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:
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.
Middle East Institute intern Aya Fasih, recently arrived from Cairo, writes in her debut on peacefare:
With the re-election of President Obama and massive transformations ongoing in the region, the Middle East Policy Council’s 71st Capitol Hill Conference focused Wednesday on “U.S. Grand Strategy in the Middle East: Is There One?” Related questions included:
- Is it even possible to formulate a grand strategy for the region amidst all the turbulence it is witnessing?
- Were past U.S. grand strategies for the region successful in achieving their objectives?
The prestigious panel, comprised of Chas Freeman Jr., William Quandt, Marwan Muasher and John Duke Anthony (moderated by Thomas Mattair), identified five main points of discussion: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, the Arab uprisings, the Syrian crisis, and the political-economic security of the Gulf Cooperation Council states.
Chas Freeman Jr., Chairman of Projects International, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and President of the Middle East Policy Council, said the two main U.S. policies in the Middle East, unconditional support to Israel and strategic partnership with pre-revolutionary Egypt and the rentier Gulf states, were contradictory and therefore precluded any grand strategy. Freeman underscored the costs associated with U.S. support and protection of Israel; he said that U.S. support for irresponsible and immoral policies of Israel has undermined U.S. strategic interests in the region and potential cooperation with the region’s other powers:
America may have Israel’s back, but no one has America’s back.
Continuation post-revolution of an American-Egyptian partnership is in doubt. In the aftermath of the Iraq war, Afghanistan, and “abandonment” of the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, the U.S.-Saudi relationship has weakened and become more “transactional.” It should no longer be taken for granted. In Freeman’s view, U.S. policies preclude formulation of grand strategies and leave room for only limited cooperation.
William Quandt, Professor at the University of Virginia and former staff member of the National Security Council, started by expressing suspicion of grand strategies. The Bush 41/Clinton dual containment of Iraq and Iran failed, as did the Bush 43 strategy of replacing certain Arab regimes, starting with Iraq, with pro-Western ones. Quandt, like the other three fellow panelists, thought the U.S. needs to revise its policies, starting with the realization that “we are not all-powerful.” A revised strategy should include:
- an end to U.S.-Iran animosity, which would avoid a dangerous war and benefit Iraq, Syria and Lebanon;
- maintenance of positive relations with NATO ally Turkey, which will also benefit Iraq and Syria;
- friendly relations with Egypt because of its geo-strategic importance and influence over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
- greater attention to Saudi Arabia, which faces a difficult generational transition;
- a negotiated end to the Syrian conflict;
- a renewed effort to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
John Duke Anthony, Founding President of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, discussed mainly the six Gulf Cooperation Council states, highlighting the vital strategic importance of the GCC for the region’s security and U.S. energy supplies.
Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies at Carnegie Endowment and former Jordanian Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Ambassador to the United States, highlighted how the U.S. must change its approach by assessing the new governments and players in the region not based on their ideology but rather on their performance. U.S. influence will not be decisive in the process of transition. Events on the ground and competition for power among local actors will determine the outcomes. It is crucial that the US start differentiating between different Islamist actors and parties and realize that serious differences exist among them. The clock is ticking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unless the U.S. chooses to sponsor it now, peace may never be an option again.
All four panelists agreed that U.S. policies toward the vital region must undergo serious reassessment if the U.S. wants to secure its strategic interests. The U.S. should exert extraordinary effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, re-engage with Iran and work quickly to ensure a negotiated settlement in Syria.
I’m out of town next week, but here are the events that I would consider attending if I were there:
1. Iran Nuclear Negotiations: What’s Next?, Atlantic Council, 9:30-11 am May 29
May 29, 2012
Please join the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force on Tuesday, May 29, for an in-depth review of the Iran nuclear talks that took place in Baghdad on May 23. These talks follow on discussions in Istanbul April 13-14, between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) that were relatively positive. Nevertheless, there are concerns whether a “step-by-step approach” to de-escalating the nuclear crisis with Iran can be achieved. Iran is looking to the international community to ease draconian sanctions, but US flexibility is limited, especially in a presidential election year. Additionally, Israel has a more restrictive view of the Iranian nuclear program than some in the United States and Europe. Panelists will analyze the converging and conflicting interest of the P5+1, Iran, Israel, as well as explore repercussions should negotiations fail.
A discussion with
Founder and President
Institute for Science and International Security
Senior Fellow, South Asia Center
Director, South Asia Center
|DATE:||Tuesday, May 29, 2012|
|TIME:||9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.|
1101 15th Street, NW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
To attend, RSVP with your name and affiliation (acceptances only), to email@example.com. Photo credit: Getty Images.
David Albright is founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISSI) in Washington, DC. A physicist and former UN arms inspector, Albright has written numerous assessments of nuclear weapons programs throughout the world. He has co authored five books, including the 1992 and 1996 versions of World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, (SIPRI and Oxford University Press); Challenges of Fissile Material Control (ISSI Press, 1999); Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle (ISIS Press, 2000); and Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies (Free Press, 2010).
Barbara Slavin is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor.com, a new website devoted to news from and about the Middle East. The author of a 2007 book, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN. A career journalist, Slavin previously served as assistant managing editor for world and national security of The Washington Times, senior diplomatic reporter for USA Today, Cairo correspondent for The Economist, and as an editor at The New York Times Week in Review.
The Iran Task Force, co-chaired by Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel and Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, seeks to perform a comprehensive analysis of Iran’s internal political landscape, its role in the region and globally, and any basis for an improved relationship with the West. Please click here for more information about the Iran Task Force.
2. Assessing the Impact of Egypt’s Presidential Elections, Center for National Policy, noon-1:15 pm May 29
Center for National Policy
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
May 29 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
3. Is America’s Age of Descent Ushering in a G-Zero World? Carnegie Endowment, 6-8 pm May 2
Edward Luce and Ian Bremmer will debate America’s changing role in the world given profound social, economic, and political challenges, as well as the geopolitical consequences. Luce’s new book, Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent, outlines the nation’s decline and the loss of its pragmatism; Bremmer’s book, Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World, details the risks and opportunities in a world without global leadership. Carnegie’s David Rothkopf will moderate.
4. Women’s Leadership in Post-Conflict Liberia: My Journey, WWC 10-noon May 30
Women’s Leadership in Post-Conflict Liberia:
with Author Olubanke King-Akerele and
Special Keynote Address from
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
(via video-conference)Wednesday, May 30, 2012
6th Floor Flom Auditorium
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
5. The Crisis in Northern Mali, Carnegie Endowment, 12:15-1:45 pm May 31
Anouar Boukhars, Rudolph Atallah, J. Peter Pham
While much attention has been focused on Mali’s capital Bamako following the March 22 coup overthrowing Mali’s elected government, developments in the northern part of the country may have greater regional implications. Bolstered by fighters and weapons flowing from Libya, separatist Tuareg rebels have succeeded in driving out government forces and allowed a number of Islamist groups to expand their presence.
A panel of experts will provide an update on the situation and discuss the broader regional implications for the Sahel, North Africa, and West Africa.