On November 30, 2016, The Atlantic Council released the Middle East Strategy Task Force: Final Report of the Co-Chairs by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley. The Atlantic Council convened the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) in February 2015 to examine the underlying issues of state failure and political legitimacy that drive extremist violence and threaten fundamental interests broadly shared by the peoples of the region and the rest of the world. The result of almost two years of intensive study, Albright and Hadley’s final report proposes nothing short of a paradigm shift in how the international community and the Middle East interact. Not only does the report present solutions to the region’s most immediate crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, it also puts forward a pragmatic and actionable long-term strategy that emphasizes the efforts of the people of the Middle East themselves, with an eye toward harnessing the region’s enormous human potential. The event was introduced by Mr. Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, and moderated Mr. Ayman Mohyeldin, Foreign Correspondent of NBC News and Anchor of MSNBC.
On June 9, 2015, the Atlantic Council hosted What’s Religion Got to Do with It?, a Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) event featuring Co-Chairs Madeleine K. Albright and Stephen J. Hadley, together with a panel of experts on Islam, politics, and Islamist extremist groups’ use of social media as a recruitment tool. The participants examined the extent to which religion is a driver behind the rise of violent extremism and sectarianism in regional politics.