This week’s peace picks

Three Afghanistan events in within two days, two Iran events on successive days.  Hard to believe the thinktanks are thinking hard about audience, but it’s an ample week:

1.  Does Afghanistan’s Reconstruction Have a Future?, Monday February 4, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Venue: Center for Strategic and International Studies, B1 A/B Conference Room, 1800 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006

Speakers: John F. Sopko, Robert D Lamb

The CSIS Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation (C3) invites you to the launch of SIGAR’s Quarterly Report: “Does Afghanistan’s Reconstruction Have a Future? Hard Questions” by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Please join Special Inspector Sopko for a discussion about his recent visit to Afghanistan and SIGAR’s Quarterly Report launch to Congress. The observations from his trip mirror the message of the report: the United States faces very tough questions about the future of its reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. As the United States and allies prepare to transfer security and other responsibilities to the Afghan government, will civilian reconstruction efforts have the same security they need to continue? How will projects be monitored and progress measured? Above all, what are the objectives of civilian reconstruction and can the United States provide the support needed to achieve them?

To RSVP please email
Follow live tweeting from @CSISC3 #SIGAR


2.  Afghanistan 2014: Planning for the Transition, Monday February 4, 12:15 PM-1:45 PM, New America Foundation

Venue: New America Foundation, 1899 L St., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036

Speakers: Saad Mohseni, Peter Bergen

Many wonder if Afghanistan can succeed as a stable, self-sustaining country when NATO completes its combat mission at the end of 2014. Afghanistan continues to rely on massive amounts of foreign aid, and its fledgling security forces are now taking the reins of a tough military campaign against well-entrenched insurgents. But some Afghans remain confident that their nation will pull through. Saad Mohseni, Chairman of the Moby Group, is among those who are confident in the country. His company’s portfolio includes Tolo TV, the leading broadcaster in Afghanistan, and he has been described as Afghanistan’s first media mogul. Please join the New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program for a conversation with Mohseni about the reasons for his bullishness on Afghanistan’s future.

Director, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation


3.  The United States and Central Asia After 2014, Tuesday February 5, 4:00 PM- 6:00 PM, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Venue: Basement Level Conference Rooms A & B, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1800 K St, NW, Washington, DC, 20006

Speakers: Jeffrey Mankoff, Thomas E. Graham, Frederick Starr, Andrew Kuchins

With the drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014, Central Asia will cease to be a region of pressing strategic focus in U.S. global strategy. This shift threatens to undermine the region’s precarious stability, which could in turn create new problems for the United States and the broader international community. Thus the United States must recast its strategy in Central Asia to address potential threats from within the region while also seeking productive engagement with other external players, including Russia and China.

The new report from the CSIS Russia & Eurasia Program, “The United States and Central Asia After 2014,” offers a number of useful recommendations grounded in regional realities that can help advance U.S. engagement in Central Asia and promote security cooperation, political stability, and sustainable regional economic growth.

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff
Deputy Director and Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS

Thomas E. Graham
Managing Director, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
S. Frederick Starr
Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Moderated by:
Dr. Andrew Kuchins
Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS


4.  Dealing with a Nuclear Iran, Wednesday February 6, 8:30 AM- 12:30 PM, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Venue: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1800 K St, NW, Washington DC 20006

Speakers: John Hamre, Olli Heinonen, James Cartwright, Jon Alterman, Andrew Kuchins, Haim Malka and more

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have attempted to end the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Most outside parties fear the implications of Iran growing closer to a real nuclear weapons capability, including how security is calculated throughout the Middle East. The prospect of an Iranian bomb is so daunting that several countries-including the United States-have indicated a willingness to use military action to set back the Iranian effort, and the consequences of such a strike could themselves shake the foundations of diplomatic and security relationships throughout the Middle East.

With the U.S. and Israeli elections over, and with Iranian elections looming, are there alternatives to a steady Iranian march toward a nuclear weapons capacity? Is it possible to envision a solution or process that could be acceptable to Iran, the United States and its allies, other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Iran’s neighbors? If so, what would it look like and how should it be pursued? What steps should be taken to make it more likely that it is part of a genuine process of de-escalation rather than merely marking time until Iran acquires a weapon?

Please join us on Wednesday, February 6th for a half-day forum with CSIS experts to consider what successful solutions might require from Iran, the United States and other key states.

Please RSVP to the Proliferation Prevention Program at or (202) 457-8768.

Dr. John Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS

A conversation with Dr. Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and Sharon Squassoni, Director, Proliferation Prevention Program

A conversation with General James Cartwright (USMC, Ret.), Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies and Dr. Jon Alterman, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and Director, Middle East Program

Middle East Equities (Moderated by Dr. Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program)

The view from Israel, Mr. Haim Malka, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Middle East Program, CSIS
The view from the Gulf, Dr. Jon Alterman, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and Director, Middle East Program
Allies and Others (Moderated by Sharon Squassoni, Director, Proliferation Prevention Program)

European interests, Ms. Heather Conley, Senior Fellow and Director, Europe Program
Russian interests, Dr. Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program,
Sanctions impact and oil markets – Mr. David Pumphrey, Co-Director and Senior Fellow, Energy & National Security Program


6.  Bosnia and Herzegovina: Economic Reform to Prosperity for Fiscal Collapse and What to Do About It?, Wednesday February 6, 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Venue: Bernstein-Offit Building, Johns Hopkins SAIS, 1717 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington DC 500

Speakers: Enes Cengic, Mujo Selimovic, Goran Nedic, Dominik Tolksdorf, Jonathan Moore, Daniel Serwer, Zivko Budimir

Enes Cengic, CEO of Energoinvest; Mujo Selimovic, CEO of MIMS Group; Goran Nedic, executive board member of the America-Bosnia Foundation; Dominik Tolksdorf, TAPIR and Security Fellow at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR); Jonathan Moore, director of the Office of South Central European Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; and Daniel Serwer (moderator), SAIS CTR senior fellow and senior research professor in the Conflict Management Program, will discuss this topic. Zivko Budimir, president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will deliver opening remarks.


7.  Moving to Decision: US Policy toward Iran, Thursday February 7, 12:00 PM- 2:00 PM, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Venue: Stern Library and Conference Room, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1828 L Street NW Suite 1050, Washington DC 20036

Speakers: Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Ambassador James F. Jeffrey

All signs point to 2013 being a year of decision on Iran. In particular, the Obama administration must crystallize its diplomatic and military options for confronting the challenge, which includes making the president’s “prevention” threat credible in the absence of clear redlines and addressing concerns that a pivot to Asia could leave America militarily exposed in a confrontation.

To help U.S. policymakers prepare for the weighty choices that will emerge in the coming weeks and months, The Washington Institute will release a new report assessing the diplomatic, military, and broader strategic response to Tehran’s nuclear activities.

To mark the publication of this study, the Institute will host a Policy Forum luncheon with Ambassador Thomas Pickering and the report’s author, Ambassador James F. Jeffrey.

Thomas Pickering is a former career U.S. diplomat who served with distinction for five decades. His many posts included undersecretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan, and El Salvador, among other key assignments in Washington and abroad. Currently, he is vice chair of the international consulting firm Hills & Company.

James F. Jeffrey is a distinguished visiting fellow at The Washington Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Turkey (2008-2010) and Iraq (2010-2012). He also served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration.


8. The Battle for Syria, Friday February 8, 12:15 PM- 2:00 PM, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Venue: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington DC, 20036

Speakers: Karim Sadjadpour, Paul Sham, Frederic Hof, Henri Barkey, Emile Hokayem

As Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad mercilessly clings to power, proxy battles among neighboring countries-namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Qatar-are helping determine which armed factions will emerge victorious from the rubble. What role are external powers playing in Syria’s political and humanitarian crisis, how is Assad’s unraveling affecting regional power dynamics, and what are the implications for U.S. policy?



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