Tag: Central African Republic

Peace picks November 30 – December 4

  1. Renewed Violence in the Central African Republic: The Roots of a Political Crisis | Monday, November 30th | 12:30-2:00 | US Institute of Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Leaders and citizens of the Central African Republic, with the support of the international community, are currently focusing resources and energy on laying the groundwork for a peaceful constitutional referendum and elections in the coming months. But sustained peace in in the country will require longer-term efforts as well, because the recent crisis is rooted in decades of poor governance and persistent insecurity. After the elections, Central African Republic policymakers and the international community will be challenged to lay the groundwork for the new government by addressing the longstanding grievances that contribute to the cyclical nature of the violence in CAR. The panel will bring together some of the foremost experts on the Central African Republic’s recent history of rebellion and instability, including the two most recent coups, international intervention efforts, the country’s political economy, and the ongoing series of United Nations and regional peacekeeping efforts. The experts will draw on their contributions to Making Sense of the Central African Republic, published by Zed Books, to make policy recommendations for the crucial remaining steps in CAR’s political transition and beyond. Panelists include: Louisa Lombard, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University; Tatiana Carayannis, Deputy Director Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF), Social Science Research Council (SSRC); Ambassador Laurence Wohlers, Senior Fellow, Meridian International; Ledio Cakaj, Independent Consultant, Expert on the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Séléka; Roland Marchal, Senior Research Fellow, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), based at the Center for International Studies (CERI), Paris Institute of Political Studies; and Faouzi Kilembe, Independent Researcher, Expert on Central African Civil Society and Local Development. Nancy Lindborg, President of USIP, will moderate the discussion.Pose questions for the panel on Twitter with #CARUSIP.
  2. 3-D Printing the Bomb? The Challenge for Nuclear Nonproliferation | Tuesday, December 1st | 10:30-12:00 | The Carnegie Endowment | REGISTER TO ATTEND |3-D printing has opened the world to a revolution in manufacturing. But this new technology may enable the most sensitive pieces of a nuclear weapons program to be more easily produced and transferred undetected around the globe. The United States should‬ ‪lead an international effort to prevent a 3-D printing-enabled cascade of nuclear weapons proliferation before it is too late. Tristan Volpe and Matthew Kroenig will launch their new article, “3-D Printing the Bomb? The Nuclear Nonproliferation Challenge,” and explore how the United States can adopt both top-down and bottom-up strategies to combat this threat to international security‪. ‬Bruce Goodwin will moderate.
  3. Developmental Approaches to Countering Violent Extremism | Tuesday, December 1st | 11:00-12:30 | Center for Strategic and International Studies | RSVP to PPD@csis.org | Join us for an expert discussion on the role of development actors in addressing the drivers and manifestations of violent extremism. Although the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001 forced governments around the world to develop new counterterrorism tactics, the rise of ISIS and other violent extremist groups has focused international attention on the underlying risk factors and risk processes that make young people, in particular, vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment.
    Development actors have invested significant time and resources into understanding the drivers of violent extremism and developing an evidence-based approach to address these factors. Yet, many questions remain about the most salient development-related drivers and the viability of taking a holistic, developmental approach to violent extremism. Panelists will discuss the contributions that development actors can play in preventing violent extremism and uncovering the limitations to these approaches. Daniel F. Runde, director of CSIS’s Project on Prosperity and Development, and William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis, will give opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion featuring: Farooq Kathwari,Chairman, CEO, and President, Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc.; and Susan Reichle, Agency Counselor, U.S. Agency for International Development. The discussion will be moderated by Shannon N. Green, director of CSIS’s Human Rights Initiative.
  4. Berets are OK, Headscarves are not | Wednesday, December 2nd | 12:30-2:00 | Georgetown University | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Relations between the French state and public visibility of religion, particularly Islam, became openly confrontational in the late 1980s with the infamous “headscarf affair” in public schools, where Muslim students were expelled from school for wearing a hijab (Islamic headscarf). With respect to public displays of religion, the initial response of public authorities was a lenient application of laïcité towards the general public but a rigid one towards civil servants. In the 2000s, there were escalating public struggles between public manifestations of religious affiliation and politicians increasingly fighting for a restrictive application of laïcité that regards religious displays as a violation of public order. This increasing politicization of laïcité, where religious freedom was seen as an assault on cultural and republican values, has resulted in a toughening of the legislative speech on religious signs, particularly against Muslims who were seen as more openly violating French cultural norms. While restrictions of expression of religious affiliation of students began in public schools, we are now observing an extension of this control to people in public spaces. This expansion of repressive policies will end badly not only for Muslim minorities in Europe, but also the overall legitimacy and integrity of modern European liberal values. Rim-Sarah Alouane, Ph.D. candidate in Public Law at the University Toulouse-Capitol, will give a presentation on the subject, in the Intercultural Center, room 270.
  5. Examining the Puzzle of Non-Western Democracy | Tuesday, December 2nd | 12:15-1:45 | The Carnegie Endowment | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Many people in non-Western countries say that they want a democratic system of governance—but just not Western-style democracy. Yet what is meant by non-Western democracy often remains unclear, and at times is merely a cover for non-democratic practices. A new book by Carnegie senior associate Richard Youngs, The Puzzle of Non-Western Democracy, examines the growing search for variation in democratic practice and the implications of this search for Western democracy assistance providers. Youngs argues that it is most useful to focus on the common challenge of democratic renewal in both Western and non-Western countries, and he identifies areas of democratic variation that may help to productively channel efforts for such renewal. Richard Youngs will present the core arguments of his book in a roundtable event. Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Sandra Pepera, director for gender, women, and democracy at the National Democratic Institute, will offer comments on the different regional applications of these issues. Thomas Carothers will moderate the discussion.
  6. 6th Annual Conference on Turkey | Thursday, December 3rd | 9:00-4:15 | Middle East Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Center for Turkish Studies at The Middle East Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation are pleased to present the Sixth Annual Conference on Turkey, held at the National Press Club. The conference will assemble three expert panels to discuss the country’s tumultuous domestic politics following recent elections, the future of democracy in the country, and Turkish foreign policy. The keynote speaker for the conference will be the co-leader for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, in discussion with MEI’s Gönül Tol. The full program can be viewed here.
  7. U.S. and Western Policy Towards Russia: Cooperation, Containment, or Something Else Entirely? | Thursday, December 3rd | 10:00-11:30 | Center for Strategic and International Studies | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Russian annexation of Crimea has led to over two years of debate regarding Washington’s strategy towards Moscow. Today, with Ukraine somewhat quieter and seeming progress towards cooperation on Syria, are more cooperative approaches possible? What should be Washington’s goals in engaging with Russia, or responding to it on the global stage? Are there tools that have not yet been tried, and what can they attain where other efforts have failed? Vladislav Inozemtsev, prominent Russian economist and visiting fellow at CSIS, will outline his views of what’s possible, what’s likely, and what should be done by the United States as it reevaluates its Russia policies. Olga Oliker, Director of the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program, will provide commentary. The event will be moderated by Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director of the CSIS Russia and Eurasia.
  8. The State of Religious Freedom in the US and Europe | Thursday, December 3rd | 2:00-4:00 | KARAMAH | REGISTER TO ATTEND | It has become increasingly clear that even countries that champion international religious freedom still apply laws and regulations that restrict religious minorities’ rights with respect to many issues including their dress, their ability to have places of worship, and even the validity of their religious marriages.During this event, we will discuss how countries around the world, especially those that ostensibly defend religious freedom, can uphold these values and make sure they are fully reflected in their respective societies. Please attend and discuss with global leaders and advisers how violations of international religious freedom are impacting marginalized communities, especially the fundamental rights of Muslim women and girls. Speakers include David N. Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; Aisha Rahman, Esq., KARAMAH executive director; and Engy Abdelkader, Esq., Adviser with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The event will be held at The General Board of Church and Society 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002.
  9. Building Regional Stability: Addressing Pakistan’s Conflict – Displaced Persons | Thursday, December 3rd | 3:30-4:30 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Given the recent international attention on global refugee issues, including the flow of Afghan and Syrian refugees to the European Union, efforts to keep conflict-displaced persons in their home countries and repatriate them quickly and effectively has become more significant. Pakistan has over 1 million people still displaced from the conflict in FATA that could join those refugee outflows if an effective and resourced strategy is not in place. Recognizing this, Secretary Kerry announced a $250 million US commitment to help resettle and sustain civilians displaced by the Pakistani military’s campaign against militant group, and this month a $30 million USAID-supported FATA livelihoods and education recovery program launched as part of that pledge. John Groarke, USAID’s Pakistan Director, will join us to discuss this challenge facing Pakistan and the region. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, will moderate the discussion.
  10. Yemen between War and Political Solution | Friday, December 4th | 9:30-11:00 | The Woodrow Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Yemeni conflict is in its 8th month with no end in sight. What are the prospects for a solution, military or political? If the conflict is nothing more than a proxy war for Saudis and Iranians, what are the prospects for third party solutions? Finally, what are the long-term consequences of this conflict down the road for the region and beyond? Speakers include Mohammad Al-Shami, a youth activist and advocacy trainer in Yemen, and former Leaders for Democracy Fellow, Maxwell School of Syracuse University; Amat Alsoswa, founder of the Yemeni National Women’s Committee, first Yemeni female ambassador, former Human Rights minister, and former UN Assistant Secretary General; and Barbara Bodine, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and Director, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, The Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and former Ambassador to Yemen. Henri J. Barkey, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program, will moderate the discussion. There will be a live webcast of the event.
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peace picks November 15-20

  1. Global Security Forum 2015| Monday, November 16th | 9:30 – 10:45 | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Join the Center for Strategic and International Studies at their 2015 Global Security Forum. Panels include: The Geopolitical Implications of Europe’s Migration Crisis, Russia’s Strategic Vision, Counter-Coercion Strategies: Assessing U.S. Next Steps in Maritime Asia, and The Human Crisis in Syria and Iraq: What Can be Done? Speakers include: Philipp Ackerman, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Geoff Dyer, Financial Times Correspondent, Washington Bureau, Catherine Wiesner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
  2. Countering Terrorism In Tunisia: Prospects For Security Sector Reform | Monday, November 16th | 12:00-1:30 | Project on Middle East Democracy | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Despite the immense progress Tunisia has made in its transition since the Jasmine Revolution, significant challenges—both internal and external—threaten the future of Tunisia’s democracy. As major terrorist attacks have negatively affected the country’s security and economic stability, Tunisia’s government has struggled to find an appropriate and effective response to counter the threat of terrorism.The Legatum Institute’s upcoming publication Tunisia at Risk: Will counter-terrorism undermine the revolution? analyzes successive Tunisian governments’ responses to terrorism and considers the relation between these responses and the future of the country’s democratic transition. Speakers include: Fadil Aliriza, visiting senior fellow, Legatum Institute, Daniel Brumberg, co-director, Democracy & Governance Studies, Georgetown University, and Querine Hanlon, president, Strategic Capacity Group.
  3. A Look at the Policy Options in War-torn Syria | Monday, November 16th | 2:00 – 3:30 | Brookings Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Syria continues to dominate headlines as the country approaches the fifth anniversary of the beginning of a civil war that has taken some 300,000 lives and displaced half the country’s population. To date, international strategy in addressing the conflict has largely failed. But the war shows few signs of burning out on its own. As such, a new strategy is needed. Ideas that have yet to be fully explored include standing up a better and newly formed Syrian opposition army, working harder to contain the violence there with regional states and partners, and pursuing an “ink spot” approach aiming to create a confederal Syria with multiple autonomous zones. Which of these may be most realistic and promising for protecting core American security interests, U.S. allies, and humanitarian interests? Panelists will include Daniel Byman, research director in the Center for Middle East Policy; William McCants, director of theProject on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World; Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy; and Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Center for Middle East Policy.
  4. Twenty Years After the Dayton Peace Accords | Monday, November 16th – Tuesday, November 17th | Johns Hopkins SAIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) cordially invites you to our major conference “Prospects for Progress in Reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina” to be held at the SAIS campus. This conference is part of the Center’s 20th Anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords and intends to support socio-economic reforms effort launched recently in Bosnia and Herzegovina and supported by the International Community. Speakers include: Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
    Fadil Novalic, Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Hoyt Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs).
  5. The Central African Republic: The Situation On the Ground, Women, and Peacekeeping | Wednesday, November 18th | 12:00 – 2:00 | Women’s Foreign Policy Group | REGISTER TO ATTENDBarrie Freeman joined the United Nations as political affairs director for the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in September 2014. From 2011-2014, she served as director for North Africa at the National Democratic Institute, managing a wide range of political development programs in response to the political upheavals of the Arab Spring. Prior to that she served as a senior advisor to the institute and as deputy regional director for Central and West Africa, managing a diverse portfolio of country programs across the region that included support to electoral processes, civil society development, legislative strengthening, and political party development. Brown bag lunch will be supplied.
  6. Televising The Waves Of Political Change in Yemen | Wednesday, November 18th | 6:30 – 8:30 | Atlantic Plumbing Cinema | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Award-winning producer and journalist, Nawal Al-Maghafi, takes us on a journey into Yemen during the two most pivotal periods in the country’s modern history. Yemeniaty’s founder and director, Sama’a Al-Hamdani, will join Al-Maghafi to provide insight and analysis into the political and social dynamics that contributed to Yemen’s Revolution in 2011 and the failures of the transitional period that helped contribute to the regional proxy war. In this special screening of two mini documentaries, Al-Maghafi sheds light on one of the most unknown and complex countries in the Middle East. The first documentary takes place during the Arab-Spring inspired revolution of 2011, while the second film investigates the current humanitarian crisis facing the citizens of Yemen during this war. The screenings will be The President’s Man and His Revolutionary Son and Yemen: The Forgotten War. 
  7. The Movement Of Women and Girls In Conflict: A Discussion On Protection, Reintegration and Migration | Thursday, November 19th | 9:00-10:30 | International Foundation for Electoral Systems| REGISTER TO ATTEND | “The Movement of Women and Girls in Conflict” will focus on the flight of women and girls in and from Central America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Today’s headlines are filled with the harrowing journeys of refugees traveling to Europe and warnings about a global migration crisis. Less visible is the enduring plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) desperate for resources amid limited and dangerous movement. Women and girls in both groups, and particularly those in forgotten conflicts, are burdened by rampant gender-based violence, lack of health care and services, and little social and economic agency to lead their families, their communities and themselves to better and safer lives. Speakers include: Joan Timoney, Senior Director of Advocacy and External Relations, Women’s Refugee Commission, Reem Khamis, Protection/Gender Based Violence Technical Advisor, American Refugee Committee, and Shilpa Nadhan, Senior Program Specialist, International Organization for Migration.
  8. Afghanistan in 2015: A Survey Of The Afghan People | Thursday, November 19th | 9:30 – 11:30 | United States Institute of Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Asia Foundation’s series of annual surveys in Afghanistan provides an unmatched barometer of Afghan public opinion over time. Taken together, the surveys are a resource for policymakers in government, the international community and the broader Afghan public as they navigate a difficult landscape, seeking a more peaceful and prosperous future for Afghanistan and the region. Speakers include: David D. Arnold, president, The Asia Foundation, Timor Sharan, Program Management Director in Afghanistan, Andrew Wilder, Vice President, Asia Prorams, U.S. Institute of Peace.
  9. Ukraine: How to Build Social Peace Amid Displacement? | Thursday, November 19th | 10:00- 11:30 | U.S. Institute of Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Ukrainian civil society and women’s rights leader Natalia Karbowska and refugee specialist Dawn Calabia will examine the displacement of Ukrainians and ways that civil society and displaced people can foster social cohesion and resilience. Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and the former ambassador for global women’s issues, Melanne Verveer, will discuss Ukraine’s situation in light of other current migration crises, and ways in which it might unfold. Natalia Karbowska Board Chair of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund, Advisor at the Global Fund for Women, Dawn Calabia Senior Advisor at Refugees International, Ambassador William Taylor Executive Vic e President, U.S. Institute of Peace, and Melanne Verveer Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.
  10. Justice Mechanisms in the Syrian Conflict: Impunity under Scrutiny | Thursday, November 19th | 12:00 – 1:30 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | After four and a half years of civil war and more than 200,000 civilians killed, the Syrian conflict is seeing yet another escalation with Russia’s open military engagement. The lack of an international response to the humanitarian catastrophe affects not only Syria but Europe and the United States as well, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians seek refuge and returning foreign fighters present an increasing security threat. Please join the Atlantic Council, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, and the Commission for International Justice and Accountability for a discussion as our panel considers and evaluates practical methods for addressing both impunity and broader international security threats in the absence of a united international stance on the Syrian conflict. Speakers include:Ambassador Stephen Rapp has been a war crime diplomat and advocate of international criminal justice. Dr. William Wiley is a former infantry officer and a practitioner in the field of international criminal and humanitarian law who has investigated cases in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, DRC, and Syria. Dr. Rolf Mützenich has extensive foreign policy and arms control expertise with a special focus on the Middle East, Russia, Afghanistan, and transatlantic cooperation. Mr. Faysal Itani focuses on US policy in the Levant, with an emphasis on the conflict in Syria and its regional impact.
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peace picks, October 12-16

  1. JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War | Tuesday, October 13th | 2-3:30 | Brookings Institution | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In the fall of 1962, President John F. Kennedy faced two great crises: the Cuban missile crisis and the Sino-Indian War. While Kennedy’s role in the missile crisis has been thoroughly examined, his critical role in the Sino-Indian War – and the crisis itself – have been largely ignored. In his new book, JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), CIA veteran and Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project Bruce Riedel details several facets of the October 1962 crisis: the invasion of Indian-held territory by well-armed and equipped Chinese troops; Prime Minister Nehru’s urgent request for direct American Air Force intervention in the war; Kennedy’s deft diplomatic success in convincing neighboring Pakistan to remain neutral during the affair; and the ultimate unilateral Chinese cease-fire that brought an end to the conflict. Riedel also analyzes the CIA’s clandestine support of the Tibetan people in their resistance to Chinese occupation, a matter that had partially precipitated the Sino-Indian War. Finally, Riedel highlights the intriguing role First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy played in her husband’s South Asian diplomacy. On October 13, the Brookings Intelligence Project will launch Riedel’s new book with a conversation about this crisis, how it played an important role in forming Asia’s current balance of power, and the resultant regional arms race that still prevails to this day. Brookings Institution Nonresident Senior Fellow Marvin Kalb will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion. Following their remarks, Kalb and Riedel will take questions from the audience.
  2. Addressing Crisis, Supporting Recovery: The Central African Republic at a Crossroads | Tuesday, October 13th | 3-4:30 | Brookings Institution | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The citizens of the Central African Republic (CAR) have endured political instability and episodes of extreme violence since the country’s independence in 1960. Recent clashes between sectarian militia in the country’s capital of Bangui have displaced at least 30,000 residents from their homes and prompted renewed concern about the CAR’s peace process and transition back to democratic rule. The CAR’s recovery efforts hinge on the success of immediate stabilization and peacebuilding priorities, including national elections—which were recently postponed due to the ongoing violence and overwhelming logistical challenges—as well as the need to promote long-term civic inclusion and inclusive economic growth. The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative will host a discussion on immediate efforts to stabilize the CAR and long-term strategies for the country’s economic recovery. His Excellency Ambassador Stanislas Moussa-Kembe, the CAR Ambassador to the US, will give remarks, followed by a moderated panel discussion with the experts Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, US special representative to the CAR; Sandra Melone, executive vice president at the Search for Common Ground; and Madeline Rose, senior policy advisor at Mercy Corps. After the discussion, panelists will take audience questions. Amadou Sy, Director of the Africa Growth Initiative, will moderate.
  3. Is U.S. Missile Defense Aimed at China? | Thursday, October 15th | 2-3:30 | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The United States has been pressing South Korea to accept a very powerful radar that is allegedly intended for South Korea’s defense against North Korean ballistic missiles. However, North Korea is likely years away from building an intercontinental ballistic missile, and the radar is much more powerful than necessary for such a purpose. Is U.S. missile defense policy actually intended to defend against threats from China, rather than North Korea? Join us as Theodore A. Postol explains his research findings in answer to this question, joined by Tong Zhao as a discussant. Carnegie’s Toby Dalton will moderate.
  4. Turkey Ahead of the November Elections | Wednesday, October 14th | 10:30-11:30 | SETA Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | After negotiations to form a governing coalition produced no results following the June 7 elections, Turkey will return to the polls on November 1. Heading to this snap election, Turkey confronts renewed violence in its southeast and challenges as a member of the U.S. led anti-ISIL coalition. Uncertainty remains as to whether this new round of balloting will result in an AK Party single government, or lead to a fresh round of coalition negotiations. Please join us for a panel discussion on Turkey’s current domestic and foreign policy challenges ahead of the November 1 elections. Speakers include: Andrew Bowen, Senior Fellow and Director of Middle East Studies, Center for the National Interest; Omer Taspinar, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; and Kilic B. Kanat, Research Director, the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.. The discussion will be moderated by Kadir Ustun, Executive Director, the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
  5. Is the Bear Back? Russian Foreign Policy and the Conflicts in Ukraine and Syria | Wednesday, October 14th | 12:30-1:45 | Johns Hopkins SAIS, Rome Building | REGISTER TO ATTEND  | The Russia-Eurasia Forum invites you to a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff of the Center for Strategic International Studies on “Is the Bear Back? Russian Foreign Policy and the Conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.” The Russia-Eurasia Forum is moderated by Professor Bruce Parrott. Guests may bring their lunch to this brown bag series.
  6. Attribution and Accountability for Chemical Weapons Use in Syria | Wednesday, October 14th | 1-3 | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Two years after the dismantlement of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile, there is mounting evidence that chemicals continue to be used as weapons of war with over 30 allegations of use in Syria. In September the United Nations Security Council established a Joint Investigative Mechanism to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Please join us for a discussion on the Joint Investigative Mechanism, the international response to continued use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the effort to hold perpetrators accountable and uphold the norm against chemical weapons use. Speakers include: Wa’el Alzayat, Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; and Mallory Stewart, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Emerging Security Challenges and Defense Policy, Bureau for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, U.S. Department of State. The discussion will be moderated by Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues, and Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS.
  7. Human Rights in Iran after the Nuclear Deal Wednesday, October 14th 2-3:30 Project on Middle East Democracy REGISTER TO ATTEND With the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed upon, the international community has begun to focus on the implementation of the nuclear deal. During the course of negotiations, the human rights situation inside Iran failed to improve, and it remains unclear how such issues may be affected by the signing of the nuclear agreement. It also remains to be seen whether the nuclear agreement will now create any additional space for the international community to address its human rights concerns. What changes can we expect to see in Iran’s domestic politics as sanctions are relieved and attention moves beyond nuclear negotiations? What role can the international community play in addressing human rights concerns in Iran? What changes might we expect in U.S. policy toward Iran post-nuclear deal, and how—if at all—can the United States play a constructive role in helping open space for domestic activists? Join us for a conversation with: Nazila Fathi, Author, The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran; Dokhi Fassihian, Senior Program Manager, Freedom House; and Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution and Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution. The conversation will be moderated by Stephen McInerney, Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). This event is held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  8. Understanding Iran Beyond the Deal | Thursday, October 15th | 4-5 | Brookings Institution | REGISTER TO ATTEND | After surviving a review by a bitterly divided Congress, the Iran nuclear agreement is now a done deal. And yet, with regional conflict intensifying, the question of Iran continues to loom large in the American foreign policy debate. As Iran gears up for elections in early 2016, and as world leaders – in business and in politics – flock to Tehran, understanding Iran after the deal becomes an increasingly complex and urgent task. On October 15, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings will host a conversation with Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of the Brookings Foreign Policy program, and author of the recently released book, Iran’s Political Economy since the Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Maloney will be joined by Javier Solana, a Brookings distinguished fellow and former EU high representative for the common foreign and security policy; and Vali Nasr, dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings. The three experts will discuss Iran today, the implications of the nuclear agreement, and more. Bruce Jones, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, will give introductory remarks. After the program, we will welcome questions from the audience.
  9. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Region | Friday, October 16th | 9:30-11 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The complex relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan is an ongoing source of instability in the South Asia region. Only this past spring, the first round of discussions between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership gave even skeptics some reason to hope that President Ghani’s efforts to open talks with the Taliban on peace might come to fruition. After a period of improved contacts and rhetoric, relations between the Afghan and Pakistani governments have again become strained under the burden of high profile Taliban attacks under the new leader, Mullah Mansour. A lasting substantial dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains difficult to achieve, but necessary for stability and for both countries. With the arrival of Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in Washington later this month, the panelists will explore the challenges faced by the Pakistani leadership, the prospects for its relationship with the Afghan National Unity Government, and the implications for the US- Pakistan relationship. Join us for a conversation with Mr. Shuja Nawaz, Distinguished Fellow, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council; and Dr. Vali Nasr, Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The conversation will be moderated by the Honorable James B. Cunningham, Senior Fellow and Khalilzad Chair, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council.
  10. Erased from Space and Consciousness: Israel and the Depopulated Palestinian Villages of 1948 | Friday, October 16th | 1-2 | Palestine Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | A dramatic transformation took place in the landscape and demography of Israel after the 1948 war, as hundreds of Palestinian villages throughout the country were depopulated, and for the most part physically erased. How has this transformation been perceived by Israelis? Author Noga Kadman suggests some answers, based on a research that systematically explores Israeli attitudes concerning the depopulated Palestinian villages. She focuses on the most ordinary, everyday encounters of Israelis with the memory of the villages, their representations and their physical remains, exploring the naming and mapping of village sites, and the ways depopulated villages are dealt with in tourist sites and Jewish communities established on their remains. Aided by statistics, original quotes, photos and maps, she will discuss her findings, which reveal a consistent pattern of marginalization of the depopulated Palestinian villages in the Israeli discourse, in the context of the formation of collective memory and of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A light lunch will be served from 12:30.
  11. Understanding ISIS | Friday, October 16th | 3-4 | Center for American Progress | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, has shaken the foundations of an already fragile Middle East. The potency of the ISIS threat has galvanized one of the largest global coalitions in warfare history. More than one year into the anti-ISIS campaign, the results have been mixed, and ISIS has demonstrated surprising resilience. How do we understand ISIS as an organization, and what are its main strengths and weaknesses? Please join the Center for American Progress and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy for a discussion with Will McCants, Director at the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and Fellow at Brookings’ Center for Middle East Policy, and Hassan Hassan, Nonresident Fellow at Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, on the emergence and proliferation of ISIS. Will McCants’ recently published book The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State draws extensively on primary Arabic language sources and letters from Al Qaeda and ISIS. It is a comprehensive investigation of the group’s religious grounding, motives, strategy, and leadership. Hassan Hassan’s book ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, written with The Daily Beast’s Michael Weiss, traces the evolution of ISIS from its origins on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan through interviews with intelligence and military officials, as well as religious figures and fighters, explaining why the group will remain with us for a long time. Opening Remarks will be given by William Wechsler, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bombing is not sufficient

To bomb or not to bomb was yesterday’s question. Now most of Washington is agreeing that to stop the Islamic State bombing is necessary. The questions currently asked concern how much, whether to do it in Syria as well as Iraq, the intelligence requirements and how many American boots needed on the ground, even if not in combat.

Bombing may well be necessary to stop extremist advances, but it is certainly not sufficient to roll back or defeat the Islamic State. If you think the United States is at risk from the IS, you will want to do more than bomb. Quite a few people are proposing just that, though the numbers of troops they are suggesting necessary (10-15,000) seems extraordinarily low given our past experience in Iraq.  Presumably they are counting on the Kurdish peshmerga and the 300,000 or so Iraqi troops the Americans think are still reasonably well organized and motivated. How could that go wrong?

But the military manpower question is not the only one. The first question that will arise in any areas liberated from the IS is who will govern? Who will have power? What will their relationship be to Damascus or Baghdad? How will they obtain resources, how will they provide services, how will they administer justice? The Sunni populations of Iraq (where they are a majority in the areas now held by IS) and of Syria (where they are the majority in the country as a whole) will not want to accept prime minister-designate Haider al Abadi (much less Nouri al Maliki, who is still a caretaker PM) or President Asad, respectively.

Bombing may solve one problem, but it opens a host of others. This is, of course, why President Obama has tried to avoid it. He heeds Colin Powell’s warning: you break it, you own it. The governance question should not be regarded as mission creep, or leap. It is an essential part of any mission that rolls back or defeats the IS. Without a clear plan for how it is to be accomplished, bombing risks making things worse–perhaps much worse–rather than better.

Sadly, the United States is not much better equipped or trained to handle the governance question–and the associated economic and social questions–than it was on the even of the Afghanistan war, 12 years ago. Yes, there is today an office of civilian stability operations in the State Department, but it can quickly deploy only dozens of people. Its budget has been cut and its bureaucratic rank demoted since its establishment during George W. Bush’s first term. Its financial and staff resources are nowhere near what will be required in Syria and Iraq if bombing of the IS leads to its withdrawal or defeat.

The international community–UN, European Union, NATO, Arab League, Organization of the Islamic Conference, World Bank, International Monetary Fund–are likewise a bit better at post-war transition than they were, but their successes lie in the Balkans in the 1990s, not in the Middle East in the 2010s. They have gained little traction in Libya, which needs them, and only marginally more in Yemen, where failure could still be imminent. Syria and Iraq are several times larger and more complex than any international statebuilding effort in recent times, except for Afghanistan, which is not looking good.

Even just the immediate humanitarian issues associated with the wars in Syria and Iraq are proving too complex and too big for the highly capable and practiced international mechanisms that deal with them. They are stretched to their limits. We don’t have the capacity to deal with millions of refugees and displaced Iraqis and Syrians for years on end, on top of major crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and ebola in West Africa.

President Obama has tried hard to avoid the statebuilding challenges that inevitably follow successful military operations. He wanted to do his nationbuilding at home. We need it, and not just in Ferguson, Missouri, where citizens clearly don’t think the local police exercise their authority legitimately. But international challenges are also real. Failing to meet them could give the Islamic State openings that we will come to regret.

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peace picks May 5 – 9

1. Russia in East Asia: History, Migration, and Contemporary Policy Monday, May 5 | 9 – 11am 5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center; 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW REGISTER TO ATTEND This talk explores Russia’s ties with East Asia through the lens of migration and policy. Russia spans the Eurasian continent, yet its historic and present connections with East Asia are often forgotten. At the turn of the 20th century, thousands of Asian migrants arrived in the Russian Far East, spurring fears of a “yellow peril.” A century later, the recent influx of new Asian migrants to Russia has generated similar sentiments. The talk discusses Asian migration in the context of cross-regional attempts to strengthen trade ties and diplomatic relations in the 21st century. SPEAKERS Matthew Ouimet, Public Policy Scholar Senior Analyst, Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia, U.S. Department of State. Alyssa Park, Kennan Institute Title VIII Supported Research Scholar Assistant Professor of Modern Korean History, University of Iowa   2. The Democratic Transition in Tunisia: Moving Forward Monday, May 5 | 10 – 11:30am Kenney Auditorium, The Nitze Building, Johns Hopkins University; 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW REGISTER TO ATTEND Mustapha Ben Jaafar, president of the National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, will discuss this topic. Sasha Toperich, senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS, will moderate the event. Read more

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peace Picks March 17 -21

There were a few cancellations and postponements today due to the weather. Nevertheless, here are our picks for DC events this week:

1. Peace and Stability in the Central African Republic

Tuesday, March 18 | 9:30 – 11am

Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium; 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Register for the live webcast

The Central African Republic has become one of the most challenging humanitarian, security and political crises on the African continent since the coup that unseated President Francois Bozizé one year ago. Violence along community and religious lines has claimed thousands of lives, and more than one million people remain displaced. Strong domestic and international efforts are needed to address the humanitarian and security crisis as well as restore state authority and consolidate peace in the country.

On March 18th, the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution will host a conversation with Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Imam Omar Kabine Layama and Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyamé Gbangou, the Central African Republic’s highest-ranking Catholic, Muslim and Protestant leaders, respectively. Their work to prevent violence and promote interreligious tolerance has won national and international praise. AGI Senior Fellow Amadou Sy will moderate the discussion, which will include questions from the audience.

Read more

Tags : , , , , ,