Peace Picks December 15-19

  1. The Escalating Shi’a-Sunni Conflict: Assessing the Role of ISIS | Monday December 15 | 9:30 | The Stimson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Today, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) controls and effectively governs large parts of territory based on a sectarian agenda. By implementing an ideology of religious intolerance, ISIS plays a significant role in deepening the already existing sectarian divide in a region deeply embroiled in conflict. Its appeal namely lies in its ability to offer an alternative to many communities that have felt marginalized and threatened in the past, and more so since the Arab uprisings began. Given its anti-Shi’a agenda, did ISIS capitalize on the conditions in Iraq and the Levant or did it help create them? Does ISIS have the potential to spread to other countries in the region where there is a sectarian problem, such as Lebanon? What is the potential for the US to push back on the ISIS march? Is Washington throwing money at the problem or are US military efforts actually making a difference on the ground? The discussants will address these issues, with a particular focus on Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The panelists are Joseph Bahout, Visiting Scholar, Middle East Program, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Omar Al-Nidawi, Director for Iraq, Gryphon Partners LLC. The event is moderated by Geneive Abdo,  Fellow, Middle East Program, The Stimson Center.
  2. International Diplomacy and the Ukraine Crisis | Monday December 15 | 9:30 – 10:30 | International Institute for Strategic Studies  | To date, international diplomatic efforts to address the Ukraine crisis – the most severe threat to European security since the Cold War – have been episodic and largely unsuccessful. A discussion on the attempts thus far and how they might be improved going forward with three highly experienced negotiators from Russia, the US, and the EU. The discussants are  Vladimir Lukin who was the special envoy of the Russian president for the February 21st talks in Kyiv between then-President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders, Richard Burt who serves as managing director at McLarty Associates, where he has led the firm’s work in Europe and Eurasia since 2007 and Michael Leigh who is a Transatlantic Academy Fellow, consultant and senior advisor to the German Marshall Fund.
  3. Congressional Options and Their Likely Consequences for a Nuclear Deal with Iran | Tuesday December 16 | 1:00 – 2:00 | Rand Corporation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | With nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 now extended beyond the original November 24 deadline, some members of Congress might now attempt to intervene legislatively. Congressional action could either help or hinder the implementation of whatever deal may be reached. What options are available to Congress, and what are the likely consequences of each for the United States? The talk is with analyst Larry Hanauer as he identifies and assesses eight potential courses of action that Congress could take that might either facilitate, hinder, or block implementation of a nuclear deal.
  4. The State and Future of Egypt’s Islamists | Thursday December 18 | 12:00 – 1:00 | Hudson Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Who are Egypt’s Islamists? What are the internal dynamics among Islamism’s various individual and collective constituents? How have the dramatic political developments in Egypt over the past four years affected the country’s Islamists, and what are their future prospects? Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Samuel Tadros’s two-year long study of Egyptian Islamism has resulted in two landmark reports. The first, Mapping Egyptian Islamism, profiles 128 currents, groups, and individuals that form the complex Egyptian Islamist scene. The second, Islamist vs. Islamist: The Theologico-Political Questions, examines the internal dynamics of Islamism in terms of the relationships among its leading figures and major tendencies, and their disagreements on key theological and political questions. The discussion will surround the future of Egypt’s Islamists and Tadros’s two new reports featuring Mokhtar Awad of the Center for American Progress, William McCants of the Brookings Institution, and Eric Trager of the Washington Institute. Samuel Tadros will moderate the discussion.
  5. Bordering on Terrorism: Turkey’s Syria Policy and the Rise of the Islamic State | Friday December 19 | 9:30 – 11:00 | Foundation for Defense of Democracies | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Southeastern Turkey has become a hub for terror finance, arms smuggling, illegal oil sales, and the flow of fighters to extremist groups in Syria including the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. Ankara has made explicit that it supports the arming of Syrian rebels, although whether Ankara is directly assisting jihadist groups remains unclear. Nevertheless, Turkey’s reluctance to cooperate with the international coalition acting against the Islamic State has undermined domestic stability, threatened the country’s economy and placed it on a collision course with the United States. Should Washington, therefore, seek to persuade Ankara to confront extremism at home and its neighborhood? And if Turkey refuses, should there be implications for its NATO membership? A conversation with Tony Badran, Jamie Dettmer, and Jonathan Schanzer.
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