- The Battle for Eastern Ukraine | Monday, December 1st | 12:00 – 1:00 | Heritage Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The battle for the future of Ukraine rages on. Despite a ceasefire negotiated in Minsk in September, in Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine, separatists supported by Russia continue to fight Ukrainian forces. Recently, the Russian military has again directly intervened across the border in support of the rebels. Recent elections in the two regions, won by Russian supported candidates, were described by Ukrainian President Poroshenko as a “farce.” As winter approaches, Ukrainians will be dependent for heat on Russian energy supplies, at rapidly escalating prices. What are the Obama administration, the European Union and NATO doing to support Ukraine’s national and territorial integrity? What does the winter hold for Ukrainians? The speakers are Luke Coffey, a Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Peter Doran, Director of Research at the Center for European Policy Analysis, and Mykola “Nikolay” Vorobiov, a Ukrainian Journalist and Blogger.Helle C. Dale will moderate.
- Jerusalem in Crisis? A Conversation with Danny Seidemann | Monday, December 1st | 12:00 – 1:10 | Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Are we on the verge of another sustained Israeli-Palestinian confrontation along the lines of 1987-1992 or 2000-2004? Why has Jerusalem become the focus of the current tensions and violence, and what if anything can be done about it? A conversation with Danny Seidemann, leading expert on geopolitical Jerusalem and moderated by Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
- Breakthrough or Extension: Implications for US and European Relations with Iran | Tuesday, December 2nd | 10:00| Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Expectations are rising that Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany will reach an agreement on key elements of a comprehensive nuclear agreement trading long-term curbs on Iran’s nuclear program for phased relief of economic sanctions. A breakthrough could significantly improve the chances for US and European cooperation with Iran in dealing with other regional challenges, particularly the rise of the group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and could also motivate Western businesses to sign new deals with Iran. Speakers will discuss the implications of a deal or a possible extension of negotiations for both political and economic relations with Iran. They will also comment on the possible ramifications of the midterm election results for an agreement with Iran and what impact it may have on the easing of sanctions. On the panel are Clifford Kupchan , Chairman of the Eurasia Group, Cornelius Adebahr, Associate for the Europe Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Erich Ferrari, Attorney at Law at Ferrari & Associates P.C., and moderated by Barbara Slavin, Senior Fellow in the South Asia Center at Atlantic Council.
- The Outcome of the Iran Talks and the Next Steps | Wednesday, December 3rd | 9:30 – 11:00 | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran are racing toward a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by the November 24 deadline. Many issues, such as establishing a formula that verifiably limits Iran’s uranium-enrichment capacity, are still to be solved, but both sides of the negotiating table have stressed the need to reach an agreement. A briefing with George Perkovich, Karim Sadjadpour, Daryl Kimball, and Elizabeth Rosenberg on the outcome of the negotiations and next steps. Kelsey Davenport will moderate.
- Ebola: The Intersection of Cultural, Historical, and Political Dynamics in West Africa | Wednesday, December 3rd | 12:30 – 2:00 | Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies | Michael McGovern, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, will discuss this topic.
- American Views of U.S. Foreign Policy: Public Opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict | Friday, December 5th | 10:00 – 11:30 | After the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations earlier this year and the devastating violence of this summer’s Gaza war, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are on the rise. Voices on both sides of the conflict question the United States’ traditional role as shepherd of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and Americans seem increasingly skeptical about their government’s engagements in the Middle East.It’s crucial to look beyond this skepticism to specifics. How much importance do Americans attach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to reaching a resolution? How do different communities in the United States—Democrats, Republicans, minorities, youth, older Americans—vary in their attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians? Beyond the question of who is more “at fault” in the conflict, what kind of future for Israel and the Palestinians do Americans think the United States should support? The speakers are Shibley Telhami, Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution, and William A. Galston, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution. The moderator will be Tamara Cofman Wittes, Director for the Center for Middle East Policy.
As the Senate considers President Obama’s request for $6.2 billion to combat Ebola, the questions of US leadership and the international response are critical. On Wednesday, the Brookings Institution hosted a conversation with Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID and Eric Postel, Assistant to the Administrator for Africa, to discuss the topic. The moderator was Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution.
In March, the Ebola outbreak appeared to be on the path to being mitigated, but urban transmission exploded and by May the transmission rates were as high as 2.5 for infected persons. This decimated the health care systems in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, none of which have yet to recover. Shah noted that one of the biggest obstacles is the unpredictability of when or where the next outbreak will be.
In addressing the US role, Shah echoed the sentiments of President Obama, who in a letter to Congress stated
My foremost priority is to protect the health and safety of Americans, and this request supports all necessary steps to fortify our domestic health system and prevent any outbreaks at home…Over the longer term, my administration recognizes that the best way to prevent additional cases at home will be to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source in Africa.
Shah believes controlling the virus at the source is the only way to guarantee the safety and security of the American people.
Another issue is the setback the Ebola outbreak will cause in the region. According to Postel, preliminary data shows that there has been a significant impact, specifically in the growth of the affected nations. This has been caused many factors such as halts in investments and the flight of expatriates from host countries. While one attendee posed the question of how to incentivize foreigners from curtailing their time in these countries, neither had a solution.
The president of the World Bank recently announced the need for at least 5,000 more health workers in Sierre Leone, Guinea and Liberia. However, quarantine practices for returning health care workers and the growing fear of infection are creating obstacles. The appearance of Ebola in Mali suggests the epidemic is not slowing down.
Shah mentioned the training of thousands of health workers in West Africa in order to thwart the further spread of the disease however there have been numerous reports of inadequate materials and training for health care workers within West Africa. This dissatisfaction with the conditions was met with an estimated 100,000 members of National Nurses United (NNU), from California to the Philippines, taking part in global “strikes and vigils to highlight perceived failings” surrounding the international response to Ebola.
With the death toll surpassing 5,000 in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea there is a responsibility from international community to allocate the proper funding and resources to ensure the necessary precautions are being taken and the appropriate measures are being put in place. The Ebola crisis must be met with monetary as well as physical assistance in order to effectively combat the deadly disease.
- Ukraine, Russia and the West—The Way Forward Monday 10 | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Georgetown University; Copley Formal Lounge, 37 St NW and O St NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Georgetown University is holding a conference to take stock of Ukraine’s domestic situation, its relations with the West and with Russia and to discuss how the crisis might be dealt with going forward. Speakers include Stephen Kotkin, Andreas Umland, Anders Aslund, Olexyi Horan, Eric Rubin, and Matthew Sagers.
- Gaza from the Ground Monday 10 | 9:30 am – 11:00 am New America Foundation; 1899 L St, Suite 400, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND New America and the Foundation for Middle East Peace will hold a conversation with Alice Rothchild, author of On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion, and New America Jacobs Foundation Fellow Brian K. Barber, who has been researching the dynamics of Palestinian families since the First Intifada, as they discuss their recent reporting trips to Gaza and the impact of conflict from the ground. The discussion will be moderated by journalist Samer Badawi, who covered the latest round of conflict, Operation Protective Edge, for +972 Magazine.
- Post-ISIS Iraq: Challenges and Prospects Monday 10 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Rome Building, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Abbas Kadhim, fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, will discuss this topic.
- The Ebola Crisis: U.S. Leadership and International Response Wednesday 12 | 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm Brookings Institution; 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Brookings will host a discussion on the current state of the Ebola crisis, featuring a conversation with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who will detail his recent trip to West Africa and the U.S. response to the crisis. Brookings President Strobe Talbott will moderate the discussion. Shah will also discuss USAID’s new effort, “Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development,” aimed at generating new ideas to fight Ebola. This discussion will then be followed by a panel discussion with Brookings Senior Fellows Elizabeth Ferris, Amadou Sy, and Michael O’Hanlon, who will outline the humanitarian, economic, political and security dimensions of the crisis.
- 4th Annual Walter Roberts Lecture with Ambassador Robert S. Ford Wednesday 12 | 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Elliott School of International Affairs; 1957 E St NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, will hold a conversation with Ambassador Robert Ford about the current crises in Syria and Iraq, the Obama Administration’s strategy for fighting terrorism in the region, and the role of social media and digital diplomacy in the war with ISIS.
- Combating the ISIS Threat: A Path Forward Thursday 13 | 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Elliott School of International Affairs; 1957 E St NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Stephen Biddle, former senior advisor to General Petraeus’ Central Command Assessment Team, and Marc Lynch, director of the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University, will hold an in-depth discussion of the Obama administration’s current strategy toward the ISIS threat, the evolving security situation on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and next steps for regional and global stakeholders.
- After the Gaza Conflict: Hamas’ Goals, Military Capabilities, and Financial Networks Friday 14 | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Russell Senate Office Building, Constitution Ave and 1st St NE, Kennedy Caucus Room REGISTER TO ATTEND FDD will be holding a panel discussion and conversation to discuss the capabilities of Hamas two months after the ceasefire with Israel. The panel will include Matthew Levitt, director of The Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Dan Moger, former Assistant Director in the Treasury’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Samuel Tadros, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, and Jeffrey White, defense fellow at The Washington Institute. Registration will begin at 10:45 am | Lunch will be served. Advance RSVP and confirmation required.
On Monday, the Heritage foundation hosted for a discussion of Ebola policy options, domestic and international, Robert Kodiac, the Managing Director of RPK Consulting, Charlotte Florence, a Research Associate for Economic Freedom in Africa and the Middle East at the Heritage Foundation, Tevi Troy, President of the American Health Policy Institute and Tara O’Toole, former Under Secretary of the Science and and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security. The event was moderated by Steven Bucci, Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy. The video of the event is at the end of this post. Or you can watch Jon Stewart’s short version, which covers some of the same points:
Epidemics have had less prevalence in the last century in part due to the advancement of medical science, sanitary practices, and antibiotics. However, the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia have seen upwards of 4,900 deaths from Ebola, spreading in what Florence believes to be a “perfect storm.” While very few cases have struck the United States, the Ebola scare has swept through the country. The hysteria has reached the far corners of the country, fueled by incessant media coverage of the virus. In Maine, an elementary school teacher was put on paid leave for up to 21 days after parents expressed concern over a recent trip she took to Dallas, where the first case of Ebola was diagnosed and subsequently two nurses were infected.
Kodiac notes this visceral reaction to Ebola but believes more important is domestic preparedness. The 2.8 trillion dollar health care industry only spends 1% or so on domestic health care preparedness. This is a minimal amount for medical responses to potential pandemics. While Kodiac believes that Ebola can be managed due to the relatively confined areas of exposure, there must be a bigger push to limit the spread of disease not only in the United States but globally. Combating the disease in the three most affected Western African states will prove challenging. Florence cites behavior and cultural practices that have spread of Ebola, especially procedures surrounding the disposal of the deceased.
She also notes that allocation of resources to combat Ebola has caused loss of focus on malaria, tuberculosis and other critical issues in Africa. In addition, farmers are not producing at the rates they previously were, markets are closed and as a result there is a fear of food shortages. While Sierre Leone has historically been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, it is projected the country will experience no growth in the upcoming year.
Troy looked at four areas that need to be addressed: detection, development, deployment and directives. The United States and the rest of the world were slow to react to Ebola. Countermeasures such as vaccines have not become commercially available. We should have questions about deployment of the US military and the rules of engagement. The “woefully ignorant” perspective of the Department of Homeland Security has hindered progress.
O’Toole notes that all epidemics start slowly and are not explosions. The situation will get worse before it gets better due to the failure of preparedness and lack of rapid diagnostic methods. Epidemics always “engender fear,” because people have a “hard time understanding the unpredictability of disease.” Ebola will not disappear within the upcoming months or in the next year.
The numerous calls for a ban on travel to those who have visited high-risk Ebola countries are misguided, the panelists thought. The advantages do not outweigh the costs. Implementation of a travel ban would not only discourage travel for health care workers but potentially damage relationships with restricted countries. All panelist agreed the US needs improved capabilities and cooperation with the global community.
Here is the video of the event:
- Ebola: U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policy Options | Monday, October 27th | 12:00 – 1:00 | Heritage Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Months after the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, the news of two American nurses becoming infected has sparked fear amongst the general U.S. population. With Ebola victims now in the United States, concerns are growing over the ability of the administration, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and hospitals to control the spread of disease. The speakers will discuss the very real risks of the Ebola virus, but without the fear brought on by speculation and hype. Through clear communication of the nature of the threat and what policy options are available in the U.S. and in West Africa, the U.S. can make clear, rational decisions as to how to best deal with the current situation. The speakers are Dr. Robert Kadlec the Managing Director of RPK Consulting LLC, Charlotte Florance, a Research Associate for Economic Freedom in Africa and the Middle East at The Heritage Foundation and. Tevi Troy, President of the American Health Policy Institute.
- The New Threat in Town: Iraq, ISIS, and Managing the Crisis | Monday, October 27th | 6:30 – 8:00 | American University School of International Service | A panel discussion on the current security situation in Iraq regarding ISIS, the implications it has on the regional security of the Middle East, and how the United States can engage with the region in order to mitigate the situation from spiraling out of control. Panel speakers will include Dr. Tricia Bacon, Ambassador James F. Jeffrey from the Washington Insitute, and Dr. Paul Salem from the Middle East Institute.
- Ukraine Update: Elections, Conflict, and the Future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership | Wednesday, October 29th | 2:00 – 5:15 | Brookings Institution | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In 2009, the European Union established its Eastern Partnership to advance political association and economic integration with six neighboring nations to its east. However, in November 2013, Ukrainian President Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the EU, triggering mass protests in Ukraine that ultimately led to his departure and accusations that the EU “sleepwalked” into a conflict in Ukraine. Although the EU long asserted that the framework was never directed against Russia, the agreement with Ukraine was perceived in Moscow as a step too far. In the wake of the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia, some are questioning whether the EU’s Eastern Partnership should be fundamentally altered—and, if so, how? Against the backdrop of simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian people will go to the polls on October 26 to elect a new parliament. The new parliament members will then have to form a majority coalition and begin to tackle the pressing challenges facing the country. The herculean tasks include not just the violent conflict in the east and the troubled relationship with Russia, but needed economic and political reforms as well as measures to curb corruption. Questions remain about Ukrainian public expectations and potential tensions in the immediate aftermath of the vote. A panel discussion assessing next steps for Ukraine and the EU’s Eastern Partnership. The first panel will explore the Ukrainian election and what it means for politics within Ukraine, the Ukrainian economy, and Ukraine’s relations with Russia and the West. The second panel will focus on international perspectives on the EU’s Eastern Partnership and the EU’s role in supporting Ukraine in this time of turmoil.
- A Nuclear Deal with Iran? Weighing the Possibilities | Thursday, October 30th | 2:00 – 3:00 | American Enterprise Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | As global crises unfold, President Barack Obama appears to see one silver lining in the clouds on the foreign policy horizon: a nuclear deal with Iran. However, it appears increasingly likely that the November 24 deadline will come and go without a comprehensive agreement, and the stakes could not be higher. A bad deal that leaves too much of Tehran’s nuclear capabilities intact or enables Iran to develop nuclear weapons in the months or years to come could set off a nuclear arms race across the Middle East. Alternatively, a good deal could solve a problem at the heart of much of the turmoil in the region. Are the United States and European powers prepared to renew sanctions if Iran refuses to comply with demands from the international community and International Atomic Energy Agency? Will the Iranians refuse to concede on any of their own red lines? Will the Obama administration sidestep Congress to achieve a nuclear deal? The speakers are David Albright, George Perkovich and Danielle Pletka.
- Public Opinion in the Arab World: What do the latest surveys tell us? | Friday, October 31st | 10:00 – 12:00 | United States Institute of Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Arab uprisings were a vivid demonstration of the importance of public opinion in the Middle East. Frustrated by poor governance and the lack of economic opportunity, citizens demonstrated in mass protests on the streets, and online, throughout the region. As autocrats fell, instability and extremism rose. Although democracy appears to be succeeding in Tunisia, in most of the Arab Spring countries the future is far from secure. To learn how citizens in these countries view government, religion and economic opportunities, please join the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP), the Arab Barometer, the Arab Reform Initiative, the Project on Middle East Democracy, and the Project on Middle East Political Science for discussion on how publics view the situations in their respective countries. The event will highlight new findings from the third wave of surveys (late 2012-2014) of the Arab Barometer across 12 Arab countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, and more. The speakers are Amaney Jamal a Professor of Politics at Princeton University, Michael Robbins the Project Director of the Arab Barometer, Khalil Shikaki, the Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and Senior Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University, Mark Tessler a Professor of Political Science from the University of Michigan and Steven Riskin a Senior Program Officer for Grants at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
- Challenges in Nuclear Verification: The IAEA’s Role on the Iranian Nuclear Issue | Friday, October 31st | 10:30 – 12:00 | Brookings Institution | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has for almost 60 years been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Its safeguards system is indispensable in providing credible assurance that states are honoring their international obligations, including under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and ensuring that any misuse of nuclear material or technology by a state can be quickly detected. The IAEA has been addressing the Iran nuclear issue for over 10 years. More recently, it has played a critical role in verifying and monitoring the implementation of nuclear-related measures agreed by Iran under the Joint Plan of Action negotiated by Iran and the P5+1 countries. It is likely to play a central role in monitoring and verifying nuclear-related measures under any comprehensive agreement that may be reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries. The Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings will host IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who will discuss the IAEA’s role in nuclear verification, including in monitoring the November 2013 interim agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran. Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Einhorn will moderate the question and answer session
I’ll be in Istanbul, but the week in DC will be a busy one after a welcome but gray three-day weekend:
- Conflict Prevention and Resolution: Ebola, Health Security, Conflict and Peacebuilding Tuesday 14 | 9:30 am – 11:00 am Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Rome Building 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Richard Garfield, emergency response and recovery team lead for Assessment, Surveillance, and Information Management at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Deborah Rosenblum, executive vice president of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, will discuss this topic. There will be a live webcast of this event.
- Boko Haram, ISIS and the Caliphate Today Tuesday 14 | 9:30 am – 10:45 am Georgetown University, 37 St NW and O St NW, Washington DC, Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, 270 REGISTER TO ATTEND ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria continue to use an overlapping language of political Islam and references to the caliphate and the Shariah. This event brings together Brookings fellow Shadi Hamid, visiting professor at Georgetown University Emad Shahin, and visiting assistant professor at Georgetown, Alex Thurston, to discuss these complex issues.
- ISIS, the Kurds and Turkey: A Messy Triangle Tuesday 14 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am Bipartisan Policy Center; 1225 I Street, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND The Kurds have been on the front lines against ISIS for the better part of two years. During recent fighting in Kobani, Turkey has tried to block Syrian Kurdish refugees escaping ISIS from crossing the border, and fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party from entering Syria to join the fight. Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Turkey, and members of BPC’s Turkey Initiative Henri Barkey and Svante Cornell will discuss the complicated relations between ISIS, the Kurds, and Turkey. They will also consider the role that the Kurds and Turkey might be able to play in confronting ISIS and what US policy towards each group should be.
- The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Has the US Failed? Wednesday 15 | 9:30 am – 12:00 pm Middle East Policy Council; The Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol St NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Speakers at this conference will include Daniel Kurtzer, former Ambassador to Israel and Egypt and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; Matthew Duss, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace; Natan Sachs, Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center. Omar Kader, Chairman of the Board at MEPC will moderate, and the discussant will be Thomas Mattair, Executive Director at MEPC.
- Fighting ISIS: The Future of American Foreign Policy in the Middle East Wednesday 15 | 3:00 pm – 5:00pm American University; 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC EVENT WEBSITE Moderated by David Gregory of AU’s School of International Service. The panel will consist of David Ignatius, Washington Post; Susan Glasser, Politico; and Akbar Ahmed, Professor at SIS.
- Terrorist Financing Networks in the Middle East and South Asia: A Comparative Assessment Thursday 16 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Middle East Institute; 1761 N Street NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND The ascent of the Islamic State has raised critical questions about how terrorist organizations are being financed. A comparison of terrorist financing networks in South Asia and the Middle East can offer insights into the differences and similarities in the funding of global terrorist efforts and how money is making its way into the hands of violent terrorist groups. Amit Kumar, fellow of the Center of National Policy at Georgetown University will discuss the methods, motivations, and efficacy of terrorist financing networks. He will also examine implications for policy, and will consider whether current countermeasures effectively prevent the funding of terrorist networks, or whether there are other strategies that can better curb this global threat. Marvin Weinbaum, scholar at MEI, will moderate.
- Parliamentary Elections 2014: Tunisia’s Political Landscape Thursday 16 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Atlantic Council; 1030 15th St NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND On October 26, Tunisians will cast their ballots to choose a parliament, marking the first major step out of the interim phase of the democratic transition. However questions remain as to the leading political parties’ ability to translate rhetoric into action and address serious security and economic challenges. To discuss this, and the importance of the elections to Tunisia’s progress, Atlantic Council will hold a conversation with representatives from the two main political parties in Tunisia: Zied Mhirsi of Nidaa Tounes and Osama Al-Saghir of Ennahda. They will offer insights about their respective parties’ platforms. Joining them will be Scott Mastic, director for Middle East and North Africa programs at the International Republican Institute. Karim Mezran, Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council will moderate.
- Stabilizing Iraq: Lessons for the Next Chapter Thursday 16 | 4:45 pm – 6:30 pm Center for Strategic and International Studies; 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Bob Schieffer, Chief Washington Correspondent at CBS News will host a discussion between Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President of CSIS, Stuart Bowen Jr. Senior Adviser at CSIS and former Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, and Karen DeYoung, Senior National Security Correspondent at The Washington Post.
- Can the Obama Administration’s ISIS Strategy Work? Friday 17 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Hudson Institute; 1015 15th Street NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Criticism of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy is growing, and many believe current actions to curb ISIS are not enough. Will a strategy limited to aerial bombardment and ancillary assistance to local fighters be sufficient to defeat ISIS, or are US military officials and regional allies arguing for ground troops correct? In either case, to what extent are longstanding, region-wide issues a fundamental obstacle to complete success against ISIS? To address these questions Hudson Institute will host a discussion with Lee Smith, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow, Andrew Tabler, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute, Faysal Itani, Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and Hussain Abdul-Hussain of the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper.
- A Citizens’ Coalition for Peace – US/Jordan Valley Sister Cities Friday 17 | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Eco Peace/Friends of the Earth Middle East’s Good Water Neighbors (GWN) project has brought together Palestinians, Israelis, and Jordanians to cooperate over trans-boundary water resources and jointly advance sustainable development in the region, notably in the Lower Jordan Valley. The project has led to common problem solving and peace building among cross-border communities, even in the midst of conflict. EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East has recently worked to create sister city partnerships between American cities and the partnering communities of the GWN project. These will build on the previous successes of GWN to create and empower a broad, international citizen coalition for peace in the region. The Wilson Center will host a discussion on environmental peace-building, the mutual benefits of cross-border cooperation in the midst of conflict, and the role of American citizen diplomats in Middle East grassroots peace-making. The event will feature presentations by the organizations involved in building these international partnerships and a panel discussion with mayors from Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian communities in the Lower Jordan Valley.