Sixteen Years After 9/11: Assessing the Terrorist Threat | Monday, September 11 | 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm | New America | Register Here | Sixteen years have passed since the attacks of 9/11, and three presidents have now wrestled with calibrating an effective American response to the threat of jihadist terrorism. Where does the terrorist threat stand today? How effective has the Trump administration been in confronting the threat? What will the threat look like tomorrow? To address these questions, New America welcomes Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and CEO of Valens Global, a private firm focused on the challenge posed by violent non-state actors; Joshua Geltzer, a fellow in New America’s International Security program, who served from 2015 to 2017 as senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council staff, having served previously as deputy legal advisor to the National Security Council and as counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security at the Department of Justice; and Nadia Oweidat, a Middle East fellow at New America, who holds a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford, and who is currently working on a book on social media and positive change among Arabic speakers.
Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons | Wednesday, September 13 | 3:30 – 5:00 pm | Wilson Center | Register Here | Many authoritarian leaders want nuclear weapons, but few manage to acquire them. Autocrats seeking nuclear weapons fail in different ways and to varying degrees—Iraq almost managed it; Libya did not come close. In this seminar, Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer compares the two failed nuclear weapons programs, arguing that state capacity played a crucial role in the trajectory and outcomes of both projects. This analysis is based on a rich set of new primary sources, collected during years of research in archives, fieldwork across the Middle East, and interviews with scientists and decision makers from both states. The analysis reveals contemporary perspectives from scientists and regime officials on the opportunities and challenges facing each project. Many of the findings challenge the conventional wisdom about clandestine weapons programs in closed authoritarian states, particularly the level of oversight and control by regime officials, and offers novel arguments about their prospects of success or failure.
America’s Role in the World – Global Threats, Global Perspectives | Thursday, September 14 | 5:00 pm | Atlantic Council | Register Here | The day’s discussion will explore the results of Pew Research Center’s survey, which focused on global perspectives on the greatest risks facing the world today, from national security concerns to broader global issues such as climate change, and the economy, and included thirty-eight countries. Does the existential threat of ISIS affect people outside of the Middle East and Europe? Where are worries of the influence of the United States, Russia, or China most acute? Following a short presentation of the report, the panelists will evaluate the circumstances and tenuous relationships that may account for the findings. The conversation will feature Jacob Poushter of the Pew Research Center, Ellen Laipson of the Stimson Center, David Anderson of Zurich North America, and Mathew Burrows of the Atlantic Council. The panel will be moderated by Kate Brannen, the Deputy Managing Editor at Just Security.
Pushback: Exposing and Countering Iran | Thursday, September 14 | 12:00 pm | Atlantic Council | Register Here | Much is said about Iran’s “destabilizing activities” throughout the Middle East, but often without fully describing the activities, tools, and methods Iran uses to wield influence in neighboring states. What do we really know about Iran’s activities in the region? What are the primary factors driving Iran’s foreign policy? These are the questions the Atlantic Council seeks to answer through a new project entitled Pushback: Exposing and Countering Iran. This series examines the drivers, prospects, and constraints underpinning Iran’s efforts to undermine US policy in the Middle East and restructure the regional order to its liking. Drawing on new digital forensic evidence and expert analysis, this effort offers strategic and policy recommendations to address the growing challenge Iran poses to stability in the Middle East. Center for Strategic and International Studies senior fellow and deputy director Melissa Dalton, Atlantic Council nonresident fellow Elisabeth Kendall, Conflict Armament Research’s Tim Michetti, and Shia militia group researcher Phillip Smyth will discuss Iran’s regional tactics, while Middle East Institute director and senior fellow Bilal Y. Saab, American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Ken Pollack, Johns Hopkins SAIS’s Mara Karlin, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs Susan Ziadeh, and New York Times Washington correspondent David Sanger, will discuss the United States’ strategic options for countering Iran’s influence.