Tag: Turkey

Peace picks April 17-21

ISIS, Russia, and China: Can America Win at Three-Front Information War? | Tuesday, April 18 | 11:45-1:30 | Hudson Institute |Register Here

The Hudson Institute is hosting a roundtable discussion that will focus on the whole range of approaches, from US international media to public diplomacy to strategic communications to “grey” and “black” psy-ops, with Jeffrey Gedmin, senior fellow at Atlantic Council and former president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Martha Bayles, visiting fellow at Hudson Institute, and Eric Brown, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute.

As the information age becomes the disinformation age, America faces three distinct adversaries, each with its own expertise in marrying cutting-edge technology with age-old methods of manipulation and deception. What are the differences between radical jihadist, Russian, and Chinese propaganda? How is America responding? How should it respond?

Contentious Cultural Politics in the Middle East and North Africa| Tuesday, April 18 |12-1:30 | Elliott School | Register Here

Join the Elliot School’s Project on Middle East Political Science for a conversation on current issues in the Middle East and North Africa. The expert panel features Laryssa Chomiak, Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis; Lisel Hintz, Barnard College; Jillian Schwedler, Hunter College CUNY; and Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago

Turkey’s New ‘Sultan’: Prospects for US and Regional Policy | Tuesday, April 18 |12:30| WINEP |Register Here |

It seems inevitable that Turkey will play a role in navigating many of the crises currently challenging U.S. interests, including the outcome of the Syria war and the future of Russian involvement in the Middle East. And at Turkey’s helm amid this storm is the populist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who continues to consolidate his hold on domestic politics while using military and diplomatic means to solidify Ankara as a regional power — trends that could accelerate after the country’s landmark April 16 constitutional referendum.

In his latest book The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey, Dr. Soner Cagaptay assesses how the longtime leader has cemented his rule over the years — and at what cost to his country’s stability and democratic future. To discuss these ambitions and how they might affect the Trump administration’s regional calculus, The Washington Institute is pleased to host a Policy Forum with the author, who will be joined by experts Amberin Zaman and Gonul Tol.

2017 Global Development Forum | Wed April 19|8:30-2:30| CSIS | Register Here

Please join the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for the third annual Global Development Forum (GDF) on April 19. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector.

The 2017 Global Development Forum seeks to examine the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of rising incomes, economic growth, youth unemployment, and other continued complex challenges in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, the next U.S. administration will need to apply new approaches and remain highly flexible in a rapidly changing development landscape. In particular, this conference will explore ways in which the next few years will shape the role of the United States in international development, and how the United States can work with official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions.

The Difficult Road Ahead: Stabilizing Iraq and the Gulf Region | Wednesday, April 19 | 9:00-10:30 | Stimson Center | Register Here

While U.S. and Iraqi forces are making clear progress in the fight against ISIS, the security situation in Iraq and the Gulf region remains tenuous. ISIS was able to grow and develop largely due to the difficulties the government faced in controlling its vast territory and establishing inclusive governance to effectively integrate Iraq’s diverse constituencies. In the context of the ongoing instability in Iraq, Iran has increased its involvement in the region’s conflicts and has been able to assert a great deal of influence over Iraqi politics.

Bringing security to Iraq is essential, and the impact of U.S. intervention continues to be felt regionally and globally. Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the U.S. all have an interest in a stable, peaceful Iraq. However, even as ISIS is defeated in Iraq, the question remains whether the U.S. or the Iraqi government are prepared to “win the peace” in the long-term. This on-the-record discussion hosted by the Stimson Center and TRENDS Research & Advisory will feature Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Fareed Yasseen and an expert panel examining the question of what the U.S. and its regional partners can do to support Iraq in a way that will help ensure durable peace and stability.

While U.S. and Iraqi forces are making clear progress in the fight against ISIS, the security situation in Iraq and the Gulf region remains tenuous. ISIS was able to grow and develop largely due to the difficulties the government faced in controlling its vast territory and establishing inclusive governance to effectively integrate Iraq’s diverse constituencies. In the context of the ongoing instability in Iraq, Iran has increased its involvement in the region’s conflicts and has been able to assert a great deal of influence over Iraqi politics.

Vision 2030: One Year into Saudi Arabia’s Economic Reforms | Thursday, April 20|3:00-4:30 | CSIS | Register Here |

Join the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in a conversation with H.E. Dr. Majed Bin Abdullah al-Qasabi, the minister of commerce and investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who also serves on the Kingdom’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs, chaired by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Previously, Dr. al-Qasabi served as minister of social affairs and was an adviser to then-Crown Prince Salman’s Court, with the rank of minister. He was also secretary general of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and director general of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Charity Foundation. Dr. al-Qasabi holds a Ph.D. in engineering management from the University of Missouri, and two M.A.s and a B.A. in civil engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Portland, respectively.

Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Middle East | Wednesday, April 19 | 9:00 AM | Atlantic Council | Register Here

Please join the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, April 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for a discussion about how energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the government and private sector are reshaping the Middle East and creating economic opportunities in the region. Joining us are Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaid, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company.

Across the Middle East, countries are pursuing energy innovation. Last year, Saudi Arabia announced its “Vision 2030” goals, by which the country aims to transform the economy and reduce its dependency on oil. Turkey plans to prioritize research and development (R&D) in the energy sector in the coming years, while Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has set a goal of renewables providing 20 percent of all power used domestically by 2022. In the United Arab Emirates, Masdar is committed to the mission of renewable energy by investing in education and R&D.

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Peace picks April 10-14

  1. A Panel Discussion on Debating the Merits of the Trump Administration’s New Travel, Immigration, and Refugee Ban | Monday, April 10 | 11-12:30pm | SAIS | Register Here | “Debating the Merits of the Trump Administration’s New Travel, Immigration and Refugee Ban,” will be hosted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The panel discussion is a part of the Human Security Forum by the Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Panelists include T. Alex Aleinikoff, Director of The Zolberg Institute of Migration and Mobility at The New School, George Biddle, Chairman of World Connect and former Executive Vice President of the International Peace Committee, James Jay Carafano, Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, and Danielle Pletka, Senior Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Eterprise Institute
  2. Where Will Turkey’s Referendum Lead? | Tuesday, April 11 | 1-2:30pm | Middle East Institute | Register Here | Turkish voters on April 16, 2017 face a referendum to shift to a presidential system and further empower Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Whether Erdogan succeeds in his long-sought consolidation of authority or suffers a reversal, Turkish policies on the economy, domestic issues, the Kurdish question, regional security, and engagement with the U.S. and NATO are all apt to be affected by the referendum’s outcome. The Middle East Institute (MEI) Center for Turkish Studies is pleased to host Kemal Kirisci (Brookings), Omer Taspinar (Brookings), and Amberin Zaman (Wilson Center) for an analysis of the plebiscite, its political context, and potential consequences of the impending vote. Gonul Tol (MEI) will moderate the discussion.
  3. Militancy and Conflict in the Sahel and Maghreb | Tuesday, April 12 | 8:30-3pm | Carnegie Endowment | Register Here | Crises and upheaval in the Maghreb and the Sahel have altered the regional security terrain. Security challenges are increasingly becoming entwined, and many are becoming more pronounced amongst at-risk border communities in marginalized peripheries and rural communities. This day-long conference brings together leading scholars from around the world to address the key security and governance challenges in the Maghreb and Sahel. Panelists will examine the interaction of the expanding horizon of insecurity with conflicts, political vacuums, and Western response policy. They will also discuss the broader ramifications of the trends for peace and development in both regions. Panelists include Rasmus Boserup, Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck, and Claire Spencer to discuss the security complexes in the Maghreb and Sahel; Bruce Whitehouse, Jimam Lar, Joel Nwokeoma, and Amy Niang to discuss violent extremism in West Africa and Sahel; and Frederic Wehrey, Faraj Najem, and Manal Taha to discuss the potential spillover from Libya into the Sahel.
  4. Russia’s Gambit: Moscow’s Plans and the Trump Administration | Tuesday, April 11 | 4-5:30pm | The Institute of World Politics | Register Here | You are cordially invited to a lecture on the topic of Russia’s Gambit: Assessing Moscow’s Plans in the First Months of the Trump Administrationwith Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Professor of National Security Affairs, Captain Jerome E. Levy Chair in Economic Geography and National Security at the U.S. Naval War College and Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
  5. Book Launch: Al-Qaeda’s Revenge: The 2004 Madrid Train Bombings | Wednesday, April 12 | 10-11:15pm | Wilson Center | Register Here | Al-Qaeda’s Revenge: The 2004 Madrid Train Bombings tells the story of “3/11”—the March 11, 2004 bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800. It runs from the development of an al-Qaeda conspiracy in Spain in the 1990s through the formation of the 3/11 bombing network beginning in March 2002, and on through the fallout of the attacks. Fernando Reinares’s account draws on judicial, police, and intelligence documents to which he had privileged access, as well as on personal interviews with officials in Spain and elsewhere. The book’s full analysis links the Madrid bombing to al-Qaeda’s senior leadership and unveils connections between 3/11 and 9/11. Speakers will also include Bruce Hoffman, Professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Jytte Klausen, Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation at Brandeis University, and Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow and Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution.
  6. What’s Next for Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations? | Wednesday, April 12 | 10:30-12pm | Wilson Center | Register Here | The fragile Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship is in crisis. Each country has accused the other of harboring terrorists, and border closures have caused hardship for people on both sides. A recent British-led mediation has defused some of these tensions. However, the relationship remains troubled, and longstanding irritants—such as a disputed border and the treatment of Afghan refugees in Pakistan—continue to fester. What is next for Afghanistan-Pakistan relations? Will the new détente be sustained or short-lived? Additionally, what are the implications of all this for U.S. policy? Can or should Washington play a role in trying to help ease these bilateral tensions? This event, which is co-hosted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, will address these questions and others. Panelists include Daud Khattak, Senior Editor at Radio Mashaal, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Omar Samad, Former Afghan Ambassador to France, and Joshua White, Associate Professor of Practice and Fellow at SAIS.
  7. 2017 IMES Annual Conference: Restless Matters: the Socio-Political Lives of Historical Sites and Objects in the Middle East | Friday, April 14 | 9am-3pm | Elliott School | Register Here | Historical sites and objects are a focal point of socio-political contestation in the Middle East today. Whether it be the destruction and looting of the Egyptian Museum, Palmyra, or the Buddhas of Bamyan, or it be the renovation and rebuilding of Mecca, the Eyup Sultan complex, or heritage districts in Doha, Cairo or Beirut, the ways in which these historical sites and objects are intertwined with political projects and political-economic processes have drawn increasing scrutiny in recent years. While popular discourses and news media accounts often portray these matters in terms of the actions of religious zealots, crass developers, or enlightened preservationists, this glosses over a far more textured socio-political terrain this conference seeks to explore. A day-long event that brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars who focus on the Middle East and the region’s past and present connections to other parts of the world, this conference explores the myriad socio-political work historical sites and objects do. Speakers include Esra Akcan, Associate Profess in the Department of Archaeology at Cornell University, Azra Aksamija, Associate Professor in the Art, Culture, and Technology Program at MIT, Farah Al-Nakib, Director of the Center for Gulf Studies at American University of Kuwait, Amin Alsaden, PhD Candidate at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Luna Khirfan, Associate Professor at University of Waterloo School of Planning, Michele Lamprakos, Assistant Professor at University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and Amal Sachedina, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for Middle East Studies, George Washington University.
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Peace picks February 27 – March 3

  1. Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum: Negotiation Day – Negotiators’ Behavior in the End Game | Monday, February 27 | 9 – 10:30am | SAIS Johns Hopkins | Register Here | No analytical work has ever addressed the subject of How Negotiations End. We know that negotiators act differently in the endgame–when they see the end is in sight, good or bad, and they work to that end. This project addresses that situation, examining way in which the endgame ends positively or negatively, and the way in which typical behavioral patterns are encountered on the way. A path breaking study of a neglected topic. The book is now in press with Cambridge University Press, the latest study of the Process of International Negotiation (PIN) Program at Clingendael, Netherlands.
  2. Potential Negotiations in the Upcoming Year | Monday, February 27 | 11 am – 12:30 pm | SAIS Johns Hopkins | Register Here | We are faced today with an international situation filled with challenges for negotiation. These represent opportunities open for pursuit; others represent situations looking for an opportunity. In this situation, what are the prospects for pursuing and developing negotiations as a means of managing conflict and of furthering US policy goals.Speakers:Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, and JordanPrinceton Lyman, former US Ambassador to Nigerial and South Africa

    Galia Golan, Professor at the School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya

    Vali Nasr, Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS

    I WIlliam Zartman, Jacob Blaustein Professor Emeritus of International Organizations and Conflict Resolution, SAIS – Moderator

    Location Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW

  3. Crude Strategy: Rethinking the U.S. Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil | Monday, February 27 | 11 – 12:30pm | Cato Institute | Register Here | Should the United States continue to use its military to guarantee the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf? For more than 30 years, U.S. foreign policy has been shaped by a commitment to safeguard the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. Yet profound changes in international oil markets, growth in domestic U.S. energy production, and dramatic shifts in the Middle Eastern balance of power suggest that it may be time to reconsider whether this commitment is still warranted. In Crude Strategy, a multidisciplinary team of political scientists, economists, and historians set out to explore the links between Persian Gulf oil and U.S. national security. Their essays explore key questions such as the potential economic cost of disruption in oil supply, whether disruptions can be blunted with nonmilitary tools, the potential for instability in Saudi Arabia, and the most effective U.S. military posture for the region. By clarifying the assumptions underlying the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, the authors conclude that the case for revising America’s grand strategy towards the region is far stronger than is commonly assumed.
  4. The Trump Administration and the Future of the Kurds | Monday February 27 | 2 – 3:30pm | Wilson Center | Register Here | The Kurdish issue in the Middle East is at an important juncture. The Iraqi Kurds, faced with an unsettled Iraq, are itching to declare their independence. The Syrian Kurds have managed to affiliate themselves with the United States against ISIS but face a hostile reaction from Turkey, their northern neighbor, intent on rolling back their successes. The Turkish Kurds have to contend with the effects of government attempts at suppressing their legal political representatives and the war between the Turkish state and the PKK, which are challenging the country’s stability. Our panel will discuss these and other issues pertaining to the future Kurdish political landscape.
  5. U.S. – Turkey Cooperation in Syria and the Role of the U.S. in the Middle East | Monday February 27 | 3 – 4:30pm | Turkish Heritage Organization | Register Here | The Trump administration has inherited numerous, complex challenges in the Middle East. Regional instability caused by the Syrian civil war continues to have a profound impact on one of the U.S.’s most strategic NATO allies – Turkey – and on the bilateral relationship between Washington and Ankara. As the Trump administration prepares to tackle these issues and re-shape America’s role in the region, experts will discuss the choices and challenges facing the U.S. and Turkey.
  6. The Impact of Shifting Geopolitics on MENA Energy | Tuesday February 28 | 12 – 1:30pm | Middle East Institute | Register Here | Changes in the energy market, new entrants, and conflicting economic and national security interests at the regional and global level have altered the market power of Middle Eastern oil and gas producers. Industry developments and new policies under the Trump administration are likely to lead to the expansion of U.S. shale oil and gas production and increased exports. Russia vies daily with Saudi Arabia to be the world’s largest producer, while prices remain far below levels of a few years ago. How are Middle Eastern states coping politically and economically with the challenges of a global energy market in an historic transition?
  7. Obama’s Legacy, Trump’s Inheritance in the Middle East (Annual Kuwait Chair Lecture) | Tuesday February 28 | 6:30 – 7:45pm | Elliott School of International Affairs | Register Here | Join us as Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm examines the environment in the Middle East that President Trump inherits from his predecessor and explores the parameters for action by the new administration.
  8. Food for Humanity | Wednesday March 1 | 12:15 – 1:30pm | Middle East Institute | Register Here | The Middle East Institute’s Arts & Culture Program is pleased to host a conversation about the political, emotional and symbolic significance of food for displaced and diaspora communities. The panel will explore the unifying role of food, its ability to generate empathy, and its power to build community among diverse peoples through the ritual sharing of a meal. The panel will also discuss how food can serve as a source of income, a form of cultural resistance, and as a means of preserving identity and heritage for refugee communities in the face of loss.
  9. How People Become Terrorists | Wednesday March 1 | 12:15 – 1:45pm | New America | Register Here | In the years since 9/11 the scope and nature of the global neo-jihadi threat to the West has changed radically, prompting reassessments from those following the threat. In his latest book Misunderstanding Terrorism, Marc Sageman examines the current threat and articulates a new model of how people become terrorists, which has strong implications for the fight against terrorists that go against the conventional wisdom. New America welcomes Dr. Sageman for a discussion of what is driving the current generation of jihadists to become terrorists and how the U.S. should adapt to the threat. Marc Sageman is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the author of Misunderstanding Terrorism and two other critically acclaimed books: Understanding Terror Networks (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and Leaderless Jihad (UPP, 2007).
  10. Women of the Caliphate: Gender Dynamics in State-Building Jihadi Organizations | Thursday March 2 | 5:30 – 7pm | American University | Register Here | A Talk with Hamoon Khelghat-Doost, from the National University of Singapore. Hamoon Khelghat-Doost looks at gender dynamics within jihadi organizations by examining their standpoint on the state-building process. His talk will explore the reasons for jihadi organizations, such as ISIS, to incorporate a relatively high number of women. Khelghat-Doost has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and along Syrian borders in southern Turkey.
  11. Prospects for the Next Generation of Palestinian Leadership | Friday March 3 | 12 – 1:30pm | Middle East Institute | Register Here | President Trump’s backpedaling on the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution shines a spotlight on the Palestinians’ looming leadership crisis. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, now 81, has yet to cultivate a successor, and his administration faces growing concerns about its credibility twelve years after the last national elections. How should the next generation of Palestinian leaders approach such complex issues as Israeli settlement expansion, a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, economic troubles, and engagement on the international stage?
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Turkish media before the coup attempt

Last Wednesday, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup hosted a research briefing on media use in Turkey, from one of the last surveys conducted in Turkey before the state of emergency instated after the failed coup in July 2016. Chris Stewart, Partner at Gallup, introduced the speakers and noted the dynamism of the media market in Turkey with recent shifts that impact journalism in a huge way. The event featured Benjamin Ryan, Consulting Specialist at Gallup, who shared findings from the World Poll conducted in April 2016 through computer assisted telephone interviews, and William Bell, Director of Research at Voice of America, who presented the findings from BBG’s research in 2016.

Ryan said that Turkey’s survey results on confidence in political institutions resemble those of the US more closely than those of Turkey’s regional neighbors. Confidence in the military is consistently high, and approval of police forces is higher than before. Because this survey predates the attempted coup this summer, it will be interesting to see how that event will impact public opinion in the future. Attitudes on Turkey’s economic outlook showed steady improvement since 2006, particularly among young Turks. Ryan remarked that the steady confidence in political institutions is in line with Erdoğan’s own approval and might indicate his centrality as a leader. Not all of the findings were positive, as trust in the judicial system is notably lower than other institutions, about on par with US ratings.

Despite Freedom House reports indicating a decline in freedom of the press, 38% of those surveyed expressed confidence in media freedom; opinion varied along education, region, and age. Well-educated Turks, as well as those in peripheral regions–particularly the South East–tend to be more critical. Ryan remarked that countries with low press suppression have a positive correlation with public opinion of the media, yet those who had high ratings of suppression, such as Turkey, had no correlation.

Bell explained that on the surface Turkey is among the most diverse media markets, with a large number of media outlets and no clear dominant news source. People have access to foreign media sources and take advantage of them. However, recent political events engendered internet censorship and an overall reduction in media freedom. Many people express dissatisfaction with Turkish news sources. Internet is the most used platform for young people in Turkey, but Bell pointed out that younger population did not deem staying current with the news as important as their older countrymen.

Bell went on to explicate the process BBG uses to assess perceptions of the US abroad, where survey participants rate the importance of several attributes for an ideal state, then assess the United States using the same metric. The characteristics tested, created in collaboration with the US State Department, include quality of education, protection of human rights, peaceful relations among ethnic groups, business opportunities, disaster aid and relief, functioning democracy, and internal crime prevention. The US scored high in education and business opportunities. Over all, Bell showed that Turkey sees the US as better than other Arab countries, and the results show that young Turks are more likely to consider the US in a positive light.

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Shortest route to Balkans peace

Filip Raunic of Croatia’s Telegram asked some questions about Bosnia and Herzgovina. I replied: 
Q: Republika Srpska celebrated its National Day, despite the fact that Constitution Court marked it as unconstitutional. The President of Republika Srpska said a few days ago that Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) should disintegrate. How do you see his actions and his role in BiH?

A: It has been clear for a long time that Dodik opposes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the core of the Dayton agreements. Respecting court decisions, even if you disagree with them, is vital to rule of law and democratic governance, not only in BiH but also here in the US.

Q: If Republika Srpska really decides to call a referendum on independence, do you see the possibility of the reaction from Federation and potentially a new military clash?

A: I don’t think you can expect those who support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes most people who live in the country as well as the international community, not to react in some fashion to a referendum on independence. But such referenda often are not fulfilled, since sovereignty requires recognition by other sovereign states. I would expect an RS that declares independence to end up in limbo, with minimal recognition, no serious foreign support, and little ability to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of its people for security and prosperity.

Q: Do you see some similarity in  the situation and behavior of the political elites in Bosnia in the 90’s and today?

A: Yes, I do. But the circumstances are different. Serbia is no longer willing to risk its own prosperity for irredentist political aims, many people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are far better off than they were at the end of the war, Europe’s and NATO’s doors are in principle open to BiH, and its population expects more transparent and accountable governance. The nationalist fervor is far less murderous, but no less dangerous.

Q: Former English diplomat Timothy Less wrote a piece in Foreign Affairs in which he suggest disintegration of Bosnia – Republika Srpska would unite with Serbia and parts of Hercegovina with Croatia. What do you think about this idea?

A: It is just as bad an idea as it was in the 1990s. It would result in the formation of a non-viable rump Islamic Republic in central Bosnia and Herzegovina heavily dependent on Islamist funding from Iran, Saudi Arabia or somewhere else. Why would Croatia or Serbia want such a neighbor on their borders?

Q: You mediated between Croats and Muslims in the 90s and brokered the first agreement of the Dayton peace talks. How do you now look on these days and Dayton agreement. Was Dayton a good framework for Bosnia, and is it still good?

A: It was good enough to end the war, but not good enough to make real peace. It now needs updating, but how and what to do is now up to the citizens of BiH, not the internationals.

Q: Do you think that BiH should enter EU as quickly as possible?

A: I think BiH should qualify to enter the EU as quickly as possible.

Q: If Brussels will hesitate with BiH membership, is there a possibility and danger that Russia and Turkey will gain more influence in Bosnia and would it mean instability for the country?

A: Yes. Russia is already interfering in BiH in ways that are destabilizing. Moscow’s aim seems to be pernicious: to create as much trouble as possible at the least cost.

I don’t see Turkey’s influence in the same light, but it certainly increases the weight of Islamist politics and makes it harder to reach mutual accommodations among Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.

Q: Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarović recently said that Bosnia is becoming more radicalized in terms of more rigid interpretation of the values of Islam. Do you see Islamic radicalization? Is there a possibility of it if the situation in Bosnia remains tense?

A: I might not see things quite the same way President Grabar Kitarović sees them, but there is certainly a possibility of radicalization if Bosnia and Herzegovina is unable to succeed in satisfying its population’s aspirations. Tension produces polarization and exclusion, which are ingredients that will radicalize at least a few people.

Q: What could we expect from Trump administration for Bosnia and this region?

A: I don’t know what to expect. The new administration has said precious little about the Balkans and nothing to my knowledge about Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are not high on the priority list these days in Washington. The only clear statement I’ve seen is from Secretary of Defense Mattis, who supports the formation of the Kosovo Security Force.

Q: If you would advise Mr. Trump on Bosnia, what would you tell him to do?

A: I’d say a lot has changed for the better in the Balkans since the early 1990s. The United States should commit itself wholeheartedly to finishing the process by helping all the remaining countries to qualify for EU, and if they want it, NATO membership. I’d say that is the shortest and least troublesome route to lasting peace and stability.

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Peace picks February 6-12

1. Missing OPEC? The Unwelcome Return Of Boom-Bust Oil Prices | Monday Feb 6 | 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm | Johns Hopkins SAIS – Rome Building | Register Here

Bob McNally will discuss his new book, Crude Volatility – The History and Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices. World oil prices have fallen drastically over the last two years, spurred partly by the rise of tight oil production in the US, and by OPEC’s failure to cut production.

Recently, in an effort to raise oil prices, OPEC is attempting to regroup and has agreed to lower its production. Will it succeed? This is one of the questions to be discussed at this energy forum which will also review the history of oil prices. Kevin Book, Managing Director at Clearview Energy Partners will serve as the commentator.

2. Rebuilding Syria: Reconstruction and Legitimacy | Tuesday February 7, 2017 | 10-11:30 AM | Atlantic Council | Register Here

Please join the Atlantic Council for a discussion on the technical and political challenges ahead for rebuilding Syria with country and development experts on February 7, 2017.

3. Media Consumption in Turkey | Wednesday, February 8, 2107 | 9-10 AM | Gallup World Headquarters | Register Here
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup invite you to attend a research briefing on media use in Turkey.

Despite the crackdown on opposition media over the past few years, most adults in Turkey (71.8%) say they are at least somewhat satisfied with the information provided by the country’s media. However, far fewer are very satisfied with media coverage in the country.

The widespread adoption of broadband connections and smartphones in Turkey has made the internet a major source of news for many residents. About two-thirds of adults (65.0%) currently say they go online for news at least weekly in Turkey, up from half (49.7%) in 2013. Among Kurdish speakers in Turkey, the rise has been even sharper, from 49.8% in 2013 to 70.8% in the current study. In conjunction with the growing use of online news, weekly audiences for TV and radio news have tapered slightly.

The speakers will share data on media trends in the country, and review attitudinal data from the Gallup World Poll. Speakers include Chris Stewart, Partner, Gallup, Ben Ryan, Research Consultant, Gallup, and William Bell, Research Director, Voice of America.

4. From Aleppo to Washington: Crisis in Syria | Thursday February 9, 2017 | 6-8 PM | AMIDEAST | Register Here

Join the Penn State School of International Affairs and AMIDEAST on Thursday, February 9, for a panel discussion on the conflict in Syria and what it means for the Syrian people, American foreign policy in the Trump administration, and the international community at large. “From Aleppo to Washington: Crisis in Syria,” features a panel of distinguished foreign policy experts and practitioners, all of whom are connected with the School of International Affairs

The speakers include Vice Admiral (Ret.) James W. Houck, retired judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy, Theodore Kattouf, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Flynt Leverett, professor of international affairs at Penn State, former Middle East analyst at the CIA, Rachel Sayre, senior disaster specialist for Iraq and Syria at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Scott Sigmund Gartner (moderator), director of the Penn State School of International Affairs.

5. NAFTA 2.0? | Thursday February 9, 2017 | 9-10:30 AM | Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center | Register Here

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, was signed by U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1992. By 1993, the agreement was ratified by the legislatures of the three countries, and by December 8, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the agreement into law. NAFTA entered into force on January 1, 1994.    By 2014, the agreement reached it’s 20th year anniversary, acknowledged by the “Three Amigos Summit” in February of that same year. After the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign season, NAFTA once again was brought to the forefront of the political and economic discussions.   Please join WITA as we look at the future of trade in North American, and what  revisiting the 22-year old agreement might look like.

6. The Transatlantic Policy Symposium (TAPS) | Thursday February 9, 2017 | 10 AM- 8:30 PM | Georgetown University’s Copley Formal Lounge | Register Here

Georgetown University is hosting the Transatlantic Policy Symposium (TAPS) this Thursday February 9, 2017. The transatlantic relationship has flourished in the post-war era, becoming a cornerstone of both American and European foreign policy. In light of contemporary challenges, including issues of global security, humanitarian assistance and the re-emergence of populism in both Europe and the United States, it is imperative to evaluate the current state of the transatlantic relationship as well as speculate on its future.

Join the expert and graduate student panelists as they discuss and explore these issues in relation to the future of the transatlantic relationship.

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