Week in DC: Events

December 15, 2014

National Reconciliation and Negotiation: The Path Forward in Iraq and Syria
Date: December 15, 9:00am
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Please join the Middle East Institute’s Initiative for Track II Dialogues, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and New America for a conference examining the prospects for national reconciliations in Iraq and the conditions for reviving political negotiations in Syria.

The event will feature expert panel discussions on past attempts at national reconciliation in Iraq and its future prospects, and the domestic and regional drivers of conflict resolution processes in Syria.

Join the waitlist to attend in person here, or watch live online here.

The Future of Homeland Missile Defense: A Fresh Look at Programs and Policy
Date: December 15, 9:00am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC

The Center for Strategic and International Studies welcomes Missile Defense Agency director Vice Admiral James Syring and other experts to discuss both policy and programmatic aspects of the future of homeland defense.

What is the future of homeland missile defense efforts? Recent tests have confirmed the lethality of the Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system and hit-to-kill technology. Focus is now turning to how best to evolve existing homeland defense capabilities, including redesigned kill vehicles and improved discrimination capabilities. Other longer term questions arise as well if capabilities are to continue to outpace developing missile threats.

Register here to attend in person or watch live online here.

The Escalating Shi’a-Sunni Conflict: Assessing the Role of ISIS
Date: December 15, 9:30am
Location: The Stimson Center, 1111 19th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC

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? Our discussants will address these issues, with a particular focus on Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

RSVP here.

International Diplomacy and the Ukraine Crisis
Date: December 15, 9:30am
Location: International Institute for Strategic Studies—US, 2121 K Street NW, Suite 801, Washington DC

The Hon. Vladimir Lukin was the special envoy of the Russian president for the February 21st talks in Kiev between then‑President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders. He served as Russia’s ambassador to the US from 1992‑1994, in various positions in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as an MP in the Russian State Duma. From 2004‑2014, he was the Human Rights Commissioner of Russia. He was one of the founders of the Yabloko political party. He received his PhD in History from Moscow State Pedagogical Institute.

The Hon. Richard Burt serves as managing director at McLarty Associates, where he has led the firm’s work in Europe and Eurasia since 2007. He was the chief US negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the Soviet Union that produced the landmark START agreement. Prior to this, he served as US ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany; assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs; and director of the political‑military affairs bureau. From 1973 to 1977, he worked for the IISS, first as a research associate, then as editor of Survival, and finally as assistant director of the Institute.

Sir Michael Leigh is a Transatlantic Academy Fellow, consultant and senior advisor to the German Marshall Fund. He joined GMF after more than 30 years in EU institutions. In 2006, he became Director‑General for Enlargement at the European Commission. Prior to that, he served for three years as external relations deputy director‑general with responsibility for European Neighborhood Policy, relations with Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, and the Mediterranean countries; and as chief negotiator for several EU Accession Negotiations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University and a PhD in political science from MIT.

The event will be chaired by Dr Samuel Charap, IISS Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia. Register here.

The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy
Date: December 15, 11:00am
Location: Center for American Progress, 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington DC

Foreign policy crises seem to be multiplying around the world, including the brutal threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, continued Russian support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, violence in the Central African Republic, and civil conflict in Libya and Yemen. In the face of these challenges, deeply divergent views about American foreign policy interests and the appropriate use of American power have divided both Democrats and Republicans across and within party lines.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a public event on the future direction of U.S. foreign policy and the role of America around the world.

RSVP here or watch online here.

December 16, 2014

The Battle of Ideas 2.0: Combatting ISIS Ideology at Home and Abroad
Date: December 16, 12:00pm
Location: Washington Institute for Near East Policy

In a speech before the Security Council last month, UN human rights chief Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called for a Muslim-led campaign to combat the ideology of the “Islamic State”/ISIS, alongside the coalition’s military campaign against the group in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, the White House is planning to hold a summit on efforts aimed at countering violent extremism at home. As policymakers debate and shape CVE programs in the United States and abroad, The Washington Institute is pleased to host a Policy Forum featuring a keynote presentation by HRH Prince Zeid (by video conference), followed by remarks from Hedieh Mirahmadi and Matthew Levitt. The webcast will start at 12:30 p.m EST.

Watch live online here.

What Fuels Global Jihadism?
Date: December 16, 12:00pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

The recent Senate report about the CIA’s use of torture against suspected terrorists renews important questions about the most effective and ethical means to counter the threat of global jihadism. Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist extremist turned liberal activist, will offer an assessment of how and why young men around the world are recruited into jihadist groups as well as provide policy prescriptions to reverse these trends. Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour will moderate.

Register here.

Congressional Options and Their Likely Consequences for a Nuclear Deal with Iran
Date: December 16, 1:00pm
Location: RAND Corporation, B-369 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC

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?

Join RAND 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.

  • To what extent can the president provide Iran with sanctions relief without congressional approval?
  • How can Congress influence the Administration’s implementation of an Iran nuclear deal?
  • How might new sanctions passed by Congress affect the implementation of a deal?
  • What could Congress do if Iran fails to comply with an agreement?

Register here.

A Discussion on National Security with Dr. Harlan Ullman
Date: December 16, 4:00pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

Please join the Atlantic Council for a discussion of the challenges facing the United States and the strategy required to tackle them with Dr. Harlan Ullman, senior adviser at the Atlantic Council and author of a new book, A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace.

An expert on global security and nontraditional threats, Dr. Ullman advances innovative recommendations for addressing the dangers facing the United States today.  With the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the outbreak of Ebola, and failed governments giving rise to crises ranging from Eurasia to the Middle East and beyond, he argues it is critical for global leaders to respond strategically.  As part of the Atlantic Council’s effort to inject strategic thinking into the dialogue about the challenges the United States and its allies face, Dr. Ullman will outline what the United States should do to address these threats and to remain a global leader.  Drawing lessons from a century of history, he will recommend a new strategic approach to failing governments, economic despair, disparity, and dislocation, ideological extremism, and environmental calamities.

Dr. Ullman is a senior adviser at the Atlantic Council and a member of its Strategic Advisors Group.  He is also a senior advisor at Business Executives for National Security, chairman of the Killowen Group, and director of the Capital Guardian Mutual Fund.  Dr. Ullman sits on the advisory board of Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Commander European Command, and IE/SPS.

Register here.

Ebola: The Culture of Preparing for and Recovering from Pandemics
Date: December 16, 5:30pm
Location: Virginia Tech, School of Public and International Affairs, 900 N. Glebe Road, 2nd Floor, Arlington VA

Dr. Reuben Varghese, director, and Josephine Peters, RN, planning and education chief for Arlington Public Health, will present “Ebola: The Culture of Preparing for and Recovering from Pandemics.”

These two Arlington health officials were on the scene when Arlington endured an Ebola scare on Oct. 17, 2014. They will discuss how the situation unfolded, what important lessons were learned, and how this false alarm may impact policy moving forward.

This is the first lecture in the Living Lab Series sponsored by the School of Public and International Affairs.

Email andrea.morris@vt.edu to register.

December 17, 2014

U.S. Nuclear Arms Control Policy: A Talk with Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller
Date: December 17, 10:00am
Location: Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Falk Auditorium, Washington DC

The Obama administration took office with high hopes for nuclear arms control and non-proliferation, and can claim definite achievements, such as the New START Treaty and the nuclear security summit process. But progress on arms control has slowed and the Ukraine-Russia crisis has created a political atmosphere far less conducive to further reductions. How is the administration approaching arms control as it prepares for the final two years of the Obama presidency?

On December 17, the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings will host Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, who will discuss the Obama administration’s policy on nuclear arms control and the prospects for further progress. Brookings Senior Fellow Steven Pifer will moderate the discussion. Following her remarks, the Under Secretary will take questions from the audience.

Register here.

The End of South Stream and the Future of Russia’s Pipeline Politics
Date: December 17, 11:00am
Location: Johns Hopkins SAIS, Room 500, 1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

On a recent visit to Ankara, Putin announced the scrapping of the multibillion dollar South Stream gas pipeline project and signaled that a new link could be built with Turkey. Join us on December 17 for a discussion on the cancellation of South Stream and the resulting geopolitical and economic implications for the region. CGI is honored to welcome Edward Chow, senior fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, and Tim Boersma, fellow and acting director of the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings, to consider what the latest development means for Europe, Russia, Turkey and the United States. CGI Program Director Konstantin Avramov will moderate the discussion.

The Ukrainian Revolution, One Year Later: A Conversation with US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland
Date: December 17, 11:00am
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC

On November 21, 2013, protests erupted in Kiev’s Independence Square against then–Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to effectively block his country’s path toward European integration. One year later, Yanukovych has fled the country, and the Ukrainian people have replaced him with moderate, pro-Europe parties in the October 26 parliamentary elections. What does the future hold for the Ukrainian revolution?

Please join us at AEI for a conversation with Victoria Nuland, US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, on what the United States should do to help consolidate and defend a Europe-bound, democratic Ukraine in the face of a severe economic crisis and the renewed threat of Russian military aggression.

For more information and to register email joe.gates@aei.org.

A Score Card: The First Three Years of Kim Jong Un’s Rule
Date: December 17, 2:00pm
Location: The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave NE, Washington DC

Three years have passed since Kim Jong Il died on December 17, 2011, and his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, succeeded him as ruler of North Korea. On this anniversary of his assumption to power, the OPSA invites Asian affairs experts to assess the young Kim’s efforts to bring stability and progress to his regime and grapple with the many challenges left by his father.

December 17, 2014 marks the official end of the mourning period for Kim Jong Il. Could the fourth year of Kim Jong Un’s leadership present the possibility of a start of a new era in North Korea — and U.S.-DPRK relations, considering the unilateral release of three American captives and visit to Pyongyang by the Director of National Intelligence — or is “there enough evidence to hold Kim Jong Un accountable for massive human rights atrocities comparable to Nazi-era atrocities,” as charged by UN human rights investigator Marzuki Darusman?

The forum will examine what Kim Jong Un has accomplished in three years, what he has failed to accomplish, and what he will need to do for the future, including assessments of inter-Korean relations, and bilateral relations with China, Russia, Japan and the U.S.

We will also explore possible innovative solutions to break the logjam in North-South relations, including a proposal for a summit between Kim Jong Un and President Park Geun-hye by the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japan next August.

These points will be considered against the backdrop of what senior North Korean officials have repeatedly told outsiders: that Kim Jong Un will be around for the long term and it is incumbent on the U.S. (as well as Japan and South Korea) to find ways to engage him (and, if the Obama administration won’t engage the DPRK, they will wait for the next president).

Email wselig@upf.org to register.

Political Insults: How Offenses Escalate Conflict
Date: December 17, 3:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 6th Floor Conference Room, Washington DC

In her new book, Karina V. Korostelina offers a novel framework for analyzing the ways in which seemingly minor insults between ethnic groups, nations, and other types of groups escalate to disproportionately violent behavior and political conflict. The book shows that insult can take many forms and has the power to destablize and redefine social and power hierarchies. Korostelina uses her model to explore recent conflicts in Russia, Ukraine, and elsewhere, and to explain the complicated dynamics associated with them.

RSVP here.

From Empires of Faith to Nationalizations of Islam & the Globalization of Jihad in Central Asia
Date: December 17, 4:00pm
Location: Elliot School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, Suite 412, Voesar Conference Room, Washington DC

This seminar will discuss the versatility, uses and abuses of Islam as religion by the faithful and its various deployments by the political elites for establishing empires of faith, resisting colonialism, attempting to build nation-states and waging global jihad in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in Central Asia. More specifically it will focus on the consequences of nationalization and demonization of Islam by the rulers, an inadequate knowledge of Islam by its practitioners and entitlement demands by the jihadists, especially in Afghanistan.

Nazif Shahrani is Professor of Anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington and has served two terms as Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at IU. Shahrani is an Afghan American anthropologist with extensive field research in Afghanistan, and has studied Afghan refugee communities in Pakistan & Turkey. Since 1992 he has also conducted field research in post-Soviet Muslim republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. He is interested in the impact of Islam on social life and political culture of Muslims, problems of state failure the role of nationalism in social fragmentation in multi-ethnic nation states, and the political economy of international assistance to postcolonial failing states and its consequences.

RVSP here.

December 18, 2014

The State and Future of Egypt’s Islamists
Date: December 18, 12:00pm
Location: Hudson Institute, 1015 15th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington DC

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.

On December 18th, Hudson Institute will host a panel discussion on 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.

Register here.

December 19, 2014

Bordering on Terrorism: Turkey’s Syria Policy and the Rise of the Islamic State
Date: December 19, 9:30am
Location: Foundation for Defense of Democracies, 1726 M Street NW, Suite 700, Washington DC

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?

Please join FDD for a timely conversation with Tony Badran, Jamie Dettmer, and Jonathan Schanzer.

Register here.

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