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.
Islamophobia is on the rise in non-Muslim-majority countries. Following the recent spate of global terrorist attacks, Muslims are increasingly portrayed negatively by the media. Furthermore, some US politicians and their European counterparts have proposed an array of policies – from policing Muslim communities to controlling the flow of refugees and migrants from the Middle East.
On October 20, 2016, our distinguished group of panelists addressed issues including the media’s influence on shaping public perceptions of Islam and Muslims; the role policymakers can and should play in bridging the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim communities; and the role art and cultural institutions can play in shifting the narrative to a more inclusive and productive discussion.
The panel features Karen Armstrong, author and commentator on comparative religion; Dr. Mehmet Aydin, former Turkish Minister of State; Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University; and Zainab Salbi, host of Zainab Salbi Project of the HuffPost Originals. Ms. Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, vice president of the Aydın Doğan Foundation and publisher of Hürriyet, delivered welcoming remarks, and Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council moderated the discussion.
Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States, joins the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative for a discussion on French leadership in a Post-Brexit Europe.
Following the Ambassador’s remarks, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Jeremie Gallon engages Ambassador Frederic Hof, Director of the Council’s Rafik Hariri Center on the Middle East; Ms. Laure Mandeville, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow; and Ambassador John Herbst, Director of the Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center to debate France’s role in navigating Europe’s identity and electoral politics, developing and implementing a more coherent strategy to the south, and ensuring strength and unity in the face of a revisionist Russia. The event took place on July 28, 2016.
Crude oil prices have hit a twelve-year low owing to a combination of resurgent Iraqi exports, the United States’ shale revolution, and Saudi Arabia’s refusal to cut production in an effort to protect its market share. Additionally, post-sanctions Iran’s re-entrance into the global marketplace has contributed to this global glut, which will only pose further challenges to the region’s energy producers. Dr. Salam Fayyad, Former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority; The Hon. Sherri Goodman, Board Director at the Atlantic Council; Karen Elliott House, Former Publisher at the Wall Street Journal; and Raad Alkadiri, Managing Director for Petroleum Sector Risk at IHS Energy discuss the security and economic implications of falling oil prices on the Middle East.
The Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security recently held a high-level war game to explore future courses of action that the US-led coalition could pursue against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including staying the course, implementing a diplomatic surge, and carrying out a heavy military intervention. Participants explored these options with the aim of informing key domestic and regional stakeholders on the critical components of a successful coalition strategy. The public event presents the findings of the simulation, before initiating a broader discussion of the strategic challenges facing the United States and its partners in the fight against ISIS.
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.
After twenty months of negotiations, a deal has been reached over Iran’s nuclear program. While the details of the deal have finally been made public, many questions remain. Atlantic Council Senior Fellows Matthew Kroenig and Barbara Slavin have a discussion on what comes next after the agreement, moderated by Director of the Rafik Hariri Center and former US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone. The call took place on July 15, one day after the agreement took place.
In the following program, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Bilal Saab launches his report, “The New Containment: Changing America’s Approach to Middle East Security.” Following his presentation, CNN Correspondent Barbara Starr moderates a discussion with Bilal Saab, Dr. Barry Posen, Director of Security Studies at MIT, and Dr. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations about US interests, regional cooperation, state sustainability, and relations with Iran.