Sunni Muslims in the Arab world view each other? Part of the conversation will present findings on religious tolerance, views toward the current governments, and the role religion should play in politics and international relations based on polling in Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon. Speakers include: Ambassador Peter Galbraith, Michael Robbins, Project Director, Arab Barometer Neha Sahgal, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center.
Turkey’s Economic Transition and Transatlantic Relations | Wednesday February 18th | 10:30-12:oo PM | Brookings Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The panel will consider how modernizing the customs union and expanding U.S.-Turkey economic relations—through either a bilateral free trade agreement or the possible inclusion of Turkey in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—could play a key role in Turkey’s overcoming the middle income trap. Brookings TÜSİAD Senior Fellow and Turkey Project Director Kemal Kirişci will moderate the conversation. Panelists will include Martin Raiser, the director of the World Bank Office in Turkey; Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, professor of economics at the University of Maryland; and Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. ambassador to the EU, former deputy secretary of the Treasury and current partner at Covington & Burling LLP.
Examining Syrian Perspectives on Local Ceasefires and Reconciliation Initiatives |Thursday February 19th |REGISTER TO ATTEND | Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Rome Auditorium | The launch of a new report detailing Syrian perspectives on locally-based conflict resolution initiatives, “Maybe We Can Reach a Solution”: Syrian Perspectives on the Conflict and Local Initiatives for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliationmarks the second phase of a comprehensive research initiative launched by SJAC to investigate the opinions of a diverse group of Syrians on the transitional justice process. An accompanying panel discussion will highlight the opinions of ordinary Syrians regarding locally-brokered ceasefire and reconciliation efforts while providing an in-depth analysis of Syrian perspectives on conflict resolution since the collapse of Geneva II. Speakers include: Daniel Serwer, Senior Research Professor of Conflict Management School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Joseph Bahout,Visiting Scholar, Middle East Program Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Mohammad Al Abdallah Executive Director Syria Justice and Accountability Centre, andCraig Charney President, Charney Research.
The Future of Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean| Thursday February 19th | 2:00-3:30 | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Brookings Institute | Beginning in 2009, major natural gas fields have been discovered in the Levant Basin of the Eastern Mediterranean. These discoveries have the potential both to transform the energy outlook of the countries in which they were found, and foster regional energy cooperation. The first issue that will be covered is the Palestinian Gaza Marine gas field and its importance to the Palestinian economy. The second discusses the evolution of Israel’s energy policy since large discoveries were made in Israeli waters, and the effect of this process on regional cooperation. The third issue explores the hydrocarbon findings offshore Cyprus and their effects Cypriot relations with its neighbors. Speakers include: David Koranyi, Director, Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative, Harry Tzimitras, Director PRIO Cyprus Centre.